Tag Archives: attack

We Are Doing This unto Ourselves

            As Jesus says, unfairness and attack are one mistake (T-26.X.3:1), just two aspects intertwined at every point.  We must beware of the temptation to see ourselves unfairly treated, for the secret is this:  We are doing this unto ourselves.  Nothing happens without our permission being granted at some level of our being.  Always we are trying to effect our salvation.  We may be misguided in the choices that we make, but remember that it is our dream we are dreaming.  When we perceive ourselves to be deprived, we are the culprit.  We need only turn to the Christ within, the presence of God within, to set aright again our little world, to give up our sick little games.  Of course, just to turn to the Christ within is the first step.  We must still retrace all our steps and have the ladder toward egoism withdrawn for us, and this the Holy Spirit does well, being the function for which He was created.

            The world’s purpose is not to play sick little games of blame and victimization.  As the Holy Spirit sees the world, its only purpose is to make known to us the presence of our Guests within–the Christ and God Himself, the Son (or Daughter) and the Father (or Mother).  Playing the “blame game” will obscure their presence, and the sparkle that the world could have will grow dim and even dark.  We must not seek to add our purpose to the world, thereby confusing the issue and taking away from its singleness of purpose as viewed by our Teacher, the Holy Spirit.  Instead, let us let Son and Father be shown to us, and know that in this revealing will the purpose of the world be completely fulfilled.

            We are not “special,” different, or unique in that what we are can in any way be better (or less) than our brother.  We will all walk Home together, or none of us, and Jesus assures that all of us will find our way back to God, though the time will be far distant unless we pull together.  Because each needs his brother, the way will be shorter (the time more compacted) if we hold our brother’s hand as we walk.  If we realize this shared destiny fully, we will never wish to be considered more “special” than another.  We will be friends one to another because we have a shared purpose. (T-24.I.6:4)  We will protect one another along the way, aware that our failure is his, and just as clearly, his failure is ours. 

There is a brighter side because the victories belong to both of us as well.  There can be no solitary purpose when we are all joined as One in the eyes of God. Look closely at whatever divides one from another.  Is it not that each of us harbors a secret belief that we are more special, better than the other to whom we have been in relationship?  This is what causes broken bonds, an egotistical desire to be separate in order to preserve one’s specialness.

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

The Christ in Us Is Wholly Human & Wholly Divine

“The Christ in you is wholly human and wholly divine. . . .It is this joining of the human and divine that ushers in love’s presence, as all that caused you fear and pain falls away and you recognize again what love is.” (ACOL, C:5.1)
We are indeed blessed now! When we recognize the Christ in us, we are recognizing a joining the human and the divine. And in this joining, we are told, love reigns, “joining. . .ushers in love’s presence.” (ACOL, C:5.1)

All that has caused fear and pain drops away, and we finally recognize what love really is. This is the celebration, when we recognize the Self within, the Self no longer a captive of the ego.

The Christ in us is wholly human and wholly divine, not omniscient, of course, because of our humanness. We are ready to experience true reality in the fullness of the Christ-consciousness (Awakening) that now engulfs us. We may as yet have captured only glimpses of this Christ-consciousness. But the purpose of A Course of Love is to lead us to understandings that will cause the impediments in our psyche to drop away. Jesus wants us to reach Christ-consciousness. A consolidation of awakened individuals is the best hope that we have for a world in disarray, lost in pain and suffering, lost in conflict of one brother and sister against another. But God, we might add, is the omniscient Presence that makes the decision of when we are ready. Thus, there is an indecisive quality about Christ-consciousness and its coming that we can’t predict. Only the omniscient God of us all knows when any one of us is truly ready.

There are things that we can do. Things we must do. We must give up judgments, one of the other. We must give up fear (a biggie). We must give up attack and planning that is not the direct result of guidance. A Course of Love highlights the giving up of judgment and fear; A Course in Miracles highlights the giving up of attack, judgment, and unguided planning. These directives are meant to remove impediments to the coming of Christ-consciousness, and we can all recognize how difficult these directives will be if we don’t have divine help.

We do have divine help. We need only ask. The part of ourselves, the inner part, that is God, will respond. Angels will also come to our aid, for we are not all alone in the universe. Those of us who are in close contact with the Other Side will also come to recognize other entities that move to help us, though Jesus does not point this truth out, in so many words. Jesus has said that he is always with us, always guiding us by the hand. He is our rock, our salvation to a higher world in this world.

We do not have to die to enjoy the benefits of a higher presence directing our efforts.

Anger

When we recognize that our minds are one, that the mind that is in one’s brother connects to our own, it is a very short step to eliminate attack, because we recognize that the attack is upon ourselves as well. And eliminating attack will eliminate guilt, the reason that we have been driven mad and into this world of illusion.

This new way of approaching life may not come readily. We first may find our anger rising more easily from the depths because we have been sensitized to the fact that it is there. How can we eliminate it unless we are first made aware of it? As one comes closer to living in the fully spiritual life, the tiny inconveniences of living, the nagging doubts and negative thoughts, the scraps of anger, will seem more burdensome to us than before. That is why saints have historically viewed themselves as the blackest of sinners: They are more conscious of the tiniest of errors. So too will this dynamic occur as we make our way along the spiritual pathway. Do not, therefore, lament the awareness of anger within; open up to feel it and then bid it leave forever. Think you that the Holy Spirit would not grant this request, so in line with God’s will for us?

Dream Better Dreams

The Course states, “The state of sinlessness is merely this: The whole desire to attack is gone, and so there is no reason to perceive the Son of God as other than He is. The need for guilt is gone because it has no purpose, and is meaningless without the goal of sin.” (T-25.V.1:1-2)

What does this mean? When we perceive another as deserving attack, we are making real his errors. We believe that he does not “deserve” forgiveness because of the reprehensible nature of his crimes (against us). But the truth is that we are One with him, and if he does not deserve forgiveness, neither do we. Also: We feel guilty for retaliating, because our real Self knows that we have attacked one who, in reality, is the Son (or Daughter) of God. We therefore feel that we have done him an injustice, and we feel guilty about it. The truth is that we have done our brother an injustice, because in his depths he is pure; it is only in his illusions that he makes mad actions that hurt others, including ourselves. If we can see the truth of our brother’s real Self, we will not attack because we will perceive that he is lost in insanity.

We may feel threatened by the recognized mental illnesses in our midst, and we may get angry at the illness, but we normally do not blame the individual to any great extent, because we recognize that he is not in his real mind. The Course says that we are living a dream—and that the world we see because of our perceived dream is not real. Many of us are living a dream of attack that we do not recognize as unreal because we do not realize how much happier, under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, we could really be.

Trials Are Lessons Presented Once Again

But what if we have expressed the small willingness (T-11.II.4:3) required to go God’s way, and still bad things happen? The Course asserts that trials are lessons presented once again, that where we made a faulty choice before, now we can now make a better one. (T-31.VIII.3:1) In this world, we are retracing our faulty steps one by one, choosing this time the Holy Spirit as our Guide. We know that we have chosen wrongly in the past, and much of this faulty thinking has brought pain to us and others. Rarely (if ever) do people experience a radical about-face that rights all wrongs, allowing us to live wholly in the “real world,” where the dreams we experience are always happy. Until we retrace our steps, bits and pieces of our insanity will still seem to make sense to us, and to the extent that we buy into these old ego patterns, to that extent will we know pain.

So let us abandon an old dream of attack as often and as frequently as our strength will allow. We do not have to do so alone; the Holy Spirit will prompt the right action, if we but remain calm enough to listen to the inner Voice. In times of heated words, we are never listening to the Holy Spirit, and that is why the guilt comes about later on. Then we are bade to try again, and again, and again, and, indeed, in my experience as one forgives not only the other but also one’s self, the pathways gets lighter and happier as one walks along.

At Peace

What keeps us from seeing the face of Christ and feeling the presence of God? It is indeed that word attack, whether “merely” thought, verbalized, or acted out. As mentioned above, many of us, myself included, may have believed that our own attack is justified if we have been treated unfairly by the attacker first. But this is a fallacy. Attack is never justified, because we project the world that we see in a kind of mass hallucination shared with fellow sufferers, those who have not exchanged the everyday world for the real world of forgiveness and peace. Do hallucinations correctly prompt retaliation? No! And that is the crux of the matter.

There is an almost hidden aspect of reasoning that hints that attack is justified under certain conditions. And those conditions are present if one believes that she has been justly attacked for perceived weaknesses or “sins.”

Yet if attack is never justified, we are saved from this dilemma. And what a rescue it is! We are at peace rather than made to feel guilty by our imagined failings. To see this reasoning as justified, though, one must be completely willing to relinquish blame in any form toward one’s self or towards others. And then we will know the blessing of God’s peace as we go about our daily lives.

Attack, Continued

Not until I started writing about the Course did I realize how significant attack has been in my life. I was writing over time, and it was only in retrospect, once I had written a good bit and was reading back over it, that I realized that I commented often on “attack” passages in the Course. I am one of those, prior to the Course, who would feel justified in lashing back if I had been first attacked. Jesus characterized this attitude as a “face of innocence” of the self. (T-31.V.2:6) I had difficulty forgiving because I thought that my attacker didn’t “deserve” it. After all, she had attacked me, and I wasn’t guilty! I didn’t deserve this! The Course says, “. . .every day a hundred little things make small assaults upon its [the concept of the self’s] innocence, provoking it to irritation, and at last to open insult and abuse.” (T-31.V.3:4) The latter was when I lost my temper! Yes, these were words with which I could identify as being part of my past, a big part.

But what an egocentric mess! Highly neurotic, my words (“I didn’t deserve this!) actually said little or nothing about true reality. None of us deserve this! And yet we hear the attacks because we need to hear them in order to progress. What this dynamic was saying was that as surely as I did not forgive another for his attack, just that often was I saying that I too did not deserve forgiveness.

Giving Up Attack Thoughts

For many years, the most important passages for me to read in all of A Course in Miracles have been the ones that discuss attack and the reasons why this choice is never justified. It is a hard lesson for me to learn, as I have been mired deep into egotistical thinking and also have made simultaneously an attempt to be “good.” Ultimately, though, the lessons that Jesus teaches in the Course prick the conscience and allow all of us to realize when we are being too egotistical and perhaps not as spiritual as we might want to consider ourselves. Only within the last half dozen years of my almost 20 years of studying the Course [Note: This reflection was written in 2002] have I found the truth of the words of Jesus self-evident. My perceptions have changed, and my world as I have perceived it has altered to a happier place. How did this miracle happen? Let’s follow the development of the passages that decry attack and false innocence to see what I have been led to find out.

One of the most obvious statements about the dynamic of attack vs. innocence in all of the Course is the reassurance, “Being wholly without attack, it [love] could not be afraid.” (T-19.IV.A.10:7; the antecedent, “love,” is added) I started using this sentence as a refrain when I realized that my anxiety was not necessary and could be erased with the right frame of mind. Indeed, eventually, many of my anxieties smoothed out as increasingly I attempted to put the words of the Course into practice; I stopped attacking in my mind and in my actions. The results have been, to me, is the clearest possible personal evidence that attacking others (or the wish to do so) is the real cause of fear in any form. The Course also states this idea specifically, “When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.” (W-p1.68.6:9)

“Safe” suggests a peaceful sense of well-being, and what are grievances but attack?

Love without Attack

“If you attack another’s error, you will hurt yourself. You do not recognize him when you attack. Attack is always made on a stranger. You are making him a stranger by misperceiving him, so that you cannot know him. It is because you have made him into a stranger that you are afraid of him. What is he to you? He is your brother. What else do you need to know? But do know that. This is not a matter of perception but a fact. Perceive him c
correctly, so that you can know him. The prayer for the miracle is:

“Jesus, help me see my brother [name] as he really is, and thus release both him and me.

“Anytime there is anything unloving that crosses your mind, you should immediately recognize that you do not want to hurt your brother.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.V.10:1-14)

Love our brother. And, of course, this includes our sister as well. If an unloving thought or feeling is in our mind or heart, we need to reconsider and choose again. There is so much that will be solved aright if we keep love in our mind and heart. When we love, we leave fear behind, no longer afraid of what our brother might say or do to us. We know that God Himself is protecting us from harm. And so there is nothing true that our brother can do to harm us. We remain in control always.

The world is harmless. It is our projection only. From our mind outward. And when the mind is healed, the projections will all be good. This is what we need. This is where we are headed.

Let the heart rule the mind, for the heart loves deeply and well. And then all of our thoughts about, and our actions toward, our brother will be true and good.

When the Natural State of Love Is Returned to Us

“As the natural state of love is returned to you, judgment falls away because vision will arise. With the onset of the vision of love, many of you will make one final judgment in which you find everything to be good and full of love. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 3.8)”

1 – Like ACIM

This statement is very much akin to one in A Course in Miracles. We are told that to attack, to judge, and to make plans against contingencies to come will all cause us to lose our way. In this passage from ACOL, the negative factor of judgment is addressed. We are to turn to vision, our real salvation from God

2 – Judgment

Judgment is an aspect of fear, and so long as we judge, we are still caught up in the fears brought on by the ego. ACOL assures us that we are moving beyond the ego, or we would not still be reading these volumes. If we have truly left the ego behind, our fear will not long hinder us. We will live a blessed life, helped through it by the vision that ACOL suggests in this passage.

What is “vision”? It is simply the right way to view the things of this world. We are not often conscious of viewing through our vision. We think that our eyes see, but ACIM says not. Our eyes see illusion. Vision is an internal thing. And it is the way that we will reach higher and higher, or, if you will, deeper and deeper, until Christ-consciousness comes to overshadow us, and we are at Home at last. This does not mean that we will die; it does mean that we will live, as oft repeated, the elevated Self of form (a tenet of ACOL).

3 – Love

“Once all has been judged with the vision of love, judgment is over naturally for it has served its purpose. This is the final judgment. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 3.8)”

4 – Leave Judgment Behind

A Course in Miracles says to leave judgment to the Holy Spirit, and here in A Course of Love we are told to just leave judgment behind entirely. When we see with love, we no longer feel called upon to judge others. And this is said to be the final judgment.

5 – The Final Judgment

Many of us have wondered for a long time what the final judgment would really mean. And here it is given a wholly benign reading. We do not have anything to fear. We need only to love, and all the blessings will accrue to us. But can we believe this?

6 – Understanding

Try love and see if it doesn’t work. That is the basic way that all of us will come to understand. Just give up grievances as a bad way to react. Know that grievances will hide the miracles from us. Know that we want to experience miracles. So there is no other best way to proceed: Choose love and everything else falls into place.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave judgment behind today, knowing that to judge rightly is absolutely impossible for me. I cannot see the whole picture, and therefore I cannot judge rightly.

