Tag Archives: ACIM blogs

Safety = God’s Promise

“There is no deceit in God.  His promises are sure.  Only remember that. His promises have guaranteed His Judgment, and His alone, will be accepted in the end.  It is your function to make that end be soon.  It is your function to hold it to your heart, and offer it to all the world to keep it safe.  (M-15.3)”

 

Affirmation:  “I would ultimately find everyone at home in God.”

Reflections:

1 – Plan of the Teachers

This passage is about the plan of the teachers of God (from ACIM), to bring everyone back to Him, though that may take millions of years.  I have often mentioned this length of time in this blog, but always with a reassurance that our own way and God’s way in time are not the same.  Jesus says that each of us saves a thousand years, as the world measures time.  But time, also an ACIM tenet, is an illusion; there is no time.  Modern physics is coming to see this truth as well.

2 – God’s Judgment Is Benign

God’s Judgment is benign.  It dwells not at all on “sin.”  And it certainly does not dwell on hell.  God’s Judgment will come to all of us, when we are ready to welcome it (from the Manual).  The Judgment will be carried out by Jesus in conjunction with his brothers (and sisters).  Can we understand this?  Of course not.  We are very human, and this is part of the theology of ACIM that is in all likelihood something that is beyond us.  But having led us this far, is it likely that Jesus would be wrong herein?  Most students/teachers of A Course in Miracles do not believe Jesus is leading us astray.  He himself says that we might sometimes get that idea, but he has tried to choose words that are impossible to misconstrue (a paraphrase from the Text).  But he also says that we can twist symbols (which words are) around if we wish.

3 – The World Is Weary Now

We need to make the end come sooner.  This world is very weary now, and there is an astounding amount of suffering and pain.  Surely we ourselves weep when we hear some news accounts.  But this illusion will not stand before the compassion of God.  And our way home has been pointed out to us (in my opinion, in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love).  Let us seek today to be quiet a bit, and listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Let us ask today what we can do to be sure that the illusory separation from God does not continue for eons.  Let us ask what we can do today to save the thousand years that Jesus has promised to each of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is hard for me, as a limited human being, to comprehend the millions of years that Jesus says may be ahead before everyone is home again.  It seems such a sad dilemma.  But I know that Jesus is not a morose figure.  He always means well, and there are few of us who would ever doubt this.  So even a million years will be short when we have Awakened.  And it is our function in salvation to make that glorious day sooner for those with whom we come in contact.  Help me to remember this, and be with me, I ask.

I know that Jesus does not ask us to force our will on anyone.  Many, perhaps most, of us are not yet ready to accept all that salvation holds out for us.   It is my belief that each day, lived well and happily, provides a means to reach others with the glorious message of Awakening.  And, before Awakening, we are made gentler–not to be scared–by the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings to us.

Be with me today, as I seek to share Your message.  Help me to reduce mistakes in conveying Your message.  May all who are ready to receive help from You and Your Communicator, the Holy Spirit, open their hearts today to receive.  And may we be consistently happy as we receive, for that happiness is also a function for us in this world, according to Jesus in A Course in Miracles.

Amen.

Quiet Listening

“Learn to be quiet, for His Voice is heard in stillness.  And His Judgment comes to all who stand aside in quiet listening, and wait for Him.  (M-15.2)”

Affirmation:  “Let me be quiet awhile today.”

Reflections:

1 – Benign Judgment

“His Judgment” is not bad; we only make mistakes, and these can be corrected.  If we cannot make amends with the person whom we have wronged, we can still ask forgiveness in quietness, and on some level we will be heard.  The Judgment of which this passage speaks is coming from the Holy Spirit, God’s Communicator with us.  It is always a benign judgment.

2 – Quiet

We cannot live well unless we live, at least from time to time, in quiet.  My quiet time used to be three times a day, which I spent in meditation.  This went on for ten years, and then six years ago I began to pray more, and I was quiet in that way.  Prayer works for me when I pray aloud, and frequently I do so when driving the car.  I do concentrate on the road, of course, but I am carrying on, also, a conversation with God.  Despite the noise of the car and the road,  I know this time as a particularly effective quiet time.

3 – Listening

We must try to follow God’s Way for us.  And we learn this Way in quiet listening.  Sometimes the Answer will come in a quiet “knowing,” and sometimes in just the next quiet words that come into our minds.  Sometimes we experience a feeling that we attribute to intuition.  There is no limit to the ways that the Holy Spirit can and does speak with us.

4 – Personal Experience

My favorite quiet time is early in the morning, before my husband awakes.  I slip out of the bedroom, and find an easy chair in our study.  There I sit quietly, thinking, sometimes, of the day ahead.  This time alone, before the day begins, is a very effective way to get close to God in my thinking.  If I miss this time, I know it.  So I try not to miss being alone first thing in the morning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be still and quiet a bit today, to hear Your Voice.  I would relax, so that my body accommodates to my wish to hear You.  I would listen with a warm and soft heart.  Help me to do all of these things, for without Your help I am lost.

Be with me today.  I have already done a good bit of work this morning, and I am already tired.  If I could relax during my work, I could get along better and for longer periods of time.  Help me to do this tomorrow morning.  And today:  Help me to relax today even as I continue to work.

Be with all my loved ones.  I cannot control their destinies, but I do turn them over to You.  And I turn myself over to You also.  As always.

Amen

Overcoming Depression

“You who are sometimes sad and sometimes angry; who sometimes feel your just due is not given you, and your best efforts meet with lack of appreciation and even contempt, give up these foolish thoughts!  They are too small and meaningless to occupy your holy mind an instant longer.  (M-15.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would know that my best efforts are appreciated–by Someone.”

Reflections:

1 – Discouragement

This passage gives comfort in times of discouragement.  It would be good to return to it from time to time for its clear-eyed assessment of what we sometimes view as taking place in our world.  We are Sons and Daughters of the Most High!  Ought we to remember that when the world intrudes too much on our peace of mind?  God is with us through his Communicator, the Universal Inspiration, the Holy Spirit.  And the Holy Spirit will calm us when our feelings are ruffled.  But words like this, from Jesus in A Course in Miracles, can be a tangible reminder when we are temporarily more insane than usual.

2 – Struggle

And we are insane when we think of ourselves as broken down by the world’s burdens.  We will know struggle so long as we listen to the dictates of the ego, and so long as we seek for egoistic attractions in this world.  Jesus would not have us to live this way.  And here, in one place in ACIM, is a measure of just how he would advise us when things do not seems to be going our way.

3 – Our Holy Mind

Jesus calls our mind “holy.”  Can we believe him?  I think that those of us who have read through A Course in Miracles are eager to give him the credit for our greater peace of mind.  Jesus, in my interpretation, is saying here that we are as God created us (a quotation from ACIM), that we have not changed from that ideal.  But we have believed ourselves to be separated from God, and we have believed that this was what we wanted.  Most of us who study ACIM passionately know with great intent that we do not want to perpetuate the idea of separation (wrong though it always was).  We have not separated from God, an illusion that would be impossible because we are part of Him, but we have believed, also in illusion, that we have fallen from grace.  God would not have us to live a small life, devoid of good things.  And it is up to ourselves to make the tiny movement toward the Holy Spirit that will turn our world around.  We can and will live better, when we let God have His Way with us.  The world will stop being such a fearsome place, and we will stop attracting its misery to ourselves.  Our minds will be so filled with the good things of God that we will no longer find ourselves in extremis any longer.  Our attracting power (not stated in ACIM, but an interpretation) will shift to the intangibles of God, which I have often discussed in this blog–the peace, joy, harmony, kindness, and, of course, love, that we all desire.  And we will live much better as a result.

4 – Attracting Negativity

What of our brothers and sisters who have not reached this understanding, and who still find themselves attracting negativity?  Many will not be ready for A Course in Miracles, but there is a course of some nature out there waiting for them.  We are not bidden to overtly proselytize, but we can treat our unhappy friends with more compassion.  And we can be there for them when they reach out for our help.  In the meantime, our prayers for our brothers and sisters will make a difference.  It cannot be otherwise, though this is not specifically stated in ACIM.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not let any depressed mood waylay me today.  I would follow Your Way, and I ask You to point this Way out to me.  May I always seek to walk the pathway back to You.  I know that I am a part of You, though I seem to forget this when I get upset or agitated about something.  You will always rescue me, and Jesus will help, when I make one unequivocal call to You.

I would not get discouraged today.  I know that life is not always smooth.  Just this morning, I was confronted with three minor problems and one major.  Just this morning.  And there was no warning that any of this was coming down the pike.  But You knew.  And You have calmed me and relaxed me, and helped me to see that life is not an emergency.  There is time for all that is needful.

I have dealt in some way with each of the four new problems.  As the Bible says, “Having done all, stand.”  And I will stand in Your Sight today.  Thank You.

Amen.

GETTING ALONG ON THE JOB: AN INTERPRETATION FOR ACIM STUDENTS AND TEACHERS

by Celia Hales

Note:  These reflections are designed for individuals in the work force who have an affinity for A Course in Miracles.  The examples are from the profession of library science, because that is my profession, but the conclusions should work for any position.  The ideas are applicable to current students who are preparing for the work force, those who are changing jobs and want to get off on the “right foot,” and others who may be currently having political problems at work.

I should note at the outset that every work setting is different in regard to social climate, and each type of work environment has its own challenges.  These comments are written from the vantage point of 22 years as a reference librarian and bibliographer in libraries at  two different universities, and to some extent draw upon previous, disparate settings of my work history inside and outside libraries.  The most important point that I want to make is that most basically social interaction is necessary in any work setting, social interaction matters, and one cannot look to the job professionally as a solo player.

The nature of work demands cooperation and teamwork, and if one does not find a congenial “home” with her colleagues, she will be at a distinct disadvantage professionally, regardless of objectively how good her work is.  In fact, her work will normally not be considered objectively at all; this is the strength of the social.  We will take a look at communication among colleagues, the pitfalls to avoid if one is “new,” human nature factors that impinge upon the daily work, the role of competition in the workplace, and, finally, the all-important merit review and its role in improving performance in one’s work.

Communication among Colleagues

One of the primary problems which individuals in my library have noted is the breakdown of communication top to bottom as well as horizontally.  And this despite a flood of electronic mail that come our way every day.  I have come to believe that people do not want communication so much as simply being listened to and being made to feel that their opinions are valued by their colleagues at every level and that these opinions are duly considered in decisions.  This is the largest definition of “communication,” and it is far beneath the surface issue of whether or not one actually knows “what” is going on in a given library.

In my library, I have learned that a certain amount of self-disclosure makes others more trusting of my opinions; they know “where I am coming from,” and they are not therefore so much trying to read meanings into what I am saying–because I have given the context.  I do not mean inappropriate or unprofessional self-disclosure, of the type that might take place in counseling sessions–just a willingness to talk openly and to show that one is human with human faults (and assets) and carries the basic idea of the long-ago bestseller, I’m OK, You’re OK.  Saying what one wants to say with genuine goodwill and a smile mean a lot; there is an old folk saying that is applicable:  “One can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

There will be time, if one is high-spirited or has a temper, that one will speak in anger or provoke discord, and then regret it later.  It is never too late to apologize, and ti is not a sign of weakness to do so.  Smooth interactions keep people happier on the job, and a happy worker is much more likely to be a productive one.  It is self-evident that fuming and fretting and agonizing take time away from the actual content of a job well done.  If one needs to do so, reconsider your actions, express regret for the action or word, and then quietly put the matter to rest.  Forget it as quickly as possible, for with a clear conscience you have done all that you can.  In fact, practice forgetting the irritations of the daily work as you leave the office at night.  If you do take work home, tackle it after having as relaxing a meal as possible, and approach the task as the start of a fresh project, no longer looking back to any animosity that might have developed from the earlier part of the day.

Noticing the Possible Pitfalls

The emotional tone, the tenor, of various work settings is profoundly different, and this difference varies from individual to individual because people react differently to the same or similar stimuli.  What works fine for one doesn’t for another, as we all know.  But perhaps we are too eager to get a given job to take the emotional tenor into account during the interview.  We do need a job, of course, but we need one that we can stay with for a reasonable period, and we can intuitively grasp some of the intangibles during the interview if we are open to seeing them.  Most of us refer to this emotional tenor as the “vibes” of the place, and I believe that this is more important to success, for a given individual, than almost anything else–including ability.  If one does not fit into a given environment, the work will not be longstanding, or, if longstanding, will not be pleasant.

It is not easy to sort through the feelings that one has on an interview, especially if this job, on the surface, seems like your dream job.  But do try to be open to the pace of the interview, interact with as many people as you can, and stop to react to their responses to you.  Do they seem competitive?  Are they a bit withdrawn with you?  Do they seem to take themselves (and their work) too seriously (and that is possible)?  Do they genuinely seem to “like” you?  First impressions can be and often are misleading, but a false impression will nevertheless be the starting point for future interaction until you know the people very, very well.  This is the time to listen to your sixth sense.

Let us say that the interview went well, you felt at ho me with these people, and now you are on the job.  How do you proceed in those all-important first days?  I would counsel that you take your cue from the reactions of others to your initial responses to their questions.  Do they seem eager to hear your opinions, or do they seem to believe that they know the situation better than you as the “new authority”?  If the latter, they, of course, may be right.  But even if they aren’t, and you do know much better ways of handling a given procedure, it might be wiser to delay introducing your concept.  On the other hand, if your new colleagues actively ask for your advice and suggestions, do not feel shy about giving them a kind, but honest, opinion.  I have been in both situations in different workplaces.  One setting didn’t welcome input, but as a reference librarian, I did not see this until too late, and it colored my whole tenor on the job.  The other setting was looking for change, bringing in new people for their new ideas, and wanted to hear from us.  I even heard another colleague mildly criticized for not saying very much at all/  So the climate of these two places was not compatible with each other, and the reaction expected from me was totally different.  Such differences exist across the board, and it is a wise worker who reads the signs and adjusts communication behavior accordingly.

Human Nature–Lubricant or Irritant?

Much has been made of “Monday mornings” on the job.  We are all supposed to be typically irritable and down in spirits.  But this negativity can strike at any time, and is more a function of personalities rubbing against each other than of the change from free time to ordered time.  There will always be people with whom we work smoothly, and those with whom we find it difficult to accept and to appreciate.  This should not deter us from working for a humane environment in every case.

The differences in personality types, whether we take the Myers-Briggs or the “Type A” vs. “Type B” categories, or something else entirely, are a fact of working life.   We are thrown in together with an assortment of ;people who stem from varying backgrounds and have hidden agendas, and only over time do we learn where we stand with any of them.  We need to be sensitive to the personality quirks that we observe.  Does Melanie seem upset when approached first thing in the morning?  Maybe she needs a moment or two to collect her thoughts as she moves from family duties and fixing breakfast for her young child to thinking about librarianship.  This particular example is an easy one to remedy:  Simply wait 15 minutes to approach her next time.  Try to get your hidden agendas out of the way as much as you can.  You have certain needs to get work accomplished, but work is an inanimate object, and human beings vary, and, moreover, they get the work done in a more efficient way if we work around their problems and not add to them by being insensitive to their work habits.

There will always be people who are more neurotic than others part of the time, and even all of the time.  People have another life outside work, and most frequently they are not going to tell you of a nagging worry that they should visit a physician for a “small” symptom, and, as another frequent example, they are not going to tell you when they fear that their marriage is failing.  If work seems to be suffering, that is a matter for the library administration to handle, while we as peers are reluctant to criticize and more helpful if we, insofar as possible, work around the problems.  If you feel that you are the only one hampered by a given person’s strange actions, please know that you are not–you very likely have plenty of company, but in the interests of good working relationships, most people don’t comment on each other.  (I do acknowledge that some working environments are more gossip-prone than others, but a professional setting is normally very accommodating.)

Finally, let us consider the real personality problems, the colleagues who make life miserable for themselves and others at the same time.  Consider this a chance to shine your halo, because such fantasies may be all that get you through a day without ruining it for yourself.  Do remember that the real neurotic is making herself far more unhappy than she is making you–though this may be hard to believe in the heat of the moment.  A sense of humor is a saving grace in many life situations, and neurotic behavior certainly qualifies.  And try to forgive the unfairness of it all; life does not handle well the keeping of a grudge, one against the other.  bitterness is one way to spoil one’s own emotional and physical health.

