This Day I Choose Perfect Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 255 – for Monday, September 12, 2011

Affirmation:  “This day I choose to spend in perfect peace.”

“And so, my Father, would I pass this day with You.  Your Son has not forgotten You.  The peace You gave him still is in his mind, and it is there I choose to spend today.  (WB422)”

Reflections:

Let us follow the affirmation and prayer for today.  Let us spend this day with God in perfect peace.

What would that mean for this day?  It would mean, first of all, a moment-by-moment attention to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This does not mean that we have to ask what to do at every juncture, because in the Manual Jesus says that this would not be practical, and it is the practical with which we are most concerned.  But we start the day aright, and we end it aright–in communion with God.  When we have asked for guidance as the day begins, we can only recognize that it will be given (a Manual tenet).

Second, it means that we will stay in the peace of God, regardless (and this is a big consideration) of how hectic or stressed the day becomes.  If we get off track, Jesus says that we can always begin the day again (a Text tenet), but there are obvious advantages in saving time by staying on the pathway throughout the day (also a Text tenet).

Third, we forgive ourselves, as well as our brothers and sisters, when we have slipped into egoic thinking.  Unless Awakening is a constant state, the ego has not fully withered away, and we will have mishaps in our thinking, which will lead to mishaps in the larger world.

These three considerations are my own interpretation, and they are not stated precisely like this in ACIM.  But in my own life, these three considerations work for me as I seek to live my holy relationships, as well as turn as many others from special to holy as possible.  Our primary relationship to a “brother” is the main guidance that A Course in Miracles presents.  That relationship is our way home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today I would ask You for guidance, through the Holy Spirit; for freedom from a too-intense day filled with potential stress; and the will to forgive my brothers and sisters when they (or I) have failed in some way to fulfill the function expected of me.  May I not have expectations of a particular end toward which I wish others to reach me.  May I walk in peace with them and with myself.  May I walk home today.

I would have perfect peace, and this starts with beginning the day with a good mind slant.  May I listen to the guidance that I have asked to receive, and may my day be filled with all good–for others as well as myself.  Be with me today, as always I ask this.

If the day turns stressed, may I realize that I have it in my power to relieve this stress by turning inward, quieting myself in Your presence, and asking for the next right thought or action to take.  May I turn aside stress by the silence in which I will find You.  Thank You for the assurance that I have felt that all is well in a world which You oversee, even though all of us have free will, and sometimes we do foolish and mistaken things.

Amen.

Guidance of the Holy Spirit

ACIM Workbook Lesson 236 – for Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “I rule my mind, which I alone must rule.”

“My mind can only serve.  Today I give its service to the Holy Spirit to employ as He sees fit.  I thus direct my mind, which I alone can rule.

“Father, my mind is open to Your Thoughts, and closed today to every thought but Yours.  I rule my mind, and offer it to You.  Accept my gift, for it is Yours to me.  (WB410)”

Reflections:

These two short passages from the lesson for today capsule one of the most important goals of taking A Course in Miracles unto ourselves.  We must follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or we are lost on our pathway.  He will guide us very precisely, and we will be told all that we need to know (a Text tenet).

Following the Holy Spirit does take flexibility, though.  We must be willing to turn on a dime, to change directions as soon as our intuition (or other ways that guidance reaches us) tells us.  There can be some confusion, even after years of praying for guidance on following the Holy Spirit.  We can think that we “hear” a given directive, only to find some minutes or hours later that the direction pointed out to us has seemed to change.  In my own thinking, this means that our own emotion has intruded.  We are too invested in a given decision, and we may not even like the direction that the Holy Spirit has pointed out to us.  So we imagine a different direction, and then we get confused.  At base this is ego.

On the other hand, circumstances may have changed.  And we as well as others do have free will.  So there are no hard and fast rules.  Emotion may have interfered with the directive that we first “heard” as guidance, or we must follow new directions, new guidance, because we are living in a changing world.  We would do well to turn our hearts to silence when genuinely confused by the guidance that we think we have received.  The Holy Spirit will find a way to get through to us.  We will not remain confused.  But we must be genuinely trusting and genuinely non-directive ourselves.

