Seek to Master Love, Not Fear

“We began this section with an attempt to correct the fundamental human error that fear can be mastered. The correction was that only love can be mastered. Even if you are ready for revelation, though, that does not mean that you have in any way mastered that form of communication. Mastery of love necessarily involves a much more complete confidence in the ability than you have as yet attained. Readiness, however, is at least an indication that you believe this is possible. This is only the beginning of confidence. In case this be misunderstood as a statement that an enormous amount of time will be necessary between readiness and mastery, I would again remind you that time and space are under my control.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.XII.10:1-7)

Yes, time and space are under Jesus’ control, and here he is trying to get us to do what seems impossible to us—to master love. We often attempt to do the reverse, master fear. We are in pain when we experience anxiety, and we just want to get rid of the feeling. But we are limited in what we can do until we turn our bodies and souls over to love. Then, when love is attained, and even mastered, our fears drop away. It is just that simple.

I have long been prone to anxieties; they have dogged my every step through this life. But when I am immersed in love, feeling love with every bone in my body, I notice that there is no trace of fear/anxieties. And this is what Jesus is talking about. We master fear by first mastering love.

Of course, we don’t stay in a cloud of love all the time. This world drags us back. But as often as we retreat from love, and then feel fear, we can try again, take another step in a better direction. We move forward and retreat throughout our lives. Only in Awakening are the vicissitudes altered. Then we have smoother sailing.

So: Seek to master love, not fear. The benefits are stupendous. The way opens to God Himself, for God is but Love.

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Depression & Anxiety

“Generally, three types of emotional disturbance result:

“a) The tendency to maintain the illusion that only the physical is real. This produces depression.

“b) The tendency to invest the physical with nonphysical properties. This is essentially magic and tends more toward anxiety-proneness.

“c) The tendency to vacillate from one to the other, which produces a corresponding vacillation between depression and anxiety.

“All three result in self-imposed starvation.” (ACIM, COA ed.,T-2.I.7:1-7)

Here Jesus gives us a metaphysical approach to depression and anxiety. If we think the physical is all that there is, of course we will be depressed: Who wants to end in the grave? And if we try magical solutions in materialism, we will become anxious, because we know, deep inside (where God is), that this is a falsehood. Lastly, we can vacillate between these two extremes, and then vacillate between depression and anxiety.

All of this is essentially disheartening. If we live from our heart, as A Course of Love (the continuation of A Course in Miracles), we will bypass all of this nonsense. Bypassing such false ideas is just good thinking, and in so doing we won’t feel depressed/anxious that we are on the wrong track.

Bypassing depression and anxiety is just good common sense. Why, when these falsehoods have been pointed out to us, would we continue allowing mood swings to affect our good living?

When Feeling Guilty, Anxious, Sad, Depressed, Not Joyous

“When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. (T63)”

Affirmation: “When you feel guilty, leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to Jesus.”

Reflections:

1 – Guilty

A reassuring passage, we are here reminded that our true reality is innocence. The ego is not our true reality. It is only a part of our belief about ourselves, a part that Atonement can and does heal.

2 – Anger and Attack

Guilt is frequently a component of anger and attack, two ideas that the Course says have no justification. It is true that immediately after an outburst, we are likely to feel better, but this does not last. Feeling better happens immediately because, as Kenneth Wapnick says in a recorded presentation, we think that we have gotten rid of the guilt. Have we? No. We have only vented. Soon the guilt at the outburst will overtake us again. Then the time has come for an apology to the one we have wronged.

3 – Atonement

So we do not have to feel guilty. There is a way out. Remember that the ego is a false sense of self. The real Self has been untouched by our guilt, and when we accept Atonement, we will know peace.

4 – Anxious

“When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego, and know this need not be. You can be as vigilant against the ego’s dictates as for them. (T63)”

Anxiety is a form of fear, of course. And fear and love are the primary emotions. The phrase, “capriciousness of the ego,” can be a bit difficult, but essentially it is saying that our egos are wily, and we cannot trust where they lead.

5 – Pills

Just as with sadness, anxiety is an emotion that most of us experience–some of us for long periods of time. Pills are not recommended long-term by physicians. So in this sense our medical establishment is in line with Jesus’s explanation that pills are a form of magic that work because we believe in them. Jesus implies that we would be better off without pills, if doing without would not raise our level of fear.

6 – Vigilance

Vigilance against the ego’s dictates is a call to action, mental action. We do not have to fall for the nefarious dictates of the ego, and we would do well to consider what some of those really are. Certainly the ego is in control when we are anxious. We need to consider whether or not this is really what we want. We need to realize that other people and their attitudes toward us are not the essential point. Our relationship to God is primary, and when we allow Him the upper hand, our anxiety about the opinions of others declines.

7 – Sad

“When you are sad, know this need not be. Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise. (T63)”

This passage is part of a group in which Jesus negates negative emotions. He makes clear at this point that we make our own decisions, and we can change conditions that hurt. In particular, in this passage he indicates that sadness can be overcome, even when it is depression.

8 – Form of Magical Solution

Elsewhere Jesus notes that pills are a form of magic, but that they may be necessary if we are already fearful. They are an intermediate step that will assist us, still caught in illusions, to overcome what is wrong simply because we believe that it will work for us. Certainly medication for depression would seem to fall in this category.

9 – Depression

Note the explanation of why depression happens: a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. The vast majority of us can relate to this, sometimes on a daily basis–and certainly over our lifetime. It is a great relief to know that we have actually chosen these instances of deprivation. We are trying to learn something. The fact that we are learning through pain is not good, because elsewhere Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain. Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) indicates much that supports A Course in Miracles, but his pathway toward Awakening was in fact through tremendous anxiety and depression. A later book by Tolle, A New Earth, makes this point even clearer by his explanation of the “pain body.” Jesus, though, would not have us take this route if we can follow him to the uttermost that he promises.

10 – Not Joyous

“When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be. (T63)”

Our mood falls when we try to make decisions without first asking for guidance. Then we get that sinking feeling that we have made the wrong decision. That sinking feeling is frequently correct.

11 – Guidance

Of course, we cannot practically ask for guidance at every turn, but Jesus says elsewhere that if we set the proper tone for the day, asking for guidance at its beginning, and then again at the best opportunities, we will be well on our way to good days always. He says that the Course is always practical, and asking for guidance in every moment would not be practical.

12 – Holy Spirit

All of us want to be joyous. Staying close to the Holy Spirit is the secret to just that.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am not joyous when I try to live by my own lights, leaving out the Holy Spirit. Let me turn to Him for guidance.

I can be joyous. Let me accept this as a lodestone. And I thank you for letting me know that joy is my right as a child of God.

May I turn around all these negative states of thinking and feeling today, right now. May I focus on positivity, not negativity, knowing that when I focus on positivity, I bring all things to myself that are good. May Jesus’s warnings be taken to heart. And may this day go well.

Thank You.

Amen.

Jesus: “Fear Cannot be Controlled by Me, but It Can Be Self-Controlled. Fear Prevents Me from Giving You My Control.”

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Affirmation: “Fear can be self-controlled.”

Reflections:

1 – Previous Posts

I have posted on passages from A Course of Miracles about fear three times in the very recent past. Fear is a motif of ACIM, and fear and love are said to be the only two emotions–with all others being subsets of those two. Fear is of the ego, and the presence of fear is a sure sign that we are letting the ego rule once again. We need to find out how to avoid letting the ego rule. We will never make much progress on our spiritual “journey without distance” (from ACIM) unless we find a way to overcome fear. But Jesus also tells us that we cannot “master” fear by our insistence; he says that the only true mastery is through love. So this puts us back at square one. We need to understand how to love, to get ourselves and our egos out of the way, to see how we can view our world, the people in it and ourselves, with only the positive sense of love. Then and only then will we be free of anxieties. It is true, though, that such mastery may come ultimately only with Awakening.

2 – Conditions Bringing Fear

The quotation is not the complete passage, and what is quoted can be a little misleading. Later on Jesus says that we are to ask for help in eliminating the conditions that have brought the fear about. That then frees us to accept the control of Jesus. What are these conditions, usually? That we have been too self-centered, that we have not let go and let God, or, more precisely, the Holy Spirit as the Communicator to us. We have not let the Holy Spirit have His way in the guidance that we have asked to recognize as we live our lives. In these early passages in the Text of ACIM, Jesus has not yet introduced the Holy Spirit fully, and he uses the first person, himself, to introduce us to the idea that we need help in our daily lives. He is there for us, and later on he will make clear that the Holy Spirit is there for us. Here we are bade to give control to Jesus in regard to the conditions that have brought fear about. It is always a desire to be separate, these conditions. And it is not the will of the universe that we see ourselves as separate and apart from the whole. We desire so much to be independent, but we are not intended to be as independent as the ego has said. We are part of the All, and the sooner we join the whole in our minds and hearts, the quickly we will be free of fear, free of anxieties.

3 – Self-Controlled Fear

In getting the guidance of the Holy Spirit to eliminate the conditions that brought about the fear, we are going to the root of the fear. This is true self-controlled fear.

4 – Cause and Effect

Jesus also says that cause and effect are involved in fear. When the conditions that bring about fear are present as a cause, then the effect is the fear. To tamper with this cause-and-effect relationship would be to deemphasize our minds, which Jesus would never do. He also says that we fear the power of the mind, but to think of it as impotent is not a helpful concept. We are actually afraid of the power of the mind.

5 – Fear Can Be Overcome

Fear can be overcome. It is simple to read these words and to take them to heart, but perhaps it is not easy to effect the eradication of fear. As indicated, A Course in Miracles Course returns again and again to the differences between love and fear, and ultimately tells us that the only true mastery of fear is through love. How do we effect this change? How do we choose love in every situation? Ah, that is the question. But one of the best ways to so live is to turn often to the inner Self, as well as to the inner Deity, in communion and prayer. If we keep a reverent attitude toward what we are going through in daily life, we will be living in a more centered way. We will not become so scattered, with attempts made so often to go off in many directions at once. The scattered approach to living is an invitation to allow fear the upper hand. And stress fuels anxieties.

6 – Stress

How might we reduce the daily stress that comes with the territory of being human? One of the best ways is to devote a short period, morning and evening, to devotionals. The Workbook of ACIM is certainly a way to learn how to do this. When we touch base with God on a regular basis, we find that we are conscious of His Presence when our minds are on the things of this world. This is the best way that I know to “self-control” fear.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be free of fear. May I have help with the conditions that bring the fear about. And may I be guided in how to control my fear.

