Category Archives: ACOL [Original Volume]

Glimpses of Awakening

pissarro- street scene - city“Living in love in every instance is what occurs when the whole Self is involved in the love of life.  There are no ‘parts’ of the Self fractioned off and holding resentments.  There are no ‘parts’ of Self living in the past or the future.  (A Course of Love, 25.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would live my Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Present

How can we fail to live, somewhat, in the past and the future?  It is always so hard to keep constantly focused in the present, though this is perennial advice which so many of us fail to follow.

2 – Live in Love and Be in the Present

When we live in love, living in the present becomes easy.  We love life.  We love our brothers and sisters.  And we, appropriately, love ourselves.  But most of all, we love God.

3 – Plans

We will be guided to know when to make plans for the future.  This guidance will occur at the time that thought or action is needed.  (These are paraphrases from A Course in Miracles.)  Otherwise, we are bade not to make plans against contingencies to come.  So simple, and yet so hard to live consistently.

4 – Forget Personal Self

If we love life, we will be so immersed in it that we will forget the personal self in favor of the Self/Christ.  This Self is the one that we really want to live within.  And we can do so, when God knows that we are ready for Christ-consciousness.  He will reach down and lift us up, and the change in us will be magnificent.

5 – Personal Experience

Twice I have had glimpses of this revelation; one lasted three months, the other, six months.  I was living in love both times, and so I do know that this admonition of Jesus’s is true.  Living in love makes such a difference.  I would live in love all the time, and this will, I think, hasten God’s action toward to lift me up to Christ-consciousness (i.e., Awakening).  I will eagerly seek, but I will not dictate to God what I want Him to do.  He knows already.

6 – Living in Love

This way of living in love is magical, but not in the sense that Jesus uses the term “magic” in A Course in Miracles.  It is an unbelievable immersion in joy and harmony.  All seems right with the world, and that is because we are, however, briefly, right with ourselves.

7 – Revelation

May we so live today that this revelation will come to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The fact that twice a long time ago I lived in love enough to experience glimpses of Awakening is motivating to me, hopeful that Awakening will come again.  But I try not to pester God with my request; He knows best.  It is enough to know that Awakening awaits all of us, when we are fully ready.

Be with me today for another good day.  If I stay active, I do have good days.  And when You make my agenda for the day, I have good days.  Open me to guidance today in all respects.  That is the only way that I want to live.

Help me to reach out to my brothers and sisters in need.  We all are in need at various times, and we are meant to help each other out.  When one is strong, the other is weak.  We take turns.  And this is as You intended us to live–in unity and relationship with ourselves, with You, and with others.

Amen.

Living from Love

renoir - girls putting flowers in their hair“You begin to live from love when the personal self gets out of the way.  And when the personal self gets out of the way in any instance, it is the turning point.  It is the signal that you are ready to live from love.  This is what the Course is about.  Living from love.  Living from love is what will reverse the lessons of the past.  Reversing the lessons of the past is what will allow one to live in love in every instance.  (A Course of Love, 25.16)”

Affirmation:  “I would live from love all day today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of Personal Self

The personal self has historically been the egoic self, and we are fast moving away from that egoic self.  When we are loving, we are welcoming the Self/Christ that is the real Self that is within.  This Self will begin showing itself the more that we live from love.  And in living from love, we leave fear behind–strong motivation indeed.

2 – The Ego

Our lessons of the past have partaken of the ego, and, as a result, the lessons learned have not always been true.  We have misled ourselves.  We need never make the mistake that it is God who is to blame, for this is insanity.  He gave us free will, and He would not, under any circumstances, renege on that great gift.  But, because of free will, we often see horrific happenings in our world.  And we wonder why God does not intervene.  And that is only one step away from blaming God for the tragedies in which we become embroiled.

3 – Free Will

God would grant free will to all, and there are many who misuse this great gift.  To deny to those who misuse this gift, the gift itself, is to turn aside from the evolution of the universe.  God waits patiently.  He has waited patiently, knowing the ultimate outcome will be good.  That does not justify the means that some of us have used in a nefarious way.  But it does help to explain why evil exists in our world.

4 – Bad Things Lessened

When we live from love, even the bad things seem somehow to be lessened.  Sure of the final outcome, we offer solace where needed, but we do not add our own uncertainties to that solace.  We do not intone, “Perhaps it was God’s will.”  Bad things are never the will of God.  If we can open the door ever so slightly to this interpretation, we will be ever more ready to live a tolerant life.

5 – Reverse the Incorrect

Let us spend some time today in communion with God, asking Him how we might reverse the incorrect lessons that have marred our past.  He will respond, for reversing that false learning is what A Course of Love is all about.  Be grateful that we do indeed have an answer to “Seek and ye shall find” (from the Bible).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live from a loving heart today.  Thank You for the specific answer to one of my prayers yesterday, with understanding of what to do coming immediately after the prayer.  The solution really is with the problem.  Thank You.  

Today has started well, in large part because I have sought to carry out what I received from You immediately after prayer yesterday.  What a blessing You have given me.  I sensed at the conclusion of my prayer, which I had typed out, that there would be a quick answer.  And indeed there was.  Thank You for these glimpses of the psychic.

Be with me as I seek to show love today to my significant others, most especially, but to all others that I might touch in some way.  You know best how that might come about.  Thank You for Your guidance, and may I be strong enough and courageous enough to follow Your guidance consistently, to turn on a dime if necessary.

Amen.

Adopt an Attitude of Invulnerability

“While you believe fate works against you, you are not in concert with the universe.  These attitudesmonet - field with trees confirm a continuing belief in your separated and vulnerable state.  During the time of tenderness, you will learn, through the practice of devotion, to identify and reject all such attitudes and to adopt an attitude of invulnerability.  (A Course of Love, 25.12)”

Affirmation:  “Fate works with me.”

Reflections:

1 – Time of Tenderness

If tenderness at first is our experience, with attendant vulnerability, we will move along in time to a new state of mind and heart, one of invulnerability.  This is a welcome change, and it is not a front, and it is not harsh.  Invulnerability of the right kind means that we are totally protected in our lives by God Himself.

2 – Our Devotion

To whom is our devotion directed?  To none other than God Himself.  When we practice visualization and affirmations, along with our prayers (communion with God), then we are indeed in a favored position.  The problems and difficulties of our lives will fall away.  We may not forever be free of struggles, but the very struggles that might previously have floored us, will seem much lighter and will affect us adversely in a much lessened way.  We will know, in our bones, that God is there for us.  As a part of God, we will come to recognize that our communion is with our innermost Self/Christ.  And we will act out of that Self/Christ, not from the personal self.  The personal self is always a limited version of the much larger Self that we really are.  And the personal self is too informed by that part of the ego that has not withered away.

3 – Invulnerability

So:  Let us welcome invulnerability, knowing that there is nothing artificial about it.  It is not a defense that will crumble.  It is God Himself, holding us to His bosom.  We are blessed indeed, and our lives will smooth out in ways that now we can only contemplate dimly.  Our contemplation will become more vivid as we walk along.  As our attitudes change, and we attract that which we wish to have–blessings–we will indeed seem to the unknowing to be leading charmed lives.  But our lives will be no more charmed for ourselves than for anyone else who is ready to give up the ego and walk into God’s outstretched arms.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I move from the time of tenderness, with its increased sense of vulnerability, may I adopt the attitude of invulnerability.  That is where You are pointing, and I would do well to recognize it.  Fate does not work against me, and You protect me when my mind miscreates.  May my attention go to that which I truly want, thereby working in concert
with the law of attraction.

I cannot look to You to save me from my own mental processes all the time.  You are a loving Father/Mother, and You do not wish harm to come to me.  Jesus waffles a bit about how protective You will be if my mind drops into dissatisfaction and negativity.  I am responsible for what I think, for all thinking creates form on some level.  May this remain a dream state that does not impede the dream reality in which I live.

Help me to have a good day.  I know what to do, and it is up to me to do it.  You have taught me well.  Help me to be a good student.  Thank You for Your many blessings in this sometimes difficult world in which we find ourselves.

Amen.

Tenderness

camille-pissarro-harvest“And each learning experience will be a learning experience because it will touch your heart. . . .You may feel as if everything makes you want to cry because everything will touch you, each lesson will feel tender.  Unlearning has no harshness about it.  If you simply allow it to come, it will reward you constantly with what can best be described as tenderness.  (A Course of Love, 24.1)”

Affirmation:  “I invite tender thoughts to my day.”

Reflections:

1 – Being Vulnerable

The tenderness that Jesus speaks of in the passage for today is not, perhaps, a wholly welcome feeling.  We feel too vulnerable when we are feeling tenderness.  But our heart is softening, and we are sometimes close to tears as we contemplate the gentleness with which God treats us.

2 – More Desired Emotion

Yet tenderness is a much more desired emotion than is harshness.  Tenderness is of love, and harshness is of fear.  And love will crowd out fear.  The more tender we are, the more open our hearts are to the blessings of God.  And we ourselves help in the process of gaining a better life, for like attracts like, and we find ourselves without the will to condemn, a will that ruined things for us as well as the others whom we sometimes condemned.

3 – Allow Tenderness to Envelop

We need to allow this tenderness to envelop us.  We need to welcome the vulnerable part of our hearts, the part that makes us want to cry–for it is indeed a tragedy that we have walked this earth for so long in such a bad fix.  We felt separated from God, and we blamed ourselves for this sense of separation.  But what is part of God (we ourselves) can never actually have been separate.  God has been waiting patiently, while we had our adolescent rebellion against him.  As His communication channels with us open once again, after eons of being asleep to the knowledge of Him, we are welcomed back with just this tenderness that we are experiencing.

4 – A Softened Heart

There is no mystery here.  We know, if we think about it, that we like a softened heart.  We feel love that way.  And it feels good to feel love.  May our days go better as we let this knowledge–for it is knowledge, not perception–become an intimate part of our assessment of our lives.  When we are happier, we will be in a better position to reach out to others in our lives, to make their lives go better as well.  We do not reach out, if our advances are unwelcome.  But we stand ready to help when others express an interest in our lives and in what we believe.

5 – Charmed Lives

It may seem sometimes, in this process, that we ourselves are living charmed lives.  But those who do not know why will wonder what gives us the joy.  If they ask, we can respond, in as kindly a way as possible.  Our lives are no more charmed than the lives of others who have seen the same light that we have.  And that light is within us all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I live more mindfully, I will react from a tender spot in my heart.  This is You softening my harshness, and I do only welcome this change.  If I cry, You will cry with me.  You will soften my heart to gentleness and lovingness, and all will be well.  I will live a charmed life, as will all who listen carefully to You.  Thank You.

I welcome this time of tenderness.  Having met Mari, who scribed A Course of Love, I know that she lives tenderness, and she is a good role model for what Jesus was trying to tell us in this remarkable trilogy.  Be with us as we would all seek to be more like Mari, who heard the words first.  She lives a quiet life, and it is in quietness that You are heard most consistently.

Be with me today as I seek to be attentive, ever more attentive, to the significant others in my circle.  Thank You for the camaraderie that I know in everyday life.  The camaraderie and the love.  You are blessing me tremendously, and for that I thank You.  I ask You to bless, in a similar way, all of my brothers and sisters in this world.  May what I say in this blog touch their hearts, and it will be You touching their hearts.

Amen.

Life Experiences

pissarro003“You might ask, how do you learn what you have failed to learn previously? . . .Your life must become your teacher, and you its devoted pupil.  Here is a curriculum designed specifically for you, a curriculum only you can master.  Only your own life experiences have led to the learning you have accumulated and translated into beliefs.  Only your own life experiences will reverse the process.  (A Course of Love, 23.29)”

Affirmation:  “My life experiences will now reverse the failed lessons of the past.”

Reflections:

1 – Reverse the Learning of the Past

How do we reverse the learning of the past, the egoic learning that so misled us and made us miserable?  We must simply take the next step that seems right to us, as we listen to our hearts.  We can reverse any and all egoic tendencies, and in so doing we will learn anew and, this time, learn aright.

2 – Are We Learning Aright Now?

How can we know that what our life experiences are teaching us, now, is correct?  We can answer one simple question:  How do we feel?  Are we finding joy in the midst of everyday experiences, however painful they may be?  Are we happy, in spite of these inevitable difficulties?  And do the difficulties seem to be a breeze for us, where earlier they might have derailed us entirely?

3 – Follow the Heart

If we are following our hearts, there will be a noticeable decline in painful experiences.  What we need to learn will still be presented to us, and sometimes struggle will be involved, but when we turn to God in communion, our burdens will lighten immediately.  Not hours later, bur, if we believe strongly enough that God is helping us, the burdens will lift immediately.  We will know that this blessing has occurred when the day seems somewhat lighter to us, and we ourselves feel lighter.  We are, finally, listening to God, as well as our brothers and sisters.  There is no end to the ways in which guidance can come to us.  But come it will, when we turn gently aside from the egotistical ways that previously directed our path in this world.

4 – Reverse the Separated State

Our life experiences will then be in a position to reverse the isolated and separated state in which we have believed ourselves to be.  We will learn joyful lessons, so different from the misery that we brought upon ourselves by keeping God out of our lives.  We will attract the good by our attitudes.  Our calm and peace will envelop us, and we will turn to God instinctively, as the day progresses.  And as each day passes into a new one, we will find ourselves ever more ready to affirm God’s blessings.  We will know that we are on the right pathway, finally.  And if we are honest, we will recognize that we did it all to ourselves!  God is ever more eager for our healing than we ourselves are, as Norman Vincent Peale, an inspirational author/pastor of the last century, said.  In our own experiences, we can know that Dr. Peale was right.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to listen to my heart today.  If another intervenes between my heart and myself, may I know how to respond, because we are influences by others’ agendas.  May all work out for the best, as You have taught.

