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Seeking to Be Less Vulnerable

“The perceived attack will have entered at the place where you have placed your highest value and are thus most vulnerable. In the past your response would have been to protect and use that which you have most valued. Now your response will have been changing. You will not see so much to value in what has called your ego into action and will turn away from it.” (ACOL, T1:9.15)

I can identify with this passage. Years ago I received a very negative peer review after my first year in a new job, from someone whom I had considered a friend. Despite the fact that I had become a committed Course in Miracles student, the ego was still very strong in me. I had always wanted to think that I did good work, and so when this peer review challenged that self-image, I was devastated. The egoic persona had been bruised.

Years later, I can see what was going on. Now my ego has been loosened, and I cannot fully comprehend why one peer’s opinion became so important to me. I would like to think that I can’t comprehend because I am thinking differently. Egoic ideals don’t call to me as much.

Now, if something similar were to happen, I think that I would be more prone to realize that one person’s opinion is just that—opinion. And my own persona isn’t fully egoic any longer; I don’t have to succeed to be loved. In my egoic persona, being loved was attached, conditionally, to being declared a success in the eyes of other people.

This is not a good interpretation for any of us to make, however strong the ego, but I think that it is a common reaction. In describing what happened, I can see the highs and lows of drama, and I know now that the highs and lows of drama are ego. We do better when we keep steady and on an even keel. We are much more likely to actually be a success in more than just our eyes or the eyes of our peers. We are accessing the Self Who can create through us.

We don’t take credit for what the Self creates through us. This would be to invite an egoic interpretation again. But we can enjoy the newfound joys of truly working in a way that we never did when we believed in the worth of the ego’s evaluations. And we can objectively see that our work has wings that we did not mastermind; Something More is at work.

Prayer

I would not go back to egoic reactions. I would stay on the straight and narrow, respond with Zen-like calm to the events of my life. I would learn how to return love for attack, however subtle the attack. And to do so, I need to keep stress under control. I never get angry unless I am stressed.

You know all these things about me. And You support me in my goal to be on an even keel, 24/7. You would have me reject the urge to make drama out of the events of my life. And I would go along with this desire on Your part as my best new direction.

Be with me today as I seek to lower stress, to return even the mildest form of attack with love. I would approach life by the smooth handle.

Amen.

Heartfelt Remembrance

“While A Course of Love has led you to a state of wholeness of mind and heart, or wholeheartedness, your realization of this state of being requires further guidance.
. . .
“The first instruction I give to you is to seek no more. All that you are in need of knowing has been provided within A Course of Love. That your learning does not feel complete is not a failing of this Course or of your¬self. That your learning does not feel complete is the result of forgetfulness, which is the opposite of mindfulness. Your further learning then is learning based on mindfulness or remembering.” (ACOL, T1:1.2 – 1.3)

It is certainly welcome news to all of us that we have found, that we need seek no more. So many times in the past we have gone from one spiritual teaching to another, never satisfied. This seeking could perhaps go on indefinitely, but Jesus would not have it so. He has counseled us to combine mind and heart into wholeheartedness; this from the first book of A Course of Love. But the further guidance that he would impart to us is the art of thought, the theme of the first treatise, from the second book of A Course of Love. And the art of thought is miracle-mindedness, for which mindfulness is a handy prerequisite. By mindfulness, Jesus does not mean some Eastern philosophy, but the remembrance that he would now encourage. We forget much, but when we turn the art of thought on our remaining memories, we are making headway toward the goal of ACOL.

Remembrance is what we are here for, but not in the sense that we would live in the past. We will bring our memories to the present, with living in the present. And we will not look ahead to the future in fruitless planning that guidance does not ask of us. This living in the present brings a present moment awareness that smooths out our days. A present moment awareness gives us happiness, for not even suffering and pain are present in just a single moment. Nearly all of our perturbed feelings when overwrought are the result of remembering past pain and looking ahead to the dreaded future suffering ahead. In the present there is calm and peace.

We can reread the first book of A Course of Love numerous times, if we feel so led. The learning continues into the second book, the Treatises. But we live behind traditional learning, in traditional ways, in the third book, the Dialogues. We are finally getting somewhere in our seeking. And we know that now seeking further is not needed. ACOL will answer our final questions, take us to the next stage in our unfolding, the Christ-consciousness about which we obsess so much.

Mindfulness aids living in the present. If we pay attention to what we are doing, and why, with full awareness, we will make real progress. And our days will be like a string of pearls, all perfect and perfectly rounded into an experience that is whole. We need not anguish any longer; the way home is shown us as we live wholeheartedly, with A Course of Love (and A Course in Miracles) as our guide.

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live in the present, feeling the warmth of the sunshine, sensing Your Presence. Help me not to dwell in the past, or to look ahead to an uncertain future. Just be here now. And everything will fall into place.

May I find You today as I live in the warm and peaceful Presence that You are. Be with me as I seek to overhaul fruitless ways of living and to make a new beginning. Now is the time; today, the day.

Amen.