Experiencing Love Removes Fear

“This is a simple exercise, and enjoyable too.  It but calls for you to ask one thing:  Ask yourself what you already know of the spirit of the person you observe.  You will be amazed at the knowledge you already have and the joy it brings you to remember it.  (A Course of Love, 13.2)”

paintings-by-hilaire-germain-edgar-degas- balletAffirmation:  “Let me observe my significant other today.”

Reflections:

1 – Feel Love

Certainly it is clear from A Course of Love that feeling love for another alleviates fear.  And this understanding may be the reason that Jesus recommends this helpful little exercise.  When we reach out to another in love, and we really feel the connection, we are saved from the anxiety that sometimes threatens to engulf us.

2 – Notice Our Significant Others

May we take a few moments, from time to time today, to notice our significant others.  To really see them in their spirits, which are pure.  We can overlook much that has distressed us (an ACIM tenet).  We would not feel joy when we think of the spirit of another unless that spirit were truly good.  And all spirits are good.  We just have to remember that, and to recognize that in this world we normally cannot live without some conflict.

3 – A Green Earth

If we thank God for these insights, we will walk a green earth today.  We will be joyous.  We will be appreciative for the blessings of our loved ones.  And we will never let fear dog our steps today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know the tranquility that comes from love today.  May I recognize that fear brings on all that which I do not want.  And love pushes fear out.  Always.

If I love my significant others enough, I will be free of fear.  Is this not wonderful motivation?

Be with me today as I seek to carry out the simple exercise in this passage.

Amen.

Separation Is a Mirage

“The Father did not prevent the idea of separation from taking place. . . .But just as your ideas do not take on a life of their own even though they at times seem to, this idea as well had no ability to be more than what it was, except for as the son chose to participate in it.  (A Course of Love, 12.21)”

Affirmation:  “I choose to heal the ‘separation’ from God.”

Reflections:Edgar_Germain_Hilaire_Degas - ballet dancers

1 – The Choice

We made the choice to believe that we were separate from God; this passage makes that clear.  Of course, we could not really separate, but we could imagine that we had done so, and in the imaging our fantasies and illusions became very real indeed (at least to us).  We have suffered greatly by this presumed separation, for it is not natural to fail to communicate with our Creator.  We have played at atheism and agnosticism, but these are such dismal choices.  And in them we never find the satisfaction that we are seeking.

2 – Our Hearts

If we have intellectual doubts, perhaps it is time to turn to our hearts and to ask what feels right to them!  Our hearts do not need the intellectual assents that our minds do, and it is to our hearts that Jesus appeals in A Course of Love, especially in these opening pages of the first volume.

3 – Seeking

Even though we may turn to our hearts, we still may not be satisfied, and, if this is the case, we need to keep seeking.  If we seek, we will find.  We may not believe that we have chosen “not to believe,” but indeed we have.  And when we turn repeatedly to that which we do not understand, a warm feeling will occasionally engulf us, a warm feeling that is surely God Himself.

4 – Heal the Separation

When we heal this separation, we will be on our way to a much happier life.  I speak of the “presumed” separation.  Our egos will be frail by now, and we will not seek pleasures that turn to dust in our hands.  Our priorities will have gotten straightened out.

5 – Jesus’s Promise in ACOL

The best that we can do does include not obsessing over our lack of faith.  Just let the thoughts come and go, try to live in the present, and our inner Being will be better able to speak to us.  This is the Christ/Self within, and this is the promise that Jesus makes to us in A Course of Love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would pray today to know what to do, and when.  I would ask to be guided to do my part in ending my belief in separation from You.  I know that this is a mirage, but it is a mirage in which I believed for a long time.  Let us get beyond that misfortune today.  With Your help.

Help me to reach out to others whom I see today.  We are all in this together, and we need each other.  May each of us spend what time seems needful in communion with You.  This calms us down and removes fear, a very practical outcome of communion.

May we not beat ourselves up over this matter of separation.  What has not occurred can have no effects.  And separation from You is absolutely impossible, for I am a part of You.  You dwell within each and every one of us.

Amen.

The Meaning of Atonement

“But one was needed to, of his own free will, join his will with his Father’s for it to be done for all.  This is all correction or atonement means, and all that is in need of your acceptance.  Join your brother who made this choice for all and you are reunited with the Christ in you.  (A Course of Love, 12.14)”

The_Starry_Night_van gogh
Affirmation:  “I choose Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

Jesus is here speaking of himself as the one who, of his own free will, joined his will with his Father’s, and thus did it for all of us–for all of us are one.  This understanding of atonement is in some respects very like traditional Christianity, though without the emphasis upon the crucifixion.

2 – In ACOL, Accept Jesus

Jesus said in A Course of Love that we must “accept” him, and this is a different interpretation than he gave in A Course in Miracles.  He does not, importantly, say that A Course of Love is the only way to God, but if we are to follow its teaching as our way, we are expected to follow Jesus.  The difference in ACIM is that in the Manual he acknowledged many different teachers, for God would not leave anyone without a way back to Him.  This is not conflict, just a difference in emphasis.  And the alteration probably will not disturb many students/teachers of A Course in Miracles.

3 – For All of Us

We only need to accept that one, Jesus, has walked the pathway before us, and that, when he walked it alone, he did it for all of us.  When we join to Jesus, we are reunited with the Christ in us.  The absolute nature of this assertion can easily be overlooked.  Is there not something more that we need to do, we might ask?  No, there is not.

4 – Home in God

Look to Jesus, and, as in traditional Christianity, we are home in God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have not always felt comfortable with Jesus.  I believed too long that he was a righteous judge who would find me unsuitable for the Kingdom.  His mercy was long lost to me.

But now I know better, and I thank You for the blessing of changing my mind about Jesus.  I no longer see him as a judge, but as a companion along my way.  I do not understand how he can be with just anybody at any time, but I do accept enough of mystery to know that there are natural laws of which science knows nothing.

I am grateful for the opportunity of which I avail myself to talk to Jesus, silently.  In the middle of the night, when I awake and can’t get back to sleep, I imagine him nearby.  I neither see nor hear anything, but very often I am shortly back to sleep until the morning light dawns.  Thank You.

Amen.

We Are One with All

“This one brother can unite you with all whom you perceive as others, for all others are one with him as well as you.  This is the one joining that needs to occur to bring about all the rest.  (A Course of Love, 12.9)”

Fishing in Spring - van gogh
Affirmation:  “I love all my brothers and sisters.”

Reflections:

1 – Join with One = Join with All

When we come to truly join with one brother or sister, we have joined with all, for all are one.  We have learned how to love that special one (in a special relationship now turned holy–a concept from A Course in Miracles), and we can easily see the value and the way of transforming that love of one to all others.

2 – Love

It is not an ACIM or ACOL tenet, but we are actually loving another with the love that is inside of us.  The fact that the Self/Christ is within makes this so.  We love to the degree that the shades of illusion have been removed from our eyes.  We love to the degree that is not covered over by the insanity of our minds, the strong presence of the ego.

3 – The Ego

If the ego seems to be a devil figure, this is not an ACIM or ACOL tenet, but the concept to my own mind does follow logically.  But there is a difference.  Because the ego is a part of our belief about ourselves, it will be transformed but not extinguished when we come into our own, when the Self/Christ has been recognized and sustained as a way to live.

4 – All Unique

So loving one brother or sister can teach us to love all.  But this does not mean that we can substitute one individual for another.  We are all unique, and we elicit love of different sorts, depending on the facets of our personality that are reflected, as in a mirror.  (These are interpretations, not stated in ACIM or ACOL.)  Just as we recognize that we love our children, for example, differently but equally, we can transfer this knowledge to all others, for, as stated in the passage, we are all one.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this good day.  At times I have truly felt myself to be One with the people whom I have met, especially those whom I already know.  But I have also felt a warmth toward all others I have encountered in my travels about.  Thank You for this blessing.

May I remember to express gratitude for the good things that happen, as soon as they happen as possible.  May my remembrance be keen in this regard.

We are all One, and when we realize this, the whole world seems to open up.  Thank You for the clarity of my world today.

Amen.

Love Others and Thereby See the Self

“Re-establishing your relationship with your brother is what will show your Self to you.  You have one brother who wears but many faces in your perception of who he is and, while you know him not, you cannot know yourself.  (A Course of Love, 12.9)”

van-gogh-finalAffirmation:  “I love my brother.”  

Reflections:

1 – Forgiveness of Our Brother/Sister

This passage from A Course of Love highlights the way of salvation from A Course in Miracles:  forgiveness of our brother (or sister).  Forgiveness is not mentioned in this brief passage, though, but we can know that in order to re-establish our relationship to our brother, we must forgive him for the various transgressions that we think he has committed against us.  Forgiveness is the only sane response, because these transgression are not real in actuality (being illusion in an illusory world), but, more important, these transgressions are a call for help and love.

2 – Adverse Happenings

If we reframe all the things that happen to us in this world that are adverse, we can recognize that those from our brothers and sisters that hurt us were actually their own calls of love.  We would rush to their side with aid (if they are open to our aid).

3 – See Our Self

When we re-establish our appropriate relationship to our brother, A Course of Love goes a step farther in recognizing the blessings that will come to us:  We will see our Self, perhaps (probably) for the first time.  This Self is the Christ within, and in this world the combination of divine and human that is within becomes established in the physical world as the elevated Self of form.  There is no higher goal for us in this world, but, of course, we must wish for this blessing for all others as well, and we must do our part to make that goal a reality for them as well.

4 – Perception

We see many sides of our brothers and sisters in our perception of them.  That is because perception is so variable, being projected from within our own self.  And our brother does seem to have a multifaceted personality, some parts of which we like and some parts of which we don’t like.  We too are variable to him/her.  Part of this variability is just the reflection of different moods in ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  Bad moods do not mean that the person is bad, only feeling down or depressed, or acting out attack or anger because the inside of the person is hurting so much.

5 – Insane Behavior

The good news is that we don’t have to figure out what makes another act as he/she does.  We just recognize the attitude or behavior as insane, when it is anything but loving, and then we forgive.  We do not forgive reality, for we are not seeing reality.  We forgive illusion, and we forgive for ourselves as well as for the other.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Naturally we are going to get upset with our brothers and sisters as we walk through this world.  They will sometimes make mistakes that involve us or our loved ones.  Help me to handle such times in an appropriate manner.  I realize that this may mean speaking up, but help me to know that anger does not have to rise to the surface.  But, if it does, You will see that my attitude is adjusted.  I would only love my brothers and sisters who make mistakes, even serious ones.

Be with me today as I settle down from a difficult yesterday.  We are very human, and our Christ/Self as the divine does not always appear obvious to us.  As time goes by, may more and more of our time be spent in glimpses of Christ-consciousness.  May we live the life that You would have us lead.

I know that You have already forgiven me for any misdeeds that I made yesterday.  I will always fall short if You do not pick me up.  Do pick me up and allow me to try again.

Amen.

How to Overcome Uncertainty

“Uncertainty of any kind is doubt about your self.  This is why this Course aims to establish your identity, for from it all the rest will come.  (A Course of Love, 12.8)”

camille-monet-and-her-son-jean-in-the-garden-at-argenteuil-renoir-largeAffirmation:  “My identity is my Self.”

Reflections:

1 – How Often?

How often are we uncertain?  I would venture to guess that this state of mind happens very frequently.  We don’t know which way to turn.  If we have been students of A Course in Miracles, we know to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  Now that we are studying A Course of Love, we know to turn inward to the Christ/Self within.  But do we yet believe that the inner self is really the inner Self/Christ?

2 – Christ Within

Probably not.  And that is what brings on the doubt.  We don’t really believe that we are good enough to hold Christ within us.  It is true that he is hidden from us when we are obstreperous, attacking, and angry–but we are (are we not?) learning to move beyond such undesirable states of mind and heart.  We are listening to our heart, something that we have done sporadically all of our lives.  We are listening to our heart if we are following the recommendation of ACOL.

3 – Perfection

The doubt that we are good enough to hold the Christ inside will fall away as we accept the good news that Jesus is telling us.  He assures us that we do not have to be perfect.  We only need to identify which character traits we would relinquish, and then it is done for us.  The intention is all.  And then the doubt will fall away.  We know that all of our brothers and sisters, likewise, hold Christ within.  We are not unique.  This assurance will help us to realize that we are not lost in grandiose dreams.  We are instead encouraged to accept the grandeur of our being, the grandeur that God welcomes us as His children, eventually as co-creators with Him.  And when the Self who is within, the Christ who is within, is accepted fully, we will not have any sense of false humility, not any false humility that is actually arrogance that we cannot be as good as God has created us.

4 – Accept Others

When we establish our identity as the Self/Christ that we are within, we will reach out with more acceptance of other people.  We frequently act badly because of a poor self-image, and this poor self-image will vanish in the glory of recognizing who we really are.  Then our Self will move to create the elevated Self of form, and we will not be quite so ready to denigrate the physical in our lives.  Yes, the physical is an illusion, but the illusion is quite solid to us, and to deny this fact is a particularly unfortunate type of denial.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I move closer to a full acceptance of the Christ/Self within me, as he/she is within all of us.  May I not feel that to think this way is arrogance, but actually not to think this way is arrogance.  Would we deny what we are learning about who we really are?  Who Jesus is teaching us that we really are?

Jesus has told us that we are the same as he.  And yet we find this difficult to accept.  May we seek forgiveness for our stubborness, a forgiveness that we need to grant ourselves, for God does not condemn and therefore does not need to forgive us.  We do not need to condemn ourselves either.  

Be with me today as I ponder these deep truths from A Course of Love.  There is little doubt that I can attract whatever I wish, and today I wish for Your mercy.  Be with me as I seek to reach for the stars, even as all of us reach for the stars.  This is not arrogance or grandiosity, but the sanest sense.  Thank You for leading Jesus to guide us to this knowledge.

Amen.

