Tag Archives: ACIM and the Holy Spirit

Practicing Mindfulness

pissaro - beside river

“The art of thought invites the experience of the new thought system by being willing to replace the old with the new.  While this will at first be a learned activity, and as such have its moments of seeming difficulty, it is learned only in the sense of your practicing the mindfulness that will allow the memory of it to return to you.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 5.13)”

Affirmation:  “May I understand the art of thought today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Longer Struggle

When we practice the art of thought, we do not furrow our brow and study hard.  We read almost as though we were reading a story, for the pleasure.  We learn, therefore, effortlessly.  We no longer struggle to gain concepts.  We let the meaning be shown to us by gentle means.  We do not negate the idea that maybe revelation is showing us the way.  Revelation is not always recognized for what it is.  And A Course of Love indicates that it is with us more and more as we walk further along the pathway to Christ-consciousness.

2 – Gestures of Love

We respond to our outer environment when we practice the art of thought.  We do not take responsibility for others, but we do try to alleviate their needs.  Again, this is not a struggle, but simply gestures of love.

3 – Observation

And we learn by observation of ourselves and others.  Observation is the new way of learning in this new world we are on the verge of entering.  We observe, we reflect, and we come to understand.  Again, this is all effortless.

4 – Gain a Whole New World

Can so much be had for so little?  Can we gain a whole new world in such effortless ways?  Indeed, we can, for the pathway is not one of struggle any longer.  We walk into the sunlight, prompted by intuition, feelings, insight–any means of guidance that comes to us.  We are not alone.  That is a primary message.  We never have to do all of this work of salvation unaided.  Indeed, salvation is not work at all, but the most glorious child’s play possible (paraphrased from A Course in Miracles, which says that salvation is a game that happy children play).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would spend today in a relaxed mind and heart, listening for Your guidance and knowing that it will come when I have stilled myself so that I can hear.  Thank You for being here for me.  May I observe this world in a new way of thinking, by observation rather than intense study.  May I no longer be tempted to struggle through my days.  You do not mean this for me.

Help all of my brothers and sisters to have a good day.  You mean for all of our days to be good, even the ones that have some pain in them.  Pain in the present moment simply doesn’t occur; we are always seeing the past in our pain.  May pain never been turned by our minds into suffering.  You would choose for all of Your children to rest in Your blessings, to receive Your ease, and to solve any and all problems, with Your help, that have presented themselves and may be causing pain.  Guide us to know what to do when faced with less-than-desirable life circumstances.  May our stress remain low and our spirits high.

Thank You for Your presence, always, in our lives.

Amen.

Relationships of the Self/Christ

“Is it such a huge leap to go from saying you only exist in relationship to you only exist as Avenue-de-lOpera-Rain-Effect-artist-Camille-Pissarrorelationship?  You think it is, and feel your self further diminished and lacking in identity just by contemplating such an idea.  And so you must be reassured of the Self you are.  (A Course of Love, 27.10)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to understand that I exist as relationship.”

Reflections:

1 – Definitions

What is the difference between existing “in” relationship and existing “as” relationship?  “In” relationships we are still two entities (extended to many) that are in concert one to the other.  “As” relationship means that we are not unique in any way, but that the one Self that we are is simultaneously everywhere.

2 – Hard Point

This may be a hard point to grasp.  The subtleties are great.

3 – Selves/Christ in Union

To accept that we are “as” relationship, we must recognize the One that is everywhere and everything.  This is another way of speaking of God.  And we have already grasped that our one personal self is a part of Him.  Is it such a giant leap to see that our Self is actually Selves–Christ in union with all?

4 – Theology

This is part of the theology of A Course of Love.  It is not necessary to take this understanding unto yourself if it seems obtuse.  Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that theology may only delay us, for a universal theology is impossible; a universal experience, though, is indeed possible and is to be sought out.

5 – Be Patient

Let the concept in today’s passage rest lightly on your mind.  As time passes, think of “in” and “as” again, and see if this distinction is beginning to be more acceptable to you.  But do not fret if it is one of the last concepts in ACOL to find your nod.  We are learning much by observation, and as we progress, in the future, through the other two volumes of ACOL, we will find much that will support the distinction of “in” and “as.”  Then the difference, though great, will not seem so forbidding.  (Note:  Two earlier portions of this blog covered parts of the Volumes 2 and 3.  These were the “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” covered from April 1 – May 14, 2010, and “Treatise on the New,” covered from May 22 – December 31, 2010.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to understand today that my Self is part of the One, the Whole, and that all Selves are One.  Thus to say that we all exist “as” relationship makes sense.  Help me to comprehend today.

May this day good well.  Thank You for the good beginning.  May all of us answer each other’s needs, and may our wants that truly are needs be answered as well.  The solution is with the problem.  And may obsessions drift away.

Amen.

Answer to Call for Help Comes Unfailingly

“The single aim of the teacher turns the divided goal of the pupil into one direction, with the call for help becoming his one appeal.  This then is easily responded to with just one answer, and this answer will enter the teacher’s mind unfailingly.  From there it shines into his pupil’s mind, making it one with his.  (M-17.3)”

Affirmation:  “May the Holy Spirit tell me what to say today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Holy Spirit’s Part

This brief passage for today does not mention the Holy Spirit, but that is the context in which the passage occurs.  And the Holy Spirit will specifically tell us what to say:  “. . .this answer will enter the teacher’s mind unfailingly.”  What a blessing this is!  If only we can believe, and indeed many of us can.

2 – Shabby Self-Image

Sometimes we get an indication of what to say that is embarrassing to us (from the Manual).  We need to be willing to let go of this “shabby self-image” (quotation from the Manual), and go ahead and say the words.  Jesus says that these “embarrassing” words will be far wiser than our own.

3 – Ego

May we have the strength to offer the words that come to us, if we are sure that they are not hurtful.  The Holy Spirit would never offer words to us that are hurtful, but the ego might.  And we sometimes do make mistakes in believing that the Holy Spirit is speaking when the speaking is actually coming from the ego.  (Interpretations, not stated in ACIM.)  We are not above making mistakes, though we may be tempted to think otherwise.  The ego is very wily.

4 – Be Quiet and Listen

But Jesus would not have us in conflict this way.  We will be shown the right words, the right way, if we quiet ourselves and then move in the direction of the leaning from the Holy Spirit.  If we are quiet and peaceful about the decision of what to say, we are more likely to be right, to have heard the Holy Spirit accurately.

5 – Follow Guidance as Soon as Possible

If at first we don’t do the bidding of the Holy Spirit, let us do that bidding as soon as we can get ourselves to act.  Sometimes we are walking a given pathway with a certainty that is misguided, and it is hard to turn on a dime.  But turn on a dime we must, and as soon as we can get our stubborn wills to cooperate.

6 – The Outcome is Joy and Peace

We will say to our brothers and sisters what the Holy Spirit wants said.  Then we will know both joy and peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Give me Your guidance, through the Holy Spirit, as I seek to help my brothers and sisters, and myself, today.  You would never lead me astray, but the ego’s wily ways might confuse me.  May I not know confusion today.  May the words that I say to others, and to myself, be right on target with Your will.  Make this happen, almost beyond myself, please.  

I ask You to stay with me if the words seem embarrassing.  I have felt this aspect of guidance, but carried out saying the words, and even then I was still embarrassed.  My self-image was not the best at the time, and so I know that this was the “shabby self-image” of which Jesus speaks.  I would leave that image behind, as I move into the Christ-consciousness that You would provide for me, when the time is right.

Help me to reach others today who may need to hear words of comfort.  May I remain calm and peaceful, even in the midst of any brewing storm.  And thank You for the blessings of this day already received.

Amen

Striving Can Hurt You

“Anything in this world that you believe is good and valuable and worth striving for can hurt you, and will do so.  Not because it has the power to hurt, but just because you have denied it is but an illusion, and made it real. (T553)”

Affirmation:  “We live in illusion and would not make it real.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Striving = of the Ego?

This passage is very close to saying that our striving is nearly always of the ego, which will inevitably hurt us.  A Course in Miracles is very clear that the world that we know is an illusion, but we do not usually recognize this, and so we make it real to ourselves.  If we stare at a misdeed, we cannot overlook it, because we have made it real by the fact of thinking about it seriously.

2 – Avoid Meaningless Striving

ACIM would not say that no deeds are worthy.  Our function of salvation is worthy indeed, to name the central function that we have.  But we ought never to engage in meaningless striving from the standpoint of the ego.  The ego always lets us down.  The world is set up that way, and Jesus in ACIM makes this point repeatedly.  The ego is constantly being undone, and as long as our investment is there, we will be hurt when the ego is undone.

3 – Salvation = Effortless Way of Living

Living in the way that forwards salvation is meant to be an effortless way of living.  Of course, in this world we are not often ready to accept this.  We think that there is more that we have to do.  But ACIM notes that the contribution of the Holy Spirit is much greater than our own.  We need to display only a “little willingness,” and we will be on the pathway home–for ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would appreciate this passage today, in that it reminds that much of the striving that I have done, much that has weighted me down, was actually of the ego and not a fit way for Your child to function.  Help me to let the ego wither away, doing nothing to reinforce it today.  May I, instead, seek to know how to live Your way, which gets things accomplished effortlessly.  To my personal self, this seems to be a paradoxical way to live, but I know that You do not mislead us, and so it is a true way to live.

Be with me today as I seek to carry out the tasks for the day.  I know that the tasks change each day, for we get a new start.  May I lean upon Your Guide as my leader in what to say and do.  May I come ever closer to the Self that You would have me be.

Thank You for the direction that You provide almost constantly to me.  Help me not to be mislead into thinking that I always choose the right, but help me to discern when my still present ego is falsifying all my dealings.  I would walk Your way today and every day.

Amen.

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.

May God Be My Guide

ACIM Workbook Lesson 233 – for Sunday, August 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “I give my life to God to guide today.”

“Father, I give You all my thoughts today.  I would have none of mine.  In place of them, give me Your Own.  I give You all my acts as well, that I may do Your Will instead of seeking goals which cannot be obtained, and wasting time in vain imaginings.  Today I come to You.  I will step back and merely follow You.  Be You the Guide, and I the follower who questions not the wisdom of the Infinite, nor Love whose tenderness I cannot comprehend, but which is yet Your perfect gift to me.  (WB409)”

Reflections:

This is an invocation for guidance throughout all the big and little events of one’s day.  It is the very best way to talk to God, to ask Him into our lives.  Not that He has ever been absent, but when we initiate a conversation, He is right there for us.  In the Text, Jesus says that God is lonely when the minds that He created do not communicate with Him.  God notes that His children are asleep and need to be awakened.

This need for a comprehensive Awakening is the greatest need in our world.  If the world were ready for such a rebirth, what a different world we would find our earth!  Let us pray today that we might do our part to bring about such a rebirth.  Of course, the impetus comes divinely, but we, it is said, are the hands and feet of the Divine.  We take our marching orders from God (when we listen).  Let us listen to God today.