Be with me as I seek to learn from my life.  May my life experiences not be a drag upon me, but a joy.  May I regret nothing from the past, knowing that all that I have lived through has prepared me for each next step.

Amen.

Dedicate All Thought to Union

“If you will remember that the one exercise for your mind is dedicating all thought to union, you will bridgepontoise2pissarrokeep your mind engaged and less resistant to unlearning.  When you feel resistance–and of course your mind will resist unlearning what it has striven to learn–return your dedication to union.  Acknowledge your mind’s resistance as a sign that unlearning is going on.  Acknowledge it but do not engage it.  (A Course of Love, 23.25)”

Affirmation:  “I would focus on union today.”

Reflections:

1 – Union

Union is the fact that all relationship is One.  We are one with God, with our Selves/Christ, and with our fellow human beings–not to mention the world itself and the universe of which the world is a part.  There seem to be many parts to what surrounds us, but all are united as One.  And that is the unlearning that we must choose to focus upon today.

2 – Resistance

When we resist this axiom, then we can know that we are actually in the process of unlearning.  We are actually on the way home.  The resistance from the ego, mightily weakened by now, is strong, but it is not insurmountable.  We do not have to add our resistance to that in which our ego is engaged.  We can simply turn aside from resisting, just choose a different pathway, and all will be well.

3 – Turn to the Heart

The mind is the home of the ego, and we would do well to turn to our heart today.  We need to truth of the heart to carry us through the mind’s resistance.  If the mind questions, “How can this be?,” we can counter with our own heart’s response:  It does not matter “how,” just that it is true.  This is what the passage means when the words say, “Acknowledge it but do not engage it.”

4 – Be Patient

We need to listen to our hearts more and more as time passes.  Eventually, in A Course of Love, we will join mind to heart, in wholeheartedness, and all will be well.  We are getting there, but we have not arrived yet.  In this in between time, let us be patient.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would unlearn some of what I have tried, in my ego, to learn–and I have striven mightily.  Help me to recognize union when I see it.  Help me to acknowledge that union is what I want more than anything, most especially union with You.

Be with me as I seek to unlearn those things that would hold me back from Awakening.  I know that Awakening is Your blessing for me, and I wait in patience.

Amen.

When What You Imagine Becomes Reality

pissarro-montmartre-night“Still you find it difficult to believe that what is possible depends upon what you can imagine being possible.  You must cease to see the difficulty and begin to see the ease with which what you can imagine becomes reality.  (A Course of Love, 23.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would imagine what I wish to see created.”

Reflections:

1 – Law of Attraction

This is the way that A Course of Love states the law of attraction, or like creates like.  If we imagine strongly enough, we will have that which we seek.  If we imagine good, good will come to us.  In a warning, we also must realize that if we imagine the bad, the bad may also come to us (though God protects us to a degree).

2 – Imaging the Good

There is no difficulty is imaging the good.  We can steep ourselves in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, the Bible, or inspirational literature.  We can look to others for guidance that will help to take us home.  We are not bereft in this world of ways in which we can learn how to imagine the good.  We need only to look around ourselves to see how to create the good.

3- Creating

“Create” is the operative word here, for in Christ-consciousness we are creating rather than “making.”  And we all have had, by now, glimpses of Christ-consciousness, or we would not have read this far or studied A Course of Love through the passages indicated.  We are ready.  And we will have ease in what we create from our imaginings.

4 – Be Careful of What You Dwell Upon

The passage for today is particularly reassuring.  It says that what we imagine will easily come to pass, will easily be created.  The only proviso is that we must be careful of what our thoughts dwell upon.  If we think of negative things, then negative things will come to us.  If we think of positive, the positive will come.  And we all know which is better.

5 – Ease

“. . .[T]he ease wtih which what you can imagine becomes reality.”  What a blessing this is!  May we watch our minds and hearts carefully today, to be sure that what we dwell upon is really what we want.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do not fully understand the law of attraction, and I do realize that You protect us to a degree, in that there is a delay before negative things spiral down upon us.  And we must be careful not to tie You to a formula.  You are not, in my opinion, a genie in a bottle, bent on doing our bidding.  Maybe our bidding would not be good for us, and then You will often say “no” to our requests.  This is traditional religious thinking, and I see no reason to depart from it now.

Be with us as we consider the importance of what we consider our “idle thoughts.”  Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that all thinking produces form at some level.  And so we need to watch our minds carefully.  There is really no such thing as an idle thought.

May today be good.  May we give up the obsessions that sometimes threaten our peace of mind.  And may we ask only what what would be good for us and others.  May we not include selfish prayers that benefit no one, including ourselves.  Let us acknowledge that there are mysteries here that we do not understand fully, and we need to tread softly.

Amen.

Knowing through Relationship Is How Life Is

pissarro - street scene2“The relationship becomes the known.  While it is your nature to seek for more, it is also the nature of life to exist in relationship and to become known through relationship.  This is how knowing comes to be.  Knowing through relationship is not a ‘second best’ situation.  It is how life is.  It is how love is.  (A Course of Love, 23.2)”

Affirmation:  “I focus on relationship today.”

Reflections:

1 – What Relationship Means

This passage does not only mean relationship with other human beings.  This passage means relationship with all that we know, our inner Self and the world as we see it.  We stand in relationship to all, and that is how we learn, and that is what we love.

2 – Not Solitary Creatures

What does it mean to be “in relationship” to all?  We can take these words literally.  They mean what they say.  We are not solitary creatures; we were not created that way.  We are meant to be in relationship to all that surrounds us.

3 – With Significant Others

Of course, we focus most of all on our relationship to our significant others.  This is the way that A Course in Miracles defined salvation to be found.  And here A Course of Love picks up where ACIM left off, and also amplifies the concept.  It is a progression, because we were not ready for the full truth when we were dislodging the ego, as in ACIM.

4 – Reciprocity

We need to give our significant others the love that they need.  They in turn need to reciprocate, but this is not mandatory for the blessing to happen to us.  We will learn from love even when it is unrequited.  And we will learn from love when it ebbs and when it flows.  There is nothing that we learn outside of love, for Love is all that there is.  Everything else is illusion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize today that the world that I see is illusion, though it seems real enough to me.  I would recognize that the love that I feel in relationship and unity is the only true reality.  Help me to live peacefully with this knowledge, for it is knowledge, not perception.

Be with me throughout this day, to make of it a good day.  You will make of it a good day, and it is only I who would rue it.  I would not rue today.

Amen.

Definition of Love

“Knowing and love are inseparable.  When this is realized, it is obvious that love is the only true monet - travels with victoriawisdom, the only true understanding, the only true knowing.  Love is the great teacher.  And your loving relationships the means of learning love.  (A Course of Love, 23.1)”

Affirmation:  “I would learn love from my relationships today.”

Reflections:

1 – Knowing

We must seek to “know,” not to perceive, for perceptions are fleeting and knowledge is eternal.  When we love our significant others, and even beyond to other people, we come to knowledge.  This is the way of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  It is through relationships that we come to know.

2 – Love Cancels Out Fear

Only in relationships will we be free of fear, for love, true love, cancels out fear.  Is not this motivation indeed?

3 – Dislodge the Ego

The motivation to dislodge the ego, and to replace that ego with true identity, is paramount if we are to know lasting happiness.  And lasting happiness, along with salvation and forgiveness, represent our function here.  Happiness, salvation, forgiveness–all are synonymous.  And when we have reached outward to our brothers and sisters, we will know that love is here to envelop us.

4 – Today’s Task

May we know this today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know love today, for surely this is the all-important pathway to happiness.  And happiness is a worthy goal, though I have not always believed that it was my function (along with salvation and forgiveness, as ACIM says).  Help me to love, first, my significant others, and then may I also love myself as I love them, and then may I love my brothers and sisters, met and unmet, in this world.  I am conscious of the Other Side.  Indeed, I imagined that my great-grandmother and a friend of ours visited me in the middle of the night two nights ago when I was having trouble sleeping.  I sensed their presence, though I did not see nor hear anything.  Thank You for that experience.  A very comforting experience.

May I seek only to bring comfort today, an affirmation that Hugh Prather, the late writer/speaker on ACIM, recommended.  May I bring comfort to my husband, who is so good to me and such a blessing in my life.  I waited a long time to find him, but the wait was worth it.  Thank You for giving me the patience to wait until the right man entered my life.

Be with me as I seek to know more of love today.  You are Love, and You are not simply an emotion.  Help me to see more of that which You are.  And thank You for guiding me so gently and peacefully to good days of serenity.

Amen.

Intimacy

pissarro - village“This intimacy itself will allow you to see your ‘self’ as an integral part of all that exists within your world rather than as the small and insignificant personal self you generally accept as your ‘self.’  By eliminating the personal, the universal becomes available.  As the universal becomes available, you will have no desire for the personal.  Even so, you will find that what you consider your individuality or uniqueness is very much intact, but that it is different than you have always imagined it to be.  (A Course of Love, 22.23)”

Affirmation:  “I would encourage intimacy today.”

Reflections:

1 – Moving Away from the “Little” Self

This passage is an excellent statement of what we will gain when we give up focusing so much on the personal, or “little” self.  We will still retain individuality and uniqueness, but we will also be part of the unity of our world, and we will be in relationship to others, always.  We have been so self-centered that we have forgotten our brothers and sisters.  And we would not do that.

2 – Transcend the Personal Self

The universal will be joined in unity and relationship, two words that are used repeatedly in A Course of Love.  The personal self will be deemphasized, as we reach outward to other people.  We will not denigrate the personal self, but we will transcend it.  And then we will know the universality in our experiences.

3 – A New Uniqueness

We will come to know a new individuality or uniqueness in ourselves.  This change will help us to both honor ourselves and others.  We will not lose anything thereby.  On the contrary, we will know the best of all possible worlds, for our perception will have been cleansed, and we will have moved into knowledge granted us by God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know this new “uniqueness” today.  I would move away from, just turn away from, without resistance, the personal self that has been too much turned inward to a self-centeredness.  When I reach out to my brothers and sisters, I reach out in Your will.  But that does not mean that I neglect myself.  All in good time.  To give and receive are one.

Be with me as I explore this new uniqueness of self.  It is something that I don’t know enough about, yet, and I implore You to show me.  May I still recognize myself in the true sanity of the real world, and may I not be jolted out of my accustomed world into a new and strange place.  I ask for a gentle Awakening.  Thank You for those glimpses of the Awakening that come to me from time to time.  I ask that all of my brothers and sisters experience the same, in gentleness and in love.

Amen.

Deemphasize the “I”

“Begin to imagine life passing through you rather than getting stopped for examination at its pissarro - flowers in vaseintersection with you.  Begin to imagine seeing the world without the emphasis on your personal self.  Begin to form sentences and eventually to tell stories without the use of the ‘I’ pronoun.  (A Course of Love, 22.20)”

Affirmation:  “I will deemphasize my personal self today.”

Reflections:

1 – An Onion

The affirmation summarizes what our passage for today is saying, but the passage usually particularly vivid illustration.  Jesus has used the image of an onion to explain what his passing through is all about.  There are various layers, all of which represent parts of ourselves and our world.

2 – Don’t Get Stuck in a “Layer”

But we are not to get stuck in any given “layer.”  We are to let all of reality, true reality, just pass through us onto something else, one adventure after another.  And life can be an adventure.

3 – Avoid “I”

We are encouraged to stop saying “I” so much.  We are encouraged, in sentences nearby, not to refer to other individuals as “mine.”  We are to free others as we wish to be freed.  This does not mean that we love any less, only that we recognize the ultimate right of all to be free.  And when we grant freedom to others, we automatically receive it for ourselves, for giving and receiving are one.

4 – Analysis

We often have analyzed too much.  This is the mind at work, and A Course of Love encourages us to look to our hearts (and, then, our mind and heart in conjunction, which make for “wholeheartedness”).  When we have analyzed too much, we have not let life pass through us.  We have stopped at various points in the layers of the onion to consider what everything means.  And we will be wrong, for it is only in the passing through, the letting go, that we truly experience the real world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would deemphasize the personal self today.  I will not say “I’ so much.  That should encourage others to likewise deemphasize the “I.”

May I have a good day.  May I just let events flow through me.

This day You have given me to enjoy.  And to observe, coming closer to You and others, as well as my Self, all the time.  When we seek to serve You and others, we are also serving ourselves.  Let nothing hinder this threefold way of service today.

Amen.

Everything Must Pass Through You to Gain Reality

“Yet it is the passing through that creates the intersection.  Everything within your world and your images_081day must pass through you in order to gain reality.  While you might think of this as everything outside of yourself, please, when thinking of this, use the word I have provided:  everything within your world.  (A Course of Love, 22.9)”

Affirmation:  “I would gain reality today.”

Reflections:

1 – “Pass Through”

The passage for today is a particularly difficult concept to grasp.  Basically, the passage (with the surrounding ones) is saying that we “pass through” the reality that we see, both in ourselves and in our surroundings, the whole universe.  We do not take anything and grasp it to ourselves.  That would solidify the experience, the last thing that we want.

2 – Let Go and Let God

Passing through is a concept that allows us to let go and let God, a traditional concept that many of us have heard for a long time.  When things pass through us, we do not hold tightly to that which hurts.  We just let it in and out.  The same holds true for joy and happiness, along with the pleasures that come with both.  We just entertain the good thoughts, and then we let go.  And we are the better for not grasping to retain the good feeling that joy and happiness give us.  There will be more days of joy and happiness.

3 – Observation

We do not need to struggle over this concept.  It is one of the concepts that we learn from observation, not from traditional learning.  Trying to grasp the concept with the mind will only make it more elusive.  Just “listen” with the heart.  Then the key ingredient–not holding on–will become evident.

