Forgiveness Sparkles in Our Eyes

ACIM Workbook Lesson 122 – for Monday, May 2, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness offers everything I want.”

Selected Passage:

“[Forgiveness] sparkles in your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day.  It soothes your forehead while you sleep, and rests upon your eyelids so you see no dreams of fear and evil, malice and attack.  And when you wake again, it offers you another day of happiness and peace.  All this forgiveness offers you, and more.  (WB217)”

Reflections:

This is one of my favorite passages, a passage of great joy and peace.  If we could believe for even a minute that forgiveness offers all of these blessings, we would have no problem with forgiveness again.  We would be Home.

This passage reflects the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (an ACIM quotation).  We are told that, before the real world arises before our eyes, we will dream happy dreams.  These happy dreams are meant to prepare us for Awakening.  Without them, we might be too fearful of what will transpire to seek it meaningfully.  We have slept long and hard, and we need gentler dreams to precede our Awakening.  These gentler dreams the Holy Spirit provides.

May we have days composed of the joy that this passage promises.  We can have, and they can commence immediately.  We do no have to wait any longer.  Simply determine that the attack actions of ourselves, and our brothers and sisters, are insanity, and therefore unreal, and that we are caught in an illusion.  Then we will welcome the holy dreams of the Holy Spirit.  And our days will be like pearls of purity, one after the other.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

All of us deserve forgiveness for the mistakes we have made, and probably continue to make.  And we will continue to make mistakes as long as we are in this world.  But we are innocent!  Many people have trouble with this concept, but I would, with Your help, understand it today.  I have not really ever changed from the being that You created.

May forgiveness sparkle in my eyes today.  If anger or attack come my way, may I overlook both.  And may I sleep well tonight, after a full and complete day of safety preserved by You.

Amen.

Forgiveness = Key to Happiness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 121 – for Sunday, May 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness is the key to happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“Forgiveness is acquired.  It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin.  As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you.  Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear.  Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin.  (WB214-215)”

Reflections:

We need to return our minds to the Holy Spirit, relinquishing our judgment for His own.  The Manual asks us how many know all the surrounding factors influencing a situation.  We do no have such prescience.  This world teaches us to use our judgment, to hone it, and to ever make it better in order to improve our decisions.  But ACIM, in the Manual, assures us that this is impossible.  We cannot make good decisions, in which we decide for all the world and everything and everyone in it, because we do not have such knowledge.  But the Holy Spirit does, and when we turn to Him for guidance, our choices become right.  We are finally doing the right thing, but it is direct opposition to what the world has taught us.

We are told that we may resist this advice, because it seems to be personally insulting.  After all, why do not our judgments work?  If we will reflect honestly, though, we will realize that we never knew all the conditions surrounding any one of our decisions, decisions made without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and who would continue along a pathway that is so fraught with mistakes?

We must learn to forgive.  If we see the outer world, the world we perceive, as an illusion, and as madness (or insanity), we will soon come to realize that forgiveness is the only sane response (a Text tenet).  It keeps our rights from being compromised.  Forgiveness also makes us feel better.  We feel more justified in God’s sight (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  But it is not the “forgiveness to destroy,” which is described in A Song of Prayer (also scribed by Helen Schucman).  In forgiveness to destroy, we think that out of our magnanimity we have forgiven our brother or sister.  But they have, in their real Selves, done nothing wrong!  We only thought that we had been hurt.  In our real Self, we have not been hurt.  We are to teach nobody that he or she has wronged us (an ACIM tenet).  We have not been wronged; we have only misinterpreted.  May we fail to misinterpret today.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

May I put into practice the forgiveness that You encourage me to have–forgiveness of myself for my misdeeds, and forgiveness for my brothers and sisters.  We will in this illusory world, where much is insanity, and these understandings can help us to see the legitimacy of pardon.  May I see pardon as justified always.

Be with me today.  I long for Your guidance, and I long for the will to follow it always.  Make Your guidance clear to me, so that I do not let the ego lead me astray.  I would follow Your pathway.

Amen.

My Little Part in Bringing Happiness to the World

ACIM Workbook Lesson 95 – for Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am one Self, united with my Creator.”

Selected Passage:

“Do not forget today.  We need your help; your little part in bringing happiness to all the world.  And Heaven looks to you in confidence that you will try today.  Share, then, its surety, for it is yours.  Be vigilant.  Do not forget today.  Throughout the day do not forget your goal.  Repeat today’s idea as frequently as possible, and understand each time you do so, someone hears the voice of hope, the stirring of the truth within his mind, the gentle rustling of the wings of peace.  (WB168)”

Reflections:

1 – A Course of Love

This passage presages A Course of Love, in that we are seen to be in unity and relationship with our brothers and sisters.  The passage suggests that there is a psychic component to our relationship as well as our unity.  When we try to bring happiness to this world, somewhere, in some way, others are helped.  The final sentence (above) says this.  What a joy this really is!  We do not have to stir from our chair to know that our thoughts have been read by someone who needed to hear the message of salvation that we bring.

