There Is No Sin

ACIM Workbook Lesson 259 – for Friday, September 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let me remember that there is no sin.”

“What else but sin engenders our attacks?  What else but sin could be the source of guilt, demanding punishment and suffering?  And what but sin could be the source of fear, obscuring God’s creation; giving love the attributes of fear and of attack?

“Father, I would not be insane today.  I would not be afraid of love, nor seek for refuge in its opposite.  For love can have no opposite.  You are the Source of everything there is.  And everything that is remains with You, and You with it.  (WB424)”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Be Attracted to “Sin”

A Course in Miracles says unequivocally that there is no sin, that there are only mistakes.  Furthermore, ACIM says that believing that we have sinned actually encourages the repetition of that “sin,” because we are perversely attracted to sin (a paraphrase from the Text).  ACIM says that as soon as we characterize something simply as a “mistake,” we will want to change; we will not want to repeat the mistake.  There is no attracting feature to a thought or action that is simply recognized to be a mistake.

2 – Let’s Understand What Forgiveness Actually Means

The passage above tells us that the attacks, guilt, punishment, suffering, fear that we experience are the result of our perceived “sin.”  This both supports the Bible and differs from it.  The Bible would have us forgive sins, but we do not learn enough to realize that our pardon of sins does not really erase them.  ACIM goes a step farther in instruction by saying that actually we are living in illusion, and that the bad things that we say and do have not happened in reality.  Hence the sense that forgiveness is on solid ground, because we are still as God created us.  Our innocence becomes hard to see only when we fail to adopt ACIM exactly as the books say.  Our guilt is keeping us from seeing innocence, and ACIM says that guilt is hell.  We would not be in hell today, and so it behooves us to commune sufficiently with God that we can see the innocence in ourselves and others.  Abraham Lincoln said that he tried to do the very best he could, the very best that he knew how.  The same might be said about all of us.  But we wander through this world with mistaken ideas that the part of us called “ego” has led us to accept as part of our being.  It is not really so.  The ego is illusory also.  Without the ego, we would recognize that our real Self is as God created it.  The ego is that “tiny, mad idea” (from the Text) about which we forgot to laugh, and all the insanity of this world has arisen as a result.

3 – Love =Our Source = God

Love does not have the opposite of hate (or indifference, as is sometimes said in our world).  Love is our Source, and our Source is God.  It is not weak to depend on God’s mercy in everyday life; it is the sanest sense.  It is the evidence that we are leaving insanity behind.  We are coming home at last, and as a result we will find the happiness that has mostly eluded us when we lived under the shadow of egoic thinking.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not live today under the egoic thinking that countenances sin.  I would leave “sin” behind, and, if You will help me, I will also leave mistakes behind.  I realize that I am human and prone to make errors, but with Your help the number of those errors can and will diminish.

Help me to avoid attack, anger–prime reasons that I wonder if I can be, as You say, “innocent,” and still as You created me.  I would relax in Your gentle love today, and when I relax and am quiet, I feel the stillness that gives me the comfort of Your presence.  Thank You for being there always.

Amen.

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False Humility

ACIM Workbook Lesson 239 – for Saturday, August 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “The glory of my Father is my own.”

“Let not the truth about ourselves today be hidden by false humility.  Let us instead be thankful for the gifts our Father gave us.  Can we see in those with whom He shares His glory any trace of sin and guilt?  And can it be that we are not among them, when He loves His Son forever and with perfect constancy, knowing he is as He created him?

“We thank You, Father, for the light that shines forever in us.  And we honor it, because You share it with us.  We are one, united in this light and one with You, at peace with all creation and ourselves.  (WB412)”

Reflections:

The ego would have us believe that all sense of justification by God is prideful; ACIM calls it “arrogance.”  But we are not being arrogant when we proclaim God’s choice of us to lead others to salvation (with ourselves coming to salvation first, or else we are “unhealed healers”–a quotation from ACIM).  We do not have to feel the false humility that this lesson warns against.  We can be genuinely strong in our understanding that we are beloved of God, and that He will keep us from the pride that is ego-driven.

We have made mistakes, which can be corrected, but we have not “sinned.”  We are at base purely innocent beings, doing the best that we know how at any given moment.  Of course, we slip, but we can correct our course as soon as we become aware of it.  Then we can forgive ourselves for the slip.  God does not forgive, because He has never condemned (an ACIM tenet).  We need our forgiveness, because only then can we feel justified by God.  This is part of the dream that we find ourselves caught in.  Forgiveness is unnecessary in Heaven, and we can know a Heaven on earth, given time to assimilate God’s Word to ourselves.

We would be at peace on any given day by forgiving ourselves of all the perceived mistakes that we have made.  There is no attraction to a mistake, as there is to sin (an ACIM tenet).  Mistakes do not call for continuation, as do sins.  We simply move to make correction, and we are freed thereby.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have made mistakes today.  Indeed, I make mistakes constantly when I dip into egoic thinking and fail to remain attuned to the Holy Spirit and His guidance.  May I forgive myself for the mistakes that happen, that seem to happen almost against my will.  I get angry and attack when I am stressed.  Help me to see the value in remaining calm and quiet, and with such serenity I am not tempted to feel anger nor to attack.

Be with me in the upcoming day as I try again.  I know that when a day goes badly, I can always start again, have a new beginning to that day.  I would have a new beginning today.  I would be comforted by the fact that You love me, and that You have provided the Holy Spirit to guide me, even as I misperceive.  Help me to have cleansed projections today, so that I perceive aright.  And then may these cleansed perceptions lead into knowledge of You.

