Tag Archives: ACIM and joy

What Would God Have Me Do?

ACIM Workbook Lesson 212 – for Sunday, July 31, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”

“I have a function God would have me fill.  (WB393)”

Reflections:

A Course in Miracles usually identifies “forgiveness” as our function, but ACIM also lists other functions that work in conjunction with forgiveness:  happiness (which may seem not to be a lofty-enough goal, but it is) and salvation.  In the sense of the passage above, I think that the word “function” is meant to be an all-encompassing sense of what we are to do in this world.  Our role in the world is left unfilled until we fill it.  There is a place for each of us, and nobody can do what we can.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

We are not left adrift to fulfill our function in this world.  We have guidance, whether it is the Holy Spirit (as given in ACIM) or the inner direction of Christ-consciousness (as given in A Course of Love, viewed by some to be a sequel to ACIM).  If we turn inward in whatever way seems appropriate to us at whatever stage we presently occupy, we will find our way home, and we will say and do for our brothers and sisters what we are meant to fulfill.

The repetition of the affirmation, over several days, is unique in ACIM, and perhaps this repetition is meant to impress upon us that we are free individuals in spirit, still as we have eternally been.  The separation from God has been an illusion.  What joy to realize this!  And to know that we are never alone; God, the All, shadows us from within and without at every moment.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would fulfill Your function for me today.  I realize that this means that forgiveness must be paramount.  This world demands it, though it is an illusory need.  In this world illusions reign, and we must live in the illusion but not be thrown by it.  May happiness and salvation–also said by Jesus to be our function–follow me as I seek to do Your will today.

I would feel Your presence today.  I would walk peacefully among my brothers and sisters, and I would seek to fulfill the day in the best way possible.  Help me to do this.  Be there to guide me.  Keep me flexible enough to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit through whatever events happen.

Amen.

Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 210 – for Friday, July 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”

“I choose the joy of God instead of pain.  (WB392)”

Reflections:

So much is up to us.  We can choose joy, even in the midst of sorrow.  We do not have to choose pain.  Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain.  Many do, though, and Eckhart Tolle is one who did so.  Eckhart is an awakened teacher, who has quoted from A Course in Miracles in his writings (including The Power of Now).  But Jesus says that learning through rewards is more powerful, and more lasting (normally).

Bad things do happen to good people, as Harold Kushner has told us.  But we do not have to invite misery at such times.  We need to reach inwardly to God, to the personal experience of God’s inward joy.  Prayer and communion with God will do it for us.  Forgiveness of ourselves, as well as our brothers and sisters, will also give us joy.  Find today some of those experiences which have led to joy.

Our choice at such times is very important.  The Text says that we choose what we will experience.  We have just that much power.  We do not often want to believe this, because we are actually afraid of the power of our minds (an ACIM tenet).  But we will not respect what appears to be weak, and our minds are not weak.  We can experience the joy of God today despite outward evidence to the contrary.  And repeatedly choosing God’s joy will become a habit that will see us through any dark days ahead.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this be a good day.  May this not be a dark day.  I would choose joy, believing that with Your help I have this choice within my power.  Be with me throughout the day.  When I forget that You want happiness for me, that it is a laudable goal, help me to recall this truth anew.  

I choose to be joyous in my life, despite any trials that may come my way.  Help me to remember this choice even in the midst of the trial itself.  Ease my way, but do not make me soft.  I would be strong in Your service.

Amen.

Blessed by God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 176 – for Saturday, June 25, 2011

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

“1.  Give me your blessing, holy Son of God.

“2.  I am as God created me.  (WB333)”

Reflections:

Ask today to be blessed by God.  He will do so.  Sometimes we must ask for what we want, before God will act toward us.  “Ask and ye shall receive” (a quotation from Jesus in the New Testament).  God’s blessing is a great boon, a way to have happiness even in the midst of a world in turmoil or chaos.  We can rise above the worst things in our lives if we have His blessing.  We can stay calm when all about us people are losing their composure.  We do not have to be so affected.  Ask for God’s blessing, and we will find that our way is smoothed, even though the world itself stays in conflict.

