Final Learning Needed Turning Inward in Self-centeredness

“Realize that the self-centeredness of the final stage of your learning has been necessary. (Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 9.7)”

1 – Reassuring

This passage, in talking about our self-centeredness, is reassuring. We probably realize that our search has sometimes removed us from our surroundings, including our brothers and sisters. We need to be ready to return to them, but we are not to discount our self-centeredness as a lamentable aspect of our search. Jesus says that it was necessary.

2 – Understanding

If we had not turned inward, we probably would understand far less than we actually do now. And turning inward naturally turns one to the self. Jesus would have us to reach outward again once the elevated Self of form has been sustained.

3 – Prayer

We do not reach outward always, though, as Jesus himself spent hours in prayer, all alone, when on earth. We will always need a certain degree of inwardness, and sometimes this does become self-centeredness.

4 – To Stay within Ourselves

May we not stay within ourselves if it is at all possible to spend quality time with our loved ones. This is a day to rejoice and be glad that Jesus indeed did come to earth as a physical being.

5 – Leave Learning Behind

“You who have gained so much through your learning and your study and your sharing of the same may find it difficult to leave it behind. A choice made by you to stay with learning rather than to move beyond it would be an understandable choice, but you are needed now. (Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 9.9)”

6 – Learning

We are all used to learning, and many of us have spent years and years in fairly pleasant surroundings as we learned. We may look back on college or high school as one of the best times of our lives. So, if we think that we want to keep learning, maybe because it is so familiar, Jesus says here that we would make an understandable choice.

7 – Seeking

He wants us, though, to leave learning in the old style behind. That means that we really don’t need to keep seeking and seeking for our religious bearings. We have become, according to Jesus, The Accomplished. We have made progress through taking unto ourselves the tenets of A Course of Love, and now we need to move into creating a new world—not learning about creating, but genuine creating.

8 – The Accomplished

We won’t feel ready for this right away. We won’t feel that we are The Accomplished. We will fear that this is egotism rearing its ugly head once again.

9 – Jesus

Jesus believes that these are false ideas, that we are ready for creating a new world. And he is eager to have us do so.

10 – Guidance

What will we do? How will we create a new world? That will depend upon what our guidance tells us to do. Jesus is not predictive in A Course of Love, says that he won’t be. The new world has yet to be created, and he himself does not have those answers of what we will create. But the elevated Self of form in all of us will usher in a new era, and with that new era, we will be creating a new world.

11 – Bright Future

The future looks bright. We don’t need to hang back out of fear any longer. We don’t have to fear that the ego will come back, as long as we avoid attack, avoid judgment, and cease planning against contingencies to come. Leave fears behind. These are the criteria that we need to sustain the elevated Self of form.

12 – Sooner

May we all do so, sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for reassuring me that my own, recognized, self-centeredness is not a thing to be lamented and for which to beg forgiveness. We need inwardness, which self-centeredness really is, and we need it to make progress toward the time when we will be free and easy with our brothers and sisters, reaching outward.

If our life situation allows it, today is a time for reaching out to those who have been closest to us. May we forget ourselves today, at least part of the time.

Amen.

Can We Find a Perfect World?

“Those who sustain Christ-consciousness will abide within it free of judgment. . . .This perfect world will be observable to them and in them. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 7.4)”

1 – Perfect World

Would we not like to see a “perfect world”? This passage says that this is possible, once judgment is dropped from our repertoire of decisions. Then Christ-consciousness gives us a reality that is beyond our wildest imaginings.

2 – Judgments

This passage emphasizes once again the absolute primacy of giving up our little, personal judgments of our brothers and sisters. Until we do so, we are as trapped in matter as they are. We must look within to forgive them, and then the perfect world will emerge. Of course, not everything will be “perfect,” in the opinion of our little selves, but the bad elements will no longer have the ability to terrify us. We will live, immersed in life but with our heads above the fray. We will not let these little tragedies affect us so adversely, because we will know that they are unreal, illusory.