4 – Reality

We would gain reality today, but the true reality, not the illusions in which we have been caught for so long.

5 – Look Inside Also

We need to look inside as well, because the intersection includes our own inner experiences.  We must pass through those in order to emerge stronger on the other side of whatever difficulties assail us.  We must pass through this world, including our own place in it, to understand that passing through is what we are doing.  We are not “stuck” here.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand the concept for today.  May I see that I relax into the world, and then let what I see pass through me without resistance.  To resist is to hold on to the wrong thing.  May I allow true reality to get a toehold in me today.

May I also look within, and may I change those things that inhibit.  We need to be fully Yours in order to be of service to others.  I would choose to say only what is in accord with what You have taught me.  Don’t let my ego, the withered ego that has still not dissipated, to intrude today.

Amen.

Wholeheartedness

China_Edouard_Manet_oil_paintings_world_famous_oil_paintings2011151746002“No matter which path you follow, the path of the mind or the path of the heart, you will not get where you are wanting to go until they are joined.  You might imagine three paths–one path representing mind, one path representing heart, and one path representing wholeheartedness.  The path of neither mind nor heart alone will take you where the path of unity will take you, and the journey will not be the same.  (A Course of Love, 21.7)”

Affirmation:  “I choose the path of wholeheartedness today.”

Reflections:

1 – Combining Mind and Heart

We have previously been emphasized following the heart, which was necessary as a contrast to following the mind.  But now Jesus is ready to guide us to combine the two, mind and heart.  And this combination results in what he terms “wholeheartedness.”  Our mind is no longer ruled by the ego, and so this is a safe combination.  We need the mind while living in this world.  We also need the heart.  And the two combined give us true direction in this sometimes difficult world.

2 – A Path of Unity

We must join the two–mind and heart.  The passage for today makes this necessity absolutely clear.  We do want to know where we are going.  And it is a path of unity.

3 – Unity as Defined Here

Unity is here used in a different sense than the “unity and relationship” that defines our connection of others in our world.  Unity here is strictly of the mind and heart, within ourselves.  But when we combine the two within ourselves, we are ready to reach out to others.  We are ready for the unity and relationship with our brothers and sisters, with Jesus, and with God.  We can follow the correct path no other way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am ready to join mind and heart into wholeheartedness.  You have prepared the way for me, and I know that when I ask Your help in coming mind and heart, I am asking in our joint will.  Help me not to inaccurately think that my heart can do better without my mind.  My heart, being the seat of emotions, can, without the rational, sane mind, lead astray.  I would not be led astray today.  Help me to stay on Your pathway.

Thank You for the emphasis on wholeheartedness that comes near the conclusion of A Course of Love.  There is a reason for this, and I suspect that it is because we have heretofore been far too dependent on the mind.  So You brought us to a dependence upon the heart, which knows without laborious and insane thinking.  Now You would combine easy and sane thinking with the emotions of the heart to form a unity.  What a glorious plan this is!  We are indebted to Jesus for bringing us this truth in a form which is easily accessible and easily accepted.

Amen.

The Embrace II

degas - dancing class2

“The embrace can now be likened to the starting point of a shared language, a language shared by mind and heart and by all people.  It is a language of images and concepts that touch the one heart and serve the one mind.  (A Course of Love, 21.6)”

Affirmation:  “May I sense the embrace of Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Beautiful Passage

The passage about the embrace of Jesus with us is in my opinion the most beautiful portion of all three volumes of A Course of Love.  We are bade to lay our head on Jesus’s shoulder, and we are comforted completely.  We know no fear in the embrace, and we are at peace and perfectly tranquil.  Jesus is not exclusive to any of us, but embraces us all.  And there is nothing untoward in this embrace.  It is a chaste embrace, something that is perhaps not entirely clear upon first reading in ACOL.

2 – Jesus, Our Companion

Jesus is not our lover, but he is our companion.  And ultimately in ACOL he will cease to be our teacher, but become our equal.  This may be a welcome change for him, so long praised by the world and so long set apart.  Here he rejoins us, and we are, like him, both human and divine.  Our elevated Self of form has reached beyond the ego in the mind to the place of the heart in our exalted body.  We trust in him, and we walk a new and infinitely better path.

3 – No Fear of Jesus

Be with me as we seek to comprehend the ramifications of the embrace of Jesus.  May we not fear him at all.  And fear has been an accompaniment of the long years of egoic rule.  We were afraid of Jesus.  And now we know that we need not to have this uncertainty about him ever again.  He is our friend extraordinaire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest in the embrace of Jesus, my companion, as he is the companion of all who so choose.  May I know no fear, because Jesus is with me.  May I be comforted, as Jesus intends.  The joy of the moment may surround me with a certainty that all will be well, all manner of things will be well.

Thank You.

Amen.

Follow Your Heart

Degas.etoile“When your heart can feel, you need no judgment to tell you the difference between one thing and another.  You thus can begin to quit relying on your body’s eyes to distinguish the true from the false, the real from the unreal.  (A Course of Love, 21.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I listen to my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Heart

Today’s passage is another indication of the primacy of the heart in our new experience of being one with Christ.  If we listen to the heart (this passage is saying), we will know the good.  We will no longer be mired into the egoism of the mind, which wants to understand and/or prove all things.  We do not need to “prove” all things.  This is an egoic interpretation, and we would be wise to quit such rationalizing immediately.  Our benefit will come immediately also.

2 – Look Inward

We have relied on our body’s eyes to tell us what we see, but we see illusions.  And so we need to look inward.  What we see from within is a changed world, a world of true reality, a real world.  Our body’s eyes deceive, and we would be deceived no longer.

3 – Little Edges of Light

When we have seen the little edges of light around familiar objects (from A Course in Miracles), we will know that vision will come quickly.  This perceptual indication will not last, because no perception lasts.  But the knowing that comes with the perception will last.  And what we know will help us to realize that God is always with us, that Jesus is our companion, and that we are surrounded by help from our brothers and sisters.  We do not have to go it alone any longer.  Indeed, we must not.  We are placed in this world with others for a reason.  We are never meant to be isolated.

4 – Reach Out

When we reach out to others (if they welcome it), then we are helped immediately.  We must be careful not to force our unwelcome attentions on another, though.  This is a mistake often made in special relationships, and we would have all of our special relationships evolve into holy ones.  Then we will have an inner knowing about when to act, and when not to act.  We will function in the dark no more.

5 – Inner Vision

Be with us today as we seek to follow your inner vision.  We will not trust the perceptions of our outer eyes, our physical eyes.  We know that the ego deceives, and we would be deceived no longer.  Help us to follow Your way, and Your way alone.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to follow my heart in all circumstances today.  There is a time for the mind, but the heart knows in a way that the mind can never know.  I have all too often looked at life in an intellectual way, and this has skewed my view of this world.  May such skewing fall by the wayside, and fall immediately.

Help me to reach out to others who may be hurting.  Help me to respond to others in a way that would be helpful.  Thank You for the camaraderie of kindred spirits.  Thank You for this experience.

Be with us as we seek to see with inner vision today.  The inner is always preferred to the outer, for the outer is illusory.  I would see the real today, the intangibles of peace, hope, harmony, joy, serenity.  Help me to do so.

Amen.

Being Used by Another

van gogh - stilllife“It will be helpful if you keep in mind that the idea of to serve is being used to replace the idea of to use and is its opposite.  It replaces the thought of taking with the thought of receiving.  It implies that you are welcome to all the gifts of the universe and that they can be given, through you, to others as well.  (A Course of Love, 20.45)”

Affirmation:  “May I give to others today.”

Reflections:

1 – We Are All in This Together

Certainly the more altruistic of us know that to be of service to another is a far better thing than to use that individual is some nefarious way.  We are here to serve others, and in the serving of others, we ourselves are served in the process.  We are all in this together.

2 – Use

If we seek to use another, it is very likely that we will find ourselves to be used by another in some way.  It is akin to the analogy of a finger pointing to another, and three fingers of the same hand pointed back at the self.  We do not need this.  We need to serve and to be served, but in no way do we need to use another.

3 – Parents and Children

Use can be subtle.  Use can have all the appearances of love.  Parents are especially prone to use their children to satisfy their own ego ideals.  Whatever they have not achieved in life, they look to their children to do for them.  And they take pride in the doing, heaping praise on the “used” children for the reflected glory that these children have brought to the parents.

4 – Egoic Involvement

A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love would negate all of this lamentable behavior.  ACIM does not speak of “use” in this sense, but use is an important concept in ACOL, and rightly so.  We are trying to drop all behaviors that appear to be praiseworthy, but are actually excuses for continued egoic involvement in our lives.

5 – Give and Receive as One

We need to give and to receive as one, and this giving and receiving is serving.  It is not egoic in any sense at all, and that is one of its main benefits.  This serving offers to the world what we can best give, and in turn the world offers a great deal to us.  We are showing a “drive to get” that is of the ego.  We are loving to others and to ourselves.  And the change is remarkable in our perception of the world.  Love is reflected back to us, and we know that service is what we are best attuned to do,

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we forgive any and all who sought to see reflective egoic victory in our successes.  They did not understand.  And may we never be guilty of the same.  We need to learn that using another for such ego ideals is a very poor way to serve, for, after all, it is not service in any way.

May we drop the ego from our mind slant.  This may be easier said than done, but it may not, after all, be very difficult anyway, once we set the will to so do.  May I so set my will today.

Help me to be forgiving of any and all who have “used” me in the past.  The damage does not have to linger.  We can move beyond hurt borne of neurotic need.  And the understanding always comes after the forgiveness of the behavior–not before.

Be with me today as I seek to enjoy the gifts of the universe.  You have prepared a lovely home for us, and while what we see is our illusion, it does reflect a better, true reality.  May I see that better, true reality today.

Amen.

Perfection

“To believe in your perfection and the equality of your gifts is peaceful, because it releases you from trying to acquire that which you previously believed you were lacking.  If releases you from judgment because you know that your brothers and sisters are also beings of perfection.  (A Course of Love, 20.43)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to understand perfection.”

Reflections:

1 – Perception = Innocence

“Perfection” here is closely aligned to our understanding of “innocence.”  In this concept, we have only made mistakes in perfect innocence; we are not guilty of sins that cannot be forgiven.  God has never condemned us for our misdeeds.  He just loves us.

2 – Christ-Consciousness

But perfection also seems to go a step forward in A Course of Love.  Jesus indicates that we do not have to correct all mistakes before we are considered ready for Christ-consciousness.  In A Course in Miracles, he said that he stood at the end of the path to correct all mistakes that we could not correct.  I think that this same understanding holds now with ACOL.

3 – As God Created Us

How does it mean that we can see our imperfections and yet read in ACOL that we can know perfection?  It is similar to the difficulty that many of us had in ACIM with our innocence.  Perfection and innocence both mean that we are as God created us (an ACIM tenet).

4 – Eliminate Judgment

The benefit to believing that we are as God created us is enormous.  We do eliminate judgmental thoughts about others from our minds.  We do not have to put down another in order to feel ourselves more justified, a better person.  This sort of nonsense is gone forever.

5 – Rid of Illusions

May we accept Jesus’s word today that we are both perfect and innocent.  Any illusory self is not perfect or innocent, but we are trying to be rid of illusions forever.  And this includes a desire to see the real world in place of the difficulty one in which we live as in a bad dream.  Ask today to see the real world, reality as it is.

6 – Improvement in Life

And see if life does not improve immediately.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We are not perfect in that we never do anything wrong, or we never make mistakes.  But our innocence is strong nevertheless, because we are as You created us.  Help me not to forget this today.

May I drop any and all judgmental thoughts from my repertoire of attitudes and emotions.  Judgment only hinders my return to You.  And I would not have it so.

Be with me as I walk through this day in happiness.  I know that it is possible, and I ask for Your help in making it so.

Amen.

You Would Not Be Other than Who You Are

rusart - van gogh

“You would not be other than who you are.  You may know that this is true or you may dwell in fantasies, desiring what another has or some success, fame, or riches that seem impossible for you to attain.  And yet, whether you know it is true or not, it is true:  You would not be other than who you are.  (A Course of Love, 20.42)”

Affirmation:  “I would not be other than who I am.”

Reflections:

1 – Jealousy / Envy

When jealousy or envy rears its ugly head, we are likely to think, momentarily, that we would be so much better off to have or to be what the source of our jealousy or envy has.  This is illusion.  Worse still, it is a very demoralizing illusion.

2 – All Gifts Are Shared

Actually, all gifts are shared by everyone equally (a tenet of A Course in Miracles).  Not necessarily right now, but ultimately.  And knowing that we will one day share and share alike has to be comforting.  In the meantime, God answers our prayers by satisfying our needs.  Not necessarily our wants, but our needs.  No one goes without, however unlikely this statement may be in the face of the suffering that we see throughout our world.

3 – Closeness to God

We know that this is true, for there is little relationship between those who are in dire straits and those who have abundance.  Actually those in dire straits may be closer to God through their prayers than those of us who are better off.  And the closeness to God is everything.  When we wander away, we suffer.  When we come back home, we are reconciled in the best way possible–accepted by a loving Father who supplies our every need.

4 – Role Models

We would not choose to be another.  True, we can see role models in another, and seek to be like him or her.  But we would not change places with that other individual.

5 – We Want to Be Ourselves

The bottom line is that we want to be just ourselves.  And any thought other than this is illusory.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today I am contented with who I am.  I recognize the truth of the main quotation in the passage for today.  Thank You that I am contented.  Help not envy or jealousy lead me to want what another has.  This would be a mistake.  We only do well when we accept ourselves, as we are, and seek only to compete with ourselves.  We can want self-improvement, but still basically we have to accept that we are OK as we are.  That does not mean that we won’t correct what imperfections we can.  It simply means that we have a decent self-image.

