A Course of Love Free Online Conference

The Course online FREE conference is now available. If you registered and did not get a link in your email, please check your spam filter.

I do not know if registration is still open. But do try the link below if you are interested and have not registered. The conference runs for three days, Saturday through Monday.

Please click on this link to register:

https://acourseoflove.org/online-conference/

Love, Celia

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How to Ask for Divine Instructions

“Therefore, when you say, ‘If you want me to I will,’ please add ‘and if you don’t want me to I won’t.’ This is the right use of inhibition.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.24.5:3-4)

These are very specific guidelines for following guidance. We do get a sense of what we are to do, and when. Whether or not we follow that guidance depends on our resistance to what God is trying to tell us. Here Jesus is directing Helen and Bill, and by extension, us, very well. He knows that if he doesn’t want us to do something that we seem intent on doing, we need to be willing to be pliable.

Guidance is vitally important to a full and active life in the Spirit. Our little, finite, minds don’t know the whole picture, can’t see it, and so following the nudging of the Holy Spirit is vital. He guides us very specifically, whether to turn right at the next corner, even, sometimes. We don’t follow impulses willy-nilly, of course, but if we test out an impulse, and we see that there is no harm in what we think is being asked of us, then why don’t we respond, and respond quickly?

We don’t respond quickly because we have our own ideas about what is best for us, for our brothers and sisters, and the world. But how wrong we can recognize we have been in the past, before the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and even afterwards, when we were being headstrong.

There is a better way. Ask before resistance becomes confirmed. Ask what to do or say. The way will open. It will be a bright and glorious way, full of God, full of the Holy Spirit, and full of our best Self.

Take time to ask first today. If we proceed without that divine approval, we may make problems for ourselves that could be overcome with a little flexibility on our part.

Dear God,

Thank You for answering my prayer, and removing my resistance, to something You intend for me. I have known all along what You were saying, but I did so want to go my way. This is utter stupidity. The best way is always Yours, and I do know that my real will and Your will are identical.

Thank You for the blossoming of this day, after I bent my will to what I knew was divine leading.

Amen.

What Is My Calling? by Ivor Sowton

Jesus us so skillfully in exploring that idea of hearing a call.

The Second Treatise of A Course of Love (ACOL) begins with looking at treasure. Treasure is quickly linked to hearing one’s calling in life—that is, Jesus is telling us that following our own calling is very valuable and important for us. Following our calling is how we serve and express our own divine Self.

So of course we want to jump right into ”our calling,” even to the extent of making it up from our separated egos! Aye, there’s the rub. Jesus has to bring us a long way through A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and ACOL before we are even ready for such a discussion, you might say.

In the first place, the painful assertion of the separated self-identity seeming involved a lot of misguided use of calling. As a child we might indeed have come into this world “trailing clouds of glory”, as Wordsworth famously said, but then within the course of “normal” human development, we seemed to lose touch with that divine glory.

And so we made up a persona, a mask, a constructed identity that we presented to the world– and even to ourselves—as who we really are. Jesus acknowledges that we do in fact need a persona in our human lives here, but he wants that persona to be representation of our true Self as much as possible. He says in ACOL “drape your persona in a mantle of peace and joy.” In this way it can be a representation in form of the formless true Self within.

But that is an advanced achievement! We need not be discouraged to find that we first need to deconstruct some false callings before realizing our true divine callings. Jesus tells us reassuringly that we wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t embraced some very limiting ideas about ourselves, but that there is a way out.

When and why does a child start feeling not good enough and start constructing a false self? Perhaps the individual stories vary a lot outwardly (this one born into privilege, that one born into abject poverty as a refugee, this one healthy, that one congenitally disabled, etc.), but the fact is we all made a false self—it came from feeling separated in the first place!

Thus the recommendation is to keep letting Jesus guide us in relating to our true calling.

If it weren’t for our special relationships we might jump right into true calling and never look back, I suppose. But because most of us are learning and growing so much in exploring relationship, we are encouraged to have to have faith in Jesus when he offers us the wonderful option of holy relationship gradually replacing special relationship through divine grace, if we but offer that little bit of willingness.

So for instance the ego in us is accustomed to using others for personal gain. It can be quite painful to begin to see (or let ourselves really feel) how frightened we are and how much we cling to our special loves or try to push away our special hate objects– how much we try to manipulate them to fill our emptiness or give us someone to blame for our dissatisfaction in life. This necessary process is laid out in the stages of the development of trust in the Manual for Teachers in ACIM.

Our work in the world is also very relevant to our calling. Freud said so wonderfully that there are two things incumbent on all of us to establish successfully in our lives: “love and work.” We need to learn how to give and receive love within appropriate human relationships, and we also and need to have our work in the world be a meaningful contribution we can feel good about.

Earl Purdy, a long-time teacher of ACIM and ACOL, once responded to a sincere question on job dissatisfaction from a participant in one of his wonderful U-Tube classes. The person was really being challenged at work, and Earl said, “You know, your actual present job could be absolutely the right place for you if you can learn to see God there! God teaching you, helping you, inspiring you through all your co-workers– and you doing the same for them.” This seemed very helpful to the questioner and also to the audience in general. Later, Earl led everyone in an affirmation from ACOL: “I give everyone in my life to love. I give everyone in my life to God. And I know that love and God are the same.”

In this sense, true calling in our work is more likely to be about seeing the spiritual opportunity already present there, rather than assuming that we are called to some other job or career that might be more gratifying to our ego.

Our sense of spirituality is also very much at issue here in terms of calling. Contemporary Western Zen Buddhist teacher Adya Shanti talks about “dreamland spirituality” as what most of us envision as we start out on the Path. Dreamland spirituality has us imagining a glorified ego state, as Jesus calls it in ACOL—a state the ego makes up as a personal Shangri-la, where all its needs are being met eternally without having to renounce the separation at all!

We’ve probably all experienced unseasoned teachers promising us some version of this ego heaven if we follow them. In addition, we’ve probably also caught ourselves trying to take that role with others. Maybe that’s a stage we have to go through—seeing through that spiritual specialness of dreamland spirituality.

I think we have to very self-honest and humble, then, in regard to answering that question “what is my calling?” Luckily, if we let Jesus guide our understanding here, we can have a lot of hope and faith in a bright future as our true calling is revealed to us from deep within our own Self.

These two quotes from ACOL sum up what we can joyfully anticipate in terms of our true calling:

“You who have so recently felt the peace of true acceptance are not asked to leave that peace to go in search of calling but are rather asked to listen from within that peace to what you feel called to do.” (Second Treatise, 4:12).

“All you must do is wholeheartedly recognize the treasure you have already chosen to bring into the world.” (Second Treatise, 3:2).

We Are Wholeness / This We Accept

1 – Acceptance

“Acceptance is necessary because escape is not possible. Everything that is, is with us, which is why we are the accomplished as well as the void, the healed as well as the sick, the chaos and the peace. Thus we heal now by calling on wholeness, accepting the healed self’s ability to be chosen while not encountering resistance or any attempts at rejection of the sick or wounded self. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 14)”

2 – Spacious Self

This quotation aims at saying that the spacious Self encompasses all parts of the Self, especially including, we must learn, the parts of the self that we would like to disown. The little or personal self is fraught with error, even when we have advanced far along the pathway. We may find ourselves still getting angry, still attacking, still being defensive. If we don’t like these aspects of our personality, we don’t resist, for resistance would make the force field stronger. We simply turn aside from less-desirable personality traits, giving them no energy. This “no energy” is our way to reach toward perfection.

3 – Perfection

Remember, though, that Jesus indicates that we don’t have to be perfect to be Christ-conscious. Eventually, we will know a kind of perfection, because in the New Testament, Jesus is quoted as saying, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” And in A Course in Miracles, Jesus says that he stands at the end, the correct the mistakes that we ourselves cannot correct. If he stands at the end, we still have some mistakes now. But we can do our part, as well as seeing Jesus do his. We can turn aside from those traits that are negative, turning instead to the light that is within all of us.

4 – Light of the World

We are the “light of the world.” This is declared in the New Testament as well as in A Course in Miracles. Let us together bring that light to our brothers and sisters who are lost in a damaging world of illusions.

5 – Contrasts

We are the contrasts. This quotation makes this clear. We are the up and the down. Only when we accept that the “down” needs to be enfolded into the spacious Self do we find relief from our discomfort.

6 – Today

Let us do that today, now.