Thank You for granting me the vision that I ask for. I know that I need only fulfill the conditions that you spell out, and then ask, and then vision is mine.

May I know that the angry and attacking things that others do, things that I notice, are just the result of bad conditioning. May I understand that I need only forgive this illusion, and all will be well with my day. This anger and attack will fade into the sunset when I recognize that I am seeing this because I don’t want to see it. Just illusions. That is all.

Amen.

Accept Your Anger

1 – Day Three

“Accept your anger for it is the next step in the continuum upon which we travel. When a person is dying, just as when a person is undergoing this final surrender, there are stages through which one moves. (Dialogues, Day Three)”

2 – ACIM and Anger and Attack

Jesus chose an especially volatile example of what can be accepted. In A Course in Miracles, there is a very significant passage in which anger is said to have no justification and attack no foundation in fact. This is especially crucial to our holy relationship, which is the way that A Course in Miracles is preparing us for Awakening by God. Here, in this quotation, Jesus says in A Course of Love, that anger can be accepted as part of a continuum. I suspect that Jesus knows how hard some of us have tried to eliminate anger, and our suppression of it has not worked very well.

3 – ACOL and Anger

Here, in A Course of Love, Jesus would have us just turn aside from anger, without giving it any credence, and, I would believe, especially not try to suppress it. The ego has a field day with suppression, for what is resisted only gets stronger and comes out in even worse ways (sometimes). Jesus compares our acceptance of anger, on this continuum, as akin to the stages of grieving only one’s own death. And acceptance is only one stage in that process, but a very important one. Likewise, when we accept the anger, the anger loses its force over us. It becomes meaningless, and we don’t resist any longer. It is not made stronger, as it would be made in resisting the anger actively.

4 – Money / Abundance

“There is one area that is greeted with even more anger and more resistance in regard to learning of all kinds—in other words both old learning as well as new—than love. This is the area that you call money and that I call abundance. (Dialogues, Day Three)”

5 – Jesus

Jesus moves into “abundance” or “money” from the discussion of anger. He spends a great deal of time on this day in discussing money. He knows that it is a hot point for many of us—either the love of money or the regret that we don’t have more of it. Jesus indicates that abundance is not something that is to be regretted, and here he differs from his words as quoted in the New Testament. There he tells his apostles that it is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Many there are who have taken Jesus at face value in this statement. The rich young ruler in the account turns aside sadly, for he had great riches. He is told to sell all, give to the poor, and follow Jesus. The rich young ruler can’t bring himself to do this because money is his god (an interpretation).

6 – Crisis Point

Here, in this quotation, Jesus is said to find money or abundance more of a crisis point than even the concept of love. We can all agree on love. We can’t all agree on money. It is a dividing point for many, the final straw that our dedication to salvation is actually weak.

7 – Fallacy

“This is the basic fallacy that the time of learning supported. The idea of if this, then that. The idea of abundance earned. The idea of nothing being truly free. Not you, and not your gifts. (Dialogues, Day Three)”

8 – Learning

Here Jesus is saying that the past time, the time of learning, supported the idea that everything of value—and this especially includes money—has to be earned, is not truly free. We also think, erroneously, that we have to earn our way into Heaven. This, I think, is the basic concept that Jesus is challenging. We don’t, ever, earn our way into Heaven. The bestowal of Awakening by God, or Christ-consciousness, is a free gift. We can, we are realizing, prepare ourselves for this gift in various important ways, but the final bestowal is God’s choice, His timing and His choice, always. We don’t earn our way into this most coveted of evidences of salvation.

9 – Earned?

But abundance that is truly abundance does not have to be earned in every instance. There are many instances of abundance that don’t cost anything. And the law of attraction often indicates that money itself is subject to our thinking about it, our drawing it to ourselves. Abundance is good, as long as the abundance (or the money) doesn’t become one’s god. When that happens, we have substituted an idol for the richness of Heaven.

10 – Acceptance

“Yet how can you accept yourself when you have feelings such as these? How can you accept the idea of inheritance with ideas such as these? How do you accept me when you see me as symbolizing a life of ‘godly’ poverty, and of calling my followers to abandon their worldly goods? (Dialogues, Day Three)”

11 – Bad?

This gets even closer to understanding that abundance, per se, is not necessarily bad—in fact, that abundance may be very good indeed. But we often get our priorities mixed up when it comes to money, and that is indeed what Jesus was saying in the New Testament story of the rich young ruler (an interpretation). Jesus knows that his readers will not take lightly any admonition to give up worldly goods for another world, although that, in effect, is at issue. We give up the LOVE of money, and then the abundance itself is not a bad thing. And how do we separate the love from the money itself? Ah, that is the rub, and that is why Jesus spends so much time in A Course of Love talking about abundance and money. He knows that the historical Christianity has always denigrated worldly goods as being ungodly, and that people who might otherwise have been Jesus’s followers get stuck on just this point.

12 – Misplaced Priorities
A Course of Love settles the point. Abundance, per se, is not the issue. It is the misplaced priorities, choosing the world over spiritual matters, that keeps us in real poverty of spirit.

13 – Set Your Mind at East

“Let me set your mind at ease, for you are not called to sacrifice, as you have been told time and time again. (Dialogues, Day Three)”

14 – Sacrifice?

We are not called to sacrifice anything at all in A Course of Love, any more than we are called to sacrifice in A Course in Miracles. We are given things, many things, and we are told that our happiness is God’s first priority. That’s right. But how many of us can take this good news and run with it? We get so caught up in believing that we are tainted by material goods, even though we don’t stop ourselves from having such goods. Jesus would eliminate our confusion and our conflict, telling us that we need not sacrifice for him. But we do need to understand that the things of the spirit only give us the happiness that he wishes for us. Any material object is of this world, and our joy in it will subside over time. We are also liable to get caught up in the ego when we wish for material possessions, and the ego is a bad idea from the start. We have indeed sacrificed in this world, but it has usually been for the things that the ego told us would be good for us. And that was a lie. Nothing the ego bade us get has ever turned out well. The elation that we feel always turns to tears of despair.

15 – Unity

“You have accepted now, because of whatever experiences of unity you have had, that the knowing of unity is available to you. You may not have given great consideration to the access through which that availability arose, but since for most of you it has arisen as thoughts you did not think, if you were to make an association in regards to entry, you would likely say the entry point was the mind. This is, in a sense, true, as wholeheartedness is comprised of the mind and heart joined in unity. (A Course in Love: Dialogues, p. 103)”

16 – ACOL

The passage chosen here is tangential to the argument put forth in Day Three. It does, however, say some very important things about the A Course of Love as a whole. In unity is abundance accepted, and this abundance is the very practical matter of money–having enough, feeling secure, knowing that we will be taken care of in the future.

17 – New Understanding
Jesus notes that in coming to a new understanding of abundance we will move through stages of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. Only then we will be ready to accept abundance as our natural inheritance from God. We will be ready to discover, rather than to learn through the mind. This includes the “thoughts that we do not think,” which is the infusion of knowledge into our wholeheartedness rather than the learning through our mind that the ego so enjoyed. We have now moved beyond the ego.
18 – Common Sense
Jesus talks quite a bit about money here, and he is very, very commonsensical. He knows that may of us have issues about money (he calls it “abundance”) that might preclude our acceptance of all that he holds out to us in the new wholeheartedness that he extols. Day Three is among the most practical chapters in the entire three-volume ACOL. Surely we can follow his reasoning, and reach for the unity of all brothers and sisters without reference to relative abundance. He concludes, “The active acceptance of abundance is the way to abundance.”
19 – Natural State
“Abundance is the natural state of unity and thus your natural state, just as certainty rather than uncertainty is your natural state, just as joy rather than sorrow is your natural state. (Dialogues, Day Three)”
20 – Unnatural Lives
We see here that abundance, certainty, joy—all—are natural states of human beings. We have lived such unnatural lives so far. Let’s give up the unnatural in favor of the natural any day. Let’s drop the idea of sacrifice that is so dear to the ego’s persona. We will thrive when our hearts are right with God. He blesses us, as He does everyone, when we ask. There are many things for which we must ask, many blessings, and we hesitate to ask because we think that they are undeserving things, or even that we ourselves are undeserving.
21 – Deserving
We deserve the good things of good. Just know that those good things are mostly intangibles—joy, harmony, peace, no conflict,–and we will have to abundance that we so richly deserve. We will know the function of happiness, which is akin to forgiveness in A Course in Miracles. Our salvation is to know happiness and forgiveness as our function (from A Course in Miracles).
22 – Materiality
Materiality is part of abundance, and it is part of what money can buy. Money is not a dirty word or concept. It is only the overweening love of money that speaks to the ego and gets us into trouble.
23 – Replacement of Learning

“While you think of acceptance as just another word, another concept, another trick of the mind, you will not see it as the replacement of learning, and as such as an active state, a state in which you begin to work with what is beyond learning, a state in which you are in relationship with what is beyond learning. It is in truth a state in which you enter into an alternate reality, the reality of union—because you accepted that reality. (Dialogues, Day Three)”
24 – Union
We are asked to enter union with our fellow beings and with God. Elsewhere, many times, A Course of Love stands up for unity and relationship as twin goals for everyone. But our acceptance of that union is an acceptance that will free us to walk with Jesus on the way home. It will take us to the mountaintop, metaphorically holding his hand. We are not “learning” anymore, we are “accepting.” And we are not straining in our acceptance. We feel no strain in our daily doings. We don’t work in the same way, though work we will, and hard. We will find work to be effortless without the agony of thinking that we are learning through our backbreaking work. We do not have to struggle to learn anymore. What we need to know will be given us.
25 – Alternate Reality
This is our alternate reality—a state of union with All that is (God). And All that is includes our brothers and sisters who are walking together with us. All may not be walking to salvation, but that is partially up to us. We need to share, when sharing is OK to those involved. We do not have to proselytize, which would indeed be counterproductive if one needed only a smile (from A Course in Miracles). So we accept our reality as Sons and Daughters of God. We accept that our personal self (our persona) and our Christ Self are one, and in that understanding do we take our place in a new world.
Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know the security that only resides in You, in the abundance that You promise to me. May I not be tempted to fret about my future needs, or even my present ones. May I do what I can, when I can, and may I rest secure in the knowledge that my real needs are always met.

Abundance is a relative term, but I do not long for the abundance of material goods so much as spiritual. Jesus promises that I can have both, and I rest in peace in that assurance.

Amen.

Wholly Give Up Attack

1 – Teacher = Holy Spirit

“But the Teacher Who knows the truth has not forgotten it. His decisions bring benefit to all, being wholly devoid of attack. And therefore incapable of arousing guilt. (M71)”

2 – Answers

Here is a reason that the Holy Spirit, the “Teacher,” does so well in guiding us. His answers are totally devoid of attack. Our judgments, even when we are at our best, may have an edge of attack, often very subtle. Our judgments can even be passive-aggressive, in which we do not directly confront another, but we attack then subtly by kind words that are not really kind.

3 – Benefit

Note that the Teacher’s truth brings benefit to all. And that includes us as well. So we are not wrong to see a selfish motive to following this guidance. It helps us as well as our brothers and sisters.

4 – Ego

We cannot stress too often the need to give up attack in all its forms. Until we do, we are caught in the ego, for only the ego will attack. May we pray to be free of the machinations of the ego, and to turn to our Teacher in as many times as would be practical. Jesus does say elsewhere that we are not bade to ask the Holy Spirit’s advice constantly, as this is not practical. We are bade to ask for guidance in the mornings and again at night, and to turn to the Holy Spirit at other times that are propitious. Then our thoughts and actions will be well-placed.

5 – Inheritance

“To ask the Holy Spirit to decide for you is simply to accept your true inheritance. Does this mean that you cannot say anything without consulting Him? No, indeed! That would hardly be practical, and it is the practical with which this course is most concerned.”

6 – Be Practical

Here is another entreaty to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Moreover, we are given specific guidelines: Be practical, which means that we do not ask on a continual basis because that is not practical.

7 – Guidance

Our true inheritance is to submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. An inheritance is a gift, a mighty gift. We are encouraged to realize the blessing that God has bestowed on us by giving us such a Helper.

8 – Often Turn

The more often we turn to the Holy Spirit, with a willing mind and heart, the more He can do for us. This does not negate the practical, but turning to Him as a matter of course becomes habitual the farther along the pathway of the Course we go.

9 – Wisdom

“If you have made it a habit to ask for help when and where you can, you can be confident that wisdom will be given you when you need it. Prepare for this each morning, remember God when you can throughout the day, ask the Holy Spirit’s help when it is feasible to do so, and thank Him for His guidance at night. And your confidence will be well founded indeed. (M71)”

10 – Ask

This passage outlines the way in which Jesus would have us respond to the Holy Spirit. Ask in the morning, turn to God during the day, and thank Him at night for His guidance. We will then know the truth of these important words.

11 – More Egotistical

If we become more egotistical, which will happen from time to time, we can gauge our state of mind by how willing we are to be flexible about following the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We will need to be flexible, because sometimes the guidance comes at the immediate point that we have begun to do something different.

12 – Happiness

Following guidance is the way to happiness in this world. And it is also our way Home.

13 – Heart Requests

“Never forget that the Holy Spirit does not depend on your words. He understands the requests of your heart, and answers them. Does this mean that, while attack remains attractive to you, He will respond with evil? Hardly! For God has given Him the power to translate your prayers of the heart into His language. He understands that an attack is a call for help. And He responds with help accordingly. (M71)”

14 – Reassuring

A very reassuring passage (as are so many in the Course), these words assure us that the better “thoughts” of our heart will be what the Holy Spirit listens and responds to. We may ask for what may hurt us, but God will protect us from such false dreams. The Holy Spirit knows what the Self really wants, and this Self is the larger life that we have beyond this world.

15 – Attack = Call for Help

This passage repeats the oft-given truth that an attack is a call for help. This explains what we may already realize from other passages: that our brothers and sisters are only asking for help when they attack. The same holds true for ourselves as well. Attack is never what it seems. Attack asks that we rush to the side of the offending party, and give whatever sort of help seems called for. Once we take this truth to heart, we will never view our brothers and sisters the same. We have no reason to become angry when we are the brunt of an attack. Our brothers and sisters always just want our help, however disguised the request comes to us.

16 – Welcome the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit always helps us. He does not intrude, but once we have made Him welcome, He will be there for us. The most important aspect is our flexibility is following His guidance. He does not frequently give advice unsolicited or even too far in advance; that is why we must be ready and even eager to “turn on a dime.” When we follow guidance consistently, we open the way to a glorious world, the real world, that is far beyond anything that this prosaic world seems to offer us.

