A Completely Open Mind

ACIM Workbook Lesson 28 – for Friday, January 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “Above all else I want to see things differently.”

Selected Passage:

“You could, in fact, gain vision from just that table, if you would withdraw all your own ideas from it, and look upon it with a completely open mind.  It has something to show you; something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope.  Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe.  (WB43)”

Reflections:

1 – Focus on a Table

This passage echoes the theme of the affirmation for today (today’s “lesson”), and in a very practical way:  a focus on a mere table that may be in your view.  But the passage waxes eloquently also, and this is part of the joy of reading ACIM.  One never knows when beautiful words will just overwhelm:  “something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope.”

2 – Happiness and Hope

What does it mean to be full of happiness and hope?  It means that we have opened our hearts to God, that we are listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and, under His guidance, we are living with a loving heart.  What more could we ask in this sometimes difficult world?

3 – Our Days

Of course, not all days will go well.  That is why we often hear ministers say, “Have a great day!”  And this is not just ministers of the gospel.  We also hear our friends say the same thing, especially if we are writing in an e-mail or phoning them early in the day.

4 – Purpose

We need to know the “real purpose” of the table, so to speak, the “purpose it shares with all the universe.”  This is the criteria for the coming of the real world, which is a gift of God in which we recognize that this world dominated by the ego is illusory, and the real world is a vision of what is true.  May this understanding of the “real world” come to us beginning today.  May we thank God for this greater understanding.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I look at the common things around me with new insight today.  May I see ordinary objects as things of beauty.  May I truly see.   I know that vision such as this will not come to me by my own efforts.  It is Your gift.  Thank You.

I would see the real world today.  I know that this request is in line with what You wish for me, and that You will grant me this blessing when I have been made ready.  I know that You would wish that I be ready sooner rather than later.

Amen.

Vision

ACIM Workbook Lesson 27 – for Thursday, January 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “Above all else I want to see.”

Selected Passage:

“Vision has no cost to anyone.  (WB42)”

Reflections:

“Vision” is the term that A Course in Miracles always uses to describe the understanding that the Holy Spirit brings to us.  The Holy Spirit is the innermost part of ourselves, the part that the ego does not touch.  We may also view the Holy Spirit as intuition or an inner knowing.  And sometimes this inner knowing comes to us in actual hallucinations or, more commonly, in dreams.  (We must be careful, for not all dreams are of the Holy Spirit, and we must test the guidance that we feel.)

Vision does not harm anyone, if it is true vision.  “No cost,” the passage says.  And this “no cost” is a great blessing to all, for not only does it not cost anyone anything, it also blesses everything and everyone that it touches.  Vision is the way that we want to go.

How do we find increased vision?  We turn inward for guidance, and this leads to the vision of a loving world, for our thoughts and actions then become loving.  When we are conflicted, the whole world seems conflicted.  (Hugh Prather once wrote something similar.)  If we want to “see,” as the lesson for today stresses, we must leave behind the ego-oriented ways of old.  We must turn to the Holy Spirit for this “seeing,” this vision.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have vision today.  I would be so enthralled by the Holy Spirit, by the Universal Inspiration, that I would follow His guidance in every instance–though I would not want to feel that this following had me in a strait jacket.  As the Manual says, the right attitude adopted in the morning will put me well ahead.

Be with me today.  Help me to know what the concept of “vision” really holds out to me.  I have only the faintest clue now, but I would know more.  Thank You for teaching me today.

Amen.

Invulnerability = No Attack Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 26 – for Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.”

Selected Passage:

“Practice with today’s idea will help you to understand that vulnerability or invulnerability is the result of your own thoughts.  Nothing except your thoughts can attack you.  Nothing except your thoughts can make you think you are vulnerable.  And nothing except your thoughts can prove to you this is not so.  (WB40)”

Reflections:

1 – “Venting” Is Not a Healthy Choice

To act out, to vent, is often seen in our world as healthy, but A Course in Miracles would say that it is anything but.  ACIM does not counsel “stuffing” feelings, though, and to believe that ACIM recommends this is a common misconception of students and even of teachers of the Course.  Jesus would have you immediately turn the matter that is causing upset over to the Holy Spirit for resolution.  If we are angry, we are judging or interpreting, and not seeing facts.  It is always an interpretation that gives rise to anger, and, as such, the interpretation can be changed to see our brother or sister as innocent, as being in grace.

2 – ACIM and Pardon/Forgiveness

This explanation brings up the matter again of just what “pardon” and “forgiveness” really means in the understanding of A Course in Miracles.  We do not pardon wrongdoing; we recognize that everything is either an expression of help or a call for help, and, given that, our first instinctual response would be to rush to the side of our brother or sister and to offer that help.  Sometimes this idea is expressed as an expression of love or a call for love.  This love is the underlying factor.

3 – Vulnerability

When we attack, we make ourselves vulnerable to the interpretation of attack being pulled back unto ourselves.  We feel vulnerable, because we have made ourselves so.  And we will suffer for it.  There is no other way.  Forgive others and we forgive ourselves the many mistakes that we make.  Fail to forgive others, and one has failed to forgive one’s self.  And we know best how numerous are the mistakes that we have made, and for which we desire forgiveness (pardon).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave behind attack thoughts forever today.  If this seems too unrealistic, too idealistic, may I realize that miracles are in the hands of Jesus, and he can heal a neurotic.  I would like to feel invulnerable, and today’s lesson tries to get me to see that it is my attack thoughts that are making me feel vulnerable.

Be with me today as I relinquish attack thoughts, either kept within or verbalized.  I need Your help, because, as You know, attack is something that most of us struggle to overcome.  We get angry about virtually anything, and then we frequently lash out.  I would end such foolish behavior, starting today and continuing forevermore.  Then I learn today that I will feel invulnerable, and in fact I will be so.

Amen.

“Personal” Interests = Concern with Nothing

ACIM Workbook Lesson 25 – for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Affirmation:  “I do not know what anything is for.”

Selected Passage:

“Another way of describing the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with ‘personal’ interests.  Since you have no personal interests, your goals are really concerned with nothing.  (WB38)”

Reflections:

We do not have “personal” interests because we are part of the Whole, the All, that is God.  Our minds are joined, and therefore we cannot choose aright for ourselves in personal interests at all.  This interpretation is not stated precisely in the Workbook, but is applied to this passage because it is an interpretation that fits in well with tenets expressed elsewhere in ACIM.