3 – Don’t Judge Self

We also must understand that we are not to judge ourselves; often we are, as has been said, our worst enemies. It may be harder to fail to judge ourselves than to fail to judge our brothers and sisters. This difficulty may be especially pronounced in students of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, because we have read of the banning of anger and attack (an ACIM tenet), and the encouragement of unity in relationship to all of our brothers and sisters (an ACOL tenet). So we must be gentle with ourselves, calling our mistakes just that–mistakes–not “sins.” And then we must move to correct those mistakes.
How may we do this? We turn to God. We turn to Jesus. We pray for the gentleness of those who have accepted the way of salvation. And then we will not judge ourselves nor our brothers and sisters. Then we will be well on our way to Christ-consciousness.

4 – Christ-consciousness

“It [Christ-consciousness] will not take the effort of their bodies, but the freedom of a consciousness joined in unity, a consciousness able to envision, imagine and desire without judgment and without fear. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 7.4)”

5 – Unity

We will be joined with our brothers and sisters in unity. We will know, finally and completely, that we are not meant to be alone; we are not meant to be isolated. We share, and when we share, we are at home with all the universe(s). This means that our egoic notions of self-sufficiency are flawed, very flawed. The ego always wanted us to be independent in our lives, able to stand on our own. The fact that we were never able to do this seemed to us, as our personal selves, to be a personal failing, a flaw in the way that we were made. Instead, this “flaw” pointed out that we were trying to do the impossible. We were trying to stand alone, when our nature is meant to be at one with others. Others will depend on us, we will depend on others. This two-way street embodies what living in a perfect world will all be about.

6 – Sharing

The primacy of sharing in our new world will be important, something never to be overlooked. Our seriousness in trying to stand alone will alert us that the ego is trying to make a comeback. We would not have the ego make a comeback. And so when we feel the slightest bit guilty because we are leaning on others (sometimes), let us note that we are not doing anything wrong. They are there for us, and we are there for them.

7 – New World

Then the new world of perfection is primed to make its appearance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me not to judge today. I need not to judge myself nor my brothers and sisters. I especially need not to judge myself if I have made a mistake and judged my brothers and sisters. I need to ask for forgiveness, knowing that forgiveness is always forthcoming when the mind and heart are joined in wholeheartedness.

May today be a good day. May I walk farther along the pathway toward Christ-consciousness, knowing that when I cease to judge, my way is made more sure.

May I reach out to others today in a meaningful way. May others know that I mean them well, that I am not striving to do or say anything that is awry, or that confuses the issue. May we interface with each other in a sharing that creates a newly perfect world, a world of individuals who are welcoming Christ-consciousness in their lives and the lives of others. May this direction for our world be well-received by those who subscribe to it as well as those who don’t.

Be with me today as I go about a world that I seek to see differently. May this different vision be a blessing to others as well as to myself.

Amen.

Living Union with God

“This state of union is what differentiated me from my brothers and sisters at the time of my life on earth. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 2.28)”

1 – Jesus and Mary

May we live in a state of union, as did Jesus when he lived his physical life on earth 2,000 years and more ago! Elsewhere Jesus asserts that his mother Mary also lived the risen life, and that her way is now going to become the way of many on earth. He was to “do,” and she was to “be.” And some, Jesus says, will combine the two ways of being in our new age.
But we must not let go of the need to be in union with God and with our brothers and sisters. We have Jesus as our example life, as the “doer.” If we choose doing, we still do not choose his pathway; our lives do not normally end in martyrdom. If we choose Mary’s way of “being,” we are still in union with God and our brothers and sisters. And the same holds true for those of us who combine the two ways, doing and being. We have much freedom in this life to make our own choices.

2 – Christ-consciousness

Christ-consciousness is a way of life that is perhaps freer than we experienced in the time of the Holy Spirit, when we were bade always to follow His guidance. We now have an inner knowing that allows Jesus to guide us without conscious awareness. This was presaged in ACIM and comes full circle in ACOL. We are ready. We must never doubt that, because to do so is only to prolong the “journey without distance” (a quotation from ACIM).

3 – Does God Know about Us?