I pray for Jesus’s help in my life. He promises this to me. May I turn to him and to the Holy Spirit for the help that I so much need.

Amen.

The Correction of Fear Is Your Responsibility. When You Ask for Release from Fear, You Are Implying that It Is Not.

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“The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about. (T29)”

Affirmation: “help in the conditions that have brought the fear about”

Reflections:

1 – A Sequence of Thoughts

These three sentences, and the order in which they appear, are a very important sequence. We may feel that the correction of fear is beyond what we can do, but this passage says not. We can get help, though, in the slightly different matter of the “conditions” that brought the fear about. For that we ask for help, and rightly so. And when we ask, we receive.

2 – Cause and Effect

Jesus says elsewhere that if he were to remove the fear for us, he would be tampering with a most important aspect of reality, cause and effect. We have to take responsibility for what we have made in this world, and fear is one of those things that the ego has made. It is not real, but we don’t realize this when we are in throes.

3 – Personal Experience

I have not always taken kindly to this assertion of Jesus. I have thought, previously, that if a minor tranquillizer could remove anxiety, how is this OK to be effective when Jesus himself does not help directly (as he says he won’t)? The reason is that the Valium or Xanax is a magic potion, but a pill that is quite in line with what we might do in our fear-weakened state. Jesus does not directly encourage pills, but he does say that sometimes we have to take an oblique approach to illness and let medication do its work. He indicates, though, that pills are a form of magic or magical approach to our ailments.

4 – Conditions

The most important thing to remember is that Jesus will help with the conditions that have brought the fear about, and this is a very close thing to helping directly with the fear. And it does not tamper with the effect that we have wrought when we made a cause that brought the anxiety upon us. We do have the power to handle anxiety, and prayer and meditation are among our most potent tools in our tool kit. Jesus walks beside us, when we call for him (“a single unequivocal call” from the Text of A Course in Miracles), and this in itself is frequently enough to take the agitation from us. It has proved to be enough for me on any number of occasions.

5 – Pivotal

The matter of conditions is pivotal. There is always an (insane) reason that we feel fearful. We don’t need to understand insanity, but we do need to leave it behind, and this passage notes that the help we need in leaving insanity behind is there for the asking. Indeed, we cannot understand insanity, for it is beyond reason, being irrational. Remember that the ego approves of our analyzing our conditions, as this seems to lean credence to the importance of the ego. Let such analysis drop by the wayside. It will get us nowhere. Instead, we need to note madness when we see it, and then quietly let it go.

6 – Fearful Thoughts = Madness

Fearful thoughts are always a form of madness, the form in which most of us live in this world the vast majority of the time. Until we willingly leave fear behind and return to love consistently, we will be afraid periodically. Can this be something we want to keep?

7 – Our Power

It is very reassuring to hear from Jesus in ACIM that we have the power to remove fear. Our minds are very powerful and never rest, even in sleep (from ACIM). We do not normally credit the mind with such power because we are afraid of this power (also from ACIM). But we need not fear our own minds when we have willingly laid down our own judgment and turned to the Holy Spirit for His help. He will guide us surely. More than surely. It is one of His functions, and He will not neglect His functions. We do not know all the conditions that surround us–past, present, and future–and so we would choose wrongly. Turn to one who does have this prescience. And life will smooth out. I know this for a fact.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave fear behind. This sometimes seems impossible to me, but You have promised that I can do so.

May I have the help that You have promised with the conditions that have brought the fear about. Then my fear is self-controlled, which is what Jesus asks me to do.

Amen.

The Ultimate in Salvation

san Marco Renoir painting“It should be becoming clear to you by now that, although you dwell in the house of the truth, you are capable of bringing with you old patterns of behavior. Once the translation of the new thought system for the old is complete, this will no longer happen. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.3)”

Affirmation: “I would avoid old patterns of behavior today.”

Reflections:

1 – Christ-Consciousness

We need to translate the old thought system into the new—the old egoic patterns into the new truth of reality as it is meant to be lived through Christ-consciousness, the ultimate in salvation. But we are still caught in the fears of the old pattern, and as long as those fears stay with us, we will have a problem. We will not be moving forward.

2 – Fear

Take time today to contemplate, with God, what we might do to speed along the process to completion of salvation. Many of us have had mystical experiences along the way, even glimpses of Christ-consciousness, but these have most usually not been sustained. Ask, and ye shall receive (from the New Testament). Ask to reach Christ-consciousness and to sustain it. To do so will mean that we make a conscious choice to leave fear behind.

3 – Divine Help

Can we leave fear behind on our own? No! We cannot. We need divine power to leave behind something that has become so ingrained in us. But God’s will for us is surely to leave behind the old thought system of egoic fear, and to walk into the sunlight with Him. He would have us transform ourselves, and ultimately the world. And time does not mean the same to Him that it does to us. What may seem a very long time, even millions of years (from A Course in Miracles), will pass very quickly in the grand scheme of things.

4 – Paradox

Don’t be afraid to leave fear! This assertion sounds paradoxical, and indeed it is. But do we not cling to the past in thousands of ways? Are we not afraid to let go and let God? His truth for us is far greater than we can imagine. He can show us how to lose the past by an all-encompassing movement, even run, toward the future.

5 – God

Let God show us today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to leave fear behind forever. I have often prayed a prayer for the lessening of anxiety, yet despite the glimpses of the ultimate in life, I still invite anxiety from time to time by my attitudes.

Let me leave this foolishness behind now and each day in the future, taking one day at the time. It is not Your will that we cower against this world, though it is true that this world can hurt us. I would not invite hurt by my attitude. I would enjoy tranquility and peace today and every day. Help me to do so.

Thank You.

Amen.

Joy without Sorrow

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“You used your free will to choose the human experience.  Now are you willing to use it to choose the Peace of God instead?  Can you wholeheartedly choose peace?  Can you choose peace long enough to become accustomed to joy without sorrow?  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Relax

This passage identifies a shortcut to Christ-consciousness, and it is an easy route, without effort, for we just relax into the peace that God wishes for us.  We no longer seek drama, and if we inadvertently do make drama in our lives, we turn aside from this drama as soon as we recognize the mistake we have made in letting peace fall by the wayside.  We would know joy without sorrow, and to do so we must let go of the ego.  We must turn aside from the ego, not in resisting it, but in simply making that simple turn away.

2 – Peace of God

How much we do we want joy without sorrow?  Probably very much, and it is only our ignorance about where to begin that causes us any problems.   We need to use our free will to choose the Peace of God.  Free will is never taken from us by God, but we use free will to turn back to Him.  And then we know His Peace.  We know joy without sorrow.  And, we are farther along toward Awakening/Christ-consciousness.

3 – Simple Guidelines

The Treatise on the Art of Thought gives us simple guidelines for making progress toward Christ-consciousness.  Indeed, all of the three volumes of A Course of Love do the same.  We read them with an abstract mind, for to read them with an intense mind will not work.  We absorb the meaning, not through intense study, but through observation of “what is.”  And thus we come to understand what is required of us.

4 – Key

We hold the key.  And we make great strides when we simply choose to have the Peace of God in our minds, hearts, and spirits.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Following You, I will have joy without sorrow.  What a glorious promise!  Thank You.  You do want me to be happy, and happiness is not an inferior goal.  I can contribute best to this world when I am in a joyous frame of mind.  If my religion doesn’t give me cause for joy, why would anybody else want to listen to what I say or do what I do?

Once again, I turn aside from the ego.  There is no other way.  I won’t try to resist the ego, which will just make it stronger.  What one resists, persists.  I would just gently turn aside, turning away from the ego and in the direction of You.

May I drop fear and anxiety from my repertoire of emotions.  If I continue as I did when younger, then these long-held emotions will stay with me.  But I want a break with the past, a break that will put harmony and peace on the throne and dislodge fear and anxiety.

With Your help. I can and will feel harmony, peace, joy–all the intangibles that You hold in such abundance.

Amen.

Pray from Fear into Inner Peace

cezanne.jas-buffan-pool“To pray out of fear is not to pray at all, because such prayer chooses not the union that is the prerequisite.  To pray out of fear is to ask from an unreal state of lack for what is seen as missing or desired.  In contrast, true prayer, formed in union, is a means of creating, recollecting, or recalling a divine memory and transforming that divine memory into a present moment experience.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.6)”

Affirmation:  “I will choose to avoid fearful prayers.”

Reflections:

1 – Fearful Turmoil

When we are in fearful turmoil, our emotions are so engaged that it is hard to sense God’s presence.  We are not in union with God, because we cannot feel His presence.  This is the so-called foxhole prayer, i.e., “There are no atheists in foxholes” (a reminder of World War I).  We need in some way to alleviate the fear, and I have found that prayer, in fact, does alleviate fear.  I can pray myself to sleep when I am anxious.  Is there a problem with my experience vs. the words of Jesus in this passage?

2 – Personal Experience

I think not, because I am calmed by the prayer, a calming that precedes receiving an answer (an answer that is sometimes just blissful sleep).  I do not go to sleep fearful, and I do not remain fearful as I pray.  The fear just drops away, and I pray from a relaxed state of mind and heart.

3 – Divine Memory

The latter half of this passage is difficult to understand.  What exactly is a “divine memory”?  I think that Jesus is calling on our Self/Christ at this point.  When we experience the Self/Christ, we are healed from a divine perspective, for the Self/Christ is our part of the God within (an interpretation, not stated precisely in A Course of Love).

4 – When to Pray

We need to begin praying when we are afraid or fearful, but–and this is the important point–we will not remain afraid or fearful.  We will, in nearly all cases, immediately begin calming down, for we will be recalled to trust in God.  We need never cease to pray because we think that we are too overwrought.  God will create the holy instant that will bring us peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me to know that praying to You in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep, is a very practical way to induce a return to sleep.  I think that You welcome this communion, for our private times together heal and calm me.  Thank You for letting me adopt practical use of prayer for a very human need of sleep.

Thank You for leading me to realize that the best prayer is not one of fear.  The prayer may begin with anxieties, but the prayer will take me out of the anxieties into peace.  Thank You for this blessing.

If I can reach divine healing today, it will be because You have led me every step of the way.  Fort this leading, I am very grateful.

Amen.

Why Not Request a Miracle?

images - impressionism 2“See you not the choices made in each of these scenarios and the reasoning or lack of reasoning behind them?  You are not worthy.  You are not saintly, godlike or even holy.  You might choose incorrectly.  You might invoke retribution.  You might be selfish.  You might be proved to have no faith.  You might succumb to thoughts of grandeur.

In short, you are too afraid, for a variety of reasons, to try.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.24 – 3.25)”

Affirmation:  “I choose not to be afraid.”