17 – Cruel?

“God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own. A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction. He may ask for injury, but his father will protect him still. And how much more than this does your Father love His Son? (M71)”

18 – No Answer?

This passage seems to suggest the real reason that we sometimes think that we do not receive answers to our prayers. The Course makes clear that we are always answered in our best interests, and our prayers may have asked for something that, in the long run, would be to our detriment.

19 – Friend

The Holy Spirit, just like Jesus, is our Friend. He will protect us in this sometimes chaotic world. We have only to offer Him the slightest nod in His direction, and He tells us where to step next.

20 – God

God is our Father/Mother. He, like an earthly father (normally), wants only the best for us, His children. He will protect us by sending the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to help us make our way in this world. Then we will know the blessings that are truly intended for us. We must pray for solutions to our difficulties. We will not be disappointed, though God’s timetable in answering may not be our own.

21 – Immediately

“Ask all things of His Teacher, and all things are given you. Not in the future but immediately; now. (M71)”

22 – Helpful

This passage is incredibly helpful. We receive answers immediately to our questions and to our prayers. “Now” may not be recognized by us, though. We may not hear the Answer that we are expecting, leading us to believe that we are not heard at all. But we are.

23 – Go Within

When answers do not seem to come immediately, go within. Get calm and relaxed, or, as the Course says, “perfectly calm and quiet.” Ask why there seems to be a delay. And you will be told. The answer will present itself. If you are very upset, you may not be able to hear the response immediately. Pray diligently, and then quietly go about your life. When you are quiet within, the Answer will appear. This is an assurance that this passage gives.

24 – Frame of Mind

The fact that the answer is given “now” does not necessarily mean that we are in the frame of mind that can hear that answer. Be patient with yourself. We are not without limitations in this world (a Course concept). Know in your deepest heart that the Answer you are seeking has been given, and in time, usually soon, the Answer will appear spontaneously in your mind and heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to give up attack. If I cannot reach this ultimate good, may I reach for love as long as I possibly can. Only love is the way of the saved.

Be with me throughout the day today. I know that I feel better when I have loved rather than attacked. This is evidence that Your way is right for me.

Amen.

How Is the Peace of God Retained?

1 – Anger

“How is the peace of God retained, once it is found? Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again, and the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return. (M51)”

2 – Expression of Help / Call for Help

The main point that this passage makes is best understood if we realize that elsewhere we learn that all is either help or a call for help. We get angry when we think that we have not been appreciated, or someone has done us wrong, or a million varieties of these two examples. If we reinterpret this attack from another brother or sister as a call for help, then we can see that they are innocent, and we truly have nothing to be angry about.

3 – Returning Anger

It is important to note that this passage says “returning anger, in whatever form”–a pertinent point. We often feel upset without fully realizing that what we are feeling is anger. Suppressing or repressing the anger is not helpful, and this is a mistake that many Course students make. Our right and proper reaction is forgiveness of the attack, because our brothers and sisters are as innocent as are we. We have made mistakes, and they have also, but we are not “sinners.” Calling an attack a “sin” only reinforces it in our minds. We need to overlook the attack, not make it real by dwelling on it (a Course tenet).

4 – Peace

Peace can be with us all the time, but this achievement (and it is an achievement, but not of the ego) may not come to any of us soon. More and more time can be spent in peace, though, if we keep the tenets of the Course in mind. The above paragraph summarizes a good bit of the basic psychology of the Course about attack and anger. For us to be peaceful, we have to have a peaceful psychology, and A Course in Miracles offers this.

5 – The Sword

“Now must you once again lay down your sword, although you do not recognize that you have picked it up again. But you will learn, as you remember even faintly now what happiness was yours without it, that you must have taken it again as your defense. (M51)”

6 – Defenses

We don’t need defenses of any type. God takes care of us without defenses. Elsewhere we are told that defenses make what they try to defend against. And this is true of anger as well. If we take up the sword, metaphorically, we will die by the sword. There is no other outcome.

7 – Relationships

All of us want nourishing relationships. And criticism of our significant others is a way that we show our anger, and it is always barrier-producing. We need to drop the barriers, the defenses, that we have erected to protect ourselves from the harm that we think significant others do to us. They will do nothing that our Self has not allowed. And our Self will show us better times when we are more open and vulnerable.

8 – An Adage

This, obviously, does not mean that we are open to physical violence. But words do not, ultimately, harm us. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” That old adage is good advice in this context.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I retain peace in my life. I know that I cannot retain peace if I allow anger to return to me over and over. I must forgive the mistakes that I make and those that my brothers and sisters make. Then I may retain peace.

Please help me to go about a peaceful day today. I know that Your help is at my right hand always.

Amen.

How Is God’s Peace Recognized?

1 – Everlasting Quiet

“First, how can the peace of God be recognized? God’s peace is recognized at first by just one thing; in every way it is totally unlike all previous experiences. It calls to mind nothing that went before. . .The past just slips away, and in its place is everlasting quiet. Only that. The contrast first perceived has merely gone. Quiet has reached to cover everything. (M51)”

2 – Personal Experience

This morning, a Sunday morning, I am experiencing some of that peace of God told us in this passage. There is no preparation that is for certain; the peace comes out of the blue; prayer doesn’t necessarily precede it.

3 – Personal Experience II

I am sitting on my screen porch while the rain pelts down. The ambiance may have created some of the mood necessary to feel God’s peace.

4 – Surreal Peace

The quiet comes unbidden, but then it stays and stays, if we are lucky. The peace is almost surreal. It truly does feel like nothing experienced before, as the passage says.

5 – Presence of God

I know that this mood of mine, this Presence of God, felt, will not last. But while it is lasting, it is blessing me. And I hope that knowing it comes to anybody else can encourage a hope in you that the peace will descend upon you just as unexpectedly.

6 – Satisfy the Conditions

“How is this quiet found? No one can fail to find it who but seeks out its conditions. God’s peace can never come where anger is, for anger must deny that peace exists. (M51)”

7 – Avoid Anger

I am not angry at all this morning. Perhaps that is one key, as this passage suggests. If we seek out the conditions of this peace, what will we seek? We will strive to stay on an even keel with our moods (though sometimes this may seem impossible). We may pray without ceasing, and this too is calming to the mind and negates the ego’s striving to “get.”

8 – War

“How is the peace of God retained, once it is found? Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again. And the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return. War is again accepted as the one reality. (M51)”

9 – What to Avoid

The stress in these passages is to avoid anger, but I think that this does not mean that we suppress anger. We use our minds to get us out of the anger. We know that whatever we are experiencing is coming about because we don’t recognize another’s attack as the call for love and the call for help that it truly is. When we answer a call, we are no longer bound by the negative feelings that will come up if we don’t answer, if we just try to suppress.

10 – Mindfulness

Our own mindfulness, really noticing each thing that we do, will create conditions welcoming to the relief of anger. Mindful breathing and mindful walking are two techniques recommended by the well-known Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. Perhaps today we all need to take a cue from his teachings.

11 – Justified Anger?

“Who sees anger as justified in any way or any circumstance proclaims that peace is meaningless, and must believe that it cannot exist. (M51)”

12 – Call for Help

Anger, it is said elsewhere in the Course, is actually a call for help. It may also be viewed as a call for love. Our task is to run to our brother or sister’s side, and to offer solace–that help or love that is really wanted. We may not do this overtly if the other person is not receptive. We may only pray for our brother or sister, or smile at them, or even just make small talk. Ask for guidance in the thought or action that is needed. We must be sensitive to the plight of our brother or sister, and overt action may not be desirable.

13 – Take Peace to Heart

So we see that anger is never justified. Peace is not meaningless. God’s way is right, and peace can exist. These are wonderful concepts to take to heart.

14 – Retaliation

As long as the ego is in charge, we will be tempted to return attack for attack, but responding in this way is always wrong. Attacks is what Jesus calls a “magic thought,” and anger is thus not justified. We need to the inner quiet and calm that ensures that we will respond to magic thoughts of others (and ourselves) with compassion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I immediately recognize anger on my own part and that of others to be a call for help, meriting compassion rather than anger. May I offer the help and love that is needed. May I be gentle to myself, and may I be gentle to others.

Peace is what I want above all else. I do not want to do anything that renders peace meaningless. Please help me in this.

Amen.

God’s Teachers’ Major Lesson Is to Learn How to React to Magic Thoughts Wholly without Anger

1 – Witnessing to Reality

“If he [the teacher of God] argues with his pupil about a magic thought, attacks it, tries to establish its error or demonstrate its falsity, he is but witnessing to its reality. Depression is then inevitable, for he has ‘proved,’ both to his pupil and himself, that it is their task to escape from what is real. . . .Magic thoughts are but illusions. (M47)”

Sometimes we think we see that our significant other is just off in left field. Sometimes our significant other is suffering, and as a result is stubborn and angry. The reaction of stubbornness and anger is a reaction borne of magic thoughts, of irrationality. If we truly knew, if our significant other truly knew, how to have a completely loving relationship, then together we would create this lovely thing for each other.

2 – Don’t Give Credence to Magic Thoughts

Our ignorance of how to do that is all that is holding us back. But we ourselves must take care, when faced with stubbornness, anger, and irrationality, not to react in a negative fashion. To do so is to give credence to magic thoughts; it is to make them real in our illusory world. If we focus on these negative traits, they will be harder to overlook (ACIM tenet). May we go gentle into the day, overlooking negativity, seeing only light in this potentially beautiful world of ours.

3 – Irrationality

We must not take a direct assault on a magic thought, a thought expressed of irrationality. If we approach the problem gently, our significant other may soften, for we have not attacked his ego. Attacking his thoughts will always be perceived by his ego as an attack on his/her person. And be met with resistance.

4 – Resistance

We don’t need this resistance. It will never get us what we want, which is a loving relationship. Our significant other, as well, wants a loving relationship—even if he/she is not fully aware of the possibility of curing problems with love.

5 – Wholly without Anger

“God’s teachers’ major lesson is to learn how to react to magic thoughts wholly without anger. Only in this way can they proclaim the truth about themselves. (M47)”

6 – Anger

Our brothers and sisters who are not Course students will have many superstitious ideas (“magic thoughts”) that may arouse anger in us. They may attack us. Unless we are quiet and calm, we will react negatively, thus undoing the good that they might receive from us.

7 – Major Lesson

Note that Jesus says that reacting to magic thoughts wholly without anger is the “major lesson” of God’s teachers. This is a significant statement. He knows that we lose our patience easily, and we must be patient if we are to set a good example, if we are to reach others in the only way that they can accept.

8 – React without Anger

We cannot be identified as God’s teachers until we have mastered this difficult lessons of reacting without anger. This asks a lot of us, because the ego, in most of us, has not yet withered away. The truth about ourselves is that we respond to anger with a desire to help and to express love, not retaliate in kind. When we have mastered this difficult lesson, we will be well on our way to being the teachers of God that Jesus needs.

9 – Correction

“Correction has one answer to all this, and to the world that rests on this:
“You but mistake interpretation for the truth. And you are wrong. But a mistake is not a sin, nor has reality been taken from its throne by your mistakes. God reigns forever, and His laws alone prevail upon you and upon the world. His Love remains the only thing there is. Fear is illusion, for you are like Him. (M47)”

We can never get angry from a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to anger, and we allow anger when we emphasize, in our minds, magic thoughts that we incorrectly perceive as threatening. Magic thoughts are illusion, and so they cannot really threaten, but in our illusion, our dream, they can do so. It is up to us to recognize an illusion when we see it. And overlook it. Overlooking, if we are in danger of any real harm, is crucial.

10 – Don’t Correct “Faults”

If we are confronted with a mistake, let us know that it is not up to us to correct another’s “faults.” The Holy Spirit will do this in His own good time. We are being arrogant, an arrogance of our egos, when we think that it is up to correct the presumed “faults” of another.

11 – Egoic Arrogance

We can recognize a mistake, and we can gently substitute what we see as the truth. If we are rejected in this attempt, perhaps we acted too soon. Perhaps in our egoic arrogance, we thought that we, rather than the Holy Spirit, could effect a change in the relationship that we have with another.

12 – Guidance

We need to take the humbler view. We can sometimes do very little, but that little may be mighty. Don’t stew in wondering what to do or say; just ask of guidance, just ask of the Holy Spirit.

13 – Listen

He will respond immediately, and the more often we listen, the more crystal clear His Answers will be.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to react to my brothers and sisters wholly without anger, especially when they are saying things about which I disagree. Sometimes their thoughts will conflict with the Course, and this will bother me, if I am not careful. Help me not to be bothered, but to react wholly with love.

Help me to stand back if my brothers and sisters are not ready to learn the material of the Course. Help me to give what I can in a good and loving manner, and to know when to stop. Thank you helping me to decide the right time to change my manner of response.

Amen.

If a Magic Thought Arouses Anger in Any Form, God’s Teacher Can Be Sure that He Is Strengthening His Own Belief in Sin and Has Condemned Himself.

1 – Major Lesson

“How to deal with magic thus becomes a major lesson for the teacher of God to master. His first responsibility in this is not to attack it. (M44)”

2 – Jesus’s Definition of “Magic”

As mentioned previously in this blog, Jesus gives the term “magic” a very specific interpretation. It is the form given magic by psychology, which is to equate magical thinking with irrationality. We need to set aside our airy, fairy ideas about “magic” being something good, at least for the moment.

3 – Irrational Thinking

We don’t want to attack irrational thoughts of another, even when this irrationality is an attack on us. If we are doing what is right, we will get quiet within, maybe distance ourselves for the moment from the perpetrator, and talk to God. His Holy Spirit will guide us. And we will feel more compassionate, for our significant other is suffering, even in the attack.

4 – Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh has a wonderful book called simply Anger, in which he describes the best way to be mindful and to respond to attack with compassion. He says that we ought to speak out when we are suffering from attack, but certainly not from an attack of our own. We need to realize that the ego has taken control of us in those moments of confusion and disarray, those moments of anger. If we tell the other that we are suffering, that we are trying to be mindful and to heal, then the way may very well be open to better communication.

5 – Courage

Of course, sometimes to speak out takes great courage, for we don’t want to do anything that will exacerbate the conflict. Soft words do a lot to unhinge anger, though. Slow and quiet words of compassion are healing, and our significant other will recognize this—unless the ego has a very, very strong hold. Sometimes the only thing that we can do if the ego in another is very strong is to pray for a miracle. The miracle will come. Healing will arrive. Only believe this, try to make yourself believe this, and the blessing will arrive right on schedule.