7 – Projection

“The spacious Self realizes that the outer world is a projection and most often a rejection rather than an extension of what is within. Thus, sickness is a rejection of feelings. All that causes fear is rejection of feelings. All that causes loneliness is rejection of feelings. All that causes violence is rejection of feelings. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 14)”

8 – Extend

We need to extend what is within. This Self of ours is within, and extension is how we create well. But just now we are still caught in illusions, and for this to be our world, we have been projecting from our minds. Our little minds, the personal self.

9 – Rejection

We have been rejecting our feelings, because we have known unhappiness. In any given day, most of us have times of feeling down. And we tend to reject the feelings rather than to experience them fully; we stuff them downward into our psyches. But we don’t find relief that way.

10 – Relief

The only way to have relief is to welcome ALL feelings—even the negative ones. Welcome them into the spacious Self (by which we mean the all-encompassing Christ Self Who is within all of us), and there, within, see these rejected feelings transformed into something much more positive. We will not be disappointed when we stop trying to overcome negative feelings by rejecting them. Just welcome. And then the low mood will pass.

11 – Others

“It is by holding all feelings of others within the spacious Self, by not forgetting that the one and the many are the same, by willfully remembering that the feelings of the many can be ‘held’ and not projected into the world as sickness, violence, and so on, that acceptance occurs. It is in accepting all feelings as the feelings of the many that the feelings of ‘others’ are accepted as one’s own and held within the spaciousness of the One Self, the whole Self. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 14)”

12 – Turn to Others

We turn to others with this quotation. We need to accept their feelings as well as our own. All others, all brothers and sisters, are part of us, part of the All, the One. So we communicate telepathically all the time, particularly, perhaps, when we are unaware of such communication. We need to accept the negative feelings of others as well as the negative feelings of ourselves. When we accept, we are much more likely to transform. We will transform, in fact. We will not add our discomfort to the discomfort of our brothers and sisters, thereby projecting violence, sickness, and the like upon the world.

13 – Feelings

We accept others’ feelings as though they were our own. We are One, remember. So in a very real sense, we don’t see any feelings that are not our own. But we can rise above dishonest, reprehensible feelings by absorbing them into our spacious Self, our inner Christ Self. And they and we will be made much the better for it.

14 – All

“What the spacious Self holds within is the relationship of all to all. Relationship is the invisible reality only expressed through form. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 14)”

15 – Form

We see others as occupying form. This is the way that we see our brothers and sisters who are in this world with us. This is relationship in our world. We need the others’ bodies to be able to communicate in this world. And communicate we must.

16 – ACIM

In A Course in Miracles, we are told that Jesus needs our voice, our hands, our feet, to spread salvation. He needs the form that we occupy, for that is how we experience this world. That is how others experience us.

17 – Relationship

Relationship is actually invisible, because our spacious Self is invisible. It is the invisible force field that surrounds our natural bodies. We think that our bodies encompass ourselves, but it is actually the reverse; we are invisible forms that occupy forms that we can see. And we become the elevated Self of form, because we live in this world. It is the way in which we will survive once we reach Christ-consciousness.

18 – Acceptance

“Your acceptance of these words is a form of acceptance of the unknown and as such a means of coming to know. These words are only one means, which is why this is called a dialogue. Realize now that this is but one voice of the many. You have entered into the dialogue with the many as well as the one. This dialogue is going on all around you. Have you been listening to but one voice? Or have you begun to hear the one voice in the many? (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 161)”

19 – Healing

Healing is found in the acceptance of the spacious Self–the Self that we share with all others in unity and in relationship one to another. Earlier we have been tempted many times to reject feelings, and we have thereby been led many times into sickness. Now we are called upon to accept all of our feelings. Our feelings are not unique to each of us individually, but are part of the whole which we all share. Others feel as we do. This concept in itself is comforting, because we are tempted to think that nobody else in our world has ever felt quite as we do when we are feeling down.

20 – Hold Within

We are asked to hold within our feelings in the spacious Self, the Self we share with all others. We are not as likely to feel wounded when we know that others are a part of ourselves. We will not understand all things, but we will hold within not only our spaciousness but also the invisibility of that which we do not comprehend. We do not reject these unknowns; we hold them in our spaciousness. We are accepting of the unexplainable.
Our spacious Self will be a healed Self. We reach out to others, and we accept them in this dialogue. We are not alone on the mountaintop! We accept that others are with us on the same ascension. We then sustain one voice, the many expressing the unity in relationship that we have all needed for eons.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize that in my Self are the others that surround me. I am never alone. My spacious Self includes all.

May I be forgiving of all of those others. May they be healed along with me, as we realize that we are all One.

May this day go well. I am seeking sudden change, so that my withered ego doesn’t have time to adapt to change. May I see that sudden change today. May I enjoy the day, enjoy all others whom I meet. The time for change will be as right as the Answer. Help me to know this internally, in my deepest Self.

Amen.

TRANSFORMATION FOR EVERYONE

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

I Am a Transformed Humpty!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Dialogues, 40 Days/Nights. Jesus: “Accept Me.”

“This has been spoken of as the second coming of Christ because my story goes unfulfilled without your fulfillment. It is only in your fulfillment of the continuing story of creation that my story reaches completion. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 90)”

Affirmation: “May I know my fulfillment.”

Reflections:

1 – Continuity with the New Testament

This first day of the Forty Days and Nights on the mountaintop with Jesus in the Dialogues of A Course of Love solidifies continuity with the New Testament and Christian orthodoxy:

“Acceptance of me is acceptance of Your Self. Acceptance of me is acceptance of your inheritance. This is nothing new to those of you of the Christian faith.”

2 – Personal Interpretation

I have long viewed A Course in Miracles and A Course in Miracles as a continuation, to fulfill modern-day needs, of the Bible. Jesus has not changed a great deal in the last 2,000 years. He is steady as a rock. He is with us still. And he makes claims that no individual would make who was unsure of himself.

4 – New Testament

“The New Testament was the beginning of the new.”

We see a direct statement from Jesus here in regard to new times. The implication to me clearly is that the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible did not present, very often, a loving God. And the New Testament presented a God who was loving and forgiving, quite different from the monarch who would punish if his every rule were not kept.

5 – Why Required?

“Why should this [acceptance] be so important? Why not leave well enough alone? If acceptance of Jesus is a stumbling block for many, why should it be required?”

Jesus goes on to explain that to take college courses and get a degree have requirements. To get to the moon requires a spacecraft and spacesuit. Would we strain at the gnat? Jesus is only giving it to us straight, straighter than he did in A Course in Miracles. We must accept his authority, which is what accepting him is all about.

6 – Second Coming

“This has been spoken of as the second coming of Christ because my story goes unfulfilled without your fulfillment. It is only in your fulfillment of the continuing story of creation that my story reaches completion.”

We are making the succession from Jesus to a new day. We are It. There is not compromise herein, and only when we accept Jesus’s authority do we find the peace that he is offering us.

7 – Cease Searching

“Lay aside your want of other answers, other stories, and accept the story we share.”

Jesus is asking us to stop searching, and this injunction will become clearer when we realize that many of us who studied A Course in Miracles did not stop searching at its conclusion. We kept looking for something further, almost like an addiction to searching. Now in A Course of Love, the trilogy, Jesus says that enough is enough. We no longer have to keep searching. With the “Treatise on the New,” we recognize that we are The Accomplished. We no longer need nor should we, search.

8 – Day One

This “Day One” represents the first of 40 days and nights on a “mountain top” with Jesus as our guide. In this chapter of the Dialogues, Jesus makes a comparison of these 40 days and nights with his own 40 days and nights in the desert, prior to the beginning of his mission on earth 2,000 years ago. We are to become what he became.

9 – God

Jesus stresses that it matters not what we call “God,” because God knows who He is. But acceptance of Jesus as our guide is necessary; it explains that this is just the way it is in salvation. This tenet of A Course of Love, the Dialogues, will be difficult for some of us to accept, perhaps, but if we realize that in A Course in Miracles we have already accepted Jesus as our guide, we will be less resistant.

10 – Jesus

We are meant to become all that Jesus was. His was the example life. We do not have to go through what he experienced, because that was for him alone. But we do have to accept him as our guide. Then we will be well on our way to recognizing that indeed this is the time of the second coming of Christ. We are meant to embody that second coming as we elevate our self of form to the elevated Self.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I wholeheartedly accept Jesus as my guide. May I drop any resistance that I have ever had around this idea. May I choose the best for my future, and may I realize that Jesus is a part of my personal future.

Thank You, dear God, for leading me to love better. As I go to the mountain top with Jesus, may I know a resurrection that only You can bring to me.

May today I attract only good things. May I love with a deep love, feel gratitude for all things coming from Your hand, and be at peace in the midst of my too busy life. Today has lightened up since I awoke, and I thank You for that. I will cocoon on this winter day, ready for another busy day tomorrow. But keep me in the present moment, the Now. That is the only way to live Your way. And I thank You for this truth.