Reflections:

1 – Why Hesitate?

This passage discusses the reasons that we hesitate to ask for a miracle.  But are we really these negative things?  I think not.  We are The Accomplished, not perfect, but worthy of all that God would bestow upon us.  And He would bestow quite a lot.  His will is that we find salvation leading to Christ-consciousness, and He will guide us every step of the way.

2 – Finding the Way

How might we find that way?  We find it in dedication to the pathway on which we find ourselves.  We find it from our reading (for our purposes, principally, A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, and the Bible), from our prayers, and particularly, from our relationships to the within, Christ/Self, and our relationships to the without, our brothers and sisters.

3 – Relinquish Ego

We do not stay true to the pathway by egoistical means.  All ego must be relinquished.  How?  By recognizing when we have egotistical thoughts and then dismissing them.  By not gaining pleasure from our fantasies that are lost in illusions or dreams.

4 – Ask Amiss?

We are afraid to ask for a miracle for we think that the ego has not died within us, and that, in asking, we will ask amiss.  

5 – God

Perhaps we will ask amiss, but God will correct our mistakes, and Jesus himself will stand at the end of the pathway to right what wrongs we cannot right, to correct what errors we cannot ourselves correct.  

6 – Be Not Afraid

So let us not be afraid, keeping in mind that God is guiding our minds as we ask for a miracle.  Keep in mind that we learn later on in the Treatise on the Art of Thought that we are not being asked to ask for something specific, but for the abstract concept.  We are not being misled here, prior to learning of this.  We are in learning mode, and Jesus is still teaching us.  (He will eventually relinquish that role, making us equal to himself.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I think in abstract terms today, asking for a miracle, but not a specific one.  This is tricky, and I would not be misled.  Asking for a miracle in the broadest sense is a way to get closer to You.

Be with me today as I leave fear behind.  There is no room in Your world for fear.  Fear is of the ego.  And I would turn aside from egoic thoughts forever.

Amen.

Free-Floating Anxiety

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“What is needed to convince you will be provided.  Such is the urgency of your return to unity.  If not now, then soon, you will be asked to make this final choice, this choice to leave fear behind for good and to become who you are.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.14)”

Affirmation:  “I would leave fear behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear

Jesus seems very bent on our leaving fear behind.  Let him talk to us today.  His way will lead us from the anxieties in which we have often been caught, to the peace and joy of a will that is firmly established in God’s choices for us.

2 – Christ/Self

Who we are is a being, a Christ, that is without abnormal fear.  Of course, Jesus is not talking about the fears that keep us from danger.  He is talking about the free-floating anxiety that prevents many of us from enjoying life.  And he came 2,000 years ago so that we would have life, and more abundant life at that.

3 – Jesus

We will be convinced of the truth of Jesus’s words.  This is the promise of this passage.  And what a glorious promise it is!  To be convinced!  What we need will be provided.  And how?  We will experience this truth through our wholeheartedness, but first through our hearts, which do not actually need the proof in an intellectual way at all.  The heart understands and believes when the mind doubts.  And this mind is the ego-mind, which we would leave behind.  We would see it wither away, and then we will know with the wholeheartedness of a sane mind and a full heart, joined.

4 – Return to Sanity

We are urged to return to sanity.  All of us have been insane to one degree or another all of our lives, except when experiencing glimpses of Awakening.  Jesus would lead us away from this deplorable situation into the light of day, the light of his will also.  He would have us leave insanities behind.  He does not mean pathological insanities as in mental illness, but insanities that are the crux of the human condition.  And we would join him in wishing for an end to these insanities as well.

5 – Christ-Consciousness

Such is the triumph of Christ-consciousness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I release all free-floating anxiety today.  May nothing mar this beautiful day.  Thank You for the brilliant sun, the balmy weather, the sense that love is out there, waiting for all of us.  May we be patient, but may we know that we do not have to see love delayed.  Open our hearts to Your love, and then may the significant others who would enhance our lives be on their way to us.

Thank You for the many blessings that You give so freely.  Your help is always a free offer.  May I know in the depth of my heart that I am not meant to struggle.  Your way is easy, and with You, even the difficult becomes easy.

Be with us as we walk through a normal day in a normal, but especially be with us if this day brings challenges.  There is no challenge to the advanced teacher of God, according to Jesus, but often we don’t feel that we are very advanced.  Things still trip us up.  I would have a day today that is calm and peaceful, minus the chaos that sometimes seems to engulf all of us.  May we be conscious of Your guiding Presence at all times, leading the way out of dilemmas and granting us Your peace that passeth understanding.

Amen.

Leave Fear Behind Permanently

images - impressionist“All your reasons for fear-based living have been discounted one by one.  And yet you dare not try to live without it.  Why?  Because of the thoughts of the ego-mind.  The ego-mind is concerned only with its own survival but it has you convinced it is your survival that depends on it.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would leave fear behind permanently today.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety

Most of us have known anxiety far more than we would like to admit.  This is not a personal failing, but just evidence that the ego-mind has not withered away.  We can make a determination that we will not reinforce the fear, when it arises, but take a timeout and commune with God.  We can and will relax in such communion.  Gradually the times of anxiety and fear will lessen, and we will know that we are making progress.  Watch for hints of intuition that will lead us out of this long-time trouble.  Listen for what to do and say that will weaken the ego.  And then the anxiety that has dogged our steps will eventually be a thing of the past.

2 – Ego

The fact that the ego-mind has not withered away is not cause for downheartedness.  We spent eons building up the ego, and it will take some time to reverse the process.  We need to realize that the ego gives us nothing that we want.  Sure, we have flights of pleasure (we think “joy,” but it is not), but the pleasure is balanced with times of dejection.  We always pay for our flights with tears of pain.  Is this any way to live?

3 – Relinquish

I think not.  We must be willing to relinquish egotistical attitudes, ask God for help, and then be reassured that we are asking in His will.  He will help us.  His help is a free offer; he wants to help.  And then we will know the blessedness of peace that passeth understanding (from the Bible).

4 – Release

At any time that we are aware of an egotistical attitude, let us go within and release it to God.  We would not dwell in fantasies of ego-inspired notions.  We would let all of this foolishness go, and with the vacuum, God himself will inspire us to listen to our Christ/Self, which never acts or thinks from egotism.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would release whatever fear I still have in me today.  Not tomorrow, but today.  Help me to do my part to accomplish this.

May my ego-mind just disappear in the light of Your sun.  Your light gives true vision, and it is true vision that I would seek today.

Amen.

Eliminating Perplexities

“While you will at times doubt that you have received an answer or that the answer you have received paintings-by-camille-pissarro-6is correct, you will soon learn to trust this quiet process of discernment.  You will know you have succeeded when you truly feel as if you have ‘turned the question or concern over’ and allowed it to be responded to in a new way.  (A Course of Love, 25.23)”

Affirmation:  “When I have a perplexity, I turn it over to God.”

Reflections:

1 – Perplexities

Perplexities do not have to remain perplexities.  There is a quick solution, as I said yesterday in this blog:  The solution is with the problem (an ACIM tenet).  We are learning better what that means as we read A Course of Love.  We are learning to turn inward, where all is quiet, to our heart, and thereby to receive an answer.  This is an elaboration of what A Course in Miracles teaches, which seems to be another indication that what we have here in ACOL is actually a sequel from Jesus.

2 – “Basket Case”

I read recently from an inspirational writer of one of his family members who came up against severe problems at various junctures in her life.  She would, in his words, be a “basket case.”  But this did not last long.  When he would visit shortly thereafter, she would be calm, though the difficulty was still there.  She would reply, in response to his comment that all seemed well, that she had “turned that over to God.”  The emotional reaction was much more muted.

3 – Turn It Over to God

If we can learn to do this on a constant basis, we will live a much calmer and saner life.  We will not be lost in insanity, the state that all of us exist in until we come to know better.  We leave behind anger and attack, we turn our lives over to God, and we are rewarded by a peaceful life, with the “peace that passeth understanding” (from the Bible).

4 – Heart and Mind = Wholeheartedness

A Course of Love constantly appeals to the heart, and only toward the end do we see that a blend of mind and heart is actually the way for us.  We have to let go of egoic notions of the mind, though.  And the emphasis upon the heart, in the opening pages of ACOL, is exactly what we need to hear in the beginning.  We will come to know better when we give up asking for tangible proof.  The heart already knows.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I quickly turn any perplexity over to You.  You want to help me.  It is a free offer.  Surrender works.  Thank You.

May I be good company today with my brothers and sisters, and especially with those who are my significant others.  May this be a good day.  Help us to know how to turn perplexities into solutions.  This is something that we all need frequently.

Be with us today and always.

Amen.

We Cry Out for Healing Today

“Your choice to separate from God is but a separation from your own Self, and this is truly the separation that needs to be healed to return you to God.  (A Course of Love, 17.2)”

Affirmation:  “May I join with my Self today.”vincent-van-gogh-portrait-of-peasant-detail-resized-600.jpeg

Reflections:

1 – Personal Self

We are often moody.  Why?  We are living in the personal self, the little self that is still occupied with and identified with the ego.  The ego does not wish us well.  It welcomes conflict, because conflict keeps the ego alive and thriving.

2 – Relax into Our Hearts

There is a better way to live.  We can relax into our hearts, when we are down, and still the mind.  The final pages of the Workbook of A Course in Miracles are filled with reflections that some view as meditation.  These reflections, as well as the trilogy of A Course of Love, are particularly appropriate to consider our Self, the real inner being that is the Christ.  And when we turn to the inner being, we are reconciled to ourselves and to God at once.

3 – Glimpses of Revelation

We will sometimes fail to make this transition, for the glimpses of revelation are brief in the beginning.  But gradually, as we continue our pathway, the glimpses lengthen, and our time with the Self expands.  Then we are truly being returned to God, and posthaste.  We are not alone with the ego any longer.

4 – Ineffable Peace

When we have returned to our Self, we will know peace, an ineffable peace, far more often than we will experience any other emotion.  Indeed, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that we will be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  Drama of the ego will have faded away, and we will be glad of the fading.

5 – Listen Quietly

May we return to the Self today.  We cannot do this alone.  But we can ask for help, and, if we listen quietly, we will hear.  Invite God’s peace into your heart today.  He will not disappoint.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do whatever I can today to return to my Self, the Christ in me.  I cannot do this without help, and I ask for Your help.  May the glimpses of revelation that I have known come again today, and may those glimpses lengthen in time.  I can eventually look forward to living in the Self all the time.  I welcome that day, though I know that the decision is Yours, and I respect this from the bottom of my heart.