6 – Ego

We ourselves have to have to right attitude, though, and we cannot have the right attitude if we have not mindfully rid ourselves of the ego’s hold on us. If our suffering is overwhelming, we may still blame the other, though this is not the right way to think. In such cases, a little time apart, but in the same house, may be necessary.

There is always a way.

7 – Anger

“If a magic thought arouses anger in any form, God’s teacher can be sure that he is strengthening his own belief in sin and has condemned himself. He can be sure as well that he has asked for depression, pain, fear and disaster to come to him. (M44)”

8 – Heal

This is when the attacks of another really get to us; we fail to regroup and heal, something that God only can do for us. If we get angry, we are not offering compassion. And it is compassion that will eliminate the anger.

9 – God Only?

Is it only God who can do this for ourselves? Are we really that helpless? Perhaps not. Perhaps I overstated. But it is sure that if we don’t go within and heal quietly, we will not heal at all. Venting, as Thich Nhat Hanh makes clear, is not ultimately healing. We are making the seed of the anger grow. We may think that we get rid of our anger, because after beating a pillow we are tired, but when the tiredness has dissipated, and another occasion of anger arises, we will find our anger that much accentuated. Nothing works other than to go within, quietly, where God resides.

10 – Outcome

“Nor should it be forgotten that the outcome that results will always come to teacher and to pupil alike. (M44)”

11 – Rhonda Byrne

Teacher and pupil are equals. So we experience the same. Rhonda Byrne’s books (The Secret; The Magic; The Power) say the same. What we give, we receive, and there are no exceptions to this rule. It is unclear from Rhonda’s writings if she has been influenced by A Course in Miracles.

12 – The Good

If we want something good to come to us, we must give our good things. It is that simple.

13 – Attack

“Attack can enter only if perception of separate goals has entered. And this must indeed have been the case if the result is anything but joy. (M44)”

14 – Anger

This is an important passage because it is about attack, am emphasis in ACIM. Under what conditions do we feel anger rising? Under what conditions do we attack others (and ourselves)? If we perceive that we want something different from the other, then we are prone to attack to preserve what WE want. While this is not self-evident upon first reading, if we reflect on it, we will realize that it is true. We think that we have separate goals from our brother, that we are at odds with him. And if we are not joyous, then we have perceived that he/she and we want different things.

15 – Joy

If joy is our canary in the mine, then we know when we are diving off the deep end. If we know unhappiness, we are diving off the deep end.

16 – God’s Wish

See how often Jesus mentions joy as a harbinger of better times ahead? He says that God wants only happiness for us, that happiness is our function (one of several, including salvation and forgiveness as well). Happiness is not a minor goal. We can do for others much better when we ourselves are happy. We fell like reaching out, something that doesn’t happen when we are in the throes of our neurosis.

17 – Single Aim

“The single aim of the teacher turns the divided goal of the pupil into one direction, with the call for help becoming his one appeal. This then is easily responded to with just one answer, and this answer will enter the teacher’s mind unfailingly. From there it shines into his pupil’s mind, making it one with his. (M44)”

18 – Guidance

This passage echoes the reflections in this blog, so often recurring, of the primacy of following guidance from the Holy Spirit. This passage indicates that the answer will enter the teacher’s mind (that’s our minds) unfailingly. So we do get responses from the Holy Spirit when we engaged in his business, our function of salvation.

19 – Overwrought Emotions

The guidance is never slight. If it seems slight, our emotions may be too overwrought to hear what the Holy Spirit is trying to say to us. Go within, get quiet, and see if with calm emotions you do not get guidance as to what to do.

20 – Calm

Be calm in daily life. Our days flow more smoothly, and we live the word of A Course in Miracles that has come to mean so much to us.

21 – Facts and Interpretations

“Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. (M44 – M45)”

22 – Angry

We will learn, as we study the Course, that wrong interpretations always happen when we are angry. And vice-versus. If we become really, really angry, it is certainly a misrepresentation that we are seeing. We have made an interpretation that is false (a Course concept).

23 – Negative Emotions

When we learn the part that we play in negative emotions, that we have interpreted facts, then we are encouraged to drop this maladaptive behavior. Facts are neutral, and it is only when we judge our brothers and sisters that we become so very angry at their behavior. If we learn that everything is either an expression of love or a call for love (a Course interpretation), then we will be ready to forgive their negative behavior and to run to their side with help. Sometimes we cannot give this help overtly, because our brothers and sisters are angry, too, and would not welcome our intervention. Then we wait for a better time. In the meantime, though, we are at peace. We have forgiven.

24 – Blessings

What a blessing it is to give up negative emotions! This will not happen all at once, at least not usually, but happen it will as we progress in our study of the Course. We are not perfect, but we will become a little more evolved, which will lighten our load and give us the joy and peace and calm that we desire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I reinterpret my anger today, knowing that I have made an interpretation that is false. I know that my brothers and sisters are innocent, that they are only calling for help–and love.

Help me always to control my temper. Help me not to fly off the handle at the slightest sign of anger. Thank you for helping me to stay calm and quiet in all circumstances.

Amen.

The Gentle Have No Pain. Why Would They Not Be Joyous?

1 – Beloved

“The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. (M13)”

Gentleness works. On the days that I am most gentle, I walk a smooth pathway. Nothing fazes me. Life is good. Part of this blessing is that I know that I am safe in this world, regardless of what the world throws at me.

2 – Safety

You are safe also. All of us are equal children of God, receiving equal blessings when we come to ourselves enough to ask for those blessings. But we must ask. The Bible is filled with examples of blessings that can be ours, but for which we must ask (ACIM tenet).

3 – Greedy?

We are not being greedy when we ask for what God wants for us anyway. He wants all good for us. Never is He guilty of bringing to us pain; we do this to ourselves.

4 – Personal Experience

When I was growing up, I did not want to be greedy in any sense at all. My mother told me that she and my father had a hard time knowing what Santa should bring, because I would not name what I wanted.

5 – Personal Experience II

Later on, when I was 25, I saw a vision (hallucination) of my bad karma, and it was the fact that I wanted to “get mine.” This is technically called “rapaciousness,” and William Faulkner, Nobel Prize laureate, has a great deal to say about this character trait. It is wanting for self, a reaching forth in a negative fashion. Loosely understood, it is greed.

6 – Restlessness

But gentleness quells all this restlessness to “have.” It is quite true that God wants us to have everything good, and we will not be satisfied until we do have everything. The ego tells us that sometimes we separate out something very desirable (from the ego’s standpoint) as if to say that having this one thing, we will forego all other (ACIM paraphrase). Yet this fails to satisfy, if we succeed in getting this desired goal. For we want everything, and everything does belong to us in truth.

7 – Joy

“Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. (M13)”

We will be happy if we can remain gentle; this is joy. We will certainly feel remorse, at least later on, if we succumb to attack; this is the tragedy of grief experienced.

8 – Attack

It is true that momentarily after attack, we may feel better, not worse. This is because we think, erroneously, that we have gotten rid of the guilt that has otherwise dogged us on our paths. But we haven’t really gotten rid of the guilt. It has, instead, become enhanced through our giving in to attack. This is the folly that we don’t see when suddenly we “see red.”

9 – Find the Gentleness

To find the joy, we must find the gentleness. To remove the grief, we must disavow attack. This formula works in daily life. Why don’t we all give it a try?

“God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. (M13)”

Yet another passage affirming the validity of guidance by the Holy Spirit, Who is identified here as God’s Voice, we know that this is true—if we have studied A Course in Miracles to any extent at all. The Holy Spirit, to Whom we give up our own puny judgment, gives us our real will. And we are made happy in this exchange.

10 – No Harm!

No harm! Yes! Even bad things lose their sting. We know that our real Self, the Christ within, cannot be harmed in any way. Let the world do what it will, we are safe.

11 – Song of Thanks

“Joy is their song of thanks. . . .How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation! (M13)”

Would it not be a wonderful thing to be joyous all the time! That is indeed the very blessing that is held out to us in Awakening. I have a friend who experienced Awakening some 30 years ago, and she is a prime example of happiness in life. The negative does not hurt her at all. She sees the bigger picture.

12 – Awakening

And so can we all, even before we experience enlightenment. Enlightenment is increasing in numbers, according to Eckhart Tolle, but is still comparatively rare. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (from the Bible), knowing what the glorious end will be.

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack in all my dealings with my brothers and sisters. This one step will give me joy. Gentleness will also accompany this change in me.

Thank you for the courage to give up attack. Help me to realize that it offers nothing that I want, and everything that I do not want. Lead me along Your pathway to joy, led by the gentleness that You will help me to acquire.

Amen.

The Ego Becomes Strong in Strife. If You Believe There Is Strife You Will React Viciously. The Idea of Danger Has Entered Your Mind.

1 – Anger

We know that when we get angry, the ego is responsible. Without the ego, we would remain perfectly calm and quiet all the time (from the ACIM Text). While many of us think that we want to continue to have some drama in our lives, we will not want drama when we have Awakened. We will be glad for the quiet.

2 – Strong in Strife

And so when we are arguing with our significant others, the ego is strong, for this is strife. And we may even react viciously, because we feel threatened; the idea of danger has entered our minds:

“The ego becomes strong in strife. If you believe there is strife you will react viciously, because the idea of danger has entered your mind. (T80)”

3 – Separation

When we separated from God (in illusion, making a world that is illusion), we developed a split mind—one part of God, one part of the false persona, the ego. We can heal this split by choosing God; but we can never heal this split by choosing the ego. God does not give up on us that easily. He is always in our Mind, and so it is impossible to choose the ego be ascendant. There is actually no conflict, no danger that the devil ego can win. This ought to give us comfort as we seek to incorporate the teachings of A Course in Miracles:

“The separation is merely another term for a split mind. (T80)”

4 – Ego

“The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace. What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself. You may let your mind misperceive, but the Holy Spirit lets your mind reinterpret its own misperceptions. (T80)”

This passage is ever more substantiation that the ego and the Holy Spirit, part of the triune God, are at odds. And only one is going to be the victor—always the Holy Spirit. But we do have free will, and our timing for relinquishment of the ego is respected by God. He and His Voice, the Holy Spirit, do not force themselves upon us. We choose. And then God chooses—when He deems that we are ripe for Awakening.

5 – Internally

This passage shows us a way to know what is really going on internally with ourselves. Whatever we perceive in others, we have, usually unconsciously, looked within and found (ACIM concept).

6 – Perception

This truth of perceiving in others what we really hold within is a powerful teacher. The “sins” that we perceive in others are, first of all, within ourselves. Seeing this, we can see what needs to be changed. And it is not our brother. It is something within ourselves.

7 – Loving

Our brother will seem much more loving as our own thoughts become loving. “Projection makes perception” is an ACIM concept. May we learn from our brother, even as we sometimes note lamentable emotions in him or her. These emotions (and often actions) have first been within ourselves.

8 – Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit can deal with a reluctant learner without going counter to his mind, because part of it is still for God. Despite the ego’s attempts to conceal this part, it is still much stronger than the ego. . . .(T80)”

Our Mind always chooses God. We don’t always realize this, but if we consider in contemplation, we will know the truth of this passage.

9 – Peace

“You who are part of God are not at home except in His peace. If peace is eternal, you are at home only in eternity. (T80)”

May we recognize that we want to be at home only in eternity. Time is an illusion, and therefore we only need it for practical purposes. We can ignore time far more often than we do, and then eternity will burst upon our insight.

Affirmation: “perceive in others. . .strengthen in yourself”

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I learn from others: What I see in them is actually something that is within myself. May I use this knowledge to improve my disposition, my mind and spirit, and my behavior.

As my thoughts become more loving, my brothers and sisters will be perceived as more loving. This is a great boon for us. May we realize the truth that projection makes perception, as we learned in the Course.

Amen.

Salvation Does Not Lie in Being Asked to Make Unnatural Responses which Are Inappropriate to What Is Real

1 – Forgiveness

Many of us who are long-time students of A Course in Miracles carry around a very earthbound idea about forgiveness. We forgive, maybe for years, our significant others, and then we think that they are not changing enough to suit us. We think that we have been setting a good example, and still they show anger and attack us verbally when we don’t perceive a good cause. Then we are stuck, because we think that we have forgiven them for anything and everything, but this lack of what is perceived to be little meaningful change for the better draws us up, and we begin to blame them. This is the “forgiveness to destroy” that the pamphlet on psychotherapy channeled by Helen makes so clear. And all of us have a little of the tendency to “forgive to destroy.”

2 – The Answer

What can we do? How can we see differently? Note the following:

“Salvation does not lie in being asked to make unnatural responses which are inappropriate to what is real. . .[Y]ou are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. (T-30.VI.2)”

If we can see that someone else’s progress or lack of it is not our concern, that it is only up to us to live with them peaceably, then we can say, over and over if need be, “distress that rests on error.” Most of us live with individuals who are not ACIM students. Very few of our significant others are. And we get weary of forgiving, don’t we? We think that others ought to think as we do.

3 – Anger and Attack

But have we actually made as much progress as we think? How many times do we “lose it,” falling into attack and anger when things do not go our way? The brother, the significant other, may not have our frame of reference, and yet we see in him or her the tendency to forgive us for these lapses. We see this because we are not where we are in life by accident. We are placed with the ones who can be the best mirrors for ourselves.

4 – Responses

But we do not have to make unnatural responses. We are living an illusion, and as such the anger and attack do not really matter. They are transient. Of course, anger and attack do matter on some level for the one who is so emoting; karma takes its toll (not an ACIM tenet). But we can see that we are living a dream, and that it is our dream; we are not figures in somebody else’s dream (ACIM tenets). So regardless of how hateful or vicious someone might be, we can still realize that there is a reason that we are seeing this. We do not have to remain with this person if the drama is too negative for us. We can ask, “Am I better with or without this person?,” and let our answer dictate what we do. And we can know that regardless of how alone we might feel in this world, we do have guidance about what to say and do.

5 – The World’s Forgiveness

“Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardons ‘sinners’ sometimes, but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives. (T-30.VI.3)”

This four-sentence explanation is “forgiveness to destroy” in a capsule form. We think, in our lowest moments, that others do not deserve the forgiveness that ACIM seems bound to make us offer, if we are to live our salvation.