Amen.

Do Not Blame the Victim

lenfest exhibition - pennsylvania“These lessons could not be taught while blame remained within your thought system. No victim is to blame for the violence done to them. No sick person is to blame for the illness within them. But you must be able to look at and see reality for what it is. Just as we are telling you that new beliefs and ideas will lead to a new reality, old beliefs and ideas led to the old reality, a reality that will still exist for some even after it changes completely for you. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.12)”

Affirmation: “I would change my reality to the better today.”

Reflections:

1 – Needlessness of Suffering

We see in this passage for today the needlessness of suffering, the fact that we are not to blame the victim—but to recognize that he/she is innocent of the trouble that has come about. We also recognize that individuals who are suffering do not need to carry this cross, but that their degree of enlightenment may be hindering them.

2 – A Victim Mentality

There is a problem with this interpretation, because it leads to the false conclusion, perhaps, that if a person were stronger, more enlightened, these bad things would not be happening, and so he/she is made to feel a victim of his/her own struggle to grow in faith. If his/her mind and heart were right with God, would bad things happen?

3 – Higher Self

There is a mystery here that needs to be cleared up. The higher Self makes the decision about which circumstances we move through. Not everyone is ready to learn through rewards; for some, the enlightenment that comes through passing through suffering is a good thing. For some, not for all. But if we are to understand the plight of ourselves and others when we suffer, we must recognize that our own thought processes play a role in what we experience. We can rise above the suffering and diminish it into simply “pain.” We don’t have to exacerbate the problem by saying something to ourselves about “poor me.”

4 – Out of Control?

We all too often think we are out of control in the reality that we create. We are not. We create our own reality, but this is the reality that the Christ Self wants us to have. The little, or personal self, does not know nor see the whole picture. And with our limited understanding, we think that the more enlightened suffer less.

5 – False Understanding

I think that this is a false understanding. Many choose suffering still, not sure of the value of choosing rewards. Many are enlightened individuals who have chosen a path other than A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love. Jesus takes us where we are, and then he enlarges that vision. Never make the mistake of thinking that another’s pathway is wrong. We don’t know enough to say that.

6 – Ego

But we do know enough not to blame the victim, however tempting this solution might be to the still-present ego.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that no full answer will be possible about the problem of suffering. I know that we do not have to learn through pain, but the fact remains that many of us do learn through pain. I can ask to learn through rewards, though, as Jesus bade, and I do ask that today.

May the stumbling of the problem of suffering and the evil that it seems to indicate be ended. I live in a good world, and I would not misuse my mind by dropping into doubts about the joy that is available here for the asking.

Amen.

Hell Exchanged for Heaven

“Is heaven worth enough to you to give up hell?  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose heaven today.”

Reflections:

1 – Meaning?

What does this passage mean?  What will we experience when we choose heaven instead of hell?

2 – No Ego

We will no longer choose anything from a egoic frame of mind.

3 – Peace

We will make our decisions when within the Peace of God.

4 – Calm and Quiet

There is a real change, but life does not become a dramatic event any longer, and we need to become certain that “perfectly calm and quiet all the time” is what we want (from A Course in Miracles) all the time.  Not all of us are ready to give up dramatics.  And giving up drama may be a gradual thing.  We realize that we are more joyous without the drama, and so we simmer down and accept a quieter existence, a quieter living.

5 – Mindfulness

Mindfulness can help us, and Jesus affirms this elsewhere in A Course of Love.  If we pay attention to the details of just what we are doing, not elaborating upon it to try to give it meaning, but simply to experience the mundane in our world, we will be experiencing mindfulness, and we will come closer to the Peace of God all the time.  This means that we are living Christ-consciousness, sometimes unawares.

6 – Heaven Here and Now

Who would choose hell when he/she sees a way to heaven?  Nobody, except someone who is masochistic.  And we do not mean a heaven that is after death, but a heaven right here, right now.

7 – We Can Choose

Surely all of us would choose heaven, if we knew that we have this opportunity.  And A Course of Love is proving to us that we can choose heaven over hell at every point.  There may be some time involved in making the transition, or the realization of all-inclusiveness of the lesson (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles) may come suddenly.  Most are giving a slowly evolving training program (also from the Manual), and then the blessing is ours.

8 – Choose Every Morning

Don’t turn aside from the blessing today.  We can choose heaven, on a daily basis.  We can make this choice every morning.  And if the day goes awry, we can always start the day over again (also from the Manual of ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose heaven over hell today.  I would release those feelings that pain me, and walk into the sunlight with You.  I know that heaven is Your choice for me.  May I make that choice as well.

Be with me for a good day.  And may I fret over nothing.  May I never rue another day.  Thank You for guiding me to Your way.

Amen.

Book Announcement

I’ve been asked to post an announcement about “The Fifth Disciple,” a new book by Cynthia Bove that’s a comparison of the Gospel of Thomas and A Course in Miracles. The two spiritual manuscripts, according to Christ Lenois of One Books,  parallel each other in surprising and insightful ways.
An excerpt from “The Fifth Disciple” is available at the following link:
The excerpt is called “The One Answer,” and it provides a solution to what the author calls our “one problem: the belief that we are separate from the Divine.”
We’d love to hear your comments about “The Fifth Disciple.”
–Celia Hales

Temptation

“Be vigilant against temptation, then, remembering that it is but a wish, insane and meaningless, to make yourself a thing that you are not.  And think as well upon the thing that you would be instead.  It is a thing of madness, pain and death; a thing of treachery and black despair, of failing dreams and no remaining hope except to die, and end the dream of fear.  This is temptation; nothing more than this.  Can this be difficult to choose against? (T665)”

 

Affirmation:  “Be vigilant against temptation.”

Reflections:

1 – Comforting Attitude

This commonsense attitude toward temptation does not scare us.  It comforts.  At this same time, though, it warns of the very real problems that yielding to temptation does bring.  “Be vigilant against temptation” because, in part, it is a “thing of madness.”

2 – Be Flexible

When we feel tempted to follow a way that is not of the Holy Spirit or of Christ-consciousness (the latter from A Course of Love), then we are not being flexible enough.  We need, as I have often said, to be ready and willing to “turn on a dime.”  Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to us just at the precise moment, and if we are pressing ahead, we may not turn on a dime.  But we need to do so.  And the secular words, “Be flexible,” help me more often than not to make that shift in what I was planning to say or do.

3 – A Warning about Temptation

We know when we are being tempted, because the guidance of the Holy Spirit warns us (if we listen to Him).  Then, our best response is to turn away as soon as we are able.  Sometimes we yield momentarily, because our stubborn wills get in the way.  We feel rebellious, and we don’t listen to guidance from the Holy Spirit.

4 – Choose “Against”

The madness, though, is answered in Jesus’s final question, “Can this be difficult to choose against?”   The description just prior to this question is vivid indeed:  “black despair, of failing dreams and no remaining hope except to die.”  Surely we can be flexible enough to follow the Holy Spirit when He warns us that we are treading into dangerous, ego-willed, behavior–temptation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and thank You for the fact that I am warned, as You promise, when I would not be flexible enough, when I would be tempted to make a poor choice.  May I always remain flexible enough, knowing that being in the flow of the day that my Guide gives me is the very best way to live.

Be with me today as the sun shines and the light is a harbinger of fresh and new days ahead.  Thank You for the joy that I feel in the midst of any and all problems.  Your felt presence is always there, when I am open to sensing You.  Thank You.

Amen.

Mind Wandering

“You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind’s miscreations” (T29).

Affirmation:  “I would keep my mind on track today.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

This quotation appears early in the Text, in a section designed to help us to overcome fear.  The “miscreations” happen all too frequently when we let our mind wander over our day, our lives, and especially our futures.  Jesus bids us at this point to ask if our choice is in accord with his.  If it is, there will be no fear.

2 – Miscreations Are from the Ego

The miscreations are the things in our world that we “make” from the mind slant of the ego.  We live in misery, alleviated only from time to time, when we let the ego rule.  The ego in this sense is not quite what Freud defined.  It is a part of our understanding of ourselves, and it is regularly leading us away from God to the self-centered impulses of which we are all aware.  The stronger the ego, the more undone it will become as time passes.  This leads directly to an inferiority complex, because we are constantly brought up short to realize that we are not the center of the world, after all.  The ego champions  the illusions in this world, and it, as a part of our belief about ourselves, does not wish us well.  The ego sense that there is another part of us that is opposed to it; this brings up the matter of the Holy Spirit.  Love does not directly fight fear; it simply characterizes fear as untruth.  When we are in a loving state of mind, we are letting the real world speak to us, the world that God created with us in mind.  We do have moments when the ego is not noticeable to us, regardless of how far we still have to walk along the pathway home.