Our goals are usually wrong because they are usually ego-inspired.  Until we have walked farther along the pathway, the ego will thwart our good intentions repeatedly.  Elsewhere Jesus says that “good intentions” are not enough, and this is secular knowledge in this world as well.  We cannot choose aright as long as our minds are wrong, and our minds are wrong as long as they are ego-driven.

Ask the Holy Spirit what goals He would have you achieve.  That will save needless effort on our parts (an ACIM tenet).  In the Text, Jesus says that when the ultimate goal of Awakening is given us, it comes with just one realization, “I need do nothing.”  This is hard to understand in our ego-oriented world, because we think that we are judged by what we “do.”  But we are not.  Action that is ego-driven is indeed lamentable.  No good can come of it.  The ego is constantly being undone (an ACIM tenet), and we suffer as a result.  And this suffering is so needless.  Learn to let go of needless suffering today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me not to be self-centered today.  When I think about personal interests, I think only of myself.  I would think of my brothers and sisters instead.  We are all One; help me always to remember this.  And we are One with You.  That is the most important point for me to remember always.

Thank You for being here for me each day.  In the mornings, I want to dedicate the day to You, and in the evenings, I want to assess whether or not I actually did dedicate the day to You.  May today be a true day of dedication.

Amen.

My Perception Is Wrong

ACIM Workbook Lesson 24 – for Monday, January 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “I do not perceive my own best interests.”

Selected Passage:

“In no situation that arises do you realize the outcome that would make you happy.  Therefore, you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the result.  What you do is determined by your perception of the situation, and that perception is wrong.  It is inevitable, then, that you will not serve your own best interests.  (WB36)”

Reflections:

1 – “Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings”

We do not really know what will bring us the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings (a quotation from ACIM).”

2 – Guidance

We will only know as we follow His guidance.  We learn by doing (and thinking and feeling).  We think that we want a happy day, and we do, but we are woefully inadequate to bring this about ourselves.  We need help.

3 – Inner Knowing Awaits Us

Later on, we will go beyond the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” to the real world of inner knowing.  We will live in the dream no longer.  But happy dreams are a step on the pathway, a very important step, and we would do well to welcome them with anticipation.

4 – Leave Judgment to the Holy Spirit

There is also the statement here that we cannot judge accurately.  Elsewhere we read that Jesus has said that we cannot know all possible outcomes, and therefore we are never in a position to judge rightly.  We must leave judgment to the Holy Spirit, Who does see the whole picture.  Then and only then are we free to live the happy dreams that He brings to us.  And what a difference these happy dreams will make to our perception of our world!  We are not yet ready for knowledge, except perhaps in brief revelation.  Walk the whole pathway; leave out no steps.  And the Awakening will find us.  God Himself will reach down and lift us “up” to Him.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My perceptions are wrong because I still let the ego interfere with my listening to the Holy Spirit.  I know that You are patient with me, but I seem to be such a slow learner.  Help me today to know my own best interests, because these best interests are what the Holy Spirit shows me through guidance.  Help me to listen to Him.

Thank You for following my thoughts and actions today.  I know that You are within and without (as I do perceive an external world), and I pray that You will help me to find that deep inner place where You are, and where everything is peaceful.

Amen.

The Way Out of Fear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 23 – for Sunday, January 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.”

Selected Passage:

“The idea for today contains the only way out of fear that will ever succeed.  Nothing else will work; everything else is meaningless.  But this way cannot fail.  Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see.  It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.  (WB34)”

Reflections:

There is power in these words, real power.  And they work; I can speak from experience.  (Of course, I believe that everything in A Course in Miracles “works.”)  But, as Neale Donald Walsch in his Conversations with God (a trilogy) has said, evolution is not a straight line.  A Course in Miracles says that if we return to attack, to making judgments, or to unnecessary planning for contingencies to come, we will fall again from the higher plane that ACIM is patiently taking us.  So it behooves us to walk carefully, lest we slip.

This passage is based, as are so many, on the premise that projection makes perception.  When we give up attack (thoughts, feelings, actions), we will see a more peaceful world, because we will not be projecting our inner state of mind outward and seeing attack poised to strike back at us.

Test out this important lesson today.  Try to spend the day, not as it might please you most, but as it might please the Holy Spirit most.  Try to spend a day without planning, following guidance consistently (but not compulsively).  Most importantly, start the day off right.  And if something goes awry, metaphorically, start the day again.  We always get second chances, though we do want to save the world and us time, and starting the day aright does save time (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack that I might no longer have fear–at all.  I believe what Jesus has said in this very important words from A Course in Miracles.  Help me to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit throughout the day today.  It will be a special day of dedication if I can stay true to this declaration.

Be with me today as I try to follow the best and highest that I know.  Know that I do wish to live aright, and it is only when I slip that I have problems.

Amen.

Attack = No Peace of Mind

ACIM Workbook Lesson 22 – for Saturday, January 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “What I see is a form of vengeance.”

Selected Passage:

“Today’s idea accurately describes the way anyone who holds attack thoughts in his mind must see the world.  Having projected his anger onto the world, he sees vengeance about to strike at him. . . .[T]houghts of attack and counter-attack will preoccupy him and people his entire world.  What peace of mind is possible to him then?  (WB33)”

Reflections:

This passage affirms the oft-repeated truism that when one points a finger at another, three fingers are pointed back at him (or her).  Repeatedly ACIM says that what we think or say or do to another is actually something that we are thinking or saying or doing to ourselves.  This is because projection makes perception (an ACIM tenet).  We must learn to think more kindly of our brothers and sisters in our world if we are to think more kindly of ourselves.  Otherwise, we will think that someone or something is about to strike us down.  And what peace can there be in that?

Note that we have just begun the Workbook.  We do not yet have vision, and so we are seeing vengeance.  Anger and attack are characteristics of this world, and we are very much a part of it until we change our minds.

