In Atonement We See in the Outer World What Finds a Place in Our Hearts

“Atonement corrects illusions, not truth. Therefore, it corrects what never was. (M-2.2)”

This is a central theme touched on earlier. The world that we see before Awakening is a projection; we are told repeatedly in A Course in Miracles that “projection makes perception.” We see in the outer world what finds a place in our hearts to see. We don’t see truth; we don’t see reality.

But when we accept Atonement, we are ready to move from illusions that we have projected onto what we see with our physical eyes. We have real vision, which is not something that the physical eyes see, but which is an inner light. This vision is often the face of Christ, though not always, and perhaps not even primarily.

So illusions are being corrected when we accept Atonement. And illusions were always illusions, and therefore never really existed at all in God’s truth and God’s reality. Not in the real world, as ACIM calls it.

We need to realize how pivotal Atonement really is to our peace of mind. We will never know joy and the absence of suffering until, on some level, we have cleared our minds of illusions, and live the real world that Jesus points out to us.
The real world comes quickly once illusions have been discarded, once Atonement has been accepted for real.

Atonement Cures the Sick by Taking Away the Guilt

“Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed. (WB-140)”

Atonement takes away guilt, and A Course in Miracles indicates that it is our guilt that causes our sicknesses. This does not mean that if we get rid of all the guilt, we will necessarily be healed of all afflictions; this would be magical thinking. Some illnesses persist, and we need not blame our sicknesses on our “failure” to achieve a guilt-free existence. That would be very close to blaming the victim, which is an inaccurate way of reading ACIM.

When we take away the guilt, though, we are less likely to experience new sicknesses. And what we have may decline and eventually disappear. This will seem a miracle, and indeed it is. Jesus speaks in an ideal mode when making these assertions; we are very fallible, and we may not be able to rise to his ideal.

The cure comes when we do get rid of the guilt. Our minds are cured, and that is cure indeed. Physical symptoms may persist; indeed, may never go away. But with a healed mind, we can deal with anything. Our way is clear; we live successfully even in the face of debilitations and handicaps.

Seek to Find Christ’s Face and Look on Nothing Else

“And how long will this holy face be seen, when it is but the symbol that the time of learning now is over, and the goal of the Atonement has been reached at last? So therefore let us seek to find Christ’s face and look on nothing else. (WB-essay-6)”

We are reaching the time of the end of learning, because its goal has been attained. This is the learning of the means of salvation, of course, not learning in the outside world—education and so forth.

The holy face is the face of Christ, which we learn in this process to see in all other people. Until we see the face of Christ in all others, we are still in the learning stages. And often, even when we succeed briefly, we do not sustain this manner of looking. When we see Christ, we are being loving and forgiving. We are bade in this quotation to look on Christ’s face and on nothing else.

The goal of the Atonement is correction of past thinking and past behaviors. Correction, nothing more. It does not mean that correction will be paired with punishment, for God does not punish His children. But we can know that we have, however momentarily, reached the goal of Atonement when we see Christ in our brothers and sisters.

This experience of seeing Christ’s face is a peak experience, not meant to last. But it heals as it happens. And we are never quite the same again.

Accept Atonement to Accept the Truth about Ourselves

“Today accept Atonement, not to change reality, but merely to accept the truth about yourself, and go your way rejoicing in the endless Love of God. (WB-139)”

We want to accept Atonement, because to do so will make us happy, very happy. We accept ourselves as we are, and we leave rejoicing in the love of God. We can imagine that He Himself is happy for us as well. Our channels of communication to God are open once again, and we can metaphorically realize that we have healed part of God’s loneliness. (Jesus has elsewhere said that God is lonely when the minds he created do not communicate with Him.)

We do not want to change reality; we want to remove the illusion from the “reality” that we see. True reality is just that—true. And it is unalterable from the truth. Only illusions fall by the wayside when we are tired of them.

We may think that we are tired of illusions for many years before we are ready to finally give them up. We cry to be saved, but internally, in our hearts, we say, “not yet.” It takes a long time to realize that the world has nothing to give us that we want.

Decide for Atonement, and reality will rise up to take the place of illusions of a “better” world. There is no improvement in illusions. The happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings when we accept Atonement pave the way for the Awakening that we all want.

The Holy Spirit Gives Life and Beauty to Relationships

“In these loving thoughts is the spark of beauty hidden in the ugliness of the unholy relationship where hatred is remembered; yet there to come alive as the relationship is given to Him [Holy Spirit} Who gives it life and beauty. That is why Atonement centers on the past, which is the source of separation, and where it must be undone. For separation must be corrected where it was made. (T-17.III.5)”

We see here A Course in Miracle’s emphasis on changing our special relationships into holy. Here Jesus calls our special relationships “unholy,” and this is a stunning indictment. He would not have us be lost in ruminations and recriminations of the past. But Atonement centers on the past, because that is where the problems are. Now, in the present, we can always change—and Jesus would have us do so.

The presumed separation was in the past, eons in the past—but we have not yet gotten over this illusion. We did not, could not actually separate from God, though we thought that we could. As has been said many times, we are part of God, and so separation is factually impossible.

But in illusion anything can seem possible.

We give our unholy relationships, the ugliness of it all, to the Holy Spirit to correct for us. And He does so, not long off in the distant future, but here, now, when we ask—if we are sincere.

We aim to be sincere.

Atonement Restores Heaven to Us

“The Atonement was established as the means of restoring guiltlessness to minds that have denied it, and thus denied Heaven to themselves. (T-14.IV.9)”

We think that we have done a lot of bad things, things unforgivable. We have done bad things, but not in the real world. We have made those mistakes in an illusory world, and thus they have no more substance than a dream. They are a form of dream, in fact; that is the other way that Jesus talks about our walk in this world.

The Atonement restores guiltlessness by letting us realize that we have never sinned. Our mistakes in illusion are just mistakes. And so we are not damned in any sense at all, other than our own insanity of guilt.

We would enjoy Heaven on earth. This is indeed possible when we refuse to deny Heaven any longer. Heaven is awaiting our response.

Let us make that better response today.

Atonement Dispels Illusions

“The purpose of Atonement is to dispel illusions, not to establish them as real and then forgive them. (T-13.X.6)”

When we dwell on what our brother has done that seemed to harm us, we are failing to overlook his mistakes; we are making the illusory, real. And this failure to overlook is our mistake. If we make something real by dwelling on it, it becomes harder to overlook. It is, of course, still illusory, but it doesn’t feel like this to us. And so we have trapped ourselves.

Don’t make this mistake today. Turn to correction in the form of the Atonement to dispel illusions. Don’t obsess about anything bad that has ever supposedly been done to us. Don’t make real that which is an illusory concept.

We cannot be hurt. We need to show our brothers that we cannot be hurt. If we show a wounded face to them, then they will feel guilt (meaning more insanity) for what they have “done” to us. And we are failing to be a genuinely good witness for the Atonement.

Turn to what is truly real today. Don’t get lost in illusion. The way back is easy when we realize that we have been living illusions for all of our days. The way back becomes a joyous walk when we follow guidance of the Holy Spirit in making our choices the joyous ones.

The Atonement Is the Final Lesson We Need Learn

“The Atonement is the final lesson he need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation. (T-13.in.4)”

The “he” is an individual, a person, who believes in separation from God and wants a remedy that will take away all guilt and offer absolution from mistakes. This is the extreme reading in A Course in Miracles, in which we know that all the wrong that we have ever done, out of allegiance to the ego, was simply an illusion. Being an illusion, it is not unforgivable, and, importantly, Jesus asserts that it is only a mistake, not a sin. Being a mistake, it can often (though not always) be rectified by later action on our part. We have pardon.

To have no need for salvation is to understand the true meaning of the well-known phrase of a “journey without distance.” We find our way back from what we never left, but thought we did. That place is in God’s Arms, fully in communication with Him, fully in the joy of His Presence.
And this “final lesson” of the Atonement does pave the way for Awakening, which is our ultimate end in A Course in Miracles. We may not all reach it, but we all have the potential to reach it. We need realize that we need do nothing, that it is all done for us, when we leave off the guilt that has taken us into insanity. We leave off the egoic notions, and we find our way home in peace.

This is our journey without distance. May we all takes steps toward the joyous end of Awakening today.

Acceptance of Atonement Is the End of Separation from God

“The acceptance of guilt into the mind of God’s Son was the beginning of the separation, as the acceptance of the Atonement is its end. (T-13.in.2)”

We need to avoid guilt, but we cannot do this until we have accepted the Atonement. Guilt is what has driven us insane, and until we find a way—the Atonement—to silence guilt’s nasty comments in our minds, we will forever be in a state of unrest.

We thought that we had done the unforgivable in God’s sight: We had left Him. And this prompted our guilt. Only when we know that we are in communication with Him, as our Self, will we know peace. And we will return to communication with God when we have accepted the Atonement wholeheartedly.

The correction of the Atonement puts us back where we have really been all along, in God’s Arms, in grace that has never actually left us. That is why A Course in Miracles says that the way back is a “journey without distance.” There is no distance between God and us; we are a part of Him, as we need to really understand. Only our communion with our depths has been disrupted, and this only in illusion—when we took our place in making an illusory world where we thought that God could not follow. We thought to make a world that we would like better than what God had created, but we quickly found pain in that world. And no wonder. We had taught ourselves the very unnatural way of failing to communicate with our Creator. We were undone. And so a way back had to be created by God.

And it was: the Atonement. Jesus proved to us that we are eternal beings living part of an eternal life. We die only to resurrect, and so we really do not die at all. That is part of the illusion, part of the pain. We suffer when we fear our presumed end in death. Such foolishness! Death is like walking through an open door.

Commune with our Maker today. Ask the Holy Spirit how to do this. And He will answer. God Himself, we are told in ACIM, is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate with Him. This is probably a metaphorical way of speaking, but it is nevertheless instructive to us, for we can understand the concept.

Don’t delay. Commune with God.

The Purpose of Atonement Is to Find Our Way Back to What Was Never Lost

“The Atonement is but the way back to what was never lost. Your Father could not cease to love His Son. (T-12.VIII.8)”

We did not really separate from God except in illusion. As part of Him, we could not separate and live, and we are creations given eternity. But we have thought that we separated, and the illusion is very beguiling. When we accept the Atonement that Jesus completed, we know that we never really left God’s side, His Entity. We find our way home, to what we never really lost. And that is the purpose of all of Atonement. To find our way home, finally.

God remains loving to us. Because of His Nature, He could not be otherwise than loving. And so we didn’t really lose anything in the illusory separation of which we have been a part. We have found our way back.

Note the greater peace and calm that we enjoy now. Sure, we still have our overwrought moments, but these no longer define us. We are not lost in dramas very often, and this is one of the blessings of having accepted the Atonement for ourselves.

God didn’t forget about us when we thought we had left Him. He remains constant, a constant Presence Who will always be faithful to His creations. And, in our better moments, we recognize our Oneness with Him, and we are at peace, experiencing calm.

Atonement Saves the Past in Purified Form Only

“The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. (T-5.V.7)”

We all have things that we regret. We all have fallen short of our ideal for good behavior, good thoughts, and, all in all, good living. Jesus offers a remedy for us in this sentence: the Atonement.

Studying the mistake does not lead us to the good. We need to remember those times in the past, the “purified form” of the past, when we thought, said, and did the right things. These are what we can really assimilate; these will lead us home.

When we have met correction in the form of the Atonement, we move forward into a new day, keeping with us only what we admire about our past. If we are still trapped in the ego, our admiration will not be a good directing force; we will need to call on the Holy Spirit to call to mind what there really was in our past that has been worthy of admiration. And He will respond. He wants us home as much as we want to go.