God is our Guide, and this passage makes this clear.  It does not show a contradiction with many other passages which discuss the role of the Holy Spirit.  Without getting into theology, there is no contradiction.  The Holy Spirit is the Communicator between God and ourselves.  Having said that, let us be humble enough to admit that here are mysteries that are beyond our minds.  They can only be understood from the heart, a point made clear in A Course in Love (perhaps a sequel to ACIM).

ACIM contains very beautiful language, and our meditation today shows us just how beautiful.  It would be enough to contemplate the lovely prayer, quoted above, and then be silent.  God will do the rest.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am silent today before the prayer of A Course in Miracles for this day.  Be with as I acknowledge You as my Guide.

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.

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.

I Am Free

ACIM Workbook Lesson 201 – for Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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

“I trust my brothers, who are one with me.  (WB388)”

Reflections:

We are free when we realize that our real will and God’s will for us are actually identical (a Text tenet).  Until that day, we live with an imprisoned will, one that brings us pain as well as suffering.  But Jesus says in the Text that we do not have to learn through pain, that this type of learning is at best only temporary, and that learning through rewards is lasting.  We need to adopt the attitudes that will lead us to learn through rewards, if we are to have any lasting peace.

We are free when we follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance (a frequent assertion in this blog).  He chooses for us (a Text tenet).  He would see that our real will is in the ascendant.  He would lead us home.  We do not know the way ourselves, and if left to our own devices, we would be destroyed by the pain and suffering that is all around us in this world.  When we experience the truths of A Course in Miracles, we can rise above the pain of this world.  We will still see illusion, and it is a particularly bad interpretation of ACIM to say that there is no pain or suffering.   We will still see it, but we will recognize that it is illusion, or (in the Eastern sense) maya, and we will know that it is not real.  This does not mean that we will fail to be supportive of our brothers and sisters who are suffering.  We will ask for healing, and we will know that it has come–because it always comes.  If there are continuing symptoms, we will not lose our faith.  The healing will be accepted at a time and place that is right for the recipient.  (All of the above are paraphrases from the Manual.)  Healing that has been offered in good faith is always granted.

We do not need to doubt that our healing has not worked.  Jesus directs our miracles, and we should not attempt to do so ourselves (a Text tenet).  Ask in full belief that we will be heard, and we will be heard.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose healing today for my intimates.  I would also choose healing for my brothers and sisters in my circle.  And help me to choose healing for myself.  You have done much over the last few months to straighten out the kinks that sometimes develop in my life.  I would choose to walk the smooth pathway, the harmonious way.  Help me to do that consistently.

As so often, I ask to feel Your presence today.  May my errors of judgment fall aside as I seek to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit today.  May I turn on a dime when I get the indication that You would have me make a new and different choice, as the events of the day unfold.

Amen.

God = Love = I Also

ACIM Workbook Lesson 173 – for Wednesday, June 22, 2011

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

“1.  I will step back and let Him lead the way.

“2.  I walk with God in perfect holiness.  (WB332)”

Reflections:

The “Him” in this passage is the Holy Spirit, who guides us so carefully in our walk through this world.  We need to depend on Him, because He knows all the factors–large and small–in our world that would be impinging upon us (a Manual tenet).  We ourselves ought to refrain from judgment, because we cannot know all of the factors.  We do not have such understanding.

If we follow the Holy Spirit, or if we are in Christ-consciousness, we will walk with God in perfect holiness.  Nothing else will satisfy us.  We want to be the perfect children of God.  We will not necessarily be perfect, but we can choose to remove those thoughts or behaviors that make us less than we want to be (a tenet of A Course of Love).   “I walk with God in perfect holiness.”  What a glorious promise!  We would do well to consider this message carefully in our daily meditations.

Let God lead the way.  He, along with the Holy Spirit (or Universal Inspiration, the mediator/communicator between God and us) will show us what to do.  And our lives will be immeasurably better for the experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I walk with God today.  The past few days have brought even more intense happiness than the dreams of the Holy Spirit usually bring to me.  Thank You.  Be with me as I seek to help the others in my circle enjoy such bliss.  I feel very blessed.

May I come to know what it means for You to be Love.  You are not an emotion, but I can only intuitively understand, and I wish to comprehend fully so that I do not backslide.

Amen.

Echoes of the Voice for God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 171 – for Monday, June 20, 2011

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

“1.  All things are echoes of the Voice for God.

“2.  The power of decision is my own.  (WB332)”

Reflections:

These two brief sentences (above) both have to do with guidance.  We are doing the choosing, but if we follow the tenets of  A Course in Miracles, we will make a choice informed by the Holy Spirit.    He may speak to us in many ways–intuition, an inner “knowing,” dreams, visions, the words of a friend or even a stranger, a chance word caught from a radio or television broadcast, a passage in a book, etc.  The whole world is the purview of the guidance of which we hear in these sentences.

We may not always have to feel that we are puppets on a string.  That is why we are told that the power of decision is our own.  We choose whether or not to get help in our decisions, in our choosing.  And the closer we come to Awakening, the more the help seems to be Self-chosen (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  This Self is the larger spirit of which we are a part, the part that is not on this earth (an interpretation, not specifically stated in ACIM).

We would carefully consider the messages that come to us, to be sure that our own ego has not intruded and is misleading us.  We can also make incorrect assumptions when under great stress or when emotionally ill.  None of this need concern most of us in everyday life, except for the fact that the ego will try to intrude.  Ask for help in discerning, and that help will be given us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would hear the Voice for You, the Holy Spirit, in my life today.  I would ask to make plain, through Him, what You would have me do, what decisions You would have me make.  I realize that the hearing becomes stronger the more consistently I listen.  Thank You.  Help my listening to be consistent today.

May this be a good day.  Spring is often a time of new beginnings, and I would recommit today to You and Your Way.

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.

The Thought of God Protects You

ACIM Workbook Lesson 165 – for Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let not my mind deny the Thought of God.”

“The Thought of God protects you, cares for you, makes soft your resting place and smooth your way, lighting your mind with happiness and love.  Eternity and everlasting life shine in your mind, because the Thought of God has left you not, and still abides with you.  (WB313)”

Reflections:

When we truly “think” of God, we are safe and nothing can hurt us.  Of course, the physical and emotional little self can be hurt, but we are concerned with the higher Self, which knows no hurt.  Our resting place is soft and our way is smooth.  What a glorious promise!

God has never forgotten His children, of which we are One with Him.  His Thought has not left us, though it may have been forgotten for awhile.  We would remember today.  We would let yesterday be the last day that we forgot the Thought of God.

Our minds are frequently trapped by egoistic thinking, and this denies the Thought of God.  May we ask today to be free of egoistic thinking.  And may we walk into the sunlight with Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a bit hard for me to wrap my little mind around the large concept of the Thought of You.  Help me today, to understand more fully, and to live with Your Thought more fully–even when my little mind cannot comprehend all of Your glory.  The Thought of you does not dwell where my mind does, for my mind is frequently distracted, still, by thought generated by the ego.  Help me to reach beyond such petty distractions, and to come today into the presence of Your Thought.

Thank You for the unfolding of Your grace.  I feel Your guiding Hand in my better moments.  Thank You for not withdrawing for me; thank You for allowing me to feel Your presence in my innermost being.

Amen.

Touch of Heaven

ACIM Workbook Lesson 157 – for Monday, June 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “Into His presence would I enter now.”

“Today it will be given you to feel a touch of Heaven, though you will return to paths of learning.  Yet you have come far enough along the way to alter time sufficiently to rise above its laws, and walk into eternity a while.  This you will learn to do increasingly, as every lesson, faithfully rehearsed, brings you more swiftly to this holy place and leaves you,, for a moment, to your Self.  (WB296)”

Reflections:

1 – Day of Respite

Let us feel that touch of Heaven today.  If we have problems, let us pray (the Text says “commune”) to God, and He will see that the Holy Spirit, His communication link with us, will guide us.  Every now and then we need a day of respite.  Let today be that day for us.

2 – “Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings”

Our Self is the larger Self of which we are a part.  It is the part that has never come to earth (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  This larger Self guides and controls from a greater vantage point, and, if we live in close proximity to the Holy Spirit, we will soon come to understand what we need to say or do to have the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (an ACIM quotation).

3 -Walk into Eternity

Let us “walk into eternity” today.  We can invite the peace, joy, and aliveness that we are meant to have.  And these blessings do not have to come to us only one day.  We can live them continually, as God would have us to do,  In the passage above, we are bade to study ACIM thoroughly, as these magnificent volumes are “our” way, the way among many.  This course does work for those who work it.  May we do no less, and may the peace of God which transcends understanding, come into our lives on a constant basis.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would so live today that I am prepared to feel a touch of Heaven.  I know that I do not have to do much to prepare; that is the Holy Spirit’s role–to prepare me.  But may I be open to His guidance and direction, and not let the usual, normal stresses of the day take away my resolve to find Heaven in this world.

Thank You for giving me the direction that I feel now, and that You, more often than not, influence me to feel.  I need Your direction, whether directly or through Your Communicator, the Holy Spirit.  Help me to walk the true and good pathway today.

Amen.

Our Appointed Role = Selected by the Voice for God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 154 – for Friday, June 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am among the ministers of God.”

“Whatever your appointed role may be, it was selected by the Voice for God, Whose function is to speak for you as well.  Seeing your strengths exactly as they are, and equally aware of where they can be best applied, for what, to whom and when, He chooses and accepts your part for you.  He does not work without your own consent.  But He is not deceived in what you are, and listens only to His Voice in you.  (WB288)”

Reflections:

This passage reflects the primacy of the Holy Spirit in the tenets of A Course in Miracles.  Later on, in A Course of Love, we will be told that we are emerging from the era of the Holy Spirit, and moving into the era of Christ-consciousness (Awakening, or Enlightenment).  But now we are still learning, and the Holy Spirit is our guide.  The Higher Self is informed by the Holy Spirit, deep from within ourselves.  We do have a part to play in this great drama of salvation, and the Holy Spirit will let us know what that part is.

All of us have given roles to play, without which our place would not be filled in the larger picture of salvation.

How do we listen to the Holy Spirit?  The most direct is through intuition.  This is not the only means, but it is the most common.  We must be careful in applying to our daily lives what we have perceived as guidance.  We can be misled by the ego, and what we say or do can be very far from true guidance.  We must be careful that we do nothing that is not informed by love (the greatest test of all).  The ego can mimic the guidance that truly does come from God, but in ways that would destroy rather than be edifying.  We are therefore encouraged to commune with God about the directions that we feel we are being led to take.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I take the role assigned to me in this world by the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit.  May I not doubt that I can do what He asks of me, but may I find no pride in doing what He asks.  We can legitimately get satisfaction from a job well done, but pride is something else, and it is always of the ego.