The Bugaboo Competition

Work settings differ dramatically in how competitive they are, but virtually all settings will turn negative against you personally if your drive to succeed is perceived as an attempt to outdo everybody else.  In academic libraries, especially, the vast majority of librarians (and library assistants) are extremely hardworking, and they do not take kindly to the implication that other people may outshine them.  Academic settings, in fact, are especially bad in this regard, because the people who work here are intellectually oriented, usually they were good students in years past, and they carry off part of that achievement motivation into the present environment.  Reference settings are wonderful training grounds for cooperative work, for rarely does anything in a reference setting get done unless a group of people agree on how the task will proceed.  In the instance of competition or lack thereof, therefore, reference work is a particularly good place to evaluate one’s own propensity to compete.

The best settings are those in which everybody tries hard to work together in a cooperative fashion to provide a reference service that succeeds for library users.  Being congenial with one’s colleagues is a particularly prized quality, because the negativism that can engulf a reference unit frequently spreads from one person to another.  The best type of competition, therefore is competition with one’s self, trying to improve with each passing month and year.  Backbiting, it goes without saying, is a negative that helps no one, and is extremely detrimental to the functioning of an optimal reference unit.  If it did not matter so much how one interacted with another, then reference social interaction would not be of major concern at all.  Faculty in individual classrooms can function very autonomously, but reference staff have to swap desk times, work together on committees that help the library to do its daily work, and frequently as well work together to team-teach library skills.

Pride is a factor that normally goes hand in hand with competition.  Even the best librarians can be guilty of intellectual pride in their work, and it is not always easy to separate healthy pride and unhealthy.  Certainly we all want to do a good job, but how we talk about our work can present problems if we appear to call attention to our great deeds in a braggadocio way.  Modesty is a value more respected in the workplace than is pride, and one much more conducive to the better side of competition.  Do your best, but take care that you aren’t always talking about it.  To do so is to invite the unhealthy envy that disrupts reference units and causes animosity that will undermine the greater good.

If you find yourself in an especially competitive situation, and particularly if you now recognize that you have made wrong decisions that brought  out an unhealthy competition in yourself, it is, nevertheless, not appropriate in a reference unit to withdraw and try to do one’s work, as best one can, alone.  Even if the other staff members turn negative or even hostile, it is still part of one’s job responsibility to work cooperatively.  If everybody worked in a solitary fashion, the best service could not emerge; this is contrary to the classroom, where faculty can disregard hostile politics and be alone with their students, to produce the best teaching that they can.  In a reference service, the staff members need each other; working together gets the job done, and working alone does not.  So try to use one’s best manners and act well even if met sometimes with hostility.

There is one place to take exception to these suggested rules–in the annual merit review and in performance appraisals that lead to tenure or to continuous appointment.  And in that situation one is compelled to put her best foot forward, and not to be shy about touting accomplishments.  We discuss this aspect just below.

Merit Review–Bane or Opportunity?

The most important advice that I would like to give any newcomer to the field, or even any veteran who still worries about an annual review, is my own truth that the only important rating is the one that you give yourself.  Anything else, even if that “anything” involves the very retention of the position itself, is secondary.  If one goes through life quaking at authority (when administrators assume the role of stand-in parental figures) or peer evaluation (a concept that will bring back the awful need to belong that characterized our teen years), then the life on the job does not fully belong to you, and if one is to achieve one’s best, that life should be personally owned.  Before you write your part of the merit review, ask yourself a few very basic questions:  Have I grown in my knowledge of library science, and thus in my career, this year?  Have I endeavored to keep current, though computerization is a moving target?  Have I tried to assist my colleagues in their work whenever possible, being cooperative and helpful and occasionally walking the extra mile?  If you can truthfully answer “yes” to these questions, I would suggest that you have succeeded in the last year, whether or not you receive the highest rating that you might wish.

It is good to recognize that even under the best of circumstances, ratings are subjective and often very political.  One needs to achieve, but not too much, or envy will mean that peer evaluations are not the best.  One needs to accomplish a great deal of work, or the quantity will not impress higher-ups (quality in this ear of lean and mean work setting is not perhaps given its fair due).  In my own case, I received my best ratings from an administrator who clearly liked me personally, and I have received my lowest ratings when politically I was not fitting into the climate of the workplace.  And there are all kinds of variation in between.  As the years go by, an attitude is developed about you as an employee, and if this attitude should become negative, then the perception will color the rating to the degree that superhuman efforts might not amend.  So it is always wise to keep a level head, and not to bend to the negative whims of either administrators or peers.  Conversely, there is a halo effect that will follow you everywhere if you are well-liked, and also happen to develop into the career worker that is well-respected in  your given environment.  This halo effect is certainly not a bad thing, because then you receive kudos in good years and bad, and certainly as your career develops, you will have some of both.

So back to my first point–keep your own rating as the most important.  Aside from this, there are pointers available for making the best impression as a worker.  Keep good documentation, and see that your accomplishments are showcased each year.  It is best to keep a running tally of what you accomplish each day or week, because otherwise it is virtually impossible to retain in memory the myriad of details that makes a report outstanding.  Often the administrators reading your report will not have first-hand knowledge of your work, but only impressions, and these impressions will be influenced by the presentation of your work record in a readable and cogent fashion.  Don’t make your report too lengthy, or it will be simply scanned–to your detriment.  Try very diligently to fulfill all of the goals and objectives set the previous year; after all, you and your supervisor agreed upon these goals, and it does behoove you to take them seriously.  Carefully point out if the failure to achieve a given goal was taken out of your hands by a change of programmatic policy by a higher-up.  Otherwise, the failure to achieve a goal will look like a personal failing.  It is very likely that the evaluation written by your superior(s) will be written rapidly and under duress.  She has many other reviews to write at the same time.  If yours is clear, well-written, and appears to fulfill your goals without too many excuses, you will fare better in her review, as well as in he rating.

An important point to keep in mind is that ratings are linked to the merit money, and higher administrators are actually rewarded for keeping salary savings high.  So it is wise to look at one’s final rating with a jaundiced eye; if a higher-up lowers your supervisor’s rating of you, it may have absolutely nothing to do with your merit in her eyes, and everything to do with statistics.  Administrators try to give out very few top ratings, and in the library science profession, these normally go to other administrators, who are perceived to be carrying forth the greatest weight of the library’s well-being.

Summing Up

Thus we have reflected on the communal nature of the reference position, and I hope that you have come to see that getting a long with others on the job–the social interaction itself–is vitally important to your success.  Other reflections have emphasized the communicative aspects of the workplace, but I hope that you have seen that social interaction has advantages that go far beyond simple communication.  A humane work environment can make all the difference in the success or the failure of an enterprise, a non-profit library being no exception.  It is helpful to let your colleagues and administrators know what you feel about various issues that arise, to make statements that contribute to the common goal of excellent library service.  If one tries too hard to stand out from her peers, competition can be a two-edged sword; it may win great superiority in performance, but in reference that is not the only factor controlling success–being a team player counts for much as well.  There is simply no way, as we have seen, to do your job well in a vacuum; the skills that we gain from interacting with others in a productive way can be tremendously life-enhancing for us as well as for our common mission in the library.  Sometimes one must move slowly when new in the position, lest we be accused of being “new authority,” and therefore being perceived as someone who as yet does not know the scoop; not listening to the thoughts of others can easily lead one to recommend courses of action that have been tried and have been seen to fail.  Ultimately, though, in the reference position as in life, the grade (or rating) that one gives one’s self is the most important.  Don’t give your power away by trying to please in order to get the highest merit rating; you may lose yourself in the process, not being true to one’s self, and even lose the high rating as well.  Self-respect requires that we do what we consider our best; other opinions should always remain secondary in our own minds.  “To thine own self be true,” has been the Shakespearian wisdom of the ages.

Consequently, if one wishes to excel in reference librarianship, don’t lose sight of the big picture, and the way that one interacts with other people in that picture.  In a classroom, one can operate in a solo fashion, but this simply cannot happen with reference work, and in the end this is one of its greatest advantages, personally as well as professionally.  You will find in your daily work that two heads really are better than one in a problem-solving work environment.

We Are Holy

“Holy are you, eternal, free and whole, at peace forever in the Heart of God.  Where is the world, and where is sorrow now?  (M-15.1)”

Affirmation:  “We are all holy.”

Reflections:

1 – Comfort

This passage is comforting, even when we do not find it (at first reading) to be believable.  We do want to be whole people, able to give and receive love.  And we do want to be free and at peace.

2 – Being Free

Before we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have an “imprisoned will” (from the Text).  Once we begin, ever so tentatively, to follow Him as our Guide, we learn, slowly at first (usually) what being free actually entails.   The Holy Spirit guides us to our real will, which is totally at One with God’s Will.  The Holy Spirit choose for us (from ACIM); he leads us to our heart’s desire.  But this is our real desire, not the frivolous and useless “pleasures” of the world that soon turn to ashes and dust in our hands.

3 – Heart of God

When we live in the Heart of God, we do not fret or worry.  Of course, and certainly in the beginning, we do not consistently feel God’s mercy.  The transition normally takes some time (though it can happen instantaneously).  We have glimpses of the real world, the world we see just before Awakening.  But we have to realize that these perceptual differences, while miracles, will not last, because miracles are perceptual and nothing perceptual is lasting.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)  So let us take one tiny step after another in the direction of God today.  Let us ask for His “felt presence” (a quotation from Eckhart Tolle).

4 – God’s Felt Presence

Sorrow is no more when we are experiencing God’s felt presence.  We know that we are beloved, and we do not agonize about the future (or even the present, and certainly not the past).  We are living in the present, as God would have us do.

5 – Peace

And we are at peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Most of us do not really believe that we are holy, and when we are consumed by the ego, being called “holy” seems to be not credible.  But we have not changed from our creation; we are as You created us, and we only made a detour into fear–an egoic mistake because of a “tiny, mad idea.”

Help me to leave all such foolishness behind today.  You know that we all try the best that we can at even given moment.  We make mistakes, but You and we together can correct those mistakes.  I would correct my mistakes today.

Help me to feel the gratitude for You that keeps me safe from all harm.

Amen

Final Judgment

“But the Final Judgment will not come until it is no longer associated with fear.  One day each one will welcome it, and on that very day it will be given him.  (M-15.1)”

Affirmation:  “Let me not think of the Final Judgment with fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

I once had a “waking dream,” not unlike what John Keats, the poem (“Ode to a Nightingale”) describes so well.  In that semi-hypnotic state, I imagined the Final Judgment was coming to me.  I was asked a number of questions, which I tried to answer, but not always truthfully.  And my unseen questioner knew that I was dissembling.  I responded, “How do you expect me to pass this test?”  As one who always tries to tell the truth, this memory is painful.  But the experience itself was very uplifting.  My unseen questioner in this waking dream then gave me a series of directives for my life.  I have forgotten most of them, but I do recall that one was to buy an “older” house when I was in a position to purchase a house.  Through no machinations of my own, that is exactly what my husband and I did:  a house built in 1922, with well-preserved, with numerous refurbishing.

2 – Many Years Later

I do not now, more than 30 years later, know how accurate this waking dream was, or whether or not I could even call it a “Final Judgment” carried out by one of my brothers in his lifetime.  Jesus says elsewhere that the Final Judgment of all will be carried out in conjunction with his brothers (and sisters) in this world.  So I sometimes ponder this strange experience.  The waking dream has never recurred, and only once or twice had something akin to it ever happened to me previously.

3 – “Tall Order”

But I was not afraid.  I remember commenting in my dream, with all the assertions of what I ought to do with my life, “That is a tall order.”  But the parts that I have remembered have come true,, almost fated (or so it seems).  There were, of course, parts that I do not recall, for this was an altered state of consciousness.

4 – Altered Consciousness

One probably ought not to plan for altered states of consciousness.  We are not usually of much help to other people when we are living in such a way.  But Jesus says in ACIM that the channels of communication in our universe are not limited to the few channels that this world recognizes.  He goes on to say that salvation would be impossible without these additional channels that this world does not recognize.

5 – Turn Aside from the Ego

Do not let the ego get a toehold in your own psychic imaginings.  When we have withdrawn support from the ego, it will, absolutely will, try to rise in ascendancy by guile.  And we certainly do not want that.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the unusual experience of more than 30 years ago.  But I do not wish for altered states of consciousness.  I want my feet on the ground, even as my head is sometimes in the clouds.  Be with me to be certain that my imaginings do not mislead others or myself.

Thank You for a busy but good day.  Help me to have a flowing expereince in my thoughts.  No obsessions.  And I pray for a stress-free day tomorrow.  Be with all of us who are trying so hard.  May we realize, anew, that Your Way is effortless.

Amen.

All God Would Have You Do You Can Do

“To turn hell into Heaven is the function of God’s teachers, for what they teach are lessons in which Heaven is reflected.  And now sit down in true humility, and realize that all God would have you do you can do (M-14.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would turn hell into Heaven.”

Reflections:

1 – Students/Teachers

All of us are students/teachers of God.  Time is an illusion, and only time separates students from teachers.  We will all be teachers, and many sooner rather than later.  We are actually already teaching and learning at the same time.  As soon as we have answered the Call, the individuals whom we can serve best will begin looking for us, and finding us.  There are no accidents in salvation.  Who we are to meet, we will meet.  The lives we are to touch, we will touch.  And in this plan of the teachers is found much joy.

2 – Plan of the Teachers

Jesus says elsewhere that without the plan of the teachers, there would be no way for all of our brothers and sisters to find their way home again.  The detour into fear has been long and burdensome, troubling in the extreme.  Let us ask today to be free of the fear in whatever form the fear manifests.  Often it is simply a low-grade anxiety, from which our jobs and our relationships seem to offer no respite.

3 – Bill and Helen

But there is a better way, and Helen and Bill (co-scribes of ACIM) found it, perhaps Bill more than Helen.  As Vahle points out in his biography (see review in this blog), and as Ken Wapnick has made so clear, the peace that Helen gave to others eluded her.  Ken’s biography of Helen Schucman is entitled, Absence from Felicity.  And it was only in death, when Jesus came to claim his own, that her face was at peace.  Bill, on the other hands, moved to California and there, amid friends of ACIM, lived a much more peaceful conclusion to his life.

4 – Let’s Do Our Part Today

May we do our part today to turn this hell on earth into Heaven on earth.  Ask the Holy Spirit what small thing you might do today to effect this reversal.  And He will respond.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Helen’s experience has led me to understand that there are no guarantees in this life.  I know from my reading that she understood A Course in Miracles very well, but still she was without the peace that ACIM had brought so many others.  May all of us realize that we must depend on the Holy Spirit in this world, and that, even then, we may not always have happy dreams.

Be with me today as I seek, once again, to understand Your guidance.  My nighttime dreams seem to give me indications, as well as my intuitive, inner sense.  I have not put it all together yet.  Be with me, and be with other whom I touch today, in whatever way.  We are not to be without limits in this world, but we are to seek to overcome the limitations, with the guidance that we receive.  May that guidance come in Your own Way, in Your own time.

Amen.

World Ends in Joy, Peace, Laughter

“The world will end  in joy, because it is a place of sorrow.  When joy has come, the purpose of the world has gone.  The world will end in peace, because it is a place of war.  When peace has come, what is the purpose of the world?  The world will end in laughter, because it is a place of tears.  where there is laughter, who can longer weep?  And only complete forgiveness brings all this to bless the world.  In blessing it departs, for it will not end as it began.  (M-14.5)”

Affirmation:  “The world will end in joy.”

Reflections:

1 – Belief in a Fiery End

A very reassuring passage, this assertion by Jesus will be well-received by those who are ready to relinquish the ego, and no longer believe in a fiery hell.  So much of our preoccupation has been with a world that would end in fiery destruction.  And we can now realize that all of this was projection of the ego.  We made a world of opposites, and we thought that the worst thing that we could comprehend, hell, was there waiting for us if we did not measure up.  What a joy to know that this dualism has never been accurate!  We live in a non-dualistic world, where when we have dropped illusions, we can be happy in a Heaven on earth.