We may also have decided first what we want to say or do, and then be unable to “hear” correctly (a Text tenet).  We need to prepare ourselves not to decide first, because, as the Manual points out, our judgment is so faulty.  We do not know all that impinges upon a given direction that we want to take.  And in the past we have been wrong many times (also stated in the Manual).  Who among us would choose our own decision-making process when we might have the greater judgment of the Holy Spirit?  There is no contest.  We choose for the Holy Spirit.

To capitulate:  If the direction seems to change, I normally assume that emotion has intruded, and I go with the first indication–the one that seems in line with the immediate Answer given by the Holy Spirit.  If I do not go with the first indication, I am believing that circumstances have changed, that a new probability has intruded, and that I really do need to change directions (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  This understanding is not yet fully accomplished.  God is not finished with me yet, as many have said about themselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May today’s guidance be clear and pristine.  May I not be tempted to insert my own wishes, when Yours are what I wish to know and to follow.

If my understanding of Your guidance changes, may I become silent and listen in the depths of my heart.  I would not be confused today.  I would follow only You.

Amen.

Let All My Thoughts Be Still

ACIM Workbook Lesson 221 – for Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “Peace to my mind.  Let all my thoughts be still.”

“Father, I come to You today to seek the peace that You alone can give.  I come in silence.  In the quiet of my heart, the deep recesses of my mind, I wait and listen for Your Voice.  My Father, speak to me today.  I come to hear Your Voice in silence and in certainty and love, sure You will hear my call and answer.

“Now do we wait in quiet.  God is here, because we wait together.  I am sure that He will speak to you, and you will hear.  Accept my confidence, for it is yours. (WB402)”

Reflections:

The “Voice” is called elsewhere, and repeatedly, the “Holy Spirit.”  He is described in the Text as the “Communicator” from God to us, as well as the Universal Inspiration.  He is our guidance, the way that we live when we give up our own judgment (as proscribed in the Manual), and let Him lead the way.  We are told in the Manual that we cannot know all of the factors, past and present, influencing a decision, and that our best decision is to give that judgment over to the Holy Spirit, Who does know all the factors.

We often think that we know best, but if we consider for awhile how wrong we have often been when we have applied our best judgment to a situation, the truth of A Course in Miracles will become apparent.  This idea is elaborated upon in the Manual.

This passage, this prayer, indicates that we come to know guidance in silence.  Yes, this is one very important way, and we come to this only when still and quiet.  Let us be still and quiet today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be still and quiet today.  I would not get agitated if any stress seems to reach into my life.   Your way is best, as always.  Be with me as I seek to live simply and peacefully in this sometimes troubled world.

I would listen to Your guidance.  Help me to distinguish between guidance that is sure and direct, and guidance that seems to change as time passes.  Help me to know whether or not my mind is planning tricks on me.  I would not listen to the ego that has not entirely withered away.  I would follow the Holy Spirit, Your Voice.

Amen.

Ask of Your Teacher and Receive Immediately

“Ask all things of His Teacher, and all things are given you.  Not in the future but immediately; now.  (M71)”

Affirmation:  “If I ask, I will receive immediately.”

Reflections:

This passage is incredibly helpful.  We receive answers immediately to our questions and to our prayers.  “Now” may not be recognized by us, though.  We may not hear the Answer that we are expecting, leading us to believe that we are not heard at all.  But we are.

When answers do not seem to come immediately, go within.  Get calm and relaxed, or, as the Course says, “perfectly calm and quiet.”  Ask why there seems to be a delay.  And you will be told.  The answer will present itself.  If you are very upset, you may not be able to hear the response immediately.  Pray diligently, and then quietly go about your life.  When you are quiet within, the Answer will appear.  This is an assurance that this passage gives.

The fact that the answer is given “now” does not necessarily mean that we are in the frame of mind that can hear that answer.  Be patient with yourself.  We are not without limitations in this world (a Course concept).  Know in your deepest heart that the Answer you are seeking has been given, and in time, usually soon, the Answer will appear spontaneously in your mind and heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that when I ask, I will receive answers.  The Course says “immediately.”  But I know that Your time is not always mine.  When my faith is strong, though, the beginning of an answer to my problems does come immediately.  That much I know for certain.  Thank You.