I would not listen to the ego today.  I would listen only to the guidance that will put me in the flow of life as it is meant to be lived.  That truly will lead to moments of Heaven on earth, and for that I grateful to You.  Thank You for my manifold blessings.

Amen.

God vs. the Holy Spirit

ACIM Workbook Lesson 147 – for Friday, May 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “My mind holds only what I think with God.”

Selected Passage:

“I will not value what is valueless.
“Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.  (WB276)”

Reflections:

Real thoughts are the thoughts that we think with God.  Mistaken thoughts partake of the ego.  In distractions of this world, we may not always discern the difference.  Go within to God, and let Him tell us what to say or do.

There may be some confusion about the difference between God and the Holy Spirit.  Indeed, some students/teachers of ACIM believe that God does not even know about us!  I do not subscribe to this belief, because it is not true to my experience.  God is within, and nothing is without (a Text tenet).  We project the world that we see from within.  If we are at the moment overtaken by the ego, we will project a world that is filled with attack and anger.  If we are in touch with God within, we will project love to the surrounding world, and this love will return to us, multiplied.  The Holy Spirit is the communication link between God and ourselves (a Text tenet).  The Holy Spirit acts as our guidance (an oft-repeated refrain in this blog).  The Holy Spirit was given as the Answer as soon as the idea of separation entered the mind.  The solution is always with the problem (an ACIM tenet).  And God gave His Answer immediately.

We can realize that our own little problems have immediate solutions as well.  Only a distracted mind fails to find the way out of any given maze in which we find ourselves.  We do not wish to value that which has no value, and that includes the egoistic world.  We do need to realize that we are all innocent of sin, and that our mistakes can be easily rectified.  Then we will know the joy that is ours for the asking (and taking).

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

May I turn to You, within me, often today.  May I also turn to You that I perceive as being “without,” meaning my brothers and sisters, as well as this world in which we live–whether we are living in illusion or in the real world at the moment of noticing.  Be with me constantly.  I need You.

Thank You for the guidance that comes to me throughout the day.  Forgive me for my confusion about what that guidance really is.  I confuse myself.  And I would not confuse myself today.

Amen.

The Real World

ACIM Workbook Lesson 145 – for Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Affirmation:  “My mind holds only what I think with God.”

Selected Passage:

“Beyond this world there is a world I want.
“It is impossible to see two worlds.  (WB275)”

Reflections:

The world “beyond” is the real world, as termed by A Course in Miracles.  We cannot live in this world of the ego at the same time that we live in the real world.  They are mutually exclusive.  It is good for us to invite the real world by the actions that we take on a daily, and even hourly, basis.  If we live on an adrenaline rush (as Marianne Williamson has described), then we will be far from living in the real world.  As Marianne says, we are addicted to this adrenaline rush.  Our fast-paced world has seemed to require that we so live.

But do we really have to live in a rush?  Years ago, when I was in graduate school. I sensed the words, “There is time for all that is needful.”  And there was.  Previous to “hearing” these words with an inner ear, I was quite apprehensive about being able to get all my work done creditably.  But as I repeated this sentence to myself over and over, I knew its truth.  And my work went well.

In a work life also, there is time for all that is needful.  And living more slowly will invite the real world.  Then experiences of the real world will, in turn, invite moments of Awakening.  Eckhart Tolle says quite a bit about the truth that experiences of Awakening first come in snatches, to be made permanent later on.  We will not necessarily have to wait long.  Shakti Gawain also says this in her writing.  There are multiple writings now available to lead us Home, but we need never to lose sight of “our” way, A Course in Miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

I would live in the real world today, as much of today as I can forgive fully and experience joy and peace and love.  I know something of living in the real world, but I am not consistent in my experiencing of true Reality.  I would become more consistent today.

Thank You for leading me by the hand into the real world.  You have done so repeatedly.  Now it is up to me to give myself over to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to make this new state of being a constant state.

Amen.

The Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

ACIM Workbook Lesson 140 – for Friday, May 20. 2011

Affirmation:  “Only salvation can be said to cure.”

Selected Passage:

“The happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings are different from the dreaming of the world, where one can merely dream he is awake.  The dreams forgiveness lets the mind perceive do not induce another form of sleep, so that the dreamer dreams another dream.  His happy dreams are heralds of the dawn of truth upon the mind.  They lead from sleep to gentle waking, so that dreams are gone.  And thus they cure for all eternity.  (WB270)”

Reflections:

1 – This Favorite Passage

This is a favorite passage of long-time students/teachers of A Course in Miracles.  An oft-repeated refrain, the phrase “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” is a herald of what is meant for us in this sometimes difficult and troubling world.  It is possible to live this happy dream, and for years, before the happy dreams lead gently into the Awakening (or Enlightenment).  It would be best, though, to commune with God about the Awakening, and not to remain satisfied with simply happy dreams.  We do not wish to prolong dreams of any kind, because dreams are illusion, and ACIM would have us move into reality.  What this actually means may remain obscure to us until we reach Awakening.  We know (not perceive) in a flash of time the meaning of those things that have eluded us.  Earlier, though, we may have flashes of insight that do not last.  Jesus speaks in the Text of revelation that reveals the end to us, but to get there the means are needed.  In this same passage, he says that the means are being carefully explained to us (i.e., in ACIM).

2 – From A Course of Love

A Course of Love, viewed by some as a sequel to ACIM, asks us to stop seeking endlessly.  We have sought for so long that this may be hard for us.  We think that there is always something else that we need to learn.  But once we have studied ACIM, and perhaps read A Course of Love, we know what we need to know.  We are ready for God to reach now and lift us up.  We can ask that He do so soon.  We can rest in patience until that glorious moment arrives.

3 – The Mind Is Quiet

Do not underestimate the importance of the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings.  They quiet out mind so that we will welcome Awakening.  We are told in the Manual that without this preparation, we would be too frightened and maybe even depressed to welcome Awakening.  If we have lived for illness, for example, to have a sudden healing would perhaps not be in our best interests.  So healing has to wait, to protect our very existence.  (Jesus says that some, faced with a sudden healing, might even try to destroy themselves.)  But having lived through the happy dreams, we will be ready when God is.  May that day come soon for all of us.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

Thank You for the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit has brought to me.  They have indeed made my dream of this life a far grander version of dreaming than anything that I knew when I was much younger and did not have the gift of ACIM.  I would not stay stuck in dreams, though, because there is a time to move even beyond “happy dreams,” on into reality.  And I know that only You make this determination, this time when the time is right.  

I do pray that this time of the real world come quickly.  The Awakening is needed by all of us, before pain and suffering make our living in a difficult world even worst, especially for those who have not seen the light that You have brought to all who will listen.  May I reach out to my brothers and sisters, those who are ready, with Your message of the real world today.

Amen.

The Gentle Lessons

ACIM Workbook Lesson 137 – for Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Affirmation:  “When I am healed I am not healed alone.”

Selected Passage:

“Healing, forgiveness, and the glad exchange of all the world of sorrow for a world where sadness cannot enter, are the means by which the Holy Spirit urges you to follow Him.  His gentle lessons teach how easily salvation can be yours; how little practice you need undertake to let His laws replace the ones you made to hold yourself a prisoner to death.  His life becomes your own, as you extend the little help He asks in freeing you from everything that ever caused you pain.  (WB262)”

Reflections:

Here we see that we need do only a little.  We need only a little willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s bidding.  He does the great majority of the work involved.  Jesus says that this disproportion may trouble us, not because it is hard to understand, but because it may be personally insulting (a Text tenet).  We think that we need to do more, because in the ego’s hands, we have thought that we ourselves were in control of our lives.  If we look at the mess that we have frequently made of our lives, we would reconsider.  There is another way, and ACIM points out that other way.

Salvation can be ours easily.  Pain can dissipate entirely.  But evolution is not a straight line (see Neale Donald Walsch in his Conversations with God series), and we may sometimes revisit pain.  But we do not have to stay with pain.  We can ask for help, and the suffering will be gone.  The pain does not have to escalate into suffering, because one’s attitude is so important to the perception of what is wrong with our bodies (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Our minds are in control of our bodies.  Let us not forget this truth.

We have taken a look at this aspect of reality in recent blog postings, but it is perhaps wise to make it our own understanding today.  It is a particularly hard concept to grasp, because the detour into fear has been long and hard, and we are still as though we were prisoners just set free into the sunlight (a paraphrase from the Text).

Talk to the Holy Spirit, as the Friend Whom He is.  He will respond with healing and with joy, because joy always accompanies healing.  If continued symptoms are present, do not make the mistake of doubting the healing (a Manual tenet).  The healing has always come, and when it is accepted, it will be as though it were always there.  Healing is not just a word for the body.  The healing may be of the mind.  (The latter is an interpretation, not stated in the Manual.)

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

Let the gentle lessons of the Holy Spirit enthrall me today.  May I be healed of all pain, and in that healing is it assured that pain will not escalate into suffering.  You do not wish Your children to be in either pain or suffering.  May I take Your wish as my command today.  It is within my power to ask Your help to rise above the pain that is so often inherent in living in this world.

Thank You for Your constant presence.  May I feel it today.  I ask You not to withdraw from me in an effort to hone my faith.  May my faith be strong in the midst of whatever struggles daily life brings.

Amen.

We Have Come to Gentler Pathways

ACIM Workbook Lesson 123 – for Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “I thank my Father for His gifts to me.”

Selected Passage:

“Today let us be thankful.  We have come to gentler pathways and to smoother roads.  There is no thought of turning back, and no implacable resistance to the truth.  A bit of wavering remains, some small objections and a little hesitance, but you can well be grateful for your gains, which are far greater than you realize.  (WB220”

Reflections:

We pause a moment today to be thankful.  Gratitude is one way that God’s blessings come to us.  God does not need gratitude, but we do, and we have it when we choose.  Our lives, if we have been studying the Workbook, are much smoother now than even four months ago, when we started going through the Workbook (some for the first time, others for a repeat of many times).

We do not need to resist the truth.  We need to be flexible in our relationship to the truth.  The Holy Spirit will guide us, but He will not force Himself upon us.  We must turn to Him in joyful anticipation of the blessings which He will restore on our personal worlds.

We may still have doubts, but these are receding.  It is a great blessing that the doubts are receding.  We have wallowed in misery long enough.  We are, the Text says, like prisoners set free after long years of imprisonment.  We do not at first know how to welcome freedom.  But we will learn, and we will learn rapidly.  There is no slowness about salvation.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

I thank You that my way will be easier now.  Thank You for the knowledge that You have imparted to me in the Workbook thus far this year.  I feel reassured, once again, of Your great love.

May my gratitude for what You have offered to me through Jesus overflow my day and make me even more happy than I would be ordinarily.  I love You.

Amen.

Light and Joy and Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 112 – for Friday, April 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “Light and joy and peace abide in me.”

Selected Passage:

“I am the home of light and joy and peace.  I welcome them into the home I share with God, because I am a part of Him.  (WB205)”

Affirmation:  “I am as God created me.”