Admit Your Desire to Rest

“Admit now your desire to rest, a desire that could make you weep and make you wish to sleep an endless sleep.  If you but understood the energy required to keep the world of your illusion in its place, you would understand the rest that will simply come of giving up your need to do so.  (A Course of Love, 12.7)”

Affirmation:  “Rest today.”Renoir-La-Lecture

Reflections:

1 – Exerting Energy

I find the idea interesting that we are exerting energy to keep illusions in place, and that we will feel more rested when we have given up this essentially heartless task.  The world is here, once again, defined as illusion (A Course in Miracles said “dreams”).  We do project our interior to the outside of our seeing eyes.  We make what we view first within.  If hate finds a place in our hearts, we will see a hateful world.  On the contrary, if love finds a place in our hearts, we will view a loving world.  Cannot we see the wisdom in this interpretation?  Cannot we realize that when we see others who are conflicted, we ourselves are at that moment conflicted, and we are conflicted first?

2 – Hugh Prather

Hugh Prather makes the latter point very precisely.  He notes that when he and his wife Gayle see couples in public who need to have something “fixed,” then at that moment the two of them seem to need to have something “fixed” in their normally loving relationship.  How could it be otherwise?  And is not this dynamic something that can be noticed, easily, in daily life?

3 – Fixing the Outer / Inner

When we have drunk too much coffee, are we not prone to pick a fight with our nearest and dearest?  We are too stressed from the caffeine, and we therefore react.  We do not act for no good reason, but we try to fix the outer when the inner has been compromised.

4 – Rest Today

Today would be a good day to decide that we will rest rather than try to prop up the world of illusion by wishing for that which we don’t have.  Just turn inward when stressed, and know that this too shall pass.

5 – Invite Rest

The only way to get rest is to invite it.  And this we do when we stop trying to make this world into something that it is not.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would rest today from my weariness.  I know that I am not nearly as weary as some of my brothers and sisters, but the ego has not yet died in me, and keeping the illusions going has sapped my strength.  I would end this foolishness today.

Thank You for the joy that You have given me today.  I know that the joy comes from You, even as I struggle against egoic impulses.  Be with me as I leave the struggle behind and simply rest.

Amen.

How to Find Happiness

“God’s will for you is happiness, and of this you can be certain.  To align your will with God’s is but to make this certain state your home.  This is but a wish come true, and when it is all you wish for it will come to be.  And in the granting of this wish will come your rest and the laying down of every heavy burden you have carried.  (A Course of Love, 12.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am grateful for the happiness that I have today.”

Reflections:

1 – Is Happiness a Laudable Goal?renoir-auguste-die-kleine-irene-cahen-danvers-9701659

I have mentioned previously in this blog that I have not always believed that “happiness” was a laudable goal.  I remember encountering a college freshman in my early teaching days who proclaimed without hesitation that “happiness” was her goal.  I did not challenge her, but I did, inwardly, cringe.  I felt that she was missing the mark.  At that time I felt that the only worthy goal was a contribution to society.

2 – Being Unhappy

I still feel that contributions to society are important, but I have also recognized that one who is unhappy in a personal sense will find outward manifestations to caring to be limited at best, ineffectual at worse.  We don’t do so well when we are not joyous, and other people certainly do recognize when we are not joyous.  How can we win over others to a point of view that is negative?  Who wants negative interpretations to rule the day?

3 – Inner Contentment

A Course in Miracles gave several answers to the questions of our function–salvation, happiness, forgiveness.  A closer look at these three, and the interpretations that are given them in ACIM will let us see that these are all one function.  To be believed by others, we can’t espouse one without the others.  Now A Course of Love makes the point that God’s will for us is happiness.  What a joy it is to hear this assertion!  What can we not accomplish when we are happy?  Certainly we can do much more for others when we are contented within ourselves.

4 – The One that All of Us Are

And we are meant to be in a body that includes all others–the One.  We are meant to be in unity and relationship with the All.  And the All most assuredly includes our relationships with any brothers and sisters whom we encounter.

5 – Love of Our Heart

Let us today let the free-flowing thought of our minds touch base with the love of our hearts, and then we will be contented.  And in this contentment is found the germ of happiness that we seek.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a blessed day indeed when we can live it in a contented, happy fashion.  This does not mean that nothing will go wrong.  Some things may go awry, but we will be able to handle all problems with assurance that they are handled correctly when we live in the light of God’s will.  He wishes for us only the best, and we must reocgnize that He has our best interests in mind always.

May I listen with my heart today.  There is no reason to let the ego rule any longer.  We ought to be getting past this, as far along in A Course of Love as we have come.  May the egoic rule of our mind end, and the more serene message of our heart take over instead.  May today go well.  You would have it so.

Amen.

What Do We Really Seek?

“This Course may seem to have come far astray from what you would have it do, for you are looking for something specific from it, though you know it not.  You are looking for the rest and quiet joy that only comes from love.  You are looking for the safety and security of a loving home, even if it is one only of philosophy  You look for the soft assurance of certainty, not of your mind, but of your heart.  (A Course of Love, 12.5)”

Affirmation:  “peace, serenity, calm, tranquility”

Reflections:vangogh - blossoming almond tree2

1 – Blessings

All of us want the blessings so beautifully mentioned in the passage for today.  Some of us choose to turn aside from the quiet that could come from a genuinely spiritual attitude in life.  And perhaps that is not all wrong.  God is God of the secular, and He does not need our worship (though He does want our communion with Him, according to A Course in Miracles, the Text).  God does not have an ego with which to accept the praise that traditional religion has asked us to give to Him.  But we ourselves do need to be thankful for His generous blessings, and the fact that He is always here for us, even (especially) when we fail to recognize His Presence.

2 – What Do We Want in Life?

Today let us get very quiet within ourselves, and ask in genuine calm if Jesus doesn’t have it right here.  What do we really want in this life?  Jesus mentions rest, quiet joy, love, safety and security, and soft assurance of certainty in our hearts.  Jesus does not mention “success” as the world views success.  Is it not therefore likely that we are amiss when we seek for the successes that this world recognizes?  All blessings in the list are intangibles, even the reference made to “home” is considered to be metaphorical.  If we pray for the blessings in this list, are we not praying in God’s Will?  And will He not grant what is in His Will?

3 – Our Real Will and God’s Are Identical

Remember that our real will and God’s are identical.  He chooses for us what we really want.  But he does give us the free will to reject what He has offered, though He does set limits on our miscreation.  If He did not set limits on our miscreation, we would be lost indeed.  So let us be thankful that we can stray from Him just so far.

4 – Living in a Dream

Pain is the way that, more often than not, we know that we have strayed.  This does not mean that every illness is an indictment from God.  Certainly not.  We live in a world of dreams, and our Selves can choose illness for a myriad of reasons, most often being a way to learn.  Yet we can learn through rewards (an ACIM tenet), and we might spend some time today asking that our pains be reduced and our rewards be increased.  Learning through rewards is lasting, and learning through pain is not.  Sometime, somehow, we realize that there is another way.  And then we are ready to find it.  A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are two courses that seek to set us on the pathway back to God and all holiness that, in our dreams, we have forgotten.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the intangibles of rest, peace, certainty of the heart, and the like–intangibles that you have offered to me so freely.  When I seek for success as measured by this world, I often seek amiss.  But Your will is that I have these intangibles that are Your blessings.  When I ask for them, Your giving them to me is assured.  Thank You for the gentleness of Your response.

I would learn through rewards, not pain.  I would choose the way of Jesus, a way which is sure to be lasting.  Pain teaches, but only for a season.  We have to come to know, eventually, that there is another way to live, another way other than encountering pain wherever we look.  I would find that other way today.  And when I do so, I will  not cease to thank You for the joy that You are so desirous to give me.

Amen.

The Reason for Unhappiness

“Yet you must understand that nothing that is not part of God is worthy of joining, nor can join with you.  What you have sought to join with is the reason for your unhappiness.  For you seek to join with what cannot be joined, and you seek separation from all that could be joined with you and all that would fill your dark and lonely places with the happiness you seek.  (A Course of Love, 12.4)”

Affirmation:  “I would join, metaphorically, with all today.”

Reflections:Woman in a Boat - renoir

1 – Joining, Not Separation

The passage for today is obscure, but it is likely that Jesus is referring to our belief in a separated state, and the idea that we can join with special others when we wish, and depart from those same special ones when we wish (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).  But nothing separated can actually be joined.  We need to, at least tentatively and temporarily, share an idea of Oneness with all.  And then the joining is easy.

2 – Spending Time with God

Jesus is not speaking here of physical joining, though he does speak of this joining elsewhere.  He indicates that this physical means was meant to remind us of our desire to one, not to be separate.  We are meant to be in relationship one to another; we are never meant to spend lives of isolation.  I do not mean for this statement to be controversial.  There are introverts who prefer solitude to the company of others, and shy people sometimes choose solitude also.  There are many religious individuals in religious orders that spend a good bit of time in prayer and meditation, and for these activities they may be alone.  But God is always with us, and He wants our companionship.  The opening pages of the Text of ACIM says that God is lonely when the minds that He created do not commune with Him.  He knows that we have fallen asleep and must be awakened.  And He seeks to do just that.

2 – Joining in Onwness

So, we learn today that joining in Oneness is the intention of God for us.  We are in unity and relationship, a recurrent theme of A Course of Love.  The unity makes us One; the relationship makes us differentiate from one another so that companionship can occur.  We are actually talking with a part of ourselves when we speak to another!  And we would not wish for ourselves a bad day, and so let us be kind and loving, sparing of anger and attack, when we are with others.  Our brothers and sisters deserve this of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I never be guilty of choosing isolation from You.  And, except in special and particular times, I would not choose isolation from other people.  Be with me today as I seek to be sensitive to the interpersonal needs of other people, and to share my life with theirs, to the extent that we both desire.

I would thank You for leading me from too much introversion to a blend of being both introvert and extrovert.  I learned years ago that I get along better when I share my life with others, including the personal aspects that previously I kept between myself, my journal, and my God.

We do best when we join with others, not taking the idea of separation so seriously.  Separation, especially the independence that is so prized in our culture, is actually not always wise.  And separation, by itself, is never wise.  

May we seek and find You in the companionship that You would wish to have with us.  May I speak to You often today.

Amen.

Love Welcomed Becomes a Celebration

“What is a dinner party where love is not?  It is merely a social obligation.  But a dinner party where love is welcomed to take its place becomes a celebration.  Your table becomes an altar to the Lord and grace is upon it and the Lord is with you.  (A Course of Love, 11.18)”

 
renoir - luncheon3
Affirmation:  “I would celebrate with love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Dinners Shared

Every dinner that we share with others can be a celebration, however humble the fare.  I have found that the feeling of love greatly reduces and even eliminates anxiety (a major form of fear), and certainly one time that I feel love is when I have prepared a good dinner and want to share it with my beloved.  May you do the same today.

2 – For Those Lacking

We are led to think of those in our world who lack the necessities of life, including nutritious food.  We are led to do what we can,  out of love rather than obligation, for a contribution that is an obligation is not unlike a dinner party that has no love and is just a social obligation (see today’s passage).

3 – At Home in God

When we celebrate with the expression of love, we are at home in God.  We can imagine that He joins us in such celebrations, as Jesus herein tells us.  When we celebrate holidays, there is sometimes a great deal of tension, because our family members carry old wounds that have festered into resentments.  So we are tense, and they are tense, and we just want to get it over with.  I myself come from a small family, and these dynamics were not a part of my experience.  (This is one of my blessings.)  But even where these dynamics are present, a truly loving atmosphere can be encouraged.  Let us never give up on this encouragement.

4 – An Altar to God

Our dinner table becomes an altar to God, for Jesus tells us this.  Certainly this reminds us of the Passover dinner that Jesus celebrated with his disciples before the crucifixion.  Let us remember that Jesus loved deeply, and it is especially instructive that he would use the example of a meal that is filled with love and becomes an altar to the Lord.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my meals today be celebrations with love.  May this humble and everyday occurrence for everyone be the celebration of love that it might be when we think of God.
May I think of those who have needs, and may I in some way seek to assuage that need.  Let us give to those who are without.  And may the love that we have for our loved ones also reach out to those in need in our world.

Amen.

On the Wings of Angels

“It is a call whose answer will come to you quickly on the wings of angels, a fluttering your heart will feel, for angels too are one with you. . . .

This is a call that requires you to do nothing but to remain faithful to it.  You do not need to think about it, but only let it be.  (A Course of Love, 11.16 – 11.17)”

Affirmation:  “May I remain faithful to the call today.”

Reflections:vangog - still  life of flowers

1 – Serenity and Peace

We need to live a serene and peaceful life, for it is this effortless ease with which we truly live or “be.”  We do not have to scurry around trying to accomplish all manner of things, many of which would be misguided.  God guides us every step of the way, for we are in  union with Him.  And angels accompany us, as this passage suggests.

2 – We are One

We are all one together.  Knowing that we are not meant to be separate from God and from others is a great blessing–just the knowingness of this concept.  We do not have to experience dark nights of the soul, though they may come.  Even in the blackest night, though, we can realize that the light dawns at the end of the path, that things will get better.  We can rest in assurance that this is the case.  And we can know that the old adage, “It is darkest just before the dawn,” is true–oh, so true.

3 – The Call

We can answer this call, and we can do so each new day.  This is what being faithful to a call really means (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).  Every new day that we reaffirm our commitment to God and His purposes is a new beginning for us.  And we will know it as the day unfolds.  A good beginning always presages a better chance a a good day all along.

4 – Angels

May the angels that accompany us know that we need their presence in our lives.  It is an ACOL tenet that angels are one with us, and this tenet is comforting indeed.  May we realize that the oneness extends to all.  We are one with everyone whom we have ever known, perhaps especially those who are no longer in our pathway.  We do not know what lies in the future, and of course that is best.  But we can be certain that when we are contented simply to “be,” at least most of the time, the many busy doings of our day will flow smoothly more often than not.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my guardian angels see me through the day.  May I always remember, at least once a day (if not more), to acknowledge their presence in my life.  Though it is difficult to acknowledge someone whom I can’t see, it is the best way to live serenely and peacefully.  May I be serene and at peace today.

We are all One.  May all of us remember this as we seek to head into the next year.

Amen.

A Separated Self Is an Illusion

“You can be faithful to but one thought system.  One is the thought system of the separated self and is based on separation.  The other is the thought system of creation and is based on union.  Your faith in what you have made has been shaken now, and you realize you would like to place your faith elsewhere.  (A Course of Love, 11.6)”

Affirmation:  “I choose union today, with God and my brothers and sisters.”