Thank You for drawing close to me in prayer.  I appreciate the knowledge of Your felt presence.  There is no better way to spend the day than to walk in close contact with You.  Thank You for staying close and not withdrawing, for me, in a dark night of the soul.  I realize that this could change tomorrow, and I accept that, but for now, all is good with our communion.  

Thank You.

Amen.

Do We Have to Be Perfect to Achieve Christ-Consciousness?

Self-Portrait_in_Front_of_the_Easel17 - van gogh“You are not flawed.  You are not wanting.  You would not be other than you are except when you give in to making judgments.  Look deeply and you will see that what you would call your imperfections are as chosen and as dear to you as all the rest.  (A Course of Love, 20.41)”

Affirmation:  “I am not flawed.”

Reflections:

1 – Puzzling Passage

The passage for today is puzzling upon first reading.  Would we really hang onto our imperfections, considering them not to be flaws?

2 – Give Up the Negative

The answer is in Jesus’s statements in A Course of Love which indicate that the negative things about ourselves can be given up when and if we decide that we do not want to have these qualities.  Even as negative a quality as anger can be so considered.  We decide that we don’t want to be angry anymore, and then (the time frame is not specified) we find that our anger has left us.  If, on the other hand, we do not denounce our anger, then it will stay with us.  And this latter point is what Jesus in all likelihood means when he talks of “imperfections” as “chosen and dear to us.”

3- Not Perfect

We do not have to be perfect to achieve Christ-consciousness.  This is a tenet of A Course of Love which is not emphasized in A Course in Miracles, in regard to Awakening.  We are told in ACIM that Jesus stands at the end of the pathway to correct the errors that we ourselves could not correct (an ACIM tenet).  And so, on first reading, it sounds as though the biblical injunction to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect applies to Awakening (i.e., Christ-consciousness).

4 – Human as Well as Divine

Keep in mind, though, that we are human as well as divine.  And human beings will always make mistakes; it is the natural course of things.  Anyone thinking that he/she is perfect is very badly misled.  But would that mean that we cannot attain Christ-consciousness?  This passage would suggest that we can indeed reach Christ-consciousness, even when we are not yet perfect.  What a blessing this is!

5 – Christ-consciousness

Remember that the moment of reaching Christ-consciousness is at first seen in snatches, in glimpses, and then, ultimately, becomes a sustained experience.  Very, very few individuals have sustained the elevated Self of form (as A Course of Love calls it), but it is the mission of ACOL to lead more and more of us to that glorious culmination.  God makes this decision, though, about when we are ready.  And in the meantime, we must not try to hurry this blessing.  He knows when the time is right.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would claim the promise today that we do not have to be “perfect” to experience Christ-consciousness.  Jesus will handle anything that we are too weak to transmute into perfection.  Let us rest in that assurance, given us in A Course in Miracles.  And in A Course of Love, we learn that the idea of perfection needs more thinking.  Nobody would ever even see glimpses of Awakening if we had to be perfect.  And many of us have seen these glimpses.

Thank You for Your help today.  Don’t let me get mixed up with the theology of ACIM and ACOL.  Help me to follow Your way to the happiness that is a worthy function in my life.

Amen.

Gifts of God

KarenV-Monet-Step-6“All gifts of God are given equally and distributed equally.  It is your belief that this is not so that causes judgment.  All who believe they have ‘more’ fall prey to righteousness.  All who believe they have ‘less’ fall victim to envy.  Both ‘fall’ from grace and limit their ability to receive.  (A Course of Love, 20.40)”

Affirmation:  “God grants gifts equally to all.”

Reflections:

1 – Depression

We often think, in our egoic mind, that another is superior to us in some way, and this activates the depression of the ego in its deflation.  All egoic thoughts work this way.  There is a great deal to be said for depression as the result of the ego being undermined at every turn.  And what other way could work to turn us from the ego?  If it made us happy all the time, our salvation would be impossible to reach.

2 – Gifts Are Given Equally

God gives all gifts equally and distributes all gifts equally.  When we feel “less than” another, we judge; the same, when we feel “more than” another.  It is true that in this world gifts appear to differ, but one day all will know that everything belongs to all, and in equal measure (from A Course in Miracles).

3 – Righteousness / Envy

We would not fall prey to either righteousness or envy.  We would give up these deplorable attitudes.  Instead, we would welcome our brothers and sisters as the students/teachers of the Way that they are.  We are all equal in God’s sight.  And when we humbly accept our lot in life, to be improved as God’s grace shows us, we will be living a more desirable life.  We can strive to achieve, but not for egoic reasons.  The ego always loses in the end, and if we seek to prop up our weakened ego, we will lose all the blessings that A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are seeking to give us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do believe that the rain falls on the saved as well as the sinner (so to speak).  I do believe that the gifts of God are a free gift, that He wants to help us walk through life.  And I have had the mystical experience that proved this, at least to me, and this happened many years ago.  I have not doubted that God’s gifts are a free offer of help in all the years since.

Thank You.

Amen.

No Longer Use People / Serve Them

“The inanimate as well as the animate is called upon, depended upon for service.  All use Farmhouses in a Wheat Field van goghis replaced with service, and appreciation replaces the callousness with which use once occurred.  (A Course of Love, 20.38)”

Affirmation:  “I will not use another person today.”

Reflections:

1 – Use

We are led to understand in A Course of Love that much of our time on earth has been a reaching out to others to “use” them in some way.  We have known that we need others, but rather than love those others with a wholehearted embrace, we have chosen to “love” those who can do something for us, who can answer some need within ourselves.  This is to use the other person.

2 – Self-Interest

What a sad way to live!  And, most importantly, it won’t work, even if our egoic notions are telling us that it will.  Other people, whether religious or not, know when our interest in them is tainted by self-interest, and other people naturally recoil from this.  Only in special relationships, in which it seems that each person has something that he/she can gain from the other, is there even the illusion of a mutual exchange.  And the special relationship does not stay special.  Frequently, if it doesn’t evolve into a holy relationship, the special relationship deteriorates into hate.  Our needs fail to be met by the other, and we hold that against him/her.

3 – Service

We do not need to use others.  We need to be of service to them.  And the best things that we do will justify us in our own eyes.  We will feel guilt no longer.  We will experience the love that we are meant to experience, for we are giving, not “using” another.  When we give, we also receive, for both are equal in God’s sight.   Only when we give and receive in equal parts do we share the holiness that is ours by birthright (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).

4 – Appreciation

When we are of service, we naturally appreciate the one whom we are serving.  We do not treat him or her with contempt or callousness any longer.  Our way has brightened, and we are once again on the way back to God.  What better way than to walk with Jesus along a brighter path?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I serve others today, in the best connotations of what Jesus meant.  May I not let self-interest cause me to “use” anybody for any reason whatsoever.  May I not stoop to that level.

Help me to ask You how I might best be of service to others.  Let me not see the need for service where it would be unwelcome.  Help me to withdraw if another does not want me near.  Help me to follow Your guidance in such matters.

Be with me as I seek to expand my service over the coming days and weeks.  I would do more for You, but only the more that You ask.

Amen.

Overcoming Bitterness and Uncertainty

Giverny 036 - monet
“Bitterness and uncertainty are replaced by hope.  Hope is the condition of the initiate, new to the realization of having a home within the embrace.  It is the response that says to all you have just read, ‘Ah, if only it were true.  If only it could be true.’  (A Course of Love, 20.36)”

Affirmation:  “hope”

Reflections:

1 – Three Thoughts

There are three distinct trains of thought in the passage for today.  Let’s take them in order.

2 – Bitterness and Uncertainty Left Behind

First, we see that, as progress in reading A Course of Love, we leave bitterness and uncertainty behind.  Bitterness is a state of mind that was not a focus of A Course in Miracles, but is important to ACOL.  We are seen to be bitter about many of the things that have happened to us on our pathway through life.  And we hold this feeling of bitterness, this grievance against God, close to ourselves.  We cannot live this way in peace.  We must and will choose a better way.  And hope is the answer.  Even when life seems to go against us, because we have, like a mirror, attracted bad things to ourselves, we can recognize that this state of affairs does not have to be permanent.  We can choose again, and in the next choice, we can reach the tipping point of above 50 percent, which changes everything–if we hold firm to this concept of what we wish to see in our lives.  (Ideas are adapted from Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret trilogy.)

3 – Hope

We enjoy hope when we accept the embrace of Jesus as what we want, as we realize that he is serious about offering us the total, unconditional love that we crave.  And he soothes us, for we are much in need of comforting.  This the embrace does for us.  We imagine that Jesus is enfolding us in his arms, and we instantly feel justified.  We feel accepted by God as well as by Jesus.  And we accept ourselves, knowing that regardless of how many mistakes we have made, we are loved.

4 – The Embrace

The final sentence in the passage for today is the central hope of the embrace.  If only it could be true that I am forgiven!  If only it could be so simple to feel the peace that I want to feel!  This is the promise that hope brings to us.  And if we accept the indications of our heart, we will know peace, serenity, and we will also know happiness.  Jesus’s embrace can and will do all of this for us.

5 – Forgive Self

So let us drop our own unforgiveness toward ourselves.  We will even continue to make mistakes, for we are human (as well as divine), and we are living in this world, where there are many temptations.  But we need not feel that all is lost, that there is no hope.

6 – Hope Will Take Us Home

This passage tells us that there is hope.  And this hope will take us home to God, while we continue to walk this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The solution is always with the problem, and when we have articulated precisely the problem, and just as precisely turn that problem over to You, the solution appears–and quickly.  Your time is not ours, but more often than not the time is soon, even within our timeframe.  This gives us hope, which we are studying today.  And of course any lingering bitterness about what life has dealt us, or any uncertainty about what to do in the future, dissipate.  We always know the next right step, when we have taken the time to ask with sincerity.  Thank You.

Be with me today as I seek to solve the pesky problems that have married my mornings recently.  I feel anxious in the morning, and You would not have it so.  I feel on the verge of a breakthrough, and I have hope that this is a certainty.  I do ask for help with sincerity.

Thank You for listening to my prayer.

Amen.

We Need to Know What to Do

“As long as you fear your own ability to know what you do, you cannot be fully imagescooperative.  (A Course of Love, 20.32)”

Affirmation:  “cooperation”

Reflections:

1 – Tiny Little Statement

This is a tiny little statement with deep meaning.  If we don’t trust ourselves to do the right thing, we will not be fully cooperative with our brothers and sisters.  We will think, subconsciously, that we may lead them astray.  And well we may.  We need to ask for guidance at every turn, and when that is assured, we can be cooperative without fear of making wrong decisions.

2 – Guidance

We do have the ability to know what we do, and we can do the right thing when we look to God as our guidance.  Many of us have sought over long years to “do the right thing,” but we have remained unsure of ourselves.  Have we really always made the right decisions?

3 – Mistakes

Probably not!  But mistakes do not ultimately matter, for we have received Atonement.  We are one with God, by the time that we have walked the whole pathway.  We are both human and divine, and we know that we are on the right track.

4 – God Will Provide

Nobody needs to be fearful in his/her daily life.  God will provide, and when we make the determination to “do the right thing,” we can rest assured that His guidance will be forthcoming.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As You know, guidance is one of my favorite topics.  I welcome the advice that You give me.  The only problem is when I wonder if the advice is coming from my ego and not from You.  Then I can easily get confused.

Take the confusion from me today.  Help me to discern exactly what Your will really is, and I do know that it is my will as well.

Amen.

Is Not the Embrace Holy?

images“This lesson is only as complicated as the most complex among you needs it to be .  But for some it can be simple, as simple as realizing the oneness of the embrace.  Within the embrace you can let all thought go.  Within the embrace, you can quit thinking even of holy things, holy men and women, and even divine beings, even the one God.  Is not the embrace itself holy?  Is not the sunrise and sunset?  (A Course of Love, 20.21)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome the embrace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Beautiful Passage

This passage for today is especially beautiful in writing style as well as the message.  We can realize, when we imagine that Jesus embraces us, that we are totally protected and totally safe.  We can let our worries fall away.  We can drop our concerns.  We have no problems, for the solutions are presented at the point that the problems appear (an ACIM tenet).  Such a glorious way to live!

2 – Safety in Love

If we could only sustain this realization, this perfect safety in love, we would be well along the pathway home.  May we follow the way that Jesus has so beautifully pointed out to us.  May we not get ourselves all tangled up with the fretting of this world.

3 – Embrace = All Is Forgiven

The embrace is Jesus’s way of saying that all is forgiven.  Despite any regrets that we have, we do not need to hold them against ourselves, thinking we are not worthy, for we are children of God, and we remain as He has created us.  Everything else is illusion, and though we cannot discount what has happened in illusion, when we ask for forgiveness of our mistakes, all is indeed forgiven.  May we never forget this blessing of Atonement.

4 – Simple Lesson

May we learn a simple lesson today.  May we not make it complex or complicated.  It is as simple as telling a child that Jesus loves him/her.  We have not outgrown Jesus, but now, in A Course of Love, he ultimately sees us as companions to him, equals in every respect.  This is not the message of traditional Christianity, but perhaps it is a new message for our age,

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we bask in the love that Jesus shows us that he has for us.  May we not let our minds wonder how this might be.  He is real, and he knows us–all of us.  Let us look beyond what science tells us to what we know in our hearts.

May we feel the embrace of Jesus today.  He will see that we come to understand all that we need to understand, so that intellectual doubt does not intrude.

Amen.