2 – Ask for a Happy Dream

Of course, we still see much misery before us.  And we are not encouraged to deny our eyesight.  But we are encouraged to realize that what we are seeing is maya (an Eastern term), illusion, a dream.  And much that we see is not a happy dream.  But we can ask for a happy dream, and the more we focus on following the guidance that we receive, the happier our daily life will become.  We will not longer sit down in the dust and bemoan our fate of a joyless life, full of struggle and woe.

3 – Be with God

Be with God today, as much of the time as possible.  The world will ultimately end in joy, but this ending may be a long time off.  Jesus says elsewhere that it may take millions of years for the separation to be healed, as it took millions of years to happen.  Of course, the separation from God is not real, could never be real, for we live as though in a hologram, and what is within (God) is projected without.  Not all that is within is God, though, and so sometimes we project hideous images.  But God would not have it so.  He asks only for a “little willingness” (quotation from ACIM) to follow His Way.  And his medium of communication is our Guide, the Holy Spirit.  Ask for His help today.

4 – Presence

He will not be long in making His presence felt.  The day will brighten.  And with this comes hope for a better tomorrow.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the reassurance in A Course in Miracles that the world will end in peace.  Our ego has said so much about ending in a fiery destruction, and we have been (most of us) very influenced by this.  Help us all to realize that there is nothing to fear.

Be with me as I seek to know Your Presence today.  Give me free-flowing thought, that I don’t dam up my thoughts and have thought attacks.  Obsessions are fearful things, and I would acknowledge Your rule in this world, even though we all have free will and can walk astray.

Amen

Bits and Pieces Seem Sensible?

“The world will end when its thought system has been completely reversed.  Until then, bits and pieces of its thinking will still seem sensible.  (M-14.4)”

Affirmation:  “May my thought system be reversed sooner rather than later.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Rearing

The thought system that needs reversal is ego-inspired.  This ego causes us more problems than a little!  And we were probably reared with a strong competitive streak that was essentially ego-oriented.

2 – Personal Experience

My parents wanted me to make them proud.  Neither ever read A Course in Miracles, but I wonder now how different I would be if they had.  I think that they would have been ripe for accepting the ideas, for when the ego is strong, we tend to recognize that our way of life needs improvement.

3 – Attack & Anger Lead to “Venting”

I personally needed to know that verbal attack and anger were not the way to respond to someone else’s “venting.”  The someone else was always asking for help and for love.  And to offer those things–help and love–took the sting out of the venting.  Try it yourself.  I think that you may be surprised at how much easier your life will evolve.

4 – Being Defensive

Another idea that may still make sense is to defend one’s self against attack.  Or to defend one’s self against anything that seems adverse.  But A Course in Miracles says that we make what we defend against; by our defense is the awful thing made real.  This too is an idea that may need testing out.  (ACIM does not object to our testing, though this is an interpretation, not stated in ACIM.)

4 – ACIM Forbids

So no defense, as in planning for contingencies to come–contingencies that the Holy Spirit has not instructed us to consider.  And no attack and no judging.

5 – An Easier Way

Our way will already seem to be easier, when we have stopped considering those bits and pieces that still seem to make sense to the ego.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Monday has come and gone, and to my way of thinking, “bits and pieces” of the ego’s thinking still seem to make sense at this very moment.  I pray that any delay that I allow is not detrimental to anyone in my care.  My husband and I both still have egos, and we must make some decisions together.

If my intuition over the weekend was informed by too much ego, perhaps the intuition was wrong.  But I can point to no times in my past that intuition that has been prayed about actually turned out to be ego-inspired.

Be with us as we allow time to pass.  The Holy Spirit knows us well, and perhaps now is the time to learn that the anger that I felt last week has led my thinking to be too influenced by the ego, meaning that my psychic attunement was off.  I know that the solution is with the problem.  And I pray for patience to make the right decisions for my loved ones, in consultation with the Holy Spirit on a heavenly plane, and my husband, on the earthly plane.

I would learn a great deal that would benefit me in the future if the ego actually does lead wrongly, causing intuition to run false.  I pray for Your true guidance, and I pray for the right words to make my present situation a good one–not only for myself, but for all other that my life touches.

You are still working with me.  You have not finished with me.  May I never get so arrogant as to think that I have all the answers at any given time.

May the mystery clear up, sooner rather than later.

Amen.

How the World Will End

“The world will end with the benediction of holiness upon it.  When not one thought of sin remains, the world is over.  It will not be destroyed nor attacked nor even touched.  It will merely cease to seem to be.  (M-14.2)”

Affirmation:  “The world will not be destroyed.”

Reflections:

1 – Cease to Be

Many of the prophecies of our world has attempted to predict the end of the world.  But here Jesus discusses a very benign way for the world to end:  It will just cease to be.

2 – Illusions

Certainly very few individuals in our world can understand this pronouncement.  It is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles.  In my interpretation (not stated in ACIM), the world, as an illusion, will cease to be when the time for illusions is past.  And this miracles will happen when all of us have returned home to God–not necessarily through death, but through a return to the real world, and then an Awakening in God.  We will not be dreaming when this miracles occurs; we will be awake for the first time ever.

3 – Millions of Years

When will this miracle take place?  The Text says that the return of the “separated” ones (those who think that they have separated from God) may take millions of years, just as the separation itself took place over millions of years.

4 – Regret?

Is this cause for regret?  Do we see the length of time as a reason for despondency?

5 – The World Will Get Better

I think not.  For as time goes by, and more and more of ourselves and our brothers and sisters awaken, we will see a world resplendent with beauty and joy.  We will have no reason to be despondent then.  Our mission is simply to bring that time closer, and Jesus is our leader in this, for time and space are under his control.  Can we believe this?  He would deal gently with us if we have an intellectual problem with such affirmations (from ACIM).  But we may find ourselves and home and in God much quickly if we can suspend judgment of that which we cannot, now, understand.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with us today, as we live in a world that is far from perfect.  Guide our physical eyesight, as well as our vision (non-physical eyesight) to experience a benign world.  May we have a good day, living in this world.

Help me to contain myself today when the world is too much with me.  We cannot know joy, true joy, unless we have the peace of God.  I ask You to grant me Your peace today.

Be with me, I pray.  And thank You.

Amen.

Call by God Answered

“And what, O teacher of God, is it that you want?  You have been called by God, and you have answered.  Would you now sacrifice that Call?  Few have heard it as yet, and they can but turn to you.  (M-13.6)”

Affirmation:  “I would answer the Call from God.”

Reflections:

1 – Students/Teachers

This passage is for students of A Course in Miracles as well (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Only time separates the student from the teacher, and time does not really exist.

2 – Loyalty

All of us can be at least a bit wavering in our loyalty.  Life gets busy, our prayer time drops off, and only when we find ourselves in a jam, do we remember to ask God for help.  Doesn’t this sound familiar?

3 – The Pathway

Here, in this passage, Jesus would keep us on the pathway.  He knows that our brothers and sisters need us, and they need us very greatly.  Would we turn from those we love deeply?  No.  Then let us not turn from those we know less well.  They too need us.

4 – Plan of the Teachers of God

The plan of the teachers of God is said elsewhere to be a plan that is the only possible solution to the pain in which most brothers and sisters of ours find themselves.  We do care, or we would not be reading these reflections.

5 – What Would God Have Me Do–Today?

Let us ask God what we might do today, for Him.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help us to find Your plan for this day.  Let us not second-guess You at all.  Be with us throughout the day, so that we know where and when to do Your Will.

May all of our decisions be right.  If we make mistakes, because we are human, help us to correct those mistakes before they might harm ourselves or another individual.

Let me hear Your guidance, Your Holy Spirit, aright today.

Amen.

Give God a Chance

“Decide for God, and everything is given you at no cost at all.  Decide against Him, and you choose nothing, at the expense of the awareness of everything.  (M-13.8)”

Affirmation:  “I choose the awareness of everything.”

Reflections:

1 – Decide for God?

How does one decide for God?  Perhaps we are skeptics.  Perhaps we have a guilty conscience.  Perhaps we have intellectual doubts about God.  Then what?

2 – A Chance

Give God a chance.

3 – Try a Little

That is all that is required.  Try a little prayer.  Ask for something that you think is in line with God’s Will, but be sure that you are not “testing” Him.

4 – God

You may not succeed.  But God may.

5 – What Do We Have to Lose?

What do we have to lose by trying to believe, even just a little?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

This is starting out as a hard day, because I asked for guidance in a particular situation, and I am unsure if my ego intruded.  I am unsure if the guidance that I received is from You.  I asked for further indication, and that was forthcoming, and the Answer from You was the same.  Is my ego just trying to foment struggle?

I would calm down, following Your guidance.  I am not alone in this decision facing me.  My husband is with me, and I believe in help from the Other Side.  Be with me today; help me to drop the issue for the weekend, so that next Monday, when I can actually do something, I will be in a state of mind that will allow the calm carrying out of what guidance has already shown me.

Thank You.

Amen.

Illusory Split from God Experienced in Attack

“[The Word of God] is denied if you attack any brother for anything.  For it is here the split with God occurs.  A split that is impossible.  A split that cannot happen.  Yet a split in which you surely will believe, because you have set up a situation that is impossible.  And in this situation the impossible can seem to happen.  It seems to happen at the ‘sacrifice’ of truth.  (M-13.7)”

Affirmation:  “I will not attack under any circumstances.”

Reflections:

1 – Sword over our Heads

We are told elsewhere in A Course in Miracles that when we are tempted to be angry (and to attack), it is as though we hold a sword over our heads.  And it will fall or be averted as we choose to ask for peace and turn aside from the reverse, the anger and attack.

2 – We Are Human

We are human, and we have human frailties.  We will still, sometimes, get angry.

3 – Insanity

If we can, when tempted by anger, to assert that what we are being baited with is just insanity, we will easily (sometimes easily) turn aside.   And what we are viewing is insanity, but it is also a call for help and for love.  The Holy Spirit will teach us this, if we will let Him.  And nobody responds to a call for help with anger.  A call for help is a piteous call, and deserves our sympathy.

4 – Our World Will Smooth Out

If we do well with these ideas, our world will smooth out.  It is when we attack in response that the trouble starts, for we have set up a situation in which baiting happens between ourselves, and our brothers and sisters.

5 – Do Not Respond to a Bait

We would respond to no bait today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

If we believe in the split or separation from God only when we are in attack mode, then it does behoove us to get out of that mode.  Forgive me if irritation arises today, or if a significant other tempts me to attack, or if I am just in a bad mood and feel like venting.  None of this is in Your Will, and I would live Your Will, though I am human and will always make mistakes that You can lead me to correct.

Be with me to stay in harmony and calm–and joy!–today.  If the individuals I see are having a bad day, help me to stay serene and to do what I can to make that day better.  My own attack, added to theirs, would lead us all down the thorns of the egoistic pathway.  Nobody needs that.

Be with me as this day plays out.  Help me to get enough rest so that I am not as likely to fall into poor ways of behaving.  Keep me in Your care, and lead me to the sure pathway that is happiness in You.

Amen.

Overcome Misery / Find Lasting Happiness

“‘Seek but do not find’ remains this world’s stern decree, and no one who pursues the world’s goals can do otherwise.  (M-13.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek and find, not the reverse.”

Reflections:

1 – We Find Only to Lose

We do not ever really “find” anything permanent in this world, when we are following this world’s dictates.  We find only to lose, later on–sometimes immediately, sometimes delayed.  Does this make any sense?  Would we follow the world’s dictates when we are sure to be losers in the process?

2 – Peace, Joy, Harmony, Tranquility

I think not.  We need to ask for the intangibles of God–the peace, joy, harmony, tranquility–and we will be richly rewarded.  We will know happiness, lasting happiness, for the first time indeed.  And happiness, according to A Course in Miracles, is a laudable goal.

3 – Egotism Leads to Misery

The ego is mixed up in this confusion.  Following the world’s dictates really means seeking for that which is egoistic.  And we know, by now, where that leads.  Straight to misery.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would find happiness in my daily round today.  I would keep in mind what You have led me to know:  the solution is always with the problem.  When I tell myself this, my mid calms down, and I can think–not worry.  And then the answers come.  May I live out this understanding in all that I do and say and even think today.

I would not be miserable, which I view as actually an affront to You.  You have should me much, and would I reject that knowledge in a low point of mind?  Emotions play tricks on us all too often, and I would choose the harmony that only Love can give.  Help me to be consistent today in my good humor.  Help me find time to laugh, to enjoy Your world.

Thank You.

Amen.

Hope of Heaven / Remembrance of God’s Love

“Yet he must rejoice that he is free of all the sacrifice its values would demand of him.  To them he sacrifices all his peace.  To them he sacrifices all his freedom.  And to possess them must be sacrificed his hope of Heaven and remembrance of his Father’s Love.  Who in his sane mind chooses nothing as a substitute for everything?  (M-13.4)”

Affirmation:  “I would value the valuable only.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego

This passage is about the ego and its supposed benefits in following it.  What a mistake we make when we try to follow the ego.  We are cast down as often as we experience ecstasy, and the ecstasy is always short-lived.  This is the way that we are, ever so gently, taught that the ego is not “the way.”  We, in harmony with the Holy Spirit, have found a new way that will benefit in far greater dimensions.

2 – This World = A Dream

We do not see that this world is a dream, and, while it may be a pleasant dream at times, it is still a dream.  The Holy Spirit beings us happy dreams (from the Workbook), so that when we are finally ready for Awakening, we will not be scared of it.

3 – Sacrifice

Sacrifice is a notion totally rejected by A Course in Miracles.  And well it should be.  Our
world has been a place where most people thought that sacrifice for others was a virtue.  Not so, according to A Course in Miracles.  We do not have to give up anything to do right by our brothers and sisters.  We will all be cared for.

4 – Don’t Make This World Important

When we make this world too important to us, we do sacrifice, though.  We sacrifice our happiness and hope for ever-increasing joy to a dubious, impossible dream.  We do this injustice to ourselves when we follow the ego instead of the Holy Spirit.

5 – Follow Our Guide

May we follow the right Guide today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do rejoice that I am getting the madness out, the madness that all of us, to one extent or another, have while in this world.  I would not choose the insanity of the ego anymore.  Help me to be true to this declaration.

Be good to me today.  It will be a busy day, and I want to promise to You that I will not forget my prayers to You.  Be with me as I seek to follow my Guide.

Amen.

Glimpse the Face of Christ

“Does one whose vision has already glimpsed the face of Christ look back with longing on a slaughter house?  No one who has escaped the world and all its ills looks back on it with condemnation.  (M-13.4)”

Affirmation:  “I would see Christ today.”

Reflections:

1 – Vivid Language

With particular vivid language, this passage shows some of the negative view of our world as we live it.  But not with condemnation.  Jesus is compassionate always, and here he is expressing concern but not negativism.  He is telling it like it is.

2 – Awakening

We will escape the world when we have experienced Awakening, even though we may still be living in this world.  When material things no longer beckon us, as the ego wishes, we will be a long way toward home in God.

3 – Meaning of Glimpsing the Face of Christ

We need to understand glimpsing the “face of Christ.”  It is said elsewhere in ACIM that Jesus saw the face of Christ in all his brothers (and sisters, because the word “brother” includes women and is coming from the sixties, when ACIM was channeled) and remembered God.  We may find this miracle happening sooner rather than later, but only, perhaps, as a glimpse.  The insight will not last, for miracles are perceptual, and therefore do not last (a Text tenet).  When we experience this miracle more often and for longer periods of time, I would believe that we are inching closer to Awakening (Enlightenment).

4 – See This World with Clear Eyes

We do live in a “slaughter house.”  But we do not often realize this, for we have become accustomed to the maiming and killing.  We need, perhaps, to see the world with clear eyes so that we will be ever more motivated to leave–not through death, but through a higher vision.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose to look on all my brothers and sisters today while seeking to glimpse the face of Christ in them.  I remember a friend once saying to me that we are meant to see the fact of Christ in everyone.  Certainly Jesus has this view as well.  May I too come to have this view, this understanding.

Be with me as I go through the day.  Help me not to take offense at anything that might happen.  Help me to live Your way.

Be with my brothers and sisters, especially those who are struggling today.  The struggle is temporary, for A Course in Miracles notes that the solution is always with the problem.  But we don’t have see this, and so the solution eludes us.  May the solution of any thorny problems that others and I have today appear right away.  I do know that this is Your way.