Reflections:claude-monet-paintings-claude-monet-woman

1 – Separation

We have long believed that we are somehow separated from God because we fell from grace and were expelled from Paradise due to our missteps.  Perhaps we need to take another look at these concepts.

2 – Did We Separate from God?

What if we only thought that we had been rejected by God?  What if we have never really separated from Him at all?  These are the thoughts of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Our belief in separation is based on the illusion in which we live.  It would be impossible to actually separate from God, but we can imagine that we have done so, and thereby experience what it might be like to be “other than” God.  By such thinking, we recognize, eventually, that we are lost in dreams and that we want to return home.  And home is heaven.  We find ourselves welcomed home as the Prodigal Son was welcomed back by his earthly father.

3 – Union

What does “union” mean in this context?  Union is the consciousness of All That Is, the choice to join with God in knowingness and love, and with our brothers and sisters in knowingness and love.  We are One, and in union we come to see how this can be.  There is no separation among those who love each other.  We will all meet again those in our lives whom we have loved, either on this earth or in the world beyond (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).

4 – We Have Not Separated

Let us put our fatih in a different place today.  Let us reaffirm that we have not actually left God at all, that this choice would be an impossibility.  But that we think that we have left is very possible, and it goes a long way toward explaining our fears and apprehensions.  We think that He is angry with us for “rejecting” Him, and we cringe in tribulation.  All of this is illusory.

5 – A Better Day

May the faith that we reach today, the turning aside from the separated state and the choice for union, give us a better day–and may this better day be the harbinger of many good days ahead.  Would not Jesus choose this for us?  Yet we ourselves make the choice, and if it is in line with what Jesus would see as best, we are poised for a new tomorrow.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose today to place my complete faith in You.  You know my needs, and You care for me.  You will guide me to make the right decisions, in the things that I must do to be safe and loved by those about whom I care so much.  Your way is best.  Your way is actually the only sane response.  May my day go well in Your light.

I would join in union with all today, and with All, meaning You.  May any obsessions about my continued safety drop away before Your grace.

I know that to separate from You would be impossible.  But all of my brothers and sisters do not have this knowledge.  May I reach today those whom You would have me reach with this blessed news of Your constant presence in our lives.

May the day go well.  If I am true to You all the day long, paying attention to the promptings, then this day will be good indeed.  Thank You.

Amen.

Love Cannot Be Taught

“What love is cannot be taught.  Remember that your task here is to remove the barriers that keep you from realizing what love is.  That is the learning goal of this course–your awareness of what love is–and no earthy course can take you beyond this goal.  It is only your willingness that is required.  (A Course of Love, 11.5)”

renoir - womanAffirmation:  “May I love today.”

Reflections:

1 – From ACIM to ACOL

There is a movement in these words of A Course of Love that goes beyond A Course in Miracles, which had as its goal the bestowing of forgiveness of ourselves and others.  While love was certainly not absent from ACIM, the focus was on the mind and the ego, while A Course of Love looks to the heart, and, ultimately, the mind and heart in conjunction with each other.

2 – Intuitive Knowledge

We know intuitively that love cannot be taught.  We experience love, and we experience love most often as a function of the heart, without the involvement of the mind and the intellect.  We love someone, and we don’t know why–we just do.  Our emotions are involved, and the emotions, in our understanding, are heart-sent into our lives.

3 – Heart Is Central

This is why we cannot be taught love, because if we could, the mind would be the central player (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  And the mind is not.  We sometimes love in spite of ourselves, though often this is in special relationships.  After they turn, with our help and God’s, into holy relationships, then we come closer to the wholeheartedness that Jesus extols in A Course of Love.

4 – Love at the Center

Do not despair that love cannot be taught, because it can be learned, though perhaps not of the mind.  When we ease up, we are in a better position to allow love to overcome us, to grab us.  And then we have placed love at the center of our being, where love belongs.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I offer love its central place today, in my heart, where love belongs.  I can intellectually choose to love somebody; it doesn’t work that way.  We cannot will love into being, and sometimes we love almost against our will.  

But love we will, for it is crucial to our being, the center of our being.  We may not express that love well, but even the most despised of human beings on our earth have loved, in the limited way that they knew.  Love is like a light that will not be extinguished.  And it is the way that joy comes into our lives.

May we all express love today to those closest to us.  May we receive the love that is offered to us.  And may we express and receive in totality.  You are with us always, and, today, when we need You most, You will be there for us, in love.

Amen.

Effortless Ease

“Even those who feel the power of these words within their hearts and vow to go slowly and carefully through each page and section, giving total dedication to what this text would have them do, are at risk of trying too hard to be earnest rather than simply desiring to learn.  (A Course of Love, 11.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I read ACOL with simple pleasure.”

Reflections:van gogh - house

1 – Trying Too Hard

Jesus seems to be saying that those of us who have studied earnestly are perhaps trying too hard.  He has say elsewhere that there is an effortlessness about salvation, an effortlessness that many of us have never given any credence.  May we give credence to the ease of salvation today.

2 – Learning Mode

In the first volume of the trilogy, we are still in learning mode and have not yet advanced to the observation that will stand us in good stead for the rest of our lives.  We have sought and sought, seeking new and different methodologies, new commentaries on salvation, and Jesus seems to tell us in A Course of Love that we have not recognized when we have actually accomplished what we set out to do.  We just keep seeking, never stopping, never looking inward, but always going to yet another outward source.

3 – A Time to Be Finished Learning

But there is a stopping point.  And Jesus says in the Dialogues of A Course of Love that the time to be finished with learning is now.  This is, however, the third of the trilogy, and now, still, we are in learning mode in this, the first volume.  Perhaps we need to start a bit of practicing for what will follow, to disengage a bit and realize that what we need to learn will come easily, peacefully.

4 – Jesus

Can you imagine Jesus in his life on earth, struggling to understand what he read in the Torah?  I think not.  When he read the scriptures before others, he asserted that this day what he was reading was fulfilled, and he meant “in him.”  This kind of authority, to my eye, is resplendent throughout A Course of Love (and also A Course in Miracles).

5 – Be Glad

Let us listen to the authority of Jesus, and be glad that we do not have to work so hard to learn.  We can just let the words sink in.  And with a grateful heart,, we will come to understand those words.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I read A Course of Love with effortless ease.  Even as I seek, in reading this first volume, to learn precisely what Jesus has to say.  May my days be spent inn effortless ease, as he would also counsel.  His way is not hard, and it is our own ego, not yet withered away, that seeks to have us try to hard.  Our minds get in the way of our hearts.

Help me throughout this day.  May we rejoice in all that Jesus has said in ACOL.  His way is surely easy and peaceful, and he would have us walk a joyful path.

Amen.

Let’s Play Today

“This is not a test and you cannot fail.  You are merely playing:  Play at observing yourself from above.  Can you look down upon yourself?  And can you skip along and get in front to see your body coming toward you?  (A Course of Love, 10.28)”

Affirmation:  “Let’s play today.”

Reflections:

1 – Skip Ahead

The deeper meaning of the passage for today is that time is an illusion (an interpretation, not stated in A Course of Love).  If we can skip ahead of ourselves, and see ourselves coming ahead, then we are in a fantasy about the future, that we are that future, and that we ourselves are coming along on the pathway just as we ought to come.

2 – A Glorious Play

What a glorious play this is!  Can we be sure that we are following along on the pathway that we ought to take?  But is there even a choice?  How much is preordained?  A Course in Miracles says (as does this passage in A Course of Love) that we are merely reliving the past, that the past is like a carpet that will roll up when the end is reached.  If so, it is obvious, at least to me, that Jesus is here playing with this idea a bit further, and encouraging us to do the same.

3 – The End Is Sure

If we can imagine that the end is sure, and that we are caught in an illusion that does not have to be  painful in the least (we choose), then perhaps today is the time to affirm this understanding in the depths of our being.

4 – In a Joyous Frame of Mind

If we skip ahead, and then look back, we are in a joyous frame of mind and spirit and heart.  May we imagine this game for ourselves today.  May we imagine that we see tomorrow and that it is better than today–even if today is pretty good already.  Is this not where Jesus is leading us in A Course of Love?  He would have us, in the third volume of the trilogy (The Dialogues of A Course of Love), join him on the mountaintop, where we will finally know Christ-consciousness in a sustained and elevated Self of form.  This is where we are headed.  Let us take care that the individual steps on our pathway are well-chosen, so that we will be ready for the mountaintop when that time comes.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this playful exercise today.  May we imagine ourselves ahead of the time which we are in now, and enjoy the pleasures of a future time.  We will help to make those pleasures real.  Be with me today and always, present and future.

Help me to lighten the mood of those with whom I interact.  Your way is always best, and You are not the solemn God that so many of us may have thought in the past.  Help me to lighten up, even as I seek to help others to do the same.

Amen.

Eliminate Fear

“The separated self is so ensconced in fear that the known fears of its existence seem preferable to the unknown fears of any other kind of existence.  (A Course of Love, 10.22)”

 
van-gogh-tree in landscape
Affirmation:  “I would leave fear behind today–once and for all.”

Reflections:

1 – Separated Self

Why do we experience fear?  We have not let go of the separated self.

2 – Not Actually “Separate”

What does this mean?  It doesn’t mean that the separated self is real.  It would have been impossible, regardless of whenever, to actually separate from God or from our brothers and sisters.  The best that we could do when the “tiny, mad idea” (from A Course in Miracles) entered our minds was to imagine an illusion in which we were separate.  We could not fully know the glory of what we had until we went on a journey without distance (from ACIM) away from it.  This was a choice, ACOL tells us, that God and we made together.  We were rebellious adolescents, and so He made the choice that so many parents on this earth must make when their teenagers are rebellious:  We let go.  God “let go,” but He did not leave us alone, anymore than earthly parents leave their teens alone.

3 – In Illusions (Dreams)

And in this analogy I see much of our dilemma here on earth.  We think ourselves separate from God, and so this separation is what we experience.  Separation is not true in any real sense, but it becomes real enough to us, caught as we are in illusion (dreams).

4 – We Are Not Alone

May we leave behind the fears that our presumed separation has brought to us.  We are not and never have been alone.  God is as much with us as He has been in the eons that we have been entities in the universe(s).  May this reassurance stay with us today, as we navigate once again through the minefield that this world often is for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I let fear go today.  May no obsessions mar my enjoyment of this day.  May I know that I never have separated from You, and that Your felt presence is frequently with me.  I am at peace now.  May I remain so all the day long.

May all of us leave our fears behind, when we recognize that we are never alone.  God is always with us, and so are our brothers and sisters.  We need You, dear God, and may we never be tempted to go it alone.  That is no way to live.  No way to try to negotiate a way through this sometimes difficult world.

Thank You for teaching me years ago that it is better to share with others, to reach out.  I was never happy when I tried to hold in my conflicts.  Such isolation ignores You, and it also ignores other people.  We are all in this together.

Amen.

Happiness So Fulfilling

“Each of you is aware of a threshold you would cross that leaves no route open for return.  That threshold is often a happiness so fulfilling that once you have experienced it you say, ‘I will take this despair no more.’  For others this threshold is the opposite, an experience of pain so great that they would rather die than continue on in such a way.  (A Course of Love, 10.21)”

Van-Gogh-sunflowersAffirmation:  “May I choose despair no more.”

Reflections:

1 – Dark Night of the Soul

When we reach the threshold that today’s passage proclaims, we are on our way to better times–that, or we choose to die (but normally not by suicide).  We have often heard that it is darkest just before the dawn, and it helps me to realize this when I feel a dis-ease or discomfort, or agitation (any negative emotion, in fact).  The turning point that is called the “threshold” is, though, an example of living in the midst of the dark night of the soul (a characterization by St. John of the Cross).  Most of us choose to put one foot in front of the other, and to go forward.  Very few choose to end their lives before the span of their years has run out.  (I speak now of choice in regard to physical ailments rather than the taking of one’s own life, for the physical ailments, even unto death, are a choice.)

2 – Accept Despair No Longer

Choosing to accept despair no longer is a choice for life, and a choice for a healthier life, both emotionally and physically.  It is also a better life spiritually, though we do not often think in those terms.  Sometimes the despair drives us to our knees, and we have an experience of God that has not come heretofore in our experience.  This is the blessing of dark nights of the soul.

3 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

But we do not have to learn through pain (from A Course in Miracles).  It is said in ACIM that learning through pain is temporary, and that learning through rewards is lasting.  Here in the threshold, though, I think we are dealing with something qualitatively different.  We have reached the limit that we can withstand  in regard to pain.  And we choose pain no more.

4 – Eckhart Tolle

The experience described in the above paragraph hints at the experience that Eckhart Tolle so clearly has described as leading to his Enlightenment (i.e., The Power of Now and A New Earth).  The way of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is not so extreme, but this very low point can and does come to students/teachers of these two works.  We cannot predict the future; we can only ask that God be gentle with us.  And then we need to cooperate in that gentleness.  He cannot reach us until we open the door from the inside.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose a happiness so fulfilling today that there is no turning back to despair.  I would reach the threshold that is You.  You are my goal as well as my Blessing.  Be with me as I walk along the path that You point out today.

May we live through dark nights of the soul, but may we not linger there.  They are teaching devices, but we are reaching the point that we come to know by observation, not learning, as A Course of Love tells us.  Be with me today as I seek to “learn” in the old way no more.

I cannot change overnight.  I need You to make the transition to a better life.  Help me to thank You for the blessings that You give so abundantly.  And may I never forget to thank my brothers and sisters who are also there for me.

Amen.

Transformation

tilt-shift-van-gogh-wheat-field-with-rising-sun-detail“The beginning of all transformation is at the source, and this is as true of illusion as of the truth.  You see your body as your self, and your self as source of all that you have done and felt in all your days upon this earth.  Yet your real source is at the center of yourself, the altar to your creator, the Self you share in unity with Christ.  Christ is the ‘part’ of God that resides in you, not in separation but in the eternal wholeness in which God and you together exist in truth.  (A Course of Love, 10.4)”

Affirmation:  “God is within.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM

There are some ideas from A Course in Miracles that need to be explored before we take up the passage for today.  When we say (as the passage says, in other words) that God is within, we must also realize that projection makes perception.  And I believe that the earthly concept of the hologram is a correct analogy, that each part contains the whole.  Of course, this bottom line is that All is One, and that is the why that God is within, and we can also project a world outside of ourselves.  We perceive other people, and so they are, but they are also “us.”