Jesus would have us change our minds today.  Ask him for his help.  He has said elsewhere in ACIM that we can imagine that he walks with us, holding our hand.  And he has assured us that this is no idle fantasy.  He has also said that he is available for everyone at any time.  And he will come at the first unequivocal call.  These reassurances are all culled from the Text, but they are particularly appropriate in the context of this lesson today from the Workbook.  The theme is the same.  And we do have help.  We are not cast adrift in a world of vengeance, to be left there without any assistance to find our way to a better frame of mind.  This is a course in mind training, and with this lesson on this day, we have made great strides forward.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I attack nobody today, and may I not even entertain attack thoughts.  I realize that as long as I think “attack,” I will think that this attack is rebounding back to me.  I would not have this today.

Please be with me all day long.  Help me to be aware of Your presence.  Keep my mind safe and peaceful, free of attack wishes.  Then my day will go well.  Thank You.

Amen.

Slight Twinge of Annoyance = Intense Fury

ACIM Workbook Lesson 21 – for Friday, January 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am determined to see things differently.”

Selected Passage:

“You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.  (WB32)”

Reflections:

The chosen passage for today is a crucial step in understanding the message of A Course in Miracles.  Because we live in a world of illusion (a “dream”–an ACIM tenet), then our forgiveness of our brothers and sisters is always justified.  They are innocent, in a state of grace.  We do not pardon real things that have happened out of the “goodness” of our hearts.  We pardon because nothing real has actually happened; our Self has not been damaged in any way.  And this is why anger and attack are never justified (ACIM tenets).

We see today in this lesson that mild annoyance is just as disturbing to our inner state as intense fury.  This emphasis is characteristic of ACIM.  There is nothing “partial” in our world; the smallest emotion is given as much credence as that happening which would arouse tremendous emotion.

We want to see ourselves, as well as our brothers and sisters, “differently.”  We want to be able to forgive with a whole heart, holding nothing back.  When we have studied ACIM, this blessing is what is held out to us.  We will have true vision.  We will see differently.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to arrest my slight twinges of annoyance at the start, before they mushroom into intense fury.  Jesus says that actually the emotions are the same, with the former only a veil over intense fury.  May I forgive in the beginning of feeling attacked; this will abort the anger that seems automatically to arise.

I love my brothers and sisters, and I would do them no harm.  They deserve pardon (forgiveness).  My real Self has never been damaged by any attack, which is actually an illusion in this world.  May my illusions (dreams) not mislead me today.

Amen.

How to Be Happy and to Have Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 20 – for Thursday, January 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am determined to see.”

Selected Passage:

“You want to be happy.  You want peace.  You do not have them now, because your mind is totally undisciplined, and you cannot distinguish between joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, love and fear.  You are now learning how to tell them apart.  And great indeed will be your reward.  (WB31)”

Reflections:

The injunction to repeat today’s affirmation twice an hour may not be easy to follow.  But great will be our reward when we remember.  We are being led to a restructuring of our thoughts, a restructuring that will allow us to distinguish pain from joy.  Believe it or not at this point, Jesus tells us that we do not really know the difference.  In fact, he says elsewhere, we may want that which will actually bring us pain, thinking that therein lies happiness.

We may also get involved in delaying tactics that will keep our salvation from us, learning things that do not count for anything, simply because their value will not last.  To want to learn things that do not count for anything does not make any sense, but then our minds are insane at this point.  We are likely to want that which will hurt us the most.

To get out of this dilemma, we are encouraged throughout ACIM to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We may know His guidance through feelings, interior words of guidance (that will do no harm, and so discernment is necessary), an inner “knowing,” and following deep prayer.  As time goes on, we will take up other ways that the guidance of the Holy Spirit comes through.  It is enough to know that it is there for all to partake, and each will have his or her unique way of understanding.  The point is that we must be flexible enough to turn on a dime, to alter our rigid ways, and to follow the guidance that comes through.

Our reward will be very great when we live a day without planning, when we let the Holy Spirit take over.  Indeed, unnecessary planning against contingencies to come is one of three ways that we fall away from the grace that Jesus offers to us.  (The other two are attack and judging.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Like everybody else, I want happiness and peace.  And ACIM says that these are worthy goals.  Happiness is not a selfish emotion; peace is our birthright.  May I take steps today to learn the pathway that will lead me to happiness and peace.  Help me to distinguish those things that take these goals farther away from me.

Thank You for the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit.  When I am flexible enough to follow His guidance, then I have a good day.  May I have a good day today.

Amen.

Minds Are Joined = No Private Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 19 – for Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.”

Selected Passage:

“Today we are again emphasizing the fact that minds are joined.  This is rarely a wholly welcome idea at first, since it seems to carry with it an enormous sense of responsibility, and may even be regarded as an ‘invasion of privacy.’  Yet it is a fact that there are no private thoughts.  (WB30)”

Reflections:

Today’s lesson is, with minor exceptions, a concept that was introduced in the lesson for yesterday.  The added fact of “responsibility” is the new contribution.  We may be prone to become fearful when we realize that our thoughts have such power.  But Jesus assures us elsewhere that indeed our minds are very creative, that our minds never sleep.  He says that he knows that we do not believe this now, and the real reason is that we do not want to believe that our minds are that powerful.  This ACIM tenet appears to be based on the fact, Jesus says, that we do not want to believe that our minds are that powerful, because we are actually afraid of our thoughts.  But the mind is not impotent, and to hold our respect, it cannot be.

We are encouraged to watch our thoughts, not to fall into mind wandering.  All thoughts make form at some level, a concept that may be incomprehensible to us in our present state.  But if we realize that we are caught in a dream, we can understand more.  Our nighttime dreams are not accorded truth upon awakening, just as our daytime dreams will not be accorded truth when we Awaken.

We will be closer to Home when we do not feel the need to keep things “private.”  Not that we will share all with just anybody, but we will not be afraid that a genuine disclosure will wreck havoc.  Certainly we will not choose to say things that are hurtful, because we wish to retain our peace of mind, and to encourage peace of mind in our brothers and sisters.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I understand today that my thoughts are not private, that what I think does affect other people, and that, on some level, they know what I am thinking.  This does disturb me when I am thinking attack thoughts.  But You know that I choose not to entertain either anger or attack, and I would ask You to help me stay with this standard today.