Be with me today.  Keep me from anxiety.  If I am truly living as separated from You, I will have anxiety.  I will not have anxiety when I choose to heal the separation, the separation that has never been real anyway.  You have always been there for me, deep within me–as well as outwardly.  May my perceptions be cleansed into knowledge, Your true knowledge.  May I project outwardly only the harmony and peace that You encompass within me.

Be with me today as I sort out these complexities.  Salvation is simple, and when I get too much into complexities, I am speaking from my ego.  Correct this in me today.  Thank You.

Amen.

Once There Is Love, It Is Forever

“Let us ask instead how loving all as one can bring harm?  If you love all the same, what loss is there to anyone, including the one you would choose to make special?  All that is lost is specialness.  (A Course of Love, 14.31)”

Renoir-La-LectureAffirmation:  “I would choose to love all in my life.”

Reflections:

1 – Betrayal?

There is little in this passage with which to disagree, if the passage is understood in its fullness.  Certainly parents love all their children, and what love is given to one is not normally taken from another.  Yet when it comes to our significant other, our brother/sister, we often think that if we love someone who was once “special” to us, then we are betraying our brother/sister, the one in our life now.  This is not so, but the explanation does take a little consideration.

2 – Love Is Forever

Any love, once experienced, never fades entirely.  Once there is love, it is forever.  Even the playwright William Shakespeare says this.  And certainly the love that is expressed in our scriptures is meant to be a forever thing.   We transform the specialness of our relationships into holy, and in a holy relationship, there is no room for jealousy.  We bind ourselves with a tight bond to the significant other in our life, but we do not put blinders on, to eliminate all thought of the other loves that we have known.  This is reality, and there is no reason to feel guilt in reality.

3 – Lose the Specialness

We would lose the specialness that, all too often, tries to cling to our loves.  Specialness can turn to hate, and to indifference, whereas genuine love remains itself–heartfelt love that knows no ending.  May we experience this heartfelt love for others today, and may we turn to God within in our experience.  There is no room for specialness in a world that can become beautiful by the love we harbor for all living creatures.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would come to realize ever more deeply today that love is all one, though we have different kinds of love for the individuals in our lives.  We never outgrow a love that has once been in our lives.  We never dismiss it entirely.  And we will reconcile on another plan, as A Course in Miracles tells us.

Thank You for this reassurance.  May we love, and love greatly, for this is our way out of fearful and anxious thoughts.  This is our way home to You.  And I would go home to You today.

Be with me as I seek to know You ever more deeply.

Amen.

When Memory Returns

“You who do not know how to trade your separated state for that of union have still done so when you have loved freely and without fear.  In this state your memory returns to you of who you are, and you are innocent and joyous and one with love itself.  (A Course of Love, 14.28)”

Affirmation:  “I will recall today the love that I have experienced at any time in my life.”

Reflections:van gogh - trees4

1 – Loving Freely

We have, each of us, known someone or something that we have loved freely.  We may have to reach back very far, if we have gone deeply into insanity, but if we reach back far enough, we will each know that we have known love given and received.  We were without fear at such times of genuine love.  Nothing fazed us; nothing impeded us.  We were so overcome with the emotion of love that we forgot that we had anything to fear.  And, indeed, we did not have anything to fear.

2 – Return in Memory

It is to such times that we ought to return in memory, to lead us to accept such love for all times.  When we recall the lack of fear (and anxiety) that we felt, we will be reassured that this fearless state is a state that we want.  We do not have anything to fear, once we have given up grievances.  We will know, once we have done this, that we live in a safe world.  Regardless of what may happen, and many bad things do happen in our difficult world, we are safe in God’s love.  Even if we lose our physical lives, there is eternity to experience.  There is an Other Side.

3 – Innocence

When we are innocent, we know that we have not sinned, but merely made mistakes.  No human being fails to make mistakes.  But all can and will be forgiven when we love enough to ask for forgiveness.  We must forgive ourselves, and perhaps we need to ask restitution, but the state of innocence is our true state, and we will recognize this idyllic experience when we have known deep love.  Love truly i s the Answer, but this statement has been made so many times as to sound trite.  It is anything but trite.

4 – Presence of God

Ask to experience the feeling of God today.  He is within, and He will show Himself when we are willing to let go and let Him return to us as our Creator, whom we have actually always loved.  We just seemed to lose Him a little while.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would love freely today, so that I may regain my sense of innocence, free of fear.  I would cease the anxious thoughts that arrest me when I need to function better.  Help me to function well today.

Love erases fear, and when I have returned to the memory of love, all will be well with me.  Help me to return to love today and everyday.

Amen.

Nothing but Love Can Be Cause of Joy

“For at least one brief moment, this was true love, for nothing but love can be the cause of joy, nor offer a haven of safety in an insane world.  (A Course of Love, 14.13)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love today.”vangogh_sunflowers1888

Reflections:

1 – Love Deeply

If we wish to be free of fear in all its forms, we need to love deeply.  Experiencing the peace that only love gives can prove this fact for us.  We can sense the love first as a feeling, a glorious feeling of joy and limitlessness, and then we will notice that we are free of the anxiety that has dogged our steps.  This is a true miracle, and its presence shows the place that revelation also has in our lives.  For this is a message from God to us; we could not effect this change from anxiety to non-anxiety on our own.  We could not leave fear behind, except that we love–and love deeply.

2 – Uncontrolled Anger

When we slip and let attack enter because of our uncontrolled anger, the peace that we were feeling will be abandoned.  We will know anxiety once again, and recovering our peace of mind may be slow.  Let us not slip today.  Let us invite the love that will banish fear, banish anxiety.

3 – Worry

Worry too is a form of fear, and we all have had many worries over the course of our lifetimes.  We do not have to keep the habit of worry; it too can be abandoned.

4 – How to Abandon Worry

And the way to abandon the spirit of worry is to substitute love of others, keeping in mind that we too must have a humble love of self.  The best way to eliminate worry is to substitute the feeling of love of God.  And in loving God, we are also loving the Self who is in our brothers and sisters, and well as ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would move ever closer today to the cessation of anxiety.  And in the passage for today, Jesus gives me the key:  love, ever-deeper love.  May I hold fast to this idea today.

Be with us as we eliminate the “what if’s” from our lives.  This is a foolishness that cannot be denied unless we welcome love.  We would leave behind worry with its “what if’s” today.  Be with me as I do so.

Help me to realize that the guidance that I need is given at the point of need, not usually ahead of time.  If the guidance were given ahead of time, we would always be out of the present, and being in the present is the way to live a heartfelt life.  We would live in the present today, practicing for all our tomorrows.

Thank You for always being there for me.

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.

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.

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.

Overcoming Worry

“Let your worries come and let your worries go.  Remember always that they simply do not matter except in terms of time, and that you will save time by letting them go.  Remember that your worries affect nothing.  You think if your worries affect time this is an effect, but time is an illusion.  (A Course of Love, 1.6)”

Affirmation:  “May I save time by leaving worries behind.”

Reflections:

1 – Worries Are Illusory Also

Here we hear again that time is an illusion.  In A Course in Miracles we also learned that the world itself is an illusion that we project from within, making the perception that we “see.”  Here the emphasis is on our worries, a practical concept, for who among us does not have worries?

2 – Drop Defensiveness

If we could know that we need not hold our worries to ourselves in an effort to defend ourselves, we will make much progress.  With guidance from either the Holy Spirit (ACIM) or Christ-consciousness (ACOL), we will know what we ought to do; we will be alerted at the time that we need to do it (whatever “it” is).  If there are plans that need to be made, we will receive guidance for that as well.  There is no strain in following God’s Will.

3 – Effortless Living

Effortless living, without the burden of worry!  Norman Vincent Peale, who received quite a bit of acclaim as an inspirational writer/speaker in the latter half of the 1900s, says that we would be inclined to go and retrieve our bundle of worries, even if we left them at God’s altar in a church.  We are so comfortable with our worries!  We are at home with them.  But at what cost?

4 – Personal Experience

We do God a disservice by wasting our mental energy in worry.  I used to think that, like Shakespeare’s “pound of flesh,” I would be somehow protected from pain if I worried sufficiently.  Didn’t that worrying prove that I cared?  That I was doing all that I could?  But this was irrational thinking, as any counselor could have told me.  We don’t need worry as a good-luck talisman against worse troubles.

5 – Leave Your Worries at God’s Altar

So ask for help today in leaving your worries at God’s altar.  Leave them there, and don’t sheepishly go back to the altar and retrieve your little familiar bundle of worries.  Try to clear your mind today, and see if the worries don’t recede ever so little.  Practice with a clear, free-floating thought process will mean that we have a mind ready to receive guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I drop worries from my repertoire of emotions today, for worry is a form of fear–and I have long ago prayed to walk away from fear.  I would choose love, and one form of love is tolerance of myself and other people.  May worry disappear before the practice of tolerance.

Be with me today as I walk Your pathway.  Life is best begun again, for any given day that starts badly.  If I have gotten overwrought already today (and I have), may I follow the advice that I read in A Course in Miracles to start the day anew.  So the day will flow smoothly after all.  There is no need to rue our days.  Nearly everybody has problems that can be helped by less worry and more tolerance.

Thank You for leading me to this resolution, so early this morning.

Amen.

A Mistake Is Not a Sin

“You but mistake interpretation for the truth.  And you are wrong.  But a mistake is not a sin, nor has reality been taken from its throne by your mistakes.  God reigns forever, and His laws alone prevail upon you and upon the world.  His Love remains the only thing there is.  Fear is illusion, for you are like Him.  (M-18.3)”

Affirmation:  “Love is the only thing there is.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Condemn Yourself

This is a reassuring passage, one that leads us to understand that God truly is Love, and that we have only made mistakes–nothing to condemn ourselves.

2 – When Afraid

When we are afraid, when fear has moved into our conscious minds, we need a remedy, and we need it now, not later.  The best remedy is to fill our minds with these reassurances that Jesus gives to us in A Course in Miracles.  The fear may make our heart beat rapidly, pounding in our chest, but we can still say to ourselves, “This is illusion.  I have no reason to fear.”