So this is a worthy purpose of the Atonement, to bring to mind for the forever future just what has been purified from the past.

We don’t need to regret the past. We can step away from it by focusing on how we do want to act in the future. And the Holy Spirit will offer us the guidance to know what to do and when. His guidance is sure, far better than our own feeble attempts to master our lives. We look to the resurrection to know that Jesus has done his part. Now we are to follow his lead, and learn how to walk where he leads by dwelling in our thoughts on what we have done right.

Remember: Studying the mistakes does not work. Listening to the good, right things does.

Atonement Gives the Power of a Healed Mind

“The Atonement gives you the power of a healed mind. . . . (T-5.IV.7)”

A healed mind is where we are headed. And the Atonement gives just that. Is it any wonder that we want Atonement, even when we think that we don’t understand it very well?

We do understand Atonement, but it has been layered over with illusions in our mind, illusions that kept the truth from us. Jesus is in charge of the Atonement, giving us the means to find our way back to God. With a healed mind, we can say and do many things that are impossible when we are living with an unhealed mind, an egoic mind.

Ask today to have the power that will be ours when we have a healed mind. This is not an impossible request. We can and will be healed in time, but we do not need this time. The healing can take place spontaneously, when we see, in a moment of insight, the blessing that is ours without egoic interpretations of life and living.

This power is like living with the wings of an eagle, a statement made in A Course in Miracles. We will take off in our lives when we stop letting our energy be sapped by neurotic tendencies, tendencies that always are self-centered and consumed by egotistical ways of thinking.

Be healed today. It is God’s Will. It is also our own, but, perhaps unbeknown to us, God Will is our real will. The Holy Spirit chooses for us. He knows what we really want. And the healing that Atonement, reconciliation, brings is therapeutic in the extreme. We will live happy lives, secure in the knowledge that God’s way is our way, His Will, our will. We will be Home at last.

Atonement Leaves the “Sins” of the Ego Behind

“Leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to me [Jesus]. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be. (T-4.IV.5)”

Atonement is to leave the “sins,” or mistakes, of the ego behind. Jesus says to leave this to him, a welcome prospect because we get so very tangled up in dealing with the ego at any time. When we don’t “change our minds” about others whom we have hurt (largely through anger and its result, attack), even Jesus cannot help us. This is because we are feeling guilty about the anger and attack, and guilt is hell (said elsewhere in A Course in Miracles).

The main thrust of ACIM is to dislodge the ego, freeing the mind to return to God and ourselves to be healed from the illusions. Atonement is the means, and this “undoing” (a definition of Atonement) was done by Jesus, he says, in the resurrection (not the crucifixion, as traditional Christianity says). When we are free of the ego, we are really home free. We have made it back to God, and we no longer harbor dreams. We are safe in an unsafe world. Our perceptions have been cleansed. We no longer project destruction, seeing this world as an illusion that is unreal.

We need to leave the guilt behind, and to do so, we need to cease attacking our brother. Attack will disturb the “undoing” every time, for we will feel guilty, and when we feel guilt, we are once again mired in the ego.

Let’s leave these concepts behind today—the ego, guilty, the attack. Let us accept the Atonement has a fait accompli and walk into this world holding Jesus’s hand.

CHAPTER 2: PURPOSE OF ATONEMENT

Miracles

“A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me. It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly. This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed. Until this has occurred, knowledge of the Divine Order is impossible. (T-1.I.37)”

We all want miracles, but miracles are important simply because they correct our perception. Correcting our perception leads us to an understanding of what is so important about Atonement. We need to see differently. Above all else we need to see differently.

We cannot know what God has in store for us (the “Divine Order”) unless our perception is healed. And healed perception leads to knowledge, for knowledge is God’s gift to us. Only He can bestow knowledge, for only He has the knowledge.

So we seek for miracles in order to see rightly. To see with vision, which doesn’t involve the physical eyes at all. We are not seeing strange things inwardly, though; we are seeing the reality at its utmost. We are seeing clearly for the first time since the separation.

A miracle does act as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception, and this is its link to Atonement.

May all of us seek for the real benefit of miracles today.

Atonement Is the Correction of Perception

“This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with the Atonement, or the correction of perception. The means of the Atonement is forgiveness. (C-in.1)”

This quotation explains why there are differing definitions for Atonement in A Course in Miracles. Jesus is not concerned with specifics, carefully equating similar terms whenever he can.

Here Jesus’s definition for Atonement is the “correction of perception.” We know that perception is what we use in this world to find our way about. It is not knowledge, which comes from God. This perception is made by projection from within each individual.

Since the ego still rules very many of us, it is the ego that projects the perceptions that we make. And it is this perception that needs correction.

The means of correction of perception is forgiveness. In particular, we reach out to our significant others, our brother, and in the forgiveness that we extend, we find love.

What better formula could there be for a new world to be seen by corrected perception?

Forgiveness = Salvation = Atonement = True Perception

“Forgiveness, salvation, Atonement, true perception, all are one. (C-4.3)”

This single sentence is an example of how Jesus combines ideas to form a whole—a unified whole. If we can see that forgiveness = salvation = Atonement = true perception, then we will be well on our way to accepting the Atonement that Jesus prepared for us 2,000 years ago in his resurrection. He would see us with healed minds, walking this world by holding his hand (in our imagination).

Forgiveness is our way home, forgiveness of our brother. This is the path pointed out by A Course in Miracles.

Salvation is granted us by request. We may not see outstanding miracles; it may be a quiet time for us. But salvation is ours for the asking.

Our true perception prepares the way for knowledge, which comes only from God. When our eyes see truly, we don’t focus on what the physical eyes have seen. We focus on the things of God. And we will not be disappointed by this affirmation to see differently.
Atonement is our study now. And when we see that forgiveness, salvation, true perception all point the way, we will know God’s truth.

Atonement and Healing Mean the Same

“Healing and Atonement are not related; they are identical. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because there are no degrees of Atonement. It is the one complete concept possible in this world, because it is the source of a wholly unified perception. (M-2.1)”

So healing equals Atonement! How obvious! Healing is a central concept of A Course in Miracles, and the undoing that Atonement comprises does indeed lead to healing in this world. This world knows perception, not usually knowledge (which is reserved for the “real world”), and a unified perception will mean that the mind is no longer split between the ego and your right mind.

“No degrees of Atonement” means that it is an all-or-nothing concept. We are either healed completely or not at all, though in time we will know a lessening of the ego, usually, over weeks, months, or even years.

We want to have a unified perception of this world, for this means that we are heading into Awakening, or enlightenment—when God deems us ready. There are things that we can do that will hasten God’s action. We cannot, though, dictate to Him. But we can leave behind judging, attacking, making plans against contingencies to come (unless these plans are endorsed by the Holy Spirit). And these three actions will move us closer to the ultimate choice in God to reach down and lift us up to Awakening.

Atonement Means the Undoing of Errors

“Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors. (M-18.4)”

This definition is an amplification of what was said elsewhere, that Atonement means “undoing.” Here the concept is amplified to mean that we are undoing errors. Errors are also defined, most of the time, as “mistakes,” and this word is conceptualized in place of “sins,” which is not used. Errors or mistakes are seen in A Course in Miracles as something that we would hasten to correct (or “undo”), whereas sin, if it were possible, would have an attracting feature to it, making us want to commit the “sin” again and again.

So we are seeking, when we confront Atonement, to correct our mistakes. And in so doing we are on the way home to God. Our presumed separation from God has been healed.

Atonement thus becomes an umbrella term for what A Course in Miracles is all about, for correcting mistakes is essential to our pathway home. We do not have to puzzle over the word Atonement again. We can simply see it as the correction that we have been needing, the time when we are justified in our own eyes, for God Himself has never, we are told in ACIM, condemned us, and so he does not forgive.

The Voice of the Holy Spirit Is the Call to Atonement

“The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no Call to return. (T-5.I.5)”

The Atonement is here seen as the restoration of the integrity of the mind. Our minds have lost their intent at the moment of our creation, having fallen (in illusion) into separation from God. This quotation emphasizes that God created the Holy Spirit to bring us back home. The Holy Spirit, being part of the Trinity, is of God as well as of His Son, the Christ Mind. Atonement, carried out in part by the Holy Spirit, will return us to our right minds.

We need a return to right thinking very badly. We need to realize that we are not, in the egoic frame of mind, thinking clearly at all. We are befuddled, and our confused thinking makes chaos in the world that surrounds us. This chaos needs to end.

When the Atonement is complete, when all minds everywhere have been returned to God and separation has ended, the purpose of the Holy Spirit will have been served. Our minds will once again have integrity, creating as co-creators with God—our real purpose.

No longer will we be lost in a miserable world. We will have returned to our Maker, separation having been healed, dreams and illusions having disappeared into the mists that made them.

A Miracle is the Expression of Atonement

“I have emphasized that the miracle, or the expression of Atonement, is always a sign of respect from the worthy to the worthy. The recognition of this worth is re-established by the Atonement. It is obvious, then, that when you are afraid, you have placed yourself in a position where you need Atonement. You have done something loveless, having chosen without love. This is precisely the situation for which the Atonement was offered. (T-2.VI.8)”

Miracles are expressions of Atonement between worthy people. You, to whom I offer a miracle that Jesus prompts, are just as worthy as you, who receives that miracle. Each and every one of us are worthy, with recognition of our worthiness being re-established by the Atonement. God grants our worthiness to us; elsewhere we learn that nothing that we do or think or make establishes our worthiness. We are children of God, and that is why the miracle heals us, the miracle as an expression of Atonement, and a reaching out from the worthy to the worthy.

What but a divine Source could have developed such a fabulous instrument of healing? When we are afraid, we have done something loveless, having chosen without love? And so we need to recognize that the Atonement has been created for us in just that situation. The ego, as a faulty part of our view of ourselves, always makes us afraid. The ego, being empty of love for us, its host, always prompts us to say and to do loveless things. When we are free of the ego, even for a moment, we will be freed to accept the solution of the Atonement to get us out of this fearful state.

Jesus won’t come between our thinking, even our faulty thinking, and its results. He will help, though, in the conditions that brought the fear about. And saying and doing loveless things are instances of what brings about fear. Do we not have powerful incentives to ask to do and say the loving thing always? Even in the fact of provocation?

So see miracles as expressions of Atonement, for miracles thus become another example of the definition of Atonement. And miracles are at the center of the message of forgiveness which A Course in Miracles brings to us.

Perfect Love Is the Atonement

“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. (T-2.VI.7)”

This logical phrasing, a syllogism, is characteristic of Jesus.

We first must come to understand that we are motivated by our desire to release fear. And when we learn that fear arises from a lack of love, we are motivated to increase the love in our lives.

How do we do that? We want to. It is that simple. Then we take steps to remove the barriers to love that we find on a constant basis—retaliation from attack, outright attack, resentment, anger. When we want the perfect love that will remedy all these ills, we are primed for reaching out to the Atonement.

The Atonement is the perfect lesson in which love is demonstrated.

It is the undoing of what never actually happened, but it is an experience of which all of us partake. We do not offer defense when confronted with attack. We allow ourselves to be totally defenseless. This will not, as we fear, mean that other people will necessarily walk all over us. Instead, we become stronger, and our strength of will sets up an invisible shield that protects from attack.

Of course, we are not meant to be self-sacrificing to the extent that we countenance violence against ourselves. But we can remove ourselves from the encounter. This is most effective when we really do “want” to stay because we are bent on retaliation.