Selected Passage:

“I will remain forever as I was, created by the Changeless like Himself.  And I am one with Him, and He with me.  (WB205)”

Reflections:

These affirmations and selected passages are probably meant for meditation (though there is a difference of opinion among ACIM students/teachers as to how much meditation is taught in A Course in Miracles).  We are told that contemplation is tedious, and that it is not “our way” (a Text tenet).  Our way is the relationship that we have with our brother (or sister), in that the special relationship is turned into the holy relationship.

The best way that we can gain today, that we can walk toward God, is to reflect on the words of ACIM that I have typed above.  Further words do not seem warranted.  Jesus has said it best.  Let us listen to him and take unto ourselves what he has said.  Then the way Home will come ever closer, because we will be saving time.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I relax in the meditation that this day’s lesson invites.  May I leave words alone, and listen to the silence.  May I “hear” what the silence says and know what the Holy Spirit is saying to me.

Amen.

Serve the Spirit = Be at Peace and Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 96 – for Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “Salvation comes from my one Self.”

Selected Passage:

“Spirit makes use of mind as means to find its Self expression.  And the mind which serves the spirit is at peace and filled with joy.  Its power comes from spirit, and it is fulfilling happily its function here.  Yet mind can also see itself divorced from spirit, and perceive itself within a body it confuses with itself.  Without its function then it has no peace, and happiness is alien to its thoughts.  (WB169)”

Reflections:

This is a passage that tells us how to be happy.  Happiness is not necessarily a selfish concept, though many of us may have vestiges of this misguided interpretation.  When we are happy, we are the most available to the others in our lives as well as to the outside world.  We are not turned inward as neurotic souls without a desire to reach out at all.  This is real sickness, this obsessive turning inward.  And it will get us nowhere, because it is a sure sign that the ego is in charge (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

The “spirit” mentioned her refers to our own spirit, but that is a part of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit is within.  We will be filled with joy when we turn ourselves over to this Higher Power, when we let our intuitions rise to the surface and we follow guidance.  Then and only then will we know the happiness of fulfilling our function of forgiveness in this world.

The mind divorced from spirit is in the hands of the ego, and the ego does not mean its maker well (a Text tenet).  Then we lose our joy, and we descend into unhappiness and neurosis.  We would not have this outcome come to us, and we would be rid of it if this state of mind has already arrived.  Let us reach higher.  Let us find our one Self.  This is not as hard to do as might be imagined.  It can happen today.  May it happen today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I remember, hour-by-hour, to serve my inner spirit, which is a part of my link with You.  My link with You is the Holy Spirit, and may I listen intently to what He tells me.  May I have a good day.

I know that the only way that I can be at peace and have joy consistently is to serve the spirit.  This need not seem “too religious” for me, because it is the most practical thing in the world.  We are not meant to make our own judgments, which would always be incorrect, but to turn to the Holy Spirit with our perplexities.

Amen.

I Am Always Certain What to Do, What to Say, and What to Think

ACIM Workbook Lesson 83 – for Thursday, March 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “My only function is the one God gave me.”

Selected Passage:

“I have no function but the one God gave me.  This recognition releases me from all conflict, because it means I cannot have conflicting goals.  With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think.  (WB148)”

Reflections:

The only function is forgiveness, or pardon.  (Usually it is called “forgiveness” in ACIM, but the word “pardon” is also used upon occasion.)  Why would this be true?  ACIM does not actually say that we are in a schoolroom in this world, but much of what we read may be interpreted in this way.  We are here to save the world.  There could be no more lofty purpose, and there is no more lofty purpose.  Our function of forgiveness will also lead us to happiness (elsewhere called our function, as well).

Affirmation:  “My happiness and my function are one.”

Selected Passage:

“. . .I must learn to recognize what makes me happy, if I would find happiness.  (WB148)”

Reflections:

Here is the dual nature of forgiveness and happiness.  Forgiveness leads to happiness; nothing else works this way.  Certainly the ego does not, though we have flights of euphoria when we have “triumphed” over another.  But this euphoria soon turns to ashes.  We would leave behind false ways of seeking happiness today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

If You send me euphoria today, may it be a joyous feeling that is completely in line with Your best intentions for me.  May any euphoria that I feel or long to feel fail to partake of the ego.

When my only goal is salvation (for myself and others), then I do know what to say and what to do, because the Holy Spirit guides me.  May I ask You, once again, that I be flexible enough to turn quickly away from the false way, into the right way–led by Your grace.

Amen.

I Have No Problems

ACIM Workbook Lesson 80 – for Monday, March 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let me recognize my problems have been solved.”

Selected Passage:

“If you are willing to recognize your problems, you will recognize that you have no problems.  Your one central problem has been answered, and you have no other.  Therefore, you must be at peace.  Salvation thus depends on recognizing this one problem, and understanding that it has been solved.  One problem, one solution.  Salvation is accomplished.  Freedom from conflict has been given you.  Accept that fact, and you are ready to take your rightful place in God’s plan for salvation.

“Your only problem has been solved!  Repeat this over and over to yourself today, with gratitude and conviction.  (WB143)”

Reflections:

The one central problem was separation, a belief that had its origin in putting our faith in our own judgments as interpreted by the ego.  We thought that we were all alone in the world.  Oh, yes, we might have companions in our brothers and sisters, but always this alliance was subject to disruption, due frequently because we did not know how to forgive.  We blamed others for our own mistakes.  We also blamed them for mistakes that impacted us.  And all of this “understanding” was so misguided!

Today we can live free, with the knowledge (not perception only, for that is of the ego, until the perception has been cleansed by the Holy Spirit) that we have no problems.  We will be told all that we should do in every situation that perplexes us.  We do not have to make anything in to a problem.  If we blow up our issues, surely we will allow ourselves to be overwhelmed, and this is a poor way in which to welcome guidance into our lives.  We may be so upset that we cannot hear the guidance accurately.  So let us put all of this nonsense behind today.  May we realize that our problems have been solved, that the Holy Spirit is with us internally as the communication link to God.  We can find solace in a confused and confusing world; we do not have to take it into our minds and bodies through stress or illness.

Illness is an external searching (an ACIM tenet).  And we now know that we can look inwardly for our solutions.  Let us do so today.  And may we thank God that our problems have been solved.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You, dear God, for leading me to realize that regardless of what appears in my life, my problems have been solved.   I have no problems!  If this seems too good to be true, let me look within and listen to Your holy Word, and I will know that all is perfect just as it is.

I realize that this does not mean that there will not be the appearance of problems.  But these are illusions perpetrated by living in an illusory world.  I ask for Your reality today.  And I know that Your reality is good and pure, healthy and prosperous.  Let no illusion to the contrary shake my faith today.

Amen.

Walk into the Light of Real Salvation

ACIM Workbook Lesson 70 – for Friday, March 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “My salvation comes from me.”

Selected Passage:

“Since all illusions of salvation have failed you, surely you do not want to remain in the clouds, looking vainly for idols there, when you could so easily walk on into the light of real salvation.  Try to pass the clouds by whatever means appeals to you.  If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you.  And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy.  (WB120)”

Reflections:

A very lovely passage, this is the frequently cited time in which Jesus encourages us to imagine that he is holding our hand as we pass the clouds that prevent us from seeing.  And he says, in what may be a confusing assertion, that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

Can Jesus be present with anyone, anywhere simultaneously?  Is this what the passage means?  Certainly there is an indication here that this is what is meant.  In ACIM, Jesus asserts that as our elder brother, time and space are under his command.  So it is very likely that he can be in more than one place at a time.  But to say this is controversial, and do not take anything unto yourself unless it finds a place in your heart.  Ask inwardly what to believe, and trust the meaning that comes to you.  Then and only then take my words as plausible beliefs.

Salvation is the pathway to Awakening.  And that is our goal.  Forgiveness paves the way, of course, as always.  We know that we are living aright when we can pardon our brothers and sisters (and ourselves) anything that we, in illusions, imagine that they have done to us.  We and they are innocent; we are just as God created us in our real Self.  This is the part that has never incarnated on this earth (an interpretation based on other writings, not stated in ACIM).  May we recognize that our real Self has never been hurt in any way at all (an ACIM tenet).  And may we walk into the sunlight with Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I write this in the evening before sunlight dawns again, may I walk in sunlight with the dawn of a new day.  May I imagine that Jesus is holding my hand, and may I accept as much of that assertion as seems right to me.

The words of Jesus are comforting and reassuring, and I thank You for that, for his obedience to what You have asked him to do as our leader.  I ask for a glimmering
of what it means to believe that time and space are under Jesus’s control.  This breaks the laws of science as I know it, but past generations in science were often wrong.  May I turn to Jesus today as I walk in a day filled with light.

Amen.

My Happiness + My Function = One

ACIM Workbook Lesson 66 – for Monday, March 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “My happiness and my function are one.”

Selected Passage:

“Think. . .about. . .the many ways in which you tried to find salvation under the ego’s guidance.  Did you find it?  Were you happy?  Did they bring you peace?  We need great honesty today.  Remember the outcomes fairly, and consider also whether it was ever reasonable to expect happiness from anything the ego ever proposed.  Yet the ego is the only alternative to the Holy Spirit’s Voice.  (WB111)”

Reflections:

This passage explains more fully what we reflected upon yesterday.  Spend some time thinking about the pathways that the ego has led us down.  We were not ultimately happy.  Not one joy was wholly joyous; it always gave us reason for tears–or if not tears, at least a “down” feeling at the conclusion.

Why the down feeling?  In our innermost being, we were being untrue to ourselves.  We knew that we were not following the highest and best of which we were capable.  We did not have sustained happiness when following the ego.  We might have had a momentary “high,” but that is all.  And it was followed by pain.  We would not wish pain for ourselves or any others.  And the way out is to listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Voice of the Holy Spirit can be a bit confusing, because we have not often known exactly what to look for.  If we perceive this Voice more as “intuition,” perhaps the way will seem clearer.  We know inwardly, on some level, when we are veering from the right pathway.  This is the Voice speaking to us.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit is there for all who ask for it.  Let us ask for it today, if we have not ever found solace in intuition.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would try to understand today that what You will for me is my happiness.  And my function will reveal my happiness to me.  Let me leave aside the temptations of the ego, which is that part of me which has never wished me well.  I must learn that the only way for me is the way that You direct through the Holy Spirit.

Help me to be consistent in following Your guidance.  And I always will know what You wish for me.  Your still inner Voice speaks softly, but it speaks distinctly.  As long as I am functioning normally, I will know Your Voice.  Help me today to follow that Voice without fail.

Amen.

Escape from All Difficulties

ACIM Workbook Lesson 65 – for Sunday, March 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “My only function is the one God gave me.”