6 – Healing

“Look on your brother with this hope in you, and you will understand he could not make an error that could change the truth in him. It is not difficult to overlook mistakes that have been given no effects. But what you see as having power to make an idol of the Son of God you will not pardon. For he has become to you a graven image and a sign of death. Is this your savior? Is his Father wrong about His Son? Or have you been deceived in him who has been given you to heal, for your salvation and deliverance? (T-30.VI.10)”

Our brother has been given us to love and to heal. Our most significant other is a gift. While not all of us will live a lifetime with one person, there are many who do. And forgiveness makes that road much easier. He/she is the one who has been given us to heal, and we are well-advised to take this command as a command.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I wish to be very certain today that I don’t “forgive to destroy.” Help me to know in the depth of my being that all is well. That the one given me to love is the one given me to heal. That one also must forgive me, even if lacking the understanding that ACIM gives. I realize that this may make forgiveness harder.

Help me to live a good life, a relaxed life in Your presence. I take life too seriously sometimes, and I would be done with that attitude.

Help me to come to You for rest and renewal, when the burdens of life seem too great. And may I never forget to thank You for my brothers and sisters, who challenge me even as they love me.

Amen.

True Denial. . .You Can and Should Deny Any Belief that Error Can Hurt You

cezanne - bowls of fruit
“True denial is a powerful protective device. You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you. (T199)”

Affirmation: “True denial is protective.”

Reflections:

1 – The Self

True denial refers only to our real self–the Self that cannot be hurt. We aren’t usually very aware of this Self, but this Self influences us constantly. Whether or not we listen is our own decision, but this Self can and does influence what happens to us.

2 – A Course of Love

This Self is the inner Christ that A Course of Love discusses, and some view A Course of Love as a sequel to A Course in Miracles. We become much more aware of this Christ Self, who guides our actions, the farther along on the pathway to Awakening (Christ-consciousness) we have walked.

3 – We Live a Dream

We have been told that we live a dream, our dream. And that as long as we recognize that it is our dream, that dream figures can be as hateful and vicious as they may, but it can have no effect upon us unless we fail to recognize that it is our dream. Can we always do that, can we always recognize the dream and therefore feel no hurt? This way of perceiving is an ideal, and most of us cannot live an ideal all the time. But we can make progress. We can remind ourselves that we live a dream, and that what other dream figures do need have no effect upon us.

4 – Error

Error can actually accomplish nothing that is ultimately hurtful, because the Self is beyond being hurt. The Course does not use the word “soul,” but in common language this is what is meant. (ACIM usually uses the word “spirit.”)

5 – Pain

When we are caught in the midst of suffering, of feeling our pain, in our own lives, or when we see suffering in others (whether our significant others or the world at large), we can affirm that the pain is illusory. Certainly it is felt; this is not what is meant by “illusory.” The pain actually accomplishes nothing permanent except, upon occasion, bringing us closer to God and thus to ultimate release. This understanding will eliminate any tendency to project the blame for our pain onto God, thus removing one of the main reasons that we reject faith as being beyond our comprehension.

6 – Unhurt

We aren’t hurt in our essence. But pain can soften our hearts and bring us closer to God. It is better, though, to learn through rewards, because the effect of pain is only temporary (ACIM tenets). We do not have to learn through pain! (ACIM tenet.)

7 – Hearts Full and Heads High

Let us go forward today with hearts full and heads high. We don’t have to cringe when another treats us badly. It is their problem. We can pray for them, and send them along to a better attitude. This better attitude will come when we use forbearance not to retaliate with anger or attack.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I learn the power of true denial, and use it only rightly. May I truly know in the depths of my being that error–error in myself or error in others–cannot hurt my real Self.

May I forgive error in myself and in others. May the error that does occur be an occasion to practice forgiveness, and may I turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to forgive.

Amen.

If You Attack Error in Another, You Will Hurt Yourself. You Cannot Know Your Brother when You Attack Him.

“If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself. You cannot know your brother when you attack him. Attack is always made upon a stranger. (T41)”

Affirmation: “Attack is always made upon a stranger.”

Reflections:

1 – Very Little Rightmindedness

It takes very little rightmindedness to see the truth of the quoted passage. How often have we responded in anger to another’s words, felt a surge of self-righteousness, and then sunk into a depressed spirit? Why did you fall into a depressed spirit? Why did the moment of “triumph” not last? We thought that we had gotten the guilt out (an interpretation by Ken Wapnick). But the guilt resurges, because even when in the ego, we are misled, and we know it, somewhere in our minds. The ego, in fact, always oscillates between triumph and depressed spirit, because the ego is constantly being undone. That is the way of salvation, so that we will eventually see that the boons that the ego holds out to us are mirages.

2 – Seeing the Unholy

When we attack, we are not seeing the holy in our brother. We are not seeing his (or her) innocence. So we are not seeing truly. We have made of him (or her) a stranger. But do we want our nearest and dearest to be a stranger to us? Of course not. So we must reevaluate, and in the reevaluation, we come to see that making a stranger of our brother or sister is not going to lead us to salvation. It is our joining in relationship to our brother or sister that we know God, that we walk the pathway to Awakening–for this is the way of A Course in Miracles. Once one has known even once the joy of a heartfelt kinship, in a holy relationship one to another, we will never be satisfied with less than this best. We are ruined for any other kind of unholy alliance.

3 – Feeling

When we attack, we may feel momentarily better, but then the insanity of guilt will overcome us. We will feel worse than before, and this comes from knowing that we have betrayed both our brother and ourselves. Attack is rarely physical, but often verbal. And it is in response to anger borne of stress. The world we live in is a very stressful place, and so anger and attack dog our steps.

4 – Anger and Attack

Yet would we have it so? Would we have anger and attack as our constant companions? I think not. We recognize, however dimly, the insanity of such a defense against the truth of the holiness of our brothers and sisters. We know that we have done them a disservice when we attack them or respond in anger. Their own anger may have sparked the lamentable exchange, but we need to recognize, then, that the anger was distress based on error (from the Text of ACIM). Many times our significant others will bait us when in a low mood. And always we can respond by remembering the distress that is at the heart of this response. Remembering this will pave the way for our forgiveness, for momentarily the “pain-body” (a concept of Eckhart Tolle) is in ascendancy. Our brother or sister wants to experience pain at such times, but we do not have to oblige. We can fill our bodies with presence, and the pain-body will dissipate, sooner rather than later.

5 – Innocence

Recognizing the innocence in our brother even if he (or she) has attacked us first, is to know the evidence of insanity in our world. A special relationship is usually filled with attack, once the bloom of infatuation is off the relationship. A holy relationship, however, has moved beyond the specialness (which was always a lie), and knows one’s brother as the loving Self that he (or she) truly is.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I make no brother or sister a stranger by attacking that person. May I realize that I have always made him or her a stranger when I have attacked.

May I see the innocence even in attack received from another. Attack is a form of insanity–nothing more. May I forgive and walk into the light.

Amen.

Anger Is Never Justified. Attack Has No Foundation.

cezanne - bowls of fruit“Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation. It is here escape from fear begins, and will be made complete. Here is the real world given in exchange for dreams of terror. For it is on this forgiveness rests, and is but natural. (T-30.VI.1)”

1 – Personally, Single Most Important Point

I have found the title to this post, the quotation that it embodies, the single most important point for me to apply in daily life throughout my more than 30 years of studying A Course in Miracles. The assertion flies in the face of conventional psychology, which fears suppression and even repression of negative feelings, believing that this suppression and repression are but a ticking time bomb if left in the psyche. So we are implored to get out anger out by telling it to our significant others. Explaining where we are coming from. Venting.

2 – Suppression

Do these means of handling anger—expressing, explaining, venting—really speak to the problem? It is probably very true that we risk our own mental health when we force downward, in our interior, the negative feelings that are tempted to bubble out. But ACIM does not ask this. It explains, in other passages, the essential innocence of our brother/sister. And the fact that nothing has actually happened in the illusion in which we live. He/she has not hurt our essence, which is beyond his/her reach. We are safe, once we have given up all grievances (from the Workbook). And we know that we are safe.

3 – Innocence

We are asked to forgive what has not happened, not to pardon real occurrences.

“But first, lift up your eyes and look on your brother in innocence born of complete forgiveness of his illusions, and through the eyes of faith that sees them not. (T-19.IV.D.8)

4 – Concrete Reasons, Not Blind Faith

We are not often asked to see things in the light of faith in ACIM. We are given concrete reasons for our beliefs, rather than to fall back on mysteries of faith, things that we cannot understand. But here we are to appeal to faith in the complete forgiveness of our brother, to see that he has retained his innocence and has merely made mistakes—not committed sins against us.

5 – Forgiveness

Jesus knows that when we look around us and see the consequences of “sin,” we will have a hard time in this matter of forgiveness. Yet we need not have such a hard time. When we realize that our brother’s inner Self is Christ Himself, we will esteem him rather than denounce him (from A Course of Love). And all will be well with us, for we will forgive ourselves as well.

6 – Trapped

We are trapped when we don’t forgive another for the presumed wrongs that he/she has committed against us. For in our essence, the Self within, the Christ we too are innocent, a truth that we cannot believe as long as we are holding something against another. Forgiveness is, after all, a two-way street. And that which we give, we will receive. We will hold our brother’s or sister’s sins against ourselves when we fail to forgive him/her. There can be no other dynamic going on here, for in our depths we know that he/she is innocent.

7 – Anger

We don’t need anger to satisfy the overwrought emotions of our egoic mind. We don’t need attack to keep from burying down negative emotions that will come to haunt us later on. Jesus has shown us the way out: forgiveness. We overlook the error; we simply forgive. We don’t make real the error by dwelling on it, for who can forgive what he has made real in his/her own thinking?

“The ego’s plan is to have you see error clearly first, and then overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly, you have made it real and cannot overlook it. This is where the ego is forced to appeal to ‘mysteries,’ insisting that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. (T-9.IV.4)”

8 – Foolishness

Let us drop this foolishness from now on. We don’t dwell on error and then overlook it. We release on it right away, and then the mistake is not compounded in our own mind. We forgive what has not occurred in reality.

9 – Smooth Walk

And then our walk is made smooth in front of us.

Affirmation: “I will turn aside from anger and attack today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have long known that I never get angry unless I am stressed. But this knowledge has not kept me from getting angry and verbally attacking from time to time. I am shamed by this behavior, and I ask You to change me. I know that You can, and immediately. I ask for that miracle now, right now.

May I do nothing to reflect discredit upon You. And when I get angry, I am witnessing wrongly. May I witness well for You. You deserve this, of course. What more can I say?

Amen.

Temptations of the Human Experience

renoir - boating party“Thus we begin to address the temptations of the human experience. Two are spoken of in tandem here: The temptation to judge and the temptation to accept the existence of a reality other than the truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.12)”

Affirmation: “I will seek the truth today, not judging anything or anybody.”

Reflections:

1 – Judging

This passage for today echoes part of a passage from A Course in Miracles: the prohibition not to judge, lest we lose our salvation, our walk toward Christ-consciousness or Awakening. The indication that we try to walk away from the truth is the fact that we, in bowing to the ego, all too often stay lost in illusions—the opposite of truth. Truth is, however, a slippery concept.

2 – Truth?

I once met a man who was trying to employ people in his political operation, and he put great emphasis on publishing the “truth.” But I realized that his mind was lost in illusions, and I felt that he honestly did not have a handle on a “truth.” Many zealots in our world think that they set forth the truth, but we ourselves may have misgivings about the particular brand of truth to which they ascribe.

3 – How Can We Know?

How can we know? In the bottom line, we cannot be sure, even when we have prayed long and hard. Zealots also pray long and hard, and they are certain that God is on their side. The litmus test is whether or not what we believe will hurt someone else. And if there is any chance that what we do will hurt, we can be sure that this particular pathway is not God’s.

4 – Hurt

Of course, our own proclivities in life may mean that we inadvertently hurt others when we tell our truth. This is particularly prone in romantic relationships, when another loves us (or vice-versus), and the love is not reciprocal. This is not the kind of hurt to which I refer. The kind of hurt to which I refer is the kind fraught with violence. And we all know that our wars and rumors or wars, sometimes fought for the noblest of reasons, are examples of hurting, though sometimes, perhaps, unavoidable.

5 – Attack, Judging, and Planning

And we must not judge. ACIM goes further: We are not to attack, and we are not to make plans against contingencies to come (unless prompted by guidance). Judgments hurt us, for we are not in a forgiving state of mind. And so judgments are examples of temptations best avoided.

6 – Today’s Task

So avoid temptations today: Avoid judgments and avoid trying to evade the truth as we see it. We will all make different decisions, based on our personalities and backgrounds, but the way seems clear when we walk the pathway of love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to realize that my greatest temptation right now is to plan for the future, even if guidance has not led me in that direction. This is a path that I would not take, though my idle mind bends in that direction. I would also avoid attacking others, and I would avoid judging others. Right now those two temptations do not hurt me so much as the planning that I am wont to do. Be with me to put a stop to this planning.

I would follow your pathway. I would live as long as you deem right for me, doing healthy things to keep my physical and emotional body is good shape. I would be there for my brothers and sisters. They have been there for me, just as You always have been. Help me to walk the straight pathway back to you today. And guide me ever-closer to Christ-consciousness at the time that You deem appropriate.

Thank You.

Amen.

This Is What You Are Now Called to Do

“This is what you are now called to do:

“Be aware that the love of God lives within you. Live within the peace of God. Live by the truth.

“This could be restated as you are love, you live in peace, you live by or in accord with truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.7 – 11.9)”

Affirmation: “I will live in love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

The instructions that Jesus gives today, in this passage from A Course of Love, are not new by any means. But he has an authority that defies explanation, except that he is our chosen leader. He speaks with the authority that he did in the New Testament, when he spoke not as the scribes and Pharisees. It does behoove us to listen to what he tells us in this new century, this time of Christ.

2 – God Is Love

We are to live by the truth that God is love, that we are to live within His peace. Such simple words, but so hard to do! We live in such complicated times, and it would be better if we simplified our lives to reject the complexity, the complexity which is often of the ego.

3 – Live in Love

What does it mean to live in love? As A Course in Miracles tells us, we live in love when we overlook anger and attack from ourselves and others, and by the overlooking, we do not make real, and we are led to forgive the errors made by ourselves and others. This also is easy to say but so hard to do. If we can just remember that we are living in illusion, at least until we have reached the real world that Christ-consciousness shows us, we will be well on our way to a better world, a better experience.

4 – Communicate with God

We find such joy in life when we communicate with God. In the early pages of the Text of ACIM, Jesus tells us that God is lonely when He recognizes that His channels to His children are closed, that we sleep, that we do not communicate with Him. We can change this. The handle to the door of our heart is on our side of the door. God is always ready to accept us; it is ourselves that get preoccupied with the things of this world that take us from Him.