“Perfect love is the Atonement.” Of course! This is what Jesus came to do, years ago. And we will see, as we proceed, that this Atonement, and Jesus’s place in it, was established by the resurrection, symbol of eternal love, not the crucifixion (which all of us have, at one point or another, been led to believe).

ATONEMENT IN A COURSE IN MIRACLES: Definition, Purpose, Acceptance

Introduction

Chapter 1: How A Course in Miracles Defines Atonement

Chapter 2: The Purpose of Atonement

Chapter 3: Accepting Atonement for One’s Self

Chapter 4: Atonement and Healing

Chapter 5: Jesus’ Role in Atonement

Looking Ahead

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INTRODUCTION

One of the most frequently read posts on my blog is the one on the meaning of the Atonement. Given that interest, I thought it helpful to my readers to make a study of the Atonement, as presented in A Course in Miracles, and post that study on the web.

I used my kindle (an amazon product) to search A Course in Miracles in its entirety on the word “atonement.” There were 266 instances of the word (or some variant of it, such as “atoning”). I studied these 266 and selected those that I felt to be most illustrative of the meaning of atonement, without choosing those that were repetitive. This gave me a total of 64 quotations from which this series of postings has been derived.

The format is akin to my usual blog. I reproduce the quotations in various categories, and then write meditations based on these quotations.

We begin with the definition of Atonement.

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CHAPTER 1: HOW A COURSE IN MIRACLES DEFINES ATONEMENT

Atoning Means Undoing

“’Atoning’ means ‘undoing.’ The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles. (T-1.I.26)

So we need to keep in mind, whenever the concept of Atonement seems difficult for us to wrap about minds around, that Atoning means “undoing.”

We are seeking to undo so much in the course of studying A Course in Miracles. The primary undoing that we seek is the undoing of the ego, that part of ourselves about which we believe and that part of ourselves which has led us into imprisoned wills, wills that could not protect us from pain. The goal of ACIM is to dislodge the ego, and the way that ACIM does this is through forgiveness—forgiveness of our brother, and in forgiving our brother, we come to know that we are also forgiven ourselves. We learn that God does not forgive, because He has never condemned. Can any of us say the same? No, for our entry into the darkness of the ego has been deep and long, and we have wandered far from God’s pathway back to Him.

So Atoning does mean that we are undoing what has led us into illusions, into dreams. We are seeking our rightful place in the Kingdom of Heaven, a Kingdom that we never really left—but think that we did. And in the undoing of what never was, we are home at last.

The Choice to End Suffering

1 – Day Two

“Acceptance of your Self is acceptance of me. Acceptance of your Self is acceptance of your inheritance. Now is the time to come into full acceptance of the human self as well as the Self of unity. It is time for the final merging of the two into one Self, the elevated Self of form. (Dialogues, Day Two)”

2 – Elevated Self of Form

This new Self, the elevated Self of form, is a concept stressed throughout A Course of Love. Jesus’s statement herein also mitigates our difficulty with his first day’s insistence that we accept him as our companion on the mountaintop (though not our teacher). If our acceptance of our full Self, the little self or personal self as well as the Christ Self, means that we have accepted Jesus’s primary role in guiding us, then we are able to by-step the controversy of needing to accept Jesus as primary to our life’s progress.

3 – Our Inheritance

Acceptance of our inheritance is a view toward seeing the personal self (the one that we know most intimately as a persona, but minus the ego as central to that persona) and the Self as the unity that it ought to be. When we merge the personal self with the Christ Self, we have achieved the elevated Self of form. This does not mean that we have experienced Christ-consciousness, only that we have removed the blocks to receiving such a blessing. Christ-consciousness is seen to arrive during our time in these 40 days and 40 nights on the mountaintop with Jesus.

4 – Journey

He does not mean that we will make this journey repeatedly. Later on, soon, he makes that point in A Course of Love, the Dialogues. He is preparing us to make the journey once with him, and then to be done with that aspect of our growth. We will never finish growing, because there are always new plateaus, but apparently Jesus had felt that students/teachers of A Course in Miracles were caught by relinquishment of the ego with nothing spelled out as the way to go after the ego was history. This, to my mind, is his reason for channeling A Course of Love at all. He wanted to share more of what follows when the ego has been relinquished. And A Course of Love does just that.

5 – Inventor

“You are like an inventor who wasted many years, much money, and endured many hardships over many projects that did not come to fruition, and now has succeeded in inventing just what was always envisioned. This is the moment of fulfillment and desire coming together, the time in which to realize ‘it was all worth it.’ (Dialogues, Day Two)”

6 – Ego

This analogy dovetails a good bit of the rationale for A Course of Love. We have tried many things, struggled much, in finally letting go of the ego. What now? Now we find out. We are on the brink of a new day. And that new day is ushered in by A Course of Love.

7 – Moment of Fulfillment

This is the moment of fulfillment. What a glorious promise! We have waited long for this, and perhaps when we are finished with our 40 days and 40 nights, we will know how great a promise Jesus has made to us. If we have struggled with our study of A Course in Miracles for a very long time, we will read Jesus’s words with relief. We don’t have to struggle any longer to know the full fruition of our many deeds, words, thoughts. We are home free.

8 – Decisions

“I could give thousands of examples here, but the point is that we are not looking for degrees of wrong-actions, or wrong-doing. You all have moments you wish you could re-enact, decisions you wish you could change. These ‘actions’ are unchangeable. This is why simple acceptance is needed. (Dialogues, Day Two)”

9 – End of the Journey

Many students/teachers of A Course in Miracles site the passage in which Jesus says that he stands at the end of the journey, ready to remedy all mistakes that we ourselves could not remedy. This implies to my mind that there is some perfection being sought. Is this true? I think that it is not the whole truth, for the very idea of being perfect is an egoic construct. Our egos will have a field day with the idea that we need to be better than we are in every respect. This will hold off the acceptance even further.

10 – Chastisement

Jesus is saying here that there needs to be an end to the chastisement that we all give ourselves for not being perfect. He says elsewhere that if we recognize any personality trait, and don’t like it, we just turn aside from it and it will disappear. If we are satisfied to keep the anger, or the guilt, then we do just recognize their presence and accept them—but we don’t try to “change” constantly into a better version of what we are now. The ego loves the concept of trying to perfect ourselves. It keeps the game going. And there is no end in sight.

11 – Accept

But we who are relinquishing the ego will recognize that Jesus’s dictum that we just “accept” is welcome news indeed. In our acceptance, we stop the resistance that keeps the negative traits in place. This resistance has also kept the ego alive. This is to my mind why acceptance is so crucial to Jesus’s words here; not to accept would retain the ego. To accept will mean that the ego withers away.

12 – End Suffering

“Here, then, is where you need to make the choice that those in my time could not make, the choice to end suffering. This is the choice I made ‘for all.’ This is a choice you make for all as well. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 95)”

13 – Worthy?

This passage makes the point well that many of us who are on the mountain top (the setting of these 40 days and nights) feel that we are not worthy of this experience to which Jesus calls us. We think of the many things that we have done wrong, or that were done wrong to us, and we do not accept these things and put them in the past. Acceptance is the great call that Jesus makes to us on this day.

14 – Jesus

Jesus says that his example life was meant to bring the end of suffering, that he did not suffer, because he knew who he was. We will find this assertion hard to believe, but we need to trust that Jesus is leading us aright.

15 – Self

We are worthy, we have experienced Atonement, and we are ready to elevate the Self of form. The self and the Self are meant to be combined. We will not recognize that we are worthy of this great blessing until we reach acceptance of all that has gone before. Our mistakes have been forgiven; that is all that we really need to know. Then we will be ready to take our place as Awakened beings. In this 40 days and nights, this call is made by Jesus to all of us who are his readers of the Dialogues and who accept his word, as expressed therein.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I accept myself as I am. May I know that the Atonement that You have offered me is freely given to all, including myself. If there are things about myself that I want to change for the better, help me to make these changes in the midst of my acceptance.

Be with me today as I seek to commune with You throughout the day. That communion is really the best way to live. Staying close to You keeps my attitude straightened out, my calm undisturbed, and gives me a peace that is not of the world. May my day go well with You at the helm. May I remember to thank You for the blessings of this day, which are many, more than I might usually have. I wish to remain steady and calm, relaxed and serene. Knowing Your Presence goes with me can ensure that this demeanor will be mine until the end of the day. Thank You.

May I assist in ending suffering in this world, for others and myself. Until I have taken my place in this great endeavor, I will feel that something is missing. May nothing be missing today.

Amen.

Atonement = Correction of Perception

1 – Terminology?

“This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception. (C77)”

2 – Atonement

Some of the most viewed postings in this blog concern Atonement. We all want to know what it means. And here we find out: the correction of perception.

3 – Resurrection

That, of course, is not the whole answer. Jesus has paved the way for us, but it is not the crucifixion to which we look for Atonement, but the resurrection. The crucifixion is a benign lesson that shows Jesus not fighting back, as he would have us not fight back. He did not defend himself, because defense makes what it would defend against (ACIM tenet).

4 – Forgiveness

“The means of the Atonement is forgiveness. The structure of ‘individual consciousness’ is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the ‘original error’ or the ‘original sin.’ To study the error itself does not lead to correction if you are indeed to succeed in overlooking the error. And it is just this process of overlooking at which the course aims. (C77)”

5 – Universal Experience

“A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed. Here alone consistency becomes possible because here alone uncertainty ends. (C77)”

6 – Simple Course

“The course in simple. It has one function and one goal. Only in that does it remain wholly consistent because only that can be consistent. (C77)”

7 – Ken Wapnick

Ken Wapnick said that A Course in Miracles was simple, but it was not easy. He was the primary scholar for ACIM in his lifetime, though there were others who also took up the banner for ACIM (notably Robert Perry, as a scholar).

8 – Awakening

The function is forgiveness, and the goal is Awakening (though we are not in charge of when that goal will be reached, for God alone decides).

9 – Consistency

Consistency is important.

10 – One Goal

The fact that there is one goal in A Course in Miracles keeps the Course simple. We bring our own ego’s complexity to what we read, and that is why we make what is simple very complicated. It is not easy, as Ken said, because our minds are too ravaged by blind ego to take the easy words and apply them. We always want to make something easy into something hard. We are so prone to such foolishness in daily life that it is no question that we bring this trait into our spiritual seeking.

11 – Ego

“The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you. (M77)”

12 – Beginning of Time

This passage refers to the beginnings of time as we know it. How did we separate from God? What tiny, mad idea did we entertain? The ego wants to know, and maybe we do also.

13 – Practical Course

The Course is always practical, and elsewhere tells us that it is concerned with only the practical. It says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary. The Course does not waste much, if any, time debating theological issues, and recommends that we not do so either. It suggests that theology is heavily influenced by the ego, which is our false concept of ourselves.

14 – Ego-less

We need to seek the experience that the Course holds out to us–an ego-less form of living that marches us straightway toward Awakening. We get there, as we have said repeatedly, by following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would not have us delayed on this “journey without distance,” and so bids us to seek the experience and not to let theology delay us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Theology is the preoccupation of so much religion. Please let my religion, my spirituality, be different. May I seek an experience of spirituality, one that You lead me to discover.

Thank you for Your guidance always. May I better follow Your guidance this day.

Amen.

Atonement and Reincarnation

1 – Discussion about Reincarnation

“Does this mean that the teacher of God should not believe in reincarnation himself, or discuss it with others who do? The answer is, certainly not! If he does believe in reincarnation, it would be a mistake for him to renounce the belief unless his internal Teacher so advised. And this is most unlikely. (M61)”

2 – Interpretations

These words have been interpreted many different ways by those who have written about A Course in Miracles. Those who do believe in reincarnation think that Jesus is “siding” with them, and those who do not, think the opposite. Jesus does not mean to tip his hand in this statement on either side of the question. That would negate the words that he has channeled just previously. (See the last reflection.)

