Tag Archives: ACIM and fear

I Am Affected Only by My Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 338 – for Sunday, December 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am affected only by my thoughts.”

 

“His thoughts can frighten him, but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love.  He crucified himself.  Yet God has planned that His beloved Son will be redeemed.  (WB471)”

 

Reflections:

1 – God Within

This passage builds on the message from yesterday, spelling out what yesterday’s passage implicated.  Our frightened thoughts come from a mind not united with the God within, but they are unique to ourselves and can be changed.  When we let our minds merge with the God Who resides within, then do we truly know peace of mind for the first time.

2 – No More Fear Thoughts

We exchange our fear thoughts for thoughts of love.  Let us always remember that we are doing this unto ourselves; we are not plagued by other people, and we are especially not plagued by an angry God.  God is as we have always been taught by the New Testament, and now by A Course in Miracles, as a God who loves us unconditionally.  We have crucified ourselves by our imagined imprisonment by a will not our own.  We have endured this imprisoned will because we made the ego, the symbol of our separation from God–a separation that could not happen in fact, but which could seem to be real, causing what seem to be real effects.

3 – The Resurrection

But God had a plan to redeem us.  It is not the focus on the crucifixion that much of modern Christianity believes, but a focus on the resurrection–that we too can rise above the suffering of this mad world and know God’s greatest blessings.  The plan, we are told in the Text, was placed in the mind of God’s son/daughter as soon as the mad idea took hold, and seemed to cause real effects.

4 – The Solution Is with the Problem

The solution is always with the problem.  If we keep this in mind, we will not often find ourselves in troubled conflict.  We will reach a higher level of mind where the problem has already been solved.  Ask with the assurance that your prayer will be heard, and that the Answer to Your conflict has been given in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  Ask for guidance to solve life’s varied problems, and then rest in surety for the Answer to come.  We will not have to wait long.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You most importantly today for the fact that the solution is always with the problem.  I can give any problem over to the Holy Spirit and then know that the answer will pop into my mind at the right time, almost always sooner rather than later.  We do not have to suffer in silence.  And we do not have to run ahead of the Holy Spirit, making problems after He has already given us the solution to the one problem that we are facing at the moment.

Increase my trust, My Father.  It is enough for me to know that answer will come quickly.  I do not have to make things tough on myself.

Thank You.

Amen.

The End of Suffering and Loss = Forgiveness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 249 – for Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness ends all suffering and loss.”

“Forgiveness paints a picture of a world where suffering is over, loss becomes impossible and anger makes no sense.  Attack is gone, and madness has an end.  What suffering is now conceivable?  What loss can be sustained?  The world becomes a place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving.  It is now so like to Heaven that it quickly is transformed into the light that it reflects.  And so the journey which the Son of God began has ended in the light from which he came.

“Father, we would return our minds to You.  We have betrayed them, held them in a vise of bitterness, and frightened them with thoughts of violence and death.  Now would we rest again in You, as You created us.  (WB418)”

Reflections:

The passage for today paints a lovely, indeed a glorious, picture of what life on earth is meant to be.  It is a picture of Heaven on earth.  And all that we need to do is forgive ourselves, and our brothers and sisters, and, of course, Jesus himself (our “elder brother,” according to the Text, because he has walked the whole pathway and can show us the way).  What joy it is to know that even the need for forgiveness is an illusion, but a necessary one that takes us out of the mad world in which we have resided.  It is an illusion that leads to no more illusions.  In this world, indeed, we do need to forgive, as much for ourselves as for anybody else.  And then we will be healed.

The picture that is painted is akin to the “happy dreams that the Holy Spirit gives.”  We need these happy dreams so that we will not be afraid of Awakening.  If we were completely lost in madness, and the light were turned on prematurely, we would be frightened.  The Text compares what would be our fright to a light turned on while someone is dreaming in sleep.  When the person recognizes that the dream is over, he is not afraid of the light.  We need not be afraid of the light of Awakening.

Awakening is not a goal to be sought.  If so, it becomes one more goal that takes on egoistic implications.  We need to let the ego wither away, doing nothing to enhance the tarnished goals of this world.  God will quietly show us Awakening when He deems that we are ready.  If the way seems long, we are on the pathway, and we know the conclusion.  The conclusion is sure.  (These are paraphrases from the Text.)  We will be at home in God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I will be alright today if I remember that forgiveness solves all my problems.  At any time in my life that I would sense loss or suffering, I need only ask wherein have I failed to forgive?  When the answer comes, then I am to act to remedy my mistake, and then all will be well again.  May I count on You to help me, because I am so often frail and weak, and I so often forget the simple truths that You would point out in A Course in Miracles.

I would put suffering and loss behind me.  I sometimes wonder if this is too good to be true, but then I look at my life now and compare it to the life before I studied ACIM.  There really is no comparison.  And the times that I have forgotten its tenets, then I have found myself falling on my face.  May I not fall on my face anymore, beginning today.