5 – Prayer without Ceasing

Let us give up this spurious living. Let us return to frequent prayer, prayer without ceasing. Is this possible? It is possible to take God as a partner in daily life, to turn to Him as we would to any trusted ally, and to ask, internally, questions about our day with its many problems. We will get answers, so much so that we will wonder why we neglected Him for so long. Why did we not learn years ago that Christianity is eminently practical? Maybe we just have not yet recollected what has been within all along. We do know, and now is the time to bring forth that knowledge again.

6 – Talk to God

So seek to love today. We will fail if we don’t communicate with God throughout the day. Resolve now to talk, internally, to God as we walk through the day. He will be there. And we will know miracles that will warm our heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to remember You today. May I walk through this day in close consultation with You. May I do absolutely nothing without knowing, internally, that You are in agreement with what I do. May I reach out to You, metaphorically, though I know that You are really within me. Be with me today.

Amen.

Fill the Emptiness Within

impressionists_03 - pennsylvania“While few of you have ever before reached the emptiness caused by the complete absence of the ego, just as few of you have never felt some sort of absence. All the lessons you have drawn to yourself in your lifetime have worked toward this absence in the hopes of filling the emptiness with the fullness of the truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.1)”

Affirmation: “I would fill my emptiness with truth.”

Reflections:

1 – Truth

Truth is a slippery concept, but when we follow the truth that Jesus sets forth, we are on solid ground. So many of us think that we have the ultimate truth, so many in our world. And others of us think that the truth expounded by others is actually a pack of lies. Let us try to do better today.

2 – Wait to Be Filled

We are not suffering when we are empty. We are simply waiting to be filled, and filled with the truth as we perceive it. This must include doing no harm to others or to our personal self, however much we may think we perceive that we are right in retaliating for wrongs committed against ourselves.

3 – No Retaliation

We are not right in retaliating, in any sense or at any time. This is something that we must incorporate into our very being, for Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that attack and anger are never justified. This assertion has been much misunderstood, for we have often felt that we must repress and suppress to follow this dictate. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We do sublimate, in that we replace the attack and anger with a higher value. And that higher value always partakes of love, a loving attitude.

4 – Anger and Stress

I never get angry unless I am stressed, and that may be the situation for you as well. So the way to return to a stasis is to calm down, and the way to calm down is frequently prayer. We get quiet, and settle down our overwrought emotions, and we walk a green earth again. There is no better way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk calmly today. I am all too prone to get keyed up when doing many things in this busy world. But quietness gives You to me, and I would have You today.

Guide me to help others in any way that would be good today. Let me love with my whole heart. May my mind settle down and my overwrought emotions grow calm. May my heart speak to my mind, and may my Self speak to both.

Thank You for your help as I walk through this day.

Amen.

Struggle Alerts to the Presence of the Ego

rowers
“It will seem all but impossible to live in relationship when those around you are still convinced of their separation and still seeking to glorify it. You will still perceive of the world as operating under the laws of man and as long as you perceive of the world in such a way you will be forced to live by its laws. This will cause struggle and as you now know that struggle of any kind alerts you to the presence of ego, you will continue to do battle with the ego rather than leaving it forever behind. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 11.2)”

Affirmation: “I give up struggle today.”

Reflections:

1 – No More Struggle

Oh, to give up struggle! This would be a blessing that all of us would welcome. And here it is held out to us–when we give up the ego. The way of the ego is hard indeed, though perhaps for a long time we have not realized this. A Course in Miracles says that we pay for our flights of joy by tears of pain, when we are caught in egoic thinking. There is always this oscillation. But there is a way to stop the oscillation.

2 – Anger and Attack

It does seem all but impossible to stay true to our ideals when we are confronted, especially in our significant others, with anger and attack as well as judgment from them about us. But regardless of how long we live, this is the way of the world. And we are often surrounded by such individuals because they have been given to us as students. We are currently their teachers of salvation, though teaching and learning are actually inseparable (an interpretation from ACIM). There is a way to live peacefully amid the strife, because we are no longer so interested in the goals of this world, the goals which are usually egoic in nature

3 – Ego

Decide to battle your own ego no longer. Turn aside from saying and doing egotistical things, and you will come to recognize when the ego has intruded upon your peace. A little lilt in your demeanor will frequently signal the coming of the ego. You look back with pleasure on an occasion from yesterday. But know that when you seek to experience the pleasure, there will be occasions in the future when you rue your behavior. And the occasions will be similar except for your subsequent reaction to them.

4 – Sigh of Relief

So let us give up struggle with a sigh of relief. There is no reason to rue our relationships, either. We are here for a purpose, and while we do not actively proselytize (in line with ACIM and ACOL), we do make ourselves available to share when the people around us are ready to hear. You will know when that time arrives. In the meantime, turn inward for consolation. The Self/Christ is much better suited to giving us solace than anything external to ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would forego struggle henceforth. When I get ahead of myself, help me to pull back. Let me take the relaxed and easy way through this world. Your way is the way of happiness, and happiness does not include struggle. May I remember struggle is not necessary and is actually undesirable.

Be with me as I seek to follow Your path today. Your path is one of joy and tranquility, not pain. I would cease to experience suffering, even when pain does rear its head through my own egoic leanings. Help me to forsake the ego forthwith.

Amen

Slight Twinge of Annoyance / Intense Fury

monet - water and boats“You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury. (W-21)”

Affirmation: “May I be angry with no one today.”

Reflections:

1 – Nighttime Dreams

This assertion, one of the more well-known from A Course in Miracles, does not seem credible on first reading. But actually our egoic minds delude us. We may dream at night far more hostilely than we think in the daytime. And so nighttime dreams of anger can clue us to the fact that we can be intensely furious when we think that we are mildly upset.

2 – No Gradations in Emotions

Why would this passage be true? Jesus does not give credence to gradations in emotions. In some ways, he thinks in black and white. And we may be used to this from his reactions in the New Testament. So what he says here has a certain ring of authenticity.

3 – Why?

Why would we really be furious when we think that we are only mildly annoyed? The ego wants it all for itself. The ego doesn’t really think in gradations, but it knows that we won’t accept extreme anger for ourselves, and so, in its wily way, the ego softens its attitudes. If this makes the ego sound independent, it does indeed function in this way quite often. But it is merely a part of our belief about ourselves, and we can choose to let it wither away. Indeed, we must choose this.

4 – Fury

How do we “lose it”? Do we lose it often? This shows that Jesus’s statement is indeed true. When we are tired, we are likely to express more fury than at any other time. Or if something else has already upset us (something that is never the “real thing” that is upsetting–an ACIM tenet). We can recognize, when we contemplate, that intense fury is actually veiled when we get upset. And we are the worst for it.

5 – Love

May all of us turn to the love within, the love that will eliminate these bouts of fury.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I learned in my maturity that I never get angry unless I am stressed. Many others are surely like this as well. But isn’t stress with me, still? And don’t I try to veil the anger that sometimes visits at inopportune times? I would be finished with this expression of the ego. No more.

May I invite the serenity that displaces the ego and put Your love in the center of my life. Then and only then will I no longer feel or show extravagant displays of negative emotion. Be with me as I seek to leave all this foolishness behind. I would not do this to myself, as I would not do it to my closest companions.

Amen.

Does God See Suffering?

cezanne.compotier-pitcher-fruit_large
“This is what has been meant by the many references that have been made to God not seeing suffering. God exists with you in peace. When you feel peace, you feel the Peace of God. There is no other peace. There is no other God. Whether you believe it now or not, I assure you, within the Peace of God is all the joy of what you have known as the human experience and none of the sorrow. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.8)”

Affirmation: “God is with me in peace.”

Reflections

1 – Personal Interpretation

My interpretation to the assertion that God does not see suffering is that, to Him, what He sees he reinterprets, seeing the pain not as suffering, but as a call for help. I think that he always recognizes a call for help. There is a difference of opinion among students/teachers of A Course in Miracles in whether or not God is outside the illusion in which we are immersed, and thus does not know about us. This idea would say that God has sent us out to play, as children, and He does not care what games we play, because He knows that all our the games that we play are dreams, maya, or illusions.

2 – God

I feel, based on what I have experienced, that God is right here, knowing about every part of our experience. He does not become perturbed (for that is a perception) about our trials; he just acts to give us comfort in the midst of them. I have felt such peace, in my better moments of prayer, that I have no doubt that I have touched the edge of God’s garment (a metaphor). To live without thinking that God counts the very hairs of our head would be a demoralizing way for me, personally, to live. And we are promised in the New Testament that the very hairs of our head are numbered.

3 – Part of God

Of course, A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are non-dualistic systems of thought, and so we are recognized as a part of God. He is within all of creation, but all is One, and so this is not really a pantheistic belief, one in which there are gods in everything. The fact of the One, and the belief that the One is totally in each part, is to my mind best exemplified by a hologram. From within, we project the world without. There is nothing outside of us (from the Text of ACIM).

4 – Theology

These are mostly theological studies, and I hasten to add that Jesus fears that theology will divide us. He says in ACIM that there can never be a universal theology, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. Take nothing unto yourself in these ideas, the ideas not specified in ACIM and ACOL, unless they find a place in your heart.

5 – A Comfort

Let however you view God be a comfort to you.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for Your reassurance to me that You are right here with us. This is my personal belief, and I realize that others may view You differently. But I feel Your presence as an almost constant, and so I do not have, ever, to feel alone.

Be with me for me to turn aside from attack and anger always. I do not need to make my significant others pained by my reactions. May I live the peaceful life that leaves out stress, for I never become angry unless I am stressed.

May I live with You in harmony today. And may I make this resolution for each day in my future.

Amen.

When in Conflict

The-Ballet-Dancer-by-Edgar-Degas-large“To live in relationship is to live in harmony even with conflict.  It is an understanding that if conflict arises in your present there is something to be learned from your relationship with conflict.  (A Course of Love, 27.14)”

Affirmation:  “I would live in harmony today.”

Reflections:

1 – Learn from Conflict

We do learn from conflict, though we might not like to do so.  When we remain in harmony within ourselves, though, extending this outward to displaying no anger nor attack with others, we can view the conflict dispassionately.  We can remain harmonious, even though those around us are not.

2 – Retain Harmony

What are we learning?  We are learning the benefits of retaining harmony in any situation, even though that push our buttons.  We are learning that anger and attack have no foundation in truth (from A Course in Miracles), and that they are not justified in us as children of God (and all of  us are children of God).  We can make the best of a bad situation, though, when others misbehave.  We do not have to assume a “holier than thou” attitude, either (and this attitude would be most inappropriate).

4 – Conflict in This World

Today’s passage indicates that wherever there is conflict in this world (and that place is almost universal), we can stay true to our understandings, gleaned from ACIM and A Course of Love, and yet still learn from the conflict.  We did not create the conflict, but we can learn from it.  And we choose not to exacerbate the conflict.  We remain in harmony with all.

5 = When Baited

Others may try to bait us.  But we do not have to rise to the bait.  This may be easier said than done.  Some ways to react:  Take a timeout.  Simply excuse yourself from the room.  Listen quietly and tolerantly.  Ask internally what to say or do in response.  Remain calm and collected.  Above all, do not become emotionally heated.  Chill out.

6 – Personal Interpretations

None of these suggestions are found in ACIM or ACOL, but are personal interpretations, based on my own living experiences.  You will have other solutions, and, if so, I would welcome your comments to this posting.  Thank you.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I recognize that I am my own worst enemy, making conflict within my own personal self when I would do well to turn to You.  I make the conflict all too often, second guessing myself and doubting the intuitions that rise to the surface.  I would end this reaction today.  I would live in harmony whenever possible.  Whenever it is not possible to live in harmony in my relationships with others, I would learn from the experience.  Then I can leave the conflict behind, knowing that I have gleaned all that can be gleaned from what has happened.

Be with us today.  Thank You for the beginning of a good day.  Whatever happens, may I be prepared, with Your help, to handle it.  Life is not always easy, but it can always be good when I am enfolded by Your love.

Amen.

Believe that You Can, and You Can

“See you now why those who judge cannot enter heaven?  Judgment proceeds from the belief in sin and the irreversibility of all errors.  If you do not believe you can reverse or ‘turn back’ to the state in which you existed before the original error, then you never shall.  (A Course of Love, 17.12)”

Affirmation:  “May my beliefs dovetail with the good.”

Reflections:Landscape with House and Laborer - van gogh

1 – God Protects Us

There is subtle intrusion here, from Jesus, of the importance of belief in living our lives.  If we don’t believe that something is possible, then it will not find a place in our experience.  If we do believe (turning the statement on its head), then we will experience that for which we ask, provided that it is good and right for ourselves.  For God protects us still.

2 – Three Prohibitions

In A Course in Miracles, we are bade to avoid attack, avoid judgment, and avoid making plans against contingencies to come (unless prompted by the Holy Spirit).  To avoid these things is to invite heaven (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Surely to do these things is to fall away from salvation, and our lives, likewise, will start falling apart.

3 – Judgment

In the passage for today, Jesus especially points out the dangers of judgment.  And, in doing so, he echoes the New Testament, as many of us know.

4 – Original Error

The original error was the presumed separation from God, the rise of the ego, and the loss of that sense of joining with God and all others.  This, according to ACIM, was a “tiny, mad idea” at which the children of God forgot to laugh.  And in the forgetting did it become possible for the impossible to seem to happen.

5 – Erase the Evil

We do need to realize that all of this misfortune can be erased.  We do not have to presume a separated state any longer.  When we allow God to speak to us from within (or the Holy Spirit, as described in ACIM), then the Christ/Self can rise to the forefront of our lives.  And our lives will get immeasurably better.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please be with me today as I seek to implement the law of attraction, which is what this passage for today is saying.  I do choose to hope only for those things that You would have for me, because You see the whole picture, and I see in part.  Be with me to implement–not to “effort” to have, for this would be thinking amiss.  If my heart tells me that I am to have something, then I am more likely to be on the right beam.

If I do not feel internally that I can manifest something, then trying to manifest that thing (whatever it might be) is wrong.  I would not go wrong today.  Help me to follow You, as always.  And may my words help others who might chance to read this blog.

Amen.

How to Stop a Bad Day

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

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

2 – Stress

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

3 – Begin the Day Again

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

4 – Guilt

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

5 – Start Over

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

6 – A Good Day without Guilt

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

This World Can Be Heaven

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Violent World Overcome

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

2 – Make a Different World

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

3 – Extend Love

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

The Prayer of the Heart

“He [Holy Spirit] understands the requests of your heart, and answers them.  Does this mean that, while attack remains attractive to you, He will respond with evil?  Hardly!  For God has given Him the power to translate your prayers of the heart into His language.  He understands that an attack is a call for help.  And He responds with help accordingly.  God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own.  A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction.  He may ask for injury, but his father will protect him still.  And how much more than this does your Father love His Son?  (M-29.6)”

Affirmation:  “God will protect me.”