2 – Follow Your Heart

Do not let theology delay you.  If the thoughts in the paragraph above do not resonate with you, then instead set them aside, and take only what feels right in your heart.  We are not too concerned with bodies now, but with the center of our being (not the physical organ).  And this center is the heart.

3 – Real Beauty

We would know that the body deceives.  The body deceives by letting us think that if we just make it pretty or handsome enough, we will attract other bodies who want to be with us.  And so we may.  But will this superficial value last?  I think now.  Aging comes to all of us, though the real beauty is within.  And the holy relationship recognizes that the real beauty is within.

4 – A Summary

The passage for today encapsulates a good bit of the good news of A Course of Love.  God is our Source, and we are heart-centered beings who also use our minds as need be.  But we must not let the ego-oriented mind take over.  We must ask that this ego be dislodged, and then we must replace it with something better. ACOL‘s answer is wholeheartedness–a melding of mind and heart to make one, or One.  The One that is God, as well as all things.  Illusion has no place in this concept.  Behind the illusion is the real, and we would peek behind the illusion to see that real today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I long for this transformation that is described today in the passage selected.  Help me to be patient, as I am not ready, or the revelation would already have occurred.  This transformation is the Awakening or the Christ-consciousness that is the birthright of all of us.  But we may need to wait for this blessing.

Help me to realize that to beautify the body is not enough.  It is good to look good, but even better is to have inner beauty.  And as one ages, the inner beauty becomes more and more apparent.  May we all walk safely along the pathway from birth to old age, and then beyond.  May nothing keep us from You at all times.  Thank You for the guidance that You give me, especially when the guidance comes in unexpected ways and at unexpected times.  You make the decisions.  I will follow.

Amen.

The Body Is a Tool

“The body is a tool made for your use in maintaining the illusion of your separation.  That it has seeming power can only be because you think you put your power there.  If this were true, much power indeed would it wield.  But what you have made cannot be invested with the power of creation without your joining with it.  (A Course of Love, 10.1)”

Affirmation:  “Let me deemphasize the body today.”

Reflections:Van-Gogh-Paintings-Wallpapers-olive trees

1 – Joining?

We do not and cannot join physically with all whom we meet.  That physical joining is limited to very few, or just one.  So what type of “joining” does this passage imply?

2 – Joining = of the Spirit

The joining that we must do is not of the body.  It is of the spirit.  The body is meant to affirm our separation from each other.  The body, like all illusions, fails us in this purpose.  We learn from living in separate bodies that we are not very happy being separate.  So how might we join?

3 – Join in Holiness

We join in holiness, in holy relationships that have, in many cases, been transformed from special relationships.

4 – Join in Minds

We join in minds as well as in spirit, but we do not leave it to our minds to determine all that we need to know.  We listen to our hearts.  And in the listening, we learn that we are not meant to walk along and and to be lonely.  We are made for each other and for God.  There is no better way to live.

4 – Power of the Body

What type of power could the body wield?  Only matters of power and prestige.  The ego.  The things of this world that are tangible.  Success.  Vanity.

5 – Perishable

You get the picture.  Do we really, truly, in our wholeheartedness, want such perishable things?  Let us be glad that their value will not last for us, for in them we lose ourselves.  We instead want the peace, joy, harmony, and serenity that God grants to all who turn to Him.  And He grants this peace, I believe, even to those who have not yet learned that turning to Him is the complete answer.  He is the God of the secular and profane as well as the religious and spiritual, for we are all His children, and He does not forget His own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join in spirit and mind with all whom I meet today.  Help me to do so purely.  I know that You do not deemphasize the physical in A Course of Love, but today we are not considering physical joining.  I wish the joining that will bring me closer to being a co-creator with You.

I wish for those things which will last.  And the perishable, tangible things of this world, some of which are necessary for survival, will not last.  I know that You want my material needs met also, but today I focus on the things of the spirit.  May my egoic mind, still a burden in many ways, just diminish in intensity as I seek for the things of the spirit.

Be with me today, as always.  I know that You are with me, for life just keeps getting better and better.  My prayers are being answered, and You are guiding me to find the answers.  Thank You.

Amen.

End the Charade

“Despite your bravest attempts to remain separate, you must use your brothers and sisters in order to even maintain the illusion of your separation.  Would it not simply be better to end this charade?  To admit that you were not created for separation but for union?  To begin to let go of your fear of joining and, as you do, let go of use as well?  (A Course of Love, 9.49)”
van gogh - starry night and house
Affirmation:  “union–not separation”

Reflections:

1 – Independence

This desire that we all have had, and many of us still seem to have, in being separate, is actually the laudatory way that we look on independence (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  We think that not to “need” anybody, except perhaps “special” bodies, is all to the good.  But has it ever worked for very long?

2 – We Need Union

We need union, and not just genuine union in holy relationships with our brothers and sisters, but also union with God.  While union with God has never gone away, and could never go away, for we are part of Him, we can stay oblivious to this union.  And when we are oblivious, we are unhappy and we feel separated.  So in an unnatural way we turn to special relationships to solve our problems.  And these special relationships seem to work for a time, and then they fail us, for they were not made in heaven, but in hell.

3 – Interdependent

We need to recognize that we are meant to be interdependent, which is quite different from the dependence that we all fear, to one extent or another.  And interdependence is different from independence, which we never can sustain for very long at all.

4 – Union

Our union is a more positive, a more exalted, way of expressing our love with our brothers and sisters, and also, of course, with God.  And union is also a more positive way of expressing interdependence.

5 – Joining in One

We can never be satisfied or happy alone, solely alone.  We need God, and most of us need each other.  Very few people are spiritual enough to rely solely on our union with God, and in all likelihood, we are in this world with other people because we cannot sustain separatism.  May we join together today in the holy relationships that we are all intended to have.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I see interdependence as the blessing that it is.  May I no longer strive to independence that leaves my brothers and sisters out in the cold.  We all need each other, and likewise we all need God.  May we come to laud the interdependent nature of our world, and may we understand enough to carry out a relinquishment of independence.

The way in which I discuss independence with You does not rule out isolated times of independent thinking and doing.  But we cannot sustain isolation from You and from others for an extended period of time.  We are social creatures; that is the way that You created us.  May we accept Your intentions today.

Amen.

Union

“Instead of recognizing your union, a state in which you are whole and complete because you are joined with all, you have determined to stand separate and use the rest to support your separate stance.  Do you see the difference in these two positions?  In what way is your way better than the way God created for you, a way that is completely free of conflict?  (A Course of Love, 9.49)”

Vincent-Van-Gogh-painting-wallpaper-Paintings-Wallpaper-19
Affirmation:  “union–not separateness”

Reflections:

1 – What Does “Union” Mean?

What does Jesus mean by “union”?  It is the same idea, I think, that he alludes to earlier in the first volume of A Course of Love–the holy relationships that we develop as we drop the separate stance that is actually the special relationship (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  Why is it so important to let go of the superficial values that special relationships provide?  For they provide for an illusion of safety, an illusion of a haven–not the real thing.  In this world our holy relationships normally being as special ones, but, if we follow Jesus, the special turns into the holy.  We see our brothers and sisters for their intangible values, and we walk in union with them.  We do not separate as we will, when we are disenchanted because he or she has not fulfilled some part of the secret bargain that we have made with them.  We stay the course, and we look for the peace and joy that is a part of all that is holy.  We do not mind the fading beauty as years go by; we don’t even see fading beauty.  All of our holy relationships simply become more precious as time goes by.

2 – The All = God

We join with the All, the God in All.  This is union; this is not separatism that masquerades as union.  We do not let disappointments that our brothers and sisters are not perfect interfere with the love that we have for them.  We bask in the glory of their union, and ours, with God, and we join hands to walk toward Christ-consciousness.

3 – No Conflict

We are not in conflict at such times.  We do not encounter conflict very often, even though the Dalai Lama said that he sometimes feels anger.  That is the human part of the human/divine joining that we will come to know.

4 – Need to Love

We need to love, and to love deeply.  We especially need to love when we are feeling unloving.  Holy relationships do not demand that we be perfect.  Jesus does not demand that we be perfect (from ACOL).  We are human beings on a divine mission, with a spirit inside that is both human and divine.  When we recognize the divine, we will have walked at least a few steps along the pathway to Christ-consciousness.  And all will be better for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose union with the All today, and that includes my brothers and sisters as well as You.  May we have a good day together.  May we join, knowing that this is Your will for us, and we need You and each other.

Be with us as we seek to have a good day.  There is no reason for conflict when You are sensed by us.

Amen.

A World So Lovely and Peaceful

“Why did not God create a world benign and unable to harm you?

“Such is the world that God did create:  A world so lovely and so peaceful that when you see it once again you will cry with joy and forget your sadness in an instant.  There will be no long remembering of regrets, no feeling badly for all the years in which you saw this not.  There will merely be a glad ‘Aha!’ as what was long forgotten is returned to you.  You will but smile at the childish games you played, and have no more regrets than you would have for your childhood.  (A Course of Love, 9.46 – 9.47)”

vangogh_sunflowers1888Affirmation:  “a lovely and peaceful world”

Reflections:

1 – Lovely and Peaceful World

This is a passage of the Ideal, but I think not so much ideal as true to what we experience when our attitudes change.  How we view this world is largely a matter of attitude, and Jesus will reform our attitudes.  We will recognize the illusions in which we have been living, we will step into the real world (from A Course in Miracles), and we will know Christ-consciousness.  With these blessings, our way will smooth out, and we will see a world “so lovely and so peaceful.”

2 – Jesus

What would it mean to cry with joy at the world we behold?  It may sound like a pipe dream, but nothing that Jesus promises is a pipe dream, and I take him at his word.  We do start looking at those parts that are joyous, grateful to be acknowledging the beauty of our world.  We turn aside, but not in neglect, from those parts that disturb us, for we do help where we can.  We know that the ugliness is all illusion.  We know that our brothers and sisters did us, and we respond, but not to the ugliness.  We respond to “Christ in all his distressing disguises” (a quotation from Mother Teresa).

3 – Walk a Lovely World Today

Would we not walk in a lovely world today if we knew that we had that option?  Pray to be shown what needs to change in your world for you to be happy.  Then, using your wisdom, your internal guidance, make those changes.  We all know people (and maybe you are one of them) who face tremendous odds, and yet walk through this world with a smile behind the pain.  We must all learn to do this, and in the doing, the pain will fade.  Promise!

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose peace and harmony in the hope that, with this change, the Christ-consciousness that I really wish to have will come upon me in glimpses.  Thank You.  I know that I have already seen glimpses of this world, and a world seen with forgiving eyes is indeed beautiful.  May I be forgiving, unconditionally, in all respects, for this is a requirement of Yours which I would meet.

May I wait patiently for You to reach down and lift me up.  You know the time that is best.  I choose to be unafraid, knowing that if I am not ready, the light that I see would terrify me.  I would not be terrified today.  Guide me to Your way, the way that Jesus is pointing out in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

Amen.

A Valley Full of Lilies

“You realize not that if you were to stop and take your brother’s hand, the race course would become a valley full of lilies, and you would find yourself on the other side of the finish line, able at last to rest.  (A Course of Love, 9.40)”

Affirmation:  “holy relationships”

Vangogh-bridge

Reflections:

1 – Holy Relationships

This passage from ACOL is another phrasing of a pivotal assertion of A Course in Miracles.  The passage is especially beautiful in wording.  The central point is that we need to have holy relationships with our brothers and sisters, and that when we reach out to touch them, we are finding our way to heaven.  Heaven is not a place or a condition, but Oneness (an ACIM tenet).  When we hold our brother or sister’s hand, we are aiming for oneness with him or her.

2 – Lilies

The “race course would become a valley full of lilies,” which is a lovely reminder of the lilies mentioned in the Bible as well as A Course in Miracles.  Surely lilies must be one of Jesus’s favorite flowers.

3 – We Want to Rest

We would not have to race about to achieve.  Our achievement is found in the closeness with which we hold our brother and sister’s hand.  We want to rest, for we are very weary.  This world is a place of weariness, and we would not want that if we could change it.

4 – A Blessing

To be on the “other side of the finish line” is a blessing indeed!  May we, in sweetness and light, join our brothers and sisters today in holy relationship.  We do not ask for special relationships, unless we see the means to transform those special relationships into holy.  When we do that, all is well.

5 – Transforming Special to Holy

Our special relationships will not be snatched from us (an ACIM tenet), but transformed into holy ones.  The transformation may be a bit difficult, even very difficult, but the change in goals for the relationship makes the period of transition hard.  We have transformed a relationship entered into for unholy reasons (e.g., attractiveness, ambition for success, ambition for worldly glory) has been transformed into a relationship that will take us home to heaven.  How could we ask for more?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know that there is no need to rush about and hurry so.  I am holding my brother’s hand, and that is sufficient.  I ask that all of my holy relationships remain holy, that no attack nor anger mar their beauty.

Help us to find the will to rest.  Often we push ahead when we would be better off to wait, to rest in serenity that You offer to us.

Be with me today.  Help me to know that You are always present with the solution of every problem that presents itself, at the time that the problem presents itself.

Amen.

To Sing a Song of Gladness

“Ages have passed since creation began, and still you have not learned the lesson of the birds of the air or the flowers of the field.  Two thousand years have passed since you were told to observe this lesson.  The lilies of the field neither sow not reap and yet they are provided for.  The birds of the air live to sing a song of gladness.  So do you.

“God’s will for you is happiness, and never has it been otherwise.  (A Course of Love, 9.32 – 9.33)”

Affirmation:  “I would live as the lilies of the field, the birds of the air.”

Reflections:van gogh - tree5

1 – An Ideal

How do we respond to this ideal, for it is an ideal?  We know that we have to do things in this world to provide for our families and ourselves, and so how can Jesus be serious with us when he invokes this long-ago parable?

