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.

Judgment

“And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible to reach for a long, long time.  He must learn to lay all judgment aside, and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance.  Were not each step in this direction so heavily reinforced, it would be hard indeed! (M11)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to ask what I really want in every circumstance.”

Reflections:

This passage explains one of the steps on the way to Awakening.  It sounds easy, but the playing out of the passage is hard indeed.  To lay all judgment is not easy, as the ego thrives on judgment.  And the ego it is that we need to lay aside.

But Jesus assures us that we have “heavily reinforced” help to lay all judgment aside.  This is a great blessing.  This help comes from the Holy Spirit.  In addition, Jesus himself has said that he is always with us.  We have only to ask for help, and it will be forthcoming.

This passage represents a stumbling block to many.  This is where we get stuck in our pathway to Awakening.   We must recognize that the way may be long, and that there may be setbacks along the way.  But the glorious end is certain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to lay all judgment aside.  If I refuse to do so, then I am refusing to let the Holy Spirit offer His guidance to me.  I would have the Holy Spirit offer His guidance, and I choose to follow this guidance.

Help me to know what I really want in every circumstance.  This is not always easy for me to ascertain.  I need you, dear God, and I request Your help.

Amen.

God’s Teachers

“The surface traits of God’s teachers are not at all alike.  They do not look alike to the body’s eyes, they come from vastly different backgrounds, their experiences of the world vary greatly, and their superficial ‘personalities’ are quite distinct.  (M9)”

Affirmation:  “God’s teachers differ from one another, but this is as it is meant to be.”

Reflections:

This world has a variety of people, and any of them may have come to see the light, and to follow the way of God.  Personalities can conflict, though, and so we may not always like everyone, even when they too are on the pathway.  And this, being on the pathway, does not it include everyone?

The fact that surface traits differ can be reassuring.  It does ensure that we will not necessarily recognize our brothers and sisters who are walking the pathway.  It makes us more tolerant of diversity.  Would God have made us so distinct unless there were a good reason?

This passage says that we can walk very many different pathways to God.  The Course is just the way that you and I have chosen.  We should recognize that other pathways are just as valid for others.  Nowhere does the Course contradict this idea.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When my sisters and brothers who are on the pathway seem very different from me, may I not despair, but instead give thanks.  We need to be different to appeal to different sisters and brothers.  The diversity serves God.

Help me to know what to say when I meant someone who seems quite distinct from me.  Help me to reach out in the best way, the way that You would have me to reach.

Amen.

Lifelong Relationships

“The third level of teaching occurs in relationships which, once they are formed, are lifelong.  These are teaching-learning situations in which each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning.  These relationships are generally few, because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect.  (M8)”

Affirmation:  “Lifelong relationships have a perfect teaching-learning balance.”

Reflections:

This third level of learning is most often seen in parent-child relationships.  In bygone eras, it was also seen in life-long partnerships, but with divorce so prevalent, this is no longer true.  If we are extremely fortunate, we will know a few individuals throughout our lives who offer unlimited opportunities for learning.  Be this parent-child, or partners for life, the potential is reason for rejoicing.

Sometimes, in our society, we move far away from our birth city, and far away also from our parents.  The same holds true for our children.  If our primary relationship is intact, we will continue to learn from our partner.  But one source also is the friends that we make along the way.  Most will eventually fade from our lives, and therefore not be the lifelong relationship that this passage proclaims as so pivotal to our lives.

It is good to keep our relationships intact, even if separated by distance.  In this era of e-mail, this is more easily done than previously.  Phone calls, of course, can continue as well.  We would be wise, in all likelihood, never to let anybody fade from our lives permanently–at least, anybody who was once significant.  This is an ideal, though, and few of us will be fortunate enough to find it.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you for the lifelong relationships that I have, and have had.  May I come to understand what a teaching-learning balance really means.

I ask you to help me keep my relationships intact.  If I have lost someone from my life, and it seems feasible to reach out once again, may I have the courage to reach out.

Amen.

No Accidents in Salvation

“. . .[T]he plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God.  There are no accidents in salvation.  Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship.  They are ready for each other.  (M7)”

Affirmation:  “We meet those we are meant to meet.”