Selected Passage:

“Today’s idea offers you escape from all your perceived difficulties.  It places the key to the door of peace, which you have closed upon yourself, in your own hands.  It gives you the answer to all the searching you have done since time began.  (WB108)”

Reflections:

We have the key to the door of peace.  This is a radical idea, because we have often sought long and hard, outside ourselves, for peace.  We have gone from one religion to another, from one philosophy to another.  But theology, we are told by Jesus in the Text, is not what we would seek.  ACIM is meant to be practical, and many times theology only divides us from our brothers and sisters.  A Course in Love more fully develops this idea. (Note:  ACOL is viewed by some as a sequel to ACIM, and there are numerous postings on ACOL in this blog.  To find these postings, visit the “about” portion at the top of the blog.)

This “only function” is forgiveness, given by God to save ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  If we wonder if forgiveness can do so much, let us try it out for a few days.  We will be convinced.  Forgiveness is the key, in our own hands, that we have previously sought in vain.

We have closed the door of peace by listening to a part of our belief about ourselves, the ego.  Now is the time to let the ego wither away.  We know when we are doing egotistical things.  Let us drop these things from our “to do” list.  The ego does not, though, in ACIM, always mean “egotistical,” though this is a close meaning.  The ego is a false concept of ourselves, and it is always being undone.  We try something that we think will bring us pleasure, and the next thing we know, we are feeling down.  This is not a coincidence.  We will, sooner or later, always feel depressed when listening to the ego, because it is a false way of viewing life.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to find peace today.  I would leave what I have perceived as “my difficulties” behind.  I know that this is Your will for me.  You would have me be still and listen to Your Voice, and know that all is well.

May I leave the ego behind today.  This part of my belief about myself is all wrong, and I do know this.  It is false reasoning on my part that would ignore Your promptings, and turn instead, once again, to the spurious thinking that the ego spawns.  May I have only quiet and calm today, and to have these I must listen to Your voice, Your voice which comes to me often.  May I follow all genuine promptings from You today.

Amen.

Forgiveness. . .the Way to See Our Innocence

ACIM Workbook Lesson 60 – for Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is the love in which I forgive.”

Selected Passage:

“. . .[F]orgiveness is the means by which I will recognize my innocence.  It is the reflection of God’s Love on earth.  (WB100)”

Reflections:

We do not need to be justified in the sight of God; He has already forgiven us.  But, frequently, we do need to be justified in our own sight, because we have not forgiven ourselves.  When we forgive another, we also recognize that we ourselves are worthy of forgiveness.  It is the gift of God, but it is one that we all too often withhold from ourselves.  And when we withhold it from ourselves, we also withhold forgiveness from others.  This is the way of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (a biblical tenet).

When we forgive, we recognize that we too are innocent.  We have not changed or altered in any way the Self that is truly us, the Self that is beyond the little self in this world.  We have not “sinned,” because sin, however irrationally, will continue to be attracting to us if we believe that we are committing sin.  But call the error just a “mistake,” and we will want to correct it (a Text tenet).  Then we are free to recognize that we are always as God created us; we have not altered our real identity at all (a Workbook tenet).

Our innocence reflects God’s love on earth.  When we forgive, we help ourselves and others to see that love, that all-embracing love.  God wants to communicate with us, and when we don’t pray to him, He is lonely (a Text tenet).  The Text also calls this prayer, at its highest, “communion.”  When we commune with God, we are at our best.  May we commune (i.e., pray) often today.

Affirmation:  “God is the strength in which I trust.”

Selected Passage:

“. . .I begin to remember the Love I chose to forget, but Which has not forgotten me.  (WB100)”

Reflections:

God never forgets His own, and all of us are His own.  And we need to remember that He loves us with an totally committed, totally unconditional, love at all times.

Affirmation:  “There is nothing to fear.”

Selected Passage:

“How safe the world will look to me when I can see it!  It will not look anything like what I imagine I see now.  (WB100)”

Reflections:

Safety, being safe, is a big issue for many of us.  We may have been reared in an atmosphere of fear, a sense that if we did not have our parents to protect us from the fearful world where bad things happen, we would be lost.

This childhood memory is not really true, and it is unlikely that we believe it consciously now.  But the subconscious speaks strongly sometimes.  May we see the world as safe today.  The Workbook says elsewhere, “When I have let all my grievances go, I will know that I am perfectly safe.”  May we have this assurance today.

Affirmation:  “God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.”

Selected Passage:

“There is not a moment in which His Voice fails to direct my thoughts, guide my actions and lead my feet.  (WB101)”

Reflections:

This passage, in my estimation, is a very important one.  We are guided, moment by moment, by the Voice of the Holy Spirit.  Normally, there is no “voice” as such, but instead what may be called simply intuition, or a “knowing” of what we should do next.  A Manual tenet is that it is not wise to become preoccupied with each step of the way.  The right mind slant, on the other hand, adopted early in the day, and followed as possible, will set us on the right pathway.  If we listen, though, the moment-by-moment guidance is there.  The only caveat is if  one is emotionally disturbed; then the “guidance” may be awry, and we need to test out the rightness of what we perceive to be our guidance.

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

Selected Passage:

“As I listen to God’s Voice, I am sustained by His Love.  As I open my eyes, His Love lights up the world for me to see.  (WB101)”

Reflections:

This passage highlights the wonderful benefit of following God’s guidance.  Our days are brighter and better; we live in grace.  Do focus on the words of this affirmation and the passage.  Little more needs to be said.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

If we forgive, we will feel better about ourselves.  We might even feel that we are worthy of seeing ourselves as innocent.  This interpretation is not the full truth, but thank You for letting me see how forgiveness might pave the way for my own understanding of my innate innocence.

Help me to listen to guidance today.  Even when I have lived a number of days, consistently following guidance, I am still tempted to turn aside from this quiet inner Voice.  My feelings become suspect to scrutiny, and then I find myself doing what the ego wants–not what You want.  Help me to do what You want today.

Amen.

Real Thoughts = Thoughts I Think with God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 51 – for Sunday, February 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “Nothing I see means anything.”

Selected Passage:

“The reason this is so is that I see nothing, and no thing has no meaning.  (WB82)”

Reflections:

This lesson begins a review, and it would be well to revisit the initial lesson to get an overview as we proceed in the reviews.

Here we are not talking about “vision,” but a seeing that is ego-inspired.  And, as the Workbook proceeds, we will see how wrong we are to place any faith whatsoever in what the go shows us.

Affirmation:  “I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me.”

Selected Passage:

“I have judged everything I look upon, and it is this and only this I see.  This is not vision.  (WB82)”

Reflections:

This is another way of saying, “Projection makes perception.”  If we can understand this tenet of ACIM, we will be well on our way to understanding the metaphysical tenets of the Course.

Affirmation:  “I do not understand anything I see.”

Selected Passage:

“What I see is the projection of my own errors of thought.  I do not understand what I see because it is not understandable.  (WB82)”

Reflections:

This is yet another repetition of the pivotal idea that projection makes perception.  And it is not perception that we want, but the knowledge imparted to us by the Holy Spirit.

Affirmation:  “These thoughts do not mean anything.”

Selected Passage:

“My real thoughts are the thoughts I think with God.  I am not aware of them because I have made my thoughts to take their place.  (WB83)”

Reflections:

My we think with God today.  And this includes the all-important guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Affirmation:  “I am never upset for the reason I think.”

Selected Passage:

“I make all things my enemies, so that my anger is justified and my attacks are warranted. . .I have done this to defend a thought system that has hurt me, and that I no longer want.  I am willing to let it go.  (WB83)”

Reflections:

The real reasons for our upsets is hidden from us, because we are limited beings.  We are still too influenced by egostic thinking.  May we leave anger behind today.  We have become fearful when anger is injected into our  lives.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me today as I go through this review of previous lessons.  Now that I have followed the Workbook for 50 days, I hope that I am seeing reality more often; I used to see only illusions.  My reality is what You show to me.  My days seem better now that I listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance more often.  I know that dreams that He gives to me, and they are blessed indeed.  As the days pass pleasantly, I pray that I will go beyond even this dreaming, into the reality that vision will show to me.  I realize that these understandings are beyond me now, but I hope that they will not always be beyond me.  Give me Your understanding.

Help us to be loving brothers and sisters in this world together.  May Your Will, which is my own, come to my aid when times seem tough.

Amen.

How to Hear God’s Voice

ACIM Workbook Lesson 49 – for Friday, February 18, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.”

Selected Passage:

“It is quite possible to listen to God’s Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way.  The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not.  It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world’s laws.  It is this part that is constantly distracted, disorganized and highly uncertain.

“The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain.  (WB78)”

Reflections:

These are very true statements in the passage above.  We need to listen to the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit.  When we do so, we are led more quickly to a better place.  Some call this Voice just “intuition.”  Perhaps God does not care what we call it, as long as we communicate with Him through it.  ACIM says that God is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate with Him.  And He says that we are asleep and must be wakened.  Then He moves to waken us, and this is through our contact with the  Comforter, Universal Inspiration, or the Holy Spirit (all of the preceding are different names for the same phenomenon).

When we listen for God’s Voice, we are at peace.  Nothing else will suffice.  How does God speak to us?  Many reports are that He speaks in the silence (though A Course in Miracles does not say this).  Many others say that God’s Voice is the still, small voice within that we know but sometimes choose to ignore.  Most of the time we do not hear anything internally (though the co-scribe of ACIM, Helen Schucman, did have the internal impression of a voice, which could be interrupted by everyday events, only to return precisely at the point needed).  Intuition is a legitimate way to think of hearing God’s Voice, though many people may feel that this is just a secular way of viewing a psychic phenomenon.  Dreams, visions (hallucinations), meditative “feelings”–all of these are forms of guidance.  The only caution (and it is a big one) is that we not let our feelings about a matter turn negative.  God never leads us to hurt another individual, and if we feel that He has, perhaps we had better stop and reflect where this voice might come from.  Most of us will conclude that it is an egoistic misrepresentation.  ACIM nearly always refers to the Voice as the Voice of the Holy Spirit, a continuation of New Testament references.

When we deliberately reject the advice that the Holy Spirit offers, we get out of sync with the universe.  As soon as we can, let us move back into sync.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would hear the guidance that You offer today through the Voice that You speak to me.  Help me not to get confused about Your guidance.  Don’t let my little self decide anything that would lead me astray personally, or lead me to do anything that would hurt another person.  Help me to learn more fully how Your guidance comes to me.  Help me to be flexible, to be ready to turn on a dime when Your Voice bids me make a move.

I pray that I am not so stubborn that I fail to follow the guidance that You are giving to me.   I pray also that I do not mislead myself into thinking that I hear Your guidance when, instead, it is my own twisted thinking.  My mind still has much insanity, much madness, in it, because the ego has not fully died in me.  May my day today lead me away from the ego and into Your arms.

Amen.

Overcome Feelings of Inadequacy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 47 – for Wedneday, February 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is the strength in which I trust.”