Please be with me as my ego attempts to “make” problems where there are none.  When my thoughts are loving, there will seem to be no problems, because I take everything that disturbs me to the Holy Spirit, and He resolves the issue for me.  Thank You for the blessing of the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration.

Amen.

Reading Minds

ACIM Workbook Lesson 18 – for Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.”

Selected Passage:

“The idea for today is another step in learning that the thoughts which give rise to what you see are never neutral or unimportant.  It also emphasizes the idea that minds are joined, which will be given increasing stress later on.  (WB29)”

Reflections:

We are all One.  This idea is stressed repeatedly, though we are particularly apt to overlook it in our study of ACIM.  The Manual answers a question about psychic matters, and the answer is that there are far more channels to reach us (and our brothers and sisters) than are recognized by this world.  If there were not many means, the teaching of salvation would be impossible.

Have we not all had the experience of “reading the mind” of someone near and dear to us, when we both think the same thing at the same time, and then say it simultaneously?  Likewise, we may have a bad dream about our brother or sister, and then find that he or she has also awakened in a bad mood.  These are everyday occurrences, but ACIM, I can imagine, would see them as evidence that our minds are joined.  We cannot think alone, and our actions affect others as well as ourselves.  This is the direct explanation of the affirmation for today.

A related thought to the passage for today is the fact that projection makes perception (an ACIM tenet, explained further in the introduction to the Text).  So we are encouraged in this sequence of lessons to watch our minds, not to let them wander into negative and therefore fearful thinking.  This idea may at this point sound much easier said than done, and this fact may be true for a very long time.   But, as Jesus stresses, once we are started on the pathway, the ending is certain.  Let us, as he counsels, be patient.  The Awakening is our end, and if the way seems long, let us be aware that we are seeking the highest and best that we can know (as opposed to “perceive”).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We actually can read each other’s minds, though we are not usually aware of this when it happens.  Help us to watch our minds, and to entertain thoughts about ourselves and each other that are only uplifting.  We can do no less if we are to know Awakening.

Be with me today as I seek to think only of the good and brave in my brothers and sisters.  Help me to forgive myself, as I forgive others as well, for the wrongs that I have perceive I have done.  You are with me, to help a better day arrive.

Amen.

Thinking Amiss

ACIM Workbook Lesson 17 – for Monday, January 17, 2011

Affirmation:  “I see no neutral things.”

Selected Passage:

“Regardless of what you may believe, you do not see anything that is really alive or really joyous.  That is because you are unaware as yet of any thought that is really true, and therefore really happy.  (WB28)”

Reflections:

Keep in mind that we are just beginning the Workbook, and so the selected passage (above) is meaningful to us.  Our thoughts come before our emotions about those thoughts, though we often do not recognize this.  We seem to be overcome with a feeling or an emotion, and we then start to stress about that emotion.  However quickly the feeling follows thought, it is true (a tenet of ACIM in this lesson) that the thought comes first.  Elsewhere Jesus says that we do not watch our thoughts carefully enough; we are much too prone to mind wandering.  And mind wandering can easily take us into fear as an emotion drawn from the errant thoughts.

This is one reason that the affirmations in the Workbook are so helpful to us.  And the injunction to study and call to mind the affirmations (and similar thoughts) throughout the day.  We are in a Course of mind training.  Nothing is more important to our peace of mind but that we train our minds to think peacefully.  We need guidance in this, and here we have Jesus’s words, and inwardly we have the Universal Inspiration, or the Holy Spirit.  Jesus bids us to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit at all times, though he does say that to become preoccupied with each step of the way would not be good.  The right attitude, adopted upon awakening in the morning, will put us well ahead.  And, though time is lost, we can always, metaphorically,  begin the day again.

We want to have happy,  joyous thoughts.  And the means are being spelling out to us through the mind training that a consistent study of the Workbook will bring to us.  The Text and the Manual likewise have their place, and various students will derive more benefit from various parts of the written words of A Course in Miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When my thoughts are unhappy, help me to realize that fear has intruded, the ego is having a field day, and I need to change those thoughts.  You will guide me to change any thought that seems to hurt.  May today’s thoughts be joyous and peaceful.  May I recognize that anything else is seeing amiss.

Please help me to leave aside the ego today.  May I walk into the sunlight with only thoughts that are good, pure, and true.

Amen.

Fear Thoughts = Destructive but Unreal

ACIM Workbook Lesson 16 – for Sunday, January 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “I have no neutral thoughts.”

Selected Passage:

“There is such a temptation to dismiss fear thoughts as unimportant, trivial and not worth bothering about that it is essential you recognize them all as equally destructive, but equally unreal.  We will practice this idea in many forms before you really understand it.  (WB26)”

Reflections:

A Course in Miracles counsels that there are only two emotions, love and fear, and that only love is real.  All other emotions are derivative from these two.  We may want to deemphasize fear, when it occurs, because we have read in ACIM that it is unreal.  But it would be imprudent to deemphasize the destructive nature that unreal fear can evoke in our minds, our holy minds.  The ego, which is a part of our belief about ourselves, feeds on fear.  And when the fear and conflict are strong, the ego is strong–the opposite of what we want.

We want the ego to wither away.  We want love to take us over.  We want to feel love for ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters.  But this boon will not happen as long as we are afraid, because fear makes us unkind.  Love makes us kind, and it would be a worthy prayer to ask for more kindness in our lives.  To “be a little kinder” is one of the primary counsels of the Dalai Lama.  Jesus certainly lived this concept while on earth.  May we do no less.

So, our fear thoughts are not real, but they are real to us, because they disturb our peace of mind.  And they make it impossible to have the felt presence of God.  So, this is why, in my opinion, the lesson for today stresses, “I have no neutral thoughts.”  Fear thoughts are to be abandoned by whatever means we find helpful.  Probably the most efficacious is communion with God, which is described in the opening pages of the Text as the most meaningful kind of prayer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have fear thoughts just disappear, wither away–along with the ego.  I realize that I am not saintly enough to effect this on my own, but You can effect this.  I do not want the destructiveness of fear thoughts to disrupt my life.  My life belongs to You.  You take charge, I ask.

My thoughts are not neutral.  They are either positive or negative, and only the positive will lead me Home.  May I go Home sooner rather than later.  By this request, I am asking for Awakening.

Amen.