Perhaps this lesson today in A Course of Love will help us to understand why some interpreters of A Course in Miracles declare that God does not know about us. We do not yet—until we reach Christ-consciousness—live in union with God, for we have, in illusion, separated from Him. There is one point in ACIM that Jesus says that the final parts of ACIM depend on a more direct route to God, and we must be carefully prepared, or the experience will be more traumatic than beatific. This seems to be the crux of the matter. We are really afraid of God, for until we change our minds, we harbor fears that He will reject us for this lapse into egoic life and for neglecting Him. This is not true, for God is in the New Testament and in ACIM and A Course of Love declared to be a loving God who means nobody any harm. We are not to be punished for this lapse into egoic life (a tenet of ACIM). When we move in love, we are there already. When we live in faith, we are there already. And when we reach enlightenment, we are really there already.

4 – Union

The union with God is something that we all ought to consider carefully, and to seek as though one’s hair were on fire (a Zen anecdote). We ought to want to be One with God, for this is the best life; this is our inheritance. And we will never be truly happy until we have reached this way of living.

5 – Commune with God

May we commune with God as we conceive Him to be today. May we learn anew that He is there, waiting for us. He is lonely without communicating with us, whom He created (an ACIM tenet). He knows that our channels are closed to Him. Let us seek to open those channels today. There is no better way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Is it too bold of me to say that I realize Christ-consciousness from time to time? I know that the inner feeling and the whispered unheard Voice do not always work as they used to for me. Is my just knowing enough? I wish now to reach the certainty that you talked about in A Course of Love, the certainty that I am guided with just an inner knowing that does not “feel” or be “heard.”

Again I look forward to this day with joy. I know that the prayers that I have made most recently have strengthened me and made my life much happier as well as smoother. Thank You, as always, for just being there for me.

Let conflict drop from me. I know that I am Your beloved, as is everyone. May we do what we can, from our side, to open our channels to You.

Amen.

Create a New Reality

1 – Day 36

“Yet you created in response to reality rather than creating reality. Now you are called to create reality—a new reality. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 36)”

2 – Reacting

This quotation is not entirely clear—yet. We can recognize that we have been reacting in our past lives, reacting to events in front of us, events that make or break our day. But we are faced now in the 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain top, with a distinct break in what we are accustomed to experiencing. Jesus would like to see all of us become Christ-conscious in one trip to and on the mountain top.

3 – Christ-consciousness

Is this realistic? Probably not. Nobody knows what allows Christ-consciousness to come to each of us. The changes in us, internal and external, are massive, and the Awakenings differ in content. Many are traumatic, but some are simply quiet. And Jesus says in A Course of Love that none of us has sustained the elevated Self of form. And he wants us to do so. He almost begs us to do so. In A Course in Miracles, we are told that if we cease judging, we will awaken. In A Course of Love, we are told that if we can eliminate fear and cease judging, we will awaken. It may seem easier, on the face of it, to stop ourselves from judgment our brothers and sisters, but few of us would believe that eliminating fear and anxieties from our lives is easy to do. We are always running into something that perturbs us.

4 – Jesus’s Call

Yet Christ-consciousness is Jesus’s call to us in the Dialogues. And, with it, we effect a new reality. It behooves us to study well, to commune with God, to commune with our inner Self, and to ask ourselves what changes in our thought processes need to happen for the blessing of Awakening to occur.

5 – Everything

“When you start over, knowing that what you have been given is everything, your creatorship of your experience is a totally different exercise. You realize that your life is not you but that your life is an exercise in creatorship. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 36)”

6 – Creatorship

What a lovely thought! Our life becomes an exercise in creatorship! We are to spend an eternity giving and receiving love, extending love; and creating. What more could anyone want? We know that all of our needs have been attended to, and so we rest in the comfort of God’s arms. We are at peace. We love and we create anew. This is what is spelled out in one of the treatises, entitled simply, “Treatise on the New.” (This treatise will be discussed in this blog after the series of postings on the 40 days and 40 nights.)

7 – Self-Centeredness

We don’t get hung up any longer in our own self-centered longings. We know that we have everything, as this quotation says, and we therefore rest easy. At this particular point in time, we have all of our needs met. We may not believe this, but it is nevertheless true. We probably don’t have all our wants satisfied, and maybe that would not be a good thing for us.