3 – Try to Settle the Mind

This teaching is one of the more difficult to apply in daily life.  Our minds jump around so much that settling the mind down, even in prayer, is difficult.  Cultivating relaxation prior to prayer can be very helpful.

4 – Jesus Is Near

This passage highlights the closeness of Jesus to our lives.  We can even imagine that he holds our hand as we walk along life’s pathway.  This is not idle fantasy, according to the Course (WB120).

5 – Keep the Mind Still

Nobody who has not awakened (meaning the vast majority of us) can eliminate fear entirely.  But following the teachings of the Course, especially passages such as the one cited above, can go a long way toward giving us the peace that we crave.  Try to keep the mind still, and let the Holy Spirit speak.  Over time, if we are patient and practice willingly and often, this stillness in our mind will virtually eliminate “mind wandering.”

6 – Try Praying Aloud

I have found that praying aloud, when alone, is helpful in keeping the mind and heart on track.  We are led to keep a coherent monologue going.  But, of course, prayer is listening as well, and it would be good to enjoy silence and ask God what He wants us to know.  We may then experience an inner knowing that gives us the next right step to make in our day.  We may feel calmer and even happier.  Communion with God is always meant to be peaceful endeavor, though a prayer that comes from struggling with some issue is heard as well.   We need to go with our natural inclinations, as long as they do not hurt another individual.  Mind wandering, believe it or not, can become a thing of the past.

Prayer:

 Dear Father/Mother,

 I would follow my own advice today and pray aloud whenever I am alone.  I thank You that You are inside of me, and that my projections from an ego-oriented mind may “make” a world, but that these miscreations are not real.  May I come to “know” as opposed to “perceive.”  May I see as You would have me see.

 I thank You that Jesus is near.  I do not understand how he can reach out to all of us, but there are many things that I cannot comprehend.  I do have the willingness to step out in regard to this belief.  And thank You for the fact that Jesus holds my hand today as I go about the sometimes meaningless things that I do.  Guide me to do the meaningful things.

 Thank You.

 Amen.

How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

“To the advanced teacher of God this question is meaningless.  There is no program, for the lessons change each day.  Yet the teacher of God is sure of but one thing; they do not change at random.  Seeing this and understanding that it is true, he rests content.  He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day. (M40)”

Affirmation:  “I will follow guidance in living this day.”

Reflections:

1 – What Does “Advanced? Mean?

Not all of us are “advanced,” and the workbook lesson that begins on M40 goes on to explain further.  Yet there are many in the Course community now who have studied A Course in Miracles for many years.  They rightfully can be called “advanced.”

2 – No Planning

Knowing that there is nothing in a day that needs to be planned is enormously freeing.  Practical plans may need to be made, and, if so, those plans will flawlessly come into one’s mind at the time of action.  This is the way the guidance of the Holy Spirit works.  While it takes great faith to commit to such a way of life, our new way does not have to be perfect, especially in the beginning.  Mistakes that are given over to the Holy Spirit are easily corrected.  Pause a moment, mentally and emotionally start the day over, and we are once again on the right pathway.

3 – Planning Prompted by the Holy Spirit

We are led to give up planning, unless the planning is prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Planning against contingencies to come is one of three ways that we digress from the pathway (the other two are attack and judgment).  We are actually living in fear when we try, in vain, to predict the future and to make plans because of what we fear.  The ego is in the ascendancy at such times.  And we will learn through the pages of ACIM that the ego, as defined by ACIM, is a part of our belief about ourselves, but it embodies a persona, a false sense of self.  We would know our real Self, the Self who has never left God in a separation that merely seems to have happened.

4 – Safe at Home in God

We are actually safe at home with God.  In this world, we are not often conscious of this truth, because we are living a dream, caught in illusions (ACIM tenets).

5 – Follow Guidance

Ask today to live the program of the day as guidance dictates.  Ask to follow the Holy Spirit.  If not sure that we have accepted the Holy Spirit’s presence within, then ask for Him to enter today.  He will never fail to hear from one of God’s children.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would drop the idea that I am “advanced.”  Years of studying A Course in Miracles mean nothing if we fail to put into practice, consistently, what we have learned.  And I sometimes fail.  I would have You today take me as a new learner, and give me the best that I can hope for today.  I would learn anew, this year, what guidance would have me to do.  And this year I would actually do it.

Be with me as I seek to be flexible in Your hands, following the guidance that I receive moment by moment.  I know that You do not condemn me when I fail, but I would pray not to fail very often today.  In this world, I will always be fallible, but with Your help, I can walk a smooth pathway to You.

Thank You for always letting me sense You in me.

Amen.

The Ego vs. the Holy Spirit

“Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit.  The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the choice for guiltlessness. (T275)”

Affirmation:  “I choose the Holy Spirit and guiltlessness today.”

 Reflections:

1 – Guidance

Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis provides the most satisfying way of living imaginable.  It is not easy, but it is simple.  Guidance comes in a variety of ways, including feelings, words that you happen to read, words that you hear in the outside world.  The only precaution:  Don’t make a “sign” out of everything.  You will tangle yourself up.

2 – Eliminating Guilt

Following the Holy Spirit eliminates the guilt that we sometimes feel with the decisions that we make.  We no longer have to make spurious judgments.  We realize, in fact, that our judgments have always been flawed, and we no longer attempt to use flawed methods to make decisions.  We depend on guidance.

3 – If We Fail

If we fail, we are led back, ever so gently.  The Holy Spirit is wise and loving, and the judgments that He makes are sure.  Under His guidance, the ego gently withers away.

4 – Avoid Judging

The Manual has much to say about how awry our judgments really are.  We, unlike the Holy Spirit, cannot see the whole picture–past, present, and future.  We think we are judging accurately, but then we often realize much later that we were not seeing clearly.  ACIM says that we are never seeing clearly when we judge, because judging is not our function; judging belongs only to the Holy Spirit, who does know all.  We are to forgive ourselves and our brothers and sisters, and such forgiveness is impossible when we are judging.

5 – Make a Change Today

Let us today take the initiative in dropping judgment from our repertoire of mind-engaging activities.  We cannot judge aright, and so why not drop any attempt?  When we do drop judgment, ACIM tells us that we will walk an effortless pathway.  We will be lighthearted and carefree (paraphrases from ACIM).  The blessing of joy awaits us when we have relinquished judgment, and relinquishing it is said to be very easy to do.  It is the holding on to judgment that is so difficult, not to mention just very foolish.

Prayer:

 Dear Father/Mother,

 I would drop judging from my list of attributes.  I do understand that only the Holy Spirit can judge aright, and He says that we are innocent.  We are simply asking for help, and I do ask for help today when circumstances seem to go awry.  Help me to be flexible in my daily path today, and help me to commune with You if I am tempted to fly off the handle.

 I wish to eliminate guilt from my list of emotions, because it is a form of hell.  I would not spend anytime today in welcoming hell for myself.  I would forgive, knowing that in my forgiveness I welcome Heaven.  Yes, I do believe that Heaven on earth is a possibility, even though outward conditions in our world are often deplorable.  Guide me, through the Holy Spirit, to do what I can to rectify the problems that are mine to solve, but do not let me drift into problems that are educating for another.  You know best.

 May this year go well.  You would have us joyous, even though we see around us those things that can make us cry.  Help me to recognize that I live not only in a mad world, but also in an illusory one.  And guide me to Your real world ever more closely, today.

 Thank You.

 Amen.

A COURSE OF LOVE: REVIEW I

Scribed by Mari Perron.  To order, visit <http://acourseoflove.com&gt;.

This review covers the first volume in the series of three volumes.

Review by Celia Hales.  Revised with new title.  Previously published in Miracles magazine (publisher Jon Mundy).  

A Course in Love is believed to answer questions that earnest seekers still have despite careful study of A Course in Miracles.  The framework is the same; the author (Jesus), the same.

Some of us who have studied ACIM and emerged with weakened egos have, in the words of A Course of Love, “rejected” ourselves.  We think that to claim our rightful place of identity with the Christ within lacks humility.  A Course in Love (ACOL) says that such an attitude is actually borne of fear.  “You prefer selflessness to self because this is your chosen way to abolish ego and to please God.  (P.20)”  But now we approach “final learning through the realm of the heart.  This is where the confusion ends.  This is why we call this course A Course of Love.  (P.44)”

I interviewed Mari Perron, who channeled this work, for this book review.  She is a genuinely humble individual who is articulate and very attuned to the values of ACIM.  Much about the initiation of ACOL can be found on her web site (http://www.acourseoflove.com).  Those who have studied A Course in Miracles were identified to her as the best audience of the Course of Love series, because they are ready for it.  Indeed, the works, three in all, were presented to Mari as “another Course in Miracles.”  It is true that others have believed themselves to be channeling for Jesus in the years since ACIM; I make no judgment about any of these works, but do encourage you to check out ACOL.