2 – Effortlessness

We can work in a way that is effortless, for when we have given all to All, we know peace and joy in the midst of the most hard work.  We are not fooling ourselves at such times.  It is really possible to know ease in the midst of great work.  Work with ease, and we will live a long and fruitful like that will allow us to feel very much like the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

3 – Calm and Centered

Do I say this on blind faith?  No.  When we are calm and centered, collected, the hardest work seems to be a “breeze.”  But when we become agitated, even the simplest effort becomes a chore of the greatest proportions.

4 – Attitude

We need today to ask fot the help that we need to do our necessary work with ease and delight.  If we are not where God would have us in our work, ask to be led elsewhere, and He will oblige.  But do not think that a change of venue is always what is needed.  Attitude makes a huge difference.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be calm and collected today in all the various tasks that I think I have to do.  Some of these tasks may not be necessary, and I ask You to guide me to delete those that are unnecessary.  Be with me for the necessary ones.  I know that You will be with me, for You are always.  And for that I thank You.

Help me to remain calm and collected at all times, now and into the future.

Amen.

Reassurance to Children of God

“Child of God, you need no imaginary friend when you have beside you he who is your friend always and he who would show you that you have no needs at all.  What you truly are cannot be used, not even by God.  See you not that it is only in illusion that you can use others who are like yourself?  (A Course of Love, 9.31)”

Affirmation:  “Jesus is beside me today.”

Reflections:vincent-van-gogh-paintings-from-saint-remy-1

1 – Strains of Thought

There are several strains of thought in these simple sentences.  Let us take the strains up one at a time.

2 – No Idle Fantasy

Jesus walks beside us, when we have asked for his presence.  This is a long-time declaration of traditional Christianity, but here in A Course of Love, we find the same declaration in New Age thought.  In A Course in Miracles, Jesus says much the same, inviting us to imagine that we hold his hand as we walk along, and he says that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

3 – No Needs

We do not have needs, because all needs are met at the point that they arrive.  The solution is with the problem (an ACIM tenet).  Now, it is true that we may not recognize that our needs have already been met; there may be some delay before this is recognized.  But when we look within, we can know, and know immediately.  We do not have to wait for God’s grace.

4 – No Need to be Defensive

We are not people who can be used by anyone.  For this reason, we do not have to be defensive about anything.  To defend against is to make the resistance strong, and to reduce the likelihood that we recognize that we do not need to be defensive.  Our defenses will not work, but we have no need of them (from the Manual of ACIM).  Even God Himself, most of all, would not seek to “use” us.

5 – Being “Used”

Only in illusion do we encounter the concept of being used by another.  And this world is an illusion.  Do we need to defend against illusions, thereby making them real to us?  We should not think in this way.  We would not make real the attacks of others by focusing on them, and being used by another is an attack (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).  Let us turn aside from attacks of all kinds, giving them no emotion, and thus not reinforcing them.

6 – Happy Dreams

Then all will improve in this dream world where we find ourselves.  We will know the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the reassurance that nobody here can understand, but can only be experienced:  that Jesus walks beside all who ask him to do so.  Thank You for this helper, this companion.  Being companioned is a truly wonderful blessing, and, if we heed the message, we will fear no more.

May I leave fears and anxieties behind today.  This tendency toward anxiety which I have had does not have to haunt me any longer; that is your blessed reassurance.

Thank You.

Amen.

Safe Embrace

“You are the prodigal sons and daughters welcomed constantly to return home to your Father’s safe embrace.  (A Course of Love, 9.29)”

Affirmation:  “I am in my Father’s safe embrace.”

vincent-van-gogh-paintings-from-arles-1Reflections:

1 – In Trouble

The prodigal son or daughter is an image of an individual in trouble, an image with which we can all identify at one time or another.  We may not know “trouble” that is like that of our brother or sister, but we all know difficulties of one type or another.  And we need the prayers of ourselves and others to help us out of the mire.

2 – We Are Safe

We are told in today’s passage that God Himself offers a safe embrace to us, an embrace that, because it is “safe,” is also comforting and protective.  May we reach inward today for that embrace.  May we know that God, the Divine within, wishes us well.  We only need to turn inward to know that we are safe, that we do not have to fear anything that this world can do to us.  Regardless, there will be a happy ending–if not in this world, then in the next.  Normally, though, there is no need to spend our days on earth longing for the better world that is beyond this one.  That is a very demoralizing stance to take.  God wishes us well here, and He is always here to help.  May we take Him at his word and enjoy the safe embrace that awaits us when we stop trying to do it all alone.

3 – We Are Not Alone

We are not alone.  A nightmare in sleep is inconsequential, and we have nightmares in the sleep that we have for eight hours at night, and in the illusions that we have during the day.  When we awake in the morning, we simply go from one form of sleep to another (an ACIM tenet).  Knowing this, cannot we feel some comfort?  Our nightmares are not real, whether they come in the night or the day.

4 – The Promise

We long for God’s safe embrace today, and we can have it–even today.  That is the overwhelming promise of the passage for today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept Your safe embrace today, ever mindful that when I turn to You, You are always there for me.  And You are there for me even when I am too upset and distracted to feel anything at all.  Your felt presence is a blessing that takes us out of our despair and gives a helping hand to the affairs of the day.  I would thank You for the felt presence, when it comes.  It is indeed blessed.

Be with me again today.  So often I ask for that.  And You always respond.  Thank You for the answers to recent prayers.  I see Your answers working out in my life.  And I pray that You will walk with me until the culmination of my prayers happen.  Be with me in the day and in the night, especially if the night does not bring sleep.  You are always awake, and I can use time awake to commune with You.  Help me to remember that just maybe You want some time with me that I don’t allow You during the day.

Be with me.  Help me.  Thank You for the many blessings that I have known throughout my life.  And thank You for learning at a young age that prayer is the secret to a good life.

Amen.

You Did Not Create Something from Nothing

“You are not your own creator.  This is your salvation.  You did not create something from nothing, and what you started with is what God created and remains as God created it.  You do not have to ask yourself to stretch your belief beyond these simple statements.  (A Course of Love, 9.28)”

Affirmation:  “I am still as God created me.”

Reflections:van gogh - tree4

1 – Akin to ACIM

The passage for today from A Course of Love is absolutely consistent and reminiscent, as well, of A Course in Miracles.  We do not understand “God,” but how could we?  It is enough to know the age-old injunction that God is Love.  He created us, not we ourselves.  Science cannot explain this, though the new physics is trying (and, in some cases, seemingly coming close).

2 – We Do Not Have to Understand Metaphysics

We do not have to understand metaphysics to have a good life.  We only need to turn to God in our perplexities.  But some concepts of metaphysics may help.  We are a part of God, and, like a hologram, the part is filled with the whole; every part is filled with the Whole.  And All is One–God.  This is not pantheism, which would see individual gods in everything.  There is a mystical understanding that will come as we proceed along this pathway.  All are truly One.

3 – We Would Self-Destruct

The fact that we are not our creator is indeed our salvation, for we would self-destruct if left to our own devices.  Indeed, we often think that we have done this anyway, when our way seems lost and very dark.  But we are saved from this impasse by the fact that there is One whose divine spark within us cannot be put out.  This is our salvation, that one divine spark.  And we will come to live joyous, happy times when we acknowledge that we did not make ourselves.

4 – This World

We did make this world, though, and that is a concept from A Course in Miracles that nobody on earth can understand.  There are worlds upon worlds, and a Self that is beyond all knowing while on earth.  But we did not create ourselves.  We did make the ego, and we can just disown it and thereby walk away from it.

5 – We Are Being Helped

If the way seems long and hard, know that Jesus and his companions are helping us.  The way back, the remembering, take great patience and willingness to learn, but as A Course of Love says, if we listen to our hearts we will make greater progress.  The heart does not ask for all of the “why’s” that the mind asks.  And that is a saving grace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I did not create myself, though ACIM does say that we did “make” the illusion that is this world.  This is theology that I do not understand, and I thank You that I do not need to understand it.  It is enough to know that I remain as You created me, even though I have fallen away from the Ideal and made mistakes.  Be with me as I seek to move closer to Your way of life, the best way that all of us can live.

Help me to reach out to others even when I am not at my best.  Reaching out helps them, I hope, and I do know that reaching out helps me.  Thank You for shining Your light on the pathway that is ahead.  And knowing that all will be well, that I am coming into the good years.  Thank You for this insight.

Amen.

To Turn from Fear to Love

“It is in saying, ‘Sister, you are not alone’ that spiritual hunger and thirst is met with the fullness of unity.  It is in realizing that you are not alone that you realize your unity with me and begin to turn from fear toward love.  (A Course of Love, 9.27)”

Affirmation:  “We are not alone.”

Reflections:

1 – Not Alone

Knowing that we are joined to Jesus through the Christ that we all share is a great blessing.  We do not have to ever–ever–feel alone.  Our needs, if they are truly needs, will be met.  We will join in the unity that is ours, and we will feel the touch of Jesus’s hand as we join.

2 – No Reason for Fear

When we have touched Jesus, we will finally–once and for all time–know that there is no reason for fear.  We may not be free of fear forever, for we have lived with its fruits for a long time, and habits die hard.  But if we consciously know that fear is not necessary, that we can live in love, we will intellectually understand.  And the feeling of the heart will follow.  When the feeling of the heart is there, we are truly free of the fear.  This goes a long way toward assuring that Christ-consciousness is welcome in our lives.

3 – Spiritually Hungry

Being spiritually hungry is a state easily overcome.  Just read scripture and inspirational writing.  Pray.  Meditate.  Commune with God.  Turn to our brothers and sisters for their insight.  Listen to ministers.

4 – The Pathway

Above all, don’t try to walk the pathway alone.  That is impossible.  We too often try to live our lives apart from others, and as a result, we are in pain and sometimes suffering.

5 – Do Not Isolate Yourself

Let us be through with this idea today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I gladly join with my friends and family today.  May I seek the benefits of comaraderie to offset any pain of isolation.  You are always with me; so are many other whom I cannot see.  There is no reason to fear; I am not alone.

I wish for Your blessing today.  I pray for Your blessing.  I would not be spiritually hungry.  I would know that You have prepared well for me in what I view as a separate state.  I know that it is impossible that I really be separate.  We are One.

Amen.

Be Reassured Today

“It is the relationship inherent in meeting another’s need that makes the meeting of the need a thing of lasting value.  It is your willingness to say, ‘Brother, you are not alone’ that is the benefit of such situations, not only to your brother but also to you.  (A Course of Love, 9.27)”

Affirmation:  “May I meet the need of another today.”

Reflections:

1 – Excuses

All too often we find reasons, excuses, not to meet the need of another, for we feel that it will be too difficult for us to endure.  We have busy lives, we get tired, we get sick, and so we excuse ourselves from doing for another what seems to be the need.  We turn a deaf ear to the silent cry for help.

2 – Jesus

Is this the way that Jesus would live?  Certainly not.  He too got tired, but he continued teaching.  He drew aside for replenishment, for prayer and communion with his Father, but he always returned to help people, individually and en masse.

3 – Pray

How do we proceed if we need the cooperation of others to meet a third party’s perceived need?  We pray about it.  We do not try to enforce our will on another.  God, if He sees the need also, will see that we are in a position that we can respond.  This I believe.

4 – Not Alone

We are not alone in this world.  We are meant to reach out to others, to help them, and, frequently, in the helping, we also help ourselves.  We are in this together.

5 – The Way Will Be Shown to Us

Be reassured today that if our intent is clear, the way will be shown to us.  We will find a way to help.  On the other hand, if we are wavering in our intent, others in our lives will pick up on our ambivalence, and we will contribute to the problem.  The need of the third party may not get answered.

6 – Needs of Ourselves and Others

Pray today for the needs of ourselves and all in our lives to be met, and with the joyousness that Jesus himself would offer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today it would be so easy to avoid thinking of the needs of others, focusing only on myself.  But this is not the way to live, of that I am sure.  Help me to reach out to the others whom I see today and those whom I do not see, but whom I affect in any way at all.

Be with me today as I seek to remain tranquil.  The best way to follow You is to remain calm.

Amen.

You Are Not Alone

“All that you are asked to give up is your insane notion that you are alone.  We speak much of your body here only because it is your proof of this insane idea’s validity.  It is your proof as well that a life of fear is warranted.  How could you not fear for the safety of a home as fragile as the body?  (A Course of Love, 9.25)”

Affirmation:  “I am safe.”

Reflections:

1 – Fragile Body

The body is indeed fragile, and when we focus on it to the exclusion of other people–the ones who assure us that we have companions–we think amiss.  Our bodies will be healthy and strong unless we choose otherwise, for reasons that only our inner Self can know.  We would have healthy and strong bodies, and to do so we are not to focus on ailments.  Thinking intently about the ailments only accentuates them in our minds, and even accentuates the ailments themselves.

2 – Life Filled with Love

We also choose a life filled with love, one that crowds out fear.  We will know less fear when we have come to understand that we do not have to “learn” to experience the demise of fear.  We need only reach out to others and to God, and to, we may believe, unseen forces beyond our  physical world.  These many helps are available to us, but when we are sick and feel lonely, we often give in to depression and do not avail ourselves of the help that is crying out to assist us.

3 – The Body

When we think that the body is our sole home, we will be fearful, because the world does things to the body that let us know that the ego does not wish us well.  The body is the ego’s home, and the fragility of the body is the ego’s best evidence that we need to turn to it [the ego] for protection.  But, as A Course in Miracles points out, this will never solve anything, because the ego has never answered any questions, though it has raised a great many (from the Text).

4 – The Christ/Self Within

Let us pray today for the strength of the Christ/Self within, and the knowledge that our position while in this world is a blend of the human and the divine.  We need not fear the physical, for we can overcome its frailty by a persistent dependence upon the power of God to raise us up above limitations.  We may never see the end to all limitations (as ACIM notes), but we can live better when we put our dependence where that dependence is wholly justified–on the spirit of God Who is within us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I not fear a weak and/or frail body–ever.  This physical framework is not all that there is to me, and I would know that and thus not fear the aloneness that the body would inspire.  It is my mind that is giving the body the “instincts” that so overcome me; the body does nothing.  May I recognize this today.

May my Christ/Self within come to the forefront and banish these thoughts of weakness and frailty.  There is no better way to live than to live in constant contact with You.

Help me to remember to keep You in mind and heart today, a conscious choice.

Amen.