3 – Moving Away from the Abyss of Fear

And then we can distract ourselves from the abyss of fear in which we have fallen.  A Course in Miracles does not give specific practices, beyond affirmations in the Workbook, that can be called upon.  But most of us know that prayer, communion with God, helps tremendously.  And communion with God is emphasized in the opening pages of the Text.  We can also do something as mundane as listen to quiet, soothing music–praying as we listen.  We can talk to a significant other, if we have not called upon him or her so often that we have worn out our welcome.  And, of course, when fear comes, it is frequently in the middle of the night, when we do not want to awaken anyone.  Writing in a journal can help.  Some have found meditative yoga to be helpful.  I have found it useful to pray aloud, away from others in a quiet room.  Praying aloud seems to keep me on track.  If one is agitated, the best thing that we can do is simply to rest in that agitation, watching it subside gradually.  We will actually all get the amount of sleep that we need.  We need not fear insomnia, thereby making it worse.

4 – Is It Guilt?

If guilt is a major reason for our fear, then we can pray for forgiveness.  Remember that God does not forgive, because He has never condemned (an ACIM tenet).  But we need to forgive ourselves, and this we can do.  The ego may object, but then the ego does not wish us well.  We need to be gentle with ourselves; we need to wish ourselves well.

5 – Sin vs. Mistakes

Remember that the concept of “sin” and the concept of “mistakes” are very different.  Sin has an attracting nature, one that would have us repeat the same thought or action.  Mistakes, on the other hand, simply call for correction, something that we can do when our motivation is strong.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be fearful today.  There is no reason that the daily activities need to make us afraid.  We can get excited, but better not to get fearful.  

You know that our emotions are often vacillating.  We feel one way one moment, and something entirely different just a moment away.  I would stop this merry-go-round of fear in its tracks by denying the ego its field day with my mind.

May You help me to turn to You repeatedly, anytime that the ego threatens to engulf me with fear.  Thank You.

Amen.

Awakening / Christ-Consciousness

“Yet there will be temptations along the way the teacher of God has yet to travel, and he has need of reminding himself throughout the day of his protection.  (M-16.8)”

Affirmation:  “I have God’s protection.”

Reflections:

1 – Awakening / Christ-Consciousness

We must remember that temptations are simply attempts to place another will above God’s–choosing this other will as our lodestone or our (inaccurate) guidance.  We are not perfect.  In fact, A Course of Love questions whether perfection is necessary for Awakening.  I have experienced a few spans of time that seemed to be Awakening, but these were not sustained.  And I can certainly attest to the truth that I am far from perfect.  So perhaps we can hope for a sustainable Awakening without “perfection” (whatever that might be).  Jesus, in A Course of Love, asserts that nobody has sustained Christ-consciousness–nobody at all.  And Christ-consciousness is very close to Awakening, though the two are not compared in either A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love.

2 – Temptations

A temptation may be as simple as an inclination not to follow the intuitive guidance that one is getting.  We may be heading in a given direction, get a “stop,” and just not feel very much like stopping–so we forge ahead, and often, later on and sometimes immediately, find out why we should have stopped.  A temptation can be just this benign.

3 – Struggle = of the Ego

And we are human.  We are used, over the years of the ego’s rule, of struggling, but still of following what we perceived to be our own will, whether or not that will seems in accord with the divine.  But now is the time that we ought to listen more carefully to guidance, and to see every instinct not to follow that guidance as a likely intrusion of the ego.  The ego does not wish us well.  This ego is defined as a part of ourselves that we have made, a part that does not follow divine guidance.  And so we suffer as a result.

4 – No Fretting / No Worry

We are protected by God, and His Communicator, the Holy Spirit.  The passage for today says this.  And surely this affirmation warms our hearts.  We need not fret; we need not worry.  We are under God’s protection, but He does need our cooperation to carry out the best and right things that we deserve to have.  He will not violate our “free” will, which is actually the part that the ego controls (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Our real will and God’s Will are actually identical.  So, when we get that nudge, it is best to follow it, unless we have reason to suspect that emotion has carried away our reason, and, with it, our accurate assessment of intuition.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I sense an intuition that seems to come beyond my personal self, help me to realize that this intuition may be genuine guidance of my higher Self–the Christ in me.  I do not, in saying this, make any egoistic claim, because all of us are the same:  the Christ, the higher Self, is in all of us.  Help me to make this point clear in what I write today.

May we ask for and receive Awakening/Christ-consciousness.  Jesus has used both words in different channeled writings, and to my limited mind, the two words appear to be synonymous.  May today be an especially good day, with glimpses of Awakening/Christ-consciousness.  May I do my part to be ready, though my part is very limited indeed.  This visitation, this glimpse of a higher Reality, is Your decision alone.  And may I not seem to pressure You before I am ready.  I do not want my ego to appropriate good things, good experiences to itself, and thus make of me a more limited being that I am already.

Be with all of us as we walk the pathway to Awakening/Christ-consciousness.  May we know that the time will be as right as the Answer.  And that You are observing us, knowing when we are ready for this blessing.  You will not act precipitously, and I ask that You keep me from acting precipitously in my desire for this blessing.  May I remain humble, yet assured in Your love.  I do not want arrogance, but arrogance is often of the ego (Jesus says), and so obviously I need Your help in sorting all of these concepts out.

Thank You for being there for me.  Thank You for granting me glimpses of what will one day be my norm.

Amen

Overcoming Anxiety

“When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego, and know this need not be.  You can be as vigilant against the ego’s dictates as for them.  (T63)”

Affirmation:  “When you are anxious, know this need not be.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety = Form of Fear

Anxiety is a form of fear, of course.  And fear and love are the primary emotions.  The phrase, “capriciousness of the ego,” can be a bit difficult, but essentially it is saying that our egos are wily, and we cannot trust where they lead.

2 – Pills

Just as with sadness, anxiety is an emotion that most of us experience–some of us for long periods of time.  Pills are not recommended long-term by physicians.  So in this sense our medical establishment is in line with Jesus’s explanation that pills are a form of magic that work because we believe in them.  Jesus implies that we would be better off without pills, if doing without would not raise our level of fear.

3 – Anxiety Overcome

Anxiety can be overcome by non-medical intervention, in many cases.  Certainly prayer is a great calming tool, for God’s Love for us becomes manifest when we turn to Him in heartfelt communion.  A Course in Miracles does not say a great deal about prayer, but it simply seems to be assumed that we will pray, or, as it is said in the opening pages of the Text, we will “commune” with God.  Many of the Workbook lessons appear to be a form of meditation, though this is a controversial interpretation for some students/teachers of ACIM.  Certainly the Workbook is filled with prayers to God, and so my personal interpretation is that we need to realize that there is a mystery about God that we will not know until Awakening, and not in its entirety then.  Some students/teachers of ACIM believe that God does not know about us, because we are lost in illusion, and He does not enter illusion.  My personal take on this,  though, is that God’s absence has not been my personal experience, except a few times when I was experiencing what has been called the “dark night of the soul.”

4 – Vigilance against the Ego

Vigilance against the ego’s dictates is a call to action, mental action.  We do not have to fall for the nefarious dictates of the ego, and we would do well to consider what some of those really are.  Certainly the ego is in control when we are anxious.  We need to consider whether or not this is really what we want.  We need to realize that other people and their attitudes toward us are not the essential point.  Our relationship to God is primary, and when we allow Him the upper hand, our anxiety about the opinions of others declines.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help me to eliminate anxiety from my mind and body.  If I am anxious because of what other people may do or say, help me to realize that this is false reasoning.  God’s way does not include fearfulness toward other people.

My anxiety may come and go without logical reason.  Help me to turn to You in such times, knowing that I have a helping hand always with me.

Amen.

Little Scraps of Fear

“You retain thousands of little scraps of fear that prevent the Holy One from entering. . . .Watch your mind for the scraps of fear, or you will be unable to ask me to do so.  I can help you only as our Father created us.  (T61)”

Affirmation:  “watch your mind for thousands of little scraps of fear”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety Created by Our Minds

Here Jesus is explaining something that he discusses at length elsewhere.  We cannot ask him to relieve us of anxiety or fear, because it is created by our minds.  He does not want to interfere with the results of our thinking.  Instead, we are to ask the Holy Spirit to help us to eliminate the conditions that led to our fear.  These fears are ego-related, without exception, for love knows no anxiety.

2 – Personal Experience

My greatest challenge in life has been my proneness to anxiety, and anxiety is an especially acute form of fear, and hence is of the ego.  As I have followed A Course in Miracles over the years, the anxiety has declined precipitously.  I know that I am following the ego too easily when I feel that old-time anxious feeling.  It is a warning sign that I need to stop listening to the weakened ego within me, and get back on the pathway to God.  The Holy Spirit so prompts, and when I listen to His Voice of intuition, I am reassured that all will be well.

3 – Ask for Help

It is a daunting task if we surmise from this passage that we must remove “thousands” of little scraps of fear.  But the passage does not indicate this.  We can easily remove them all at once, in the best case scenario, by asking the help of the Holy Spirit.

4 – Ask Repeatedly

Then we will know peace.  If another day arrives, with more scraps of fear, we simply ask again.  We cannot expect complete freedom from anxiety until surrender to God is complete, and this may not happen immediately.  It could, of course, but realistically it often doesn’t, because we are very much still creatures of this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I awake in the middle of the night, fearful, may I turn these scraps of fear over to the Holy Spirit for resolution.  May I gently return to sleep, knowing that He is taking care of them.

May I have help in the conditions that have brought this fear about.  Thank you for being there for me.

Amen.

Perfect Love

“Know first that this is fear.
Fear arises from lack of love.
The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.
Perfect love is the Atonement.  (T30)”

Affirmation:  “The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.”

Reflections:

1 – A Poem

This is another beautiful blank verse poem from the Course.  It is also a syllogism, which Jesus seems to appreciate a great deal, for there are several in the Course.

2 – Fear and Love

It is unlikely that we will understand this poem completely without reading our way through the entire Course.  Basically, the poem refers to the fact that the only two emotions are fear and love, and that only lack of love makes fear.

3 – Do We Still Cling to Fears?

This passage can be very demoralizing if we are not patient with ourselves.  We know that we are not experiencing “perfect love,” because we still cling to fears.  And these fears, remnants of the ego, can have a strong foothold in our minds.

3 – To Ease Anxieties, Commune with God

We need to commune with God to allow our anxieties to ease.  I speak from personal experience.  Often if I awake deep in the night, I start to pray, and I quite literally feel such peace that the prayer itself puts me at ease enough to drift off into sleep again, without realizing what has happened until the next morning.  God does not mind that we pray to Him and then drift off to sleep.  The apostles slept at Gethsemane.  So there is a long history of slumber overcoming those who would watch and wait for God.

4 – Falling Asleep While Praying

I also do not think that falling asleep by praying shows a lack of love or even respect for God.  He is inside us, and we project the world outside.  When we commune with our depths, we are actually being true to our Self.

