I Would Reach the Peace God Wills for Me

ACIM Workbook Lesson 257 – for Wednesday, September 14

Affirmation:  “Let me remember what my purpose is.”

“Father, forgiveness is Your chosen means for our salvation.  Let us not forget today that we can have no will but Yours.  And thus our purpose must be Yours as well, if we would reach the peace You will for us.  (WB423)”

Reflections:

Our function on earth is salvation’s pathway of forgiveness, according to A Course in Miracles.  Though we truly do not have anything to forgive, because the negative things that happen to us happen from the ego’s dream, we need the discipline of forgiveness because we are not saintly enough to recognize, like God, never to condemn.  It is said in ACIM that God doesn’t forgive because He has never condemned.  There is no need for God to forgive us; he knows that we are innocent, and that we are exactly, still, as He created us (an ACIM tenet).

We need to forgive for our own mental health and our own sense of felt Oneness with God.  If we carry around anger and attack thoughts, our peace of mind will be naught.  There is never any need for anger and attack, but as long as we are fallible (which we will be on earth), we are very, very likely to succumb to these emotions–perhaps even after Awakening.  The Dalai Lama has admitted to being angry at times, but he said this in a lecture with a kindly demeanor.  (He also denies being awakened.)

Forgiveness, then, will give us peace.  And peace of mind is our great need, and the great need of the world.  So we forgive almost more for ourselves than for our brothers and sisters, though their receipt of our forgiveness heals the holy relationships that we are meant to sustain.  We will not walk this world long without making mistakes.  We will get angry, and we will attack, feeling “justified” in our wrath when the ego is temporarily in control.  The best way to combat our tendency to drop into these emotions may have been identified by Norman Vincent Peale.  He tells an anecdote in which a man of 40, besieged by negative emotions, asked God to change him, and believed that He had.  His simple belief that a prayer in line with God’s blessing would be honored led him to “fly into a great calm” instead of expressing his temper.  His son reported, in this anecdote, that after this great prayer, he never saw his father in an angry outburst again.  Surely a miracle, and one that we might all ask to have in our own lives.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I asked about ten days ago to eliminate attack entirely from my cluster of ego-oriented misdeeds, and I have had a placid ten days.  Perhaps I have not been tested yet.  But perhaps also I am seeing my own small miracle.  After all, I live in close proximity with my most significant relationship to a “brother,” and we have lived normally for these ten days.

I would continue my prayer that attack be eliminated for me.  I never get angry unless I am stressed, and I never attack unless I am angry.  I thank You for these understandings.  Help me not to get cocky, for surely then the start of a new record of peaceful interactions will be disrupted.  

Be with me today, as always.  I cannot keep a resolution myself.  I am not strong nor saintly enough.  But You can walk the whole pathway with me, giving me (for me) the supernatural grace to walk as You would have me walk.  And You would not countenance attack, of that I am sure.  Be with me daily as I seek to walk Your way, only Your way.

Amen.

Anger and Attack

“Anger is never justified.  Attack has no foundation.  (A Course in Miracles, T638)”

Affirmation:  “no anger and no attack”

Reflections:

A Course in Miracles counsels firmly against anger and attack.  Neither have any foundation in truth.  This, we are told, is because all anger and attack are really calls for help, or, if we will, calls for love.  Jesus was a peaceful man, and he is still urging us to be the same.

Perhaps we can also live peaceably in even hard times that we experience.  Surely we can try.  And in the trying, we will often succeed.  Perhaps we will even surprise ourselves.  In the living of a peaceful existence, we can live without guilt, in that we are not accusing ourselves of attacking our brothers and sisters.  Surely the “peace that passeth understanding” can be ours even if outer circumstances work against us.  We need the inner peace that God only can and does give.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I confess that I still feel anger upon occasion, and when I feel anger, I am susceptible to attacking, mostly the ones that I love the most.  Take this bad character trait from me now.  I know that I never attack unless I am stressed; help me to remain on a calm and serene basis now and forever.

But I will ask Your blessing day-by-day.  I will ask to remain calm and serene for today only, knowing that tomorrow morning I will repeat the prayer.  Life is lived one day at a time.  Give me the grace to live today well.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 150:

My mind holds only what I think with God.

I will accept Atonement for myself.

Only salvation can be said to cure.

Temptation

“God’s gifts can rarely be received directly.  Even the most advanced of God’s teachers will give way to temptation in this world.  (M58)”

Affirmation:  “May I not give way to temptation today.”

Reflections:

Even the most advanced of God’s teachers is still fallible.  We won’t get it right all the time.  We will succumb to temptations in this world, and that includes especially the tendency to feel anger and then to attack.  In addition, we will judge ourselves and others.  And we will make contingency plans against uncertainties to come.  These three actions are all ways in which temptations take us away from God.  And we will fall on our face in our dealings with our brothers and sisters.