8 – Rest Easy

Rest easy in the assurance that we are living the life that we are meant to live—right now, here and now.

9 – New World

“Can you not see that if you can create your experience you can create a new reality—a new world? Can you not see the difference between creating as a separate self in response to a ‘given’ set of circumstances in a ‘given’ world and creating your experience as a creator who has realized oneness and unity—who has realized a new reality? (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 36)”

10 – Lonely

We will, we hope, soon see that we are not meant to be lonely creatures, encased in separate bodies, run by an ego that is confusing our minds and making us unhappy. We are in unity one with another, in relationship one with another. We share our reality, and in the sharing, we are made happy. There is no other way for full and complete happiness.

11 – Jesus

Jesus very much wants a new world. He sees the struggles and the suffering that humankind experience now, and he would have us freed to project a better reality. Projection makes perception, as we learned from A Course in Miracles. When we have reached Christ-consciousness, we will cease to twist and turn with the fates. We will create a new reality in which our brothers and sisters are equal beneficiaries. And the sooner, the better.

12 – You

“You do not disappear or cease to be. You are not replaced by God whom you have always been one with in being. You simply accept the truth of being and the truth of being in union and relationship. Both at the same time. Both/and rather than either/or. Cause and Effect. Means and End. You accept the end of choice and the beginning of creation. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 227)”

13 – Relationship with God

Day Thirty Six notes that we have always been in relationship to God, and that God Himself, as the Trinity of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, indicates that He can know Himself only in relationship. This “knowing in relationship” has been what we have been reaching for. We are in union one to another, and we are also in relationship one to another.

14 – Our World

Our world has come very close to destruction. Now is the time that we need a better direction. As we accept our unity and our relationship with all our brothers and sisters, with God, indeed with the Whole, we will know peace. We have been creating all along, but now we create, not in illusion, but in truth. This will make the new world a better place, and this will save us from destruction.
15 – Differentiations

We are differentiations of God; this we have always been. But until we know the power of this relationship, we will not create anything of real value. We have often seen Him as apart from us, but this has been part of the illusion which we have built for ourselves in our egoistic nature. Now we would know the truth, and this we know, as a theme of A Course of Love, only in union with our brothers and sisters, and in relationship to them and to All else. The dichotomies are over; we are joined in Christ-consciousness. This is the ultimate message of ACOL.

16 – Separation

“To be one in being with God and yet to exist outside of the powerful state of relationship and union has been a challenging choice. A god-like choice. A choice for a new kind of experience that has led to the creation of an unreal reality so populated by the god-like and the god-less, so near to replacing creation with destruction, so joyous and loving and so hate- and pain-filled, that you have been moved to a new choice. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 36)”

17 – Destruction

This is the problem hinted at above. We are close to the destruction of the human race, and Jesus would bring us back from the brink. We have existed in illusory separation from God long enough; now is the time for the return to God.

18 – Separate

We recognize that our experiment to live separately, not considering our Maker, is unnatural. We were never meant to live in an isolated fashion, and to do so for intellectual reasons has been particularly unfortunate. Our intellectual doubts about God are healed by opening our minds and hearts to a mystic reality, a mystic experience. Many are saved by experiences that they cannot explain. But then their lives take a turn for the better, and there is no looking back.

19 – Otherworldly

If you haven’t had such an otherworldly experience yet, ask, simply take the risk and ask, for such an experience. What do you have to lose?

20 – God

“God is still the creator of all, but God is also now the Creator of one, the creator of the experience of one life, or many lives, the experience and the experiencer of life. Through differentiation, God is you as you are God. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 36)”

21 – Us

This explains that we don’t need an intellectual understanding of God, for He is us. We are One with Him. There is a broader world out there, waiting to be experienced as the “real world,” not the illusion in which we have been caught for eons.

22 – Definition of God

We need to change our definition of God, and, with this, our heart knows the answer better than the mind. The heart does not ask for the same types of proof that the mind does. And the heart is a softer and gentler place to reside.