Holy Imagining

“Is not all you can imagine holy when you imagine with love?  Is not all you cannot imagine holier still?  (A Course of Love, 20.12)”

Affirmation:  “May I see the holy today.”Still Life with Bottle and Lemons on a Plate - van gogh2

Reflections:

1 – Love

Love is the most important aspect of our living in this world and in world beyond (I believe).  And with love comes holiness, if it is a pure love.  And what love is not pure unless it is chosen for base reasons?  We do imagine that love brings the holy, and we do imagine that that which is beyond us, in worlds beyond, is holier still.  We do not know this, but somehow our hearts tell this to us, and we believe (when we don’t let the skeptical mind interfere).

2 – Look with Loving Eyes

If we look out on the world with loving eyes, we will see the holy.  We will abstain from attack and anger, and we will be certain that our eyes see rightly.  We will not fall into depressed spirits, usually, and we will have the means to climb out of a depressed pit when we do so fall.  The joy that comes from love is genuine.

3 – We Can Have Good Days

We cannot expect never to have difficulties.  But Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that we do have the means to have good days.  If our day starts wrongly, we can start over.  And we can do so repeatedly.

4 – Charity

Be with us today to ensure a good day.  Remind us, when we forget, to look on all that we see with love.  And that includes the thoughts of our minds, the things that we do not say.  We need to have charitable views about everybody with whom we encounter, and if we do not feel this, then something is amiss, and we need to pray for greater understanding, to see the whole picture.  Be with us as we seek to make aright all of our relationships.  And may we always be forgiving, knowing that we are merely forgiving illusions, nothing real.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day be truly a grand one for all whom I touch in any way.  May the people who read this blog be blessed.  Guide me in what I say.

It is a great blessing to know that we can have good days, and if the day turns bad, we can start anew.  Truly a great blessing.  It is reasurring to know that we are meant to have good days.  And when something doesn’t go well, it can be rectified.  Help me to remember this good news today.

Amen.

Share One Heartbeat

images

“It [the world] is the place of your interaction with all that lives within you, sharing the one heartbeat.  The heartbeat of the world does not exist apart from God.  The heartbeat of the world is thus alive and part of you.  This heart connection is what we seek to return you to.  (A Course of Love, 20.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would return to the heartbeat of the world.”

Reflections:

1 – Metaphor

The passage for today, a particularly poignant passage, gives us a metaphorical context for A Course of Love.  We are led to understand that we are One with the All, and everything in the world is a part of us.  This in itself is reassuring and comforting.

2 – Hearts Join

If we want to take the heartbeat seriously, we will do well.  We will have a point of departure in the heartbeat that teaches us to turn inwardly, to our own hearts, when we are perplexed.  And we have come to know that this is where God resides.

3 – We Are One

And we are One with the world and everything (and everybody) in it.  We would do well to remember this always.  It is not enough just to turn to God in an introverted fashion.  We need to reach out to our brothers and sisters in this world.  And then we will know what the one heartbeat really means.

4 – Contemplate

This metaphor encapsulates a vision of A Course of Love that has not heretofore been discussed.  Let us spend some time today contemplating what it all means.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would like to start sharing the one heartbeat with those closest to me, and then extend outward.  We need to love unconditionally, and those closest to us naturally come first.  These are our significant others, and we need to give and receive unconditional love with those others.

Be with me today as I seek to be a good companion with the others in my life.  May others whom I encounter notice that there is a love about me that is genuine and heartfelt.  May my significant others bask in that love.  And may they return that love to me.

Thank You for today’s passage.  I appreciate the beauty of the words, and I would take the message unto my heart.  Be with me for a good day today.

Amen.

There Is Nothing Outside of Me

“Here, rest comes to weariness and gently lays it aside.  Time has ended and there is nothing you must do.  Being replaces identity and you say, I am.  I am, and there is nothing outside of me.  Nothing outside of the embrace.  (A Course of Love, 20.9)”

monet - field with woman and childAffirmation:  “There is nothing outside of me.”

Reflections:

1 – “There Is Nothing Outside of Me”

I puzzled over this quotation from A Course in Miracles for a long, long time.  What does it mean?

2 – Part of God

A teacher in a group discussion once explained it as saying that we encompass all.  And I think that she was close to the meaning.  We are the All, the One.  The nearest symbol that I have is the hologram, where every part is seen in each part.  God is the All, but we are a part of God (according to ACIM and ACOL).

3 – The Embrace

When we need to have reassurance, comfort, or release, here is a place to find it.  This place is within the embrace of Jesus and of the universe(s).  We feel rest from weariness, and we lay aside our weariness.

4 – “I Am that I Am”

When we are saying “I am,” then we are close to God’s pronouncement in the Bible, “I am that I am.”  We are trying to replace being, or God, with our personal, egoic identity.  And we are coming close to doing that.

5 – Rest

“Time has ended and there is nothing you must do.”  Certainly those of us who have worked long and hard at our jobs, with our families, with the community and world of which we are a part, may come to understand this passage as an invitation to take a much-needed rest.  Our work hereafter will be effortless (an ACOL tenet).  We will feel contentment, tranquility, and joy.

And we will feel love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please help me to understand that there is nothing outside of me.  We are the All, and we are part of You.  These are deep mysteries, and I am puzzled.

Help me to get through this day well.  It promises to be a difficult day, and I need Your help.  

Amen.

The Embrace

“This is a call to move now into my embrace and let yourself be comforted.  Let the tears fall and the weight of your shoulders rest upon mind.  Let me cradle your head against my breast as I stroke your hair and assure you that it will be all right.  Realize that this is the whole world, the universe, the all of all in whose embrace you literally exist.  Feel the gentleness and the love.  Drink in the safety and the rest.  Close your eyes and begin to see with an imagination that is beyond thought and words.  (A Course of Love, 20.2)”

Affirmation: “May I feel the embrace today.” van gogh - sunflowers10

Reflections:

1 – Most Beloved Passage

This passage for today is one of the most beloved of all passages in A Course of Love.  In it, Jesus is speaking personally to every reader, but he is also speaking from a more universal perspective, saying that the universe is safe and holds us within its embrace.

2 – Gentleness, Love, Safety, Rest

The personal aspect will appeal to some; the more universal, to others.  We are bade to feel the gentleness and love of the embrace, the safety and the rest.  Jesus invites us to close our eyes and imagine what cannot be seen.  Often we have been told (in A Course in Miracles as well as A Course of Love) that our physical eyes cannot have “vision.”  We only have vision for the real world, which is not physical in the way that the illusory world is physical.  The physical world is seen differently in vision, and that is all that we really need to know.

3 – Comfort

This passage is comforting in the extreme, and it would be helpful to return to it over and over when we are ill-at-ease or distraught.  Life does throw us curves sometimes, and we would do well to take advantage of all that Jesus is offering to us.  He is with us, when we make one “unequivocal call” (from ACIM).  Can we understand this?  No, we can’t.  But, somehow, Jesus transcends ordinary physical laws and is with all of us as need arises.

4 – Personal

Do I believe this, truly?  Absolutely.

5 – A Blessing

And I hope that we will all come to believe this blessing also.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have felt the presence of a person who seemed, to my mind, to be Jesus.  There was a comfort to this presence that I have felt from nobody else.

Be with me today as I seek to work out my intellectual doubts.  There are natural laws about which our science, as yet, knows nothing.  And I think that Jesus’s presence with us is one of those natural laws.  He comes in response to one unequivocal call, as A Course in Miracles tells us.

Thank You.

Amen.

Prayer Works!

“A mind that can conceive of a creator combined with a heart that yearns for knowledge of, and union with, that creator, can bypass the need for the separate thoughts of the separated one’s thought system.  But you must be trained to do this.  Thus your training begins.  And begins with prayer.

“As was said in the beginning, praying is asking.  (A Course of Love, 19.17 – 19.18)”

Affirmation:  “May I remember to pray often today.”

Reflections:

1 – Creator/God

The passage for today is packed with meaning, very dense with meaning.  When we can understand that we did not create ourselves, we then realize that believing in a Creator is not intellectually dishonest.  Then when we allow our heart to speak, and we know what our heart wants most is union with that Creator, we are well on the way home.  We do not have to “think” with “separate thoughts of the separated one’s thought system”–in other words, with the mind and its egoic tendencies.

2 – Need Help

We cannot effect this change ourselves, though.  We need help, and so our help begins with prayer.  Prayer is actually emphasized more in A Course of Love than in A Course in Miracles.  In the latter, prayer is simply assumed (and is often called “communion with God”).  We first ask for the miracle to reach us.  Prayer at its most elemental is asking, a point made by Catherine Marshall, an inspirational writer of the last century.

3 – Personal Experience

I know from personal experience that prayer brings results, and brings results quickly.  We are not left dangling.  We are led home, step-by-step.

4 – We Are Not Alone

And we are the better for recognizing that we are not all alone in the universe.  God is both within and we project the world without.  God is in all of us, and we and the world, even in illusion, is a part of Him.  But do not be delayed by this theology.  If this reasoning does not find a place in your heart, bypass the reasoning entirely.

5 – The Heart

And listen to your heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would follow guidance consistently today.  A puzzling situation just arose, and against my “judgment,” I followed guidance, and all is well!  This type of experience does reinforce what we have been studying in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

Thank You.

Amen.

Needs Are Met at the Point of Need

iris-monet“In creation, all needs are fulfilled the instant they become needs, which is why there are no needs.  If everything you need has been provided, having needs makes no sense.  (A Course of Love, 19.14)”

Affirmation:  “I find answers as soon as I have needs.”

Reflections:

1 – Needs vs. Wants

All needs are met.  All wants are not.  Why?  What we need is accurate, but what we want may actually hurt us.  God protects His children, and He does not give what will ha (from A Course in Miracles).  How do we explain the pain of this world?  We have free will (not a tenet of either ACIM or ACOL).

2 – Adolescents?

The pain can also be explained by an A Course of Love passage that notes that we have been like adolescents in rebellion, and so God “let go,” much as parents let go their teenage children who are trying to assert their own identity.

3 – Point of Need

It is important to note that needs are met at the point of need–immediately.  Of course, we can note in everyday life that we don’t always recognize that our needs have immediately been met.  We are slow to see.  But see we will, sooner or later, and we can pray that our seeing may be sooner.

4 – No Problems

This passage is akin to the ACIM passage that indicates that we have no problems, though we think that we have.  The solution is always placed with the problem–immediately.  And so, when we are tuned in, we get our solution as soon as we articulate the problem.  And articulating the problem is important, for otherwise we exist in a kind of mind fog.

5 – We Are Protected

May we pray today that our needs, being met, will trouble us no longer.  We are prepared for, we are protected, and we have safety.  There is a loving God Who does all of this for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for reminding me today that my needs are always met, and not just met sometime, but at the point of need.  This is akin to knowing the solution is always with the problem, and that actually we have no problems (though we think we have).  Our “wants” are not always met, and perhaps that is a good thing.  We often ask amiss.

I would have no part of an adolescent rebellion today.  That is to stay in the past.  I would welcome Your guidance on a constant basis.  That is really the only way to live smoothly.  Thank You for given me a right spirit within when I ask for it.  

Be wtih me today, aso that I have patience.  I need patience, as do all of us, with our loved ones.  I am perhaps more impatient than I would like to think.  I thought that my life situation gave me a lot of patience, but perhaps that is a fallacy.  Be with me today as I see my patience tested.  And may I know that true needs will be answered immediately.

Amen.

Wholehearted Yearning for Union

“It is in your holy relationships that union can be found and experienced, and thus from these that you fuel your desire for union with all and for knowledge of your creator.  This yearning must but be a pure yearning–untainted by fear and judgment and approached with wholeheartedness–for it to be fulfilled.  It is not the means that are lacking but the wholehearted desire.  (A Course of Love, 19.7)”

Affirmation:  “Bless my holy relationships.”Café-Terrace-on-the-Place-du-Forum,-Arles,-at-Night,-The - van gogh

Reflections:

1 – Holy Relationships

If we have wholehearted desire, today’s passage assures us that we can find union in our holy relationships.  This is our way home, according to both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Holy relationships bypass the need for hours of contemplation.  We are our brother’s keeper, and we do well to acknowledge this and to act on it.  Then we will know the peace that we seek.

2 – Holy Oneness

From our holy relationships, we move to a desire for Oneness with all, a holy Oneness rather than the physical that we sometimes think.  The physical is not downplayed by ACOL, though; it is, in fact, applauded, in a sense, by the closeness that it leads us to feel.  It can be a way of reaching toward God.  But union with the All is not physical, but metaphysical.  And we then have knowledge of our Creator God.  We are not alone in our wonderings any longer, but we know.

3 – Jung

Jung, the eminent psychologist, was once asked about faith, and he replied that he “knew,” implying that, for him, knowledge of God was not limited to a nebulous faith.  What a witness this is!  We will come to be so sure in our knowledge of God that we do not have to appeal to faith in the matters of which we are unsure.  We will be told all that we need to know.  And very, very little will be veiled from us.  (An interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL.)

4 – Union

If we are falling short, let us ask ourselves if we have the wholehearted desire for union that this passage indicates we must have.  Do we see any reason for union?  Do we still think that there is something in separateness that will give us the experience of what we want?  If we do want separateness, we will remain in it.  But do we really want to be so isolated or alone?  Do we really want to fear?   All of these things comes with the separate.  And not many of them would any of us long to experience.

5 – Are We Afraid?

We may be afraid of union, not knowing what will be asked of us.  And, indeed, much may be asked of us.  But we will find that we can do these requested missions with ease and peace, with effortlessness.  God does not hold us to a work ethic that we ourselves made.  God desires good works, we might think, but He knows that we are weak and frail children, and that we need help.  Ask (a necessity), and that help will be forthcoming.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would overlook all slights that happen to me currently, seeking instead the union with all my brothers and sisters, and God, that this passage recommends.  May we be forgiving, for this world is difficult, and if we forgive, we will come to understand.

