Tag Archives: brother

Forgiveness-for-Salvation

“Forgiveness-for-Salvation has one form, and only one. It does not ask for proof of innocence, nor pay of any kind. It does not argue, nor evaluate the errors that it wants to overlook. (S-2.III.1)”

1 – Attack / Anger

The most important thing to remember when faced with the attack and/or anger of another person is to remember just to overlook the error. If we dwell upon the error, we will make it real to us, and thus much harder to forgive. Jesus knows that we tend to retaliate, and he would not have it so.

2 – Innocence

In this passage, Jesus indicates that we are not to spend any time looking for “proof” of innocence. We just know that, in his inner Self, our brother/sister is innocent of wrongdoing. Our brother/sister has merely made mistakes, which cry for correction, but not punishment. As Richard Carlson (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff) says, nobody (except very disturbed people) get up in the morning with the express purpose of making our life miserable. If an individual knew how to have perfect love for us, that is what we would get. It is only ignorance of how to bring this about that brings on the problem. And the problem doesn’t really exist, being in illusion or dream.

3 – Payback

We do not ask for payback when we love our brother/sister. We do not just return love where we find it, and only there. We return love, in the form of forgiveness and pardon, even when we superficially think that another person does not “deserve” forgiveness. We especially return love at such times. And then we know the bliss that comes from going with the flow in our love. We do not retaliate; it is the worst thing that we could do.

4 – Forgiveness

Jesus indicates elsewhere that forgiveness preserves our rights, that it is the only sane response. We would be sane in an insane world.

5 – Comfort

“He will not leave you comfortless, nor fail to send His angels down to answer you in His Own Name. He stands beside the door to which forgiveness is the only key. Give it to Him to use instead of you, and you will see the door swing silently open upon the shining face of Christ. Behold your brother there beyond the door; the Son of God as He created him. (S-2.III.7)”

The “He” in this passage is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not leave us comfortless, even when all the world seems against us. There is no conspiracy of attack on us. We are in fact seeing the attack because we do not want to see it. But we have attracted it to ourselves. Our brother is showing us a tableau of our secret wishes—what we would do to him. And we would change our brother only when we ourselves have changed.

6 – Key

Forgiveness is the only key, as given in this passage. We can, in following A Course in Miracles, only reach Awakening by our relationship to our brother, and that relationship must be transformed from the special to the holy, and this transformation happens only when we have forgiven. If only one person forgives totally, all the world is saved—a statement made in the Manual of ACIM that is not easily understood. But it may be understood by the fact that we all are One, and therefore there is actually only one person in this world—all of us in the One.

7 – Christ in Our Brother

When we see Christ in our brother, we will forgive. And Christ is in our brother’s heart. The Christ Self, according to A Course of Love, is deep within us all. It is the real person, not the persona, or little self, or personal self. This real person wants our forgiveness, and this real person does not wish to harm us in any way. Indeed, we cannot be harmed, though we can think that we are. For we live in illusion—a truth to which we return over and over.

Affirmation: “I would seek comfort in my brother today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please give me patience today. Especially patience with my significant others. I cannot get inside their minds to understand the motives of what they do. I can only forgive them their distress. I can go with the flow, and let their decisions in some measure dictate what our life together will be. This is as it should be. We are walking alongside each other, with neither ahead or behind.

Thank You for the many blessings that I can see, as well as the many that I can’t see. All comes to me from Your hand. I appreciate the love that You send down upon my head. May blessing reign upon my loved ones as well.

Amen.

Your Dark Dreams Are but the Senseless Isolated Scripts You Write in Sleep. . . .Only Dreams of Pardon Can Be Shared.

1 – Dreams

“Your dark dreams are but the senseless isolated scripts you write in sleep. Look not to separate dreams for meaning. Only dreams of pardon can be shared. They mean the same to both of you. (T-30.VII.6)”

We cannot have smooth sailing in our relationships, even when those relationships have shifted from the special to the holy. Personalities differ, and when we live in close proximity to others, we will pick up on their unhealed natures, the parts of their personalities that the ego still rules. We will suffer accordingly, unless we invite a quick restorative, to forgive the illusion in which we live, to forgive our brother for the pain that he only seems to be causing.