2 – The Psychic

Elsewhere Jesus says that there are no unnatural powers.  The psychic is real.  If the only ways that the world recognizes as channels were true, it would be impossible to teach salvation.  But we are not to take refuge in grandiosity about any powers that we develop (a Manual tenet).  This would allow a foothold to come from the ego.  And we are particularly susceptible to footholds that, from the ego, are subtle–especially once that we have withdrawn our major allegiance to the ego.  These ways are not especially hard to determine, but may be particularly easy to overlook (a Manual tenet).  This is one aspect of ego dynamics that we do not want to overlook.  (We do want to overlook the mistakes of our brothers and sisters, so as not to make them real to ourselves and thus make them harder to overlook.)

3 – The Scraps of Fear

We are asked to be vigilant today.  We must watch our minds for the scraps of fear that reside there, for then the ego has a foothold on our minds.  We want the “gentle rustling of the wings of peace.”  May we have this today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to bring happiness to my little world today.  I realize that to do so effectively, I need also to allow Your presence to bring happiness to me.  May I experience Your felt presence today in all that I do and all that I say.  Be with me, and help me to know that You are there.

Happiness is not a false goal.  It is a most worthy goal that follows on the heels of granting forgiveness to my brothers and sisters, and forgiving myself as well.  May I know both happiness and, as needed, forgiveness today.

Amen.

What Would God Have Me Do?

ACIM Workbook Lesson 71 – for Saturday, March 12, 2011

Affirmation:  “Only God’s plan for salvation will work.”

Selected Passage:

“. . .[L]et us devote the remainder of the extended practice periods to asking God to reveal His plan to us.  Ask Him very specifically:

What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom? (WB122)”

Reflections:

1 – God and the Holy Spirit

These are very important lines in A Course in Miracles.  Usually ACIM has us ask these questions of the Holy Spirit, rather than of God, but is there really any difference?  I do not mean to insert controversy here, but the Holy Spirit is defined in ACIM as the Universal Inspiration.  And God is the Source of that inspiration.

2 – Guidance and the Holy Spirit

We would do well to recall these words often, not only today, when they are part of the lesson, but frequently in upcoming days as well.  We are bade to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance, not to make judgments ourselves.  We cannot be accurate in our own judgments, and so we best leave judgment to One who knows all past and future, as well as present.  He alone knows all, and we in  our limited way cannot judge aright.  So we relinquish judgment (contrary to what we are normally taught in the world), and we turn to a Higher Power for His guidance.  All of these statements are from the Manual, paraphrased.  We would do well to be tolerant of the things that we cannot understand.  This in itself will help us to practice forgiveness or pardon of ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

3 – Walking a Holier Path

So we decide today, let us hope, to ask these basic questions from the passage above of God.  We do not make these decisions ourselves.  And when we do, we will walk a holier pathway.  We will, as long as we are caught in the dream, live the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I so much want to follow Your advice for me.  Help me to be flexible, to turn on a dime–as soon as I recognize Your guidance for what it is.  Help me to live life as You would have it lived, in peace and calm and joy.

Walk with me today, as everyday, but especially today.  As soon as I become accustomed to having You with me, to be conscious of having You with me, in me, then I will be that much closer to Home.  Thank You for always being here for me.  Help me to know and to do Your will, which really is my own as well.

Amen.

Escape from All Difficulties

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

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

Selected Passage:

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Do Not Leave the Son/Daughter of God in Hell

ACIM Workbook Lesson 63 – for Friday, March 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.”

Selected Passage:

“The Son of God looks to you for his redemption.  It is yours to give him, for it belongs to you.  Accept no trivial purpose or meaningless desire in its place, or you will forget your function and leave the Son of God in hell.  This is no idle request that is being asked of you.  You are being asked to accept salvation that it may be yours to give.  (WB105)”

Reflections:

This is a very important passage.  Would we leave our brothers and sisters in hell, which they are until we release them by our forgiveness?  This is no “idle request.”  This is our way Home, as well as the way Home for our brothers and sisters.

We accept our own salvation, and then we extend it, so to speak, to others.  This seems to give us a lot of power, but is there not a frequent saying that we are the hands and feet of Jesus, the way that he does his work in this world?