Little Edges of Light

ACIM Workbook Lesson 15 – for Saturday, January 15, 2011

Affirmation:  “My thoughts are images that I have made.”

Selected Passage:

“This introductory idea to the process of image making that you call seeing will not have much meaning for you.  You will begin to understand it when you have seen little edges of light around the same familiar objects which you see now.  That is the beginning of real vision.  You can be certain that real vision will come quickly when this has occurred.  (WB25)”

Reflections:

Note the emphasis on “little edges of light around the same familiar objects.”  This miracle may happen years before what its meaning becomes clear to us.  We are, in my opinion, briefly in an altered state of consciousness.  This altered state may be brought on by our meditative stance, our deep prayer, or, more mundanely, from our stress.  It does not matter.  We are on the pathway to real vision.

Possibly this miracle occurred for us prior to our introduction to A Course in Miracles, and, if so, there is little likelihood that we knew what was happening.  The “little edges of light” are akin to the Great Rays described elsewhere in ACIM.  The Great Rays are the sense that the sun’s rays are coming down upon us with great intensity, and the miracles may be frightening.  Both miracles are perceptual, and as such they will not last (nothing that is perceptual lasts).

If the “little edges of light” occurred years earlier, we can be soothed by the realization that we have been on the pathway longer than we knew.  This is reassuring in the extreme, which is a characteristic of much that Jesus says to us in the Workbook.  “Real vision” is an indication that we can see the real world as well as the dream in which we have been lost.  At this early point, we will in all likelihood return to the dream, because no miracle, however holy, lasts.  If part of revelation, then the end has been shown to us.  And we study A Course in Miracles to determine the means of reaching that end.  The end is called Awakening (in ACIM) or Christ-consciousness (in A Course of Love).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for those little edges of light that I saw many years before I found ACIM.  I did not understand them then, but now I do.  Thank You for the harbinger that they were meant to be.

Be with me today as I go about my day without the miracle of little edges of light.  After all, that occurred only once, and that was enough.  Now my everyday life is a miracle.  Help me to recognize the miracles that happen.

Amen

Safety and Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 14 – for Friday, January 14, 2011

Affirmation:  “God did not create a meaningless world.”

Selected Passage:

“Our direction is toward perfect safety and perfect peace.  (WB23)”

Reflections:

This lesson emphasizes that the world that we see is not really the creation of a benevolent God.  This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles, but with our little minds, we will not understand it.  The concept owes a great deal to Gnosticism, but most of us are not students of that philosophy.  Suffice it to accept, once and for all, that the maya of Eastern religions is accurate, that we are lost in illusions; ACIM calls this a “dream.”  Some of our dreams are group dreams, and some are individual, personal.  It does not matter.  However bad things seem, we do not need to blame God for this state of affairs.  It is all unreal.

When we move toward a cleansed perception, we will move toward the “perfect safety and perfect peace” that is the passage emphasized for today.  We will look at what surrounds us, and we will make one judgment (led by the Holy Spirit), “This is unreal.”  We might also call it insanity, or madness (which ACIM also calls it).

Personally, I have found over the years that calling the negative things of this world “insanity” to be a very freeing concept.  Then I am more ready to overlook the negativity, which A Course in Miracles counsels us to do.  If we dwell on the negativity, we will make it real to ourselves, and therefore harder to overlook.  We may be taken over by it, indeed.

When we let our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (an ACIM tenet from the Workbook).  And our world will lighten up as well.  Regardless of how bad things appear, we will know that we are seeing appearances only.  We may move to correct injustices, but we will do so from a peaceful heart that recognizes that the real Self of ourselves, and the real Self of our brothers and sisters, has not been hurt in the least.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do not wish to see a world of insanity, a meaningless world.  Let me look instead beyond the illusions that my ego, a part of my belief about myself, has perpetrated.  Let me see the real world.  Giving me that is something that only You can do, but I can offer a little willingness (all that is required) to the Holy Spirit, and then You will reach down to me.

Thank You for being with me through my day today.  Every day is good when I recall You frequently.  If I forget, then the day turns bad.  Help me, as I prepare for yet another day, to turn to You just as frequently as I remember.  And may I remember often.

Amen.

The Meaningless = Fear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 13 – for Thursday, January 13,  2011

Affirmation:  “A meaningless world engenders fear.”

Selected Passage:

It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognize the meaningless, and accept it without fear.  If you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes that it does not possess, and crowd it with images that do not exist.  (WB21)”

Reflections:

In our study, we will learn that there are only two emotions:  love and fear, and the one that we choose will determine everything that happens to us.  The ego is always a fear thought; the Self chooses love, knowing that there is no better choice, and the Self chooses love by genuine forgiveness.  Our brothers and sisters are innocent, in a state of grace, because they are still as God has created them.  And this includes ourselves as well.

Certainly we want to give up fear.  It has never brought us anything but misery.  Fear with its accompanying anxiety is a false image that has been endowed with a reality that it does not actually have.  We need only change our minds, and the fear will diminish and eventually dissipate.  Forgiveness paves the way to love of ourselves (genuine love for the Self that is on the pathway to Awakening) as well as the way to love of our brothers and sisters.

May we reach out today, in love and in forgiveness, and may we see no further images of an illusory world lost in fear.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I do longer live in a meaningless world, for I wish to give up fear.  It has hampered me far too longer and far too often over the course of my life.  I would be done with it.  I realize that when we have truly “had enough,” then the blessings of Reality come upon us.  I would know Reality today, given up illusions perpetrated by the ego.

Be there for me today.  I ask this often, and I sense when You have been able to get through to me.  I need to turn inward, to You.  You are waiting.  Thank You.

Amen.

Being Upset II

ACIM Workbook Lesson 12 – for Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am upset because I see a meaningless world.”

Selected Passage:

“The importance of this idea lies in the fact that it contains a correction for a major perceptual distortion.  You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world.  All these attributes are given it by you.  The world is meaningless in itself.  (WB19)”

Reflections:

This passage is a further elucidation of the fact that projection makes perception.  Even if we are new students to A Course in Miracles, we can understand that when we feel good, we are more tolerant of our brothers and sisters.  When we are feeling down, we are more likely to welcome attack of them, an attack brought on by our anger.  And stress or depression may be the underlying emotion that is fueling the upset.