2 – A Perfect Brother

For our brother is perfect in his inner Self, and only when we see him as perfect will we be freed. This can seem a long stretch, when tempers are frayed and love seems far away.

3 – Senseless Scripts

But these dark dreams are merely senseless scripts, A Course in Miracles tells us. We do not have to dwell on such misgivings. Our brother has been given up to heal. We have one purpose in our holy relationship, and that is to love despite appearances. Pray for a miracle, if the way seems hard. The miracle will not be long in coming. It may come in the form of a changed attitude on our part. Our brother may be just as vicious as he may, and it will have no effect on us, for we see that it is a script that we have written; it is our dream (from ACIM).

4 – Forgiveness

“Our common language lets us speak to all our brothers, and to understand with them forgiveness has been given to us all, and thus we can communicate again. (T-30.VII.7)”

Forgiveness, pardon, is fully deserved by every Son or Daughter of God. Because we live in illusion, in a dream, nothing bad as ever, in reality happened to us. Our brothers and sisters may have reacted to us many times out of “distress that rests on error” (from ACIM). This distress is a call for help (also from ACIM), and we are asked to run to their side with the healing for which they are really calling.

5 – Happy Dream

“The happy dream about him [your brother] takes the form of the appearance of his perfect health, his perfect freedom from all forms of lack, and safety from disaster of all kinds. The miracle is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form, because it can so easily be changed. (T-30.VIII.2)”

We can, as Marianne Williamson so often reminds us, ask for a miracle. And life can quickly be turned around. But even if it isn’t, our minds will be at peace. We rest on knowing that, when we have consulted the Holy Spirit about our next step, we have done all that we can. If we realize that our own anger and attack is always unjustified, we will be well on our way to lightening the atmosphere in our personal spaces, and granting our brother or sister the healing that is needed.

6 – Happy Dream

So we do have a “happy dream” about this brother or sister who is disturbing us. We can see his/her perfect health, perfect freedom from all want, safety from disaster. And this will not be a pipe dream (an illusory belief in what may transpire that has no basis in reality).

7 – Relationships

Ask today for a happy dream about all the special and holy relationships in our lives. The dream will not be long in coming.

8 – Read A Course in Miracles

And, in the meantime, read A Course in Miracles. It can become, as it has for me, a “happiness” book.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live harmoniously with my brothers and sisters, especially my significant others. May all I encounter be led to a greater happiness by our encounter; help me to know what so say and do. Help me to relax as I interact with others. A pent-up mind does not do anyone any good.

Be with me today, to give me a happy day. I ask this so often, but it is always apropos. You want my happiness, and in the happiness, I am moved to make a contribution to Heaven. Guide me to know what that contribution ought to be.

May my significant others be relaxed and at peace today. We have a lot on our plate. Help us to stay on the same page in our discussions.

I love You.

Amen.

Is It Not Clear that While You Still Insist on Leading or on Following, You Think You Walk Alone, with No One by Your Side?

1 – Afraid to Walk Beside

“He [your brother] is afraid to walk with you, and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back, and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey’s goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you. (T-31.II.9)”

This passage capsules the essence of how A Course in Miracles is saving us time: We are focusing on our relationship to our brother (or sister). We are forgiving that significant other, because his distress is based on error, and calls for help—not retribution or retaliation. We live in an illusion, a dream, maya, and so nothing bad has actually ever happened to us. Forgiveness has a sound basis. We seek to forget the trespasses that our brother has made against us (or so we thought he has made against us). And this is an echo of the Lord’s Prayer from the New Testament: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” So here we see, in essence, how much ACIM builds on previous Scripture.

2 – Cooperation

We often think that we want our brother to be the leader. But then, just as often, we think that we want to lead. Here Jesus is saying that neither is the way to get home. We walk together, with neither leading or following. We cooperate. We have a meeting of true minds (from Shakespeare’s Sonnet #116).

3 – Don’t Walk Alone

“Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. (T-31.II.11)”

Our light is given when we are with our significant others. It is not stated in ACIM, but we do not have to have a single significant other to follow ACIM’s way. Many of us walk through life as a single person. But we do know, if this logic is carried out, that we function best when we are not in competition with each other, but instead cooperate, making decisions jointly with others.