If there is a single difference between A Course in Miracles and  A Course of Love, it is this:  ACIM, through the Holy Spirit, brought comfort to the mind; ACOL seeks to bring comfort to a troubled heart.  (2.15)  And this comfort is by identity with the Christ within, a source not for pride but solace brought to us by Jesus himself who embraces us with love.

There is an assumption winding its way through ACOL that how dare we be happy when all about us is such unhappiness and injustice in the world.  ACOL‘s answer is that we claim our power by following our internal guidance to do good in the world.  We cannot know what to do ourselves; even to try would be to strengthen the ego.  We are meant to be in union, and with this the heart intercedes.  (5.20)  “Those who would not change the world one iota through their constant effort, in peace create the world anew.  (6.17)”

ACOL bids us feel joy, noting that all often we prefer to be serious:  “You are looking for the rest and quiet joy that only comes from love.  (12.5)”

The thesis of A Course of Love can perhaps be summed up in the following sequence of ideas:

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 our awareness, but this unification returns us to the Christ in us and the one mind united with God that we have never left.  Creation’s power then returns to us to help all the separated ones remember union.  (19.4)

ACOL is a very comforting book.  Jesus bids us come into his embrace and be safe.  (20.2)  “The embrace makes one of two.  (20.7)”  He continues, “The embrace can be likened to the starting point of a shared language, a language shared by mind and heart and by all people.  (21.6)”

Jesus bids us to be the Self that we truly are, the Christ within.  This is not egotism, but the truest clarity.  And this Self is known through relationship, through union.  It is a time of “great humility.  Of wearing the face of Christ for all to see.  (28.8)”

Those who have loved A Course in Miracles will find much solace in A Course of Love.  Like ACIM, ACOL too must be read attentively and also slowly, but when approached with an open mind and a thoughtful heart, this book in the A Course of Love series merits my unreserved recommendation.

Welcome. . .from Celia Hales

Thank you for viewing this blog.

Note the search feature on the right of your screen, which will allow you to enter keywords and thereby find desired topics.  You may also subscribe to the blog and get daily postings directly in your e-mail.

This blog considers A Course in Miracles (ACIM), A Course of Love (ACOL, channeled by Mari Perron and viewed by some as a sequel to A Course in Miracles), and similar readings. 

There are a number of articles and book reviews in a table of contents located at the top of the home page.  Just click on “articles and book reviews” and then enter the search terms indicated to bring up the item for which you have interest.

_____

IMAGES IN A REFLECTING POOL

http://elainehill.wordpress.com

Click in the top menu  to go directly to the blog.

This blog has short reflections that were inspired by A Course in Miracles.  Because this blog is based on my journal, it is more personally written than anything  in “Blog:  A Course in Miracles & More.”  The book identifies the relationship of self to Self, self to others, and self to God.  The parts are described as follows:  (1) identification of the self; (2) learning through relationships; and (3) returning to our Source.

All book chapters can be accessed individually through a sidebar that gives the chapter titles.

OUT OF THE MAZE

http://celiahales.wordpress.com

Click in the top menu to go directly to the blog.

This blog, also based on A Course in Miracles, gives a personal interpretation of ACIM that concentrates, in three parts, on the following:  (1) the ego as defined by ACIM, (2) special vs. holy relationships, and (3) guidance through the Holy Spirit.

All book chapters can be accessed individually through a sidebar that gives the chapter titles.

Thank you for your visits.

–Celia Hales, Ph.D.

We Are Part of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 178 – for Monday, June 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is but Love, and therefore so am I.”

“1.  Let not my mind deny the Thought of God.

“2.  I am entrusted with the gifts of God.  (WB334)”

Reflections:

What is the “Thought of God”?  I think that it is the ultimate awareness that we are not alone.  We have support.  We have love.  And we have joy.  God is there for us at all times, even when we feel nothing.  There is some evidence from mystical writings that He withdraws from time to time in a dark night of the soul (a phrase from St. John of the Cross).  But these are normally rare occurrences.  If we reach within, we know His Thought.  Let us accept His Thought as our own, for we are a part of Him.

We do have gifts of God.  In our less grateful moments, we sink into depression and do not feel His goodness, but these can be fairly infrequent occasions.  No one is happy all of the time.  We have our egoistic dramas.  But when we move ever closer to Awakening, we are ever closer to God at all times.  Let Him guide in everyday life.  Talk to God in plain language.  He understands it.

The gifts of God are many.  We frequently think of materialistic things as His gifts, but these are not His most important gifts.  His most important gifts are intangibles that we can give away and in the giving have multiplied for ourselves (a Text tenet).  We do have an inheritance from God that is joyous in the extreme.  Let us not forget to thank Him for these great blessings.  A grateful heart is a joyous heart, more often than not.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know the joy of communing with You today.  You make my day.  A day in which I feel Your presence throughout my busy activities has always, for me, been a day well spent.  I may forget You, but please, You do not forget me.

I am part of You.  You are my essence.  However much my insanity has made what seems to be a separation from You, it is all illusion.  You have never left Your creation, and for that I give thanks.

Amen.

To Learn Directly from God

“Because you have now made a new choice, a collective choice as one body, one consciousness, to end the time of the intermediary and to begin to learn directly, you are given the same opportunity now that was formerly reserved for you only after your death.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 5.12)”

Affirmation:  “learn directly today”

Reflections:

Learning directly is looking within for our answers.  God is within (as well as perceived–and known–as without).  He will lead us surely.  We do not have to doubt.  If we have experienced salvation, we will know what to say and do.  We do not have to hesitate.

Of course, we will not do “crazy” things, though some of what we are bade to do may seem embarrassing to us.  Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that this conclusion of ours comes from a shabby self-perception, that the words that come to us are truer by far than something we would falsely imagine might be better.  We are bade to offer these words that come to us without doubt.  Just a few times of doing so will assure us of the validity of Jesus’s advice.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I learn directly from God today.  This is the favored way in the time of Christ (as in A Course of Love)  rather than in the time of the Holy Spirit (as in A Course in Miracles).  For some time I may vacillate between the two ways of knowing (as opposed to perceiving), and I ask your patience with me as I experience a new way of seeing.

Be with me today.  May fear leave me forever.  May the love that is Yours come to encompass my brothers and sisters, and myself, so completely that I am lost in that love.

Amen.

Contentment

“Forget not once this journey is begun the end is certain.  (ACIM, M91)”

Affirmation:  “May the journey to Awakening be near.”

Reflections:

ACIM assures us that our pathway can also be one of contentment.  If we hesitate about our salvation, and feel the way ahead is long and arduous, let us remember the passage for today.

In A Course of Love, Jesus walks the final pathway with us.   Especially in the third volume in that series, the Dialogues, he sees us to Awakening in the Forty Days and Forty Nights that he accompanies us to a metaphorical mountain top, a mountain top that we ascend with him, even though we do not leave our daily lives and work in the forty days.   These times in which we live are perilous, indeed, but we can find in our spiritual lives the contentment that we all seek, even in the midst of hardship and pain.  God becomes our Rock, and Jesus becomes our guide.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my pathway today be contented.  May I be assured that the way to Awakening is sure, and is near.  May I know that once begun, the end of the journey to Awakening is certain.

I wish to be contented all days, but let me take one day at a time.  Thank You for walking my pathway with me.  Help me to find the right pathway always.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 141:

My mind holds only what I think with God:

Forgiveness is the key to happiness.

Forgiveness offers everything I want.

Day Thirty Seven: A New Idea of God

“You realize that the man, the God, the historical figure who has been called Jesus Christ was not only Jesus but Christ.  Not only Christ but Jesus.  Not separated but individuated.  You realize that the call for the second coming of Christ has sounded and that it is a call to the difference you have always desired while not requiring you to remain separate!  (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 230)”

Affirmation:  “Lead me to understand, finally, the Second Coming of Christ.”

Reflections:

The previous day, Day Thirty Six, replaced an old idea of God with a new:  a God in which we all share.  Day Thirty Seven elaborates upon this conception.  We have previously seen ourselves as different from each other, and different from God.  But, in unity, we are all the same, the same in relationship to each other.  We are differentiations of God, creators even as He is.  Our previous work has often been “made,” rather than created (a tenet of A Course in Miracles), but now we would accept how to be creators of reality, not illusion.

