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.

Pain and Suffering Are Illusory

ACIM Workbook Lesson 248 – for Monday, September 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “Whatever suffers is not part of me.”

“I have disowned the truth.  Now let me be as faithful in disowning falsity.  Whatever suffers is not part of me.  What grieves is not myself.  What is in pain is but illusion in my mind.

“Father, my ancient love for You returns, and lets me love Your Son again as well.  Father, I am as You created me.  Now is Your Love remembered, and my own.  Now do I understand that they are one.  (WB417)”

Reflections:

Pain is illusion.  I have often said this in this blog.  Here we find the quotation that identifies this truth.  We would leave suffering, grieving, and pain behind.  We would walk into the sunlight with Christ.

When we become intimately aware that God loves us, we are led to love the Son/Daughter that we are as well.  This Son/Daughter is the Self that has risen above the ego.  The ego, having dissolved, leaves the true Self behind.  Then we respond to circumstances with love, where previously we were prone to offer attack in return for attack.  Or anger in return for anger.  Attack and anger are never justified (a Text tenet).  And we realize this when we practice the forgiveness that God is gently leading us to experience and to offer freely, without a trace of resentment or other negative emotion, to our brothers and sisters–regardless of what we have perceived, in illusion, that they have said to us or that they have done to us.

God’s love and our love are identical.  But we would never have believed this earlier in the Workbook.  We have come a long way along the pathway home.  We are preparing for Awakening, which is an ineffable state of Oneness that knows by revelation the truth of God’s love.  When we awaken, if we have followed ACIM, it is a gentle process.  We are not thrown headlong into Awakening, which would cause us great terror, but are led to welcome the experience.  (These are all paraphrases from the Text.)  Our love for the Father is ancient, and we are retracing steps that we have taken before.  (This is part of the theological understanding of ACIM, an understanding that is not immediately easy to accept or even to comprehend dimly.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I feel pain, let me realize today that I am living in an illusory world.  When I “suffer,” may I realize the same.  You are with me to help me to rise above these everyday occurrences for the vast majority of people in our world.  Many who have the least are, somehow, protected from feeling the ravages of a difficult world.  Faith in You will do this for me.  May I have such faith today.  And when my faith fails me, may I remember again that this world is illusion, that my Self has not been hurt or harmed in any way.

I am as You created me.  I have made mistakes, and some of those mistakes lead inexorably to pain and suffering.  I would follow Your Guide today, so that I eliminate the cause of much pain and suffering, even in this world.  Be with me as I try to turn on a dime today, when the Universal Inspiration, the Holy Spirit, prompts me to change directions.  May all of my decisions be in accord with what You would have me say and do.

Thank You for always being here for me.

Amen.

All the World of Pain = Not God’s Will

ACIM Workbook Lesson 99 – for Saturday, April 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “Salvation is my only function here.”

Selected Passage:

“Your Father loves you.  All the world of pain is not His Will.  Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you.  Then let the Thought with which He has replaced all your mistakes enter the darkened places of your mind that thought the thoughts that never were His Will.  (WB178)”

Reflections:

We often, over the years, have blamed God for the wrongs that we see in the world.  In ACIM, Jesus says that nobody who lives here but at some time has thought God cruel.  But such thoughts are miscomprehensions.  God is the good God that we have been taught.  He does not will the mistakes that we make out of free will.  When we learn that our real will and His are the same, then we are on the way to being healed and to living in a healed world.

“All the world of pain is not His Will.”  Let us remember this always.  And then let us lay aside any blame that we have attributed to Him.

The “Thought” is actually a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, the Communicator of God to us, the Holy Inspiration (said in the Text).  We can learn much when we open ourselves to learning from guidance that is true.  May our darkened thoughts subside today; may we see that God did not will the terrible happenings that we see all around us.  He would have us live in a sparkling, lovely world.  And when we recognize that the madness is but illusion, we will forgive Him what He never caused.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I come to understand today, and not to blame You for “allowing” pain and suffering to happen.   We do not have to learn through pain, Jesus tells us.  Only learning through rewards lasts.  May I experience only the lasting today.

This world is sometimes difficult.  But if I keep my mind on Your guidance through the Holy Spirit, I will have a much easier time navigating through my questionings.  Thank You for being there for me, as always.

Amen.