4 – Confusion

“And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. (T-31.II.11)”

This is our fate is we don’t walk with others: to stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Who would want that? There is another way, as Helen and Bill found out. They were the co-scribes of A Course in Miracles, with Helen taking dictation from Jesus, and each morning, at work, going to Bill to have him type up the notes. Their rancorous academic environment smoothed out, at least somewhat, though they themselves never reached a smooth relationship in its totality.

5 – Blindfolded?

“Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light. (T-31.II.11)”

This is the Holy Spirit, the guidance of Universal Inspiration. This is the part of the Trinity Who speaks to us of the way to walk. Many have had the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but many do not yet know all that this blessing holds out. Learn today. There are a variety of ways that guidance speaks to us. (Please read “The Gift of Guidance” in this blog. See “Articles and Book Reviews,” an icon at the top of the blog.)

6 – Personal Experience

Lately I have observed that, more and more, words come into my mind which are instructive and just a bit beyond me. They seem inspired, though I do not want my ego to have a field day with this interpretation. I have also learned that I can write a dialogue with my Inner Wisdom (as a friend calls the Holy Spirit, or the inner Christ Self), and come to better insight than my mind, working alone, can discover. The ways of receiving God’s guidance are manifold. Experiment today. Just be careful that the guidance that you think you get is not harmful to anybody at all, lest of all yourself. That would be the ego’s confiscation of mind, and the end of true guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to walk with my significant others today. Help me to stay serene and relaxed so that I am flexible in my interactions. Help me not to be overbearing and rigid. This day can and will be good to the extent that I do not plan ahead. You have told me that. Thank You.

Be with my brothers and sisters also. We are all in this together, and we will get out of it together or not at all.

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.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses instead of Dwelling in Your Dreams on His Mistakes

“Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. (T-27.VII.15)”

1 – The Dream

The “dream” here is the illusion in which we are caught in this world. The passage implies that we have a choice in our dreams, that we can “dream softly,” i.e., fail to focus on disappointments and instead focus on the good parts of our relationships. This dream, this soft dream, is also the tranquility out of which the “Lord of Heaven” (God Himself) awakens us. We are told elsewhere that if a light is turned on while we are asleep that we will be terrified, but when this light is perceived as the end of sleep, we are no longer terrified. We are further told that we would scream in “mortal terror” if we awakened suddenly from our “sleep” of forgetfulness. So a “gentler dream” precedes our Awakening, and all is well.

2 – Relationships

This passage also holds the hint that we are to find our way back home by our relationship to our brother or sister. This is the means that A Course in Miracles uses, always. Thus we do not need long periods of contemplation, though due to their intent, these would also work. But our way is different. We turn our special relationships to holy ones, and we know peace in so doing. We recognize the innocence is our brother who has not meant to do any harm (and has not, in actuality, done any harm at all). We live in an illusion. This cannot be said often enough. We do not pardon real offenses. There are no real offenses.

3 – Dream Softly

“Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. (T-27.VII.15)”

What a reassuring passage indeed this is! We have a choice of what we will dream of, of what we will think about in our waking hours in this waking dream. If we dwell on the good things about our brother or sister, we will know peace. We will be lighthearted and joyous. We will not rue the day. What better frame of mind could we ask?

4 – Kindnesses

So we remind ourselves of the kindnesses that our brother or sister has done for us. And these are many. Sure, there have been hurts, but we do not propose to dwell on these. Dwelling on the hurts is a sure way to feel less loved, and feeling less loved, we receive less love. Our very reactions will betray us. Most of us receive as much as we are capable of receiving, and the point of this is that we become capable when our hearts are warm. We can just as easily turn off the love from another, by our own chilly thoughts and reactions. But we would not have it so.

5 – Hostile Attitudes

We sometimes display a hostile attitude, years after we have been hurt by another in love. If we recognize what we are displaying, though, we can rectify the mistake, and then we will open out our hearts in a receptive fashion. Receiving is everything. If we close ourselves off, we cannot recognize a miracle if one appears at high noon. And it is miracles that we want.

6 – Illusions

“Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T-27.VII.15)”

This passage is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles. We see our brother as representing God to us, and if we see God as offering both life and death, we will see our brother or sister as doing the same. This is difficult to understand, but it does make eminently good sense when contemplated. We project our image of God onto our most significant others; we see divinity in them. And so if we see an imperfect companion, we will also question God’s integrity. And this is serious business indeed.