May my yearning for union be without fear of any kind.  May my anxiety melt away.  And may You spend the day with me today, so that I sense Your presence.

Amen.

Healing through Yearning

“Your saving grace is that even a separated self yearns for union and knowledge of its creator.  Thus along with this yearning was a means provided for its fulfillment, and with this fulfillment lies the end of the separation.  (A Course of Love, 19.6)”

Affirmation:  “May my yearning turn to God today.”

la-prominade-monet

Reflections:

1 – Yearning for Union

We are, in a sense, saved by our yearning.  The presence of yearning (for union) is evidence that we are not meant to remain isolated (or to think ourselves isolated).

2 – Peace that Passeth Understanding

There is a way of praying that is a yearning for God.  This prayer is very satisfying emotionally.  It asks for little specifically except the sense of His Presence.  And, when this sense, this feeling, comes, there is a tranquility that is unlike anything else.  This experience is indeed the “peace that passeth understanding” (from the Bible).

3 – Gratitude

When we experience the fulfillment of this yearning, we are satisfied in a deep sense, a sense deeper than anything else can or does bring.  And we are grateful.  The gratitude can be both an outgrowth of the fulfillment, or the initiator of the prayer.

4 – Dark Night of the Soul

Of course, many of us know of the dark night of the soul, when no prayer seems to bring comfort.  It is felt by some that at such times God withdraws a bit for reasons that are obscure.  He wants us to want Him for Himself alone, not His comforting Presence.  (That is one explanation, but nobody really knows.)  At such times, we are bade not to abandon our faith, but to go deeply within it by whatever means we are led to experience.  This may be deeper and longer prayers, meditation, contemplation, helping others, forgetting self, losing one’s self in a large cause; the list is endless.  We will have to determine what will work for us.  Yet in all likelihood it is not ourselves that brings us out of the dark night of the soul, but God and His helpers.  We are not strong enough; we are too frail.  We cannot effect such a sea change in ourselves without help.

5 – The Cloud of Unknowing

But the yearning is important.  The Cloud of Unknowing, an anonymous medieval manuscript, makes yearning its central point.  With a dart of longing, we reach toward God, and He stretches out His Hand and touches us.  Then what more could we want?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I yearn today to know the tranquility that is mine when I pray and receive You.  I feel the peace that passeth understanding, and I am mellowed out.  This sense of Your presence is a balm for every hurt, a solution to every problem.  It is the best that I can hope for, and I thank You that this peace comes often.

Be with me today as I seek my Self/Christ within.  Today will be a quiet day for reflection, and I thank You for the lack of stress that I foresee.  We can each choose, in our own way, the calm that transcends conflict.  And I would choose so today.

Amen.

Begin Your Transformation

“A wholehearted choice to abandon all ideas of glorifying the separated self and to let the world be what it is will begin the transformation.  This requires the first unification, the unification of mind and heart, after which unification with God is naturally returned to your awareness, for this unification returns you to the Christ in you and the one mind united with God which you have never left.  (A Course of Love, 19.4)”

van gogh - field6Affirmation:  “May I be united with the Christ in me today.”

Reflections:

1 – A Sequence

There is a sequence of occurrences in this passage that is worth noting.

2 – Do Not Glorify the Separate Self

First, we must abandon thoughts of glorifying our separated self (or the self that we think, in illusion, is separated).  So often we seek to glorify the physical, with material objects and the trappings of “success.”  But we are digging our own grave when we do so.  So let us ask today how to avoid glorifying the self.  We will be told, and then when we act on this knowledge (for it is knowledge, not perception), then we will be set on the right path.

3 – Mind and Heart = One

Second, we need to ask that our mind and heart be made one.  We know many things intellectually, for many of us have studied diligently.  But intellectual understanding is often not comforting in the middle of the night, when fears try to overwhelm one.  So we need to invite our heart to join.  This is our emotional aspect, and we do not need intellectual proof when our emotions are involved.   We simply feel the good feeling (or the bad), and we live sanely.  The lack of intellectual “proof” does not disturb the heart, for the heart knows things that cannot be proved.  And the heart does not ask for proof.

4 – Christ/Self

Finally, we seek to unite with the Christ/Self in us.  This is the Self of whom Christ-consciousness is concerned.  We have never actually left this Self, and this point (made repeatedly) is pivotal.  We can clain Christ-consciousness as our birthright, but it is God Himself who makes the decision about when we are ready to receive this blessing..

5 – The Base of ACOL

This sequence is at the base of A Course of Love.  If we can ask for and receive (for receiving is, of course, necessary), then we will have walked the whole pathway.  And all of us wish for this.  We pray for this.  And one day this blessing of Christ-consciousness will belong to us all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask for a transformation to begin today.  I know that I need to turn myself over to You in mind and heart for thsi transformation to happen.  Be with me as I make every effort to turn myself over to You today.

The Christ/Self who is within is my lodestone.  It is my way home to You.  Help me to sense today, if only for a moment, what this Self can do for me.  And may I reach out to others, for it is only in connectedness that we see the light.

Amen.

Thus Was Fear Born

“The complex set of criteria needed to create a world of separation was, in the instant of creation, anticipated and provided in a form consistent with creation’s laws.  While this world was created with love, as all of creation was, it was also created to provide the desired experience.  Thus was fear born, for a separate self is a fearful self by its nature.  How could it not be?  (A Course of Love, 19.2)”

Affirmation:  “I would avoid a ‘separate self’ today.”iris-1914-17 - monet

Reflections:

1 – Not Separate

If we realize that we are not really separate at all, perhaps, this passage seems to say, we will not experience fear.  It is the belief that we are alone that makes the fear, and who would not be fearful with such a belief?  If we turn to God and His helpers consistently, then we will not feel alone.  We will know that we live in a benevolent universe, and we will experience the peace that such a universe will give us.  And what more would we seek?

2 – Elevated Self of Form

We need to ask for this blessing of an end to the separated state.  When we experience the elevated Self of Form ( as described farther on in A Course of Love), we will know that we, though in physical form, presumably separate from others, are not really alone.  We will know that we chose physical expression for our experience of reality, but we did not choose to actually be alone.  We have many companions in this world and the world beyond, and it is wise for us to remember this.  The knowledge will give us comfort and a deep sense of security.

3 – Tiny, Mad Idea

God responded to our tiny, mad idea (from A Course in Miracles) with the world of separation.  It is said that we, on some level, made this world.  And then the separation began, extending over millions of years, for others were attracted to physicality as well.  So fear was born where it had been not.

4 – Solitary?

It seems sensible to think that we are solitary creatures when we are encased in physical bodies.  And that is the role that we are playing.  But it is a facade, an illusion.  We are actually still at home in God, and we can know this at any time by asking to have a divine experience.  Why not do so today?  It will make all the difference, for once again we will know that we are One with the All, and we will feel secure in the Love that the All emanates.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know today that I am not isolated in a world of form.  I have many helpers, and You are at the top of the list.  I would recognize that separation is an illusion brought on by the fact that w are encased in physical bodies.  But we are not separate from one another nor from You.

Be with me today for a tranquil day.  Thank You for the affirmations from the Bible that I say frequently, for they are very calming.  Thank You for the many ways that You help.

And I ask for Your help as I seek to overcome my lingering belief in separation.

Amen.

How to Dispel Pain

water lily pond with bridge - monet

“Think not that you react to pain of any kind with the love from your real Self that would dispel it.  The Self you have taken out of the learning loop is the Self of love.  (A Course of Love, 18.24)”

Affirmation:  “May I respond to my loving Self, dispelling pain.”

Reflections:

1 – Love

Is this passage really telling us that if we respond to the Self/Christ who is within, we will be free of pain, for this Self is loving?  Love is the answer, according to what Jesus is saying here.

2 – Are We All Able to Dispel All Pain?

A pessimistic response to Jesus’s words would express doubt, and indeed I do not believe that all of us are strong enough to dispel all pain.  And not all of us are really in contact with the true inner Self.  This is the Self that we know when we are living Christ-consciousness.

3 – Emotional Pain

Personally, I can understand how emotional pain would be more easily dispelled.  The emotional pain can more easily be controlled by one’s thoughts, and we are at least in some control of these.  We may need to calm down, though.

4 – Physical Pain

But what about physical pain?  Can we really dispel this?  Perhaps we can lighten and eventually eliminate our sense of pain.  Certainly our secular biofeedback methods have done much to lessen severe pain for those who have sought such help.  Most do not seek such help, though, and this passage does say that if we listen to the love that is within us, we will find that the pain is dispelled.

5 – Jesus

Jesus says many things that sound difficult for us to understand.  He is speaking on an ideal level, and he is hoping that we will be close enough to love to have this freeing response.  Certainly the truth that love will dispel pain is welcomed.  To the degree that we can open our minds and believe, we will have the faith that will make this assertion correct in our own experience.  We are not, though, all of us ready for this ideal solution, and while this is a more negative reaction, it seems close to the truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me not to be overly pessimistic about Jesus’s statements.  If he says that love from the real Self will dispel pain, then let me open my mind to that real possibility.

Today is a day that many will suffer pain.  May some few read the passage for today, and feel their pain lessen.

Amen.

Determining the Distinction between Pleasure and Pain

“Determination of pleasure and pain is made with the judgment of the separated self who not only believes it is the body, but that it is at the body’s mercy.  The body has no mercy to offer the separated self.  It is only a learning device.  (A Course of Love, 18.23)”

images - van gogh
Affirmation:  “May I avoid judging pleasure and pain today.”

Reflections:

1 – Awaking of Christ-Consciousness

The ideas in today’s passage are echoes of A Course in Miracles.  All in all, A Course of Love is more forgiving of the body, seeing, ultimately, that an elevated Self of form is a legitimate way to live.  We can enjoy this way of living on this earth, and this is when the Christ/Self has been actualized in us.  This is the Awakening or the Christ-consciousness embodied.

2 – Separation

But in the passage above, we are still recognizing a delusional separation from God.  We did not, as we have said repeatedly, actually separate from God, for we are part of Him and thus can only fantasize that we have separated.  In this fantasy our whole world evolved.  And we lost the felt presence of God.

3 – Pleasure

But let us rise to the occasion, recognizing that we want something better (re ACIM).  We want to know God’s happiness, not the pleasures of this world.  We will have pleasure, but it will be more than pleasure, because pleasure is fleeting and never satisfies very long.

4 – Body = Learning Device

The body as a learning device is best used to communicate with others, with out brothers and sisters.  To use it as a way to get out way is a misuse, if our way would be detrimental to another.  So let us be gracious in our understanding of the body, and not try so hard to decorate it with jewelry and fancy clothes.  We may want to be presentable, but the real beauty comes from within.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the difference between pleasure and pain today, but I would seek joy–God’s joy–rather than simple pleasure, which is fleeting.

Be with me as I see Your will for my life today.  May my decisions be sound, based on guidance and common sense.

Amen.

What Makes This Existence So Chaotic and Erratic

Starry Night over the Rhone - van gogh

“That you keep yourself from desiring anything fully here is what makes this existence so chaotic and erratic.  A mind and heart in conflict is what keeps you from desiring anything fully and thus from creating.  (A Course of Love, 18.14)”

Affirmation:  “Desire fully or not at all.”

Reflections:

1 – Comparison of ACIM and ACOL

This idea is new, not found in any form in A Course in Miracles.  Perhaps this is because the delineation is made in A  Course of Love between the mind and the heart.  We did not hear much about the heart in ACIM, but the mind’s need to dislodge the ego was paramount.

2 – Desire Fully

When we desire fully, we are not in chaos, doing erratic things.  Of course, we need to be certain that we are desiring rightly.  And this  can come only when  glimpses of the Christ/Self within are guiding us.  We must desire because we know that we are after something worthwhile.  Nothing else will do.

3 – Uncertainty

When we are unsure of ourselves, we act in erratic fashion, and we create chaos and drama because we don’t seem to know any better.  God can take away that lack of certainty.  We have all too often been afraid to desire fully, because we thought we might desire amiss.  Ask, and then we can be sure.

4 – Living Harmoniously

When the mind and heart are one in purpose. we live harmoniously, even in this world.  This world does not seem so difficult as before we made this fusion of mind and heart.  When in conflict, stop and think about why:  Is the mind out of sync with the heart?  Do you want something intellectually but not emotionally?  Here we will find the answer to our dilemma, the answer to the end of chaos.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I move beyond just following my heart, into following both my heart and mind in wholeheartedness.  I would desire fully that which You wish for me, and that is salvation.  I know it, but sometimes I don’t realize it fully.  Help me to realize myself fully today.

I would desire fully those things in this world that are good and true.  I would turn aside, without emotion, those things that are bad for me.  May I encourage my brothers and sisters to follow Your way in everything.  The pathway that You point out is so joyous, and following Your guidance, moment-by-moment, is undoubtedly the more joyous of all.

Amen.

Body = Learning Device Given by Loving Creator

monet - pond with lily pads

“While you have been taught that you are not your body, it is impossible for you to deny the body here.  Yet you can change the function you have ascribed to it, and so its way of functioning.  If you do not see it as the result of a fall, as a curse, as a punishment from God, or as your home, a dwelling place that keeps you separate, then you can begin to see it as what it is, a learning device given you by a loving creator.  (A Course of Love, 18.6)”

Affirmation:   “I would choose a body today that functions perfectly.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Deny the Body

A Course in Miracles indicates that to deny the body, even though it is illusion, is a particularly unfortunate way to react.  Here we feel its physicality, and we know when we feel well or ill, when we feel euphoria or pain.  But we can change the function that we see that it has, to catch another fish as bait (also said by the poet John Donne), and see instead that it is a tool of communication when we are in relationship one to another.  Without seeing a body, individuals would perhaps not respond so well to the help that can be given by another who is also in physical form.