3 – Like Minds

But we are not forbidden to discuss our beliefs with those of like minds. Jesus does not hinder us from free discourse.

4 – Salvation

Reincarnation is said elsewhere not to be the important question that it is sometimes thought. We still have to work out our salvation currently. Spending too much time in theological speculation will only slow down our speed. Jesus needs us to reach out to our brothers and sisters, regardless of their theological beliefs. He needs for us to form holy relationships with them. This is the real secret of the Course (an interpretation, not a Course tenet).

5 – At This Moment

“The emphasis of this course always remains the same;–it is at this moment that complete salvation is offered you, and it is at this moment that you can accept it. This is still your one responsibility. (M61)”

6 – One Moment

This moment is all that we have—this one moment. There is no past or future, for there is no time. Time is an illusion that allows us to experience physical life on this plane. But the Now is all that we can know, and so believing in reincarnation is superfluous. We don’t want that belief to tangle us up. We can regale in the past lives that we may have had; we can look ahead to future lives. But it is only in the present, the Now, that we can work out our salvation.

7 – Folly

And we are going to embroil ourselves in folly if we focus on the past and future of reincarnation. Many people who hold this belief also think that they were famous people of the past. This may or may not be true, but for any given individual, it is probably only a fantasy. There are too many ordinary people whom we might have been in the past—far more than names that we know from history or the Bible.

8 – Gain

This doesn’t mean that our speculation is ALL folly. We may gain much from imagining that we have been a well-known figure in the past. We may be led to live up to that reputation. But we need to focus on the present and not make studies of our previous lives (if that were possible). We need to work out our salvation now.

9 – Atonement

“Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future. Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time. (M61)”

Heaven is Now! What a glorious statement! And when we accept Atonement, or the undoing of the ego, we are living (or trying to) in the present.

10 – Heaven Is Here

And Heaven is here. We can indeed have Heaven on earth; we do not have to wait for the afterlife. How so? We won’t be internally disturbed; we will have an equanimity that is self-assured and poised. We will move to help people in pain and suffering, but we will know that we are caught in illusion, that the pain and suffering are not real. Of course, a physical cut hurts. Our bodies seem very real to us. But, in the final analysis, the inner Christ Self has not been hurt in the least. We are merely children playing a game.

11 – Happy Game

Salvation can be the happy game that children play (from ACIM). We do not have to dwell on the unfortunate. We do what we can to help others, but we realize that what we are seeing that is pain and suffering is unreal. So we don’t take it to heart the way that we used to. This doesn’t mean that we are unfeeling; it simply means that we are seeing life on earth for the illusion, the maya, that it is, for the first time.

12 – Happy Dreams

We can and will have happy dreams even in the midst of pain, once we have accepted Atonement, the undoing of the ego, in the way that ACIM recommends. We will find our illnesses falling away; we will be led to healing, sometimes miraculous, sometimes through the medical establishment. We will find a healed mind, first, in all likelihood. But projection makes perception, and so from a healed mind we look out on a healed world. Sickness doesn’t stand a chance.

13 – Sickness

Of course, there is sickness that is never healed in any way that we can recognize. But even this sickness, this illness, can hold blessings. Our inner Self is making these decisions, and we experience nothing that our inner Self has not passed on as an acceptable experience for us. Learning can be gotten by many means, and pain and suffering are one such means.

14 – Hard Road

We can choose a gentler path, but sometimes the hard road is faster. Reincarnation teachers have long seen the hard life as the one in which we learn the most, we make the most progress.

15 – Adversity

Humankind is at its best in adversity. A soft life may mean that we are prone to backslide, and none of us wants that. So be grateful for the little crosses that come. There is a reason; cling to that, even when the reason is obscure.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have feelings about reincarnation, but it is best that I share those theological ideas only with intimates. I do not want to hinder my usefulness to my brothers and sisters.

May I realize that reincarnation is not the real issue. I have to work out my salvation now, and this means to be focused in the here and now always. Thank you for clarifying this for me.

Amen.

Healing and Atonement

1 – Identical Concepts

“Healing and Atonement are not related; they are identical. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because there are no degrees of Atonement. (M55)”

2 – The Sequence

If we are right with God (atonement), then the healing of our minds is next to happen. Note that physical symptoms may still be present, but the mind is where the healing happens. Physical symptoms very well may disappear in time (and there is no time, and so this is irrelevant).

3 – Undoing

Atonement, the “undoing,” happens when we surrender to God. We find that salvation has been waiting for us all along. We also find that miracles can and will heal anything that ails us. The fact that miracles do not always happen for us is not a reason to doubt the validity of some miracles. God may be saying “no” to us, and our inner Self will have acquiesced to this denial.

4 – Accept Atonement

“Accept Atonement and you are healed. Atonement is the Word of God. Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible? Accept His Word and every miracle has been accomplished. (M55)”

5 – Ideal Level

This assertion belongs to the “ideal” level of A Course in Miracles. The books are written on at least two levels, and not all of us can reach up to the ideal level at all times.

6 – Faith

This is not a reason to lose faith. In fact, Jesus healed when faith was strong—only “believe,” he said.

7 – Unhealed Illness

Of course, you as well as I can point to many examples of sick people who believed that they would be healed, and to our eyes they were not healed. Is this reason to doubt what God has promised to us?

8 – Inner Healing

I think not. Know that an inner healing may happen even when outer circumstances do not change. The inner may be a far superior form of healing than the outer. We will be given the grace to accept our predicament.

9 – Can You Believe?

See if you can reasonably believe in a healing. If you cannot visualize a healing, then chances are good that this healing is not in the cards for you. Our failure to visualize something is almost proof positive that we are on the wrong track (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles).

10 – Progress

“The progress of the teacher of God may be slow or rapid, depending on whether he recognizes the Atonement’s inclusiveness, or for a time excludes some problem areas from it. In some cases, there is a sudden and complete awareness of the perfect applicability of the lesson of the Atonement to all situations, but this is comparatively rare. (M55)”

11 – Holy Spirit

We need to turn to the Holy Spirit with all of our decisions, but rarely are we courageous enough to do so. It takes time to trust Him. When we come to learn that following His advice brings good, and following our own often leaves us unhappy, we will turn to Him more and more. And our lives will get better, accordingly.

12 – Do Not Rely on Yourself

Sometimes a miracle happens, and as soon as one accepts the Holy Spirit into his or her life, then that person recognizes that the truth is good for all things. We usually don’t experience this sudden awareness, though, because we have been reared to place our dependence upon our own judgment. We think that we are missing something unless we rely upon ourselves. But this is a false doctrine. The world teaches it to us, but the Course teaches just the reverse.

13 – Judgment

Our own judgment can never know all the factors about a given situation. But the Holy Spirit does know all factors. Would we not be foolish to fail to take advantage of such a Helper? This Helper is always available to us, and He has only our best reactions at heart.

14 – Function

“The teacher of God may have accepted the function God has given him long before he has learned all that his acceptance holds out to him. It is only the end that is certain. (M55)”

15 – Healing May Be Delayed

This passage contains a hint that healing may be delayed. Sometimes healing is delayed for our own good, in that a sudden healing might precipitate depression, because we have learned to see our sickness as part of our self-image—and we know not where to turn if healed. (Paraphrases from ACIM.)

16 – All Will Be Healed

In the end, we are all healed, whether now, later, or on the Other Side. We will know abundant health, now or in the future, for sickness has no place in the Son/Daughter of God’s reality, the true reality.

17 – Inclusiveness

“Anywhere along the way, the necessary realization of inclusiveness may reach him. If the way seems long, let him be content. He has decided on the direction he wants to take. What more was asked of him? And having done what was required, would God withhold the rest? (M55)”

18 – Patience

This passage essentially says to be patient. There are illnesses that are contained only by medication, and Jesus himself says in A Course in Miracles that, though “spells,” he does not oppose taking pills if this is what we need to keep down the fear, the anxiety. An increase in fear is the last thing that we need now.

19 – Awakening

We want Awakening, but the way may be long for most of us. Awakening in our current culture in this world is relatively rare, and when it happens at all, it is frequently not sustained, but is instead a passing satori (a glimpse of Awakening). But the end is certain. God wants us to awake, and when we turn ourselves over to Him in all particulars, our way eases. We have happy dreams sent by the Holy Spirit, and these happy dreams teach us what God would have us know, how He would have us proceed before He reaches down to lift us up to Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my progress as a teacher of God be rapid. Help me to realize that trusting the Holy Spirit for guidance in all my decisions is the way to go.

I know that You want the very best for me. And You need me to reach out to my brothers and sisters. Help me to do Your will, which is also my own.

Amen.

The Sole Responsibility of God’s Teacher Is to Accept the Atonement for Himself.

“The sole responsibility of God’s teacher is to accept the Atonement for himself. Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors. (M48)”

1 – Atonement Means Correction

This tenet of the Course is not always understood. Many people want to describe the Atonement as “at – one – ment,” and this may be a reasonable conclusion. Jesus’s answer, though, is that Atonement means the correction, or undoing of errors. Certainly we are not perfect here, or we would not be in this world. Jesus says elsewhere that it is our purpose to become perfect, and when this happens, we will not return to this world at all. We can reasonably conclude that we will have help from the Other Side, because he also says elsewhere that the Teachers of Teachers are not seen by people who live in this world.

2 – Undo Errors

May we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit so completely that we do see the undoing of errors in ourselves. The only way that this undoing can happen is to follow this guidance. We are not strong or brave enough to bring about our own perfection. It takes divine intervention.

3 – Be a Healed Healer

This passage implied that our first responsibility is to ourselves. We will make mistakes in trying to extend salvation to others if we are “unhealed healers” who wish to do good, but don’t really know how. Once we have accepted Atonement for ourselves, we will be in a position to extend salvation to others. Our times of making mistakes will fall away, leaving Jesus in a position to work through us in a way that he has never been able to do so before.

4 – Miracle Worker

“When this has been accomplished, the teacher of God becomes a miracle worker by definition. (M48)”

Would you like to be a miracle worker? This passage says that when we have accepted the atonement, the undoing of errors in ourselves, then we become a miracle worker by definition.

5 – Not Perfect

Now I do not think that this means that we have become perfect. This would be the ego speaking. In A Course of Love, Jesus indicates that we just turn aside from those character traits that make us less than we would like to be. If we have anger, and we don’t want anger, we just turn aside from it; it will be there or not, as we will it. And, in the case of anger, we would will it away.

6 – Jesus

The idea that we have to be perfect before God can accept us is not true. Jesus says that he stands at the end of the pathway to correct those errors that we ourselves cannot correct. He corrects our unresolved mistakes.

7 – Ideal

It is an unnecessary burden on us to try to be perfect, though the New Testament does indicate that we ought to be perfect, even as our Heavenly Father is perfect. This is an ideal, and we will know many ideals in this life when we sign on with Jesus. He will hold us by the hand and gently lead us forward.

8 – Limitations

He knows our limitations, and in this world we are not free of limitations. Making mistakes is one of those limitations, and he is, as I said, here to correct what we are not wise or strong or keen enough to correct.

9 – Ego

I worry that some will allow the ego to intrude and call us “miracle workers” when we actually have far to go, still, on the pathway. We can effect change, it is true, but we still will fall down. The Holy Spirit will take charge in our lives to lead us to be true miracle workers, but the credit goes to him, not us.