Reflections:

The fact that there are no accidents in the plan of salvation is a comforting thought.  Those who are meant to meet, will meet.  Our potential, with each person in our personal world, is the potential to have a holy relationship.  There are no exceptions.

These “very specific contacts” may give us solace as we go about our days, even as we encounter those whom we find it difficult to love.  These may be our most important teachers.  It is instructive that the plan of salvation, in the view of the Course, is a detailed plan, with particular people entering our lives whom we are meant to meet.

Finding the way to a holy relationship is not a straight line.  Elsewhere we are bade to turn our special love relationships into holy relationships, but we are not perfect, and at times the hatred in our hearts, as yet unhealed, will surface with attack and anger.  This is not a reason to despair, but one to recognize as an opportunity.  When we fall down, we are helped up, often by the same brother or sister who has been the catalyst for our fall.  Then we will see that special love relationships really can and do become holy, given time and the incentive to make the transformation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that we have particular people whom we are destined to meet.  This is one truth that gives meaning to our lives.

May I transform all the special relationships that I have into holy ones.  If this seems a too-lofty goal, let me remind myself that I have started the pathway, and once on the pathway, the end is certain.

Amen.

One Decision

“Those who would learn the same course share one interest and one goal.  And thus he who was the learner becomes a teacher of God himself, for he has made the one decision that gave his teacher to him.  He has seen in another person the same interests as his own.  (M6)”

Affirmation:  “I see in another the same interests as my own.”

Reflections:

Those whom we have loved are likely to be the ones in whom we have seen the same interests.  And, even if these brothers and sisters have left our lives, still there is a tie one to another.  We have seen in those people the same interests as our own.

We do not always recognize when a teacher has entered our lives.  Only as time passes do we recognize the new insight that he or she is giving us.  Course teachers share one interest and one goal–as well as one philosophy.  This is a blessing in and of itself.

To see in another person the same interests as our own is to recognize that we are all One.  Surely this will speed our way toward Awakening, because it is certain that we cannot reach that final healing on our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to see in my brothers and sisters the same interests as my own.  We want the same things–love, peace, joy, and a sense of aliveness about life.  The Course can show us the way.

Help me to share the Course in the way that  these books can best be received.  May the Holy Spirit guide me in my interpretations, keeping me from mistakes and leading my brothers and sisters to Home.

Amen.

“An Instant that Is Relived”

“Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering.  Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now.  And thus it is that pupil and teacher seem to come together in the present, finding each other as if they had not met before.  (M5)”

Affirmation:  “Pupil and teacher have met before.”

Reflections:

This is a difficult passage, but one that is central to the Course’s tenets.  Time, which really doesn’t exist, does in our world go backwards for eons, and in our world we relive that instant over and over.  We have met everyone whom we encounter sometime before.  “Everyone” includes our pupils, for only time separates us all from being teachers of God.

Moreover, in interpreting a bit from the Course, we are all pupils also.  There are those who are more advanced than are we, who teach us.  Indeed, the Course says that all of us are teaching all the time, because we cannot avoid it.

It is good to know that our brothers and sisters are familiar to us, that we have met before.  When the going seems rough with any of them, we can realize that we are working out our problems with each other.  Surely this is reassuring.  If the time of healing seems a long way off, we must be patient, for time indeed will work to heal when we follow guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you that You have taught me that I have met all my brothers and sisters, whom I encounter, earlier.  I do not understand how time can go backward, but let me accept Jesus at his word.

Please help me to say and do the right things with my brothers and sisters to lead them to You.  Whether I am a pupil or teacher at the time, may I learn from You.

Amen.

Pupils of God’s Teachers

“Certain pupils have been assigned to each of God’s teachers, and they will begin to look for him as soon as he has answered the Call.  They were chosen for him because the form of the universal curriculum that he will teach is best for them in view of their level of understanding.  Hi pupils have been waiting for him, for his coming is certain.  (M5)”

Affirmation:  “My pupils are waiting for me.”

Reflections:

This is a reassuring passage.  There are people out there who are only waiting for us to respond to God’s call, reiterated by Jesus.  When we have responded to that call, we will find these new people showing up in our lives.