We are as God created us.  This refrain repeats often in the Workbook.  We have not been changed by a presumed separation from God.  We have only made a detour into the ways of the ego, and this detour can be straightened out by asking God for direction.  The ego would lead us into conflict, and we would not have this.  The ego is only a false way of thinking, a part of our belief about ourselves (a Text tenet).  The ego does not have to be overblown into something that is hard to relinquish.  Relinquishment is possible at any time, though frequently relinquishment happens over a fairly long period of time.  That is due to our own reluctance to believe that we have been so mistaken.  But we can get over this by petition of the Holy Spirit.

We would be all that God would have us be.  We would have the God within have a good day.  Often we treat ourselves worst than we would treat God.  But He is right here with us, within us, experiencing as we experience.  Let us give God a good day today.  Ask and we will receive.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a good day today, a happy day.  Thank You for leading me to understand that happiness is not an inferior goal, that You would have us happy.  Happiness and salvation go hand-in-hand, and I thank You for that.  I would do what I can to bring both happiness and salvation to my brothers and sisters.  Help me to do this today.

I do feel blessed by You in my life, past and present.  From my life today, I can look back, for years, and see how things were made different by my adherence to Your way.  When I feel down, I had gotten out of touch.  I would not get out of touch today.

Amen.

All Feelings that Are Not Happy = “Death”

ACIM Workbook Lesson 167 – for Thursday, June 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “There is one life, and that I share with God.”

“In this world, there appears to be a state that is life’s opposite.  You call it death.  Yet we have learned that the idea of death takes many forms.  It is the one idea which underlies all feelings that are not supremely happy.  It is the alarm to which you give response of any kind that is not perfect joy.  All sorrow, loss, anxiety and suffering and pain, even a little sign of weariness, a slight discomfort or the merest frown, acknowledge death.  And thus deny you live.  (WB318)”

Reflections:

This passage is quite metaphorical, but yet we can see its practical applications.  A Course in Miracles is always practical (a tenet).  If we view our little pains as “little deaths,” then we can see the wisdom in these words.  Anytime that we acknowledge suffering, rather than try to overlook it, we are exacerbating the suffering.  In practical terms, overlooking suffering can be hard to do.  But distraction has been found to lessen the perception of pain; therefore, the suffering is less.

We can even acknowledge pain without having it turn into suffering.  Echhart Tolle makes this point in A New Earth.  We could sometimes do ourselves no greater value than to fail to turn pain into suffering.  When we dwell on pain, it grows.  Overlooking, much as we overlook our brothers’ and sisters’ attacks upon us, does much to have us live in a joyous world.

Let us turn aside from death in all its forms today.  There are no “little deaths,” in an interpretation based on ACIM principles.  It is all or nothing.  Let our little deaths be nothing today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I appreciate that in my lifetime You have shown me enough that I no longer fear death.  I do not fear the end of my life, but I am not yet consistent in living each day to the fullest and avoiding the “little deaths” of joylessness.  Help me to live a joyous day today.  Help me to forget “death” in any form.

Be with me today, and most of all, help me to feel Your presence.  I thank You for the comfort that You have brought to me when I feel You especially keenly.  I would invite that feeling by consistently communing with You throughout the day.  Help me to do this.

Amen.

Love and Joy Are My Heritage

ACIM Workbook Lesson 117 – for Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “God, being Love, is also happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“Let me remember love is happiness, and nothing else brings joy.  And so I choose to entertain no substitutes for love.  (WB210)”

Affirmation:  “I seek but what belongs to me in truth.”

Selected Passage:

“Love is my heritage, and with it joy.  These are the gifts my Father gave to me.  I would accept all that is mine in truth.  (WB210)”

Reflections:

These affirmations (“lessons”) and the passages selected are tools for contemplation.  But we are not meant, as students/teachers of ACIM to spend long hours in contemplation, which Jesus says is “tedious” (a Manual tenet).  But some time spent in contemplative meditation is good for us (though there is a difference of opinion among ACIM students/teachers about whether or not meditation is a part of ACIM).

We return today to the happy realization that happiness is a worthy goal.  It is an outgrowth of Love, being of God.  God is Love, and therefore He fosters happiness.  Let us not look at this assertion too casually.  It is pivotal to our healing.  When we turn to God and to our brothers and sisters, willing all (including ourselves) to be healed, we will naturally live a life of more happiness.  This truth is regardless of how many “bad” things are happening at any given time.  Our hearts will be at peace, and this in itself will foster happiness.