Thank You for bringing me this far through this world.  And may I give something back to everyone with whom I form a bond of any nature.

Amen.

Commune with God = Immediately Feel Better

“Who can escape this self-condemnation?  Only through God’s Word could this be possible.  For self-condemnation is a decision about identity, and no one doubts what he believes he is.  He can doubt all things, but never this.  (M-13.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would foster self-acceptance.”

Reflections:

1 – Acceptance

We condemn ourselves when we fail to understand that God’s Word would give us freedom.  It is perhaps a paradox that we don’t understand, and it is born of the separation that only apparently happened.  The separation never actually happened in fact, but only in illusion, in the dreams in which we are caught.  And we condemn ourselves for supposedly rejecting God.  We recognize, however dimly, that it is our acceptance of God and His blessings that we are ever truly at peace and happy, joyous.

2 – Reject God?

We think that we have rejected our Maker, and to prove this rejection, we don’t communicate with Him.  We pray only when in dire straits, the foxhole prayers.  This is, as Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, a most unnatural habit that we have taught ourselves.  We are meant to commune with our Maker, and it is God who made us, not we ourselves.  We tend to forget this when we are being especially egotistical, and therefore especially caught by the ego.  But we can learn a better means of living.  We can return to frequent communion with God and His Voice, the Holy Spirit, and as soon as we make the choice for this return, we will immediately, sooner rather than later, feel better.  Our lives will immediately smooth out, and we will feel love again.  We will reach out easily to our brothers and sisters, and we will accept ourselves as having made mistakes, but none that cannot be forgiven.  Note that God does not forgive (an ACIM tenet), because he has never condemned.  It is only with self-condemnation that we are concerned in today’s passage.

3 – Gentleness

Be kind to yourself today.  We need the strength of gentleness, for it is only with gentleness that ACIM becomes easy to accept, salvation become easy to experience.  Be rid of the insanity of self-condemnation, and all will be well again in our little worlds.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would stay close to You today.  I am certain that when days go awry, it is because I have not been close enough to You.  Perhaps my sense of guilt, because of the ego, has come alive, and so I think that I am not worthy.  But I am Your child, and You do love me.  I have ample evidence of this love in the blessings of my life.  And even if those blessings were withheld, I would know that You are there for me, carrying me.  Thank You for this parable of the way things really are, retold by Hugh Prather.

I would commune today with You, even when my mind is on other things.  You do not expect conscious constant contact.  You know that we have busy minds  (perhaps too busy), and that we have many things that we have to do in this world.  May we think of You just a little more often, and in the thinking may we understand that it is You Who created us, not we ourselves.

I know that I will feel better today if I follow these goals.  Be with me when I forget.  I may forget You, but please, don’t You forget me.

Amen.

How Do I Discover Happiness?

“Once this confusion has occurred, it becomes impossible for the mind to understand that all the ‘pleasures’ of the world are nothing.  But what a sacrifice,–and it is sacrifice indeed!–all this entails.  Now has the mind condemned itself to seek without finding; to be forever dissatisfied and discontented; to know not what it really wants to find.  (M-13.3)”

Affirmation:  “The ‘pleasures’ of the world are nothing.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego

The passage for today highlights the manner in which the ego has us by the throat.  We “seek without finding” and we are “forever dissatisfied and discontented.”  Does this not characterize our journey here when we are seeking after something that, in retrospect, we identify as ego-identified?

2 – Happiness

We would not let the mind behave in such a way, if we would know happiness–and happiness is one of the functions that A Course in Miracles gives to us.  We reach this happiness by forgiveness, the one function is this world that cannot be turned against us.  It always works.  But we do not pardon or forgive “real sins,” as there is no such thing.  We know, once we have studied ACIM, that our “sins” are actually mistakes for which we would seek a remedy, a correction.  We are only attracted to correcting the mistake; we are not drawn, as with “sins,” to repeat the sin.

3 – Ego = Leads to Strife and Fury

We would not live in unhappy circumstances.  And if we follow the ego, this strife and fury are exactly what we will find.

4 – Our Better Way

Turn today from such insanity.  Do not allow the mind to become confused.  Our way, as pointed out in ACIM, is the way that leads to happiness, quiet, and calm.  And these will be our goals when we have assimilated ACIM through and through our minds and hearts.

5 – The Ego Is Constantly Being Undone

If we reflect upon it, we will know that the joys of this world are matched by equal lows.  The ego is constantly being undone, and it is our will, as well as God’s, that this undoing occur.  We cannot live a free life with a constrained will, an imprisoned will.  And that imprisoned will is exactly what obeying the ego commands.  We would be free, and the only freedom is in becoming aware and certain that what God wills, and what our real will is, are identical.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Happiness in this world does not mean that we give up all the pleasures of this world.  There are many pleasures that are in complete accord with what Jesus is saying.  If we felt that we were called to give up all pleasures, what would lead us to seek his way?  Your Way, though, gives me the understanding that the egoic influence upon things of this world is misguided.  So the power plays of this world do need to disappear from our thinking.  Help this to happen for me today.

May I enjoy the pleasures that are perfectly in line with A Course in Miracles.  These are better called “joys” rather than “pleasures.”  These joys give us a peace beyond compare.  We are no longer attracted to drama for its own sake, and our days smooth out as a result.  We find that the people in our lives seem to be behaving better.  We do not find so much about which to complain.  And so naturally we live with more ease.

I would not give up pleasures, but I would transform them.  And in the transformation is all that You would seek for me.  You would enable me to find happiness, as Jesus has given “happiness” as one of our functions.

Amen.

Power, Fame, Money, Physical Pleasure = Meaningful to Body

“It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give.  What can the sacrifice of nothing mean?  It cannot mean that you have less because of it.  There is no sacrifice in the world’s terms that does not involve the body.  Think a while about what the world calls sacrifice.  Power, fame, money, physical pleasure; who is the ‘hero’ to whom all these things belong?  Could they mean anything except to a body?  (M-13.2)”

 

Affirmation:  “I need sacrifice nothing.”

Reflections:

1 – The World Has Nothing to Offer

Most of us do not really yet believe that the world has nothing to offer.  We are still that much caught up in the ego.  As long as we are egocentric, we will seek for power, fame, physical pleasure.  But when the ego has withered, at least a little, we will instead seek the intangibles of God–the love, joy, peace, tranquility, calm, quiet.  And we can be happy in this world, so long as we are not chasing rainbows of materialism.  God wants our material needs satisfied also, but if we devote ourselves only to the material, we lose out on so much more.

2 – Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

And we do find in this world the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).  The reason for the happy dreams is that we would be too terrified by the sudden appearance of Awakening.  A gentler dream needs to precede Awakening.  And so we are prepared carefully for the great blessing of Awakening.

3 – Patience

It does take great learning to accept these ideas.  And it takes patience to assimilate them.  Teachers must repeat their lessons until they are learned, and Jesus himself has set the precedent for this in the Text, when he said that nothing that we do or make, etc., creates our worth.  Our worth is given us by God.

4 – Heaven on Earth

So do we write off the world and escape into some otherworldly heaven?  I think not.  We can experience heaven on earth, but we have to meet the conditions, which involve an egoless experience.  So long as we are fueled by the ego, we will know vicissitudes of joy and sorrow in an alternating fashion.  And the guilt that the ego would drive us to would be hell indeed.  (Elsewhere the Text affirms that guilt is hell.)

5 – Values Will Change

We seek to enjoy God’s intangibles and to love our brothers and sisters (as well as ourselves, which is necessary for all love to proceed from us).  We do not need to sacrifice anything that is truly good.  Our values will change as we walk farther along the pathway to God.  And we will not seek the inferior values that all too often are present in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am extremely grateful that, after studying A Course in Miracles for a long time, I can honestly say to You that the pleasures of this world do not mean as much to me as they once did.  I am not above wanting pleasures of this world, but it is more important to me to know Your peace, joy, harmony, and calm.  Thank You for walking with me far enough along the pathway to You that I have made this shift in my values.

May I be understanding if others do not share this concept.  It takes a long while to understand that this world does not really offer anything that is lasting, and only the lasting is the eternity that we all seek, whether we know it or not.  May my walk into eternity today include my brothers and sisters, and may I not make demands upon them that they are not yet ready to accommodate.

Amen.

Oneness = Only Non-Dream

“Unity alone is not a thing of dreams.  And it is this God’s teachers acknowledge as behind the dream, beyond all seeming and yet surely theirs.  (M-12.6)”

Affirmation:  “unity”

Reflections:

1 – We Are All One

We are all One, with each other and with God.  This is the understanding of unity that I take from an interpretation of A Course in MiraclesA Course of Love similarly stresses unity also, as well as relationships with our brothers and sisters.

2 – Elements of the Real World

We are caught in a dream (ACIM tenet), an illusion.  But there are elements of reality, the real world, in what we experience.  And unity, as well as relationship, are elements of the real world.  We will experience unity and relationship to a much greater extent when we have experienced Awakening.

3 – Unity Is behind the Dream

If we know that unity is behind the dream, we have ample reason to rest easy.  There is nothing that we need to worry about.  God is underneath all, and we are His children.  The unity is behind all “seeming,” as we are told here, and we do not have to worry about “seeming.”  We are protected.

4 – Harold Kushner

What about the bad things that happen to “good” people, as Harold Kushner has said in his book by the same title?  We are told in the Workbook that healing always occurs when it is asked for, but there may be lingering symptoms and we may not be ready to accept the healing.  These are hard passages to understand, because we are bidden not to deny inappropriately, but still to realize that the continuance of symptoms does not mean that healing has not occurred.  The healing will be there when we are ready to accept it.

5 – Healing Is Always Here

And there is both emotional healing and physical healing, and sometimes the emotional is the most important.  That is the ultimate truth of ACIM, that healing is always here.  We may be right with God with an emotional healing.  Moreover, the illness for which we seek healing may be the individual’s way to die.  It may not be appropriate in such cases to cry for a healing.  Most of us in today’s world do choose to leave for the Other Side through an illness or disease.  Advanced teachers of God, we are told in ACIM, may just lay their body aside when its usefulness is over, but not everybody is advanced–yet.  Time, which does not really exist, separates the student from the teacher.  So all will reach the Awakening eventually, though that time may take millions of years (just as the separation also extended over millions of years).  (These latter points are paraphrases from the Text.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I revel in Your goodness today.  This day has started so well, and I pray that this will continue.  When I am reassured that healing is always an aspect of our life on earth, then I am reassured also that no matter what comes, all is well.  Be with my significant others.  Thank You that as of today, everybody close to me is well.  And may my faith not be shaken if this is not always the experience that I have.

We live in a dream, but unity is not a thing of dreams.  We live in unity, as One with each other, and in relationship, as we experience the various parts of ourselves that others embody.  Help me to carry this paradox in my mind and heart.  Be with me as a I seek to convey these paradoxes to other people.  May the intuitive truth light upon the minds and warm the hearts of the individuals who read this blog.  

Amen.

Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

“God’s teachers choose to look on dreams a while.  It is a conscious choice.  For they have learned that all choices are made consciously, with full awareness of their consequences.  The dream says otherwise, but who would put his faith in dreams once they are recognized for what they are?  Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God’s teachers.  (M-12.6)”

Affirmation:  “awareness of dreaming”

Reflections:

1 – The Degree of Insanity

We dream, but our progress back to God is either pleasant or unpleasant, depending on our degree of insanity in the dream.

2 – We Dream

To say “we dream” is to mean that are in an illusion, not the real world.  We live with an imprisoned will when we are caught by the ego, and all of us have experienced the bad times of the ego.  When we follow its guidance, we know pain and suffering.  We may know heights of joy, but these are eclipsed by an equal number of low points (a paraphrase from ACIM).  We would not choose to live a labile life, when we know better how to live.

3 – “Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings”

The better way is to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who changes the kind of thinking that we do.  We start attracting a better life, the “dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).  And we know a quiet peace that heretofore may have been unwelcome to ourselves.  In fact, in ACIM we learn that being “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time is to be expected as we reach home.

3 – The Real World = A Condition of Mind

The real world is not easily identified, but it is the condition of mind that we enjoy when we are almost ready gor Awakening, when God Himself metaphorically reaches down and lifts us up.  We know happiness, which ACIM says is our function.

4 – Insane World

When we know that we are dreaming in an insane world, we will not be upset by what we see.  We will know that it is all illusion.  We will empathize with our brothers and sisters who are caught in pain, but we will  not overdo our sympathy, lest we contribute to making pain part of their self-image (a paraphrase from ACIM).

5 – Have a Better Day

Let us be aware of dreaming today.  And, with that, a better day is set before us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a better day today, ever better, day by day.  Thank You for the many blessings conferred upon me so recently.  When I am unsure of what to do, I just need to listen to guidance.  And the Answer will come, unfailingly, into my mind.  A Course in Miracles promises this; You promise this.  The Holy Spirit fulfills His role splendidly.

Be with me today in my dream of what life can offer.  May I know the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.  And may I move ever closer to Awakening, an Awakening that will be sustained.

Thank You.

Amen.

Experiencing Deep Love Eliminates Fear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 199 – for Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.”

“The mind that serves the Holy Spirit is unlimited forever, in all ways, beyond the laws of time and space, unbound by any preconceptions, and with strength and power to do whatever it is asked.  Attack thoughts cannot enter such a mind, because it has been given to the Source of love, and fear can never enter in a mind that has attached itself to love.  It rests in God.  And who can be afraid who lives in Innocence, and only loves.  (WB382)”

Reflections:

1 – Heaven on Earth

If we could live the way in which the quoted passage, above, says, we would go a long way toward having Heaven on earth.  Were it not for our mistakes and our habits of long-standing, we would be able to live this wondrous way.  A Course in Miracles presents an idealized way of living, and many of us are not able to live up to its many wonderful promises.  But we can begin each day, and end each day, with time for contemplation of ACIM, our meditations, and these will reform long-standing errors.  ACIM can heal a neurotic through Jesus’s guidance.

2 – Choose Not to Be Afraid

May we live the Source of love today.  We need to determine that we will leave fear behind, to determine that we do not choose to be afraid ever again.  We will in all likelihood not succeed in the beginning, but we can, with God’s help, keep trying.  And that is all He asks.

3 – Serving the Holy Spirit

Serving the Holy Spirit means that we will follow the guidance that comes to us.  It may be by intuition (a likely response), an inner knowing that seems deeper than simply intuition, an interior word from the Holy Spirit, prayer, contemplation, meditation, writing in a journal to solutions, and so forth.  We do not know the many ways that the Holy Spirit can guide us.  But if we are open to His prompting, our lives will transform in ways that seemed impossible only yesterday.  Time is in Jesus’s hands (a Text tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose love, and gratitude for my many blessings in a strong way to choose love.  Help me to know that being grateful does enhance my feelings of love.  And choosing love over anger is always a blessing.  I would eliminate anger from my repertoire of emotions sooner rather than later.

Thank You for the guidance that I received yesterday in my realization that something might arise that would cause anger.  I decided to leave the room.  As it turned out, I could not easily do so, but still, remembering what I had decided kept me quite and self-contained.  This in itself is a tremendous blessing.

Now, again today, as the day has started well–help me.  May the day go well for all its hours.  And may I always be thankful for the many blessings that You have given me, and for the many blessings that You have given all of my brothers and sisters in this world.

Amen.

Only My Own Forgiveness Sets Me Free

ACIM Workbook Lesson 198 – for Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Affirmation:  “Only my condemnation injures me.”

“Only my condemnation injures me.
Only my own forgiveness sets me free.

“Do not forget today that there can be no form of suffering that fails to hide an unforgiving thought.  Nor can there be a form of pain forgiveness cannot heal.  (WB380)”

Reflections:

1 – Assertion of Great Importance

Here is an assertion of great importance, but particularly easy to overlook within the scope of A Course in Miracles:  no form of suffering or pain that the lack of forgiveness has not caused and that a gesture of forgiveness cannot heal.  Here we are indeed set free from our moments of suffering and pain!  What a glorious affirmation this is!