10 – “Sins”

“His sins have been forgiven him, and he no longer condemns himself. How can he then condemn anyone? And who is there whom his forgiveness can fail to heal? (M48)”

“Sins” are a misnomer, as we have learned. We make mistakes, and mistakes don’t have the attracting value that sins do. We will repeat mistakes when we call them “sins,” because of this attracting feature. It is a perversity, in my opinion.

11 – Mistakes

But all the wrong thinking and the wrongdoing a “mistake,” and we just want to correct it. We don’t condemn ourselves for our mistakes, and it is certain that when we forgive ourselves, we are setting ourselves up to forgive others. I think we cannot really forgive others until we have first forgiven ourselves.

12 – God

God does not forgive, we are told in A Course in Miracles, because He has never condemned. If we ourselves never condemn our mistakes, and never condemn the mistakes of others, we will recognize the highest—that there is really nothing to forgive in the misthoughts and misdeeds of others.

13 – Healing

We do want to heal, to heal personally and to reach out to others to heal them as well. Ask today what you can do to effect this great miracle. Ask what miracles you are to perform. Jesus will guide us, for the Atonement principle is in his power.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please assist me to understand Atonement. May I accept it fully for myself, and then may I reach out to others from a state that approaches error-free circumstances.

I know that Your guidance will help me to reach Your will for me. Atonement for myself is my first directive from You, and I know that You will help me to reach this glorious state.

Amen.

Atonement Is for You. But Learn This Course and It Is Yours.

1 – No Regret

“God’s teachers can have no regret on giving up the pleasures of the world. Is it a sacrifice to give up pain? Does an adult resent the giving up of children’s toys? Does one whose vision has already glimpsed the face of Christ look back with longing on a slaughter house? (M33)”

2 – No Lasting Pleasures

There are no lasting pleasures in this world. The pleasures that are lasting are intangible, and by definition not of this world. That is why using the law of attraction to get physical things will not be satisfying over the long haul. But using the law of attraction to get love, joy, peace, harmony—these will be lasting.

3 – Pain

We all too often do know pain when we are caught in the ego’s throes. We think that we are happy, and we are—for a time. But the ego is constantly being undone, because it is a part of belief about ourselves, a false part. And so God leads us ever so gently to a better way. A Course in Miracles points out that other way.

4 – Seek

“’Seek but do not find’ remains this world’s stern decree, and no one who pursues the world’s goals can do otherwise. (M34)”

5 – Ego

The ego will always seek but not find. Any pleasure will almost immediately be balanced by a sense of pain, however minor it may be.

6 – The Physical Toys

Do you want to seek and find? Then we must turn aside from the physical toys of this world, though in themselves they are not wrong. Just not lasting in pleasure. We will always want something more. Always something more. For the ego is insatiable.

7 – What Do You Want?

“And what, O teacher of God, is it that you want? You have been called by God, and you have answered. Would you now sacrifice that Call? Few have heard it as yet, and they can but turn to you. There is no other hope in all the world that they can trust. (M34)”

8 – Teachers of God

We are talked to here as teachers of God, and only time separates the teacher from the student, and time does not really exist. We need to answer the plaintive call of others who are lost in ignorance, pain, and suffering—but not in an overt way of proselytizing. Some are ready, as the Manual says, only for a smile.

9 – Proselytizing

The quickest way to turn someone off from God and the Holy Spirit is to lean on them, to proselytize. We will know when someone is ready to hear us. We will know. Then we speak. But only then.

10 – Holiness

“It is its [the Word of God] holiness that makes you safe. It is denied if you attack any brother for anything. For it is here the split with God occurs. A split that is impossible. A split that cannot happen. Yet a split in which you surely will believe, because you have set up a situation that is impossible. (M34)”

11 – Attack

We need to give up attack, even attack that occurs only in our minds. Even if we don’t say anything, the attack has hurt us. And there is a Oneness to the Mind so that others will sense what we are thinking (not an ACIM tenet).

12 – Holy Spirit

How do we give up attack? The quickest way is to immediately commune with God when tempted to think less of another. Sometimes we need to distance ourselves from the scene of the “crime.” Sometime we are not strong enough to avoid attack thoughts. And it is then that we need help. We need to ask help of the Holy Spirit, and that help is always forthcoming.

13 – Atonement

“Atonement is for you. Your learning claims it and your learning gives it. The world contains it not. But learn this course and it is yours. (M35)”

14 – At – One – Ment

Atonement is illustrated by some teachers of the Course as “at-one-ment.” This is not the full meaning, but it does lead in the direction that we want to go. Jesus is in charge of the Atonement, and he fulfilled his part in it in his life and resurrection on earth. Now he would help us to fulfill ours. Our way is not the way that he walked, and it can be decidedly pain-free.

15 – Motivation

This passage gives a strong motivation to learn the Course. Surely we want Atonement, the salvation that we all so desperately need. The Course does not have to be seen as difficult if we keep to the basics that Jesus explains, often repeatedly. Everything is either love or a call for love (or help); anything else if a misrepresentation of what is actually going on. We need not attack or feel anger when we recognize that our brothers and sisters are innocent of wrongdoing. Their real Self has not sinned. Their little self has made mistakes. These concepts embrace the fundamentals that the Course would have us to understand.

16 – For Us?

Do we believe Atonement is for us? If not, then we are acting against Jesus’s word to us. He has promised us that Atonement is for us, and nothing else that we might add to that fundamental is true.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize the truth that Jesus speaks in the Course. May I have the Atonement that is promised in the Course, and may I have it soon.

You know that I long for many things, but Atonement is at the top of the list. Be with me now as I seek for Your blessing and ask for the gift of Atonement.

Amen.

Never Feel Guilty!

“If you allow yourself to become guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you. (T90)”

1 – Reinforcing the Error

This passage emphasizes an important psychological truth, but one that we may never have heard before reading the A Course in Miracles. The passage also contains some ACIM teaching that would preclude full understanding without our reading.

2 – Ego

One of the greatest problems that we face when engulfed by the ego is the problem of guilt. We think that we have done horrendous things, and maybe we have, but only in illusion and only as mistakes–not sins. Mistakes cry out for resolution, for remedying. They do not have the attraction that a deed named a “sin” seems to have for our frail psyches.

3 – Holy Spirit

If we choose to eliminate guilt, we will help the error to be undone as well. But “we” do not undo the error; that is the providence of the Holy Spirit. He works in cooperation with our willingness to leave guilt behind. And, with guilt behind, the error is easily overlooked. We choose not to repeat the error as soon as we label it thusly–an error, or mistake, not a sin.

4 – Be Firm with Yourself

“Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. (T90)”

5 – Forgiveness

We need to forgive ourselves. This way we avoid the guilt that threatens to engulf us, even over minor matters (because we don’t perceive those matters as minor). A Course in Miracles says that guilt has made us mad (insane). And an important point: God does not forgive us, because He has never condemned us. One does not forgive unless he has first condemned. That is why it is so important for us to forgive our brothers and sisters. We have condemned, sometimes even unconsciously, and we need to rectify this mistake.

6 – Would I Fail to Forgive Myself for This?

But the most important aspect is that we have had trouble forgiving ourselves, and if we can’t forgive ourselves, we can’t forgive others. It is just that simple. So our prayer should always be, when faced with an attack from another, “Would I fail to forgive myself for this?” Often the answer will be “no,” and we need to alter that choice to something better—complete absolution through forgiveness.

7 – Atonement

Atonement is mentioned again in this passage. Many of us have a problem with the term Atonement, but it is mainly described in ACIM as an “undoing.” We let our errors be undone by the Holy Spirit, and thus we approach Atonement. We are absolved of error, for we have turned our misthoughts and misdeeds over to the only One who can correct them: the Holy Spirit. And He is always quick to change what has hurt us. He means us well, unlike the ego, which never means us well.

8 – Finding Peace

“Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.

“I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.

“I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.

“I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.

“I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me. (T90)”

The above passage is a good one to read and reread when in the throes of our neurosis. The Holy Spirit will act to relieve us of our neuroses, just as Jesus has promised to so act as well. Jesus will stabilize us, and he will heal us. The Holy Spirit, being a part of the Holy Trinity, but an Idea, will move to do the same. All that is asked of us is that we surrender to His will for us. We will never regret that surrender.

9 – Unequivocal Call

The Holy Spirit does not impose Himself on us, but He acts at our slightest invitation. This is similar to Jesus’s promise to come at a single “unequivocal call.” We need the Holy Spirit at the point in our progress. Later on, approaching Awakening, we will turn to our inner Christ Self to change us for the better.

10 – Peace that Passeth Understanding

We are at peace when we have allowed the Holy Spirit to have His way with us. That peace is akin to the peace that passeth understanding, from the Bible.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

If I make mistakes, I will feel guilty when I come to myself. This feeling of guilt can be undone when we seek to be forgiven, of ourselves and of the other person whom we feel we have wronged. May I find that forgiveness now, and leave guilt behind.

Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit when I am tempted to make mistakes that will induce guilt. Thank you for being there for me.

May this be a good day. I am so thankful for the new turns in my life. Blessings seem to be reigning down upon me, and it behooves me to be grateful for these blessings. You are the Source of blessings. And I can so choose to recognize how to react non-neurotically in my daily life. This much I can do, though I cannot do it all. Be with me as I seek to make the best decisions as I go about my day. May my decisions always be informed by guidance. And may I fail to be resistant to that guidance.

Thank You.

Amen.

Definition of Atonement II

“The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. (T74)”

1 – What Does This Mean?

What does it mean to restore the integrity of the mind? How much salvation does it take?

2 – Awakening

I think that full salvation always means an Awakening, but Awakenings can be rare, though many of us experience glimpses of Awakening before it is sustained (satori). The idea that the mind can be restored to its integrity is, essentially, a freeing of the mind from the ego. Once this has been accomplished, once and for all, and once we have relinquished judgment that the ego supports, the way is cleared for God to act in granting us Awakening.

3 – Holy Spirit

This passage sets forth the pivotal role that the Holy Spirit, our guidance, plays in restoring us to our right mind. When we listen to this Voice only, we are well on our way to peace and happiness.

4 – Atonement

Atonement is reached when we have made peace with the world and all who are in it. We have reached a state of oneness with all living beings. This does include our forgiveness of all with whom we come in contact, or even think about. Forgiveness frees us for Atonement.

5 – The Voice

We must listen for the Voice always. This does not mean that we are mentally ill, or that we are choosing a pathway that is detrimental to our mental health. The Voice is usually manifested in varieties of way, but mostly through an inner knowing that defies description. Sometimes the Voice comes through what is obviously our own thinking, but yet paradoxically a bit beyond us. We know that we are reaching wisdom that is not ours alone. We have reached to God, and He will guide us when we are willing to give up self-will.

6 – God’s Will = Our Real Will

God’s will for us and our own real will are actually identical. When we realize this, we have overcome a feeling that we are being pursued as Job was in the Old Testament. The Course says that we need not fear God’s will for us, that the Holy Spirit would wait for our willingness; He will not impose His will on us if we are not ready. Actually we will not need for Him to step aside unless we feel threatened. And this false sense drops away when we listen more carefully to His dictates. They are always for our good.

7 – Perceptions

“He [God] also blessed His children with a way of thinking that could raise their perceptions so high they could reach almost back to Him. The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement. He represents a state of mind close enough to One-mindedness that transfer to it is at last possible. (T74)”

This passage further explains how Atonement comes about. We reach a high realm of thought when the mind has been returned to integrity. This One-mindedness does not have room for conflict, for the ego to rear its ugly head. We are following in the steps revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and this Way always involves a willingness to relinquish judgment of our fellow beings, our brothers and sisters.

8 – Unfairly Treated?