We bring to this world all that it is really is, as long as we are lost in the dream.  The dream will turn happier as we turn our lives over to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and we will dream the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (a quotation from the Text).  This new way of seeing can follow us quite awhile, until some external event triggers doubt, and we are led to understand that we do not fully understand that even happy dreams are not the culmination of what is desirable.  The real world is, and this God grants when we are ready.  This is at the point of Awakening.  Jesus provides through ACIM the means to get to that end, and revelation may occasionally reveal the end to us in advance (a Text tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to recognize why I see a meaningless world.  It is brought on by my attraction to egoistic thinking.  I do not have to view insane thoughts or attack thoughts as anything but illusion.  And then I have nothing to fear, because illusion does not accomplish anything (though we may allow it to make us absolutely miserable).

Help me today to turn aside attacks or insanity (not legal, but simply meaning that we are seeing amiss).  May I have Your help in living a sane life today.

Amen.

Meaningless Thoughts II

ACIM Workbook Lesson 11 – for Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.”

Selected Passage:

“Be glad indeed to practice the idea in its initial form, for in this idea is your release made sure.  The key to forgiveness lies in it.  (WB18)”

Reflections:

If we do not think aright, how can we perceive aright, and if this is not possible, how can what we perceive mean anything at all?  Surely we are doubting the validity of what we have seen in our lifetimes.  As Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford found out in their joint work to produce Jesus’s words, there is another way to do things in this world.  Our task is to find it.  And the underlying idea, meaningless in Heaven but meaningful on earth, is forgiveness of our brothers and sisters.

When we forgive, we are coming closer to recognizing that there is a better way to live.  Further Text, Workbook, and Manual passages explain that one’s brothers and sisters are actually innocent, that they have not done anything to our real Selves at all.  We do not pardon the real; we only pardon the illusion.  This truth is one of the hardest for the new student of A Course in Miracles to take in and to make his or her own.  But once we get past this hurdle, it is much smoother sailing afterwards.

May we move into forgiveness of the illusions that surround us, and welcome the real world, the world of knowledge rather than perception.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize the innocence of my brothers and sisters in this world that appears so meaningless.  Surely they, and I, have made mistakes, but we are still children of God, Sons and Daughters of God.  May I come ever closer to understanding this truth today.

Give me a good day.  In this wintertime, my days seem long, though they are actually shorter than the summer.  Help me to turn to You when any time today seems difficult.

Amen.

Meaningless Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 10 – for Monday, January 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “My thoughts do not mean anything.”

Selected Passage:

“Today’s thought can obviously serve for any thought that distresses you at any time.  (WB17)”

Reflections:

Before we have studied very long, we will realize that our minds have actually been so warped that we perceive nothing outside the ego that, as a part of our minds, has separated us from God.  The ego is “egotistical,” but that is not the whole of the meaning.  Freud’s meaning of the ego comes closer, in that it is an image that we make of ourselves, around which the personality coalesces.  Freud did not see a way out, though, and he seems to have thought that a strong ego was an advantage in living.

A Course in Miracles is entirely different.  This Course seeks to have rely us on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to relinquish the ego as our guide to action.   Jesus, in ACIM,  does not in any way think that this part of ourselves has done anything really good for us.  As the image of separation from God, it is constantly being undone, because God is the All, and we perceive ourselves as little parts of the whole that have not been communicating with our Creator.  And we are meant to communicate with our Creator.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I entertain no thought today that distresses me.  May I leave meaningless thoughts behind, and I know that these are the thoughts of the ego that has seemed to separate me from You.

Be with me today.  I ask for a particular day of setting aside thoughts that distress and entertaining loving and joyous thoughts.  Thank You.

Amen.

The Untrained Mind

ACIM Workbook Lesson 9 – for Sunday, January 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “I see nothing as it is now.”

Selected Passage:

“It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there.  This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms.  (WB15)”

Reflections:

This passage, as well as the lesson in which it is embedded, is a sound statement that what we are seeing is maya, or illusion.  What we project from within, we see outwardly by our perception.

This tenet of A Course in Miracles is explained succinctly in the introduction to the Text, much of which was scribed by Helen Schucman in the same manner as the rest of A Course in Miracles.  “Projection makes perception,” is the succinct statement.

Perception is not, importantly, the whole picture.  God Himself grants us “knowledge,” which is not related to perception except in the truth that as we perceive more and more truly, we can ascend to knowledge.  Knowledge is the inner knowing that becomes ours when Awakening has dawned upon our sight (our inward sight).  A Course of Love calls this Awakening “Christ-consciousness.”  Either way, the thrust of where we are heading is clear.  We are not meant to be lost in illusion, in dreams that have only the meaning that our little selves subscribe to them.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I not be lost in illusions today.  May I move ever closer to the knowledge that God grants.  When I project, and this makes for perception that is informed by the ego, I am lost in dreams.  Whether these are happy dreams sent by the Holy Spirit (to prepare us for Awakening), or whether they are nightmares, is not ultimately important.  The most important part of salvation is to awaken, and in the Text, the means to awaken are being explained to us.  Thank You.

May I study diligently today all the parts of ACIM that call to me.  May the comforting words found therein lead me ever closer to a new beginning, the kind of new beginning that is explained in the Text.  Thank You for this blessing.

Amen.

Preoccupied with Past Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 8 – for Saturday, January 8, 2011

Affirmation:  “My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.”

Selected Passage:

“This idea is, of course, the reason why you see only the past.  No one really sees anything.  He sees only his thoughts projected outward.  (WB13)”

Reflections:

This passage is a major statement on a basic tenet of A Course in Miracles.  We see our thoughts projected outward.  We create our reality.  When we see suffering, we must come to realize that it is a dream, that it is not real.  Likewise, the happy dreams that we project and see through our perception are just as unreal.  But the happy dreams come as we change our minds about our purpose in this world.  We are being prepared for Awakening, the means of which are explained in ACIM.

“Projection makes perception,” a refrain in the Text, is explained here.  We do not have actually an outer world at all; we are living a dream, a mass dream that is shared by our brothers and sisters and all of the material world.  “There is nothing outside you” is stated in the Text also.  And Jesus continues that this is what we must ultimately come to understand.  Not everybody is ready to accept this metaphysical tenet.  And the practical ACIM does not ask us to accept that for which we are not ready.