We have seen ourselves as separate beings, encased in a human body that was made (rather than created) by the ego.  Now we recognize the falsity of this conception, and we move to see ourselves as one with God.  We accept this reality when we move into Christ-consciousness.  We then know, as opposed to perceiving.

We are told that the divineness of our being is most revealed in relationship.  This is because we are one with our brothers and sisters.  When we separate ourselves from them, we separate ourselves from God.  He would have us all join together.  We have seen glimpses of this new state, but soon this new state will become permanent within ourselves.  Then we will truly live in a new reality.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do not want separation anymore; I want union.  Help me to incorporate this new reality in my understanding of the human being that I am.  May I also recognize the fact that the divine is part of my nature.  I have not always understood this, but I ask to understand divinity today.

Thank You for this new and exciting truths.  May I understand honestly and in depth.  May I recognize that Your truth is something that, with grace, I can come to understand.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 130:

It is impossible to see two worlds.

Day Eleven: Christ-Consciousness

“Christ-consciousness is the awareness of existence through relationship.  It is not God.  It is not man.  It is the relationship that allows the awareness that God is everything.  It has been called wisdom, Sophia, spirit.  It is that without which God would not know God.  It is that which differentiates all from nothing.   (ACOL Dialogues, p. 154)”

Affirmation:  “Christ-consciousness is seen in relationship of myself to everything.”

Reflections:

This one passage helps to explain why separation from God, and our return to Him, was necessary in the first place.  If God is within (as well as without), then He could know Himself only in separation from the Whole.  But it is in the rejoining in unity and relationship that makes Christ-consciousness what it is.

The words, “unity and relationship,” are used repeatedly in A Course of Love.  They are so repeated that their meaning may be lost, unless we take care to understand fully at the outset.  We are one in unity with our brothers and sisters, and we are one in relationship to them–being that two or more are held together in relationship.  Thus the phrase, “unity and relationship,” is the central point without which Christ-consciousness could not function.

We are one heart, one mind, one Self–but seemingly fragmented into parts.  This is an illusions, but this fragmentation is the only way that God can experience Himself.  The All must separate and then see Itself in those separate, but united parts.  While this may be hard for us to wrap our finite minds around, here is one of the secrets of salvation, one of the philosophical tenets around which A Course of Love is built.  We know Christ-consciousness when we have rejoined our brothers and sisters in unity, but kept them close to use in our relationship to them.  This knowing is a celestial event of the highest magnitude.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I offer myself in service to the All that is You.  I am in relationship to that All, and I will know Christ-consciousness only as I accept this relationship.  I would accept this relationship now.

Thank You for guiding me in this shift in perception, this miracle.  I would know the elevated Self of form, and I will endeavor to turn to You often today, so that I may remain close to this new reality.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 104:

I seek but what belongs to me in truth.

Day Seven: Conditions of the Time of Acceptance

“Certainty is a condition of the present.  Realize you may say you are certain of the future or the past but that you cannot make it so.  Thus your ability to maintain and then sustain your access to union and thus your certainty, goes hand-in-hand with your ability to live in the present.  This ability is also contingent upon your recognition of what certainty really is.  (A Course of Love:  Dialogues)”

Affirmation:  “May I live in the present in certainty.”

Reflections:

We are now supported in our progress toward Christ-consciousness.  In truth, we have always been supported, but fear blocked our awareness of this support.  Love will now let us see that we always have support from the divine.  When we were learning, we felt that effort was required, and we did not feel support.  But we are beyond this time of learning now, and the support that we have always longed for will be there for us to experience.  We are now in the time of discovery, and we will learn through “thoughts that we do not think.”

We are in a time of expansion, so that once the elevated Self of form has occurred, we will create a new world, a new universe.  Living in this new universe will be as natural as breathing.

Our doubt will be replaced with certainty.  We really have nothing to worry about, nothing at all.  The union with the divine is ours to behold.  Accept and be assured.  And focus on living in the present at all times.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand the certainty in which You would have me live.  Help me to live in the present, knowing that if there are plans to be made, I will be told of them in the present always.

I long for this elevated Self of form.  Help me to move ever closer to this reality of Christ-consciousness.  Thank you for your constant abidingness with me.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 100:

My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.

Day Four: The New Temptations

“I must realize that here is where fear must be totally replaced by love.  If you fear to go where the portal of access will take you, you will not go.  Thus your desire needs to be greater than your fear.  Love needs to reign.  Love of self and love of your brothers and sisters, love of the natural world, of the world of form that is, love of the idea of the new world that can be, all of these must come together and be victors over the reign of fear.  (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 113).

Affirmation:  “May my fear be totally replaced by love.”

Reflections:

The “new temptations” meant in this title are two:  real choice and access.  These are not negatives, but goals toward which we wish to go.  We are leaving behind the time of learning, so that we learn through “thoughts that we do not think,” as a child does, and as early man and woman did–before language entered into our experience.

We must now want union in relationship to our brothers and sisters and our God more than anything else.  We must find acceptance of ourselves, despite our anger or our depression, or anything else that seems to be imperfect.  We are told that we do not have to be perfect, and we are reminded of the Prodigal Son, who surely did not feel perfect when he returned to his father.  He only needed to accept the father’s love.  That is our situation now.  And unity is within ourselves; our God is within.

The portal of access is love and only love.  Nothing else will do at all.  This is the portal that here on the mountain top, we will discover with Jesus.  We are only just beginning our 40 days and nights with him on the mountain top.  More is to follow.  But we would do well to realize that perfection is not required of us.  Acceptance of love as the only way is.  Fear must be left behind forever, and when we have done that, we will be Home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize that, like the Prodigal Son, I do not have to be perfect to be accepted by Jesus, to reach the heights that the mountain top experience is meant to bring to me.  I may resist this concept, and so please guide my thoughts and feelings so that it is acceptable to me.

May I be united with love.  May I drop fear.  These are perhaps my two greatest needs, and these build on A Course in Miracles and are further explained to me now in A Course of Love.  Thank You for helping me to devote my life and myself to love.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 97:

I am spirit.

Pure Joy and Limitless Release

“There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day.  It is a thought of pure joy; a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release, limitless because all things are freed within it.  (M41)”

Affirmation:  “pure joy and limitless release”

Reflections:

This is one of the most beautiful passages in all of the Course:  “pure joy” and “limitless release.”  How much we have to be thankful for!

When we remember these words throughout the day, we indeed do have a good day.  They are the epitome of peace and happiness.

The messages these words convey should be etched in our hearts.  We can indeed have pure joy, regardless of what surrounds us, because we know that this world is an illusion.  This does not give us the right to do just anything, but it does give some distance to the wrongs that we note.  We can also know limitless release, because we are free in God and the Holy Spirit.  Regardless of what transpires on the outside of ourselves, on the inside we can be free and at peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May today I know the pure joy, peace, and limitless release that Jesus promises.  May I know what these words really mean, and may I act on them throughout the day.

Thank you for being there for me always.  I do not always sense your presence, and when I realize that I have drifted apart from You, may I get quiet on the inside and remember You are with me.

Amen.

Lessons

“How should the teacher of God spend his day?  To the advanced teacher of God this question is meaningless.  There is no program, for the lessons change each day.  Yet the teacher of God is sure of but one thing; they do not change at random.  Seeing this and understanding that it is true, he rests content.  He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day.  (M40)”

Affirmation:  “I will rest content in the knowledge that my lessons change each day.”

Reflections:

This is a meaningful passage.  Much is told in a few concise words.  When we become advanced teachers of God, we do not worry about what to do or what to say at any given time during our day.  We have kept in close touch with guidance, and we know that we will receive what to do and what to say throughout the day, as it unfolds.

Elsewhere we learn that there are no accidents in salvation.  So our day is not at random.  We experience what we are meant to experience, and this is good when we are in league with the Holy Spirit.  Elsewhere Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain, and it is this fear that often makes our days unsure.  The advanced teacher of God does not know such self-doubt; he responds repeatedly to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and his days are good..

To rest content is a great blessing.  We are told that we can indeed do just that.  This truism of the Course is one of its most blessed promises.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I accept the truth that I will be told what to do each day by the Holy Spirit.  I will rest content in this knowledge, knowing that my lessons do not change at random.

Please be with me today as I go about my activities.  May I realize that there is no point to drama, that You would have me live a peaceful day, secure in the knowledge of Your providence in all things.

Amen.

Stillness

“Learn to be quiet, for His Voice is heard in stillness.  And His Judgment comes to all who stand aside in quiet listening, and wait for Him.  (M38)”

Affirmation:  “May I listen in quiet today.”