7 – Eternity

We do not want to question God’s integrity. He offers only life (from ACIM). He does not offer death, for there is no death. We live in an eternity. Be happy today.

Affirmation: “Dream softly of your sinless brother.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I can dream of the peace that my brother offers to me. I do not have to dwell—ever—on hurts perpetrated at any time by anyone. Let me remember the peace today.

Amen.

A Valley Full of Lilies

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

Affirmation:  “holy relationships”

Vangogh-bridge

Reflections:

1 – Holy Relationships

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

2 – Lilies

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

3 – We Want to Rest

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

4 – A Blessing

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

5 – Transforming Special to Holy

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Devotion to a Brother Cannot Set You Back

“The Bible says that you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks.  It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey.  Devotion to a brother cannot set you back either.  (T52)”

Affirmation:  “Devotion to a brother cannot set me back”

Reflections:

1 – What “Brother” Means

A “brother” in A Course in Miracles always includes brothers and sisters, and it means a companion, another person in this world who needs our compassion.  (The Course was scribed in the sixties, and inclusive gender language had not yet become inherent in our writing.)

2 – What Devotion to a Brother Means

It is important to note here that we are to follow the biblical injunction of going the distance with our brother.  We are to go the extra mile.  But we are not encouraged to send our brother searching alone for his (or her) pathway; we are to help him in the best way that we know how.  This best way may not always be apparent.  Sometimes we can help best by stepping back, and only smiling at him (or her); this is stated elsewhere in the Course.  We are bade to pay attention to what our brother is ready for.  And this may not be readily apparent, and so we need to think carefully before we act.

3 – Do We Always Act?

Sometimes we will get the indication from the Holy Spirit that we are to do nothing.  Perhaps we would only make the feelings of our brother worse by trying to talk to him.  We may have even said too much already.  Then is the time to reach for solitude and to commune with God.  He is always there, deep within us.  He does not join in our illusions, but He allows us to rise above those illusions.  And He will comfort, when interactions with our brother have proved to be disappointing.

4 – Difficulties with a Brother

It is important to forgive and to forget, and then to drop the issue.  Nothing is gained by continuing to rehash the bad experience.  We are indeed, according to ACIM, making the insanity real, and then how do we overlook it?  And overlook it we need to do.  This is much easier when we realize that we will have forgotten the issue in awhile, and so why not drop it now, before more damage is done?  Often it is ourselves that we need to forgive.  We can see that our brother thought he was making a joke, and even if it was a joke at our expense, we do not see out from his eyes, to understand his perspective.  Our personalities differ, and what is one individual’s “joke” becomes grounds for offense if we don’t share his brand of humor.  May we try to see through his eyes today.  And may we stop the rehashing of an old conflict, because conflict is inevitable in the mad world in which we live.  Move on to reality, instead, Jesus might say (an interpretation of ACIM).  We need to realize that we are just as fallible as our brother, and next time maybe our jokes will fall flat.  Goodwill will smooth away these misunderstood feelings.

5 – No Setbacks

Also important to this passage is the fact that our devotion to our brother cannot cause us to lose ground.  Our pathway, according to the Course, is found in our devotion to our brother, rather than through long periods of contemplation.  Our way, according to the Course, is forgiveness, which leads to love, of our brother.  Forgiveness of our brother will lead us to Awakening.  So will contemplation, though Jesus states that this other way can be tedious, and we are encouraged to follow our way, which the Course spells out in abundant detail.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be the best companion to my brother.  This will mean that I am there for him when he needs me.  I will walk along the pathway with him.

May I recognize that devotion to my brother cannot cause me to lose ground in the quest for salvation.  Devotion to my brother is the way spelled out in the Course.  Thank You for these words of encouragement and advice.

Today I would see my brother especially in my significant relationships, my holy relationships.  May no stress mar the serenity of our day together.  May my devotion to those closest to me meet their needs, and may I feel that the love we share is increased by our time together today.  Thank You for giving me the patience and forbearance to remain calm and collected.  May what I say and do today add to the peace that my intimates feel, the peace that You can give to all of us in great measure.   

Amen.