Reflections:

1 – Important Passage

Today’s passage is one of those most important ones, one that says in no uncertain terms that attack is a call for help.  Elsewhere we are given to understand that attack is also a call for love.  But, with the Holy Spirit, giving help and giving love are identical, would it not seem (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM)?

2 – An Impersonal God?

God will not give us bad things.  Not always is this understood, and there are current readings that reject this view–treating God as though He is impersonal and responds to our wishes without any rejection of the things that would hurt us.  I do not believe in an impersonal God, although some teachers/scholars of A Course in Miracles believe that God does not know about us, because we are caught in an illusion, and He does not enter illusion with us.

3 – Practical Help

But let us step aside from controversy, and look to our own experience of spirituality to make up our own minds about these questions.  This is not the time to engage in debate; this is the time to share one’s help and love, in a very practical sense that ACIM endorses, with ourselves and each other.

4 – A Loving Father

Let us take a look at two sentences once again:  “God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own.  A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction.”

5 – God “Let Go”

It is true, nevertheless that we can draw negative things to ourselves by our own thoughts and actions.  We cannot look to God to save us from ourselves.  Sometimes, as Neale Donald Walsch notes in his Conversations with God series, God has to “let go” so that we can experience what we are asking to see.  And the (possibly) ACIM sequel, A Course of Love, says the same thing.  God “let go,” because we were like adolescents who still had free will, and who still could hurt ourselves, but needed to learn that we had need of communication with Him.  As Jesus says, we have taught ourselves the unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator (from ACIM).

6 – A Paradox

So:  The bottom line is that there is a paradox here.  We, beings of free will, do sometimes experience pain.  But Jesus says that learning through pain is temporary, and it is better to learn through rewards (from ACIM).  We do not have to learn through pain (from the Text).  In the ideal, we can live free of pain when we cling to God.  And clinging to God is the very best way to walk His pathway back home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would concentrate today only on what is good and right in Your eyes.  I would not attract those things that You would have to move to protect me.  Your protection is assured, but I ask that You give me the wherewithal to walk in Your footsteps and not to let temptation invite me to reject You and Your blessings.  Pain may come, but I would choose (and I do have the choice) to learn through rewards.  Jesus himself has assured us that learning through rewards is a lasting learning.

Be with me today as I seek to give comfort to those who are hurting and under stress.  We do not walk through this world apart from our brothers and sisters, and pain is present.  Knowing that pain is an illusion sometimes seems theoretical, because we see tears and know that the illusory pain feels very real.  Be with us when life turns hard.  Your Way will see us through even the darkest night of the soul.  I trust in this.

Amen.

React Wholly without Anger

“God’s teachers’ major lesson is to learn how to react to magic thoughts wholly without anger.  Only in this way can they proclaim the truth about themselves.  (M-18.2)”

Affirmation:  “no anger today”

Reflections:

1 – An Interpretation that Is Not True

When one of our significant others says something that angers us, we can be sure that we have made an interpretation that is not true (based on ACIM).  If we feel that the statement is patently false, we may feel anger surging upward.  And we may react badly.  Is this how we would represent God’s Way to the individuals in our lives?

2 – Egoic Tantrums

If the thought stated by another is magical in thinking, then we especially need to be conscious to not responding with anger.  We will make the statement true for both of us.  We will lose ourselves in an egoic tantrum.  And it is not this that we would do.

3 – Major Lesson

The passage for today indicates that we have these ideas as a “major lesson”:  God’s teachers’ major lesson is to learn how to react to magic thoughts wholly without anger.”  This is a strong statement from Jesus.  How much better can we witness for God if we do not fly off the handle so often and so easily?  Yes, there is a major lesson here for us.

4 – How to Handle Anger

I have found that leaving the room, if our significant others react angrily to us, is an effective way not to verbally attack in response.  I have not found that “counting to ten” works very well.  There are always things that are on the tip of the tongue, ready to be said.  But a moment of quiet in another room is effective.  I welcome your comments to this posting, giving your ideas for avoiding verbal (or physical) attack when anger appears in our environment.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose to react in a lovely fashion when something seems to set me off.  You would have it thus.  Of this I am sure.  Help me to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the encouragement not to lose my cool.

We need to think carefully about ways to react when we are struck by anger.  Attacking verbally, and certainly physically, are not good ideas.  We will alienate those closest to us, the ones with whom we have the holiest of relationships.

Be with us today as we walk through the day.  Help me to consider how to respond if I am provoked, and may that response be as gentle as You would wish, and that would be very gentle indeed.

Amen

Anger Recognizes an Illusory Reality

“Can nothing give rise to anger?  Hardly so.  Remember, then, teacher of God, that anger recognizes a reality that is not there; yet is the anger certain witness that you do believe in it as fact.  Now is escape impossible, until you see you have responded to your own interpretation, which you have projected on an outside world.  (M-17.9)”

Affirmation:  “I would not believe in the things that anger shows me.”

Reflections:

1 – “Nothing”

The “nothing” is the illusion.  And this passage for today also indicates that projection leads to perception.  We project outward what we are seeing and feeling internally.  We project an illusion, a dream.

2 – Anger at Interpretations

Remember that nobody can be angry at a fact.  It is always an interpretation that gives rise to anger.  (Paraphrases from ACIM.)  And the interpretation is always false, if it brings forth any emotion akin to anger or any action akin to attack.

3 – Projection Makes Perception

“Projection makes perception” is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles, and Jesus would not have us delayed by theology.  He is concerned with only what everyone can accept.  Theology may only delay us.  And we do so like to engage in debate!  Yet, for those who are ready to accept the theology, it is there for us in ACIM.  There is nothing without (from the Text).  There is nothing outside of ourselves (also from the Text).  When we come to see this, it will be a revelation that has shown the truth of it to us.  And we cannot convey revelation from God to another, because it is intensely personal to ourselves.  God knows how to speak to each of us in a manner that we can understand.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be angry today.  I would not be agitated today, for stress leads, for me, inexorably toward anger.  Anger is not justified, because we are always interpreting, and we are interpreting illusions.  Why would we get mad at an illusion?

Thank You for these statements from Jesus in A Course in Miracles.  I am grateful everyday for the magnificence of ACIM, for what a blessing it is!  Be with me as I seek, everyday, to understand this channeled work of Jesus all the more.

Amen.

Joy = Avoid Attack

“Attack can enter only if perception of separate goals has entered.  And this must indeed have been the case if the result is anything but joy.  (M-17.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would know joy today.”

Reflections:

1 – We All Want Love

Our brothers and sisters, and you and I, truly have no separate goals.  We may want different things, but we really, at the base, want only love in all its manifestations.  If we think that we want something else, we are deluding ourselves.  And this is always a form of insanity.

2 – Insanity in ACIM

A Course in Miracles says that virtually all of us are insane to one degree or another.  Only when we have experienced Awakening can we feel surely that we are at least partially sane.  And the experience of Awakening can come and go, not being sustained because our ego has not yet withered away.  We are very human in this world, and we make many mistakes.  The Holy Spirit can eliminate these repeated mistakes, if we will only give him a “little willingness” (quotations from ACIM).

3 – No Attack / Only Joy

I would not entertain attack in any form today, because I would know joy.  This is ample motivation!  If I am tempted to want to attack, then I will take a timeout, exit the room, and quiet myself down.  Sometimes the only thing that works in anger is a sudden removal from the temptation to attack.  Counting to ten in the same room as the one with whom we are angry will not always work.  Walking to another room, and stilling the emotions, is far more effective.  Many of us only get angry when we are stressed.  We need to get quiet, and the stress will dissipate.  (These ideas are not discussed in ACIM.)

4 – Joy = Our Inheritance

Joy is our inheritance.  We would do well to accommodate ourselves to this lofty blessing, and to do so we must relinquish anger and attack in all its forms.  Anger and attack have no foundation in truth (a paraphrase from the Text).  We are always angry at nothing, at an illusion.  If we recognize that our brother or sister is actually part of our illusion, we will not get angry regardless of what happens in the dream (i.e., the illusion).  We would not get angry at someone who was certifiably insane.  We might regret their behavior, but we would know that these individuals have reduced accountability.  And when they are once again in a sane mind, they will act more responsibly.  It is the same for all of us, because we all have insanity (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May all of us leave insanity behind today.  When our egos are in charge, we insane to one degree or another.  We would not let our egos drive us around today.

May we know the joy of find You in all our dealings.  May we stay calm and serene, at peace with whatever happens.  May we just let the ego disappear, wither away faster rather than slower, embrace the love that is our inheritance.

If we fall on our faces today in any way, may this anger/attack leave us as suddenly as it arrived.  We do want to stay peaceful, in the extreme.  No other way is Your way, and we would follow Your way always.  Help us to stay true to this determination.

Thank You.

Amen.

Illusory Split from God Experienced in Attack

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Sword over our Heads

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

2 – We Are Human

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

3 – Insanity

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

4 – Our World Will Smooth Out

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

5 – Do Not Respond to a Bait

We would respond to no bait today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Only My Own Forgiveness Sets Me Free

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

Affirmation:  “Only my condemnation injures me.”

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Assertion of Great Importance

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

2 – Be Willing to Forgive

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

3 – We Have Chosen

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

4 – Our Will to Forgive

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Thank You.

Amen.

Forsake Attack / Find Gratitude

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

 

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Attack / Forgiveness

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

2 – God Does Not Condemn

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

3 – Very Human Traits

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

4 – Harmony

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

5 – God = Love

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Stab of Anger

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

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

 

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

Reflections:

1 – See the Sword Averted

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

2 – Stress and the “Pain Body”

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

3 – The Ego = Strong in Conflict

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

4 – Temptations to Anger

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

5 – Venting and Our Anger

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

6 – This Lesson for Today

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

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

Thank You.

Amen.

Finding Our Way to Peace

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

Affirmation:  “I choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – A Long Time Ago

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

2 – A Summary

So the passage becomes as follows:

Look on war = peace impossible
Offer peace = peace inevitable

3 – Serene and Untroubled Mind

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Perfectly Calm and Quiet

“Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy because, according to its interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival.  (T79-80)”

Affirmation:  “Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy.”

Reflections:

1 – Attack Strengthens the Ego

When we are tempted to attack our brother, may we realize that it is the ego up to its old tricks.  The more we attack, the stronger the ego in us becomes.  Do we really want this?  I think not.  We can take a timeout, a break of any kind, exiting ourselves from the irritating situation.  We can say a mantra, breathe deeply, especially pray for calm–all of which are personal recommendations not cited in A Course in Miracles.  We are most likely to attack when we are stressed.  We are most likely to get angry when we are stressed.  So, if we reduce the stress, we are well on our way to reducing the ego in ourselves.  And what a joy that is!  We think that egotistical thinking helps to fuel our ambition, to lead us to greater heights of achievement.  But actually we are pulled down by the ego in exact ratio to how much we seem to be on a lofty plane.  The ego is always being undone.  We have set  it up that way (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

2 – Drama Best Avoided

When we are peaceful, we may at first feel that we are not as “alive” as we would like to be.  This is the longing for drama in our relationships, and it is a sick longing.  Peace is actually the best thing that can happen to us.  Elsewhere the Course says that we are meant to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  This may sound extreme, but the things of heaven are obscure to us.  I have a friend who does not think that drama is all bad.  She indicated that she would not want to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  But lately she has been taking a prescribed mild tranquillizer, and she reported to me that she doesn’t go “over the top” anymore.  I plan to ask her eventually if “perfectly calm and quiet” is still not a goal that she would ever seek.  We are not living when we are caught up in adrenaline-producing drama.  We are riding the tide of the ego.

3 – Just Allow Peace to Be

When we allow peace to be, we reduce the size and complexity of the ego.  We reduce its influence on us.  Elsewhere we learn in the Course that the first obstacle that peace must flow across is the desire to get rid of it.  This sounds like a paradox, but if we reflect, we will see that the statement is true.  We too often want drama to make ourselves feel alive.

4 – A Better Way Shown in ACIM

The Course holds out a better way for us.  Invite peace in our daily lives, and we will soon know a joy that is boundless–even if everything is not perfect in this world.  We will know a mellow feeling that is close to the peace that passeth understanding.  And we must not seek to get rid of this mellow feeling, even though, when unused to it, we may rush toward a drama-filled scenario again.  Let’s don’t do that.  It is completely counterproductive to everything that A Course in Miracles says.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I long for peace in my life far more than I long for drama.  May I realize that drama only strengthens the ego, and this I do not want.  

May I have, today, the peace that passeth understanding.  May I not seek to rush back to some drama-filled situation out of boredom.  May I put my quiet times to good use.  And may I be a blessing to my significant others as I walk through my day today.

May I have Your inner calm and quiet.  This is the best way that I can come to know You, and it is this that I want.

Amen.

When Feeling Guilty

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Our True Reality = Innocence

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

2 – Guilt, Anger, and Attack

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

3 – Greatest Regret

My greatest regret is that once I expressed verbal anger at someone whom I cared a great deal about, because that individual did not see life as I did.  But now, through the joy of studying A Course in Miracles, I know that I do not have to feel guilty about this lapse in good judgment.  I can always ask for forgiveness, and it will be granted.  And I can ask not to repeat the mistake (and I have so asked).  Knowing that stress elicits anger in me, I can avoid stressful situations insofar as possible.  A few quiet moments alone are usually enough to get my thinking and emotions straightened out.  Then the ego withdraws its temptation to verbally attack, and my calm attitude returns to me.  What a blessing this scenario then becomes!

4 – We Do Not Have to Feel Guilty

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help me to remember that when I feel guilty, it is only the ego in me that has misbehaved.  The real Self is innocent.

May I seek forgiveness of myself, and may I ask forgiveness of others.  Then may I know that there is truly no reason to feel guilty.

Amen.

Attack Is Always Made upon a Stranger

“If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself.  You cannot know your brother when you attack him.  Attack is always made upon a stranger.  (T41)”

Affirmation:  “Attack is always made upon a stranger.”

Reflections:

1 – We Are Not Seeing the Holy

When we attack, we are not seeing the holy in our brother.  We are not seeing his (or her) innocence.  So we are not seeing truly.  We have made of him (or her) a stranger.  I would see truly today, and that means that I forgive what has never happened in the real world.  I am always lost in illusions when I attack.  This is not the way to live peaceably in our world.