4 – Atonement = Shift in Perception

The Atonement is a shift in perception that allows us to see that we are actually innocent children of God.  Heretofore we have believed that we were guilty of black sins that will require retribution.  Through the Course, we learn that reaching perfect love is the ultimate end of our journey here.  Knowing only love, we will fear no longer.  This too is the Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I find the day hard-going, may I realize that my love is imperfect.  Imperfect love makes for a bad day.  May my day today, the part that remains, be perfect in Your sight.  This does not mean that I am above making mistakes, but it does mean that staying on Your pathway is my aim and my goal.  I would not allow useless and foolish fears to counterbalance the good day that You would send.  I would not allow minor lassitude to turn me from Your course.  Be with me as I seek to live am emotionally and physically healthy life.  I know that You are “for health” all the way, and I would not let any sense of vulnerability turn me from You.  I am not vulnerable, but in Your love, I am strong.  Be with me to give me enjoyment in this beautiful day that You have offered to me, free and clear, constant in the guidance that You send to me via the Holy Spirit.

I would have good energy today as I seek to feel perfect love.  I would disregard any fears that seem to arise, knowing that they are illusions, for only love is real.  May I live in the real world today, even if only in glimpses of reality–Your reality.

May I find the perfect love that You have promised all of your children.  May I leave fear behind as I find this perfect love.

Amen.

Ask for a Miracle Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson 89 – for Friday, March 30, 2012

Affirmation:  “I am entitled to miracles.”

Selected Passage:

“I am entitled to miracles because I am under no laws but God’s.  His laws release me from grievances, and replace them with miracles.

    “. . .Let me not hold a grievance against you, [name], but offer
    you the miracles that belongs to you instead.
    See truly, this offers me a miracle.  (WB154)”

Reflections:

Ask for a miracle today.  This is not presumptuous.  Jesus knows when we are ready, because miracles comes through him to us.  We must not, though, try to make a given miracle happen on our own.  Consciously selected miracles can be misguided (a Text tenet).  But ask a Higher Power for what we need, and all is well.  And well this very day.  If a given situation does not change in the physical world, perhaps the real miracle is internal, in the mind and spirit.

Affirmation:  “Let miracles replace all grievances.”

Selected Passage:

“I want all of Heaven and only Heaven, as God wills me to have.

    “. . .Beyond this is the miracle by which my grievances are
    replaced.  (WB154)”

Reflections:

We learn today that we do not have to struggle to give up grievances.  A miracle will do the task for us!  What a blessing!  And what joy awaits on the other side of the miracle.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Sometimes we may feel that the only thing that will help us is a miracle.  This feeling is likely to come over us at times of great stress.

Help me to be reassured that You are always there.  I know that Your felt presence dispels anxiety immediately.  May I know this today.  May the memory of Your many blessings give me the reassurance that more blessings will follow.  And that includes anything and everything that, just now, is raising my anxiety level.

I would not hold grievances of any kind.  I would know that under Your laws, miracles are natural.  And I would ask for a miracle today.

Thank You.

Amen.

The Undoing of Fear

“Miracles represent freedom from fear.  ‘Atoning’ means ‘undoing.’  The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “freedom from fear”

 

Reflections:

1 – Atoning

This passage gives a definition for atoning that is at variance, perhaps, with traditional Christianity.  Jesus gives “atoning” a very benign meaning:  “undoing.”  It says little about the crucifixion, a happening meant to describe that Jesus did not blame his tormentors for anything that they did in illusion.  He remained defenseless.

2 – Atonement = Relinquishment of Fear

Here the passage from A Course in Miracles links the atonement with the relinquishment of fear.  What a wonderful promise this is!  We need to live fearless lives, because all too often our good works and good thoughts are marred by the anxiety that pervades our society.

3 – Our Usefulness to Others

We let our own personal difficulties hinder our usefulness to others.  When we fear for our own safety and personal welfare, we also project this onto others.  And sometimes we are paralyzed by this fear about our personal well-being.  Then we are of no use to others, including Jesus and his message to humankind.

4 – Live Fearlessly

With miracles an essential part of our lives, we will live fearlessly.  Because love and fear are the only two emotions, we know that to love while experiencing miracles will free us for the Atonement.  Atonement signals a certainty that we are living lives in line with what Jesus would approve.  We are right with God, though it is still not beyond us to continue to make mistakes.  God does not need to forgive us for these mistakes, but we need to forgive ourselves.  (God does not forgive, because he has never condemned–a Text tenet.)

5 – Freedom from Fear

“Freedom from fear” is a boon enjoyed by so few of us.  But we have Jesus’s promise that it is only waiting for us to receive.  We do not have to be in bondage to fear or, indeed, to any of its component negative emotions.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would, beginning today, so relinquish the ego and its fear that I would live fearlessly.  Guide my faltering steps to this goal.  I realize that anxiety has been one of the issues in my life, but You would not have it so–this I know.  So I must remove the conditions that lead to fear, and walk into the sunlight with You.

May I have no moments of anxiety today.  May I walk in peace, comfort, joy, and serenity.  Be with me so that I can feel Your presence.  The felt presence of You gives me great happiness.  Thank You for staying with me, inside, and may I commune with You often today.  Yours is the way that I would forever choose.

Amen.

The Presence of Fear

“The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength.  The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness.  The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.  (WB77)”

 

Affirmation:  “God’s strength takes the place of my weakness.”

Reflections:

1 – Turn to God

When we turn to God, the fear will dissipate.  When we trust in ourselves, fear is inevitable.  This is the simple truth, but, oh, how hard it may be to live!

2 – Anxiety Attack Will Abate

If we take a timeout and turn to God, our anxiety attack may abate, especially if we commune with God at such a time.  He is there for us.  He takes away the pain.

3 – What Would God Change in Our Lives?

It may be useful to ask God what He would like changed in our lives.  Sometimes we have anxiety attacks when our inner minds know that we are on the wrong pathway.  And the anxiety is there to remind us of something that needs to be changed.  The Holy Spirit will speak to us, not audibly, but in an interior sense.  And we will be well on our way to walking away from the fear in which we find ourselves engulfed.

4 – Remember God

We must “remember” God, and “let His strength take the place of. . .weakness.”  This is the way that Jesus recommends.  This is the pathway we must take.

5 – Turning to God Is the Answer

It is easy to forget that turning to God is the answer, as always.  Even in fear, which sometimes seems so all-encompassing.  The fear may not subside immediately, because our adrenaline is present, but moments of quiet in prayer will bring peace.  Then we will know the truth of what Jesus recommends.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would listen to my own reflections today.  Fear has reared its ugly head, and that means that the ego is trying to reawaken in me.  I would let the ego wither away.  Help me to do so today, and then may I know anxiety and fear no more.

Be with me as I seek to live a peaceful and tranquil life.  I would be perfectly calm and quiet all the time, as Jesus promises in A Course in Miracles.  Be with me today as I walk away from any fears that appear to threaten my ease of mind.

Thank You.

Amen.

Fear

“There is nothing to fear. (WB77)”

 

Affirmation:  “There is nothing to fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety

Anxiety will dog the way of the ego-prone.  And is that not all of us at some point(s) in our lives?

2 – A Passage to Remember

If I could only remember this passage when anxiety rears its ugly head!  For I am still not perfect in remembering and in putting into practice this glorious promise.  Anxiety has been a thorn in my side (from St. Paul in the New Testament) for virtually all of my life.  There was only one six-month period in which anxiety did not visit me, and my consciousness was altered at the time.  (I was in a moment of revelation that would reveal th end to me, as Jesus says in the Text.).  St. Paul does not reveal what his particular “thorn” is, though there has been much speculation over the centuries.  But nobody knows the genesis of his statement.

3 – All Have Problems

All of us have thorns.  All of us have problems, some of which can be seen by others and some of which cannot be seen.

4 – Nothing to Fear

Jesus says that there is nothing to fear.  We probably do not yet see the world that way, but do we doubt Jesus?

5 – The Better Way

I think not.  We can ask to be shown the better way, the way of quiet and peace.  In a calmer frame of mind, we truly will recognize that there is nothing to fear.  When we slip from a broader perspective, we can make an affirmation of this statement.  Repeatedly saying these words in times of stress will help tremendously.  And the time will come when it becomes a truth to recognize at all times.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I awoke last night, after a bad dream, in an anxious state.  I did remember that fear is not necessary, that I do not have to feel fear.  I finally prayer myself back to sleep.  Thank You for being there.

Help me to realize that, even when I fall down, You are there to pick me up.  When I realize this, I am calmed, and that is at least one reason why communing with You in the middle of the night, is so welcoming and brings Your peace.  

Amen.

A Fearful Script

“Fear is a judgment never justified.  Its presence has no meaning but to show you wrote a fearful script, and are afraid accordingly.  But not because the thing you fear has fearful meaning in itself. (T641)”

 

Affirmation:  “I would not write a fearful script today.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety

Many of us are, almost by nature, anxious.  This is a manifestation of fear.  If we can remember that we are fearful only because of the “script” we wrote, we can often make some progress in talking ourselves out of this anxiety.

2 – Prayer

Prayer, or communion with God, is recommending relatively few times in A Course in Miracles, I think, because this practice is just assumed.  The opening pages of the Text do say more than the remainder about prayer and communion with God.  Spending time in this way, I have found, is enormously fear- and anxiety-reducing.  I can pray myself to sleep, even after a stressful day.  Surely many others do this as well.  Inspirational literature from the fifties recommended this practice (from Norman Vincent Peale’s anecdotes).

3 – Fear Is Never Justified

This passage says that fear is never justified.  To remember this, and to put it in practice, is not easy.  But it is possible.  And, the Course says that its tenets are simple.

4 – God Will Help Us

I think that we fear when we don’t trust God to get us out of a bind.  And it is certainly true that many, many distressing things happen in this illusory world.  But the faithful individual does not let the fear get inside him or her.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  But inspirational literature abounds with unfortunate people who have risen above their misfortune, emotionally, by trusting in God to help them cope with whatever might befall them.

5 – Be Patient

It takes a patient mind to learn how to live simply.  When we rush about and see the stress all around in our rushing, we ask for the anxiety that we would do well to live without.  Let us leave the fearful script behind!  We will still get to our goals, but with far less strain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not write a fearful script today.  You know that I have written many anxious scripts in my life, and I would be rid of that foolishness forever.  Perhaps my anxiety is like St. Paul’s “thorn in his side,” but I hope not.  I hope that I can, with Your ever-constant help, learn another way to live–just as did Bill and Helen.