2 – Elevated Self of Form

There are many negative ways that we can view the body, and some are spelled out in the passage for today.  But the best way is to see it, now, as a learning device.  As A Course of Love continues, we will see that the time of learning is said by Jesus to have ceased, and we will see that the elevated Self of form is the definition of our body.

3 – The Body Is Real in the Illusion

We need to be conscious of what we recognize as needs exemplified by the body.  When we push too hard, the body becomes overtired.  And if we keep pushing, ignoring the warning sign of pain, we will usually suffer some illness.  So, while we are here, the body is very real, even in dreams, in illusions.

4 – Temporary Dwelling Place

And we would do well not to deny that which is our temporary dwelling place.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take care of my physical body today, knowing that, even though illusion, it hurts when illness invades.  And if I strike my hand against an obstacle, the physical pain is real.  So I do not deny that the physical is important to me.  Help me to treat my dwelling place gently and with respect.

Be with me today as I go out into the world and meet my brothers and sisters.  They, at least some of them, will respond only to another physical body, and they will not be frightened by me, seen in a form that is familiar.  Perhaps a vision might provide insight that I cannot provide, but visions are sometimes frightening to their recipients.  I can do much, with Your help, by just being in physicality.

Help me to know that beyond this physical body is one that is truly real, but I will not go there today.  I will be contented with living in the physical, and I will hope for the sustainability of the elevated Self of form, when You are ready for me to have that blessing.

Amen.

Believe that You Can, and You Can

“See you now why those who judge cannot enter heaven?  Judgment proceeds from the belief in sin and the irreversibility of all errors.  If you do not believe you can reverse or ‘turn back’ to the state in which you existed before the original error, then you never shall.  (A Course of Love, 17.12)”

Affirmation:  “May my beliefs dovetail with the good.”

Reflections:Landscape with House and Laborer - van gogh

1 – God Protects Us

There is subtle intrusion here, from Jesus, of the importance of belief in living our lives.  If we don’t believe that something is possible, then it will not find a place in our experience.  If we do believe (turning the statement on its head), then we will experience that for which we ask, provided that it is good and right for ourselves.  For God protects us still.

2 – Three Prohibitions

In A Course in Miracles, we are bade to avoid attack, avoid judgment, and avoid making plans against contingencies to come (unless prompted by the Holy Spirit).  To avoid these things is to invite heaven (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Surely to do these things is to fall away from salvation, and our lives, likewise, will start falling apart.

3 – Judgment

In the passage for today, Jesus especially points out the dangers of judgment.  And, in doing so, he echoes the New Testament, as many of us know.

4 – Original Error

The original error was the presumed separation from God, the rise of the ego, and the loss of that sense of joining with God and all others.  This, according to ACIM, was a “tiny, mad idea” at which the children of God forgot to laugh.  And in the forgetting did it become possible for the impossible to seem to happen.

5 – Erase the Evil

We do need to realize that all of this misfortune can be erased.  We do not have to presume a separated state any longer.  When we allow God to speak to us from within (or the Holy Spirit, as described in ACIM), then the Christ/Self can rise to the forefront of our lives.  And our lives will get immeasurably better.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please be with me today as I seek to implement the law of attraction, which is what this passage for today is saying.  I do choose to hope only for those things that You would have for me, because You see the whole picture, and I see in part.  Be with me to implement–not to “effort” to have, for this would be thinking amiss.  If my heart tells me that I am to have something, then I am more likely to be on the right beam.

If I do not feel internally that I can manifest something, then trying to manifest that thing (whatever it might be) is wrong.  I would not go wrong today.  Help me to follow You, as always.  And may my words help others who might chance to read this blog.

Amen.

How to Receive Constant Help

“What it [A Course in Miracles] says is that the unknown is benevolent.  What it says is that what you cannot anticipate can be anticipated for you.  What it says is that you could be receiving constant help if you would but let it come  What it says is that you are not alone.  (A Course of Love, 17.8)”
paintings-by-claude-monet- close-up water lilies
Affirmation:  “May I receive constant help today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

When I was little, I was not sure that the universe was benevolent.  This was when I had learned just enough science to be made confused with my religion.  (My religion was traditional Christianity.)  I used to lie in bed and ponder questions about the universe.  Was God just superstition?  Was hell real?  Was the center of the universe a terror?

2 – Scary Thoughts

These are scary thoughts for a 12-year-old to have.  But now we have A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love to reassure us that all is well, and we can proffer this knowledge to our children.  There is nothing to fear.  God is here, and God will help.

3 – Constant Help

Receiving constant help is a tremendous blessing, and all that we have to do to receive this constant help is to be open to it.  Actually, I think we do not even have to know that we are receiving the help from a benevolent universe to be blessed by good fortune.  The rain and sun are there for good and bad alike, and ACIM notes that we are all innocent of wrongdoing; we only have made mistakes.

4 – The Future

When we cannot anticipate the future, and we fear that it will be bad, then we can know that help is walking ahead of us to smooth the way.

5 – Reassuring Passage

These three facets of the passage–benevolent unknown, anticipation by helpers, and the fact that we are not alone–make this one of the most reassuring passages in A Course of Love.  And this is just the beginning of many such reassuring passages in ACOL.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You everyday that I no longer have to fear that I am all alone in the universe.  I thank You that I know that You are a constant help to me.  And Your offer of help is a free offer; I don’t have to do anything to deserve Your help.  A free offer!  Such a blessing!

May I drop into the past the scary thoughts that I had as a 12-year-old child.  Thankfully, I had only four years of the scary thoughts before You warmed my heart one night in a religious meeting.  Thank You for that happening, remembered now from my 16-year-old self.  Be with me today, in future warmth also.

Amen.

Overcoming Fear of the Unknown

“You shy away from thoughts of a consciousness beyond that which you are aware of because of fear.  And yet you know you cannot claim that you are aware of all that exists within the universe, or even that you fully know your own self.  What is fearful about the unknown is simply that it is unknown.  Coming to know what was previously unknown to you can remove the fear, if you will let it.  (A Course of Love, 17.3)”

renoir - womenAffirmation:  “May my fears of the unknown end today.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Consciousness

We do have a consciousness beyond what we have known previously, at least as far back as we can recall.  We fear the unknown, and this greater consciousness is unknown and therefore fearful to us.  But this circumstance does not have to arise, or, if it does arise, it can be addressed by communing with God.  So much is resolved when we pray.  Let us not give short shift to this necessity in us as children of God who need to communicate with Him.

2 – The Universe

There is much that we do not know about the universe and even about ourselves.  And the only reason that it is fearful is because it is unknown.  When we pray to be shown, through our heart, what about our self we do not know, we will be free of the fear.  And once we know, we are at home in God.

3 – The Self/Christ

We do not want to shy away from thoughts of our greater consciousness, for the greater consciousness, the Self/Christ, is our way home.  So we shoot ourselves in the foot when we let our egoic self loose to arouse fear.  May we avoid this reaction today and everyday.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not fear the unknown, as I did when I was a child.  We are no longer children, and we do not have to fear the dark, the unknown.

May I reach out to You in communion today, and may I reach out to Jesus as my companion.  He has promised to come to all of us in response to one unequivocal call.  I make that call right now.  And I ask him to guide my hand as I type.

May all of us have a good day today.  May we cease to struggle so much, for life, regardless of our difficulties, is meant to be joyous.  I reach for that joy today, without pushing or straining against my day.

And may I sense Your presence all the day through.

Amen.

We Cry Out for Healing Today

“Your choice to separate from God is but a separation from your own Self, and this is truly the separation that needs to be healed to return you to God.  (A Course of Love, 17.2)”

Affirmation:  “May I join with my Self today.”vincent-van-gogh-portrait-of-peasant-detail-resized-600.jpeg

Reflections:

1 – Personal Self

We are often moody.  Why?  We are living in the personal self, the little self that is still occupied with and identified with the ego.  The ego does not wish us well.  It welcomes conflict, because conflict keeps the ego alive and thriving.

2 – Relax into Our Hearts

There is a better way to live.  We can relax into our hearts, when we are down, and still the mind.  The final pages of the Workbook of A Course in Miracles are filled with reflections that some view as meditation.  These reflections, as well as the trilogy of A Course of Love, are particularly appropriate to consider our Self, the real inner being that is the Christ.  And when we turn to the inner being, we are reconciled to ourselves and to God at once.

3 – Glimpses of Revelation

We will sometimes fail to make this transition, for the glimpses of revelation are brief in the beginning.  But gradually, as we continue our pathway, the glimpses lengthen, and our time with the Self expands.  Then we are truly being returned to God, and posthaste.  We are not alone with the ego any longer.

4 – Ineffable Peace

When we have returned to our Self, we will know peace, an ineffable peace, far more often than we will experience any other emotion.  Indeed, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that we will be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  Drama of the ego will have faded away, and we will be glad of the fading.

5 – Listen Quietly

May we return to the Self today.  We cannot do this alone.  But we can ask for help, and, if we listen quietly, we will hear.  Invite God’s peace into your heart today.  He will not disappoint.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do whatever I can today to return to my Self, the Christ in me.  I cannot do this without help, and I ask for Your help.  May the glimpses of revelation that I have known come again today, and may those glimpses lengthen in time.  I can eventually look forward to living in the Self all the time.  I welcome that day, though I know that the decision is Yours, and I respect this from the bottom of my heart.

Be with me today.  Keep me from anxiety.  If I am truly living as separated from You, I will have anxiety.  I will not have anxiety when I choose to heal the separation, the separation that has never been real anyway.  You have always been there for me, deep within me–as well as outwardly.  May my perceptions be cleansed into knowledge, Your true knowledge.  May I project outwardly only the harmony and peace that You encompass within me.

Be with me today as I sort out these complexities.  Salvation is simple, and when I get too much into complexities, I am speaking from my ego.  Correct this in me today.  Thank You.

Amen.

Return of Heaven

“If you cannot claim at least a small amount of love for your own Self, then neither can you claim your power, for they go hand-in-hand.  There is no ‘common good’ as you perceive of it, and you are not here to assure the continuance of society.  The worries that would occupy you can be let go if you but work instead for the return of heaven and the return of your own Self.  (A Course of Love, 16.26)”

vangogh

Affirmation:  “May I claim some of my love personally.”

Reflections:

1 – Power

“Power” is not a negative word as Jesus uses it.  We need to claim our power, and in this claim do we regain heaven and our Self.  This Self, as we have mentioned repeatedly, is the Christ within.  And when we work in tandem with our unseen helpers, we will know this Self sooner rather than later.

2 – Don’t Proselytize

We are not to proselytize.  We are here to offer help and sustenance to those who look to us for some small bit of guidance.  But we are not to reach out to those who are not asking and/or are not ready for the message of salvation as we teach it.  Nor are we told to do great things in society.  This is a personal gospel, in that when we have accepted the tenets of  A Course of Love, we will naturally reach out into our various parts of society and make a difference.  But we will not seek to evangelize.  Everyone learns at his/her own rate and in his/her own time.  It is not up to us to say who is ready for only a smile.  We will be guided what to say and what to do.  We need not fear to overstep.

3 – We Fret

So many of us are worriers.  We think that God is somehow great enough to be our Creator, but not to take in  hand the problems that engulf us, and to lead us to solutions.  And so we fret.

4 – Worry

This fretting is a false doctrine.  It is the “pound of flesh” (from William Shakespeare) that we all seek to sacrifice to ensure a happy ending.  We somehow think that if we worry enough, we will have done our part, and then we will ensure that the ending will be positive for us.  This reasoning is the height of insanity.  God created us, and He knows our needs.  He will answer all our needs, though not all of our wants–for many of our wants are misguided wishes.  Genuine need is met, and often by miraculous means.  Let us turn aside from our fears, for fear it is, and let the love of others and ourselves prepare us to receive God’s revelations.  He will reach down to us (metaphorically) and answer us with heartfelt knowledge that solves the problems and eliminates the fears.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would let God solve any and all problems that I have, but not by my own abdication.  He will give me the power to know how to act, what to say or do.  It is only when I stay close to God that my days go well.  And I, like everybody else, would like a good day.

Be with me as I seek to welcome out the Self within.  This in itself will move me closer to heaven on earth.  Be with me as I seek to do Your will, which is also my own true will.  Help me to help others who need me also.

Amen.

Letting Go of Mind in Favor of Heart

“Letting go of what your mind would tell you in favor of what your heart already knows is but the purpose of this Course.  (A Course of Love, 16.11)”

Affirmation:  “Let go of the mind and welcome the heart’s knowledge.”

Reflections:van gogh - field5

1 – Proof

Why do we need to turn to our hearts, increasingly?  Our minds, informed by weakened (but not absent) egos, demand proof for God that no mind can ever have.  Even those of us who think that we have an “intellectual” faith are misguided.  No mind can understand God.  But our hearts can, for our hearts know in a sense that defies explanation, while the mind craves for explanation.

2 – Purpose of ACOL

Herein, in this passage, Jesus defines the purpose of A Course of Love.  He knows that we have dislodged the ego by studying, first, A Course in Miracles, but we may not yet have understood what is to replace the ego.  It is the Self, the Christ, in all of us, and we do know enough, through our hearts, to let this miracle take place.  We do not, though, know the hour nor the day, and that is as it should be.  God Himself makes the determination for our Awakening, our Christ-consciousness, when we are ready, and He alone can tell when we are ready.