And not always are they “new” people.  Some may have been in our lives for years, but because we were not ready, we did not teach properly.  We may have even led these long-time brothers and sisters into greater mistakes, because we ourselves knew no better.  Let us let this insanity end today.

All of us have a certain way of teaching salvation.  There are no two ways identical, just as there are no two fingerprints identical.  The fact that these pupils have been waiting is a Course concept that we may not fully understand.  The fact that our coming was “certain” is also a Course concept that may be difficult to understand.  Again we must take Jesus at his word, and know that these understandings, once accepted, will speed us, as well as others, on the way to total joy and fulfillment.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my pupils find me.  May I speak Your Word to them in such a way that they can come to greater love and understanding.

It is reassuring that I have a place in salvation.  Thank you for making this clear to me.

Amen.

A Teacher of God

“A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one.  His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s.  (M3)”

Affirmation:  “A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one.”

Reflections:

This passage opens up the teachers of God to anyone.  Once we have seen someone else–a brother or sister–as being wholly worthy of forgiveness, we are ready for the designation of ‘teacher of God.'”  We see our interests as the same as his (or hers).  We don’t make distinctions, nor do we judge another’s actions.  We are forgiving through and through.

Of course, we do not often sustain this powerful way of living.  We fail, sometimes repeatedly.  But Jesus notes that these are correctable mistakes, not sins, and once we have realized that these moments of judging are mistakes, we will be forgiving once again, of both ourselves and others.  Mistakes call out for correction, and we respond accordingly.

If we do not see another’s interests as different from our own, we are seeing him (or her) as a brother or sister in Christ.  This change of perspective will bring us joy.  Let us make it today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please help me to see that the good wishes of someone else are the same as the good wishes of myself.  This, in itself, will help me to help my brothers and sisters.

I would like to be a teacher of God.  Help me to be this.  I cannot do it without You.

Amen.

Teach Perfection

“This is a manual for the teachers of God.  They are not perfect, or they would not be here.  Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it.  (M2)”

Affirmation:  “Teach perfection, and you will learn it.”

Reflections:

This passage continues the theme of the previous passages in this blog.  As we teach perfection, we gradually (almost without knowing it) become more perfect ourselves.  We are not now perfect, because we are a part of this world.  We would not choose to be here if we were already perfect.  But there is a way that we can become more perfect, and this passage spells it out.

We must not be too hard on ourselves.  Perfection will probably always remain an elusive goal, and it is even neurotic to ask the impossible of ourselves.  But Jesus holds out to us the promise that eventually we will know perfection.  We truly cannot understand how, as we think over our shortcomings.  But we need to take Jesus at his word.

The manual is the shortest of the three parts to the Course.  Some of us will want to start there, maybe simply because it is short.  If this seems right, we should do it.  Otherwise, we need to dip into both the text and the workbook, to see what seems right (guided by the Holy Spirit) for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand what you are asking of me.  Perfection seems to be a very elusive goal, and I am weak until You make me strong.

Help me to teach perfection in the best way that I know how.  I know that this will involve patience and forbearance on my part, not to attack and to eliminate anger from my emotions.  Help me, for, dear God, I need it desperately.

Amen.

Hell

“Except for God’s teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real.  The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception.  And what else is hell?  (M2)”

Affirmation:  “The world of sin is self-deception.”

Reflections:

This passage explains why it so important that we learn the Course and become teachers of God.  This world depends upon our cooperation in this great endeavor.  If we do not take our place in salvation, the world itself is at stake.

The definition of hell given herein suggests that hell is the worst that we know on earth.  Nowhere is there any indication in the Course of a hell beyond death.  In fact, the reverse itself is true.  We are not to live in fear that we may end up, being judged of wrongdoing and cast into hell after death.  The Course is very clear on its denial of this.

If we deceive ourselves in believing that this world is real, then we will teach this concept.  It is a tenet of the Course that this world is not real; the real world awaits us as we have walked further along on the pathway to Awakening.  Surely we are willing to take out places in bringing salvation to this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I lose my fear of hell, because it is self-deception.  The real world awaits my coming to it.  This real world is the one of love and peace that Jesus promises to us.

I know that you need me to help save the world.  This is not arrogance, but the sanest sense.  May I join your great Awakening in this real world, ready to do my part in salvation.

Amen.