We do not wish our minds to be preoccupied with past thoughts.  The past is over; let us move into the present and ultimately into the future.  But we can only live in one reality at a time, and that ought to be the present.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live in the present today; may I leave the past behind, and may I understand that what I see are my thoughts projected outward.  If this seems strange to me (and it does), may I rest in the surety that Jesus is trustworthy.  He will take me where I am, and then lead me gently to understand the metaphysics of what he is saying.  I do not have to struggle to understand anything that is presently difficult for me to accept.

Thank You for Your presence in my life.  I love you.  And I will try to live in the present today.

Amen.

The Past

ACIM Workbook Lesson 7 – for Friday, January 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “I see only the past.”

Selected Passage:

“Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it.  Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time.  This first time idea is not really as strange as it may sound at first.  (WB11)”

Reflections:

1 – Incapable of Living Only in the Present

We are, at this point, totally incapable of living only in the present.  We will become better at present-living experience as we progress in ACIM.  Our minds constantly rehash what has happened before, and how can this lead to progress when our minds have been insane (a tenet of ACIM)?

2 – Strange Lessons

These first lessons do appear strange to the uninitiated to ACIM.  But, as we live with the ideas, we come to understand, and we learn that the world is really a welcoming place when the mind is at peace.

3 – Finding Peace

And that is what we are trying to become–peaceful, having a mind filled with peace.  Elsewhere in ACIM we are told that the aim is to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  At this point in our ACIM training, we might not welcome this idea.  We might think it too non-dramatic to lead a satisfying life.  But as we learn more, we will be happy for the peace that “perfectly calm and quiet” brings.   We will not regret the learning that we are assimilating.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live a day today in which I do not seek the past in the present.  The past has overshadowed my life for my entire lifetime.  Let this dynamic end today.

I would be perfectly calm and quiet today.  I would have peace of mind.  Neither of these two sentences can come true with Your guidance.  I ask for Your guidance today, to make of this day a memorable one that will presage better days ahead.

Amen.

There Are No Small Upsets

ACIM Workbook Lesson 6 – for Thursday, January 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am upset because I see something that is not there.”

Selected Passage:

“There are no small upsets.  They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.  (WB10)”

Reflections:

Minor irritation, ACIM says elsewhere, is no more than masked rage.  So we are seeing in ACIM a system of thought that levels the playing ground.  We cannot know peace until we give up all forms of upset–the minor as well as what we have perceived as the major.

We are never upset by facts, Jesus says elsewhere in ACIM, but always by an interpretation of those facts.  And if it is an interpretation, we can alter it by our will, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we magnify small upsets to make them larger than they need to be.  It is an interpretation (not stated in ACIM) that this is the reason that we see things that are not there.  We magnify, and thus we see amiss.

Jesus would have us eliminate all upsets from our minds, even though this is a utopia that is not likely to be seen until we reach the Awakening.  When faced with an upset, immediately (and this means exactly that), turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance about what to say or do.  The upset will diminish, in exact proportion to the extent to which we turn it over to a Higher Power.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Let me eliminate all forms of upset today.  I can imagine incidents that may happen; help me not to jump ahead of myself and to fantasize about what may never happen.  Give me the grace to seek Your guidance in all things.  When I seek Your guidance, the words that are given me will be higher and better than anything that I could conceive on my own.  Tell me what to say today.

I would like a peaceful day, and I know that this is Your desire for me as well.  Help me to do my part to bring about a peaceful day, knowing that You will always do Your part when I am able to cooperate fully.

Amen.

Being Upset

ACIM Workbook Lesson 5 – for Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am never upset for the reason I think.”

Selected Passage:

“I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go.  For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same.  (WB9)”

Reflections:

1 – Follow the Guidance of the Holy Spirit

This lesson is a particularly intriguing one, in my estimation.  There are always hidden reasons for why we feel as we do, and, try as we may, we normally cannot uncover what is truly bothering us.  Jesus would have us stop the pretense of understanding, and just to rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance.

2 – Drop Rebellion

We do have to drop our rebellion about His guidance to follow Him willingly.  All too often, we are reluctant to accept the Holy Spirit’s guidance in every instance, and sometimes we are hesitant to follow even in most instances.  The right stance, adopted as the day begins, will (a Manual tenet) set the day aright.  Of course, as the Manual says, we can always begin again if the day begins in error.  But there are obvious advantages in beginning well in terms of saving time.  Moreover, we are bade in the Manual not to become preoccupied with each step in the process of following the Holy Spirit.  But the right attitude, accepted as the day begins, will allow us to proceed well.  And that is all that Jesus really asks.

3 – When Upsets Come

When upsets come, and they will, we are to stop momentarily, and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.  How might we understand how to do this?  There is no simple answer; the usual ways that we try to control our anger will do–if they are added to a simple and sincere request for help from a Higher Power.

4 – We Are Not Upset for the Reason We Think

We are not upset for the reason that we think.  Why is this?  We do not understand our ego’s wily ways sufficiently to understand what it is that is really upsetting us.  We never should try to analyze this, in fact, because the ego approves of analyzing the ego’s “dynamics,” thus affirming its importance.  So let it be enough that we realize that there are deeper reasons for our usual upsets than we will ever be able to ferret out.  And then let us let it all rest in God’s hands.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I find myself upset for one reason or another nearly every day.  That just seems to be the way of this world.  Help me to turn these upsets, whether major or minor, immediately over to You.  And then let me turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to live better.  He will tell me.  I need only to ask and to ask in sincerity.

Thank You for Your part in giving me a good day.  May my upsets today be small, and may I immediately realize that there is a better way to live–Your way.

Amen.

Are My Thoughts Meaningless?

ACIM Workbook Lesson 4 – for Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “These thoughts do not mean anything.  They are like the things I see in this room.”

Selected Passage:

“You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that,  in a sense, none of them can be called ‘good’ so ‘bad.’  This is why they do not mean anything.  (WB6)”

Reflections:

1 – Finding Our Way Out of Confusion

Our minds are confused.  Even we know this.  And thoughts that do not mean anything are not meant to be believed.  Judging our thoughts would only confuse us as of yet.  Elsewhere, later on in both the Text and the Manual, we learn that it is up to the Holy Spirit to make these judgments, because we are totally incapable of seeing the whole picture.