A Call to the Eternal

“My words call you to the eternal, to nourishment and rest of the spirit rather than the body.  That your sights are set on the care of the body alone is another example of choosing an opposite for replacement.  (A Course of Love, 9.22)”

Affirmation:  “I think of my spirit today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Body

How often we think of the body first!  If we have a twinge of pain, we focus on it, and the very focusing may make it seem worse.  Even chronic pain that is very severe is overcome, in therapy sessions, with a focus on something other than the pain.  When we focus on something we would rather avoid, we only succeed in increasing its presence, even magnifying its presence, in our lives.  This we would not do.

2 – The Spirit

We are on safe ground indeed when we focus on our spirit.  We may not as of yet fully understand what Jesus means by “spirit,” but he elaborates throughout A Course of Love.  The spirit is the essence of the Christ/Self that in inward, and that combines the human and the divine.  We are still in physical form, of course, and we can even revel in that, but we know that there is something more.  And we do not let pains in the physical body distract us from our heart’s blessing.  We will find that ultimately we will combine mind and heart to form the wholeheartedness toward which Jesus is leading us in A Course of Love.

3 – ACOL vs. ACIM

The physical is emphasized a bit more in A Course of Love than in A Course in Miracles.  We may have even gotten the false impression from A Course in Miracles that the physical did not matter.  But Jesus would not have us in pain; he tells us in ACIM that we do not have to learn through pain.  Learning through rewards is lasting.  Learning through pain is temporary.  And we find, later on in ACOL, that the elevated Self of form is where we are headed.  We do not have to deemphasize or denigrate the physical; we just need to see the physical properly.  There is the truth that our spirit cooperates with the physical to bring us the glorious life that life on earth can be.

4 – Replenishment

We do want our spirit to be nourished and replenished.  All too often we have neglected our spirit in favor of trying, often in vain, to improve our physical condition.  Jesus would have both well and in excellent condition.  Such a wonderful promise is the one here!  Let us remind ourselves today of the nourishment and rest to our spirit that is here for the asking, and let us then ask for this nourishment and rest.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would replenish my soul today.  I would not ignore the body, but I would realize where it is in the hierarchy, and I would choose to turn aside from attempts to emphasize the perishable.

Be with me today as I seek You.  I am in need of comfort, replenishment.  Please grant this to me.

Amen.

Banishing Fear

“Can you not see that when you chose to make yourself separate and alone you also made the choice for fear?  Fear is nothing but a choice, and it can be replaced by choice of another kind.  (A Course of Love, 9.18)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love.”

Reflections:

1 – Separate and Alone

This may not at first glance appear to be one of those most important and most reassuring passages from A Course of Love, but indeed the passage can be so read.  If being “separate and alone” is the choice for fear, then can we not reach out to others and find therein our choice against fear?  Everyone has some way of reaching out, some way of finding another who will prove to be a solace from pain.  And be assured that fear is pain of a very acute kind, and a kind that all too often becomes chronic unless we take steps to involve our brothers and sisters in our everyday life.

2 – Brothers and Sisters

Perhaps we don’t feel kindly toward the others we encounter.  Maybe these others don’t seem like “brothers and sisters.”  If we choose to interpret this way, we are sealing our own  fate, for indeed these others are our brothers and sisters.  While it is not true that we can “get along” with everyone we encounter, we can always choose to send along a kindly and loving thought as they hover on the edge of our life, or even exit from it.  God would not have us constantly harassed by individuals who do not mean us well, but we ourselves must always ask what our part has been in this interpretation of actions, words, and thoughts exchanged between us.  For we are interpreting.  It is always an interpretation that leads to ill feelings, never a fact.  One does not get angry at a fact.  (There are tenets of A Course in Miracles.)

3 – Banishing Fear

If we choose not to be alone and separate, the passage for today indicates that we will have come a long way toward banishing fear from our lives.  Such a simple thing!  But how many of us feel misunderstood by others, and how many of us are rejecting when that dynamic occurs?  The love we feel toward others will be returned, if not by the one loved, then by others sent into our lives by God.   I have never known an individual so introverted and shy to not need somebody else in life.  We are not meant to go it alone.

4 – Independence

We often think that independence is a better state.  But this is the choice of the ego, and what good has the ego and egoic ideas ever brought to us?  We have learned through pain when we have learned of the ego.  And this type of learning is always temporary, and we await the next pain.  Learning through rewards, the rewards, perhaps, of having others return our overtures, is a much improved concept.  Even this is not the whole truth, but it is something.  God Himself is always there, and He will be our companionship when brothers and sisters fail us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would feel kindly, in love, for the people whom I encounter today.  If my mood is low, I am likely to feel less inclined to be generous with those I encounter.  If my mood is high, all is right with the world and everyone in it.

I would be right with the world and everyone in it today.  Help me to overlook any feelings of lassitude as well as thoughts of worry.  You can take our worries from us, because we willingly give them over when we feel assured that You are handling any perplexity.  I would leave my obsessions with You today, and walk into the sunlight with You.

Be with us as we seek to follow Your pathway.  Help me to know with surety what that pathway is.  This is such a repeated prayer, but very important to me.  Let me not abdicate all responsibility in seeking for guidance, but help me to walk easily and effortlessly with You taking me by the hand.

Amen.

Fear and Love = the Two Emotions

“Fear, like all the rest of your emotions, comes in many guises and is given many names, but there are really only two emotions:  one is fear, the other love.  Fear is thus the source of all illusion, love the source of truth.  (A Course of Love, 9.16)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love today.”

Reflections:

1 – From A Course in Miracles

This passage is a direct replay of ideas from A Course in Miracles.  Indeed, the idea that there are only two emotions, love and fear, is one of the most frequently recognized statements from ACIM.

2 – Eliminate Fear

If we would leave illusion behind, and walk into the sunlight with God and our Self, we must find a way to eliminate fear.  This is not always easy, for there are a multitude of disguises, even though at base all of these disguises are of fear.  Jesus indicates in A Course in Miracles that we cannot ask him to remove fear from our lives, for we have made it, and if he acted to remove fear, he would be coming between cause and effect, a most important law.  But we can ask that we get help in alleviating the conditions that have led to the fear (from the Text of ACIM).  This is always a helpful prayer, and like all real prayers, when this prayer is truly meant, it is answered quickly.

3 – Personal Experience

The next night of insomnia you experience would be a good time to test out this idea.  First, commune/pray with/to God, relax, and then decide that maybe God has a reason for your sleeplessness.  What conditions have brought about the fear/sleeplessness?  What do you want to have help on?  Be specific, and it may help to write out on paper or computer the conditions as you view them.  Be certain that answers will come, if not immediately, when you have calmed down enough to let intuitive thoughts rise to the surface.  Then let the prayer sink to your depths.  You have done all you can for one night.  Know that the answers will arrive.  Make this a primary belief.

4 – Anxiety

Anxiety has dogged me all my life, and so I have had sleepless nights.  This, in spite of more than 30 years of making A Course in Miracles my primary study.  But, as time has gone by, the anxiety over a sleepless night has abated, and, as this abatement has happened, the blessing of God’s love has overcome me more and more frequently.  I have also learned secular techniques for dealing with anxiety.  And, of course, I have prayed, long and deeply, for help in the conditions that have brought my fear to the forefront at any given time.

5 – Love

But Jesus also says in this passage that love is the source of truth.  We know this intellectually, and now, through  A Course of Love, we have reached the time to know this through our hearts.  Unlike our minds, which raise unanswerable questions, our hearts do not question.  We feel, and from the feeling, we know.  That is the blessing of this passage from Jesus in A Course of Love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Another night of an hour and a half of no sleeping, but thank You that I can devote awhile today to a nap.  Help all of us to deal with those things that are less than the best.  We would choose to walk Your way, and this way is always one of peace.  Help me to remember that the next time I awaken in the middle of the night.

Be with us as we seek to choose love and eliminate fear.  This is our major task, along with the forgiveness that we have come to recognize.  We too must forgive ourselves, once we have asked of You the forgiveness that we all need.

Be with me throughout the day today.  May my mood is high, and my actions and thoughts be congenial.  Be with my significant others, and all others who are touched by my words and actions.

Amen.

Jesus Holding Our Hand

“Now you seek to know how to escape what you have made.  To do so you must withdraw all faith from it.  This you are not ready yet to do, but this is what your heart will now prepare you for.  As you are prepared, you walk alongside he who has waited for you with a single purpose instead of alongside the conflicting desires you chose to let lead you to this strange world.  You travel lightly now where before you walked in chains.  You travel now with a companion who knows you as you are and would show your Self to you.  (A Course of Love, 9.9)”

Affirmation:  “I walk with Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

Jesus is talking about his presence with us in this remarkable passage.  I have earlier speculated about the “how” that Jesus could be everywhere at once.  But there are natural laws in the metaphysical realm that our science know not of.  And this is one of them.

2 – Escape

We would escape from what we have made, and we would withdraw our faith from it.  We need to realize the world that we made has been deeply flawed from the beginning.  We sought to learn apart from God, and we immersed ourselves in mire.  But we are returning.  And in A Course of Love, we look to our heart to guide us, our heart that is within, where Christ/Self is, and where God is.  And we have mighty companions with us as we follow this pathway (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).

3 – Jesus = Our Companion

Jesus is the companion who knows us as we are, and we travel lightly with him.  This statement is akin to the teaching of Jesus in the New Testament, in which he is quoted as saying that his burden is “light.”  We indeed no longer have to even think in terms of “burdens” (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).  Previously we traveled in chains, with a bundle of troubles that we might periodically release to God, but which we would always retrieve, for we felt bereft without our bundle of problems.

4 – We Have No Problems

Let this thinking fall by the wayside!  A Course in Miracles said that we would come to see that we had no problems.  Our primary problem–separation, or our perceived separation–has been solved, and we have no other problem that God will not address, removing it from our sight.

5 – Healing Is Certain

Healing is certain, and the continuance of physical symptoms is not evidence that healing has not occurred (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).  The passage for today is talking about healing in the greatest sense possible (though the word is not used).  May we accept Jesus’s hand as we walk through this illusory world.  And then we will be home in God, and ready to reach out to all that might receive our words and actions.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize anew that today I have a companion beside me.  I have nothing to fear.  There is nothing in this world to fear, though difficulties abound.  There are no real problems when faith is strong.  May my faith be strong today.

May we know that healing is certain, once we listen to the guidance that we receive.  The healing may come through doctors, through medication, through natural means, and even through prayer–a miracle happening.  May any and all “cures” be appropriate and not a misguided effort to bypass that which You would have us experience.

Amen.

The World of the Body

“A desire to know everything but only through its [the body’s] own effort, a desire to see everything but only through its own eyes, a desire to be known but only through what it would choose to share.  Alongside these desires it is easy to see how a world such as that of the body developed.  (A Course of Love, 9.7)”

Affirmation:  “I choose amiss when I choose the way of the body.”

Reflections:

1 – Made the World

We made amiss when we made the world.  Note that I did not say “create.”  Only God creates, and it is the theology of both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love that God did not create the world of the body, the physical illusion of the body, and indeed all illusions of the dream in which we find ourselves.  Do not let theology delay you; if this idea is foreign to your thinking, then just set it aside until such time as you wish to consider the idea again.  Jesus does not want for theology to delay us, nor to be a dividing factor between ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

2 – God’s Children

We can understand the thinking of this passage, because we so wish to be independent, even when we know that being God’s children is the only sane response.  Our wish to be independent is akin to an adolescent’s desire to separate from his/her parents.  And it is also akin to our perchance toward competition.

3 – Cooperation

We may know intellectually (or we may not) that cooperation gets us farther, even in this dream or illusion of a world, than competition ever could.  But our ego thrives on conflict, and competition always brings jealousy (of one person to another), hard feelings, envy (of one’s possessions to those of another).  Do we really want to live like this?

4 – Demanding Proof

We also want to “prove” everything in this physical world through our own eyes.  This is why science has been such a boon to those who sought secular wisdom of the world, the need to understand where we are apart from what our religious traditions have told us.  And this is not wrong, for our science has taught us much that religion would have discounted.  And the new physics is bringing us home to a concept of God that mystics have long found true and compelling.

5 – Share Selectively

We also want to share, about ourselves, only those things that we “want” to share.  Yet psychology, even secular, says that a willingness to self-reveal is the quickest and easiest route to acceptance from others.  Otherwise, our brothers and sisters do not trust us, because they don’t feel that they know where we are coming from.

6 – The Time of Return

So the world of the body, the physical world, arose before our eyes.  And we lived in it for eons.  Now is the time of return, though the time may take millions of years, just as the separation extended over millions of years (an ACIM tenet).  Let us know that, even as we seek, we will find, and the sooner we find, the more help we can be to ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  We will not live in misery for the millions of years ahead, before everyone is home in God.  We will be joyous, knowing that the outcome is sure.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I do what I can today to begin, immediately, to live in the world that You would have us see and experience.  This world that You want for us is not the world of the body, but the direct opposite.  May I assist my brothers and sisters who are coming to the same conclusion–that this world does not work, because its premises are wrong.

May I cooperate with the universe and You today.  May I listen to my intuition, the guidance/signal system given me by You.  May the signs that I note be genuine and sure.  Let nothing today interfere with my desire to be One with You.

Amen.

How the Body Is Used

“The body could not help but be thus, as it was made with dual purposes in mind.  It was made to make real and then glorify a separated self, and it was made to punish that separated self for the separation.  Its creator had in mind what is reflected in the body:  self-aggrandizement and self-effacement, pleasure and pain, violence and gentleness.  (A Course of Love, 9.7)”

Affirmation:  “May I unite today, rather than live in dualism.”

Reflections:

1 – A Dualistic Manifestation

We know such variations in our everyday mood when we are tied to the body too closely.  We do know pleasure, and we can know gentleness–but not all the time, for the body is a dualistic manifestation.  We are often led astray by our desire for the things of the body, the pleasures of this world.  But these pleasures turn to ashes and dust in our hands when we have avoided the joys and attributes of God.  He gives us joy, harmony, peace, tolerance, kindness, gentleness, and the like.  Only when we place these intangibles above any material things do we find the peace of God that “passeth understanding” (from the Bible).

2 – Why So Dense?