Be with me as I walk through this day.  Thank you for the equanimity with which I have met most days recently.  I am finally finding, as spring approaches, that all is well.  The stress has lifted, and You are there.  Thank You.

Amen.

The Presence of Fear

“The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength.  The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness.  The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.  (WB77)”

Affirmation:  “Let God’s strength take the place of my weakness.”

Reflections:

1 – Turn to God

When we turn to God, the fear will dissipate.  When we trust in ourselves, fear is inevitable.  This is the simple truth, but, oh, how hard it may be to live!

2 – Remember God

We must “remember” God, and “let His strength take the place of. . .weakness.”  This is the way that Jesus recommends.  This is the pathway we must take.

3 – Fear May Seem All-Encompassing

It is easy to forget that turning to God is the answer, as always.  Even in fear, which sometimes seems so all-encompassing.  The fear may not subside immediately, because our adrenaline is present, but moments of quiet in prayer will bring peace.  Then we will know the truth of what Jesus recommends.

4 – We Are Not Alone

We do not ever have to feel alone.  We are not alone.  Jesus says in the Text that we can imagine that he is holding our hand as we walk through our day, and that this will be no “idle fantasy.”  Is he really there, with everyone, somehow?  I do not know, but I believe that there are laws of the universe about which we know nothing.  If holding his hand is only imagination, we are nonetheless tapping into a powerful antidote to fear.  The next time that we can’t sleep at night, we ought to imagine Jesus beside us.  We ought to imagine that we are conversing with him.  This type of prayer is illustrative of the different ways in which to pray.  Experiment with your own different ways, and see if a change for the better in your life comes about soon.  We do not have to wait long.  We only need to depend foremost on our Guide (the Holy Spirit) to take us where we want to go, the destination that we have first believed to be right for us because we have asked God for His input.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would turn aside from fear today by remembering God.  Even recently I have felt a free-floating anxiety, a sense of fear that makes me feel scared.  May these feelings fall away as I turn ever closer to You.  Be with me today as I remember You.  If I forget You, please do not forget me.

I know that I am a part of You.  I sometimes forget this when I make You Someone far away and outside of my sphere.  These are old memories that are simply not true.  May I turn to the truth of our Oneness today, and may this give me peace.

Amen.

There Is Nothing to Fear

“There is nothing to fear. (WB77)”

Affirmation:  “There is nothing to fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety and the Ego

Anxiety will dog the way of the ego-prone.  And is that not all of us at some point(s) in our lives?  Why is this true?  The ego is constantly being undone, because we are comparing ourselves to others–some of whom, temporarily, have more than we do (stated in part in the Text).  This feeds an inferiority complex, because the ego-driven, ultimately, cannot be happy unless they are competing.  And competition, sooner or later, brings defeat.  We would do well to drop these egoic games.

2 – Jesus Says, “Nothing to Fear”

Jesus says that there is nothing to fear.  We probably do not yet see the world that way, but do we doubt Jesus?  We might say that in this world, today, there is much economic turmoil, many who are suffering, many war-torn areas of the globe.  And this would be true.  We are to do what we can to rectify the situation, after much prayer, but the most important change we can make–before other, outer changes, come–is to change ourselves to think along with God.  If we follow His rules for a happy day, for example, as detailed in the Text, we will feel more like doing something to truly help others.  We will not be so self-centered that we surround ourselves with fears for our own safety.

3 – Doubt Not A Course in Miracles

So let us not doubt A Course in Miracles when Jesus tells us therein that there is nothing to fear.  We can ask to be shown the better way, the way of quiet and peace.  In a calmer frame of mind, we truly will recognize that there is nothing to fear.  When we slip from a broader perspective, we can make an affirmation of this statement.  Repeatedly saying these words in times of stress will help tremendously.  And the time will come when it becomes a truth to recognize at all times.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a day free of anxiety, which is the way that fear usually manifests for me.  I am chagrined that I am still pursued by the ego enough so that fear in some form still accompanies me on some days.  I would not have it so today.  I would listen to Jesus and know that there is not reason for anxiety, no reason for fear.

Be with all of my brothers and sisters, those I know and those who read this blog.  May we come to understand the value of living a completely love-centered life, the best way that we can ensure that all of our days will be fearless.

Amen.

A Fearful Script

 

 

“Fear is a judgment never justified.  Its presence has no meaning but to show you wrote a fearful script, and are afraid accordingly.  But not because the thing you fear has fearful meaning in itself. (T641)”

Affirmation:  “Fear is never justified.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxious Out of Habit?

Many of us are, almost by nature, anxious.  This is a manifestation of fear.  If we can remember that we are fearful only because of the “script” we wrote, we can often make some progress in talking ourselves out of this anxiety.

2 – Fear Is Never Justified

This passage says that fear is never justified.  To remember this, and to put it in practice, is not easy.  But it is possible.  And, the Course says that its tenets are simple.

3 – Live Effortlessly

It takes a patient mind to learn how to live simply.  When we rush about and see the stress all around in our rushing, we ask for the anxiety that we would do well to live without.  Let us leave the fearful script behind!  We will still get to our goals, but with far less strain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am one of those who have lived with far too much anxiety.  I have often used anxiety as a goad to get me to finish some task that I have set myself, and sometimes this task has been ego-inspired.

I would leave  all this foolishness behind me today.  I would have You direct me to accomplish what You would like to see, but with the effortlessness that You promise.  There is always time for what is needful.  I believe that I was guided to that realization many years ago in graduate school, but after that time ended, I did not always remember what You had shown me then.  You want to help us, to offer assistance.  It is a free offer, and, today, I accept Your help unconditionally.

Thank You for granting me the serenity of feeling Your presence.

Amen.

The First Obstacle that Peace Must Flow Across

“The first obstacle that peace must flow across is your desire to get ride of it.  For it cannot extend unless you keep it. (T407)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Stressful Days

How often we multitask in our days!  How can we ever hope to have peace in such an environment of stress and frenzy?

2 – We Are Busy

Of course, we are busy.  Our days are filled with a myriad of activities, some chosen, some not.  Many have families as well as jobs outside the home.  Our obligations are many:  parents, children, friends.  There seems to be no end to the aspects of life that are tearing at us.

3 – Spend Time with God

In the midst of life such as this, we may have to recall that God wants part of our lives.  A Course in Miracles, in the Manual, recommends a few minutes of time spent with God at the beginning and ending of the day.  If these times need adjustment, we can make the choice as soon as our busy lives clear.  But we need to recall that moments with God do not have to take long.  The Manual makes this point precisely.  We do not have to spend an hour, with eyes closed, and maybe accomplish nothing.  We can spend only an instant and join with God completely.  (These are Manual paraphrases.)

4 – We Can Choose Peace

A Course in Miracles seems to say in this passage that we have some choice in how much peace we will enjoy.  As one ACIM teacher (Marianne Williamson) has said, we are addicted to our frantic lives, the adrenalin rush.  But if we are very certain that we want more peace of God in our lives, we can have it for the taking.  We just must be consistent in seeking it.  Even a few moments a day will make a difference.  Read A Course in Miracles, or other writing that calls you, every day.  Pray.  Life will get better, even if no outer changes occur.  The inner change will make the difference.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I stare at my “to do” list at the beginning of the day, I am sometimes overwhelmed with all that I intend to get done.  This is probably a bad habit, for the “to do” list crowds out in my mind the few moments I have given to You, and I become stressed just thinking about that list.

May I start anew tomorrow morning.  Regardless of how much I think I need to do, probably some of it unnecessary and self-generated.  I would get my priorities in order.  Not only would I put You first at the beginning of my day, but I would wish to keep You the center of my life at all times during the day.  I know that this practice will not make me less able to be productive, but instead, more able to be productive.  You will teach me how to work the peaceful, easy, and relaxed way.

May I spend time as You intended it today.  Surely this frantic world has gone far adrift from Your intentions for us.  May we drop our busyness and turn to You today to grant us the serene peace that will make of this a joyous day in Your love.

Amen.

Fear Binds / Forgiveness Sets Free

ACIM Workbook Lesson 332 – for Monday, November 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “Fear binds the world.  Forgiveness sets it free.”

“Without forgiveness is the mind in chains, believing in its own futility.  Yet with forgiveness does the light shine through the dream of darkness, offering it hope, and giving it the means to realize the freedom that is its inheritance.  (WB468)”

Reflections:

1 – “Imprisoned Will”

This passage refers to the “imprisoned will” (from the Text) that is ours in our separated state until we realize that salvation is all that we want, and that we want to realize the truth that God’ Will and our will are identical.  Our imprisoned will inevitably brings on pain and suffering, but not because God gives these difficulties to us; instead, we are seeing the inexorable law of cause and effect in action.  The law of cause and effect also means that Jesus cannot save us from ourselves.  We cannot ask him, for example, to free us from fear directly; we should ask instead that the conditions that brought the fear about be rectified (paraphrasing from the Text).  Then we will be asking rightly.

2 – Jesus and Fear

Jesus says that to ask him to take away our fear would be tampering with the most basic law of cause and effect, and he indicates that he would never do this.  To do so would take away a primary way in which God has granted his gifts to us; the law of cause and effect is really meant for our edification.  There is a lengthy passage in the Text that elaborates upon the truth of cause and effect.

3 – Freedom = Our Inheritance

But our freedom is our inheritance, and when we forgive, we receive this inheritance.  We are only free when we are directly in God’s Will, not trying vainly to substitute our own inferior, ego-inspired, will in Its place.  Inheritance usually has a most positive slant in our minds, but sometimes we are using the ego to feel this positive slant.  We think of an inheritance as being monetary or material, and this is exactly what our misguided ego hopes that we will think, hopes that we will get caught up in, so that its reign can continue.  When we realize that the monetary and the material are positive but non-essential to our true worth in the world, we will be in a better position to let ego-inspired notions of inheritance fall away.

4 – A Life Filled with Hope

With forgiveness, we live a life filled with hope.  Our days grow brighter, for we are living life God’s Way.  That is all that He really wants for us–blessings of His goodness and hope for a better present and future.  Forgiveness offers a serene brow on our faces.  Forgiveness offers the peace of mind that we have craved.

5 – Forgiveness Is Always Justified

Forgiveness is always justified, as is made clear in other ACIM passages, as the attack, anger, and grievances that others have felt toward us are mere illusion.  We make the reality that we wish to experience, and when we have moved past the first tentative steps, we can ultimately become co-creators with God (an interpretation from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would extend forgiveness today, and in the doing of it I will find peace.  I would not ask Jesus to remove my fear, but for help in the conditions that bring fear into being.  When we are unduly anxious, we need to stop and commune with You.  Help me to remember this easy solution today.  I would not live in fear or anxiety today.