Thank You for Your felt presence in my life.  And thank You for the presence of Jesus, who promised to hold our hand as we walk through this world.

Amen.

Your Ancient Fear Has Come upon You Now

ACIM Workbook Lesson 166 – for Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am entrusted with the gifts of God.”

“Your ancient fear has come upon you now, and justice has caught up with you at last.  Christ’s hand has touched your shoulder, and you feel that you are not alone.  You even think the miserable self you thought was you may not be your Identity.  Perhaps God’s Word is truer than your own.  Perhaps His gifts to you are real.  Perhaps He has not wholly been outwitted by your plan to keep His Son in deep oblivion, and go the way you chose without your Self.  (WB316)”

Reflections:

Our ancient fear is the fear that we have done away with God as a factor in our lives.  This is not true now and has never been true.  It will also not be true in the future.  The separation is an illusion, although very real to us in our illusory state of maya.   But we feel Christ’s hand upon our shoulder, and we are healed of this insane way of thinking.  We are not the miserable self that we once thought, but the glorious Self which we aspire to be.  That Self has never left us, however much we had thought ourselves lost.  We remember who we are, and we are safe, joyous, and complete in God’s eyes.

The plan of our ego was to keep the Self in deep oblivion, not knowing all the joy that can truly be ours.  Let us rid ourselves of this egoistic monster today.  May we come home to God.

Christ has gifts that he wants us to have.  May we accept them today.  His gifts include the blessing of safety, free of grievances; the love of ourselves, along with our brothers an sisters; and the free nature of joy that knows no bounds.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be rid of the cold fear that has been known to come upon me in the middle of the night.  I will reach inward, to You, and know that all is well–even when I feel that I am being cowardly in my fear.  I know that there is no more need for fear, that that was all a bad dream.  I would walk into the sunshine with You.

I feel the touch of Christ as a mystery that calms my emotions and gives me peace.  I ask for that peace at all times, for fear has no place in the real world.  I would live in the real world on a constant basis, and I know that this is the forerunner of Awakening.  Thank You for giving me this understanding.  Be with me as I try to live as You would have me live.

Amen.

I Am at Home

ACIM Workbook Lesson 160 – for Thursday, June 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am at home.  Fear is the stranger here.”

“Fear is a stranger to the ways of love.  Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself, and thus you are unknown to you.  What is your Self remains an alien to the part of you which thinks that it is real, but different from yourself.  Who could be sane in such a circumstance?  Who but a madman could believe he is what he is not, and judge against himself?  (WB302)”

Reflections:

It is a glorious blessing to be free of fear.  It may not happen immediately for those who read ACIM, but the promise is there.  If we fail to identify with the fear thoughts, we will go a long way toward dispersing them.

We are not meant to be afraid.  We may use pills to help us, because Jesus says that though these are forms of spells (an ACIM tenet), we do not want to do anything to exacerbate our fear.  Pills are a temporary expedient in our world, the world still ruled by the ego.  In Awakening, fear disappears entirely.  Eckhart Tolle has written extensively about this cessation of fear–this miracle.

We do not want to be ruled by madness.  And the ego is a form of madness.  Let us leave it behind today.  This is our goal, and the day will come when we see that withering away of the ego as a reality.  We have lived with the ego for a long time, and it is not always realistic to think that it will disappear immediately, upon asking.  But Jesus is in charge of time (an ACIM tenet), and turning to him is our best hope.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the assertion that I am at home.  I take this as evidence that I am at home now–not some distant time in the future when my fears will all have dissipated forever.  I would diminish fear in every situation in which I can realistically hope to do so.  I pray to You for the relinquishment of all fear as a manifestation of the ego which I no longer want.

I will enjoy being home today.  I often think about being home with You, and today’s lesson makes this clear in a way that helps me immensely.  Thank You.

Amen.

No Meaningless Anxieties

ACIM Workbook Lesson 124 – for Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let me remember I am one with God.”

Selected Passage:

“Today we will not doubt His Love for us, nor question His protection and His care.  No meaningless anxieties can come between our faith and our awareness of His Presence.  We are one with Him today in recognition and remembrance.  We feel Him in our hearts.  Our minds contain His Thoughts; our eyes behold His loveliness in all we look upon.  Today we see only the loving and the lovable.  (WB222)”

Reflections:

This is a meditative passage (as are many in the Workbook).  May we leave aside anxiety; we have this as a promise.  But how many of us truly believe that we can leave aside anxiety?  If we knew who walks beside us, then doubt and fear would be no longer.  They would be impossible.  May we speculate today about who walks beside us.  May we imagine that Jesus is taking us by the hand and guiding us.  Our imagination is not an “idle fantasy” (an ACIM quotation).

When we contemplate, commune with God in prayer, we soon feel Him in our hearts.  We aer not alone any longer.  We do see only the loving and the lovable.  This is what isw meant by projection makes perceptions.  And our projection has been cleansed, now that we are farther along in the Workbook.