Selected Passage:

“Now try to slip past all concerns related to your own sense of inadequacy.  It is obvious that any situation that causes you concern is associated with feelings of inadequacy, for otherwise you would believe that you could deal with the situation successfully.  It is not by trusting yourself that you will gain confidence.  But the strength of God in you is successful in all things.  (WB75)”

Reflections:

1 – We Are Not Inadequate

We need to recognize that we are not inadequate to the demands of our busy lives.  We only think this, usually, when we are very stressed or very tired.  If we believe that God is our Helper, we will be more prone to take that nap, or just sleep longer at night, and then put in some prayer time.  Things will seem better, also, after we have eaten something.  These are all practical, very mundane, helps that do not appear in ACIM.

2 – Guidance of the Holy Spirit

We need to learn to depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This idea appears all the time in this blog, because I have found that it is the only sure way to live successfully.  Finding A Course in Miracles some 30 years ago changed my life.  And living with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, when I have been able to do that, has made my life worth living.

3 – Do Not Despair

Do not despair, then.  The old advice that we are never given more than we can bear is applicable here.  And in the Text, we learn that we do not have to learn through pain.  We also learn that learning through rewards is superior, because learning through pain can have only a temporary effect.  God will see us through.  We will prevail.  And Awakening is before us at the end of our pathway.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Deal with my feelings of inadequacy today.  I know that I can take practical, mundane steps to improve my coping skills this day and everyday, and I know that Your guidance will see me through.  Help me to be willing to trust Your guidance as the only sure thing in this world.

Feelings of inadequacy are close to feelings of inferiority, but we have traveled far enough with ACIM to know that no child of God has any reason to feel inferior.  We also have no right to feel superior, and both–inferiority and superiority–are ploys of the ego.  Let us discard the ego as a bad idea, a false idea that we believe will give us a place above others.  This is an absolute falsehood, and may I realize this fully today.

Amen.

Salvation = Happiest Accomplishment

ACIM Workbook Lesson 44 – for Sunday, February 13, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is the light in which I see.”

Selected Passage:

“Salvation is your happiest accomplishment.  It is also the only one that has any meaning, because it is the only one that has any real use to you at all.  (WB70)”

Reflections:

It is hard for those of us caught in this world to see that salvation is our only function.  (Elsewhere forgiveness is named as our only function, but the two are equivalent.)  Perhaps, we think, salvation is the business of ministers and others in the religious field, but not for all of us who have to make a very secular contribution to the world to earn a living.

Yet this passage indicates that salvation is for all of us as our “happiest accomplishment.”  Certainly we already know that when we stay close to God in prayer, we have better days.  And when we let the Holy Spirit guide us, we walk a happier path.

Only salvation can be said to have real meaning in this world.  ACIM never says that the world is a school, but much New Age spirituality does (Neale Donald Walsch is a notable exception.)  When we place salvation first in our lives, everything else falls into place.  Then we know what real living is all about.  We live in peace, and happiness then follows.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to realize what salvation can and will do for me.  We need only make a “little” contribution to our own well-being, and the Holy Spirit will do much, much more.  Then our days surely will be improved immensely.

Help me today, as I go about a secular world.  May I not make a big show of my desire to live close to You, but may I not disown You either.  Help me to be a good example in my circle of friends and family.

Amen.

Overcome Loneliness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 41 – for Thursday, February 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “God goes with me wherever I go.”

Selected Passage:

“Today’s idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment all the separated ones experience.  Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation.  So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering and intense fear of loss. . . .You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go.  (WB63-64)”

1 – Not to Feel Fear

If we can truly live this lesson, our lives will never be the same again.  If we know that God is beside us, and in us, and if we truly feel His presence, we will not feel fear of any kind.  Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now has much to say about the “felt presence of Being.”  (“Being” is his term for God, because he believes that the term “God” has been misused.)  We are to invite this felt presence.

2 – How Do We Invite the Presence of God?

How do we invite the felt presence?  Prayer is a mighty way, and prayer is mentioned early on in the Text, in the 50 principles of miracles.  Later on it seems to be simply assumed in ACIM that we will pray.  But do we really?  Norman Vincent Peale, in the fifties, believed that about five minutes of prayer a day was average, even for the true believer.  And he felt that this was not nearly enough prayer time.

3 – Prayer

So, let us increase our prayer time, and, if we feel drawn to the meditative aspects of the Workbook, let us use our practice time to draw closer to God.  (Meditation, as such, is not used as a word in ACIM, and contemplation is described as “tedious.”)

4 – Other Ways to Draw Closer to God

There are other ways that we can draw closer to God.  Mindfulness is not a tenet of ACIM, but watching carefully what we do as we go about our day is a powerful lesson in how to live closer to God.  Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit is perhaps the best way, and so let us be sure that we begin the day aright by asking that He walk beside us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to overcome loneliness and a feeling of abandonment by drawing close to me throughout the day.  I realize that actually a sense of Your presence is sometimes in my power, for You are always near, and only when I say or do things that make me feel separated from You do I feel lonely, abandoned, fearful, and so much more that is negative.

Help me to overcome this separation that I only think is real.  It is not real.  Help me to realize that You are always with me, and that I need only open my heart to Your reality to have my whole world change for the better.

Amen.

Put an End to Unloving Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 39 – for Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Affirmation:  “My holiness is my salvation.”

Selected Passage:

“Specific situations, events or personalities you associate with unloving thoughts of any kind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises.  It is imperative for your salvation that you see them differently.  And it is your blessing on them that will save you and give you vision.  (WB61)”

Reflections:

We know, but often do not acknowledge, when we hold unloving thoughts about another.  This situation is a frequent one, especially for so-called “religious” people.  We do not want to see that our thoughts can still be unloving; we want to see ourselves as beyond that.

We can also hold unloving thoughts toward situations, especially when they are unavoidable.  We are often faced in this world with situations that are difficult for us.  It is part of our curriculum, our learning.  But we handle those same situations best when we turn the outcome over to the Holy Spirit, after having asked Him for guidance about what to do.

Happenings (“events”) are another challenge.  In this third way of feeling a lack of love, we can return to the affirmation for today:  “My holiness is my salvation.”  We will be the masters of the events in our lives when we recognize that holiness is our inheritance.  We are loving creatures of a loving God.  Only when the ego interferes with that truth do we get ourselves into trouble.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would end my unloving thoughts toward people and situations immediately.  Unloving thoughts only bring me trouble, and I would live freely and well.  Be with me to guide me as I make this firm decision today.

Thank You for your ever-present guidance through the medium of the Holy Spirit.  My intuitive understanding of Him has saved me many times from making a bad mistake.

Amen.

Quiet Recognition

ACIM Workbook Lesson 37 – for Sunday, February 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “My holiness blesses the world.”

Selected Passage:

“Your holiness is the salvation of the world.  It lets you teach the world that it is one with you, not by preaching to it, not by telling it anything, but merely by your quiet recognition that in your holiness are all things blessed along with you.  (WB56)”

Reflections:

“Holiness” is a concept that we are hesitant to apply to ourselves, because we are so prone to see our failings.  But nothing that God created is not good, and He created us.  The Text says that often we tend to forget this in our more arrogant moments.  We cannot change reality, though, in any actual way because God is the creator of the real world.  The only thing that we have ever made (not created) is illusions.

When we are quiet, we are closer to God.  This passage asks us to feel that truth.  “[B]y your quiet recognition” is a potent statement.  We must turn to God to see rightly.  We must turn to God to ask that our egos wither away.  Only in holiness do we see rightly.  And only in holiness are we absolutely quiet.

We do not have to proselytize.  We merely need to “be” in the world.  Our being alone, when informed by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will transform the world.  This does not mean that we will do nothing to correct injustice, but just that we will do nothing before hearing the best guidance about what to do.  We cannot choose our own miracles.  Jesus says in the early pages of the Text that consciously selected miracles are misguided.  We must be willing to be used by the Holy Spirit toward the end that He directs.

Then we will not act amiss.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please help me to be, first of all, and then to do in accordance with Your guidance.  Help me today to be calm and quiet, feeling your presence as I go about my regular routine.  On this Sunday help me to remember You.

May my thoughts be in accord with the Holy Spirit, and may my actions reflect only love in its highest form.

Amen.

Our Self Image = Not True

ACIM Workbook Lesson 35 – for Friday, February 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “My mind is part of God’s.  I am very holy.”

Selected Passage:

“You will believe that you are part of where you think you are.  That is because you surround yourself with the environment you want.  And you want it to protect the image of yourself that you have made. The image is part of this environment.  What you see while you believe you are in it is seen through the eyes of the image.  This is not vision.  Images cannot see.  (WB53)”

Reflections:

This lesson gets into some of the metaphysical tenets of the Course.  Its basis is still the oft-repeated “projection makes perception.”  The “image” of ourselves is actually another word for a persona (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We make personae up for ourselves and everyone in our world.  That does not mean that these personas are correct.  Certainly if they are informed by the ego, the personae are not correct.

We need to turn to guidance through the Holy Spirit to determine how to see ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

Another facet of this passage is that we surround ourselves with the environment that we want–even when we are distressed and overwrought by that environment (and perhaps especially when this is the case).  The ego loves strife (a Text tenet), and it will act to keep our environment (this world) in turmoil.  Our personal worlds will be in turmoil, and the larger world as well.

We must do what we can to bring peace to this world–whether it is the small world in which we reside, or the larger world where there are so many tragedies.  Let us pray today to have the foresight to walk away from turmoil, once we have done all that we can to bring peace to it.  May we walk in peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have an image of myself that I want to be true; it is my persona.  But ACIM says that images cannot see, that they are part of the environment and that they are made up.

Help me to realize that my image is informed by my ego, which I would be done with, once and for all.  An ego is not necessary to function in this world.  I would, instead, follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and assume the Self that He would have me be.

Amen.

Not the Victim of the World I See

ACIM Workbook Lesson 31 – for Monday, January 31, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not the victim of the world I see.”

Selected Passage:

“The idea for today is also a particularly useful one to use as a response to any form of temptation that may arise.  It is a declaration that you will not yield to it, and put yourself in bondage.  (WB48)”

Reflections:

1 – We Choose Our Reality

We choose our reality; this is a tenet stated in the Text.  But this choice is no by the little self, but the higher Self (a tenet of A Course of Love).  We are not victims, but neither do we choose to “blame the victim,” if we think that their little selves have chosen pain for themselves.  Those things that happen to us are chosen by the higher Self, and normally we do not have access to the knowledge of what this Self wishes for us.

2 – Guidance

Guidance can explain more.  It is enough to take responsibility for our lives, not to develop a victim mentality (which will only make things worse).  We will not, according to the Text, be without temptation is this world.  But it is our task to rise above it, because we know that to try to follow a will of the ego is to dismiss God and to choose pain.  Our real will is the same as God’s Will (also from the Text).  Until we recognize this truth, we truly are in bondage.