2 – Be Willing to Forgive

It does not mean that we will forever be free of suffering and pain, for we are human and we still make mistakes.  But we have in our power the will to reduce those moments by quite a bit with our willingness to forgive, and our unwillingness to indulge our ego’s bent toward unforgiving thoughts.

3 – We Have Chosen

Our ego would have us to blame others, and in so doing to find things that seem unforgivable, for have not we been hurt by the words and actions of others?  But ACIM says that we are responsible for what we see, that we have chosen what we experience.  This is an definite statement in ACIM that brooks no exceptions.  We find it hard to believe only because we are still caught in ego games.

4 – Our Will to Forgive

Think for a moment what power our will to forgive has in it!  We can choose to forgive, and, if this comes hard, we can commune with God until it comes easy.  We are not pawns in some cosmic joke; we can effect chance in the world that we experience.  May we change that world for the better today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would forgive easily today, if You help me.  I would not engage in any attack, for I love the people who surround me.  May I see that anger is a ploy of the ego.  May I know that my forgiveness will free me.

If anger arises, may I just leave the room.  A short timeout is all that may be needed.  I ask You to help me if the day turns tense, if stress enters.  And does stress not enter, from time to time, for all of us?

Be with me closely today.  I feel vulnerable to anger, because yesterday was a very busy day.

Thank You.

Amen.

Forsake Attack / Find Gratitude

ACIM Workbook Lesson 197 – for Monday, July 16, 2012

 

Affirmation:  “It can be but my gratitude I earn.”

“God blesses every gift you give to Him, and every gift is given Him, because it can be given only to yourself.  And what belongs to God must be His Own.  Yet you will never realize His gifts are sure, eternal, changeless, limitless, forever giving out, extending love and adding to your never-ending joy while you forgive but to attack again.  (WB377)”

Reflections:

1 – Attack / Forgiveness

As long as attack is attractive to us, we will need to turn again and again to forgiveness so that we get back on the right track.  And who among us can say that we never have the urge to attack (usually verbally), or that we never feel anger?  These are very human characteristics.  After all, think of Jesus in the temple with the moneychangers, as depicted in the New Testament.

2 – God Does Not Condemn

When we have made progress toward leaving attack behind, we will know the love that is described in today’s Workbook lesson.  We will know that God does not condemn, and we will know that our best action is also not to condemn–even when we don’t recognize that there has just been a mistake that can be rectified by forgiveness.  Remember the illusion in which we live.  The Self is never hurt–only the “little,” personal self.  And we would not take offense at a brother or sister who is having a hard time and takes it out on us.  We need to be bigger than that.

3 – Very Human Traits

All of this is not easy.  We carry these human traits, many from childhood and brought on by the insane ego.  Most of us have not completely relinquished the ego, and so we are more prone to take offense easily.

4 – Harmony

We need to do what we can to bring more love into our lives.  Do we not sense the harmony that can be ours when we choose the word or deed that comes from love rather than attack?

5 – God = Love

Let us today ask for the grace to live our lives in love, or in Love.  For God is Love, as the Scriptures tell us, and now as borne out by A Course in Miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for reminding me that attack has no place in the group of reactions that we would have in this world.  Attack always blinds us to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, and attack also hurts our brothers and sisters.  We need the harmony that Love (God) and love (Awakening or Christ-consciousness) can effect in our lives.  May I ask for that harmony to be mine today.  I realize that this may be a daily prayer, for I do not know when I will be ready for You to reach down and awaken me.

Thank You for being here for me.  The day has been good so far, and always a day goes better when the morning is good.  You know that I am not a morning person, though I get up and start the day at a relatively early hour.  You know that I need structure to my day, to make that day be devoted to the pathway that You point out to me.  Thank You for guiding my decisions, so that the little decisions that the Holy Spirit gives me, moment-by-moment, are heeded.

I am grateful for the blessing of Your Love.  May I never forget my indebtedness to You.  And may I never forget how much You love me.

Amen.

Dreary, Hopeless Thoughts = Hell

ACIM Workbook Lesson 196 – for Sunday, July 15, 2012

Affirmation:  “It can be but myself I crucify.”

“The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross.  Perhaps it seemed to be salvation.  Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear seemed to be salvation.  Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real.  And what is that but hell?  Who could believe his Father is his deadly enemy, separate from him, and waiting to destroy his life and blot him from the universe, without the fear of hell upon his heart?  (WB374)”

Reflections:

1 – Fear of God = Hell

So the fear of God is hell!  Elsewhere Jesus says also that “guilt” is hell.  And so it seems that our own guilt at our presumed misdeeds and bad thoughts has made us fear God’s retribution, and therefore we have experienced hell on earth.  (And, if the truth be told, we have spent part of our lives, at least, fearing hell after death.)

2 – God Never Condemns

God never condemns, and so He does not need to forgive us for our thoughts and actions.  This is a sticking point for many students/teachers of A Course in Miracles, because we cannot seem to get out of our minds a God Who may have created part of the pain and suffering in our world, or at least ought to do something about it!  These thoughts misdirect our minds.  God neither created pain and suffering, but we, in a “tiny, mad idea” thought that we separated from Him, and we entered a world, built up by us, that is insanity.  And in an insane world there is pain and suffering.

3 – A Way Out

Is there a way out that we can take beginning today?

4 – Get the Madness Out

Yes, there is a way out.  And we need only learn as a student the precepts of ACIM, and, with our minds losing some of its insanity, the “dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook) can attract to ourselves a much better living experience.  These are benign dreams that some would say we have used through the “law of attraction” (a tenet of a bestseller entitled The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne).  But we too want more than the materialistic if we are to be happy.  The altruistic ideas of God will inform a world in much stronger terms than simply an improvement in our material conditions.  And, for the intangibles of God, we turn to our Guide, the Holy Spirit–or the Christ-consciousness within (if we have traveled this far on the pathway back home).  (The concept of Christ-consciousness is described in A Course of Love, believed by some to be a sequel to ACIM and also channeled by Jesus.)

5 – We Are Out Own Worst Enemy

So let us cease aiding and abetting our own hell on earth. We have taught ourselves the unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator (an ACIM tenet), and we have reaped the lamentable result in our world.  Let us turn today to a different way of living, and find our way home in God with all of its attendant joys.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I think that most of us have found ways to be happy, and some of our unhappy moments are when we forget to put into practice what we already know.  Certainly our depressed thoughts do constitute a hell outside of You.  We can get medical help, and we can turn to A Course in Miracles, to prayer, to friends and family, to writing in a journal; there clearly are limitless ways that may have helped in the past.  

Thank You for the good day that I am having.  But the day did not start in a promising way, because I felt sleepy and wanted just to nod off again.  Jesus would not have us to withdraw, as he says in ACIM.  And when I began writing (one of my solutions), everything turned around.  Then I visited my mother at her retirement community, and that gesture took me out of myself.  Thank You for the good day that this has turned out to be.

May my brothers and sisters be cheered by something today, if anyone is feeling down.  May we help each other, if by no other way that good thought vibes.

Amen.

All Cause of Sorrow Disappears

ACIM Workbook Lesson 195 – for Saturday, July 14, 2012

Affirmation:  “Love is the way I walk in gratitude.”

“Gratitude is a lesson hard to learn for those who look upon the world amiss.  The most that they can do is see themselves as better off than others.  And they try to be content because another seems to suffer more than they.  How pitiful and deprecating are such thoughts!  For who has cause for thanks while others have less cause?  And who could suffer less because he sees another suffer more?  Your gratitude is due to Him alone Who made all cause of sorrow disappear throughout the world.  (WB372)”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Compare

We would be wise not to compare ourselves to others.  There will always be those who seem to have more, as well as seem to have less.  This practice of comparison is not a good practice that could ever lead us to a sane mind.

2 – Cooperation

We need cooperation, not competition, in our world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  And in cooperation we find the gratitude due our brothers and sisters that is so lacking when we are competing with them for the “top” spot in our world.  We find ourselves loving each other more when we cooperate toward a common good.  We do not find ourselves in a loving mood when we are competing.

3 – Public Schools

Even the public school system is learning this truth.  Research in educational circles has been going on for a quarter of a century, and more, that recommends “cooperative learning” in our schools.  It is conceivable that this wide-based endeavor will turn out very different young adults than in our generation.  Our world needs a new system, and perhaps cooperative learning and living will emerge in the next generation.  (These ideas are not discussed in ACIM or in A Course of Love.)

4 – Pity Is Unworthy

It is particularly unworthy if we simply look with pity on another’s suffering, and use that situation to be glad that we too are not suffering that much.  Surely we ought to do what we can to lighten another’s load, and turn suffering into joy.  Surely we ought not to doubt the results of a healing when symptoms still seem evident (a Manual tenet).  But we need to recognize that, however lamentable, the suffering is not real (a Manual tenet).  It is an illusion, however much it may seem real to us or to the sufferer himself/herself.  The real Self (the “Christ” in us) has not been harmed.  Our task now is to move beyond suffering and to turn it back, if need be, simply into pain that would be avoided.

5 – Sickness as a Way of Life

Not everyone is ready for this change.  Some use sickness as a way of life, and a sudden healing might precipitate depression so deep that one would want to commit suicide (from the Manual).  So healing has to wait.  But we cannot doubt that a healing will be accepted when the individual is ready.  This can be either physical or emotional healing, and perhaps the emotional is the most important.

6 = With Grateful Eyes

Let us look with grateful eyes on our brothers and sisters, and let us help them, with more kindness, through their journey.  What better way to spend our day?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do feel grateful today for my many blessings.  I would feel more gratitude than is usual for me, for this lesson today is a reminder of how much we owe to You.  Be with me today as I walk through this world.

May I never use sickness to get me something that I want.  Nothing needs to be used in such a way.  I would not feel pity for those less fortunate, though I would try to help my brothers and sisters in need.  Show me what to do and say.

Thank You.

Amen.

Rest Untroubled / Gently Reassured

ACIM Workbook Lesson 194 – for Friday, July 13, 2012

Affirmation:  “I place the future in the Hands of God.”
“Now are we saved indeed.  For in God’s Hands we rest untroubled, sure that only good can come to us.  If we forget, we will be gently reassured.  If we accept an unforgiving thought, it will be soon replaced by love’s reflection.  And if we are tempted to attack, we will appeal to Him Who guards our rest to make the choice for us that leaves temptation far behind.  No longer is the world our enemy, for we have chosen that we be its Friend.  (WB371)”

Reflections:

1 – Euphoria vs. Dejection

I do not think that we often think of the world as our “enemy.”  But it is quite possible that, as Jesus says, this is a legitimate way to think of the what we have made the world to be for ourselves.  Driven by the ego, and with an imprisoned will (ACIM tenet), we find ourselves alternating euphoria (when the ego has “won”) and dejection (when the ego has been deflated).  If the ego were sane, we would never be in this predicament.  But living with our ego has driven our own minds to madness.  And this Jesus would not have for us.

2 – How Do We Get the Madness Out?

How do we get the madness out?  A frontal assault on the ego will not work, as the ego would just go underground, where its machinations would continue–disturbing our peace of mind and giving us bad dreams in a reality that is not truly “real.”  We simply are bidden to turn aside from the ego’s promptings, and often this may be seen by us as those things to which egotistical desire is a motivation.  We turn aside the ego’s promptings gently, because the ego is strong in strife (an ACIM tenet).

3 – A Different Way to Live

Does this turning aside from the ego seem a hopelessly impossible task?  If so, try to learn a different way to live, the way outlined in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Try to give over attack, judgment, and planning that is not inspired by the Holy Spirit to a Higher Power.  This Higher Power is, in fact, the Holy Spirit, and He will come to our call.  Jesus promises the same, i.e., to come in respond to “one unequivocal call” (ACIM quotation).

4 – We Need Help

We need help.  It is the ego that thinks this makes us less, to admit our defeat in trying to live by the ego’s dictates.  But it is the wisest reasoning, and it is a reasoning that is inspired by intuition, one of the primary ways that our Guide (the Holy Spirit) speaks to us.  We will find, as time goes by, that turning on a dime, when we receive prompting is a very freeing way to live.  We may not know what will come afterward, but we do learn, through this method, the next right step.

5 – The Next Right Step

And knowing that next right step makes all the difference.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the fact that currently my life is going smoothly.  Everyone has difficulties from time to time, and I would stay in touch with You during the easy times as well as the problems.  Thank You that all in my immediate circle are emotionally and physically well.  Thank You that I am emotionally and physically well.  May my brothers and sisters whom I do not know move into this certain realm, where You are there and all is well.

Be with us throughout the day.  Thank You specifically for this Workbook lesson, one that is so reassuring and compels peace to enter our minds and hearts.  Be with us today to keep serene in the midst of the ordinary path that we walk.

Thank You.

Amen.

Live in the Moment

ACIM Workbook Lesson 193 – for Thursday, July 12, 2012

Affirmation:  “All things are lessons God would have me learn.”

“Each hour, spend a little time today, and in the days to come, in practicing the lesson in forgiveness in the form established for the day.  And try to give it application to the happenings the hour brought, so that the next one is free of the one before.  The chains of time are easily unloosened in this way.  Let no one hour cast its shadow on the one that follows, and when that one goes, let everything that happened in its course go with it.  Thus will you remain unbound, in peace eternal  in the world of time.  (WB369)”

Reflections:

1 – “Chains of Time Are Easily Unloosened”

This is a comprehensive statement of the dictate of A Course in Miracles that we live in the moment.  We don’t often do that, though.  We are more familiar with trying to live one day at a time.

2 – Relinquish What Just Happened

Here, though, ACIM goes a step farther, and asks us to relinquish what has happened just a moment ago.  This allows grievances no time to build up.  We offer forgiveness virtually simultaneously to the offending word or deed.  And this puts us squarely on the path toward home in God.

3 – Hour by Hour

So, here it is “hour by hour,” rather than day by day.  A challenging thought!  But we know that the teacher of God, according to the Manual, does not know challenges, for he/she lets guidance direct the way, always.  It is highly unlikely that we can sustain this degree of flexibility in following guidance, though.  What we must do is to accept the guidance just as soon as we are emotionally able.

4 – Having a Good Day

There are a few stunning pages in the Text that tell us how to have a good day.  And in the midst of these words we see that we frequently don’t like how we feel when we have put ourselves squarely in control.  Our lives seem to be spinning out of control, even with our best efforts.  This is because the ego is insane (an ACIM tenet), and the ego does not wish us well (also an ACIM tenet).  If we don’t like how we feel, we can turn to guidance at any time, and with good results.  And the sooner we readjust our priority in thinking, the sooner we will walk a green earth again.

5 – Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the central lesson of A Course in Miracles.  God does not need to forgive us, because He has never condemned us (an ACIM tenet).  But we need to forgive ourselves, and, if we have wandered amiss, we may need to ask forgiveness of certain of our brothers and sisters.  Given this willingness to forgive, we will understand:  “to understand all, forgive all” (an aphorism from my reading of many years ago, not ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live moment by moment, not jumping ahead to even the next hour.  If there are plans to be made for my day, I will receive a prompting from the Holy Spirit of what to plan, and also how to “plan” the planning.  We are never left bereft.

Be with me throughout this day, and especially help me to practice the lesson for today.  I have the feeling that my life will improve dramatically to the extent that I can fulfill what this workbook lesson says.

Amen.

Stab of Anger

ACIM Workbook Lesson 192 – for Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Affirmation:  “I have a function God would have me fill.”

 

“Therefore, hold no one prisoner.  Release instead of bind, for thus are you made free.  The way is simple.  Every time you feel a stab of anger, realize you hold a sword above your head.  And it will fall or be averted as you choose to be condemned or free.  Thus does each one who seems to tempt you to be angry represent your savior from the prison house of death.  And so you owe him thanks instead of pain.  (WB366)”

Reflections:

1 – See the Sword Averted

A very important passage, this lesson for today is telling us what we must do when we feel a stab of anger.  And who among us does not still feel anger, even if one believes himself/herself to be enlightened?

2 – Stress and the “Pain Body”

We are likely to be stressed at the time that we seem most out of control.  As Eckhart Tolle would say, our “pain body” is in the ascendancy, and we want pain at any and all costs.  We are not in our right mind; we are even more insane than the usual.