And we will have peace when we accept salvation.  Elsewhere we learn that we are meant to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  While, at this point, caught by the ego, we may not feel that calm and quiet are all that we want, we will fall more in line with this concept as we proceed in this year of the Workbook.  Peace of mind is not a little gift (a Text tenet).  And, also a Text tenet, the first obstacle that peace must flow across is our desire to get rid of it.  Let us not “get rid of” peace today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We need peace today.  No matter how far along our pathway to Awakening (and beyond) we have come, we still are beset with instances of conflict.  I ask that this conflict be lessened today.  May I be perfectly calm and quiet today.

Thank You for helping me to realize that my function is forgiveness of my brothers and sisters as well as forgiveness of myself.  Here we will have limitations, but pardon is a right that we have and that we extend to others.  May my pardon fill my heart and spirit today, and may I find no fault with anyone.  May even my thoughts about myself be filled with the sense of Your love for me.

Amen.

Everyone Deserves Forgiveness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 62 – for Thursday, March 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.”

Selected Passage:

“Do you not then begin to understand what forgiveness will do for you?  It will remove all sense of weakness, strain and fatigue from your mind.  It will take away all fear and guilt and pain.  It will restore the invulnerability and power God gave His Son to your awareness.  (WB104)”

Reflections:

1 – This a Favorite Passage

This is a favorite passage for students/teachers of ACIM.  We may, in our lifetimes, not fully understood how important forgiveness really is.  We may feel that people we have known have done such wrong things that they don’t “deserve” forgiveness.  Certainly believing this is a great disservice to ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters.  Repeatedly ACIM stresses that we are all innocent, that no attack has actually harmed our Self.  We have simply made mistakes, which we overlook in others, and we correct in ourselves.

2 – Does Everyone “Deserve” Forgiveness?

It is a common mistake of ACIM students and even teachers that our brothers and sisters who have “done us wrong” don’t “deserve” forgiveness.  But they have merely made mistakes, and those mistakes have been in illusion.  They are still as God created them (a Workbook tenet).  If others do not deserve forgiveness, then neither do we.  And then we are really lost to salvation.  We give to others what we feel we deserve ourselves.  Let us recognize today that we are free, we are innocent, and we can correct the mistakes that we have made.

3 – Correcting Mistakes

How do we correct those mistakes?  ACIM does not list remedies, but other inspirational writers have.  This may include approaching the person that we have wronged, but if this would only make things worse, then we are not encouraged to do this.  We can forgive through prayer, and sometimes this takes repeated, many repeated prayers.  On some level, our “enemy” knows what we have done, that we have truly forgiven and that we have freed him/her of the effects of the mistakes.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that all of us, including myself, deserve forgiveness. . .regardless.  We have merely made mistakes, and if we had lived the same life as another, we would very likely make the same errors that he/she has.  This is a truth that I need to carry in my innermost being.  Help me to do so today.

Be with me if something happens today that leads me to think, “He/she doesn’t deserve forgiveness.”  I am wrong; we all deserve forgiveness (pardon).  Help me to pardon all with whom I come in contact today.

Amen.

Forgiveness. . .the Way to See Our Innocence

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

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

Selected Passage:

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

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

Selected Passage:

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

Reflections:

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

Affirmation:  “There is nothing to fear.”

Selected Passage:

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

Selected Passage:

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

Reflections:

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

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

Selected Passage:

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

Reflections:

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Slight Twinge of Annoyance = Intense Fury

ACIM Workbook Lesson 21 – for Friday, January 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am determined to see things differently.”

Selected Passage:

“You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.  (WB32)”

Reflections:

The chosen passage for today is a crucial step in understanding the message of A Course in Miracles.  Because we live in a world of illusion (a “dream”–an ACIM tenet), then our forgiveness of our brothers and sisters is always justified.  They are innocent, in a state of grace.  We do not pardon real things that have happened out of the “goodness” of our hearts.  We pardon because nothing real has actually happened; our Self has not been damaged in any way.  And this is why anger and attack are never justified (ACIM tenets).

We see today in this lesson that mild annoyance is just as disturbing to our inner state as intense fury.  This emphasis is characteristic of ACIM.  There is nothing “partial” in our world; the smallest emotion is given as much credence as that happening which would arouse tremendous emotion.

We want to see ourselves, as well as our brothers and sisters, “differently.”  We want to be able to forgive with a whole heart, holding nothing back.  When we have studied ACIM, this blessing is what is held out to us.  We will have true vision.  We will see differently.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to arrest my slight twinges of annoyance at the start, before they mushroom into intense fury.  Jesus says that actually the emotions are the same, with the former only a veil over intense fury.  May I forgive in the beginning of feeling attacked; this will abort the anger that seems automatically to arise.

I love my brothers and sisters, and I would do them no harm.  They deserve pardon (forgiveness).  My real Self has never been damaged by any attack, which is actually an illusion in this world.  May my illusions (dreams) not mislead me today.

Amen.