3 – To Follow God’s Will

To follow God’s will is to be free.  Perhaps we do not understand this yet, and imagine (as the ego would have it) that to do God’s will would make of us puppets.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  The Holy Spirit, in His guidance, chooses for us and all mankind.  He would never lead us wrong, and only our own misunderstandings will therefore lead us into suffering.  We will even be able to rise above pain, because we will recognize its illusory nature.  Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain (a tenet of the Text).  And that learning through more joyful means is superior, because can offer only a temporary effect.

4 – The Real World

We want permanence in following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in seeing a new, real world.  May we move ever closer to this real world today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I realize in the depths of my being that I am not a victim.  I make choices that determine what happens to me.  May I make the right choices today.

May my Self teach me.  May I be open to this teaching.  Thank You for being with me always, as I make my way through this sometimes challenging world.  I know that there is no challenge to the teacher of God, but sometimes I do not measure up–and I ask for Your help always.

Amen.

Vision

ACIM Workbook Lesson 27 – for Thursday, January 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “Above all else I want to see.”

Selected Passage:

“Vision has no cost to anyone.  (WB42)”

Reflections:

“Vision” is the term that A Course in Miracles always uses to describe the understanding that the Holy Spirit brings to us.  The Holy Spirit is the innermost part of ourselves, the part that the ego does not touch.  We may also view the Holy Spirit as intuition or an inner knowing.  And sometimes this inner knowing comes to us in actual hallucinations or, more commonly, in dreams.  (We must be careful, for not all dreams are of the Holy Spirit, and we must test the guidance that we feel.)

Vision does not harm anyone, if it is true vision.  “No cost,” the passage says.  And this “no cost” is a great blessing to all, for not only does it not cost anyone anything, it also blesses everything and everyone that it touches.  Vision is the way that we want to go.

How do we find increased vision?  We turn inward for guidance, and this leads to the vision of a loving world, for our thoughts and actions then become loving.  When we are conflicted, the whole world seems conflicted.  (Hugh Prather once wrote something similar.)  If we want to “see,” as the lesson for today stresses, we must leave behind the ego-oriented ways of old.  We must turn to the Holy Spirit for this “seeing,” this vision.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have vision today.  I would be so enthralled by the Holy Spirit, by the Universal Inspiration, that I would follow His guidance in every instance–though I would not want to feel that this following had me in a strait jacket.  As the Manual says, the right attitude adopted in the morning will put me well ahead.

Be with me today.  Help me to know what the concept of “vision” really holds out to me.  I have only the faintest clue now, but I would know more.  Thank You for teaching me today.

Amen.

My Perception Is Wrong

ACIM Workbook Lesson 24 – for Monday, January 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “I do not perceive my own best interests.”

Selected Passage:

“In no situation that arises do you realize the outcome that would make you happy.  Therefore, you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the result.  What you do is determined by your perception of the situation, and that perception is wrong.  It is inevitable, then, that you will not serve your own best interests.  (WB36)”

Reflections:

1 – “Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings”

We do not really know what will bring us the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings (a quotation from ACIM).”

2 – Guidance

We will only know as we follow His guidance.  We learn by doing (and thinking and feeling).  We think that we want a happy day, and we do, but we are woefully inadequate to bring this about ourselves.  We need help.

3 – Inner Knowing Awaits Us

Later on, we will go beyond the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” to the real world of inner knowing.  We will live in the dream no longer.  But happy dreams are a step on the pathway, a very important step, and we would do well to welcome them with anticipation.

4 – Leave Judgment to the Holy Spirit

There is also the statement here that we cannot judge accurately.  Elsewhere we read that Jesus has said that we cannot know all possible outcomes, and therefore we are never in a position to judge rightly.  We must leave judgment to the Holy Spirit, Who does see the whole picture.  Then and only then are we free to live the happy dreams that He brings to us.  And what a difference these happy dreams will make to our perception of our world!  We are not yet ready for knowledge, except perhaps in brief revelation.  Walk the whole pathway; leave out no steps.  And the Awakening will find us.  God Himself will reach down and lift us “up” to Him.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My perceptions are wrong because I still let the ego interfere with my listening to the Holy Spirit.  I know that You are patient with me, but I seem to be such a slow learner.  Help me today to know my own best interests, because these best interests are what the Holy Spirit shows me through guidance.  Help me to listen to Him.

Thank You for following my thoughts and actions today.  I know that You are within and without (as I do perceive an external world), and I pray that You will help me to find that deep inner place where You are, and where everything is peaceful.

Amen.

How to Be Happy and to Have Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 20 – for Thursday, January 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am determined to see.”

Selected Passage:

“You want to be happy.  You want peace.  You do not have them now, because your mind is totally undisciplined, and you cannot distinguish between joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, love and fear.  You are now learning how to tell them apart.  And great indeed will be your reward.  (WB31)”

Reflections:

The injunction to repeat today’s affirmation twice an hour may not be easy to follow.  But great will be our reward when we remember.  We are being led to a restructuring of our thoughts, a restructuring that will allow us to distinguish pain from joy.  Believe it or not at this point, Jesus tells us that we do not really know the difference.  In fact, he says elsewhere, we may want that which will actually bring us pain, thinking that therein lies happiness.

We may also get involved in delaying tactics that will keep our salvation from us, learning things that do not count for anything, simply because their value will not last.  To want to learn things that do not count for anything does not make any sense, but then our minds are insane at this point.  We are likely to want that which will hurt us the most.

To get out of this dilemma, we are encouraged throughout ACIM to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We may know His guidance through feelings, interior words of guidance (that will do no harm, and so discernment is necessary), an inner “knowing,” and following deep prayer.  As time goes on, we will take up other ways that the guidance of the Holy Spirit comes through.  It is enough to know that it is there for all to partake, and each will have his or her unique way of understanding.  The point is that we must be flexible enough to turn on a dime, to alter our rigid ways, and to follow the guidance that comes through.

Our reward will be very great when we live a day without planning, when we let the Holy Spirit take over.  Indeed, unnecessary planning against contingencies to come is one of three ways that we fall away from the grace that Jesus offers to us.  (The other two are attack and judging.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Like everybody else, I want happiness and peace.  And ACIM says that these are worthy goals.  Happiness is not a selfish emotion; peace is our birthright.  May I take steps today to learn the pathway that will lead me to happiness and peace.  Help me to distinguish those things that take these goals farther away from me.

Thank You for the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit.  When I am flexible enough to follow His guidance, then I have a good day.  May I have a good day today.

Amen.

Minds Are Joined = No Private Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 19 – for Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.”

Selected Passage:

“Today we are again emphasizing the fact that minds are joined.  This is rarely a wholly welcome idea at first, since it seems to carry with it an enormous sense of responsibility, and may even be regarded as an ‘invasion of privacy.’  Yet it is a fact that there are no private thoughts.  (WB30)”

Reflections:

Today’s lesson is, with minor exceptions, a concept that was introduced in the lesson for yesterday.  The added fact of “responsibility” is the new contribution.  We may be prone to become fearful when we realize that our thoughts have such power.  But Jesus assures us elsewhere that indeed our minds are very creative, that our minds never sleep.  He says that he knows that we do not believe this now, and the real reason is that we do not want to believe that our minds are that powerful.  This ACIM tenet appears to be based on the fact, Jesus says, that we do not want to believe that our minds are that powerful, because we are actually afraid of our thoughts.  But the mind is not impotent, and to hold our respect, it cannot be.

We are encouraged to watch our thoughts, not to fall into mind wandering.  All thoughts make form at some level, a concept that may be incomprehensible to us in our present state.  But if we realize that we are caught in a dream, we can understand more.  Our nighttime dreams are not accorded truth upon awakening, just as our daytime dreams will not be accorded truth when we Awaken.

We will be closer to Home when we do not feel the need to keep things “private.”  Not that we will share all with just anybody, but we will not be afraid that a genuine disclosure will wreck havoc.  Certainly we will not choose to say things that are hurtful, because we wish to retain our peace of mind, and to encourage peace of mind in our brothers and sisters.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I understand today that my thoughts are not private, that what I think does affect other people, and that, on some level, they know what I am thinking.  This does disturb me when I am thinking attack thoughts.  But You know that I choose not to entertain either anger or attack, and I would ask You to help me stay with this standard today.

Please be with me as my ego attempts to “make” problems where there are none.  When my thoughts are loving, there will seem to be no problems, because I take everything that disturbs me to the Holy Spirit, and He resolves the issue for me.  Thank You for the blessing of the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration.

Amen.

Safety and Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 14 – for Friday, January 14, 2011

Affirmation:  “God did not create a meaningless world.”

Selected Passage:

“Our direction is toward perfect safety and perfect peace.  (WB23)”

Reflections:

This lesson emphasizes that the world that we see is not really the creation of a benevolent God.  This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles, but with our little minds, we will not understand it.  The concept owes a great deal to Gnosticism, but most of us are not students of that philosophy.  Suffice it to accept, once and for all, that the maya of Eastern religions is accurate, that we are lost in illusions; ACIM calls this a “dream.”  Some of our dreams are group dreams, and some are individual, personal.  It does not matter.  However bad things seem, we do not need to blame God for this state of affairs.  It is all unreal.

When we move toward a cleansed perception, we will move toward the “perfect safety and perfect peace” that is the passage emphasized for today.  We will look at what surrounds us, and we will make one judgment (led by the Holy Spirit), “This is unreal.”  We might also call it insanity, or madness (which ACIM also calls it).

Personally, I have found over the years that calling the negative things of this world “insanity” to be a very freeing concept.  Then I am more ready to overlook the negativity, which A Course in Miracles counsels us to do.  If we dwell on the negativity, we will make it real to ourselves, and therefore harder to overlook.  We may be taken over by it, indeed.

When we let our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (an ACIM tenet from the Workbook).  And our world will lighten up as well.  Regardless of how bad things appear, we will know that we are seeing appearances only.  We may move to correct injustices, but we will do so from a peaceful heart that recognizes that the real Self of ourselves, and the real Self of our brothers and sisters, has not been hurt in the least.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do not wish to see a world of insanity, a meaningless world.  Let me look instead beyond the illusions that my ego, a part of my belief about myself, has perpetrated.  Let me see the real world.  Giving me that is something that only You can do, but I can offer a little willingness (all that is required) to the Holy Spirit, and then You will reach down to me.

Thank You for being with me through my day today.  Every day is good when I recall You frequently.  If I forget, then the day turns bad.  Help me, as I prepare for yet another day, to turn to You just as frequently as I remember.  And may I remember often.

Amen.

Meaningless Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 10 – for Monday, January 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “My thoughts do not mean anything.”

Selected Passage:

“Today’s thought can obviously serve for any thought that distresses you at any time.  (WB17)”

Reflections:

Before we have studied very long, we will realize that our minds have actually been so warped that we perceive nothing outside the ego that, as a part of our minds, has separated us from God.  The ego is “egotistical,” but that is not the whole of the meaning.  Freud’s meaning of the ego comes closer, in that it is an image that we make of ourselves, around which the personality coalesces.  Freud did not see a way out, though, and he seems to have thought that a strong ego was an advantage in living.