Reflections:

“His Voice” refers to the Holy Spirit.  We often don’t choose to be quiet.  We are addicted to the adrenaline rush, and our work lives (and our home life) often demands that we move quickly, even when worn down and tired.  A few quiet moments a day are all that God asks.  He would not burden us by making demands upon that are unrealistic.  He is our true reality, and he knows what we are going through.  We do not therefore have to be apologetic if only a few minutes of quiet are given to Him each day.

We correctly ascertain guidance when we are in quiet listening.  This is not always a “for sure” thing, but it is for sure more often than not.  Who could hear guidance is a loud and boisterous world?  Who would know which voice we were really hearing?

The Holy Spirit gives guidance in stillness.  This is why it is so important to carve out a few moments each day for listening to His Voice.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have been restless today, as I am so many days–especially in the morning, when I need the most to dedicate the day to You.  May I take the time right now to be quiet and to invite the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I walk through this wintertime.

Thank you for being there for me.  I know that no matter how exasperated I may get later on today, if I turn silently within to You, You will right things.

Amen.

Atonement

“Atonement is for you.  Your learning claims it and your learning gives it.  The world contains it not.   But learn this course and it is yours.  (M35)”

Affirmation:  “Atonement is for me, and I can learn it through the Course.”

Reflections:

Atonement is illustrated by some teachers of the Course as “at-one-ment.”  This is not the full meaning, but it does lead in the direction that we want to go.  Jesus is in charge of the Atonement, and he fulfilled his part in it in his life and resurrection on earth.  Now he would help us to fulfill ours.  Our way is not the way that he walked, and it can be decidedly pain-free.

This passage gives a strong motivation to learn the Course.  Surely we want Atonement, the salvation that we all so desperately need.  The Course does not have to be seen as difficult if we keep to the basics that Jesus explains, often repeatedly.  Everything is either love or a call for love (or help); anything else if a misrepresentation of what is actually going on.  We need not attack or feel anger when we recognize that our brothers and sisters are innocent of wrongdoing.  Their real Self has not sinned.  Their little self has made mistakes.  These concepts embrace the fundamentals that the Course would have us to understand.

Do we believe Atonement is for us?  If not, then we are acting against Jesus’s word to us.  He has promised us that Atonement is for us, and nothing else that we might add to that fundamental is true.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize the truth that Jesus speaks in the Course.  May I have the Atonement that is promised in the Course, and may I have it soon.

You know that I long for many things, but Atonement is at the top of the list.  Be with me now as I seek for Your blessing and ask for the gift of Atonement.

Amen.

Conscious Choices

“Oneness and sickness cannot coexist.  God’s teachers choose to look on dreams a while.  It is a conscious choice.  For they have learned that all choices are made consciously, with full awareness of their consequences.  (M32)”

Affirmation:  “My dreams are chosen consciously.”

Reflections:

What we are seeing in this world is illusion (a Course concept).  The Course also calls what we see “dreams.”  And we have chosen to look upon dreams, knowing on some level what will transpire for us.  We may suffer, but we do not have to do so.  Pain does not have to bring suffering, if our minds and hearts are in agreement with the Holy Spirit, who makes only one judgment:  “God’s Son is guiltless.”

We can also be free of sickness, which is some form of external searching.  The external searching may teach us something, of course, which is its purpose.  But the Course would not have us learn in this way.

We are One with our brothers and sisters.  We know, on some level, what will happen in our lives.  And we have chosen it–not consciously, of course, but on a deeper level.  This is different from a “blame the victim” mentality, and it would be wise that we keep to ourselves this concept if voicing it would be hurtful to another.  Not everyone is ready to see that choices made to experience illusion are not ultimately hurtful, however horrendous they may appear in our insane world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be aware that my dreams–my illusions–are chosen consciously.  I realize that my little self is not aware of this, but my larger Self is.  And I do not blame myself or others for this state of affairs; it is simply a law of this world.

Be with me today if I seem to feel pain.  May I not turn this pain into suffering by my own inner turmoil.  You have promised to be with me always, and I thank you for Your blessing.

Amen.

Choose How We Would See the World

“What the world is, is but a fact.  You cannot choose what this should be.  But you can choose how you would see it.  Indeed, you must choose this.  (M29)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to see the world aright.”

Reflections:

This passage explains that what we see is an interpretation.  We can choose to interpret through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, or we can look upon devastation and feel badly.

The Course consistently asks that we look at ourselves first, making changes in ourselves rather than trying to change our brothers and sisters to fit the image that we have made of them.  If they have made mistakes (not “sinned”), then we forgive.  That is the way of the Course.  We remember that, regardless of how bad the situation looks, the wrongdoing has been perpetrated by someone who was doing the best that he could, given his view of the world.

So we choose how we see the world.  We do not judge its wrongs; we let the Holy Spirit do that.  We choose to look upon sinlessness, and in so doing, we are in the state of grace.  None of us could hope for more.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me, dear God, to see the world aright.  Help me to choose according to Your will.

May I be led to forgive my brothers and sisters for the mistakes that they have made.  And may I forgive myself for similar mistakes.  Always I see in them my own mistakes, or else I would not be able to recognize mistakes at all.  Help me to live peacefully amid what sometimes seems to be confusion.

Amen.

Relinquish Judgment

“It is not difficult to relinquish judgment.  But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it. . . .Teacher of God, this step will bring you peace.  Can it be difficult to want but this? (M28)”

Affirmation:  “May I not judge anyone or anything today.”

Reflections:

Judging puts an enormous pressure on us.  We feel bad, we hurt others, and we don’t see life realistically and accurately.  It is also one of the ways that we stray from our pathway to Awakening (a Course concept).

We can make the choice to stop being the arbitrator of good and evil.  We can turn to guidance for advice on how to live our lives.  We may not always interpret guidance accurately, because we are human, but we will normally see life much better when we are trying to relinquish judgment.

We want peace.  So what more advice do we need than that which is given in the Course?  Relinquish judgment, and peace is ours for the taking.  After we have asked, we receive–a biblical concept as well as one of the Course.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be willing to relinquish judgment of my brothers and sisters, and teach me how to do this without exception.  I know that the real release is through following Your guidance, and I pray that I may have the willingness and flexibility to do so always.

Thank you for your help.  I need it today and every day.

Amen.

Our Guide Is Sure

“He gave himself to Him Whose judgment he has chosen now to trust, instead of his own.  Now he makes no mistakes.  His Guide is sure.  And where he came to judge, he comes to bless.  Where now he laughs, he used to come to weep.  (M28)”

Affirmation:  “Now I laugh, when I used to weep.”

Reflections:

This passage is an amplification of the surrounding passages, which have bade us to turn our decisions over to the Holy Spirit.  His is the true guidance, the times when we will not make mistakes.

Sometimes we don’t know for sure if what we are hearing is guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We may wonder, accurately, if our own little minds are interfering with the divine.  And our little minds may be.  It is important, therefore, (though this is not spelled out in the Course) that we test out our guidance to see if it is true.  As we become more proficient in recognizing true guidance for what it is, we will make surer decisions.  Whatever we are doing, if we are judging ourselves, it is sure that we are not following the Holy Spirit.

It is important to see that we can laugh instead of weep.  Guidance is not an all-serious matter.  The Course indicates that lightness is one of the attributes to which we can become accustomed.  The farther along the path we travel, the more lighthearted we will become.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I want to live in a lighthearted manner, because this promise, while almost too good to be true, is true.  May I follow the guidance that I receive with a lighthearted spirit.

Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to me.  Perhaps I do not appreciate this enough, but today I want to do so.

Amen.

Unburdened

“Now can the teacher of God rise up unburdened, and walk lightly on.  Yet it is not only this that is his benefit.  His sense of care is gone, for he has none.  (M28)”

Affirmation:  “walk lightly on”

Reflections:

This passage refers to turning over our decisions to the Holy Spirit.  We carry life more easily once we have done this, and we do not feel burdened, as if we are carrying a load on our backs.

Our sense of care is gone.  We walk lightly in the light.  These reassurances are worth their weight in gold.  Who would not wish to walk the earth in peace and calm that is not abated?

Why would we have a sense of care, when we have a Guide that is sure?  We must only ask that we be given the grace always to follow that guidance.  As we do follow that guidance, we become more and more reassured that it will always be there for us, and we drop our cares into the lap of God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I sincerely want to drop my cares and to walk lightly on.  I know that the only thing stopping this ease is my own reluctance to let my decisions be made by my Guide.