2 -Don’t Scare So Easily

We can scare ourselves with our thoughts; this happens all the time.  But do we realize that we can actually effect some change in those thoughts?  We can turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and He will still our minds.  Nothing else is truly worthy of the time spent in this world.  Salvation is our only function (a Workbook tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I let my own little judgments go.  They are not worthy of me.  I cannot know the whole situation.  But there is One who does know:  the Holy Spirit.  May I leave all judgment to Him, knowing that His judgments only are true, based on everything, including that which is beyond my perception and even my knowledge.

Be with me today as I seek to eliminate my own judgments from my life.  In essence, I know that my own judgments are meaningless, but the ego would have me think that they are sound.  May I realize today that only the judgments of the Holy Spirit are sound.

Amen.

Understanding Amiss

ACIM Workbook Lesson 3 – for Monday, January 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “I do not understand anything I see in this room.”

Selected Passage:

“These are not exercises in judgment.  Anything is suitable if you see it.  Some of the things you see may have emotionally-charged meaning for you.  Try to lay such feelings aside, and merely use these things exactly as you would anything else.  (WB5)”

Reflections:

We are individuals steeped in confusion, even when we think we know the most.  It is very necessary in these first lessons to avoid the emotional, and to see everything just as it is.  This is not unlike Zen Buddhism, where the object is seen for what it is only.  Whatever one is doing, he or she just “does.”  We do not project meaning onto the world that may only confuse an already troubled mind.

For the perennial student of the Workbook, these first few lessons may seem tedious.  After all, we think we know that projection makes perception (an oft repeated assertion in the Text), and we know that what the ego perceives is always lamentable.  But, we still can learn, once a year, from these early lessons.  We reinforce in our minds the fact that the ego has probably still retained a foothold in our minds.  And we would not have it to be thus.  Exercises such as these early ones can prepare us for ever more attempts to disown the part of our mind called the “ego.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my ego wither away this year.  I am impatient, because my mind is filled with the statements of Your Course.  Yet I have not walked the whole pathway yet, and I know this well.  Help me to disown that part of my mind called the “ego.”  May I reach, ever upward, toward Awakening.

Thank You for being with me as this new year begins.  I have great hopes for a good year.  This year spent with Your Workbook for Students is an exciting way to live.

Amen.

Meaning Comes from Me

ACIM Workbook Lesson 2 – for Sunday, January 2, 2011

Affirmation:  “I have given everything I see in this room all the meaning that it has for me.”

Selected Passage:

“Remain as indiscriminate as possible in selecting subjects for. . .application, do not concentrate on anything in particular, and do not attempt to include everything you see in a given area, or you will introduce strain.  (WB4)”

Reflections:

This second lesson makes the first a little clearer.  Note that there is a logical progression.  Jesus does not want us to experience strain in our lives, and he makes sure in what he gives us in ACIM that we build on what we have previously read, so that we are not frightened by the ego’s wily ways.

We have given our world its meaning.  In itself the world has none that is apart from us.

This understanding is assuming that we are viewing from the ego’s perspective, which virtually all of us do when first confronted with the A Course in Miracles.  The ego’s perspective means that we do not have knowledge from God; we do have perception of the ego, which leads to the projection of the world that we see.  These are all ideas developed in the Text.  But it is the Workbook that will lead these ideas to come to have understanding for us, and thus to lead eventually, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to knowledge from God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand that what I see has been given its meaning by me.  If this meaning is a perception of the ego, then I will see a fearful world.  But I do not want to see a fearful world today.

Help me to see a  loving world today.  Help me to realize that the choice of the meaning that I see in this world is, ultimately, my choice–informed by either the ego or the Holy Spirit.  Help me to see the loving world of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Any Meaning in Nothingness?

ACIM Workbook Lesson 1 – for Saturday, January 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “Nothing I see in this room means anything.”

Selected Passage:

“Notice that the statements [in the lesson] are not arranged in any order, and make no allowance for differences in the kinds of things to which they are applied.  (WB3)”

Reflections:

This is the initial step in the Workbook for Students, though it is stressed elsewhere that only time separates the student from the teacher.  Here we do not, upon first reading A Course in Miracles, understand this lesson.  Later on we find out that projection makes perception (what we project outward from ourselves determines the “dream” of our perception).  And in the beginning we are not projecting reality at all, but a misguided and confused dream that often frightens us.

So nothing that we look at means anything, because it is based on our ego’s (the ego is still strong in us) misperceptions.  We do not yet have vision, which will only come as we are guided by the Holy Spirit into more pleasant dreams (“the happy dreams the Holy Spirit sends,” which come before the real world and God’s reaching down to us and granting us our Awakening).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I begin again to go through the Workbook, may I make the strides in understanding that only You can accomplish in me.  I cannot make progress on my own, for I am wholly dependent upon You.  May I reach for vision today, in this very first lesson.  May I understand that as long as the ego is in command, my perception is flawed.

Thank You.  Be with me throughout this new year, a year that I envision as one of joy, peace, and holiness–in Your company.

Amen.

Teachers of Teachers

“There are those who have reached God directly, retaining no trace of worldly limits and remembering their own Identity perfectly.  These might be called the Teachers of teachers because, although they are no longer visible, their image can yet be called upon.  (M64)”

Affirmation:  “May I call upon Teachers of teachers often as I go about my day.”

Reflections:

This passage proclaims that when we have reached God directly, we will not long stay on this earth.  We will no longer be seen on earth, but our “image” can be called upon.  We are then “Teachers of teachers.”

Elsewhere Jesus says that very few of us willingly lay down the body simply to be of help to others in a greater way.  So most of us will not attain this degree of salvation while in this world.

We do have help from beyond the earth.  We can call upon this help, and we will receive assistance.  No greater bounty can be ours, than to know that we are never alone, that God and His Teachers care for us always.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand the concept of “Teachers of teachers.”  May I reach for their help often once I comprehend whom I am asking.

Thank you for providing all this help to me in this uncertain world.  May I be quick to take advantage of this help as I go about my day today.

Amen.