3 – The Ego = Strong in Conflict

If we can realize that averting the sword above one’s head actually makes us free, we might be more inclined to follow this passage when the daily pathway turns grim.  We want to be free, but we cannot be free if we are caught by anger and attack, for the ego is strong in conflict (paraphrase from ACIM).

4 – Temptations to Anger

Our brothers and sisters who tempt us to anger are actually doing us a favor, for without their input, we would not be inclined to choose the good more often than the bad.  They, in turn, are merely asking for help at such times.  A brother or sister who attacks is calling for help, and the only sane response is to rush to his/her side with that help.  We must be reasonable, and ACIM does not counsel doing anything that will escalate the conflict.  If we are in danger, bodily or mentally, it would be wise to act later on, when the heat is out of the moment.  (These are interpretations, not stated in ACIM.)

5 – Venting and Our Anger

Do we really owe our brother or sister thanks for the stab of anger that his/her venting has elicited?  According to ACIM, we do.  We can recognize that we will not likely ever be free of moments of being tempted into anger, but we can fly into a great calm rather than into a great fury.

6 – This Lesson for Today

Making that choice is what today’s Workbook lesson is all about.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose today to be free of stabs of anger.  If my brother or sister tempts me to anger, help me to turn aside from attacking verbally.  Help me to realize that in all likelihood, this brother or sister is stressed, and I have been there, throughout my lifetime, many times.  I would want someone to forgive me when I am letting Eckhart’s “pain body” rise to ascendancy.  May we all pray today that our pain bodies will be released, and that we will enjoy the peace and harmony that You want for us above all else.

Be with me as I walk the pathway to You today.

May I take a timeout, leaving the room temporarily, if my temper is threatening to get the best of me.  It is actually the “worst” of me.  And I would not indulge my ego today by venting when I am stressed.  And I don’t get angry unless I am stressed.

May my brothers and sisters adopt what coping mechanisms they find most useful in avoiding anger and attack.

Thank You.

Amen.

Accord Mercy

 

ACIM Workbook Lesson 191 – for Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Affirmation:  “I am the holy Son of God Himself.”

“You who perceive yourself as weak and frail, with futile hopes and devastated dreams, born but to die, to weep and suffer pain, hear this:  All power is given unto you in earth and Heaven.  There is nothing that you cannot do.  You play the game of death, of being helpless, pitifully tied to dissolution in a world which shows no mercy to you.  Yet when you accord it mercy, will its mercy shine on you.  (WB364)”

Reflections:

1 – No Longer an “Imprisoned Will”

“Mercy” is not often mentioned in ACIM, though it is frequently taken for granted.  In today’s passage, we see our way to happiness.  We see our way out of an “imprisoned will” (quotation from ACIM).  We learn that we have been writing scripts that we live out, and in which we find ourselves lonely and in dire straits.

2 – Choose Happy Dreams

This does not have to be.  We can as easily choose happy dreams, “the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).  We are the scriptwriters, and our ego writes sad and demoralizing scripts.  We need not cooperate with this game any longer.  And “game” is what it is.  We need to play better, and A Course in Miracles shows us how.

3 – The ACIM Ideal Mode

“There is nothing that you cannot do.”  This sentence sounds patently false, but it is simply, from my interpretation, an instance of when ACIM is to be lived in the “ideal” mode.  In the best of all possible worlds, we would seek guidance frequently, and we would ask for those things that are appropriate for ourselves.  This will not lead to “pie in the sky” thinking or doing.  This will lead to sanest good sense.  We will ask what we are suited for, not for those wisps of melody that are not our “song.”  We all know intuitively when we are praying for a blessing that is not the right blessing, not the blessing that God would bestow on us.  We need only look within, in simple honesty, to recognize when we are in an internal fight with God for what we want that He does not think is in our best interests.  Would we pray for something that will bring us ill, under these conditions?

4 – Let Go and Let God

Let go and let God, as we have often read.  Let Him direct our prayers through the medium of the Holy Spirit.  Then we will add our thoughts and actions, and we will find the silver lining in our daily lives for which we have often wished.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not see myself today in any sense as weak or frail.  You are always here for me, and You know what I can do.  You will guide me through the Holy Spirit.  Thank You for the confidence that You have placed in me.

Let me open to Your will.  May I recognize that Your Will and my will are actually identical.  May my day go smoothly, in Your grace.

Amen.

I Choose the Joy of God Instead of Pain

ACIM Workbook Lesson 190 – for Monday, July 9, 2012

Affirmation:  “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.”

“Lay down your arms, and come without defense into the quiet place where Heaven’s peace holds all things still at last.  Lay down all thoughts of danger and of fear.  Let no attack enter with you.  Lay down the cruel sword of judgment that you hold against your throat, and put aside the withering assaults with which you seek to hide your holiness.  (WB362)”

Reflections:

1 – When in Anger or Attack

Today’s passage will comfort in times of distress, especially when we are in anger or attack mode.  We are to get quiet, feel the peace of Heaven, and let the discouraging emotions die an easy death.  We will then feel better, and the effect will be extreme relaxation and serenity.

2 – Do Not Judge

If we judge on an ongoing basis, we will never know Awakening.  We are told elsewhere that judging precludes Awakening.  We are also told that if we seem to slip from grace, we have in all likelihood dipped into attack, judgment, or have started making plans against contingencies that are not supported by the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Text tenets).

3 – Help in Dropping Judgment

If dropping judging can do so much for us, how do we effect this?  We must remember that we have lots of help.  There are Teachers of teachers, watching from the Other Side (from the Manual).  There is our internal Guide, the Holy Spirit.  And Jesus offers his help, help that he will bring to us upon hearing “one unequivocal call” (quotations from ACIM).  So we call on this help; we do not even attempt to drop judging as a personal crusade.  Personal crusades are one way that the ego hides from us, and the outcome is never good (personal interpretation, not stated directly in ACIM).  We are bad to commune with God (in the opening pages of the Text).

4 – We Are Never Alone

We never, in short, need to feel alone, because we never are alone.  But we have to relinquish the ego-oriented self-will that is not open to God’s direction.  As ACIM says many times, God’s Will and our will are identical, but we just don’t recognize this.  The Holy Spirit chooses for us.  He lets us know what will make us happy, for happiness is a function that ACIM ascribes to us.

5 – No More Judging

We pray that judging step aside from us.  We pray that the ego, a part of our belief about ourselves, cease to call the shots.  And when we have become pliable and flexible in God’s Hands, we will know the peace that today’s passage promises.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to get through this day.  It appears to be difficult, but this is only a mirage.  No day with You is difficult.  And I bring my own pain upon myself.  Help me to do no judging of my brothers and sisters.  All are doing as well as they can.  And help me to do as well as I can.

Amen.

What You Feel Within = What You See Without

ACIM Workbook Lesson 189 – for Sunday, July 8, 2012

Affirmation:  “I feel the Love of God within me now.”

 

“What would you see?  The choice is given you.  But learn and do not let your mind forget this law of seeing:  You will look upon that which you feel within.  If hatred finds a place within your heart, you will perceive a fearful world, held cruelly in death’s sharp-pointed, bony fingers.  If you feel the Love of God within you, you will look out on a world of mercy and of love.  (WB359)”

Reflections:

1 – A Lovely Passage

What a lovely passage from the Workbook!  And the images are so profound.

2 – Fear = Hatred

If we have ever lived in fear, perhaps we have not realized that hatred has found a place within our heart.  Perhaps this seems too harsh.  But Jesus frequently equates attack with hate (in other places in ACIM); he goes the whole distance in categorizing our emotions.  Jesus does not see lukewarm emotions, indicating to us elsewhere that a hint of irritation is the same as intense fury (separated from us only by a veil).

3 – Not Always Fearful

We do not always see a fearful world.  So we are not always caught by the hatred (and attack) that the ego would foster.

4 – The Love of God Within

We see a world of mercy and of love, perhaps increasingly so as our study of A Course in Miracles proceeds.  According to the passage for today, this sight means that we are feeling the Love of God within.  What a blessing this is!

5 – A World of Mercy and of Love

We would not view “death’s sharp-pointed, bony fingers.”  We would see a world of mercy and of love.  Let us go forth today to see Love wherever we are, and if someone else seems to attack us, let us remember that he or she is really calling for help (an ACIM tenet), and may we give help accordingly.  This is the way that Love works.  And it is our holy relationships that will carry us home to God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see a world today of mercy and of love.  I would feel within the love that You wish for me to feel.  And I know that when I feel that inward love, then the world that is externally is very different, very much better.  Thank You for helping me to reach this understanding.

This workbook lesson teaches me what is repeatedly said in A Course in Miracles:  projection makes perceptions.  May I project from a mind and heart that is rooted in love, and by so doing to see a world that is beautiful.  I know that the suffering in this world is actually illusory, but let this understanding in no way detract from the compassion that I would feel for others.

Be wtih me today as I walk through my world.  May my words be sweet, my demeanor graceful.  I would be the person today that You wish for me to be.  May I reach out to my brothers and sisters with the help that You know that I am suited to give.  But may I never try to overreach, to help when I am being an unhealed healer.

Amen.

Why Wait for Heaven?

ACIM Workbook Lesson 188 – for Saturday, July 7, 2012

Affirmation:  “The peace of God is shining in me now.”

“Why wait for Heaven?  Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes.  The light is in them now.  Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all.  Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well.  The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own.  It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your source.  It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home.  (WB357)”

Reflections:

1 – Are Our Present Lives Unreal?

The most welcome opening sentences of the passage for today lend an unreal aspect to our mundane lives.  Can it truly be that we are missing out on Heaven on earth because we are covering our eyes from the light that would show us Heaven?

2 – Enlightenment

Importantly, we see the way to Enlightenment (also called Awakening in ACIM) pointed out in this passage as well.  We “recognize,” but we are not miraculously changed.  Our personalities remain the same.  And A Course of Love (perhaps a sequel to A Course in Miracles) says that we do not have to be perfect to experience this change.  We need only to make the decision for those imperfect things (or things that we deem to be imperfect) be eliminated from our emotional make-up, and they will be gone.  Throughout ACIM we are told that our minds make our experience of this world.  In A Course of Love, we are told that wholeheartedness is the aim toward which we are now ready to point.  This is a blend of mind and heart, for the heart knows blessings and understands concepts (intuitively) that the mind can never know.

3 – End of the Journey

When we have taken the steps outlined in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, we will be at home in God.  The end of the journey that never began is at hand.  May this blessing come sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk ever closer to You and ever-closer to Christ-consciousness.  I would not do so in arrogance, but in true humility and with the Authority that You give me.  You are the Source.  May I never forget that.

Be with me today through the sometimes lonely road that we all walk.  May I find my friends there for me today, and especially may I find my significant others there for me.

Help us to help each other, as Jesus would certainly proscribe.

Amen.

No Place for Sacrifice nor Suffering

ACIM Workbook Lesson 187 – for Friday, July 6. 2012

Affirmation:  “I bless the world because I bless myself.”

“Never believe that you can sacrifice.  There is no place for sacrifice in what has any value.  If the thought occurs, its very presence proves that error has arisen and correction must be made.  Your blessing will correct it.  Given first to you, it now is yours to give as well.  No form of sacrifice and suffering can long endure before the face of one who has forgiven and has blessed himself.  (WB355)”

Reflections:

1 – Doing for Others

We have long believed that when we sacrifice for our loved ones, we are doing the right thing.  This passage for today assures us that, even when we are doing for our loved ones, God does not demand sacrifice.  We may do the same things, but when we are in God’s flow, we will not see our actions as sacrifice.  A change of attitude is all that is needed.

2 – Change of Attitude

“If the thought occurs” is the pivotal point, the indication that we need to change our attitude.  We need to entertain the thought of correction.  Correction is the definition of Atonement (an ACIM tenet).  When we have accepted Atonement for ourselves, we will know correction in our daily lives.  And our daily lives will take a substantial and lasting turn for the better.

3 – Blessings and Thankfulness

Blessings and thankfulness are often linked in my own mind.  If we wish to bless someone, we are being thankful for their place in our lives.  And then we have opened the door to more blessings for ourselves as well.  We will not sacrifice and suffer in our holy relationships, because we will know love

4 – Forgiveness

If we have not forgiven ourselves for our past misdeeds, we will carry a heavy load of guilt, and guilt is hell (an ACIM tenet).  Let us reject such foolishness by simple forgiveness.  We need only ask, and the blessing of forgiveness is ours.  There can be no better way to have a good day.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for this glorious day.  I had a moment of an anxiety attack this morning, and, with distraction and prayer out loud to You, the moment left me–and quickly.  Help me to remember always that You are nearer to me than my breath, that I am a part of You.

No sacrifice seems too good to be true!  We will be caregivers for our significant others, but if I view this as a sacrifice, I need to change my attitude.  There is much to be gained from taking care of our loved ones–for them as well as ourselves.  May I never forget that this caregiving is a two-way street.

Be with me as I seek to leave all suffering behind.  The last three days have been glorious ones for me, and a tiny change in my routine created some of that difference.  Be with me as I seek to attract Your blessings, and many of these are the intangibles of love, peace, joy, tranquility, and serenity.  No need for drama in a life that is calm and quiet.

Amen.

Do as God’s Voice Directs

ACIM Workbook Lesson 186 – for Thursday, July 5, 2012

“Do as God’s Voice directs.  And if It asks a thing of you which seems impossible, remember Who it is That asks, and who would make denial.  Then consider this; which is more likely to be right?  The Voice That speaks for the Creator of all things, Who knows all things exactly as they are, or a distorted image of yourself, confused, bewildered, inconsistent and unsure of everything?  Let not its voice direct you.  Hear instead a certain Voice, which tells you of a function given you by your Creator Who remembers you, and urges that you now remember him.  (WB353)”

Affirmation:  “Salvation of the world depends on me.”

Reflections:

1 – Summary

This passage is a concise summary of one of my favorite tenets of A Course in Miracles.  We need to follow guidance.  It is an imperative.  And we need to be sure that the guidance that we are getting is genuinely from the right Place, not from the ego.  The ego likes to masquerade as our Maker, and we would be wise to test out our guidance, to be certain that the ego is not intruding, giving us ideas for self-aggrandizement that will only give us grief.  (This is interpretation, not stated in ACIM.)

2 – Intuitive Advice

When we ask for advice, intuitive advice, from the Holy Spirit (or from Christ-consciousness, if we have progressed that far), then we are assured that we will have a good day.  We will not be “confused, bewildered, inconsistent, and unsure of everything.”

3 – Motivation

Is not this great motivation?  Could we ask for anything better?

4 – Flow and Ebb in Balance

Our days will flow and ebb in precise balance with the degree to which we are attuned to what our Guide tells us.  Begin the day with God, follow Him throughout the day, and then thank Him at night for the glorious day that you will have had.  These are instructions from the Manual, in which we are led to realize that a constant asking may not be practical, and it is the practical with which A Course in Miracles is most concerned.  If we turn to the Holy Spirit at the beginning of our day, at the end of our day, and in between, when we get a moment to reflect, then our day will be wisely spent.  Jesus does not ask for more than we are willing to give.

5 – Be Still

I have found, though, that more frequent turning inward for guidance is, for me, a better practice.  I do not say that I always succeed in coming to know God’s Will for me, but, if I become quiet, and listen inwardly, I am more likely to know what guidance is saying than if I rush about and hurry so.  Intuitive thoughts come unbidden, when we have been quiet enough.  There is a caveat, though, in that we must be sure that the intuitive thoughts that we choose to act upon do not harm ourselves or anyone else.  Then if we can be sure that we are being harmless (as well as helpful), we will walk a green earth.

6 – A Blessed Day!

There is no better way to have a blessed day!

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day be as grand as yesterday!  Thank you for the blessings that You are bestowing on me in the present.  May I listen attentively to Your Voice, and may I follow Your advice to me.

Be with me as I walk about my world today.  There is no better way that I have ever found than to follow Your guidance consistently.

Thank You.

Amen.

A Holy Body

“Use it to bring the Word of God to those who have it not, and the body becomes holy.  Because it is holy it cannot be sick, nor can it die.  When its usefulness is done it is laid by, and that is all.  The mind makes this decision, as it makes all decisions that are responsible for the body’s condition.  Yet the teacher of God does not make this decision alone. . .God’s Voice will tell him when he has fulfilled his role, just as It tells him what his function is.  He does not suffer either in going or remaining.  Sickness is now impossible to him.  (M-12.5)”

Affirmation:  “the Word of God”

Reflections:

1 – The Ideal

This is the ideal.  And not all of us can reach it.  This passage says that the body does not get sick; but our body gets sick.  And sometimes we suffer.