Once again I ask for the strength and willingness to follow guidance always.  I have often said that I am much happier when I do follow these whisperings, and I ask for that willingness, that flexibility, today.

Amen.

Workbook Lesson for Day 82:

We will review these ideas today:

“The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.”

“Let me not forget my function.”

The Requests of Your Heart

“Never forget that the Holy Spirit does not depend on your words.  He understands the requests of your heart, and answers them.  Does this mean that, while attack remains attractive to you, He will respond with evil?  Hardly!  For God has given Him the power to translate your prayers of the heart into His language.  He understands that an attack is a call for help.  And He responds with help accordingly.  (M71)”

Affirmation:  “May I always remember that any attack is always a call for help.”

Reflections:

A very reassuring passage (as are so many in the Course), these words assure us that the better “thoughts” of our heart will be what the Holy Spirit listens and responds to.  We may ask for what may hurt us, but God will protect us from such false dreams.  The Holy Spirit knows what the Self really wants, and this Self is the larger life that we have beyond this world.

This passage repeats the oft-given truth that an attack is a call for help.  This explains what we may already realize from other passages:  that our brothers and sisters are only asking for help when they attack.  The same holds true for ourselves as well.  Attack is never what it seems.  Attack asks that we rush to the side of the offending party, and give whatever sort of help seems called for.  Once we take this truth to heart, we will never view our brothers and sisters the same.  We have no reason to become angry when we are the brunt of an attack.  Our brothers and sisters always just want our help, however disguised the request comes to us.

The Holy Spirit always helps us.  He does not intrude, but once we have made Him welcome, He will be there for us.  The most important aspect is our flexibility is following His guidance.  He does not frequently give advice unsolicited or even too far in advance; that is why we must be ready and even eager to “turn on a dime.”  When we follow guidance consistently, we open the way to a glorious world, the real world, that is far beyond anything that this prosaic world seems to offer us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I realize that God will give me good.  He understands the requests of my heart, and he translates my sometimes imperfect words into the best for me.

May I also come to terms with all attack, whether from others upon me or from myself upon others.  May I recognize that attack is always a call for help.  Then may I turn inward to find that help that is so much needed at times of attack.

Amen.

When Do You Ask for Help?

“If you have made it a habit to ask for help when and where you can, you can be confident that wisdom will be given you when you need it.  Prepare for this each morning, remember God when you can throughout the day, ask the Holy Spirit’s help when it is feasible to do so, and thank Him for His guidance at night.  And your confidence will be well founded indeed.  (M71)”

Affirmation:  “ask for help when and where you can”

Reflections:

This passage outlines the way in which Jesus would have us respond to the Holy Spirit.  Ask in the morning, turn to God during the day, and thank Him at night for His guidance.  We will then know the truth of these important words.

If we become more egotistical, which will happen from time to time, we can gauge our state of mind by how willing we are to be flexible about following the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  We will need to be flexible, because sometimes the guidance comes at the immediate point that we have begun to do something different.

Following guidance is the way to happiness in this world.  And it is also our way Home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you that I have recently been able to ask for and to receive guidance more frequently than I sometimes do.  I have been on the pathway.  Thank You for giving me the strength to trust.

May my willingness to follow guidance remain strong.  You know how much happier my life becomes when I am pliable in Your hands.

Amen.

Decisions Wholly Devoid of Attack

“But the Teacher Who knows the truth has not forgotten it.  His decisions bring benefit to all, being wholly devoid of attack.  (M71)”

Affirmation:  “Be wholly devoid of attack.”

Reflections:

Here is a reason that the Holy Spirit, the “Teacher,” does so well in guiding us.  His answers are totally devoid of attack.  Our judgments, even when we are at our best, may have an edge of attack, often very subtle.  Our judgments can even be passive-aggressive, in which we do not directly confront another, but we attack then subtly by kind words that are not really kind.