Be with us as we walk through this day.  Your way is smooth, when we meet Your conditions.  May I study diligently, so that I know and implement Your conditions.  Your way is easy, but it must be understood for the simple means that are asked.

Thank You for giving me the peace that Your felt presence always brings.

 Amen.

Give Up Suffering, Loss, Sadness, Anxiety, Doubt. . . to Enable Love

ACIM Workbook Lesson 323 – for Saturday, November 19. 2011

Affirmation:  “I gladly make the ‘sacrifice’ of fear.”

“Here is the only ‘sacrifice’ You ask of Your beloved Son; You ask him to give up all suffering, all sense of loss and sadness, all anxiety and doubt, and freely let Your Love come streaming in to his awareness, healing him of pain, and giving him Your Own eternal joy.  Such is the ‘sacrifice’ You ask of me, and one I gladly make; the only ‘cost’ of restoration of Your memory to me, for the salvation of the world.  (WB463)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Love Flows In

If all of us in this world could believe these comforting words of A Course in Miracles, we would be a long way toward overcoming the suffering that besets us.  We are not asked to sacrifice.  We can give up suffering, anxiety, doubt.  The only way to effect these blessings is to believe that God’s Love is flowing into us now.  When we ask to feel His Love, we are reassured that all will be well.  We can let our anxieties go.  We do not have to feel the suffering that can arise from pain.  We can rise above the pain.  Then we are truly Home–living with the assurance that we are beloved of God and that we are free of the fear that has beset us for eons.

2 – “Suffering”

Note that “sacrifice” in these quotations is set apart by quotation marks.  This indicates that what is being asked of us is not really a sacrifice at all; it is the acceptance of a blessing from God, from Love.  When the memory of God is restored to us, we truly have reached Awakening.  And this is where we are all headed.

3 – Awakening / Christ-Consciousness

The study of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love both holds out these blessings for us.  We are told in A Course of Love that the time of learning is over.  We know enough just to accept our Home in God, our Christ-consciousness.  We may be mistaken in thinking that we have reached Christ-consciousness, but the inevitability of this blessing is never mistaken.  It may be sooner or it may be later.  We need not fear; it will come.  And in the meantime, we can prepare by turning to the Holy Spirit (if we are reading ACIM) or the Self within (if we are reading ACOL).  There is a logical progression from Jesus’s words in the New Testament, his words in ACIM, and his words in ACOL.  Would that we could only accept what he says at face value!  There is very little that we need to do to effect these changes in ourselves.  Our contribution is indeed small, and we are sometimes chagrined by this (paraphrased from the Text).  But why should we let the arrogance of the ego tell us that Awakening/Christ-consciousness is difficult?  Let us rest in God’s mercy, and we will know that He wishes us to have these blessings.  We will not have to seek pathways innumerable; the blessings will come with a sincere desire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would find You today, and I would do the little part that you ask of me to effect change for the better in my life.  I would come home to You.

May my brothers and sisters feel Your Love, and may they leave behind fear with all of its component parts.  I would do the same.  I am not above feeling fear, as much as I try to avoid anxiety by trusting in You.  We are all very human with the frailties that accompany the human condition.  May we help each other to rise above to the joy that You hold out to us when we have been made ready by Your guidance.

Be with me today.  Help me to know that sacrifice is never asked, and that I am misperceiving when I think that You might be asking this of me.  Your Way is the Way of Love, and when I know that in the depths of my heart, I will also be at home in You.

Amen.

God Himself Shall Wipe Away All Tears

ACIM Workbook Lesson 301 – for Friday, October 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “And God Himself shall wipe away all tears.”

“Father, unless I judge I cannot weep.  Nor can I suffer pain, or feel I am abandoned or unneeded in the world.  This is my home because I judge it not, and therefore is it only what You will.  Let me today behold it uncondemned, through happy eyes forgiveness has released from all distortion.  Let me see Your world instead of mine.  And all the tears I shed will be forgotten, for their source is gone.  Father, I will not judge Your world.  (WB450)”

Reflections:

1 – Judging = Lose Our Way

Judging is one sure way to lose our way.  We can see the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit for years, even, and then drop into judging, and feel lost again.  We are not lost, actually; we never are.  But we will feel lost, and we will not feel the “felt presence of Being” (from Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now).

2 – No Weeping, Pain, Feeling Abandoned or Unneeded

This is a reassuring passage if we see that we cannot weep, suffer pain, feel abandoned or unneeded–unless we judge.  This statement seems almost too good to be true.

3 – Vow to Judge Nothing that Occurs

But try it out.  For one day, vow to judge nothing that occurs.  If we start to judge, we must say firmly (even shout) inwardly, “Stop!”  And watch to see if the day does not unfold better than any previous one in which judgment has gotten a toehold.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not judge today.  I know that I tend to judge when I am stressed–as I tend to get angry or to attack when in that same frame of mind.  All of this foolishness, and it is foolishness, is the extent–on any given day–that I have forgotten You, that I have let the ego rule again in my little world.  I would choose anew today, on this day that you warn me against judging.  The solution is always to allow my Guide, the Holy Spirit, to judge the right pathway for me to take.  His is also the means by which other people ought only to be judged.  It is never for me to do.  Help me to remember this truth wherever I walk today.

I would leave aside pain in all its forms.  I especially would leave aside anxiety, which is a particularly potent form of pain for me.  I would turn to You for the equanimity that allows a free and easy walk through this world.  

Help me to stay close to You all day long.  Thank You.

Amen.

I Need Be Anxious over Nothing

ACIM Workbook Lesson 275 – for Sunday, October 2, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s healing Voice protects all things today.”

“Your healing Voice protects all things today, and so I leave all things to You.  I need be anxious over nothing.  For Your Voice will tell me what to do and where to go; to whom to speak and what to say to him, what thoughts to think, what words to give the world.  The safety that I bring is given me.  Father, Your Voice protects all things through me.  (WB434)”

Reflections:

1 – Follow the Holy Spirit Consistently

The “Voice” is the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration (a Text tenet).  We are, once again, bade to leave our minds to the Voice, and to follow His bidding.  We are not to take matters into our own hands.  If we get quiet and commune, pray, silently, to God, we will almost immediately get a sense of what to do or say in the next encounter–perhaps an encounter that we have been dreading.  We will feel an inner sense of assurance that we are not alone, that the encounter will go well because we have asked for help.  Let us not forget to ask for help all along the way today.

2 – Guide My Interactions with Others

We are even helped by what thoughts to think, for how would we know what to say to our brothers and sisters if we were not guided, ahead of time, by our thoughts about upcoming conversations?  And the guidance comes during the conversation as well.  We are never left to deal with any matter on our own.

3 – May My Ego-Consumed Will Not Interfere with God’s Will

Of course, our own will can intervene, and then we are likely to become quite stubborn, and forget that we never see the whole picture.  The Holy Spirit, the Voice, does see the whole pictures, and so His judgments about what to do or say, not to mention what to think, are true (a Manual tenet).  He knows what has happened in the past, is happening now, and will happen in the future; we do not have such prescience.  And so His judgments guide rightly.  (All of these paraphrases are from the Manual.)

4 – Safety Can Be Found

We will know safety, and so we not all want this in our very troubled world?  In this time of what seem to be escalating difficulties on earth, we need to know that we will be cared for.  We need very practical things by way of sustenance and shelter for our families.  Even if we fail to find these things, we have not been left, abandoned.  Some of the most spiritual people in our history have had very few material possessions.  Jesus himself was quite poor and dependent on the generosity of those who listened to his message.  But he did not worry.  He knew that, regardless of what happened, even unto the cross, he was cared for by the Father.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would follow the example of Jesus today, and be anxious over nothing.  I sometimes think that anxiety is my particular cross to bear in this life.  If I could finally let the anticipation of what others think leave me, then I think that the fear elicited by the ego would lose its punching power.  May I leave anxiety behind as I leave fear behind.  May I not care so much for anybody else thinks.  I need only follow guidance to leave both anxiety–my form of fear–as well as fear itself out in the cold.

Be with me today as I seek to please only You.  And You are in my corner, regardless of what mistakes I may make.  I would correct those mistakes as soon as they occur, and then I would walk more confidently along the path that You have set before me.

Amen.

Today Belongs to Love / Let Me Not Fear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 274 – for Saturday, October 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “Today belongs to Love.  Let me not fear.”

“Father, today I would let all things be as You created them, and give Your Son the honor due his sinlessness; the love of brother to his brother and his Friend.  Through this I am redeemed.  Through this as well the truth will enter where illusions were, light will replace all darkness, and Your Son will know he is as You created him.  

“A special blessing comes to us today, from Him Who is our Father.  Give this day to Him, and there will be no fear today, because the day is given unto Love.  (WB433)”

Reflections:

1 – The Terminology of Today’s Prayer

The capitalization in this prayer needs some explanation.  “You,” meaning God, is capitalized.  “Your Son,” meaning the larger Self of which we are a part, the Christ Self, is capitalized.  And “Friend,” meaning the Self of our brother, is capitalized.

2 – The Christ Self

This capitalization reminds us that the Self of which we are a part, the Christ Self, is the redeemed, the Awakened Self that we may not yet have accomplished on earth.  But the promise is there waiting for us.  And the promise is also there waiting for our brothers and sisters, our Friends.

3 – Leaving the Ego Behind

The lesson for today also stresses that when we are living, as best we can, the Self that is our potential, we will not know fear.  Fear is often stated in A Course in Miracles as the product of the ego.  It is of the egoic mind, and the extent to which we do not listen to its dictates is the extent to which we speed along home to God.  There is no reason to fear, but we do not recognize this when we have not disengaged from the ego.  Once we have Awakened, we will not know fear.  We will be so sustained by love that we will walk this world with blessings on our lips for ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  Nothing will be as it is now.  We will see with the vision of Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be patient.  Very few of us have awakened yet, and sometimes we wonder about what the process means.  Help me to wait on Your timing.  It is all up to You.  When the ego is completely gone from my inclinations, and when I have fully forgiven myself as well as all my brothers and sisters, thank You that the way is paved for You to take action on my behalf toward Awakening.

May I not be anxious today.  Anxiety is just a manifestation of fear, and I know intellectually that I am in Your care, and that I have absolutely nothing to fear.  Nothing that this world can do to me can erase the protection that I feel from Your abiding love.

Thank You for showing me the feeling of You.  Your felt presence is the greatest blessing that my days bring.

Amen.