2 – Personal Experience

I once verbally attacked when a brother did not respond as I would have wished, and this is among my greatest regrets in life.  Be careful of how you respond, even if great stress is making for the insanity.  We do not want to look back on our lives with regret of any kind.  We can ask for forgiveness internally, and sometimes externally–to the one affected.  This will give us a measure of peace of mind.

3 – The Insanity of Guilt

When we attack, we may feel momentarily better, but then the insanity of guilt will overcome us.  We will feel worse than before, and this comes from knowing that we have betrayed both our brother and ourselves.

4 – Our Brothers and Sisters Are Innocent

Recognizing the innocence in our brother even if he (or she) has attacked us first, is to know the evidence of insanity in our world.  A special relationship is usually filled with attack, once the bloom of infatuation is off the relationship.  A holy relationship, however, has moved beyond the specialness (which was always a lie), and knows one’s brother as the loving Self that he (or she) truly is.

Prayer:

Dear Farther/Mother,

May I make no brother or sister a stranger by attacking that person.  May I realize that I have always made him or her a stranger when I have attacked.  I would make nobody a stranger unto myself.  Help me to stay true to this resolution.

May I understand that I make a stranger of my brothers and sisters when I attack them.  We also turn inward to attack ourselves at this same time.  We are all One.

May I see the innocence even in attack received from another.  Attack is a form of insanity–nothing more.  May I forgive and walk into the light.

Amen.

Living in Love = No Wish to Attack

“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 –  Definitions of Atonement

In not too many places in A Course in Miracles is there a definite definition of the Atonement.  Sometimes Atonement is simply called “correction.”  My favorite definition 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.

2 – Looking to the 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 Course.

3 – 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.

4 – Personal Experience

Twice for fairly lengthy periods have I experienced the mystic arrival of an unsustained Awakening.  Once, for ten weeks, when I was 23; and then again, for almost six months, when I was 34 to 35.  There is nothing else like it.  I lived without fear for those marvelous months.  And I felt love for all others whom I encountered.

5 – A Course of Love

A Course of Love says that nobody has ever sustained elevation of the Self in form.  This elevation is roughly akin to Awakening, and we remain in the physical body and do not die.  This Awakening is what we are meant to do, akin to the next evolutionary trend.  I think, though, that the idea of elevation of the Self in form, and the idea of Awakening, are somewhat different (an interpretation), because I have read of awakened individuals on this earth.  I do not put much trust in self-reports of Awakening, though, especially when they are said to be sustained.  Most people in this situation are very quiet about what has happened to them.  May we move ever closer to a sustainable elevation.  According to A Course of Love, we find ourselves now in the time of Christ, the time of Christ-consciousness.  We are rapidly moving beyond the time of the Holy Spirit (the time described in A Course in Miracles).

6 – God Acts

May God find us where we are, and then take us a step farther on our pathway.  And may nothing said or done by our withered egos interfere.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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.

Be with me now as I slow down to Your pace.  I feel closer to You when I am living effortlessly, when I am not struggling to get something (anything!) done.  If there are plans to be made, we will intuitively recognize what those plans are.  Help me to remember Your advice to live effortlessly, not to struggle.

Thank You for always being there for me.  I ask for physical and emotional health as I go about Your world today, doing Your bidding.

Amen.

Health = Inner Peace

 

“Illness is some form of external searching.  Health is inner peace.  It enables you to remain unshaken by lack of love from without and capable, through your acceptance of miracles, of correcting the conditions proceeding from lack of love in others.  (T18)”

Affirmation:  “Health is inner peace.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Health Is Peace

Perhaps this passage will remain unclear for some time as we study A Course in Miracles.  We may not fully understand for what we are searching when we become ill.  But surely we have recognized, over our lifetimes, that we are peaceful when we are in good health.  Good health can be either emotional or physical; it makes no difference.

2 – Need a Break from the Daily Routine?

Some writers believe that we become ill when we need a break from our daily responsibilities.  Sometimes, in this work-a-day world, we don’t think we can have a moment, or a day, to ourselves unless we get sick, forcing us to slow down.  It may be helpful to realize that we may need to slow down, overall, if sickness dogs our steps.  We are trying to do too much.

3 – There Is Always Time for What Is Needful

Perhaps, you may say, I have very real responsibilities and obligations that I cannot shirk.  To this I would say that there is always time for what is needful.  This idea came to me just before I started a graduate program, one which promised to be filled with unknowns and, I did not know, perhaps much hard work.  But remember the Sabbath.  The Bible is often very practical in what it recommends, and a day of rest is as practical as the ideas of A Course in Miracles.  We will treat others better if we are not frazzled.   If this seems too much to ask, perhaps we need to take a look at our priorities.  We will be of no use to others if we are not taking care of ourselves.  We will become inwardly focused, in a harmful way, a way in which we do not properly appreciate the significant others in our lives.  And life will go by so fast, with our missing some of the important things.

4 – Refrain from Attack

Our emotional health can be seen in that many of us have no problem with the Course concept of refraining from attack when we are at peace.  When stress happens, though, we may find it all too easy to succumb to attack and also the accompanying anger.  This is not good emotional health.

5 – Physical Illness

Physical health is frequently a challenge that either brings us closer to God or seems to drive Him away.  We can respond either way, but the obviously better way is to seek God in our suffering.  He will be there.  And we will not have to wait long.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Surely you are with us in good health and bad.  When we are in good health, may we experience gratefulness.  When we are ill, may we experience the grace to be accepting of that which we do not understand.

May we move closer to You in health and in illness.  May our emotional and physical condition make no difference in the zeal with which we seek You.

Amen.

Lack of Love

“But remember the first principle in this course; there is no order of difficulty in miracles.  In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love.  These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you.  (T18)”

Affirmation:  “unaffected by lack of love”

 

Reflections:

1 – How Affected Are We by Love?

This passage is most illuminating.  We think that we are affected when others don’t love us as we wish, or when we recognize that we too don’t love as we ought.

2 – Verbal Attack

I think nobody gets through this world without both attacking and being attacked, usually only verbally.  The verbal attack can be ignored when we realize that the individual is caught in madness.  This must be true even if the individual is quite spiritually attuned.  For the moment, he/she is lost in insanity.  When the individual is blessed with sanity, however fleeting, there is a peace about that is unrivaled by any temptation to find fault.

3 – Asking for Forgiveness

So we can ask forgiveness when we have been at fault (if this is still possible, with proximity of the individual affected).  If our asking for forgiveness would make the matter worse, I think that ACIM would counsel waiting.  And, likewise, we can forgive an attack from without.  The individual perpetrating the offense is quite likely out of control, at least for the moment, and in his/her better moments will regret the outburst.

4 – Rid of the Guilt?

Ken Wapnick notes in a lecture from long ago that we sometimes feel very good after an outburst of anger and attack.  We have gotten something off our chests, and, he says, we have momentarily gotten rid of the guilt.  So we feel good.  But the guilt returns, for who can be unkind to another without sensing the sting of rebuke from our better selves?  We calm down, and then we know that we have made a very, very serious error.

5 – The Real World Unaffected by Lack of Love

Jesus admonishes us to recognize that reality is actually unaffected by lacks of love.  Our real selves have never been damaged in any way.  This is reassuring, and this statement can help us to forgive ourselves of our momentary lapse into anger and attack.

6 – No Order of Difficulty in Miracles

The first principle in the Course, no order of difficulty in miracles, is a blessing that we do not understand.  How can this be?  But Jesus asserts that it is true, and we would be wise to take him at his word and ask for his blessing and his miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please forgive me, and help me to forgive myself and others, for the lacks of love that we show.  May we replace lack with the grace to live peacefully in all situations and events.

Jesus tells us that there is no order of difficulty in miracles.  So this need will be answered just as soon as we ask.  Thank You.

Amen.

Salvation = A Decision Made Already

ACIM Workbook Lesson 88 – for Thursday, March 29, 2012

 

Affirmation:  “The light has come.”

Selected Passage:

“Salvation is a decision made already.  Attack and grievances are not there to choose.  That is why I choose between truth and illusion; between what is there and what is not.  (WB153)”

Reflections:

This is the underpinning of ACIM.  We know that we always choose between illusions and the truth.  Not sometimes–but always.  We are living an illusory world, not knowing that salvation is ours already.  When the real world has dawned on our sight, we will not be able to believe how wrong we were for so long, why we chose such insanity.  Let us drop the insanity today.  We can.

Affirmation:  “I am under no laws but God’s.”

Selected Passage:

“Here is the perfect statement of my freedom.  I am under no laws but God’s.  I am constantly tempted to make up other laws and give them power over me.  I suffer only because of my belief in them.  They have no real effect on me at all.  I am perfectly free of the effects of all laws save God’s.  And His are the laws of freedom.  (WB153)”

Reflections:

God’s laws are freedom.  And so often in the past we have not believed this.  We have chosen a way of looking at God that made us think that He would not accept us because of our manifold “sins.”  Now we learn in ACIM that we are innocent in our Self, and that we have only made correctable mistakes.  ACIM says that God does not forgive because He has never condemned.   Now it is up to us to accept this truth,  and to forgive ourselves.  Only then will be ready to reach out to others with pardon.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would leave behind attack and grievances.  I know that in order to do this, I must be at peace in my daily life.  May I be at peace today.

Your salvation for me is all that I really need.  I do know this.  I will listen to my heart today, thank You for my many blessings, and see no more illusions or fantasies.  Your Way is what I choose.

Be with me through the day as I seek not to sabotage myself.  I truly am my own worst enemy.  Help me to do the things that I know will help my brothers and sisters, and myself, and to leave behind the attack and grievances that are so detrimental to everyone.

Thank You for guiding me to feel Your presence.  That is surely my greatest blessing.

Amen.

Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

ACIM Workbook Lesson 87 – for Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Affirmation:  “I will there be light.”

Selected Passage:

“I will use the power of my will today.  It is not my will to grope about in darkness, fearful of shadows and afraid of things unseen and unreal.  Light shall be my guide today.  I will follow it where it leads me, and I will look only on what it shows me.  This day I will experience the peace of true perception.  (WB152)”

Reflections:

True perception is a gift of the Holy Spirit, a gift that gives us happy dreams.  And true perception can and does lead ultimately to knowledge.  We can use the power of our will to will today that we see in light.  This is a metaphorical way of speaking, but its intent is clear to even very early students of A Course in Miracles.  We know when we are groping in darkness, in the negative emotions, and we would change all of that to sometimes much more positive.  ACIM will teach us how to make that change.

Affirmation:  “There is no will but God’s.”

Selected Passage:

“I am safe today because there is no will but God’s.  I can become afraid only when I believe there is another will.  I try to attack only when I am afraid, and only when I try to attack can I believe that my eternal safety is threatened.  Today I will recognize that all this has not occurred.  I am safe because there is no will but God’s.  (WB152)”

Reflections:

One does attack only when one is afraid.  Knowing this, how can we not forgive ourselves and our brothers and sisters?  Attack is the misguided way that we ask for help.  It is the opposite of giving help.  And we must give help, sometimes in very subtle ways, if we would know the best way to live.  If an overt display of help would not be well-received by someone who is attacking us, let us back off.  But we can give what we are led by guidance to give.  And sometimes we can simply wait for a better moment to make our gift to ourselves as well as to others.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask for an easy day today.  Perhaps this is not a realistic prayer, but it is one that feels right to me now.  I need some solace, some happy dreams.  I am on the verge of experiencing too much stress.  May my perceptions change so that I am at peace.  May You walk with me throughout this day, and may I be conscious of Your presence.

This time I am afraid of my own reactions.  Being stressed puts me at odds with Your peace, and I would not be at odds with Your peace.  Help me to lie low today as I regain my equilibrium.  This day I devote to You.  This day I will seek, in as many moments as I can, Your peace above my ego-oriented propensity to be right.

Keep me from knit-picking.  I would be tolerant of all whom I encounter.  I would seek for their happiness every bit as much as I seek for mine.  Give me Your guidance as I seek to maneuver through the mines of an uncertain world.

Thank You for being there for me.

Amen.

A Sick Mind

“If you let your mind harbor attack thoughts, yield to judgment or make plans against uncertainties to come, you have again misplaced yourself, and made a bodily identity which will attack the body, for the mind is sick.  (WB260)”

Affirmation:  “no attack thoughts, no judgment, and no unguided plans”

 

Reflections:

1 – Important Passage

This is a very important passage, but easy to overlook in all of the many important passages in the Course.  If the pathway has become easier, and then suddenly or even gradually turns to darkness, here is the answer.

2 – Personal Experience

About seven years ago, I got away from A Course in Miracles.  I was at the same time under a great deal of stress, as were my significant others.  Getting away from ACIM was a very, very big mistake.  I found myself doing all the things that this passage (above) warns against.  When I, once again, after a lapse of some months, returned to ACIM, my life smoothed out, and I also discovered this passage (which I had overlooked).  The passage spoke to me now.  And it speaks still.  It has become one of my favorite passages, along with the clear explanation of why we fall away from our pathway.

3 – When the Way Is Difficult

So if the way seems rough, here is the answer.  Even times spent in happy dreams can turn to madness again if we harbor attack, if we judge, or if we make plans against uncertainties.
4 – Planning

Perhaps only the first two seem pivotal:  attacking and judging.  Planning is not often seen as deplorable, but it means that we are defending against the future.  And defense, according to the Course, is not encouraged.  It is, indeed, actively warned against.

5 – Three Prohibitions

Three prohibitions:  attacking, judging, planning against uncertainties to come.  The Course puts this warning in amidst many other great passages, but this one alone will go a long way toward explaining any falling away from the truth in our lives.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today I would stay in the flow dictated by the Holy Spirit.  I long to stay in the flow always, but sometimes I slip.  But today I ask that You help me to stay on the pathway to You:  no attacks, no judgments, no planning that is not prompted by my Guide.  Be with me today as I seek to turn on a dime (as I so often say).

I sometimes plan my day in the morning, almost without thinking.  And then I become overwhelmed.  This is not what You would will for me.  You would have me take each hour as it comes, careful of nothing, knowing that You are always there for me.  And when I am stressed, I may contemplate verbal attack, even if I say nothing.  This is not Your way either.  Thoughts make form at some level, and I would not have thoughts that would attack my brothers and sisters.  Keep me calm, if You would, and therefore less prone to be tempted to attack.  And judging happens almost without awareness when I am frustrated by another’s actions, when the other does not fulfill the plan that I have set out for that individual.  This too is a lamentable way to live.

And I would have none of these lamentable ways today.  I would speak kindly to my brothers and sisters, I would not judge any of their words or deeds, and I would not look ahead to plan anything that does not appear in the flow that the Holy Spirit gives me.

Help me to realize that, with Your help, all in my day will be easy.  Thank You.

Amen.