Amen.

My Mistakes about Myself Are Dreams

ACIM Workbook Lesson 228 – for Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “God has condemned me not.  No more do I.”

“Father, I was mistaken in myself, because I failed to realize the Source from which I came.  I have not left that Source to enter in a body and to die.  My holiness remains a part of me, as I am part of You.  And my mistakes about myself are dreams.  I let them go today.  And I stand ready to receive Your Word alone for what I really am.  (WB405)”

Reflections:

We live a dream, or maya (as Eastern thought calls it).  The Holy Spirit changes our frantic dreams to peaceful ones before Awakening happens, because if He did not do so, we would be too frightened to welcome Awakening at all (a Text tenet).  We would, in fact, be terrified by the novel experience.  These peaceful dreams are happy, and we would do well to rest in this knowledge, for it is in fact knowledge and not perception (which is variable).

The knowledge that God loves us is indisputable, and we live that knowledge everyday that we feel His presence.  His felt presence is one of the surest ways that we know that we are on the right pathway.

“Your Word alone” actually means the intuitions that rise to the surface of our minds when we have turned to the Holy Spirit for clarification.  We then have a single purpose to our practicing the Workbook lesson for the day, and we will be blessed thereby.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the workbook lessons, practiced daily.  Be with me as I practice.  I would not live in dreams any longer.  I would awake to the knowledge of You.  This is my fervent prayer.

Help us to be patient as we seek to overcome the insanity that is this world.  May we get the madness out of our own minds.  May we live in the real world of Your love, exemplified in the attitudes that we show to our brothers and sisters.

Amen.

Holy Instant of Release

ACIM Workbook Lesson 227 – for Monday, August 15, 2011

Affirmation:  “This is my holy instant of release.”

“Father, it is today that I am free, because my will is Yours.  I thought to make another will, yet nothing that I thought apart from You exists.  And I am free because I was mistaken, and did not affect my own reality at all by my illusions.  Now I give them up, and lay them down before the feet of truth, to be removed forever from my mind.  This is my holy instant of release.  Father, I know my will is one with Yours.  (WB405)”

Reflections:

Let us ask today for our “holy instant of release.”  This prayer, like all of those in this section of the Workbook, is written with a loving and kind message of Awakening, waiting for all of us.

We have a free will because we recognize that our real will and the will of God are the same.  The Holy Spirit tells us what that real will is; we would be wise to listen to Him.  We live in an illusory world, and so we have made mistakes rather than “sinned.”  This is a departure from the Bible, an important departure in A Course in Miracles.  We can ask that our mistakes be removed, that we be cleansed of all unrighteousness, and we can rest in the assured promise that these mistakes will, in fact, be removed.  We will not be attracted to repeat the same mistake again (though sometimes we will do so), but we would be attracted to that mistake if we regaled ourselves with thoughts that we had sinned.  Misdeeds which we characterize as sin, according to ACIM, have an inherently attracting feature about them.  We may not understand this, but the ego is not honest.  It does not mean us well (an ACIM tenet).

If we would be free of mistakes, we must lay them at the feet of truth, as this passage says.  We would be honest (which actually means “consistent,” according to the Text), and we would eliminate our wrongdoing from our repertoire of words or deeds.  Turn to the Holy Spirit when tempted to do that which we know to be wrong in God’s sight.  Know that our conscience can sometimes mislead us, but the Holy Spirit, if listened to rightly, will never deceive.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know, today, a holy instant of release.  May I be cleansed of my past mistakes; may I choose aright the next time a decision is called for.  Be with me today as I try to be kind and good to all those whom I meet.

I would not make the same mistakes again, but I know that dwelling on the past is not what You recommend.  My present confidence directs my way, as A Course in Miracles says.  May I live in the present, making plans only when directed to do so by the Holy Spirit.

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.

Irritation

“In order to heal, it thus becomes essential for the teacher of God to let all his own mistakes be corrected.  If he senses even the faintest hint of irritation in himself as he responds to anyone, let him instantly realize that he has made an interpretation that is not true.  Then let him turn within to his Eternal Guide, and let Him judge what the response should be.  (M48)”

Affirmation:  “May all of my sense of irritation fade away.”

Reflections:

This passage succinctly describes what our reaction should be when confronted with negativity.   If we become even slightly irritated at a circumstance in the outer world, we are to turn within, to our internal Teacher, the Holy Spirit.  He will remind us of what our response should be.

The Holy Spirit often guides us very specifically, because our problems seem to be specific.  He will lead us out of the storm in which we sometimes find ourselves.  We will speak with new authority and with wisdom that is beyond us.  This is a great blessing, and one of the most important motivators to learning A Course in Miracles.

If we are feeling irritation, this is a prime time to let our mistakes be taken from us.  We do not need to compound the error by turning to attack.  Then the ego will have taken the upper hand.  We need to be healed if we are to heal.  An unhealed healer is a contradiction (a Course tenet).  May we all be led to turn to the inner Guide for the best reactions in such moments of temptation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Irritation does not seem as bad as anger, but the Course would say that both are equal.  May I turn immediately to the Holy Spirit when I sense irritation, and may I let it fall away.  The Holy Spirit will guide me.

May I not flare in anger before I realize what is happening.  May this be the first step on my pathway to eliminating poor thoughts and behaviors in myself.

Amen.