Leaving temptation behind is an ongoing pathway.  We will never, perhaps, be free of temptations in this world, but the times that they intrude upon our lives will lessen as we live closer to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

God gives us gifts, though we may not recognize them when they come.  One might not recognize a miracle at high noon, if our thoughts are solely on our own desires and wishes.  We may study the Course, and as we do, we will do better in this world.  Our power will come to us as we let guidance lead the Way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I not give way to temptation, though You say that I will be likely to do so from time to time.  May I not give way to temptation today.

Thank You for your support always.  May I avoid anger and attack today.  May I be good to my brothers and sisters.  When I hear guidance, let me be steadfast to hold it close to me.

Amen.

Anger II

“How is the peace of God retained, once it is found?  Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again, and the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return.  (M51)”

Affirmation:  “Returning anger will drop the heavy curtain that keeps peace from me.”

Reflections:

The main point that this passage makes is best understood if we realize that elsewhere we learn that all is either help or a call for help.  We get angry when we think that we have not been appreciated, or someone has done us wrong, or a million varieties of these two examples.  If we reinterpret this attack from another brother or sister as a call for help, then we can see that they are innocent, and we truly have nothing to be angry about.

It is important to note that this passage says “returning anger, in whatever form”–a pertinent point.  We often feel upset without fully realizing that what we are feeling is anger.  Suppressing or repressing the anger is not helpful, and this is a mistake that many Course students make.  Our right and proper reaction is forgiveness of the attack, because our brothers and sisters are as innocent as are we.  We have made mistakes, and they have also, but we are not “sinners.”  Calling an attack a “sin” only reinforces it in our minds.  We need to overlook the attack, not make it real by dwelling on it (a Course tenet).

Peace can be with us all the time, but this achievement (and it is an achievement, but not of the ego) may not come to any of us soon.  More and more time can be spent in peace, though, if we keep the tenets of the Course in mind.  The above paragraph summarizes a good bit of the basic psychology of the Course about attack and anger.  For us to be peaceful, we have to have a peaceful psychology, and A Course in Miracles offers this.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I retain peace in my life.  I know that I cannot retain peace if I allow anger to return to me over and over.  I must forgive the mistakes that I make and those that my brothers and sisters make.  Then I may retain peace.

Please help me to go about a peaceful day today.  I know that Your help is at my right hand always.

Amen.

Anger I

“Who sees anger as justified in any way or any circumstance proclaims that peace is meaningless, and must believe that it cannot exist.  (M51)”

Affirmation:  “Anger is never justified.”

Reflections:

Anger, it is said elsewhere in the Course, is actually a call for help.  It may also be viewed as a call for love.  Our task is to run to our brother or sister’s side, and to offer solace–that help or love that is really wanted.  We may not do this overtly if the other person is not receptive.  We may only pray for our brother or sister, or smile at them, or even just make small talk.  Ask for guidance in the thought or action that is needed.  We must be sensitive to the plight of our brother or sister, and overt action may not be desirable.

So we see that anger is never justified.  Peace is not meaningless.  God’s way is right, and peace can exist.  These are wonderful concepts to take to heart.

As long as the ego is in charge, we will be tempted to return attack for attack, but responding in this way is always wrong.  Attacks is what Jesus calls a “magic thought,” and anger is thus not justified.  We need to the inner quiet and calm that ensures that we will respond to magic thoughts of others (and ourselves) with compassion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I immediately recognize anger on my own part and that of others to be a call for help, meriting compassion rather than anger.  May I offer the help and love that is needed.  May I be gentle to myself, and may I be gentle to others.

Peace is what I want above all else.  I do not want to do anything that renders peace meaningless.  Please help me in this.

Amen.

Magic III

“All through his training, every day and every hour, and even every minute and second, must God’s teachers learn to recognize the forms of magic and perceive their meaninglessness.  Fear is withdrawn from them, and so they go.  And thus the gate of Heaven is reopened, and its light can shine again on an untroubled mind.  (M43)”

Affirmation:  “Let Heaven’s light shine again on an untroubled mind.”

Reflections:

What a blessing is an untroubled mind!  And to have this boon, we have only to learn how to recognize the various forms of magic, and learn to avoid them in all their manifestations.  We need not fear magic, because ultimately it is meaningless.  But magic can cause great havoc in our lives in the meantime, until we have recognized its meaninglessness.

There is an indication in this passage that we must be vigilant against magic (“every day and every hour, and even every minute and second”).  Surely, we tell ourselves, we will fail.  And we will.  But as we practice, the failure rate goes down, surely and steadily.  This assurance is motivation to practice well.

If the gate of Heaven is reopened, we are indeed Home.  And Home can be while still on earth.  There is even a well-known passage in the New Testament in which Jesus asserts this while he is in fellowship with his disciples.  Surely it is no different for us now.  Recognizing this is a blessing that will quiet our days and give us hope.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Magic is usually some form of attack or anger, or grievance, or even superstition.  It is some form of fear, not love.   May I recognize magic when I see it today.  May You be with me to turn aside from engaging in such fruitlessness.

Thank you for assisting me always.  I know that You are there.  I can often feel Your presence, and I invite this feeling of Your presence today in all my goings about.

Amen.