May today I turn over all decisions to a Higher Authority.  Then I know that those decisions will be in the best interests not only of myself, but everyone with whom I come in contact.

Amen.

Lay Judgment Down

“Therefore lay judgment down, not with regret but with a sigh of gratitude.  Now are you free of a burden so great that you could merely stagger and fall down beneath it.  And it was all illusion.  Nothing more.  (M28)”

Affirmation:  “Lay down judgment and be free.”

Reflections:

A reassuring passage, as so many of the passages in the Course are.  We are bade to lay judgment down–to make no decisions for ourselves.  Can we really do this?  The Course elsewhere indicates that we should set our will at the beginning of the day to follow guidance, and then give thanks at the end of the day.  Then our decisions will be far more likely to be right.  The Course is always practical, and asking at every juncture may not always be practical (a Course concept).

It is calming to know that we have a Guide who will not fail.  This we can feel with gratitude.

The burden of trying to make judgments of what to do or say has always been extremely difficult for us.  And we learn now that doing so has all been illusion.  We don’t have to feel all alone in the universe.  We have a Guide, and His guidance is the Way that makes our life a calm and gentle experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be led to lay judgment down forevermore.  I do know in my heart of hearts that judgment can only hurt me.  Let me be through with it forever.

Thank you for guiding me through the Holy Spirit.  When I follow His prompting, I know that I am always taking the right pathway.

Amen.

Ask Our Teacher

“As the teacher of God advances in his training, he learns one lesson with increasing thoroughness.  He does not make his own decisions; he asks his Teacher for His answer, and it is this he follows as his guide for action.  This becomes easier and easier, as the teacher of God learns to give up his own judgment.  (M26)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit for my guide to action.”

Reflections:

This is a concise statement of how important it is to follow God’s guidance as seen for us in the Holy Spirit (a Course concept).  It may be harder in the beginning to follow this guidance, but the difficulty may never fully drop away.  Our ego dies hard.  But we are promised that following the guidance that we receive will be easier and easier as we advance in our training.  And that is all the assurance that we need.

We do not make our own decisions, based on our own faulty judgment.  Our own judgment cannot but be faulty, for we are told elsewhere that we cannot know all factors in the past and future that impinge on any given decision.  Once we give up trying to follow our own judgment, life becomes easier.

This passage remarks on the advanced teacher of God.  Not all of us, even those of us who have studied the Course for years, can realize this appellation for ourselves.  But we will come closer and closer as we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This is actually the easiest way in which to live.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to make a determination to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit at every turn of my life.  May I be reassured that this is the best way to live, the only way that leads completely to happiness.

Thank you for my Guide.  May I know if I am misperceiving, and may I turn from that to true guidance.

Amen.

Special Cases

There are those who are called upon to change their life situation almost immediately, but these are generally special cases.  (M26)”

Affirmation:  “If I am led to change my life situation, may I do so readily.”

Reflections:

This passage speaks to the pathway of those of us who are Course students.  It answers a question that many will have, namely, “What will happen to me?”

Herein is described the fact that some who read the Course will be asked almost immediately to make changes in their life situation.  These may or may not be permanent changes.  But, for those of us who are still fearful, the Course is reassuring in asserting that only “special cases” may meet with an immediate change in life situation.  For the cowards among us (and which of us does not fall in this category at some times), this lets us off the hook.

If we do sense guidance from the Holy Spirit that we are to change our life situations almost immediately, then the Holy Spirit will be there throughout the entire episode, be it lasting or temporary.  We need not fear; we need only trust.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I was led to change my life situation almost immediately upon reading the Course, but it was not a lasting change.  It did make changes in my heart, though, and for that I am grateful.

Thank you for helping me to adjust to a new life situation, and help me now adjust to my new life situations.  I know that You are always with me.

Amen.

Illusion

“By definition, an illusion is an attempt to make something real that is regarded as of major importance, but is recognized as being untrue.  The mind therefore seeks to make it true out of its intensity of desire to have it for itself.  (M24)”

Affirmation:  “May I not seek illusions.”

Reflections:

This definition of illusion can be understood by many of us because of life situations in which we have tried to “fool ourselves” into believing, sometimes vehemently, something that is not true.  In our depths we often recognize that what we fervently want to believe is not true, because we may get a curious “stop” to our attempts to pray for this outcome.  If this happens to us, we would do well to reflect on what is actually at stake.

Illusions are prevalent in our world.  There is so much pain in even everyday life that we retreat from feverish dreams into an illusory world that seems–but only “seems”–better.  Somewhere is our deepest being we recognize that we are believing in an illusion, and we, somewhere, feel self-betrayed.  We do not often let this deeper understanding surface, though.  We may live for years with illusions that would have been left behind in the beginning if we had only turned to the Holy Spirit earlier.

The mind is very powerful, and it can seem to make an illusion true.  Such tactics are self-betraying in the long run, though.  We don’t want to believe a falsehood, and our intensity of desire for an illusion is the real culprit here.  The desire will abate when we recognize that we are fooling ourselves and when we turn to the Holy Spirit for more substantive consolation.  Then and only then will we be free to let the illusion fall away.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave illusions behind.  May I seek only what is true, only what I know in my depths is true.

If I have derived pleasure from believing my illusions, this has not been also without pain.  May I recognize that I do not want pain, and may I let my illusions leave me.

Amen.

Self-Doubt

“The real basis for doubt about the outcome of any problem that has been given to God’s Teacher for resolution is always self-doubt.  (M23)”

Affirmation:  “Give problems to the Holy Spirit and banish self-doubt.”

Reflections:

The meaning herein is a bit obscure, but basically the passage is letting us know that God’s Teacher, who is the Holy Spirit, will always resolve problems for us.  The answer may not come immediately if we are not yet ready.  It may take awhile.  But come it will, unless we doubt.  And what is there but self-doubt?  Surely, if we have come this far, we do not doubt the resolutions of problems by the Holy Spirit.  If we hesitate, we are using our own minds against ourselves, and this is the meaning of self-doubt.

We must trust the Holy Spirit to bring about a resolution to our problems.  Elsewhere Jesus asks that we pray for a resolution of the conditions that have brought about fear.  This concept is akin to what is meant in this passage.  Cause-and-effect will not be tampered with, by the Holy Spirit or Jesus.  Jesus says that he will not tamper with the power of our minds, and that we ask him to do so at our peril.  Only the power of our minds keeps us caught in dreams of pain.  There is a way out, and the Course spells out what it is.  Follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit!  We cannot emphasize this enough.  It is the solution to our myriad problems, and it is the Answer to our prayers as well.

Self-doubt is a particularly insidious form of self-betrayal.  We would be wise to drop our misgivings about the power of our own minds, and then turn our wills over to the Holy Spirit.  Then the resolution to our problems will be seen, often sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I look forward to the quick resolution of the problems that I have given to the Holy Spirit to solve.  May I not doubt that He will resolve my problems.  Let me have trust in His Word.

Thank you for being there for me.  I look forward to a brighter world ahead.

Amen.

Change of Mind

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

Affirmation:  “Healing is a change of mind.

Reflections:

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

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

Death would best come by just laying down the body as finished, its usefulness over (a Course concept).  There is not reason for a prolonged illness to overcome us at any time in our lives, unless we mistakenly think that this external searching will lead us to what we need to know.  And often it appears to do so.  The Course would not choose this for us, though.  The Course would choose health, and by reading such passages as this one, we can see that health is the choice of the Holy Spirit as well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Healing

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

Affirmation:  “Welcome healing, and it will be there for you.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

The Physician

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

Affirmation:  “We choose our health conditions.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Son of God’s Inheritance

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

The Open-Minded

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

True Faithfulness

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

Affirmation:  “May I be honest, trusting, gentle, joyous, and tolerant.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nowhere else in the Course are so many promises packed in so short a span of phrases.
This is one of the strengths of the Manual, which can lead some readers to choose this shorter part as the one with which they begin.  Jesus does not counsel against this, leaving it to the reader to choose the parts first that speak to him or her the most.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Faithfulness

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

Affirmation:  “The Word of God will set all things right.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Joy vs. Grief

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

Affirmation:  “Joy goes with gentleness.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Gentleness

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

Affirmation:  “May I be wholly gentle.”

Reflections:

This is a consoling passage.  Which of us would not want to be gentle, to feel gentleness?
When we learn, through this passage, that the strength of gentleness helps us in salvation, then our motivation to become gentle multiplies.

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Without Judgment

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

Affirmation:  “All things are equally acceptable.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Perfect Honesty

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

Affirmation:  “May I have peace of mind by my honesty.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Heaven Is Here

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

Affirmation:  “In peace, Heaven is reflected.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.