2 – We Are Still Children

This passage gives us a goal toward which to reach.  It does not mean that we have failed if we do not reach it.  As has been said, would you blame a child in kindergarten for not being able to master graduate school work?  We are such a child.

3 – God’s Voice

But what we can do, as has often found its way into this blog, is to listen to God’s Voice in our daily lives.  We can intuit what to say or do next.  We do have some control over how we view sickness.  We can frequently prevent pain from turning into suffering, just by our attitude.

4 – The Body Will Become Holy

If we follow the way pointed out in A Course in Miracles, the body will become holy.  This happens when the only use toward which we put the body is communication.  And we communicate what the Holy Spirit has told us as an inner Guide.  We do not ever make decisions alone:  Either we listen to the ego or we listen to our Guide, the Holy Spirit (an ACIM tenet).  Until we truly listen to the Holy Spirit, we are not often aware that we actually have been seeking advice of the ego.  This egoic bent is what we have been used to following.  But we can change.

5 – Listen to Our Guide

Listen to our Guide today.  See what a difference this change makes in in the day that we have.  And then thank God for this change.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day be a glorious one!  I thank You for the increased vitality I have as summer gets underway in a big way.  Help me to appreciate this warm weather, not to rail against it.  Your seasons in this world are a blessing to us.

Be with us in the United States as we celebrate Independence Day today.  Thank You that we are still friends with our British friends.  May we recognize that all of us are One on this earth, and just as the British forgave us for departing, we must look to today’s world for the times that wars have happened, noting forgiveness as a lodestone.

Amen.

The Purpose of the Body

“Yet what makes God’s teachers is their recognition of the proper purpose of the body.  As they advance in their profession, they become more and more certain that the body’s function is but to let God’s Voice speak through it to human ears.  (M-12.4)”

Affirmation:  “Let me listen to God’s Voice today.”

Reflections:

1 – Body for Communication

This passage identifies the theme that I brought up yesterday:  The body is meant for communication.  We allow the Holy Spirit to determine what we will say, when we will say it, and to whom.  Anything else is likely to be the ego, which still has a toehold in most of us.

2 – Salvation

Salvation is seen to be the profession of teachers of God (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Such an exalted profession can lead to egotism, though, and this we do not want.  We are merely instruments in the Hands of the Holy Spirit, Who is God’s Voice.  May we remain not arrogant, but humble in the carrying out of our duties as we see them.  May nothing we do or say or think encourage the egoic.

3 – Guidance

As teachers of God continue their profession, they become more certain that the only (yes, the only) thing that they have to do is to follow the guidance that comes to them moment by moment.  If we are too involved with daily life to “listen” moment by moment, then Jesus says elsewhere that we are to ask for guidance at any time that we can.  This is the practical nature of A Course in Miracles.

4 – Body Not an Adornment

The body is not meant to be an adornment, but that is, all too often, the function that this world has given it.  This does not mean that we cease caring for our appearance (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We would do well to be presentable in our daily lives, reaching out in a way that does not offend anyone.  But, as always, we must be true to ourselves.  And more and more we see that being true to ourselves is being true to God, for His Will is the real will of ourselves as well (from the Text).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not allow my body to intrude today where I do not want it.  I do not want it in order to make others envious.  I do not want it for adornment, for a bracelet that simply enhances the wrist.  I want the body to be mine for communication with my brothers and sisters.  Help me to know how to have this single-minded function for my body.

Be with me as I walk through the day.  You would have us to look well, but not to be prideful of our appearance.  May I listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit today.

Amen.

Psychic Ways to Hear God’s Voice

“Only very few can hear God’s Voice at all, and even they cannot communicate His messages directly through the Spirit which gave them.  They need a medium through which communication becomes possible to those who do not realize that they are spirit.  A body they can see.  A voice they understand and listen to, without the fear that truth would encounter in them.  (M-12.3)”

Affirmation:  “Only very few can hear God’s Voice at all.”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Voice

As time has gone by, I think that more and more of us can hear God’s Voice.  The Voice is that of the Holy Spirit, and following His guidance is seen by A Course in Miracles as the way out of the maze that we have made for ourselves.  His Voice shows us the way home, the way toward not only salvation but also Awakening.

2 – Bodies = for Communication

We are told elsewhere that we are to use our bodies only for communication, that we will learn that others can be reached through our words and our actions.  If we use our bodies to evoke jealousy, attack, anger, resentment, we are using our bodies amiss.

3 – The Voice of a Brother/Sister

We are not normally afraid of another’s body.  We do not fear what another says to us or does to us, in the normal sequence of events.  (We may fear another’s anger and attack, and this is entirely human.)  But if we suddenly heard interior voices, without preparation, we would be in the same situation that the scribe of ACIM, Helen Schucman, was in when she heard, “This is a course in miracles.  Please take notes.”  So often we do not hear internally, but through the medium of another human being’s voice.  And our fears are silenced.

4 – Internal Directives

As time goes by, we will “hear” internal directives.  These may come in a variety of ways, some that we recognize as “psychic” (as the world calls them).  We may receive guidance through what is commonly known as intuition; we may pick up easily on a friend’s casual comment, the one that seems just meant for ourselves and our present situation; we may run across what is to us a particularly significant passage in a book (especially A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love).

5 – Are We Insane?

Does this make us different, somehow, from those who have been categorized as mentally ill?  Perhaps.  ACIM declares that all of us are insane to a degree, because we live in a world that is impossible and also mad.  Those who are psychotic may hear voices, and so with our own situation, we need to be especially discerning.  If a “voice” ever counsels harm in any way, then this is definitely not Love speaking.  My personal interpretation is that we can ask, “Is this from Love?,” when we hear a locution, and if the answer is “no,” then we would be wise to refrain from any action.  And even if we think that we are acting from a message from Love, we may still be mistaken.  After all, we are human.

6 – Testing Locutions

So testing out our locutions (internally heard voices) and intuition does seem mandatory.  The world has suffered greatly from those who thought that they were following God’s Will, only to learn that their actions were perceived by others in this world as anything but loving.

7 – Will the End Be Loving?

Be careful of what you perceive through “psychic” means.  ACIM is quite comfortable with the psychic, as described in the Manual, but, as with anything that comes upon us that is new, we need to be careful the end will be loving.  And that the means are not detrimental to anyone.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the times in which my psychic messages have given me insight and kept me on Your pathway.  I would not make mistakes, listening to my ego and thinking that it is divine guidance.  Be with me as I test out my thoughts about what has come to me via a sixth sense.  Don’t let me get carried away.

Thank You for the knowledge, and I know that it is knowledge, that You have shown me throughout my life.  I also know that my perceptions have sometimes, perhaps frequently, been wrong.  Help me to know the difference between knowledge and perception.  Let me drop the ego’s perceptions from my list of accustomed actions.  I would let the ego wither away.  And I know that the ego can be very wily, even when I am trying to follow Your Way.  Perhaps particularly when I an trying to follow Your Way.

I do appreciate the psychic that has improved my mood, given me insight, and led me closer to You.  Let me not take pride in any messages that come to me by psychic means, for this is surely evidence that the ego has taken ascendancy again.  Be with me in discernment, so that I walk Your pathway and Yours alone.

Amen.

The Son of Man Becomes the Son of God

“Thus does the son of man become the Son of God.  It is not really a change; it is a change of mind.  Nothing external alters, but everything internal now reflects only the Love of God.  (M-12.1)”

Affirmation:  “I ask for a change of mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Too Good to Be True?

The state of mind which is described in today’s passage may sound too good to be true, too ideal to be a realistic, practical change of mind.  But we have A Course in Miracles to study, giving us the means for Awakening (from the Text).

2 – The Gender Problem

Of course, “son” and “Son” include the feminine also.  In the sixties, when Helen Schuman and Bill Thetford worked together to bring ACIM to the world, the masculine gender was taught in schools to be inclusive language that also included women.  This had changed by the seventies, and a sticking point for many younger individuals have been turned off by the masculine terminology.  But this is a straw issue.  The Bible also uses the masculine in most available translations and paraphrases.  We should not let this difference cause us any concern.

3 – Reflect the Love of God

Going back to the passage again, if the internal part of us could reflect only the Love of God, would we not have the Awakening that we seek?  Most of us can aspire to this ideal, but very few of us have actually sustained Awakening.  Before sustainability, we will know glimpses of Awakening, periods of time that show us the way that will eventually open to us.  In the meantime, we dwell with our feet on earth.

4 – A Goal for Today

To reflect the Love of God is a goal that all of us can seek to embody daily.  When we fall from these heights, we can ask forgiveness of ourselves and others, and we can try again.

5 – An Even Keel

There is no other way.  We walk the mundane paths of this world until we know the joy that Jesus would have us know on a sustained basis.  Let us reach for the stars even as we keep our minds and hearts on the even keel of a person seeking to allow the ego to wither away.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would reflect the love of God today.  I would turn from petty problems that disturb me, to an all-encompassing thankfulness that my life is actually going so well.  If I can keep from letting the ordinary stress of life bother me, I will be in the right frame of mind to express the love that I feel God wants me to express.

May we not be disturbed by the male-female problem in terminology of A Course in Miracles.  The sixties were an era, now long ago, in which this scribing took place.  And people thought differently about language then.  In reality, we do not have to let straw issues disturb us.  Jesus is inclusive of women as well as men.

May the day go well.  May we enjoy the peace of a sunny day.  May we know that sunny days remind us of love, and lead us to think of love.  I would think of love today.

Amen.

Turn Hell to Heaven

“Peace now belongs here, because a Thought of God has entered.  What else but a Thought of God turns hell to Heaven merely by being what it is?. . .It is no longer, ‘Can peace be possible in this world?’ but instead, ‘Is it not impossible that peace be absent here?’  (M-11.4)”

 

Affirmation:  “May I see peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Heaven on Earth

We are well-informed in A Course in Miracles that we can know Heaven on earth.  We do not deny the reverse that our physical eyes show us, but we recognize what is real and what is not.  We know that the intangibles of God, the Thought of God, is real.  The peace, the joy, the patience, the contentment. . . .Everything that is not a synonym of peace is an illusion, because we are living a dream (ACIM tenets).

2 – Peace

When we experience a Thought of God, we know that peace is meant to follow our footsteps wherever we go.  We can be mistaken in thinking a given thought is actually a Thought of God, but mistakes can be corrected.  We do not arrogantly determine that we are understanding God’s Mind, for we are not ready for this.  We humbly take what we are given, and we give thanks for it.  Then we realize that peace is indeed home in our world.

3 – Pain and Suffering

What of the pain and suffering, the terrors and war, that engulf our world?  We can make a difference, and when we pray for guidance, we will be directed what difference it is that we are to make–what our particular part in the cosmic drama is meant to be.  Until we know that much, we walk a dimly lit path.

4 – Save This World

Ask today for your part in God’s plan to save the world.  The Holy Spirit will respond, and, we can imagine, in our anthropomorphic way, that He is glad that we asked.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do today what I can best do to help the individuals around live a good life.  I know that I do not experience Heaven on earth consistently, but this blessing happens more frequently than it did when I was in my early adult years.  I knew when to be contented with what I had, because I had gone “without” for so long.  I thank You now that I discovered ACIM so early, in my mid-thirties, and that its tenets have guided me to happiness many times over.

Be with all of us as we seek to learn A Course in Miracles.  When we fill our minds with ACIM‘s glorious words, we edge out defeatism, and we find ourselves attracting better and better things.  These things do not have to be materialistic only; they certainly can be emotional joys that provide us with a gentle happiness that no bad occurrence in our world can long overcome.  Thank You for leading me to this understanding.

If we attract Jesus’s blessings, we do so because we have accepted the non-dualism of his world.  We no longer seek for what will actually harm, seeking in ignorance precipitated by egoistic thinking.  I would let the ego wither even more today, leading me ever closer to Awakening on a consistent basis.

Be with me as I seek to do for the significant others in my life the things that they need me to do.  This has been a hard week, for personal reasons, but You know those personal reasons.  And I wish to continue to see improvement in the individuals with whom I share my life.

Amen.

Finding Our Way to Peace

“Peace is impossible to those who look on war.  Peace is inevitable to those who offer peace.  (M-11.4)”

Affirmation:  “I choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – A Long Time Ago

Early on in my study of A Course in Miracles I selected this passage as an affirmation.  I typed it out and posted it at my office desk, just in front of my eyes on my bulletin board.  And such peace the passage gave me.  I was in a work environment that was not well-suited to me because there were political battles raging daily.  Perhaps you too have found yourself in such a place.  I determined that I would seek to carry out the advice in this passage at work, to my very best ability.  And, while the environment did not appreciably change, I found a way to find a more congenial environment.  The higher administration wrote to me, when I resigned, that I had been a “positive force” in the workplace.  This in itself seemed to be evidence that these two statements in the passage for the day really do work when worked.  We can effect change, even when we are not aware that anybody is noticing.

2 – A Summary

So the passage becomes as follows:

Look on war = peace impossible
Offer peace = peace inevitable

3 – Serene and Untroubled Mind

So this passage becomes motivation to live out our days with a serene and untroubled mind.  We are not so perfect, though, that we will never get upset.  But we will not entertain anger and attack.  We will entertain peace.  And the difference that this change of attitude will bring to our lives is incalculable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the ease with which this day has gone.  I do know that I want to offer peace to those I encounter.  And so conflict and “war” do not have to be my fate.  Help me to remain true to this determination, this will to follow Your dictates.

Thank You for being with me today.  The stress that all of us encounter has ended, for me, today, and for that I am especially grateful.

Amen.

Happily Lay Judgment Down

“It is not difficult to relinquish judgment.  But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it.  The teacher of God lays it down happily the instant he recognizes its cost.  All of the ugliness he sees about him is its outcome.  All of the pain he looks upon is it result.  All of the loneliness and sense of loss; of passing time and growing hopelessness; of sickening despair and fear of death; all these have come of it.  And now he knows that these things need not be.  (M-10.6)”

 

Affirmation:  “I would relinquish judgment today.”

Reflections:

1 – Pain = Caused by Judgment

Today’s passage from the Manual of A Course in Miracles continues the theme of judgment.  It makes clear that our pain is a direct result of the judgment in which we have been engaged.   The negative ramifications are indeed dire.  We need to give up judgment.  It comes close to being mandatory, though ACIM does not make this direct statement.

2 – Review Today’s Passage Frequently

If we could avoid all pain by giving up judgment, is this not an end result that we would want?  Indeed, yes.  If we could avoid the fear of death by giving up judgment, would we not rush to such a remedy?  Today’s passage says this and much more.  It would be a good passage to return to over and over, when our resolve falters and we find that the ego has intruded, with our judgment being an unwelcome result.

3 – Judgment vs. Evaluation

Judgment and evaluation are different.  I used to wonder, when doing peer evaluations in my work, if I were actually judging.  I was not sure that judgment and evaluation were different.  But now I recognize that an evaluation, done in the spirit of incomplete knowledge, is a technique of management in the work environment.  We do not have to make emotional and negative attitudes a part of our evaluation.  When we have invited the strongly emotional and the negative, we have indeed switched into judgment.  Keep in mind that we cannot see the whole picture, the whole picture being reserved for the Holy Spirit.  So we walk tentatively when we try to evaluate our world, to determine what we need to say or do in regard to others with whom we live and work.  We know that we may be mistaken in our evaluations.  But, especially, we do not fault a person for poor performance in a judgmental way.  Using the term, “judgmental,” may be a clear way to discern the difference between judgment and evaluation.  We do not have to thrust our brothers and sisters away from us when we see poor performance.  Our cooperation with them is all that our evaluation ought to elicit from us.  Cooperation has been seen to be mightily superior to competition, though not everybody is able to accept this finding in the social sciences.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not judge past, present, or future today.  I would not judge anyone whom I think (just think, of course) has mistreated me.  This world is illusion, and there is no way of knowing what I personally did to bring on the attack.  