Why do we so often seek to attract the things of this world, when we ultimately find that these things do not satisfy for long?  Why are we so dense?

3 – Ecstasy of the Spirit

It is because we have known such poverty of spirit that we do not know the ineffable heights to which the ecstasy of the spirit can lead.  We have bowed down to idols, with the ego’s firm approval.  We have had this part of ourselves, our ego, tell us what to do and when to do it.  And, when we learn that we can attract better things for ourselves, the first thing that we think about is the material.

4 – Material Needs

Be sure that God wants to meet our material needs as well.  He knows that we have physical bodies that desire warmth and comfort, but He would comfort our hearts as well.  And the only way that He can do this for us is to bind our will to His.  To turn to our egoic will is to deny the joys of God.  And to turn to the material to satisfy us is to turn to something insubstantial and non-lasting.  Everything in this world will one day turn to dust.

5 – Christ/Self’s Action

Be careful of what you set your heart upon, for you will surely have it.  This is quotation the source of which I have long forgotten.  But it speaks to me today.  We need God and He knows it.  He would come from our depths to speak to us today, through the Christ/Self that knows both human and divine.  The Christ/Self mitigates the dual nature of spiritual/physical, and turns all to productivity.  May we have the happiness that we all seek, and may we get very clear about what will bring us that happiness.  It is not solely the material, or even primarily the material.  It is the intangible from God..

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would pray that I know the dualistic nature of the body no longer, that I experience the Christ/Self within that unites physical and divine.  This is a tall order, for I have traveled far into oblivion.  But I would reverse that direction today, to know You as my Creator and Sustainer.

Be with me as I seek to live a calm and tranquil life, but one with happiness and joy.  You know that I need aliveness and vitality, and the union of physical/divine in the Christ/Self can bring all these blessings to me.  Thank You.

Amen.

True Meaning of Love

“Your faulty memory has caused you to believe love can be used to keep you safe, to make you happy and bind to you those you choose to love.  This is not the case, for love cannot be used.  (A Course of Love, 9.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I come closer to understanding love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Bind Closest?

Many of us subscribe to a definition of love that is not unlike what Jesus has said in this passage, by implication, as incorrect.  But when we look at the conclusion of the passage, that “love cannot be used,” then we more readily agree.  We know that sometimes, even when we have studied the Bible, A Course in Miracles, and A Course of Love, we still would try to bind closest to us those whom we love the greatest.  Is this really wrong?

2 – Two Solitudes Turned Inward

In the manner in which we do so, yes.  When we bind closely to us those whom we most love, we are all too likely to force those individuals to give up some of their freedom as they “care” for us.  We become greedy, wanting all their time.  And even in this world, two solitudes turned inward, only toward each other, are recognized as being disfunctional.

3 – Free Those Closest to Us

If we remembered correctly, not with a “faulty memory,” we would know that to turn loose our nearest and dearest is the easiest way to bind them to us.  This is not a play on words.  It works.  Only in freedom is love at its finest and best.  Only in freedom do we know what love is at all.

4 – Do Not “Use” Love

We do not actually want to “use” love.  We would not try to do so, if we knew what we were really doing.  And if we try, what we do is counterproductive.

5 – No Coercion

May we turn our nearest and dearest loose into God’s love today, and then when they turn to us, we will know that they turn with full hearts and minds–ready to give love and to accept our love, totally without coercion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to free my nearest and dearest today, not to find anyone to me by any means that is wrong.  All of us crave freedom, myself among them, and I would not want to be “bound.”  Let us recognize how best to love by giving up all false conceptions.

May our love be true and honorable.  May we leave nobody out of this love.  May we turn to You when in perplexity about love’s rejection.  May You tell us what to do.  I know that You do tell us, for You have told me.  

Thank You.

Amen.

Avoid Assuming Guilt and Misery

“Now you look for one upon whom you can unload your burdens, hoping you can pass your grievances en mass to someone else.  If you succeed through anger, spite, or meanness, you simply take on guilt and withdraw still further into your own misery.  (A Course of Love, 7.12)”

Affirmation:  “May I avoid misery today.”

Reflections:

1 – Unloading Burdens

Sometimes others unload their burdens on us.  This is what happened to me two days ago.  And I could not take it.  I became even more stressed than I already was, from a stressful day.

2 – A Recollection

May I not make this mistake.  I know that for years I did unload my burdens over breakfast, which we enjoyed at a diner.  But that was a mistake, and I know better now.  A Course of Love tells me so.

3 – Turn Inward

So how do we handle burdens?  We turn inward, to the Christ within.  We know that God is within as well, the All, the One of which we are a part.

4 – Sometimes Share Your Problems

This does not mean that we can never share our problems with other people.  This would be taking the passage for today out of context from A Course of Love.  We are in relationship to all others, and it is good that we share.  But not to blame, and not through ill will.  We need to recognize that these negative emotions are not worthy of a child of God.  And such we are.

5 – Alternatives to Dumping on Another

So, share if we must–but not in misery and not in ill will.  If we feel badly, it would be wiser to settle down and read inspirational literature, meditate, or pray.  These are not new ideas, and we know that these ideas work.  All of us know this, for we have followed religious ideas for a long time now.  May we turn aside from the ego.  May we just turn aside from stresses.  We live in a sometimes difficult world, but this world does not have to be difficult when we attract the best to ourselves, and our gratitude for a good life is paramount.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As my life lengthens, I become ever more conscious of the need to surrender anew to You each day.  When I do this, my day goes smoothly.  And that is because I feel Your partnership.  It is not because the day is any less stressful.  The things that troubled me before just do not have the power to touch me now.

Be with me on this day.  May I reach out to others to lessen their burdens.  May we join together in trusting the universe to care for us.  You are with us constantly; You are in us.  May this knowledge keep us in the faith today.

Amen.

How to Stop a Bad Day

“An unreturned phone call, a bit of traffic, a harsh word spoken, an unremembered errand–all can be resentments you hold to yourself and refuse to let go.  By the time you begin your day you may hold several of these in your mind, and there you build them into reasons for even further withholding.  Now you have an excuse–or several excuses–for a bad day.  Why should you give anything to anyone when your day has already treated you so badly?  You withhold even a smile, because you have chosen grievances over love.  (A Course of Love, 7.11)”

Affirmation:  “May I have a good day today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

We know when our day has gotten off to a bad start.  Last night I had had stress in the day, and then I got home and found more stress, for stress had impacted my home life as well, in my absence.  I needed just to get quiet.  But I allowed my ego to take over my life momentarily, and I did not act well, the way that I know is best.

2 – Stress

This morning I awoke with a fresh start.  At first I did not even remember what had happened last night that was bad.  But, regrettably, I searched my memory until I did remember the stress of the previous evening.  Bad mistake!  This was enough to start the day off badly.  A day that I was about to rue.

3 – Begin the Day Again

But now I have settled down to write about A Course of Love, and, lest I feel like a hypocrite, I must put aside the stress and, yes, the grievances, that arose last night, and, to a lesser extent, this morning.  I must begin the day again, as Jesus encourages us to do in A Course in Miracles.  I do not like the way that I am feeling, and so I will start afresh.  And then, as promised, all will be well.

4 – Guilt

Why would any of us cling to a bad day, except out of guilt, a form of madness?  There is no other reason.  Thinking of reasons to be unhappy does not turn around unhappiness, nor does it ensure that we will make amends for our poor thoughts and behavior.

5 – Start Over

The only way to get around a bad day is to start over, a feat that can happen at any time.  And Jesus has recommended this practice in ACIM.  Surely the same technique will work, now that we are considering A Course of Love.

6 – A Good Day without Guilt

Be quiet.  Be tranquil.  Pray.  Even meditate, if this helps.  The only thing standing between us and a good day is our sense of guilt.  And we are not perfect, nor, we find later on in A Course of Love, is perfection required of us.  We are human and divine; let us look to the divine within to solve our dilemmas.  And then just let the grievances drop away.  Forgiveness of ourselves and others was our function in A Course in Miracles.  Let us return to those statements, and live a better day from now on out.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

If I begin each morning with the affirmation, spoken to You, “I turn myself over to You,” then I am well prepared for anything that might happen, anything that might seem to give me a bad day.  Even the so-called “bad” things do not faze me as they would if I had not said to You, “I belong to You.”

We have plenty of helpers on the Other Side, and plenty of helpers in this world, as well.  Try to keep a good mood going, and the day will seem much, much better.  How to keep a good mood going?  I need to lighten up before You.  And then I know that You will handle everything else.

Amen.

Grievances

“A grievance is something you have chosen for yourself, a piece of a relationship separated off and held in contempt and righteousness.  You are unaware that you choose this form of withholding, sometimes dozens or even hundreds of times a day.  (A Course of Love, 7.11)”

Affirmation:  “May my grievances disappear in the light today.”


Reflections:

1 – We Are Guilty of Grievances

We do still hold grievances against our brothers and sisters.  And we do not always recognize this.

2 – When Not Angry

Surely we do recognize our grievances when we are angry, and when anger leads to attack.  But this outcome is not always present, and with milder reactions, we may not even recognize that at the heart of our discontent is a persistent grievance.  We hold things against others, and they against us, and, all in all, this makes for a mess.

3 – When Mood Drops

We would not live such constricted lives today.  We need to ask for help all through the day, anytime that our mood drops.  It is very likely that the depressed feeling is because we are holding something against somebody, even against ourselves.  Our guilt has taken over in this cases.  And even when the guilt is not evident, it is there.

4 – Ask for Help

We would not live this way.  Ask God for help, ask your Self for help, for the Christ within can solve all such interpersonal problems.  We do not ever need to hold tightly to grievances.  To do so is to invite the strength of the disreputable ego to return.

And we would not have that.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I sometimes feel down when it is not apparent to me why this is so.  Maybe it is, as today’s passage indicates, because I am unconsciously holding a grievance against someone.  Even when I am not angry.  This unconscious “down” feeling is evidence that I am withholding love from someone, perhaps even myself, and perhaps my significant others.  May I turn aside from this poor behavior.  May I love with a depth that I have never experienced before.

I would invite loving feelings only today.  I would pray for help to You in solving any problems that arise, wait in patience for Your answer (which will not be long in coming), and then walk a green earth again.

I long for the depth of loving feeling that only You give me.  Be with me today as I sense Your felt Presence.

Amen.

The Christ/Self Avoids Bargains with God

“Rejoice that there is something in this world that you will not bargain with, something you hold sacrosanct.  This is your Self.  Yet this Self that you hold so dear that you will never let it go is precisely what you must be willing to freely give away.  This is the only Self that holds the light of who you are in truth, the Self that is joined with the Christ in you.  (A Course of Love, 7.7)”

Affirmation:  “May I freely ‘give away’ my Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Human / Divine

We are meant to be both giving and receiving human beings, human and divine in one in our Self.  This Self is the Christ within.  We need to be careful, lest our ego, still present, has a field day with this idea.  We can easily slip into grandiosity, inflated notions of ourselves, and that would only strength the egoic notions that we have held for eons.

2 – Give the Self Away

There is something better for us.  We can give ourselves away to others, constantly, because we are receiving constantly.  This is the way that our union of the human and the divine in the Christ within is supposed to work.  And in the giving and receiving with our brothers and sisters, we will know joy, for we will be accomplishing what God has ordained that we do.

3 – Christ/Self Is Not Blasphemy

This Self does take some understanding.  We are not accustomed to thinking in these terms.  We think that to say that Christ is within us, the Self is within us, is the height of blasphemy.  Yet it is not.  Jesus indicated while on earth that he had nothing that we did not also.  Yet he had walked the whole pathway, and we are just beginning.  Yes, our egos have been weakened, but not dispelled, and we would do well to depend mightily upon the power of God to do for us what we cannot accomplish for ourselves.  Jesus will be with us also, in some ineffable way that we ourselves cannot understand, but which I take as a promise.  Jesus said in A Course in Miracles that he would come with “one unequivocal call” and he recommended that, if it would help us, we imagine that he is holding our hand, saying that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

4 – The Self Is Inexhaustible

Let us take Jesus at his word as we seek to give to our brothers and sisters today.  We can give and give, because the Self is inexhaustible.  We do not have to worry that we will burn ourselves out, for this is no sacrifice being asked of us.  This is pure love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give myself away today, certain that I am inexhaustible–as I give, I receive.  And may I think it not blasphemy to know that the Self is the Christ within.  May I see glimpses of this Self today.

Be with me all day long, as I try to walk the path that You would have me walk.  Help me to own my power, and to cooperate with You in guidance.  You do not mean for me to be a passive creature, pushed around as a puppet.  We are partners in guidance, and I seek and am certain that You will see that I find.

Thank You for this glorious day.  May all of us find You, but each in his/her own time.

Amen.

Where Is Heaven?

“Think about this now–for how could heaven be a separate place?  A piece of geography distinct from all the rest?  How could it not encompass everything and still be what it is:  home to God’s beloved son and dwelling place of God Himself?  It is because God is not separate from anything that you cannot be.  It is because God is not separate from anything that heaven is where you are.  It is because God is love that all your relationships are holy, and from them you can find the way to Him and to your holy Self.  (A Course of Love, 6.19)”

Affirmation:  “Heaven is here, when I choose for it to be.”

Reflections:

1 – Heaven = Here / Now = Choose God’s Peace

Heaven is not a piece of real estate off somewhere in the skies.  Heaven is here and now, when we choose God’s peace.  A Course in Miracles says that here in this world we will not be without limitations, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will rise above misfortune and know heaven on earth.  A Course of Love makes the same point here, except that in back of the statement is the idea that Christ-consciousness will grant us knowledge of the right way to go to create heaven.  God is here with us, and we would do well to remember this throughout the day.  How can one fume and fret, when he/she knows that God is within, righting all the wrong that we look upon?  And we know also that that wrong will be created anew when we seek Christ in the faces of all of our brothers and sisters.  This Christ is the unifying Self, the one that can see both human and divine (an ACOL tenet).

2 – Relationships

As with ACIM, A Course of Love indicates, declares, that our relationships are meant to be holy, and it is through our relationships that we will find our way home.  Pray today for the grace to belief this reassurance.