A Course in Miracles is entirely different.  This Course seeks to have rely us on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to relinquish the ego as our guide to action.   Jesus, in ACIM,  does not in any way think that this part of ourselves has done anything really good for us.  As the image of separation from God, it is constantly being undone, because God is the All, and we perceive ourselves as little parts of the whole that have not been communicating with our Creator.  And we are meant to communicate with our Creator.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I entertain no thought today that distresses me.  May I leave meaningless thoughts behind, and I know that these are the thoughts of the ego that has seemed to separate me from You.

Be with me today.  I ask for a particular day of setting aside thoughts that distress and entertaining loving and joyous thoughts.  Thank You.

Amen.

The Past

ACIM Workbook Lesson 7 – for Friday, January 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “I see only the past.”

Selected Passage:

“Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it.  Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time.  This first time idea is not really as strange as it may sound at first.  (WB11)”

Reflections:

1 – Incapable of Living Only in the Present

We are, at this point, totally incapable of living only in the present.  We will become better at present-living experience as we progress in ACIM.  Our minds constantly rehash what has happened before, and how can this lead to progress when our minds have been insane (a tenet of ACIM)?

2 – Strange Lessons

These first lessons do appear strange to the uninitiated to ACIM.  But, as we live with the ideas, we come to understand, and we learn that the world is really a welcoming place when the mind is at peace.

3 – Finding Peace

And that is what we are trying to become–peaceful, having a mind filled with peace.  Elsewhere in ACIM we are told that the aim is to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  At this point in our ACIM training, we might not welcome this idea.  We might think it too non-dramatic to lead a satisfying life.  But as we learn more, we will be happy for the peace that “perfectly calm and quiet” brings.   We will not regret the learning that we are assimilating.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live a day today in which I do not seek the past in the present.  The past has overshadowed my life for my entire lifetime.  Let this dynamic end today.

I would be perfectly calm and quiet today.  I would have peace of mind.  Neither of these two sentences can come true with Your guidance.  I ask for Your guidance today, to make of this day a memorable one that will presage better days ahead.

Amen.

There Are No Small Upsets

ACIM Workbook Lesson 6 – for Thursday, January 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am upset because I see something that is not there.”

Selected Passage:

“There are no small upsets.  They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.  (WB10)”

Reflections:

Minor irritation, ACIM says elsewhere, is no more than masked rage.  So we are seeing in ACIM a system of thought that levels the playing ground.  We cannot know peace until we give up all forms of upset–the minor as well as what we have perceived as the major.

We are never upset by facts, Jesus says elsewhere in ACIM, but always by an interpretation of those facts.  And if it is an interpretation, we can alter it by our will, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we magnify small upsets to make them larger than they need to be.  It is an interpretation (not stated in ACIM) that this is the reason that we see things that are not there.  We magnify, and thus we see amiss.

Jesus would have us eliminate all upsets from our minds, even though this is a utopia that is not likely to be seen until we reach the Awakening.  When faced with an upset, immediately (and this means exactly that), turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance about what to say or do.  The upset will diminish, in exact proportion to the extent to which we turn it over to a Higher Power.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Let me eliminate all forms of upset today.  I can imagine incidents that may happen; help me not to jump ahead of myself and to fantasize about what may never happen.  Give me the grace to seek Your guidance in all things.  When I seek Your guidance, the words that are given me will be higher and better than anything that I could conceive on my own.  Tell me what to say today.

I would like a peaceful day, and I know that this is Your desire for me as well.  Help me to do my part to bring about a peaceful day, knowing that You will always do Your part when I am able to cooperate fully.

Amen.

Being Upset

ACIM Workbook Lesson 5 – for Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am never upset for the reason I think.”

Selected Passage:

“I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go.  For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same.  (WB9)”

Reflections:

1 – Follow the Guidance of the Holy Spirit

This lesson is a particularly intriguing one, in my estimation.  There are always hidden reasons for why we feel as we do, and, try as we may, we normally cannot uncover what is truly bothering us.  Jesus would have us stop the pretense of understanding, and just to rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance.

2 – Drop Rebellion

We do have to drop our rebellion about His guidance to follow Him willingly.  All too often, we are reluctant to accept the Holy Spirit’s guidance in every instance, and sometimes we are hesitant to follow even in most instances.  The right stance, adopted as the day begins, will (a Manual tenet) set the day aright.  Of course, as the Manual says, we can always begin again if the day begins in error.  But there are obvious advantages in beginning well in terms of saving time.  Moreover, we are bade in the Manual not to become preoccupied with each step in the process of following the Holy Spirit.  But the right attitude, accepted as the day begins, will allow us to proceed well.  And that is all that Jesus really asks.

3 – When Upsets Come

When upsets come, and they will, we are to stop momentarily, and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.  How might we understand how to do this?  There is no simple answer; the usual ways that we try to control our anger will do–if they are added to a simple and sincere request for help from a Higher Power.

4 – We Are Not Upset for the Reason We Think

We are not upset for the reason that we think.  Why is this?  We do not understand our ego’s wily ways sufficiently to understand what it is that is really upsetting us.  We never should try to analyze this, in fact, because the ego approves of analyzing the ego’s “dynamics,” thus affirming its importance.  So let it be enough that we realize that there are deeper reasons for our usual upsets than we will ever be able to ferret out.  And then let us let it all rest in God’s hands.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I find myself upset for one reason or another nearly every day.  That just seems to be the way of this world.  Help me to turn these upsets, whether major or minor, immediately over to You.  And then let me turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to live better.  He will tell me.  I need only to ask and to ask in sincerity.

Thank You for Your part in giving me a good day.  May my upsets today be small, and may I immediately realize that there is a better way to live–Your way.

Amen.

Are My Thoughts Meaningless?

ACIM Workbook Lesson 4 – for Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “These thoughts do not mean anything.  They are like the things I see in this room.”

Selected Passage:

“You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that,  in a sense, none of them can be called ‘good’ so ‘bad.’  This is why they do not mean anything.  (WB6)”

Reflections:

1 – Finding Our Way Out of Confusion

Our minds are confused.  Even we know this.  And thoughts that do not mean anything are not meant to be believed.  Judging our thoughts would only confuse us as of yet.  Elsewhere, later on in both the Text and the Manual, we learn that it is up to the Holy Spirit to make these judgments, because we are totally incapable of seeing the whole picture.

2 -Don’t Scare So Easily

We can scare ourselves with our thoughts; this happens all the time.  But do we realize that we can actually effect some change in those thoughts?  We can turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and He will still our minds.  Nothing else is truly worthy of the time spent in this world.  Salvation is our only function (a Workbook tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I let my own little judgments go.  They are not worthy of me.  I cannot know the whole situation.  But there is One who does know:  the Holy Spirit.  May I leave all judgment to Him, knowing that His judgments only are true, based on everything, including that which is beyond my perception and even my knowledge.

Be with me today as I seek to eliminate my own judgments from my life.  In essence, I know that my own judgments are meaningless, but the ego would have me think that they are sound.  May I realize today that only the judgments of the Holy Spirit are sound.

Amen.

“You Need Not Have Tribulation”

‘In this world you need not have tribulation, because I have overcome the world.  That is why you should be of good cheer.  (ACIM, T56)”

Affirmation:  “I need not have tribulation.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus Is Our Savior

My interpretation is that Jesus sees himself as our Savior (an oft-repeated statement of faith by believers), and that he continues, even now, to seek for the salvation of the peoples of this world.  Believers recognize that a secular view frequently makes life hollow.  All people encounter difficulty in living through a lifetime, but those who have a faith to which to cling often seem to fare better in the long run.

2 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

ACIM asserts that we do not have to learn through pain.  Often we do, though, as Eckhart Tolle has described in some detail in The Power of Now.  His way to Awakening was paved by an overwhelming sense of pain that abated in what may be termed a miraculous way one night around age 30.  Since that time, he has sought to understand his experience and to help others also to move toward Awakening.

3 – Our Holy Relationships Move Us toward Awakening

ACIM is different, in that it would have us to move toward Awakening by the holy relationships that we develop with our brothers and sisters, through our forgiveness of the words and deeds that they do which are upsetting to us.  Our way is through the transformation of special relationships into holy ones.  It is indeed reassuring to know that we do not have to learn through pain.

4 – Do Not Turn Pain into Suffering

We will probably know pain in our lifetimes, though, and Eckhart makes the point that we do not need to turn pain into suffering.  Our attitude is what makes the difference.  Jesus says much in both ACIM and ACOL that can lead us away from both pain and suffering.  We have heretofore “made” our world (a tenet of ACIM), but as we reach into Christ-consciousness, we can “create” a world that is more to our liking.  We have this much power, though often we don’t recognize this and we reject our power in a misguided belief that power is corrupting.  With Jesus as our guide, owning our power becomes a new and better way of living (a tenet of ACOL).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to claim the promise that I do not have to experience tribulation.  I realize that I can bring tribulation upon myself by overreacting.  May I turn to You when I am tempted to turn any passing pain into suffering, into tribulation.

Thank You for the promises of Jesus that focus on His overcoming of the world so that tribulation need not be necessary.  May I turn to him as my guide, and may my day today be a good one, secure in Your love.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 148:

My mind holds only what I think with God.

If I defend myself I am attacked.

Sickness is a defense against the truth.

Planning

“Yet planning is not often recognized as a defense.  (ACIM, WB254)”

Affirmation:  “May I not be tempted to ‘plan’ today.”

Reflections:

We are great planners in this world.  Our careers almost demand it of us.  Yet living in a spiritual sense does not emphasize planning.  We are told in A Course in Miracles that we will be told when and how to plan, when the need arises.  But we are not to look for those times, for they are far fewer than most of us realize.

We are meant to lean on God, to lean on His mercy in this troubled world–indeed, in our troubled lives.  We may even have been told to “Go to God,” when we are tangled up.  (I was once told that by a close friend.)

A Course in Miracles would have us to turn to the Holy Spirit for our guidance through life.  Indeed, the Holy Spirit is seen in Christianity as one part of the Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Unfortunately, we often make our decisions ourselves, and then turn inward for guidance.  And, as ACIM says, the guidance that we hear may not coincide with what we have already decided, and so we are confounded.

Today let us vow to make no plans without first asking for guidance.  God is the All, and His essence is also a part of our inwardness.  Turn inward with confidence that the answer found there will be sufficient, without the planning that would only confuse our future acts.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You that today, at least, I have been diligent in listening to the Holy Spirit for my guidance.  Help me to do so consistently, day after day after day.  Help me to learn how the Holy Spirit and Christ-consciousness coincide.  I am teachable, dear Lord.

May I resist the troubling desire to plan in advance, because I realize that such planning can often even be counterproductive.  May I hear your Word to know when planning is needed, and, perhaps even more, when planning is not needed.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 140:

Only salvation can be said to cure.