I would also note the difference between judgment and evaluation.  They are very different, and evaluation is a much more benign concept.  Our world does hinge on correct evaluation, though intuition is often the route that we would take to know how to frame an evaluation.

Thank You for the good way in which this day has begun.  May goodness come to all my brothers and sisters as well.

Amen.

Unburdened

“Now [i.e., after laying judgment now] can the teacher of God rise up unburdened, and walk lightly on.  Yet it is not only this that is his benefit.  His sense of care is gone, for he has none.  He has given it away, along with judgment.  He gave himself to Him Whose judgment he has chosen now to trust, instead of his own.  (M-10.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would walk lightly on.”

Reflections:

1 – No Judging

This passage is an amplification of yesterday’s passage.  With judgment relinquished, we are in a much better position to live the full life that we all desire.  We are not hemmed in by circumstances (an “imprisoned will,” as ACIM says), but are, at last, perfectly free and unencumbered.

2 – No Strain

This does not mean that we leave our responsibilities to our loved ones unmet.  But now there is no strain in helping others.  We love them, and, when needed and if asked, we help.  We do not withdraw, under any circumstances, just unto ourselves.  To do so would invite disaster.  The Text indicates that withdrawal is always best avoided.  We belong in this world, and part of this world includes our brothers and sisters.  We seek their good as well as our own.  And if they show any readiness to accept salvation, we reach out to them.  But we do not press ourselves upon them.  Some are not ready, and to thrust salvation on an unwilling brother or sister is to fail to appreciate and to respect their boundaries.

3 – Unburdened

What a joy it is to rise up “unburdened, and walk lightly on.”  We do not have cares, in the sense that we have previously had cares.  We know that the guidance of the Holy Spirit (or Christ-consciousness, if we have walked farther along the pathway) is sure.  We need only ask, be flexible in our response, and then say or do the thing that comes to us.

4 – Walk Well through the Day

Nor do we have to get compulsive about this.  Jesus says elsewhere in the Manual that to try to ask at every juncture is impractical, and that it is with the practical that this Course is most concerned.  If we set our wills toward the Holy Spirit upon awakening, ask His advice at pivotal junctures through the day, and forget not to thank Him at the conclusion of the day, our confidence will be well-placed (ACIM tenets).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk well through this day.  I would be more flexible than I was yesterday.  I find it is so easy to get something in mind, and to rush full steam ahead.  But that is not the way to follow guidance.  Be with me as I seek to follow my Guide, the Holy Spirit.

Relieve me of anxiety in this day.  If this type of pain intrudes, may I know that it is all illusion, and may I ask You for an emotional healing.  Be with all of us as we seek to live healthy, vigorous lives.

Thank You.

Amen.

When in Doubt

“Doubt is the result of conflicting wishes.  Be sure of what you want, and doubt becomes impossible.  (M-7.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am sure of what I want.”

Reflections:

1 – “When in Doubt, Don’t”

I have often said to myself, “When in doubt, don’t.”  While this may seem like a very laidback attitude to take toward actions being contemplated, it works for me.  My unconscious (not available to me) does seem to indicate when a given course of action is not to be taken.  Whether or not this is direct guidance from the Holy Spirit is a question in my mind.  Normally, I sense the Holy Spirit has an inner voice or an intuition, and this warning, “When in doubt, don’t,” seem somehow different.  A Course in Miracles says in today’s passage that I am feeling conflicting wishes, and, for me, this means that the course of action being contemplated may be way off-base.  So I choose not to follow the pathway that is beckoning, perhaps because the ego is involved at that moment.

2 – Conflicting Wishes

My conflicting wishes do suggest to me when not to pray for a given outcome.  I once wanted something very badly, but, with the exception of a span of two or three days, I never got the “green light” to pray for this outcome that I thought I wanted.  Now I know that my childhood and early adulthood did not prepare me for all that my desired outcome would have demanded.  I had personal challenges that would not have made this superficial, but intense, desire good for all involved.  I can report that I did not pray for that outcome, because the prohibition was direct and unequivocal.  And my life later took a turn that was far more suited for my talents and even my ambitions.

3 – God’s Will = Our Real Will

We do not really want things that are not in line with God’s Will.  We are told in A Course in Miracles that God’s Will and our will are identical, that the Holy Spirit choose for us.  The Holy Spirit knows all circumstances–past, present, and future–that will affect a given choice.  We have given up our judgment to Him, because He knows in a way that is impossible for us.  And when we have given up our judgment, we know peace.  The lamentable aspects of our world, we are told in the Manual, are present because judgment is so much a part of this world.  May we take the first tentative steps today away from personal judgment, and invite the Holy Spirit to lead our next step.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Right now I am in conflict.  So the action that I am thinking of taking may be wrong for me.  I am, over the years, tested out this reaction numerous times.  So let me be sure before I act.

Help me to have a good day.  There are many things on my agenda for this week, and the week seems daunting.  Yesterday was daunting as well, but all turned out to be just fine.  

May today be no less.

Amen.

The Unhealed Healer

“By accepting healing he can give it.  If he doubts this, let him remember Who gave the gift and Who received it.  Thus is his doubt corrected.  (M-7.3)”

Affirmation:  “I herewith accept healing for myself, and thus for others.”

Reflections:

1 – Warning for Teachers of God

The “unhealed healer” is a false notion that teachers of God who themselves know illness can still function without any additional help.  But it is not ourselves who are effecting the healing; it is the Holy Spirit, according to A Course in Miracles.  If we recognize that we are an unhealed healer, we must turn our uncertainties over to God.  He would not have us to witness falsely.

2 – Few Are Always Healthy

Few of us are healthy at all times and in all circumstances.  This is the very human fact of our life in this world.  But we can be healed, either physically, emotionally, or both, when we turn our predicament over to a Higher Power.  This is the way home for us.  This is the way that we can be of service to others.

3 – Symptoms = Seen in an Illusory World

When we accept our own healing, even if symptoms persist, we are well on our way to being channels for healing in others.  The symptoms, as we have said repeatedly, are not anything other than illusions, seen in an illusory world.  The Holy Spirit gives the gift of healing; we are only channels, a body that our brothers and sisters can see, a voice that they can hear.  And we do not understand all that is going on with others.  That is why we need to remember that the Holy Spirit does know all of the circumstances.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be healed myself, so that I might be a communication device for the Holy Spirit to heal others.  Being a device for communication is the only true use of the body.  And we are not to give the body undue importance in any way at all.

May I not be an “unhealed healer.”  That is a contradiction in terms; it is impossible.  May I not try to give to anybody else what only the Holy Spirit can deliver.  And may he heal my brothers and sisters today.

Amen.

Uncertainty in Healing = Fear and Hate

“Now [i.e., when the teacher of God doubts healing] the teacher of God has only one course to follow.  He must use his reason to tell himself that he has given the problem to One Who cannot fail, and must recognize that his own uncertainty is not love but fear, and therefore hate.  (M-7.2)”

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit cannot fail.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear Entertains Hate

This passage says something very solemn.  It says that when we are fearful, we are actually entertaining hate.  When stated so directly, nobody would want fear to intervene in his or her daily life.  We do not wish to hate.  What good could ever come from it?  Absolutely none.

2 – Uncertainty

Even so benign a concept as “uncertainty” leads down the path toward hate.  We who are seeking to be channels for healing of ourselves and others must believe absolutely in the Power upon which we are calling.  And the lingering appearance of symptoms of illness must not cause us to waver in our certainty that our prayer for healing has been heard, and acted upon.  The Self know more than the personal self.  The Holy Spirit does not fail to bring about anything upon which he focuses attention for the good.

3 – Holy Spirit

We use our reason for this understanding.  We believe solidly in the rightness of our belief in the Holy Spirit’s infallibility, and we do not waver in our certainty that healing will be received when it is wholly welcome.

4 – Suffering and Pain

To believe otherwise is to ask for suffering and pain to remain.

5 – Emotional Healing

I have come to accept an emotional healing as sometimes the best that we can know on this uncertain world.  But mental anguish is surely one of the worst parts of any illness.  When we turn ourselves, our bodies and minds, over to God, then do we know wellness.  The physical symptoms that may persist are not given ascendancy any longer by our minds, and we function much better.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know emotional healing today if physical is not in the cards.  I know that the healing, of some type, is there.  I thank You that my ailments over my lifetime, for the most part, and usually, have been minor.

Be with my brothers and sisters who suffer greatly.  May their courage remain high, and may they be grounded in the certainty that You walk with them.

Thank You.

Amen.

Can You Be a Channel for Healing?

“For a teacher of God to remain concerned about the result of healing is to limit the healing.

“Whenever a teacher of God has tried to be a channel for healing he has succeeded.  (M-7.1-2).”

Affirmation:  “I wish to be a channel for healing.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Doubt the Outcome

When we remain concerned about the results of our petition for healing, we are doubting the outcome.  And Jesus assures us that healing has happened, even when our eyes show us that the situation is unchanged.  We cannot doubt.  The Self has gotten involved, and the personal self will know wellness when completely ready for it.

2 – Don’t Offer Continuing Concern

Continuing concern about healing, or recovery from illness or sickness, in our world appears to be compassionate.  But Jesus in the Manual indicates otherwise.  Continuing concern that the healing has actually happened does limit the healing in ways that surely none of us fully understand.  This is one time that we just have to take Jesus at his word.

3 – Channels for Healing

To know that we can be channels for healing, and that we can succeed, is enormously liberating.  We do not have to appeal to faith on the ground that the healing has not occurred.  If we take Jesus at his word, the healing, at least on some level, has occurred when we have asked for it.  We cannot doubt without limiting our asking.

4 – To Be Received Openheartedly

May we seek to heal ourselves and others with a joyous spirit, confident that the healing will happen when it will be received openheartedly.  We do not have to doubt; indeed, we cannot doubt if we wish the healing to be received in any way other than a limited way.  Full release comes from full confidence in Jesus.  We are not healers, but through us the Holy Spirit can handle the situation with grace and ease.

5 – Living an Illusion

If the ideal of healing does not appear ever to be received, we fall back on the surety that we are living an illusion.  The inner Self always knows healing, and it is the personal self that lives in this world that knows illness, suffering, and death.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would experience today what the Self experiences, which is peace and healing.  If my personal (little) self wants to see something else, may I be let to know that this is a request for illusion.

Be with me today as I seek to follow Your way.  Healing will always come, when it is asked for.  Help me to rest on this assurance.

Thank You.

Amen.

Turn the Pain Over to God

“Healing will always stand aside when it would be seen as threat.  The instant it is welcome it is there.  (M-6-2)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome healing today.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Retain the Pain

We take a lot of interest in our physical and emotional health, perhaps especially when either is compromised.  The more interest we devote to pain, the more likely we may be to retain the pain.  But Jesus would not have it this way.  Yet he stands aside when that is our choice.

2 – Levels of Our Mind

We do not have access to all levels of our minds.  And it is this that seems to be implied in the passage for today.  We think we want healing, but do we really?  Are we getting something, some benefit, from our compromised health?  This is a question that all of us would do well to ponder as each new ailment rises on the horizon.

3 – Emotional Healing

The healing that will be there immediately may not be viewed by the physical eyes.  But all of us have known miraculous emotional healing when one turned the matter over to God.  We have seen this in ourselves, and we have seen this in others.  There is probably no exception to this miracle.  We have made emotional healing a priority, and we have admitted that we do not know how to bring it about.  So we turn it over, and, there, in a place that we do not often see, is the healing that we have prayed to have.

4 – The Best

Could we wish for anything less today for ourselves and others?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have emotional and physical healing, beginning immediately.  I do not ask in arrogance, but in humility.  You want me well; you want me to learn through rewards, not pain.  Let me leave any and all discomfort aside today.

Thank You that my health has always, with a few exceptions, been good.  As I grow older, I ask for the same.

Be with me today as I seek to walk Your pathway of healing, physical and emotional.

Thank You.

Amen.

Medication May Be Necessary

“Healing is always certain.  It is impossible to let illusions be brought to truth and keep the illusions.  (M-6.1)”

Affirmation:  “Healing is always certain.”

Reflections:

1- Healing Is Always Certain

The passage for today is the culmination of the thoughts that we having been walking toward in previous days.  Healing is always certain, even when we do not see it happening, even though the illness may lead to death.  The real Self has not been hurt by any pain or suffering.  The real Self is always above and beyond such imperfect happenings in our world.

2 – Miracles

When we realize that healing is always certain, we introduce the idea that a miracle can occur.  This may not be physical healing.  It may not be emotional, but perhaps emotional healing happens far more often than physical.  Jesus takes us where we are and then leads us farther down the pathway to wellness.  He also, as in the New Testament, wants to be certain that we truly desire healing.  We have to make that choice.

3 – Illness as a Way of Life

If we have chosen illness as a way of life, the Manual tells us that perhaps healing will have to wait, for our own protection.  We could become so depressed from a spontaneous healing that we could become suicidal.  And this nobody would wish, least of all, Jesus.

4 – Medication (Pills)

Many of us have chosen sickness as a way of life, and in such cases, pills can become the magic solutions that even Jesus does not denounce.  If we are very fearful, we may need a compromise approach to healing, a way to know that we ourselves did not heal ourselves (the ego would love to believe this).  We do not want fear to increase, because the ego is always strong when fear has reared its ugly head.  So we wait, confident that healing will come when it is truly welcome.  And a compromise approach that allows pills may be just what we need.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May the sequence of postings for the last few days be a way for all of us to understand the words of A Course in Miracles about sickness and healing.  These passages are uncompromising, that we choose sickness, and we choose whether we get well or not, including when we die.  But it is the larger Self that does the choosing.

Thank You for the better insight that almost comes unbidden.  I personally need to know when I have chosen an illness.  And I would not so choose again.

Be with my brothers and sisters in their sicknesses.  Let them get well, if it is the choice of their larger Self.

Amen.

We Are Living a Dream

“They [teachers of God] seek for God’s Voice in this brother who would so deceive himself as to believe God’s Son can suffer.  And they remind him that he did not make himself, and must remain as God created him.  They recognize illusions can have no effect.  (M-5.III.3)”

Affirmation:  “I remain as God created me.”

Reflections:

1 – Salvation

When we are trying to bring salvation to another, we must seek for the Voice for God in that other.  This Voice is another name for the Holy Spirit.  The Manual makes it clear that we are only separated from our brothers and sisters by time, and time does not really exist.  We can quickly fall from teacher to student by missteps, and often these missteps come because we have failed to listen to the Holy Spirit or Christ-consciousness (the latter is described in A Course of Love).

2 – When We Suffer

We are deceived when we are suffering, and similarly deceived are our brothers and sisters who are suffering.  This does not mean that we deny the sight of our physical eyes, but just that we recognize that what we are viewing is illusion, and therefore, ultimately, unreal (ACIM tenets).

3 – The Personal Self and the (Larger) Self

We are still as God created us.  We may have trouble understanding how this can be, when we see our failings and even our travails as evidence that we have fallen from greater heights.  But the real Self has not changed, and it is the essence of the personal self that is the Self (sometimes called the Christ).

4 – Illusions

We do not always recognize that illusions are, in fact, illusions.  We look with our physical eyes, and we empathize and sympathize with those whom we see as poor, suffering individuals.  This may in fact not be a hindrance to us, as long we ask for healing as soon as we recognize the need for it.  We may not see a physical change, and maybe not even an emotional one.  But the request for healing is always granted, and the healing will be received when the individual is ready for it (ACIM tenets).

5 – Not to Choose Healing

I should note that the view of A Course in Miracles is an ideal, and not all will experience healing.  Most of us choose an illness to cause our death at the end of our lifespan.  And then healing does not appear to have been received.  But who knows what remains beyond the veil of death?  We do not know, and we normally believe that life on the Other Side is free of illness, suffering, and pain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me as I continue my study of Jesus’s statements on sickness in A Course in Miracles.  I do not expect to understand fully; some things are veiled on this earth.  Be with me, though, as I try to understand.

I would choose physical and emotional healing today.  I would not knowingly choose illness.  Be with me in this choice.

I know that learning through rewards lasts, whereas learning through pain is only temporary.  ACIM tells me this.  May I learn through rewards today and every day.

Thank You.

Amen.