Of course, to relinquish judgment, we must understand that we cannot be unfairly treated (from ACIM Text). Our brothers and sisters are innocent, having done nothing to us in this world of illusion. We live in a dream, and it is a dream that we ourselves devised. We are learning, and we have developed the script for our learning. We wrote the dream. Hugh Prather says a good bit about this, and there is a quotation from him in a blog posting that I wrote which may be helpful. See “A Tribute to Hugh Prather,” which can be put in the search box for this blog.

9 – Comforter / Universal Inspiration / Holy Spirit

“I myself said, ‘If I go I will send you another Comforter and He will abide with you.’ His symbolic function makes the Holy Spirit difficult to understand, because symbolism is open to different interpretations. As a man and also one of God’s creations, my right thinking, which came from the Holy Spirit or the Universal Inspiration, taught me first and foremost that this Inspiration is for all. (T74)”

The Holy Spirit is for all. Make no mistake about that. All of us can and do experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit when we have asked for it. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter; he is also the Universal Inspiration. He is the link between God and ourselves when we have fallen out of communication with God. God knows that His channels of communication are closed, and He is lonely. He thinks that we are asleep and need to be awakened. And He will move to our Awakening as soon as we have removed the roadblocks to its realization.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to discern when my inclination is coming from the Holy Spirit. Help me not to let my own thoughts interfere.

May I follow the guidance that I perceive to be true. This will lead me Home to You.

Amen.

The Only Remedy for Lack of Love Is 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 – Poetry

This is another beautiful blank verse poem from the Course. It is also a syllogism, which Jesus seems to appreciate a great deal, for he uses syllogisms from time to time throughout A Course in Miracles.

2 – Fear and Love

It is unlikely that we will understand this poem completely without reading our way through the entire ACIM. Basically, the poem refers to the fact that the only two emotions are fear and love, and that only lack of love makes fear. And even when we have studied diligently, the poem works as a Zen koan, always teasing us out of thought.

3 – Atonement

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. Throughout A Course in Miracles, 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.

4 – Love and a Call for Love

This blank verse poem also calls to mind the admonition in ACIM that only love and a call for love really exist, because fear (being of the ego) is an illusion. We can forgive other people, especially our significant others, by remembering that their anger and attack (never justified, as explained elsewhere in ACIM) are always “distress that rests on error” (from the Text of ACIM). Also, anger and attack are madness, the madness of which we all partake until we see the real world and we experience Awakening. Recognizing insanity is all of us can be a decision that helps us get through the day. We would not blame severely a person acting out of mental illness, even if the deeds were lamentable, and all of us have elements of madness in us. We need therefore to reject fear as unwanted vestiges of the ego in us, and turn to our best expression of love. We need to forgive, even when what has happened does not appear to deserve forgiveness. It does deserve forgiveness, for all actions and thoughts are innocent; we have been guilty of nothing, for we live an illusion, and God’s Sons and Daughters are only sometimes mistaken in their choices. We should not hold an error against anyone. And errors are all that the ego perpetuates, and which of us can say that the ego has really died? Only the Awakened, and this percentage is very tiny in our world.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I find the day hard-going, may I realize that my love is imperfect. Imperfect love makes for a bad day.

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.

I have long sought to see the ego wither away in me, but it is still there, because I do still feel anxiety–a form of fear. Help me to remain calm and at peace today, for I know that the test of perfect peace is evidence that I am listening to You. Thank You for being there in the middle of the night when I am agitated. Things always look better in the daylight. May I take the light of Your day into every 24/7.

Amen.

Understanding the Lesson of the Atonement, the Sons and Daughters of God Are without the Wish to Attack

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“Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the wish to attack, and therefore they see truly. (T39)”

Affirmation: “without the wish to attack”

Reflections:
.

1 – The Innocent

The “they” in this passage are the innocent, the Sons and Daughters of God, those who have experienced the Self as an indwelling spirit. Not all of us are ready for this blessing immediately. It takes great patience, abundant willingness, and study to see the manifold blessings that are held out to us when we experience the truth of Jesus’s words.

2 – Crucifixion

There is a built-in confusion about the word “Atonement,” because traditional Christianity looks to what is viewed as the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross as our way out. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that it is wrong to look to the cross, that the resurrection pointed out his part in our Atonement. And what a more joyous interpretation this is! We do not have to see an angry God who demanded sacrifice because of our many “sins,” but a loving Father who gave proof of our place in eternal life.

3 – Personal Experience

I read many years ago that Jesus, as a boy, in all likelihood saw the sacrifice of animals to God as a way of meriting God’s good graces. He may have interpreted the sacrifice of the best which existed as the sole means of finding a way back to God. And, as time proceeded, and he realized his mission, he realized what his end would be. And that end, that time of seeing the crucifixion as the propitiation of our sins, worked for many generations. But we are no longer as open to this interpretation. And ACIM has come along for our generation. The resurrection points out Jesus’s contribution to our salvation, and, ultimately, our Awakening.

4 – Definition of Atonement

In only one place in A Course in Miracles is there a definite definition of the Atonement. It reads as follows: “the restoration of the integrity of the mind. (T74)” There are also broad explanations that encompass a definition that is at odds with traditional Christianity. Jesus asserts that to cling to the crucifixion is a mistake; the crucifixion points out to us that he did not launch a defense under the extreme situation in which he found himself. Not to be defensive is a major Course tenet.

5 – Resurrection

Instead, we are to look to the resurrection, the overcoming of death–the promise of eternal life. This step will bring us peace. Our binding of ourselves to God is a lesson of the Atonement. To do so constantly is a challenge to the neophyte, but not to the advanced teacher of God. We learn more as we progress through the ACIM.

6 – At – One – Ment

Atonement is sometimes viewed as “at-one-ment,” but this is a bit limited in its interpretation. It is this and more. Atonement is the surrender of the little self to the larger Self that is allied with the Holy Spirit. When we make this surrender, we see the futility of attack, and our perceptions are therefore cleansed. Atonement is the correction, the undoing of error (from ACIM). And when our minds are returned to God, that correction has been made for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I see the futility of attack today, and if and when I am tempted to attack, may I refrain. Often no response is better than a vicious one. But You have taught me that the best response is to run to my brother’s side with love, for he is hurting.

May I look to the resurrection of Jesus as I realize that there is no death. We will all live eternally, because this is Your great promise.

Amen.

When Everything You Retain Is Lovable, There Is No Reason for Fear to Remain with You. This Is Your Part in the Atonement.

“When everything you retain is lovable, there is no reason for fear to remain with you. This is your part in the Atonement. (T35)”

Affirmation: “retain the lovable”

Reflections:

1 – When Love Is Complete

Here is the idea that we keep finding again and again in A Course in Miracles. When love is complete, fear is abandoned. But how do we abandon fear? We listen to what Jesus has told us in ACIM. That is primary for those of us who have chosen ACIM as our lodestone. Prayer helps. Meditation helps (though some do not believe that ACIM teaches meditation, yet the final lessons in the Workbook are meditative in content). Study helps, study of ACIM and A Course of Love. The final way that love is chosen, once and for all, is by what we are heading toward–Awakening. In the meantime, we can relinquish ourselves to the Holy Spirit, whose contribution is great, while we ourselves are actually asked to do very little (from ACIM). We are even told that we don’t understand why the Holy Spirit’s contribution should be so great, when ours is so small. How can this be? We are weak, but He is strong. And His guidance is what leads us home, to Awakening. We cannot do it ourselves.

2 – Abandoning

We ourselves do this abandoning of fear when we realize that the only reality is that of love. Of course, anxiety can still overcome anywhere along the way. That is the way of this world, and we have not abandoned it entirely–just yet. We are still very much a part of the egoic system. But we are destined to leave the ego behind, and when we let all grievances go, according to the Workbook, we will know that we are perfectly safe. This sense of safety will do a very great deal to abandon fear, for which of us is so strong as to be fearless in the face of threatening events. When we give up resentments (grievances), we will know, finally, that we are safe. So there is no need for fear.

3- Love

Love then becomes our way into the Atonement. Atonement is the shifting of our perception to that of a love-centered world. The Awakening then follows.

4 – Help from the Holy Spirit

We must ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to retain only what is lovable in our world. We cannot do this by an ego-centered self, and only the real Self, informed by guidance, can effect this change. The tenets of A Course of Love are particularly appropriate as we seek to discover what this Self, this Christ Self, holds out as promises to us. I counsel guidance as the way home, and this guidance will direct us very specifically (from the Manual of ACIM). We will be told all that we need to do (also from ACIM). Is this not eminently better than trying, in vain, to listen to our own judgment? We can never know all that affects past, present, and future, and so it is foreordained that we would choose awry. But there is One with us who does know. And He is the Holy Spirit. Let us give up judgment today, and walk into the sunlight with Him.

5 – Atonement

Atonement is a concept much misunderstood, with meaning that is much sought. One of the most visited postings for this blog is the one entitled, “The Meaning of Atonement.” We have heard the traditional concepts from traditional Christianity, and we wonder what A Course in Miracles has to say to us. We need simply to rest in Jesus’ promises, for he is not wrong. We are justified when we rest in Atonement. We are headed home. We need only give up fear for what is lovable. But sometimes what a daunting task this seems to us! Turn over any anxiety to the One who knows how to quell our fear. Turn over our fear to the Holy Spirit. And we ourselves need to love only, though this too is not easily understood. How do we love only? We forgive that which has not happened in reality. We forgive illusions, and we forgive our brother/sister of his/her distress based on error (from ACIM). When we understand why our significant others, in error, bait us, we are a long way toward the forgiveness that will take us home.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help me to retain only what is lovable in this world and worlds beyond. When I retain only what is lovable, I leave fear behind. Surely this is motivation.

May we accept the Atonement for ourselves. Jesus has said that this is our only real purpose in this world. So much follows from this acceptance, and we welcome our brothers and sisters with a new, abiding love.

May I have a good day. I pray this prayer so often, but I need to pray it today. Today will be long, with many activities. Keep fear from me as stress undoubtedly will arise. And I am never fearful, angry or attacking, lest stress rears its ugly head. I ask that stress not rear its ugly head today.

Amen.

The Question of Atonement

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“The point of the story [crucifixion and resurrection], however, was not one of sacrifice but one of gift giving. The greatest gift of all was given, the gift of redemption. The gift of redemption was the gift of an end to pain and suffering and a beginning of resurrection and new life. It was a gift meant to empty the world of the ego-self and to allow the personal self to live on as the one true self, the one true son of God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.7)”

Affirmation: “I would focus on Jesus’s gift today.”

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection

We often misunderstand the benign lesson of the Atonement, Jesus’s death on the cross, followed by his resurrection. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love is the resurrection doubted as an historical event. But there are various ways of interpreting, including the possibility that Jesus occupied his ethereal body when he was seen after the resurrection.

2 – The Cross

Jesus said in A Course in Miracles that we miss the point when we look to the cross, that he was showing that love is present when he did not defend himself, but said nothing. He says, also in ACIM, that we are to look to the resurrection for our understanding of the Atonement.

3 – Sacrifice

Certainly sacrifice was embedded into the Jewish world. Sacrifices of animals were routinely required at the temple. And so when Jesus came as the Son of God and made the supreme sacrifice, we saw a punishing God who could only be appeased by the death of his only Son. Traditional religious services today stress this idea. But is there another way to interpret what happened?

4 – Circumstances of Jesus’s Day

Jesus says that there is, for he does not see his Father as punishing in any way. He sees God as wholly benign and loving. The choice to go to the cross is Jesus’s own, in my opinion, born of the circumstances of his day. That it may have been divinely ordained, though, I do not doubt. And the fact that for generations there has been a story in the sacrificial lamb means that Jesus read us well. He knew what we thought that we needed to be reconciled to God.