Love belongs to us.  It is ours.  We do ourselves a great disservice when we turn aside from these promises.  Let us today turn to Love (God) for the blessings that He is so ready to bestow on us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Love brings joy, and I would have both today.  Be with me as I go through the varying activities that I have on my “to do” list.  Help me to be kind to the people whom I will encounter, and help me to realize that not everybody sees things “my” way.

Thank You for your abiding love for me.  I especially welcome the sense of Your presence, and I am glad that You are not hiding Your love from me in a dark night of the soul.

Amen.

Perfect Happiness = A Worthy Pursuit

ACIM Workbook Lesson 116 – for Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“God’s Will is perfect happiness for me.  And I can suffer but from the belief there is another will apart from his.  (WB209)”

Affirmation:  “I must share God’s Will for happiness for me.”

Selected Passage:

“I share my Father’s Will for me, His Son.  What He has given me is all I want.  What He has given me is all there is.  (WB209)”

Reflections:

1 – Is Happiness a Lofty Function?

Many of us feel that happiness is not a lofty-enough function.  But it is.  It is only when we have accepted God’s promises that we find real happiness at all.  Anything else partakes of the ego, and the “happiness” of the ego is short-lived always.  Nothing happens that seems joyful, in the eyes of the ego, that is not bought with tears of misery (a paraphrase from the Text).

2 – A Recollection

In my early years, I recall an instance with one of my students in which I realized that having happiness was her primary goal.  I felt then, judgmentally, that this was not enough of a goal.  And certainly it was not, if by “happiness” she meant the “joys” of the ego.  But perhaps she did not mean that at all.  ACIM has taught me that the right way of viewing happiness is a wonderful promise.  We are certainly not meant to go through life with a too serious nature.  The light and easy touch is assumed in A Course in Miracles.

3 – Don’t Follow the Ego

The “other will” apart from God’s is the will of the ego, and here we are told that only this brings us misery.  The ego, remember, is a part of our belief about ourselves.  It can be left aside with the help of the Holy Spirit.  The ego is not just a way of speaking in an egotistical sense; it is a persona (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  May we give up this persona today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I desire happiness, and in so doing I believe that I am helping to fulfill my function as Your child.  May I share my happiness with others.  May I help to make happy my brothers and sisters in this world.  There is so much that is difficult in life.  May I spread a little joy today.  May I leave this world a better place for having lived in it one more day.

Be with all of us today.  When difficulties arise, may I know that my higher Self has chosen these difficulties as a way of honing my spirit.  May I work through my struggles, knowing that peace and joy are on the other side of all difficulties.

Amen.

God’s Gifts Always Increase

ACIM Workbook Lesson 105 – for Friday, April 15, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s peace and joy are mine.”

Selected Passage:

“Accept God’s peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift.  God’s gifts will never lessen when they are given away.  They but increase thereby.  (WB188)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Gifts

God’s gifts are the intangibles, and thus these always increase when given away.  God’s gifts are peace and joy and love.  Only material possessions lessen as they are given away, and material gifts, in the broad range, are actually nothing.

2 – Gifts Multiply when Given Away

Much is said early in the Text about the fact that God’s gifts multiply as they are given away.  We do not lose; we only gain.  And others gain from our largesse.

3 – Choose Peace and Joy

Who would not choose peace and joy if he/she only knew that these two blessings are ours for the asking?  It is up to us to tell them, for we are farther along in the Workbook now, and it is beginning to be our place to reach outward more and more.  God depends upon us to spread His message.  We need help to bring salvation to ourselves and others, but we can do so with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Let us always remember that salvation is not up to us solely, for this is arrogance (a Text tenet).  Let us remember to ask for God’s guidance, and we will soon be in a better position, after our study and learning, to be bringers of salvation, always in the right way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose peace, joy, with their attendant aliveness today.  This has been my central prayer for several days, and I hope to see the culmination today.  I know that You answer prayers quickly, instantaneously, and it is normally my reluctance to accept Your way for me that slows down the Answer.  May I be in line with Your desires for me today, and may this one central prayer receive a resounding “yes.”

Thank You for giving us those things that we can give away, and by that gesture see only increase.  The intangibles are the only things that we ever take beyond this world.  May I realize this today ever more strongly, and may I increase my share of intangibles.  This can be only Your will for me.

Amen.