We are not blind.  We see bad things happened in our world, and in the world surrounding us, the larger world.  But we will categorize all of these as illusion, illusion unable to touch our core.  Of course, sometimes we will forget and get upset.  This is natural.  God does not ask that we leave our humanness outside the door of A Course in Miracles.  But if we reflect on the words of ACIM, our moments of upset will diminish.  We will have surety that the Holy Spirit is in control.

Not that we will always have this surety.  But we will have glimpses of this surety as we go along our pathway.  May today be a special day of thanksgiving.  May we see only the loveliness surrounding us.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

May I leave my anxieties behind today.  If I find reason to be upset, let me look closely at that reason and ask if it is just an excuse to worry.  I would not worry today.  Be with me to ensure that I don’t.  Your presence makes all the difference.

I would pray today that I can feel Your presence as I go through the day.  You are often with me when I am distracted and don’t feel that You are there.  I would feel You today.

Amen.

Forms of Nothingness. . .with Magical Powers

ACIM Workbook Lesson 50 – for Saturday, February 19, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am sustained by the Love of God.”

Selected Passage:

“In this world, you believe you are sustained by everything but God.  Your faith is placed in the most trivial and insane symbols; pills, money, ‘protective’ clothing, influence, prestige, being liked, knowing the ‘right’ people, and an endless list of forms of nothingness that you endow with magical powers.  (WB79)”

Reflections:

This passage is very freeing.  We can travel more lightly than we have.  We believe that we need all kinds of things to keep us going in this world.  Maybe we need less than we think.  That is what this passage is saying.

One point is made about “pills.”  But in the Text, we are warned that perhaps we would be best to continue to take pills, even though they are a form of “spell.”  Jesus says that the last thing that we need is for our fear to be increased, and to stop pills would indeed increase fear.  So he takes a compromising attitude toward  pills.  He does not say to avoid them.

Some of the other aspects of our “protection” are more easily left behind, especially those that relate to our ego needs being satisfied by other people.  The ego is always being undone; it is the way of this world.  So the more we lean on egotistical thinking, the more we will feel pain.  And this pain will morph into suffering, in more cases than not.  These are all “forms of nothingness,” which we invest with magical powers.  It might be noted here that “magic” in ACIM is not a lyrical or fascinating enjoyment that is benign.  It is a lamentable thing.  We are not to put our trust in “magic,” as defined by ACIM, for this always leads us in a direction that we don’t want to go.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to avoid magical thinking.  I want to avoid trivial and insane symbols insofar as avoiding them does not increase fear.  I know that I need to keep fear at a minimum.  Help me to do so today.

Be with me today as I turn to You in the place of those magical things in which I previously placed too much faith.  I would put my faith only in You.

Amen.

There Is Nothing to Fear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 48 – for Thursday, February 17, 2011

Affirmation:  “There is nothing to fear.”

Selected Passage:

“The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength.  The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness.  The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.  (WB77)”

Reflections:

1 – Avoid Fear by Trusting in God

This is a favorite passage of students/teachers of ACIM.  All of us have been prone to fear from time to time, sometimes often.  We are not to trust in our own strength.  We are to trust that there is a Higher Power that looks over us, leading and guiding the way.  Jesus says in ACIM that, if it helps, imagine that he is holding our hand as we walk along.  And, he assures us, this will be no idle fantasy.

2 – Jesus Holds Us by the Hand

No human being can understand how Jesus’s assertion can be true.  Yet I do believe that it is true.  Many other seekers, long before ACIM, said much the same thing.  Jesus’s presence was a living presence to them.  He can be the same to us as well.  This latest version of the perennial wisdom that Aldous Huxley explained in his book, The Perennial Philosophy, can be understood now.

3 – We Need God’s Strength

We need to let God’s strength take the place of our weakness.  What do we do when we forget?  We turn immediately to prayer as an automatic reaction.  Or meditation (though whether or not this is counseled in ACIM is a controversial issue).  There are ways in which we can cope better.  Just studying ACIM can be a comforting way to spend time in a crisis.  God’s strength shines through at such times.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask that, throughout this day, I truly find nothing to fear.  Help me to feel Your presence, so that stress does not consume me, and I am comforted in the midst of the many busy doings that I have accepted as my role in life.  May I also use my imagination to tell me that Jesus is nearby, holding my hand.  I know that if I am successful in this imaging, I will indeed have no fear today.

Thank You for standing by me when I am anxious.  Sometimes I feel that I have no control over free-floating anxiety, but I realize that this is a falsehood.  May I realize, again today, that all the things that seem to stress me out are actually illusions which I am accepting into my life.  May I see reality today instead of fear.

Amen.

Fear Thoughts = Destructive but Unreal

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

Affirmation:  “I have no neutral thoughts.”

Selected Passage:

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

The Meaningless = Fear

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

Affirmation:  “A meaningless world engenders fear.”

Selected Passage:

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

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.