5 – “I Was Not Punished because You Were Bad”

Now he is giving us a new story, a new Atonement story. We are not to see God as punishing him in any way. “I was not punished because you were bad,” Jesus says in the opening pages of the Text of A Course in Miracles. And so we don’t have to feel guilty, and guilt is what has made us mad.

6 – A New Life

So let us see another way of viewing the Atonement. It was the lesson that we are reconciled to God through the example that Jesus gave of not resisting evil. He rose to a new life, as can we all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for what I read years ago about Jesus’s observation, in all likelihood, of the sacrifices of his day in the temple. All of this shaped his mission. But God did not require his death, of this I am sure. It was a plan that worked, though. And I thank You for that.

Help me to look beyond the crucifixion to the resurrection, and may my intellectual doubts not becloud the issue. May I contemplate the likelihood that it is Jesus’s ethereal body that was seen after his resurrection.

Amen.

We Need to Know What to Do

“As long as you fear your own ability to know what you do, you cannot be fully imagescooperative.  (A Course of Love, 20.32)”

Affirmation:  “cooperation”

Reflections:

1 – Tiny Little Statement

This is a tiny little statement with deep meaning.  If we don’t trust ourselves to do the right thing, we will not be fully cooperative with our brothers and sisters.  We will think, subconsciously, that we may lead them astray.  And well we may.  We need to ask for guidance at every turn, and when that is assured, we can be cooperative without fear of making wrong decisions.

2 – Guidance

We do have the ability to know what we do, and we can do the right thing when we look to God as our guidance.  Many of us have sought over long years to “do the right thing,” but we have remained unsure of ourselves.  Have we really always made the right decisions?

3 – Mistakes

Probably not!  But mistakes do not ultimately matter, for we have received Atonement.  We are one with God, by the time that we have walked the whole pathway.  We are both human and divine, and we know that we are on the right track.

4 – God Will Provide

Nobody needs to be fearful in his/her daily life.  God will provide, and when we make the determination to “do the right thing,” we can rest assured that His guidance will be forthcoming.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As You know, guidance is one of my favorite topics.  I welcome the advice that You give me.  The only problem is when I wonder if the advice is coming from my ego and not from You.  Then I can easily get confused.

Take the confusion from me today.  Help me to discern exactly what Your will really is, and I do know that it is my will as well.

Amen.

Better View of Life

“This is the view of life you cannot imagine bringing about, or bringing joy in its coming.  But this is what you must begin to imagine if you desire to accept love’s coming instead of to reject it once again.  For your refusal to give up specialness is your refusal of the Christ in you and a refusal of love itself.  (A Course of Love, 14.31)”

Affirmation:  “I would give up specialness in love today, replacing it with the holy in love.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM and ACOL

Here A Course of Love echoes much that has been emphasized in A Course in MiraclesACIM postulates that special love turned to holy, in relationships, is our way home.  In the process of turning special to holy, we learn how to forgive.  And in the forgiveness, we recognize that the others in our lives have always been either calling for love or  loving.  Even their anger and attack are reconsidered as calls for help, or love.

2 – Special to Holy

We do not lose anything by turning our special loves into holy ones.  This may be what we fear, for much romantic love is actually specialness, and that is why the romantic love can quickly turn to indifference, or even hate.

3 – Leave Behind

Let us have none of this nonsense.  We are better than this.  We are God’s children, eager to do His will.  And would we turn our back on any of His children, even those who seem to have turned away from us?

4 – Forgiveness

We will never know peace until forgiveness finds a place in our hearts.  We forgive as much for ourselves as for another.  This is the ultimate secret of why forgiveness is so important.  We cannot proceed to Atonement with God until we have gotten our hearts right in love that we actually do feel for others, the love that may be hidden over by hate.

5 – Hate

Give up a refusal to love today.  Nothing anybody has done to you is worth the anguish of hate.  Know that not everyone is able to love as freely as we would desire, and this is not a failing.  All have free will, and are given the means to turn to whomever they choose.  They too may know rejection.  It does not matter.  Our hearts will soften, in forgiveness, and we will have taken giant leaps ahead on our pathway back to God.  Forgive for yourself as well as of the other.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would focus on love today, love undiminished by any negative emotion.  Help me to do this.  I know that this is what You want for me.

I would not ever let hate hold a place in my heart.  Hate normally comes from being hurt badly, and I am fortunate not to have been hurt that badly.  May my brothers and sisters who have known the depths of hurting, be healed.

Amen.

The Meaning of Atonement

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

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Affirmation:  “I choose Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

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

2 – In ACOL, Accept Jesus

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

3 – For All of Us

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

4 – Home in God

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

The Blessing of Healing

“And in it [offer of Atonement] is the power to heal all individuals of all forms of sickness.  Not to believe this is to be unfair to God, and thus unfaithful to Him.  (M-22.6)”

Affirmation:  “Atonement can heal me.”

Reflections:

1 – An Answer to Any Kind of Sickness

Atonement is our answer to sickness of any kind.  Of course, Jesus warns in the Manual that to doubt the granting of a healing because of the continuation of symptoms is not the way to go.  The symptoms might continue, but the healing may be occurring on a level other than the illusory one of the body.

2 – Be Fair to God

We do not want to be unfair to God, and certainly we do not want to be unfaithful to Him.  God takes care of us; He wishes us well.  To doubt this is to doubt all things.  It is a bedrock of our faith and our caring for ourselves and others.

3 – Live in Wellness

Atonement can heal, and often does.  And sometimes the Self has chosen death already, and illness is normally how we exit this world.  So we are not to be insistent about a healing if it is truly our time to go.  But if we have years ahead of ourselves, it would be well to live in wellness.  And Atonement can give us the emotional and physical wherewithal to so live.

4 – Illusory Symptoms

Remember that the emotional and  physical symptoms are illusory.  Never let this knowledge–and it is knowledge, not perception–disappear from the mind.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I accept Atonement, once again.  You know that I have asked to reach an understanding of my place in Your world, and the place of Atonement as preparation, many times.  Be with me as, once again, I ponder questions of the nature of ultimate reality.

When we accept Atonement for ourselves, our only function, we are being prepared to be not only students, but also teachers, of You.  May all of us move to this decision sooner rather than later.  May we forgive ourselves for our unkind thoughts and our unkind deeds, and walk into the sunlight with You.  You do not forgive, for You have never condemned me.  Actually, I am as You created me, as Jesus tells me in ACIM.  Be with all of us as we accept this glorious reassurance.

Amen.

What Can the Teacher of God Not Heal?

“To forgive is to heal.  The teacher of God has taken accepting the Atonement for himself as his only function.  What is there, then, he cannot heal?  What miracles can be withheld from him?  (M-22.1)”

Affirmation:  “May I fully express forgiveness today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ideal

This passage is another example of the “ideal” that is described in many parts of A Course in Miracles.  The words seem to say that there is nothing, once we have accepted the Atonement, that we cannot do, either through a healing or a miracle.  This certainly is a state that most individuals, even long-time students/teachers of ACIM, still aspire to attain.

2 – Miracle-Readiness

Elsewhere we learn that it is the Holy Spirit (and, sometimes, Jesus himself) who are attune to the miracle-readiness of our brothers and sisters, and then encourage us to perform a miracle.  We are not to do this on our own, because consciously-selected miracles can be misguided.  Always we perform what miracles we do perform under guidance higher than our own minds.  To do otherwise would be to invite the ego into our decision-making process about which miracles to perform.

3 – The Formula

Accepting the Atonement is sometimes equated with simple salvation.  Elsewhere salvation is seen as our only function.  And in yet other places, happiness is seen as our function.  So clearly these terms must be linked.  It is likely that from our joy, our happiness, we welcome salvation and we attain Atonement.  Then we are in a good position to perform those miracles that the Holy Spirit prompts us to perform.

4 – No Other Way

No other way will work.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would link in my mind today the fact of Atonement, forgiveness, salvation, and happiness.  Here is a working formula.  And may I accept that Jesus uses so many ways to show us how true reality works.

Be with me today as I seek to have a wonderful day.  I know that it is Your Will that all of us have joyous days, and those joyous days remain so when You are in the midst of them.

Amen.

Every Miracle Accomplished

“Accept Atonement and you are healed.  Atonement is the Word of God.  Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible?  Accept His Word and every miracle has been accomplished.  (M-22.1)”

Affirmation:  “May I accept Atonement today.”

Reflections:

1 – Atonement in ACIM

Atonement is different in A Course in Miracles from traditional Christianity.  In ACIM, we look to the resurrection, not the crucifixion, for Atonement.  And we make a change of mind in the way that we look at the world.  We let our errors be corrected for us.  And, with this, we have accepted the Word of God.

2 – Theology

All of these ideas are part of the theology of ACIM, and theology can delay.  ACIM does not look for controversy, looking only for the practical, for what works in making changes, corrections, in our lives.  And then we are said to be healed.

3 – Trust

Certainly this is not always a physical healing, though we are told by Jesus in the Manual that to doubt a healing because of the continuing presence of symptoms is a lack of trust, and trust is the bedrock on which all of our salvation rests.  Trust is the bedrock for the teacher of God, and therefore for students as well, for only time separates us, and time does not really exist.

4- Hard to Understand?

These are hard words to understand, but we are not asked to accept anything for which we are not ready.  We are told not to appeal to “mysteries,” in our acceptance of ACIM.  We are asked only to walk along the pathway as far as we can, using our minds and hearts to accept Jesus’s word when we are ready.

5 – Healing

I believe that the ethereal body may be healed when this world’s body, the physical, continues to have symptoms (a personal interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  But one thing that we can probably all agree on is that the emotional body can be healed, given time, the right medication, and the right attitudes.  (Jesus says pills are sometimes needed, and so he is not opposed to medical intervention.)

6 – Probable Realities

What does it mean:  “. . .every miracle has been accomplished”?  Perhaps we will not know in our lifetimes.  But perhaps we will.  There are blessings ahead for all of us who are ready to accept God’s Word, and while we can attune to the Unknown, we cannot always predict it.  There are probable realities that make fortune telling unreliable (not an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am very glad that You have promised healing.  Perhaps we will not understand in our lifetimes in this world what it means to doubt a healing when there are continuing symptoms.  This is an Ideal that not all of us are ready to accept.  But we want to walk as far along Your pathway as we can.  And we trust that Jesus knows what he is talking about.

Be with us today.  If we need a healing, may it come today–not tomorrow, nor in some far distant time.  May we accept that healing is a part of Your plan, and may we react accordingly.  May all of our brothers and sisters be healed along with us.

Amen

A Miracle Worker? How Possible?

“Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors.  When this has been accomplished, the teacher of God becomes a miracle worker by definition.  (M-18.4)”

Affirmation:  “Correct me today.”

Reflections:

1 – Atonement

This is what we need, all of us:  Atonement.  We need to have our errors undone, all corrected.  If this seems a long way off, then let us be patient.  Jesus says that for everyone to return to God, to undo the separation (believed in but an illusion), it may take millions of years (from the Text).  But we do not have to be disheartened by this analysis.

2 – Do Not Be Disheartened

Why not disheartened?  We are not alone.  God and His Communicator, the Holy Spirit, are with us constantly.  Indeed, we are a part of God.  We do not normally realize this, because we focus too much on the errors that our own “creation,” the ego, leads us to ake.  And Jesus will be with us when we have made one “unequivocal call” to him (a quotation from ACIM).

3 – Intuition Brings Our Help

Do we believe all this?  Perhaps not yet.  But give yourself time.  The truth will become manifest as we see our help come to us, intuitively, just as we need it.  Don’t second guess this truth.  Don’t be so quick to put up roadblocks.  If the intuition is honed by love, then it is likely to be genuine.