Lessons of Joy and Hope

“Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers.  And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete.  (M2)”

Affirmation:  “Teach joy and hope.”

Reflections:

Jesus says elsewhere that the world needs us now.  It is in a bad way, as all of us know who listen to the daily news.  It is a “hopeless and closed learning situation,” and Jesus is looking to us to change the situation to something better.

As we teach, we learn.  As we have been saying, there is no other way.  When we teach that joy and hope are our rightful inheritance, we too learn this.  We are traveling farther on the pathway to Awakening.

We are Jesus’s teachers (once we have completed the workbook of the Course).  May we let our own neuroses drop away, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and may we do our part to save the world and all people in it from unhappiness and hopelessness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that as I teach joy and hope to a desperate world, I will find that my learning has become complete.  Thank you for this reassurance.

May I turn to the world and seek to help the people in it in their distress.  Jesus needs me, and to believe so is not arrogance, but the truth.

Amen.

Teaching and Learning

“The question is not whether you will teach, for in that there is no choice.  The purpose of the course might be said to provide you with a means of choosing what you want to teach on the basis of what you want to learn.  (M1)”

Affirmation:  “What do I want to teach and therefore learn?”

Reflections:

When we go through our days, we are teaching–whether consciously or otherwise.  And what we teach we learn.  Not only, therefore, are others affected, but especially ourselves as well.

This passage recommends that we make a choice to teach something good in our lives.  In so doing, we are learning something good.  There is no other way.

All of us are teachers; whether or not we are a teacher of God is very much our own choice.  The Course says that we cannot claim this title until we have gone through the workbook, because we are learning through the teachings recorded therein (and in the Course as a whole).  May we choose to teach God, not the ego.  May the Holy Spirit guide us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I teach what I want to learn.  May I be led by the Holy Spirit to know what that good teaching is.

Help me to be clear about what I want to learn.  This will help me to teach the right things to my brothers and sisters.  May I have Your guidance as I make my choice of what to teach.

Amen.

Peace

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

Affirmation:  “I can decide for peace.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Guilt

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

Affirmation:  “If. . .become guilty. . .allow it to be undone for you”

Reflections:

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

One of the greatest problems that we face when engulfed by the ego is the problem of guilt.  We think that we have done horrendous things, and maybe we have, but only in illusion and only as mistakes–not sins.  Mistakes cry out for resolution, for remedying.  They do not have the attraction that a deed named a “sin” seems to have for our frail psyches.

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Lack of Love

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

revised

The Ego

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

Affirmation:  “The ego is uncreative and unsharing.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

revised

The Ego Punishes

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

revised

No Suffering

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

revised

“Turning the Other Cheek”

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

Affirmation:  “You cannot be hurt.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

revised

Perceiving

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

revised

Peace vs. War

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

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

Reflections:

When we are tempted to attack our brother, may we realize that it is the ego up to its old tricks.  The more we attack, the stronger the ego in us becomes.  Do we really want this?

When we are peaceful, we may at first feel that we are not as “alive” as we would like to be.  This is the longing for drama in our relationships, and it is a sick longing.  Peace is actually the best thing that can happen to us.  Elsewhere the Course says that we are meant to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  This may sound extreme, but the things of heaven are obscure to us.

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

The Course holds out a better way for us.  Invite peace in our daily lives, and we will soon know a joy that is boundless–even if everything is not perfect in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

The Holy Spirit

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Our Task

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

Affirmation:  “our task is a joyous one”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Call to Joy

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

Affirmation:  “the strong call for joy”

Reflections:

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Atonement

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

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

Reflections:

This passage sets forth the pivotal role that the Holy Spirit, our guidance, plays in restoring us to our right mind.  When we listen to this Voice only, we are well on our way to peace and happiness.

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Helpful and Harmless

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

Affirmation:  “The truly helpful are invulnerable.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Salvation

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

Affirmation:  “Salvation is collaborative”

Reflections:

We are not meant to isolate ourselves in this world–even to study the Course.  We are meant to stay in the world ,and to minister to our brothers and sisters.  Our brothers and sisters are the Sonship/

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Our Mission

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

Affirmation:  “I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Misery vs. Joy

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

Affirmation:  “joy with the spirit”

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Learning

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.