3 – Dreams

A Course in Miracles say that we will not be terrified by the light coming on, for we will have been prepared by happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the ACIM Workbook).  Jesus says that otherwise we would awake with a scream of mortal terror, so accustomed we are to our dreams in this world.  But we do not have to fear.  God will find a way to awaken us gently, and to replace all of our dreams of terror with happy dreams, and then with Awakening.

4 – Awakening and Christ-Consciousness

Awakening and Christ-consciousness seem to be equated (the former from ACIM, the latter from ACOL).  In the meantime, for those of us who await, we can reach out to our brothers and sisters, and we can, under the guidance of Jesus and his helpers, reach a better state of mind and heart, one that will welcome a new day.  When we have been healed, we will be in a position to heal others.  An unhealed healer cannot heal (from ACIM); it is an oxymoron.

5 – Wait Patiently

Be with us today as we wait patiently in this imperfect world.  We made this world, and it is one of seeming separation.  We would not live this way.  We would join with others in unity as One, and in relationship to the many, and we will know the better way that Jesus seeks to point out to us in ACIM and ACOL.  May we study well, and reach our Awakening/Christ-consciousness sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to listen to my heart today.  When disappointments come, help me to take them in stride.  When difficulties arise, help me to resolve them.  When all seems lost, help me to realize that You are always there, showing me the way.

Be with me as I listen to my heart today.  I am weary of ego-inspired goals, and I would be done with all such foolishness.  Let my heart guide me today, with Your help.

Thank You.

Amen.

Overcoming Suffering

Suffering and sin comes from specialness, and so it is but specialness you must leave behind.  And there is a way to do so, a way that will not harm any of those you love even while betraying all they would hold dear.  (A Course of Love, 15.11)”

Affirmation:  “I would leave specialness behind today.”Reproduction-oil-paintings-Vincent-Van-Gogh005

Reflections:

1 – Specialness

Our brothers and sisters very often choose specialness rather than recognizing that in this separation, all is lost.  They do not really want to be separate from us, though they may think that they do.

2 – Likewise, for Us

Likewise, for us.  We may have studied A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love long and hard, but still when the weakened ego beckons, we choose specialness.  We just must choose again.  We also do ot want to be separate from our brothers and sisters.  We are all One, and it is time indeed that we recognize this.

3 – Can We Leave Suffering Behind?

Certainly we would leave suffering behind if we could do it.  And leaving behind specialness, in all its forms, is the way out of suffering.

4 – All Are Equal

We need to realize that we are all actually equal in God’s sight.  While out talents may seem to differ in this world, eventually all will be shared.  While some temporarily have more and some, less, this is indeed temporary.  And it is up to us to assist those in need while our hearts tell us the right thing to do.

5 – Knowledge

Our brothers and sisters hold specialness dear.  But it is not for us to do so.  If we persist, we will endanger all of which we have knowledge.  And it is God Who gives us the knowledge.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would renounce specialness for all time now.  This specialness is of the ego, and I would leave the ego behind.  We suffer because of our belief that we are “special.”  And we truly are not.  All of us are equal in Your sight.

If You would have it so, take this desire for specialness from me today.  Thank You.

Amen.

Banding Together against Fear Makes Fear Real

“Loyalty stems here from your faith in fear and all from which you need protection.  To belong to a loyal group, a family or community of supporters, is seen as necessary for your safety.  While many of you do not have this, you strive for it, and its attainment has been the cause of much suffering in your world.  This banding together for support against fear simply makes fear real, and the seeming cause for loyalty essential.  (A Course of Love, 15.8)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek God’s protection only.”

camille-monet-and-her-son-jean-in-the-garden-at-argenteuil-renoir-large - renoir

Reflections:

1 – Growing Older

When we grow older, often we harbor secret fears that we will die alone and friendless.  We think that we need to bind ourselves to family or friends as a way to hold off the darkness.

2 – Fear of Being Alone

These fears only reinforce the basic fear of being alone.  And this fear is what the ego has done to us.  We thought that we wanted separation from God, independence when we were strong and healthy, but when bad days come we want protection above all.  Is this any way to live a life?  A life in fear of what may come?

3 – Faith

Neither A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love says much about faith.  Faith is simply assumed, for we are told in ACIM that the Universal Inspiration, the Holy Spirit, will protect us; and we are told in ACOL that Christ-consciousness will offer all that we might want in this life and the life beyond.  We are meant to commune with God.  We are told that we have taught ourselves the unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator, and He knows that His children sleep, and need to be awakened (ACIM paraphrases).  He knows that His channels are closed (ACIM tenet), and He would reopen communication with us as willing recipients of His guidance.

4 – The Future

Do not waste one moment in fear of what the future brings.  God has never failed to provide, regardless of what dangers we have lived through, or what disasters we have experienced.  Sometimes those of us who have suffered the most are actually the most grateful to God for the life that they have lived.  So know that He is always watching over us, as little children are told.  We have not outgrown the need to know that God Himself looks out for us and looks over us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It sounds counterintuitive to say that we don’t need to bank together for safety.  But You are the only safety that I need, the only safety that I want.  Help me to know that I will always be safe, regardless of how alone I might be.  You are there.  And that is all that I need to know.

Be with us as we form true bonds with other people.  These will be bonds of service, not use of other people.  We do not need to form bonds out of fear of the unknown, but because we love one another.  And that is all that we need to do–just love one another.  And then Your protection is readied.

Thank You.

Amen.

Specialness vs. True Self

“While you desire specialness for yourself, your true Self will remain hidden and unknown, and since this is a Course that seeks to reveal your true identity, specialness must be seen for what it is so that you will desire it no longer.  You can have specialness or your true Self, but never both.  (A Course of Love, 15.3)”

Still Life with Bottle and Lemons on a Plate - van goghAffirmation:  “I would deny specialness in favor of my true Self.”

Reflections:

1 – Egocentric Specialness

Specialness is an egocentric desire to be better than other people (or, occasionally, the reverse–worse than others).  For whatever reason, we think that if we are different, rather than the same, we will merit more in this life.  We think that being special means that we have more than others–always “more.”  But this reasoning is fallacious.

2 – Specialness in Other People

We need to recognize that nobody welcomes specialness in another person–except as that specialness seems to give to the other something that he/she wants.  We look for certain special things in our chosen life partner, but we often find that this specialness is a mirage, and then we may drift away, only to seek again a specialness that will never last.

3 – Competition

In our peer relationships, we do not want another to excel in the competition.  We want to be better.  But does that make us more loved?  I think not.  Cooperation in a common goal means that all peers are equals, and equals we are indeed in God’s eyes.  All of us have been given everything, ultimately.  But on this earth, this is not so, and so we often find ourselves envious of the goods of another.  We do not love in such a state of mind, and love is the great need of all of us (as always).

4 – Self/Christ

We need the true Self, which is the Christ within.  When we really consider these words, how could we desire anything other?  We do not receive knowledge of the Self when the go reigns.  Everything sought by the ego ultimately turns to ashes and dust in our hands.  All of the ego’s playthings are temporary.  But when we turn from the desire to be better than our brother/sister, we are primed to know the Self that we all share, for we are all One.  Then we know that true boons of this world, as well as the world beyond.  We have indeed found our way home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would drop specialness today for all time.  Competition just wore me out, when I tried it, and try it I did for years.  Finally, in the last 20 years or so, my desire for cooperative living has won out over specialness.  Thank You for this insight and the willingess and ease with which I have been able to accomplish it.  Only You did that.

Thank You for the understanding that cooperation works much better than competition.  There is no way that competition, over the long haul, can bring anything but misery.

Help me to resist specialness in all its forms.  I would choose a right sort of humility, and I would choose to avoid arrogance.  I can do what You lead me to do, when You help me.  Only then, when You help.

Amen.

Better View of Life

“This is the view of life you cannot imagine bringing about, or bringing joy in its coming.  But this is what you must begin to imagine if you desire to accept love’s coming instead of to reject it once again.  For your refusal to give up specialness is your refusal of the Christ in you and a refusal of love itself.  (A Course of Love, 14.31)”

Affirmation:  “I would give up specialness in love today, replacing it with the holy in love.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM and ACOL

Here A Course of Love echoes much that has been emphasized in A Course in MiraclesACIM postulates that special love turned to holy, in relationships, is our way home.  In the process of turning special to holy, we learn how to forgive.  And in the forgiveness, we recognize that the others in our lives have always been either calling for love or  loving.  Even their anger and attack are reconsidered as calls for help, or love.

2 – Special to Holy

We do not lose anything by turning our special loves into holy ones.  This may be what we fear, for much romantic love is actually specialness, and that is why the romantic love can quickly turn to indifference, or even hate.

3 – Leave Behind

Let us have none of this nonsense.  We are better than this.  We are God’s children, eager to do His will.  And would we turn our back on any of His children, even those who seem to have turned away from us?

4 – Forgiveness

We will never know peace until forgiveness finds a place in our hearts.  We forgive as much for ourselves as for another.  This is the ultimate secret of why forgiveness is so important.  We cannot proceed to Atonement with God until we have gotten our hearts right in love that we actually do feel for others, the love that may be hidden over by hate.

5 – Hate

Give up a refusal to love today.  Nothing anybody has done to you is worth the anguish of hate.  Know that not everyone is able to love as freely as we would desire, and this is not a failing.  All have free will, and are given the means to turn to whomever they choose.  They too may know rejection.  It does not matter.  Our hearts will soften, in forgiveness, and we will have taken giant leaps ahead on our pathway back to God.  Forgive for yourself as well as of the other.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would focus on love today, love undiminished by any negative emotion.  Help me to do this.  I know that this is what You want for me.

I would not ever let hate hold a place in my heart.  Hate normally comes from being hurt badly, and I am fortunate not to have been hurt that badly.  May my brothers and sisters who have known the depths of hurting, be healed.

Amen.

Once There Is Love, It Is Forever

“Let us ask instead how loving all as one can bring harm?  If you love all the same, what loss is there to anyone, including the one you would choose to make special?  All that is lost is specialness.  (A Course of Love, 14.31)”

Renoir-La-LectureAffirmation:  “I would choose to love all in my life.”

Reflections:

1 – Betrayal?

There is little in this passage with which to disagree, if the passage is understood in its fullness.  Certainly parents love all their children, and what love is given to one is not normally taken from another.  Yet when it comes to our significant other, our brother/sister, we often think that if we love someone who was once “special” to us, then we are betraying our brother/sister, the one in our life now.  This is not so, but the explanation does take a little consideration.

2 – Love Is Forever

Any love, once experienced, never fades entirely.  Once there is love, it is forever.  Even the playwright William Shakespeare says this.  And certainly the love that is expressed in our scriptures is meant to be a forever thing.   We transform the specialness of our relationships into holy, and in a holy relationship, there is no room for jealousy.  We bind ourselves with a tight bond to the significant other in our life, but we do not put blinders on, to eliminate all thought of the other loves that we have known.  This is reality, and there is no reason to feel guilt in reality.

3 – Lose the Specialness

We would lose the specialness that, all too often, tries to cling to our loves.  Specialness can turn to hate, and to indifference, whereas genuine love remains itself–heartfelt love that knows no ending.  May we experience this heartfelt love for others today, and may we turn to God within in our experience.  There is no room for specialness in a world that can become beautiful by the love we harbor for all living creatures.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would come to realize ever more deeply today that love is all one, though we have different kinds of love for the individuals in our lives.  We never outgrow a love that has once been in our lives.  We never dismiss it entirely.  And we will reconcile on another plan, as A Course in Miracles tells us.

Thank You for this reassurance.  May we love, and love greatly, for this is our way out of fearful and anxious thoughts.  This is our way home to You.  And I would go home to You today.

Be with me as I seek to know You ever more deeply.

Amen.

When Memory Returns

“You who do not know how to trade your separated state for that of union have still done so when you have loved freely and without fear.  In this state your memory returns to you of who you are, and you are innocent and joyous and one with love itself.  (A Course of Love, 14.28)”

Affirmation:  “I will recall today the love that I have experienced at any time in my life.”

Reflections:van gogh - trees4

1 – Loving Freely

We have, each of us, known someone or something that we have loved freely.  We may have to reach back very far, if we have gone deeply into insanity, but if we reach back far enough, we will each know that we have known love given and received.  We were without fear at such times of genuine love.  Nothing fazed us; nothing impeded us.  We were so overcome with the emotion of love that we forgot that we had anything to fear.  And, indeed, we did not have anything to fear.

2 – Return in Memory

It is to such times that we ought to return in memory, to lead us to accept such love for all times.  When we recall the lack of fear (and anxiety) that we felt, we will be reassured that this fearless state is a state that we want.  We do not have anything to fear, once we have given up grievances.  We will know, once we have done this, that we live in a safe world.  Regardless of what may happen, and many bad things do happen in our difficult world, we are safe in God’s love.  Even if we lose our physical lives, there is eternity to experience.  There is an Other Side.

3 – Innocence

When we are innocent, we know that we have not sinned, but merely made mistakes.  No human being fails to make mistakes.  But all can and will be forgiven when we love enough to ask for forgiveness.  We must forgive ourselves, and perhaps we need to ask restitution, but the state of innocence is our true state, and we will recognize this idyllic experience when we have known deep love.  Love truly i s the Answer, but this statement has been made so many times as to sound trite.  It is anything but trite.

4 – Presence of God

Ask to experience the feeling of God today.  He is within, and He will show Himself when we are willing to let go and let Him return to us as our Creator, whom we have actually always loved.  We just seemed to lose Him a little while.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would love freely today, so that I may regain my sense of innocence, free of fear.  I would cease the anxious thoughts that arrest me when I need to function better.  Help me to function well today.

Love erases fear, and when I have returned to the memory of love, all will be well with me.  Help me to return to love today and everyday.

Amen.