4 – Ego Makes Power Plays

“Intuitions” of the ego are usually power plays, and we do not want or need that.  Is the ego puffed up by this indication of what to do next?  Walk slowly, and think again about the best course of action.

5 – We Will Find Out Way Home

We will all learn eventually.  We will all find our way home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would, in my own small circle of friends and acquaintances, become a miracle worker.  But I would listen for Jesus’s nod of what to do or say.  Only his guidance is necessary or desirable.  Anything else is misguided, because the ego gets involved, very involved.

Be with me today to find the Atonement anew.  Thank You for the times in my life when You have felt especially close to me, giving me Your advice.  Let me reach deep within me today to find You.  And let my manmade ego not intrude with unwelcome advice.

Help us to follow You today.  Help us to know how to help, how to heal.  If we need healing, may we find healing today.  And the same for all of our brothers and sisters.  May we attract that which You desire for us, knowing inwardly that health is Your choice for us.  Let us not intrude with ideas of illness.

Amen

Definition of Atonement

“The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind.  (T74)”

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit. . .the Call to Atonement.”

Reflections:

1 – The Pivotal Voice

This passage sets forth the pivotal role that the Holy Spirit, our guidance, plays in restoring us to our right mind.  When we listen to this Voice only, we are well on our way to peace and happiness.  Atonement is a correction (an ACIM tenet) to our hearts and minds, a change of purpose in the way that we view our life on earth.

2 – Peace with the World

Atonement is reached when we have made peace with the world and all who are in it.  We have reached a state of oneness with all living beings.  This does include our forgiveness of all with whom we come in contact, or even think about.  Forgiveness frees us for Atonement.

3 – Listen to the Holy Spirit Always

We must listen for the Voice always.  This does not mean that we are mentally ill, or that we are choosing a pathway that is detrimental to our mental health.  The Voice is usually manifested in varieties of way, but mostly through an inner knowing that defies description.  Sometimes the Voice comes through what is obviously our own thinking, but yet paradoxically a bit beyond us.  We know that we are reaching wisdom that is not ours alone.  We have reached to God, and He will guide us when we are willing to give up self-will.

4 – God’s Will = Our Real Will

God’s will for us and our own real will are actually identical.  When we realize this, we have overcome a feeling that we are being pursued as Job was in the Old Testament.  The Course says that we need not fear God’s will for us, that the Holy Spirit would wait for our willingness; He will not impose His will on us if we are not ready.   Actually we will not need for Him to step aside unless we feel threatened.  And this false sense drops away when we listen more carefully to His dictates.  They are always for our good.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help me to discern when my inclination is coming from the Holy Spirit.  Help me not to let my own thoughts interfere.

May I follow the guidance that I perceive to be true.  This will lead me Home to You.

Amen.

Rejection

“Only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible.  (T48)”

Affirmation:  “give over all desire to reject”

Reflections:

1 – Give Up the Ego and Rejection – Both!

Rejection is of the ego, and once we relinquish the desire to reject our brother, we too know that our Self cannot be rejected by God.  Knowing this is a great release.  We cannot be rejected by God!  What a glorious incentive to give up the ego.

2 – Personal Experience

We sometimes see rejection when there has been none.  I think back over some of my actions, and I realize that the people involved may have read rejection when I was actually being shy.  Introversion can seem like rejection.  We cannot always see into our own motivations, and certainly others cannot see into our motivations either.  All of us need to realize that personalities differ, and what we thought that we meant may have been totally misunderstood.  We may have been calling for love in the only way that, at the moment, we knew.  And our own diffidence may have masked that call.

3 – All Have Known Rejection

All of us have known rejection.  We may remember these incidents as among the worst of our life.  But we do not have to be wounded irreparably.  There is a way out.  Once we have started to turn away from the ego, our perceptions are cleansed, and we at that time know less rejection from others.  This is a principal motivator of the Course.  And once motivation has been increased, we are well on our way to the Atonement.

4 – Rejection Always Starts with Ourselves

If we want Atonement, we must realize that nobody is actually rejecting us.  It always starts with ourselves.  We are projecting a perception of rejection, and so it becomes true for us.  This is the pain of living in an illusion.  We make what we see outside of ourselves; we are participating in the mass hallucination (an interpretation of ACIM, not stated therein).

5 – We Are Healed

Rejection from others, or our own personal rejection of self or others, can be one of the main disappointments in life.  Once we truly realize that it is ourselves who have initiated any rejection, even when it seems to come from others, we are healed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we realize that in rejection, we are in the driver’s seat.  We have made this situation, however much we may try to blame others.  Help us especially not to blame You.

May we cease to contemplate rejection in any form.  When this is accomplished, we will be well on our way to Atonement, a lasting Atonement.

Amen.

Are We “Chosen”?

“‘Many are called but few are chosen’ should be, ‘All are called but few choose to listen.’  Therefore, they do not choose right.  The ‘chosen ones’ are merely those who choose right sooner.  Right minds can do this now, and they will find rest unto their souls.  (T44)”

Affirmation:  “rest unto their souls”

Reflections:

1 – Differs from the New Testament

In this passage Jesus corrects a statement attributed to him in the New Testament.  We will stress the new version:  “All are called.”  There is nobody outside salvation, ultimately.  It may be millions of years before the Atonement takes place for all, just as the separation occurred over millions of years.  But we are bade to be patient, because once begun, the end of the journey is sure.  We will all come home in God.

2 – The Role of God’s Teachers

Teachers of God are those who lead the way, but only time separates students from teachers, and time does not really exist (a Course concept).  Teachers of God have chosen right sooner, and are thus freed to lead others back to God.

3 – Rest Will Be Ours

Children of God, we will then find the rest that all of us crave.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you that all are chosen, and that we can choose to listen sooner rather than later.  Then we have rest unto our souls.  This is a great blessing.  Thank you.

May we realize that we are called to save our brothers and sisters.  This is the plan of salvation, and when we take our place in it, the time of return is shortened considerably.

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.

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.

Roles in the Atonement

“I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement.  You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you.  Ask me which miracles you should perform.  This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication.  (T9)”

Affirmation:  “Jesus, tell me what miracles I can perform today.”

Reflections:

1 – How Do I Know What Miracles to Perform?

In this passage, we are bidden to ask Jesus what miracles to perform.  Elsewhere he cautions that consciously selected miracles can be misguided, and so to effect miracles in the right way, we must listen to him.  He is still guiding us personally at this early point in the Text; in a bit, we will see, he lets us know that the guidance that we seek is to be found in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

2 – Jesus’s Role in ACIM and ACOL

It is enormously releasing to know that we can call on help, and that our role in the Atonement is a matter to be decided by Jesus.  How can our recipients lose if we listen to him?  How can we lose if we listen to him?  Jesus cares about us, for he is our leader, having walked the whole pathway first, and being in charge of the Atonement for all his brothers and sisters.  A Course in Miracles does not require that we look to Jesus as our leader, but it does indicate that he will have more to share with us if we look upon him personally and not as an abstract, historical figure.  A Course of Love is more decisive; we are told that we must accept Jesus, that this is just the way things are.  Things are no different from having to accept the rules of living that we might at first reject.  We find our way home through Jesus’s example life, according to ACOL.

3 – Centrality of Jesus

This assertion may be difficult for those who did not grow up in Christianity.  And we can learn much if we see Jesus as only one of many teachers.  But he makes the powerful statements in ACIM and ACOL that there is a difference to believing in his power.  I would see these assertions as making it clear that there is something unique about Jesus (an interpretation, not stated precisely in ACIM and ACOL).  Jesus’s unique role in our lives is strongly implied in both ACIM and ACOL.

4 – We Are Spared Needless Effort

Frequently the Course makes references to how little it actually asks of us.  And that its dictates are simple.  Here we here that to ask Jesus what miracles to perform spares us “needless effort.”  Jesus has indeed made our better way in this world a matter of easy accomplishment and the utmost reassurance.

5 – Our Little Willingness Is Required

The way to salvation is seen frequently to be one that asks little of us, that the contribution of the Holy Spirit overshadows our own by a very large degree.  And we are not always happy about this assertion.  We think we need to do more, but we only get in the way.  If we are flexible enough in our daily lives, and follow guidance as consistently as we can allow ourselves to do so, we will find ourselves at home in God effortlessly and much sooner.  Our little willingness is all that is required (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I pray that I will be flexible enough today to follow the guidance that I know inwardly is meant for me.  Do not let me wander down side roads.  I would stay on the pathway to You.  I would follow the way that is shown to me.

Thank You for the guidance that Jesus intiates, and that he then assures us is present in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  I do not understand how this Guide is within me, but I have learned this from my reading, and I will follow this thought unless I am later shown to be interpreting wrongly.  Be with me to keep my interpretations on target.

Thank You for the beauty of this day.  As spring beckons shortly, may our days be balmy as well as inwardly  peaceful.

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:  “I welcome the undoing of fear.”

Reflections:

1 – The ACIM Definition of “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 – The Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Traditional Christianity frequently teaches that the crucifixion is some way “bought” our atonement with God.  A Course in Miracles would have us look to the resurrection, which it never denies actually happened, as the way in which our eyes should travel.  If we find trouble with accepting the resurrection, believing that it disobeys all known physical laws, perhaps we need to realize that science has not yet caught up with many concepts in religion.  But Jesus would not have us to accept concepts for which we are not ready.  In an interpretation (not stated in ACIM), I would say that if we have to see the resurrection as metaphorical, we are not to be find ourselves at fault and chastise ourselves.  Take time, and accept all that does not cause conflict within ourselves.  Jesus always in ACIM counsels against theological concepts that are divisive.  He says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary.

3 – Atonement

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.  Some students/teachers of ACIM says that Atonement does not mean “At – one – ment.”  And there are differences of opinion, but I have personally found this interpretation to be helpful.  But nowhere in ACIM is Atonement spelled out in this way.

4 – Anxiety

“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.  Fear is frequently manifested as anxiety, and most of us cannot turn meaningfully to our brothers and sisters if we are paralyzed by anxiety.  We become very self-absorbed, which any psychologist of today would say is not to be desired.  It is just good psychology to turn outward to others, as much as we turn inward.  And anxiety is a definite hindrance to this healthy living.

5 – Defenses Make What They Would Defend Against

So we would be wise, at this early point in A Course in Miracles, to come to terms with fear.  We do not have to devise defenses against fear, because we are told in ACIM that defenses make what they would define against.  We need only to allow love to touch our hearts, and fear will wither away.  We become not so interested in our physical safety, because we know that the real Self is safe.  Once we have let all our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (a Workbook tenet).  This may mean that the Self is safe, because the little (the personal) self may still know trouble.  We are, after all, living in an illusory world where bad things do happen to good people (a concept from Harold Kushner).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would today make a resolution that I plan to keep.  I would turn aside from fear in all its manifestations, and turn to You when anxious thoughts crowd into my mind.   I certainly know that praying in the middle of an anxious night will soothe me, and allow me to turn the night over to You to handle until the morning.  I pray myself back to sleep, and I don’t think that this is an affront to You.  You would have us enjoy restful restoration through sleep, while You stay awake and handle all the details of my tiny life.

Be with all of us who need You to quell anxiety in our hearts and minds.  We do not wish to be fearful.  We know that this is evidence that this world is too much with us.  Tonight as I write this prayer to You, I would know that it is one of the final deeds of the day.  And I will go to sleep with Your blessing on my life, for I have asked Your blessing upon me.  And You never fail to answer that prayer in the affirmative.

Thank You.

Amen.