3 – Holy Day

And see if the day does not turn holy indeed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I do what You would have me do to create heaven on earth today.  May I love my brothers and sisters with an ever-deeper love, and may I not forget that I too must love myself, to have anything to give to others.  May my sense of self-esteem partake not of the ego, but of the spirit.  And when self-esteem is of the spirit, all is well.

Be with me today as I walk through this day in peace and joy.  If there are challenges to my day, let me realize that there are no challenges when we are trying to be teachers of God.  And all of us are teachers as well as students of God.

May today be good.  May I do for others what they need, especially those who are my significant others.  And may Your peace fill my heart with joy.

Amen.

In Peace Create the World Anew

“Creation becomes the new frontier, the occupation of those too young to rest, too interested in living still to welcome the peace of dying.  Those who could not change the world one iota through their constant effort, in peace create the world anew.  (A Course of Love, 6.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would create the world anew in peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Vocation

What a glorious vocation this passage elucidates!  We are to create the world anew, in peace but not effort.  What we will change permanently will indeed come effortlessly.  And in peace.  Our effort could not make this change, but our peace will do so–not in the future, but here, now.

2 – Edgar Cayce

I welcome the continued chance to make a difference.  I am personally not ready for death.  According to Edgar Cayce, many of us came to earth to make a difference in the lives of those who were trapped, without hope, in physicality.  We do not, with ACIM, take a stand on reincarnation, but since all time is an illusion, we do not need to feel that reincarnation is an issue.  We certainly do have this one life to live, and we can spend all of our days, in peace, with the hope and desire that others will live better lives because we have been here with them.  This indeed is our function of salvation, and we do live this function in conjunction with happiness.  God takes care of us, in unity with Him and in relationship to others.

3 – Effortless Work

When we desire peace, we sometimes think that death would be a welcome option.  But we still have effortless work to do here on this earth.  And death is nothing; it is like walking through an open door (from Ruth Montgomery’s Guides).  So do not long for death when the world turns difficult.  Put one foot in front of the other, and walk.  We will walk through the difficulty, so long as our thought and feeling processes remain good.  For this is the world that we make.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a good day today, an effortless day of work that will improve the world–indeed, that will create it anew.  What a glorious promise You have made to us!  It gives a motivation for living, a goal toward which we can all look–but without the ego making of anything a challenge.  Just effortless work.  Thank You!

Be with me as I seek to smooth the way for others today, and in so doing may I also smooth the way for myself.  As I treat others, I will be treated.  To give and to receive are one.  Be with  me as I seek to live this truth today.

Amen.

Peace = Enjoyment of Rain and Sun Alike

“How can I make peace attractive to you who know it not?  The Bible says, ‘The sun shines and the rain falls on the good and evil alike.’  Why then do you think that peace is endless sunshine?  Peace is merely enjoyment of the rain and sun, night as well as day.  Without judgment cast upon it, peace shines on all that you would look upon, as well as every situation you would face.  (A Course of Love, 6.16)”

Affirmation:  “I would find peace today, regardless of circumstances.”

Reflections:

1 – Tranquility in Tough Times

This passage may be a new idea for us.  Peace can be found even when there is rain in the forecast.  And rain is a metaphor.  Any difficult situation can be the impetus to pray for the tranquility that we seek, and we can rest assured that the tranquility will come.

2 – “Perfectly Calm and Quiet” Good?

Many of us live in parts of the world that have seasons around the year.  We enjoy the variations in climate, the heat, the cold, and the in between.  So it is not surprising that we turn aside from the injunction in A Course in Miracles that says that being “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time is what we are headed into, when we accept ACIM‘s teachings.  We are not used to calm and quiet all the time.

3 – Judge Not the Negative

We do not have to fear peace in whatever form it comes to us in this world.  So long as we do not judge the negative, we will be alright..  We may wish mightily to change the negative into something better, but we do not have to judge it to make a change.  The peace that we will find, the calm and quiet, will have variations in affect.  We do not have to make drama, but we will sometimes find it.  But it is for ourselves to seek the peace without the drama, being ever mindful that we can live peaceably amid the chaos.

4 – Being with Our Brothers/Sisters

May we be with our brothers and sisters today when we see that difficulties of “rain” are occurring.  Others need us, and it is up to us to rush to their side with aid, but only to the extent that the aid is welcomed.  We ought to avoid “helping” when our help is not desired or wanted.  We then withdraw, and wait for a more propitious time.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today let me know when to feel peace.  The optimal is always, but of course we are all human, and this likelihood is slim prior to Awakening.  May we enjoy both the rain and the sun, the things that cry for improvement, as well as the joys.  And may we thank You for the variation in our lives that lead us farther along the way to You.

May I help my brothers and sisters who need help.  May I be a comfort to them.  And may I too feel Your comfort when I am anxious or depressed.  We all then need You more than anything else.  And the blessing is that You are her for us, even when we are too agitated to take notice.  Let us take notice today, even in our agitations.

Amen.

Relationship = the Truly Real

“You must forgive reality for being what it is.  Reality, the truly real, is relationship.  You must forgive God for creating a world in which you cannot be alone.  You must forgive God for creating a shared reality before you can understand it is the only one you would want to have.  (A Course of Love, 6.1)”

Affirmation:  “I would share my reality today.”

Reflections:

1 – Withdrawal

Sometimes, when life turns bad for us, we seek to withdraw.  We want to be alone, sometimes because we blame others for what seem to be our troubles.

2 – We Made Our Own Reality

This is a false reaction.  Others did not make the reality in which we live.  We did.  We drew what we see to ourselves, and thus we are in relationship to it.  We cannot improve this false reality as long as we see ourselves separate from it, sitting in judgment.

3 – Unity and Relationship

We do want to be with others, in unity as One and in relationship one to the other.  This is the only way that we can understand our world.  We are meant to be a part of this shared reality, a part of the love that we can offer to ourselves (first), and then to our brothers and sisters.

4 – Not Meant to Be Alone

We are not meant to be alone.  And when we withdraw into isolation and solitude, in the long term, we react amiss.

5 – Cooperation Necessary

We truly cannot be alone in this world.  Sometimes others seem to get into our “business, and we just want to withdraw.  But a new world requires cooperation with others.  And it is a new world that we would see.

6 – The Real World

Here we get a greater understanding, in this passage, of what Jesus did not fully elucidate in A Course in Miracles.  What is the real world?  It is the world of relationship, of joining with all that is (an ACOL tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that today I do not want to withdrawn, for I am truly grateful for a world filled with other people.  We are in this together.  We all need each other.

May I do my part to see that our relationships in this world are good and joyous.  May today go well, always following Your guidance.  And knowing that You would not have us to be alone.

Amen.

This World Can Be Heaven

“You think that to come in contact with violence is to have a relationship with it.  This is not so.  If this were so, you would be joined to all you come in contact with and the world would be heaven indeed, as all you see became blessed by your holiness.  That you move through your world without relating to it in any way is what causes your alienation from the heaven it can be.  (A Course of Love, 5.31)”

Affirmation:  “I would see heaven in this world today.”

Reflections:

1 – Violent World Overcome

We who try to live good lives would make a difference in this violent world if we were truly in relationship to all of it.  This is not a grandiose belief, unless this belief is viewed through the ego’s eyes.  We can make a difference, but we at this point are not in relationship to all.  And that is what is causing the problem.

2 – Make a Different World

If we truly turned aside from violence of any kind, we would make a different kind of world, a heaven in this world.  That is what the passage is saying.  And we would be blessed, along with all the world.

3 – Extend Love

But we turn aside from having any relationship with those who perpetrate violence, by denouncing violence in them.  We do not extend our love to fellow human beings who are struggling, trying to do the best they can, even though we don’t think what they are doing is very good.  We must see other people as the brothers and sisters that they are.  And then we will see real change happening on earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would reconsider my attitude toward those in this world who do violent things.  I have so often wanted to turn off the radio when the news is on, for the violence being reported is overwhelming and, oh, so disturbing.  This is a way that I denounce violence, by refusing to listen to it.  

Instead, I would send a prayer abroad and in this country, that violence might be dispelled.  In my own life, I would turn aside from any kind of verbal violence or verbal attack, because, just like the ones who perpetuate real violence in the world, at such times that I verbally attack, I am feeling anger–just as they are.

I would not directly resist, for I am not in the military service.  But I would gently, very gently, just turn aside from violence that I hear about, giving it no credence.  Misguided people need our understanding.  If religious people do not offer understanding, to whom can the misguided turn?

Amen.

Relationships = All that Are Real Here

“God is known to you within relationships, as this is all that is real here.  God cannot be seen in illusion nor known to those who fear him.  (A Course of Love, 5.30)”

Affirmation:  “Thank You for my relationships.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Way Home

Here we confront the idea of relationship and its pivotal place in our lives when we follow both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  It is our brother (or sister) from whom we learn the way back to God, when we follow ACIM and ACOL.  Relationships are our way home.

2 – Contemplation Not Required

We do not have to spend long hours in contemplation, for this is tedious (from the Manual of ACIM).  Others who do follow contemplation will find their way back also, but why would we seek a pathway that is different from the way that we are following?  Why seek and seek and seek, only to be led in circles?

3 – Unity and Relationship

Our way, if we choose ACIM and ACOL as our lodestone, is the unity and relationship that we know in this world.  ACIM stresses relationship, and ACOL adds unity to this equation.

4 – What “Fearing” God Means in ACOL

And we do not “fear” God, if we wish to come home.  The word “fear,” in this context, is different from the “fear of God” that is described so often in the Bible.  The definitions are different.  Here we are talking about having an anxiety about God, a sense that maybe He doesn’t wish us well.

5 – One Unequivocal Call

Do we really believe such, given all that we truly know?  I think not.  We know not to blame God for the condition of our world.  We have made these conditions, and He stands ready to save us from ourselves at any moment.  Jesus is also ready to assist, always.  He says that he will come at “one unequivocal call” (from ACIM).

6 – Mists Evaporate

When we are lost in illusions, in dreams, we do not really see God, and we are likely to be afraid of Him, afraid that we will be found out for misdeeds that seem unforgivable.  But all of this foolishness.  We need to commune with God to the extent that our needs dictate.  And then the mists will evaporate, and we will see the real world–a dream (illusion) no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know no fear or anxiety, because I would find my way Home to You in my relationships.  Thank You for my nighttime dreams as well as my daytime ones.  All are good and welcome in helping me to find my way back to You.

We need our relationships to live well in this world.  We are never meant to live in too isolated a fashion.  Thank You for the friends and family whom I have.  We are One with you, in union with each other and in relationship that blesses all of us.

Amen.

Overcoming Terror

“For every joining, every union that you enter into, your real world is increased and what is left to terrify you decreased.  This is the only loss that union generates, and it is a loss of what was merely illusion.  (A Course of Love, 5.28)”

Affirmation:  “May my real world increase today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of the Real World

Ah, the real world!  This was the blessing that we often did not understand in A Course in Miracles, and here the concept is made clear.  We see the real world in snatches, and as we enter into union with all that exists, we see more and more of the real world, and this happens more and more often.  The real world is what God created, not what we made.  And from here, the real world, it is but a step into Awakening (as A Course in Miracles says), or Christ-consciousness (as A Course of Love says).

2 – Little Terror

We will not spend so much of our time in terror.

3 – Fear, Terror, and Anxiety

Perhaps we don’t realize how much terror we actually experience.  We often just call it “anxiety,” and we know, when we have studied ACIM, that anxiety is a form of fear.  And that fear and love, in their various manifestations, are the only two emotions.  We would not walk this world, even this world that we made, in terror.  God would not have us give Him a bad day.  Of course, we do not know that God has entered our illusion with us.  Perhaps I am anthropomorphizing.  But certainly we do know that we are quite capable of giving ourselves and our loved ones, and, indeed, all those we encounter, a bad day if we are lost in dreams of terror.

4 – God with Us

Drop such nonsense immediately.  Terror is not worthy of a Son/Daughter of God.  And terror is so unnecessary.  God is with us, always.  And when we turn a difficulty, no matter how difficult, over to God, we will know peace.

5 – Terror Easily Given Up with Union with Others

Try it today, if chance should bring something that terrorizes you.  Be glad that the fear is so easily given up.  I can assure you that, once surrendered to God, the terror will subside, and once again you will walk a green earth.  This assurance is extended to all forms of difficulty.  And we are at peace again, regardless of what swirls around us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join with all whom I see today, in union to overcome the terrorizing that this world inculcates in me.  This is a terrifying world, unless we have the wherewithal to turn to You.  And then You make all things right again.

Be with me as I seek to join in union with all today.  Especially my significant others, and all from my past and future, as well.  Help all of us to find You in everyday life.

Amen.

Dedicate Your Thought to Union

“Dedicate your thought to union.  When senseless thoughts fill your mind, when resentments arise, when worry comes, repeat the thought that comes to open your heart and clear your mind:  ‘I dedicate all thought to union.’  (A Course of Love, 5.20)”

Affirmation:  “I dedicate all thought to union.”

Reflections:

1 – One

We are all One.  Everything is One.  For God is one, and the All is He.

2 – Differences

We think of union, most of all, in regard to other people with whom we are particularly close.  But we don’t often realize that the union that we seek is also aware of differences.  And we blame others, for they are different from ourselves.

3 – The All

Jesus would not have us think this way.  We are in relationship one to another, but this relationship is a relationship of “sameness.”  We would do well to consider how alike we are to other people–indeed, how alike we are to all in God’s creation.  We made this world, but it often reflects a heaven on earth when union with the All has been accomplished in us.

4 – Unity and Relationship

Let us ask today for the union that we all need, whether or not we are aware of it.  This union (in relationship) is a keynote of A Course of Love.  When we have mastered this concept, we will not need to learn much more.

5 – Rise Above Difficulties

If we dedicate our thought to a desire to understand union, we will rise above.  We will know joy.  And God Himself will be glad that His children are once again communicating with Him.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would indeed dedicate my thought to union today.  I would see my brother and me as One, along with You and everyone else.  Help me to hold this one thought foremost in my mind, and I will be well on the road to a good day.

In union, we are One.  With You, we are the All.  And we are in union with everyone and everything, and we are also in relationship to other people and things, celebrating our differences, but still in union.  While these concepts may seem difficult at first, I know that they are simple but profound ideas.  Help me to teach them well.

Thank You.

Amen.