Note that the Teacher’s truth brings benefit to all.  And that includes us as well.  So we are not wrong to see a selfish motive to following this guidance.  It helps us as well as our brothers and sisters.

We cannot stress too often the need to give up attack in all its forms.  Until we do, we are caught in the ego, for only the ego will attack.  May we pray to be free of the machinations of the ego, and to turn to our Teacher in as many times as would be practical.  Jesus does say elsewhere that we are not bade to ask the Holy Spirit’s advice constantly, as this is not practical.  We are bade to ask for guidance in the mornings and again at night, and to turn to the Holy Spirit at other times that are propitious.  Then our thoughts and actions will be well-placed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to give up attack.  If I cannot reach this ultimate good, may I reach for love as long as I possibly can.  Only love is the way of the saved.

Be with me throughout the day today.  I know that I feel better when I have loved rather than attacked.  This is evidence that Your way is right for me.

Amen.

Psychic Powers

“Certainly there are many ‘psychic’ powers that are clearly in line with this course.  Communication is not limited to the small range of channels the world recognizes.  If it were, there would be little point in trying to teach salvation.  It would be impossible to do so.  (M62)”

Affirmation:  “If it is best for me, may I develop the psychic powers in line with the Course.”

Reflections:

The Course is never specific about these “psychic” powers, but it may be interpreted that the usual kinds of psychic powers are meant, all a form of ESP.  Certainly we sometimes seem to know what those closest to us are thinking.  This is a universal experience.

Guidance from the Holy Spirit is often received in a psychic manner.  We get an intuitive sense of what to say or do next, and we follow, and we discover that what we said or did by this prompting was, oh, ever so right.  Living by following guidance is the most joyous way to live.

We must be flexible, be able to turn on a dime, if we wish to take advantage of psychic powers that are in line with the Course.  The Holy Spirit does, indeed, sometimes guide us months and years in advance, but this is not the most common way.  The most common way is to intuit the next thing that we should do or say.  Otherwise, we would, in our egoic state, be susceptible to planning against contingencies to come, which the Course specifically says is not a desired characteristic.  We need to do the next right thing, and then the next, and the next.  Then life flows smoothly, and we know the blessings that A Course in Miracles holds out to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be led to the psychic powers that can benefit my world.  May I not seek for what would be harmful.  May the Holy Spirit guide me.  May I always be willing to accept His guidance.

Be with me today as I explore my psychic nature.  Thank you for being a part of my life always.

Amen.

Problems

“He need make no distinctions among the problems he perceives, for He to Whom he turns with all of them recognizes no order of difficulty in resolving them.  (M41)”

Affirmation:  “\My problems melt away as I turn to the Holy Spirit for His solution.”

Reflections:

How wonderful it is to know that, however difficult the problem might appear to us, it is child’s play to the Holy Spirit.  He will find the answer for us, if we but listen.  Elsewhere Jesus proclaims that one miracle is not more difficult than another, that there is not order of difficulty in miracles.  But we usually don’t really believe this.  More study and loving guidance will lead us to the truth of the statement.

The “He” in this passage is, of course, the Holy Spirit.  The language of the Course reflects the sixties, when the books were scribed, and follows as well the terminology of the Bible.  We should not let our faith waiver because the language is not gender-inclusive.  That would be asking too much of a document written before such sensitivities entered our culture.

Since the Holy Spirit sees no order of difficulty in solving problems, He will solve them when we turn to Him.  We have only to ask.  And asking is not greedy.  In supplication, we know that God is greater than are we, and if we turn as little children to Him, He answers us.  We have to be willing, though, to relinquish our own propensities to do things our way.  God’s Way may, and likely is, very different.  And we will be led Home as we follow His Way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit in all difficulties–not some, but all.  God’s grace and help in the solution of problems is a free offer.  And Your help is meant to encompass every aspect of our lives.

May I recognize these truths as I go about my day today.  May I pray for solutions to any and all difficulties that I face.  I know that these difficulties are not real, but as long as I am in this world, they may seem real to me.  Thank You for being there for me.

Amen.