God Is Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 103 – for Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Affirmation:  “God, being Love, is also happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“. . .[I]mages, with no reality in truth, bear witness to the fear of God, forgetting being Love, He must be joy.  (WB185)”

Reflections:

1 – Love and Joy

Love and joy go together.  That is the message in this lesson.  Images are illusions, not real seeing at all.  These images do have no reality in truth.  And they make us feel fear, even the fear of God.  What a lamentable feeling this is!

2 – Happiness = Ours for the Asking

May we realize today that happiness can be ours for the asking.  We need only turn to God in prayer (or communion), and then have the real desire of our heart, which is for Him.

3 – Afraid of Joy?

If we fear God, we are really afraid of joy (said in this lesson).  We may not fully comprehend this until we give it some thought.  But, upon reflection, we will realize that it is true.  We fear joy, because we do not know what will really be beneficial to ourselves.  We often choose that which will make us miserable.  And all of this is avoidable.  Let us avoid that which will make us joyous today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I wish for joyous thoughts.  I choose to turn aside from those thoughts which would make me miserable.  You are joy, and there is never any reason to feel any fear in regard to You.  May I not forget this today.

Help me to walk in sunny paths today.  The way of lamenting any part of the past is over for me today.  Today I walk a bright and glorious pathway.

Amen.

How to Have Perfect Happiness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 101 – for Monday, April 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“God’s Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless.  Joy is just, and pain is but the sign you have misunderstood yourself.  Fear not the Will of God.  (WB182)”

Reflections:

1 – Mistakes Are Not Sins in Eternity

If there is no sin in eternity, then we must recognize the fact of mistakes.  We know that not all is right with our world, and “mistakes” that have been made are the culprit.  We can feel pain, though Jesus tells us in the Text that it is not necessary to learn through pain.  We do not have to feel suffering, though many of us do.  Pain can be accepted fully, and in the acceptance, the suffering does not arise.  Eckhart Tolle has much to say about this in both The Power of Now and A New Earth.  (He is an enlightened current teacher.)

2 – Do Not Fear the Will of God

We do not have to fear the Will of God, as did Jonah in the Old Testament.  Our understanding has moved beyond this.  As we have said repeatedly, God’s Will and our real will are the same.  The Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration, understands this well.  Our own intuition, if informed by the Holy Spirit, will tell and show us this as well.

3 – Joy Is Our Birthright

So joy is our birthright, and we would do well to welcome joy into our daily lives.  If at any time, we are so burdened that we cannot “feel” joy, let us know that it is waiting for us.  We can commune with God (a Text tenet), and feel the peace that will, soon enough, invite the joy.

4 -Joy Goes with Gentleness

The Manual says, “Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack.  (M13)”  And, in the same paragraph, Jesus says that joy is the inevitable result of gentleness.  May we be gentle, that we do not harm to anyone–ourselves or anyone else.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be gentle today, that I may know joy.  Your will for me is perfect happiness, and I know that what is Your will comes about once my will has joined with Yours.  May I correct any mistakes immediately after they happen.  I know that I am not perfect, or I would not even be living in this world.

May I feel Your presence often today.  I ask this very frequently, and, as soon as I am open to Your presence, You are there for me.  Help me to be open to Your presence often today, throughout the day.

Amen.

Joy and Release

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

Affirmation:  “pure joy and limitless release”

Reflections:

We are meant to be joyous, even in the midst of a world that has many woes.  We pray for its improvement, and we do what we can to improve our part of this world.  Yet we miss the point if we fail to rejoice in the good news that God has found in us his people, and that God has given to us the means to be joyous.

We will not always avoid pain and struggle, and perhaps this is not bad.  We can normally avoid escalating our troubles into real suffering if we turn to God.  We may often fail in the endeavor to give over our problems to God’s true answers, but if we fail, we do well to pick ourselves up and try again next time.  And, when we forget to turn to Him, may we know always that He does not forget us.  Even when the way seems the most severe, He is carrying us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Sometimes I find it hard to be joyous.  Perhaps I find it hard because I am thinking “hard.”  I can do much to improve my frame of mind by thinking “joy.”  Help me to know this blessing today.

I have often returned to A Course in Miracles and the phrases, “pure joy” and “limitless release.”  Jesus said that these were thoughts to keep in mind throughout the day.  May I do so today.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 135:

If I defend myself I am attacked.