23 – Open Your Heart

Try opening your heart today to a spiritual experience. Ask for one, and then remain free and easy—fearing nothing. Life will speak back to you.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a great blessing to know that Christ-consciousness is upon my brothers and sisters, and upon myself. I welcome Jesus’s message of this new time, and I wholeheartedly embrace his message that the time of Christ is upon us now.

May I understand what it means to be in union with God and with my brothers and sisters. May my relationships be only those of love in the deepest sense.

Amen.

When We See in Another Person the Same Interests as Our Own, We Have Made the One Decision that Made Us a Teacher for Him/Her.

1 – One Goal

“Those who would learn the same course share one interest and one goal. And thus he who was the learner becomes a teacher of God himself, for he has made the one decision that gave his teacher to him. He has seen in another person the same interests as his own. (M6)”

2 – Loved Ones

Those whom we have loved are likely to be the ones in whom we have seen the same interests. And, even if these brothers and sisters have left our lives, still there is a tie one to another. We have seen in those people the same interests as our own.

3 – Teachers

We do not always recognize when a teacher has entered our lives. Only as time passes do we recognize the new insight that he or she is giving us. Teachers of A Course in Miracles share one interest and one goal–as well as one philosophy. This is a blessing in and of itself.

4 – All One

To see in another person the same interests as our own is to recognize that we are all One. Surely this will speed our way toward Awakening, because it is certain that we cannot reach that final healing on our own.

5 – Self-Doubt

It is important to note that we are teaching ourselves, even as we teach ACIM. Our version of ACIM differs from any other’s version. And we are learning at least as much as the person we are teaching. Teaching always diminishes self-doubt. (These are ACIM tenets.)

6 – Proselytize?

What a glorious way to spend our time! But we don’t proselytize when people are unready. I have quoted often in this blog the truth that sometimes, maybe often, all that a person is ready for is a smile (ACIM tenet). It is a maxim of all religious conversion that if we try to force the issue with an unbeliever, we will fail. We will turn that person even more against the creed that we are trying to promulgate. This alone ought to cause us pause for thought, and ensure that we don’t proceed into proselytizing when our thoughts and words are unwelcome.

7 – When the Student Is Ready. . .

Those who are ready will find us. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear—a old maxim. And ACIM says that that the students assigned to us will begin to look for us as soon as we have answered the call. This call is the greatest way that we can spend our day. Often we spend our day by example, not overt words. So it behooves us to represent A Course in Miracles well. That means forgiveness, and love, extended to others.

8 – Forgiveness

Remember that forgiveness has a sound basis that prevents our rights from being sacrificed. In a sense, we forgive to help ourselves, for resentments place a pall over our lives. When we pardon, we always feel lighter and more at ease with religious principles. Intuitively and consciously, we realize that forgiveness, or pardon, is the right action. Sometimes forgiveness is entirely internal, but if the situation seems propitious, we can share with others our pardon of them. Be careful not to allow forgiveness-to-destroy to contaminate your interactions. This false method of forgiveness, described in Song of Prayer, means that we don’t forget the misthought or misdeed. We think that we are better persons for our forgiveness, and therefore forgive out of that “superiority.” This is false thinking. We forgive and forget. This dynamic does not mean that the attack/anger that we are forgiving will be more likely to be repeated. Actually, the more we keep bad things in our minds, the more likely that this behavior on the part of another will be repeated. When we release (as in the Sedona Method: Could you let it go? Would you let it go? When?), the way is cleared for a happy day for all concerned.

9 – Time

Remember that only time separates the teacher from the student, and time does not really exist. In actuality, we are teaching each other, for the teacher is not really the teacher any more than the student is solely the student (from the ACIM Manual). We are caught in a learning environment, though when we have proceeded farther toward Awakening, we will cease learning and let the inner Christ Self inform our decisions (from A Course of Love). For now, though, we listen to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this means that we in fact see words come into our minds. This is a form of hallucinatory advice. But it is not mental illness, but very likely the way that the Old Testament prophets “heard” God. Julian Jaynes, in Origin of Consciousness in the Bicameral Mind, explains this phenomenon as it appeared centuries ago. His thesis is still controversial, but well worth exploring.

10 – Hallucinations

To “hallucinate” an intuition is not frightful, for the advice coming has the clarity that one’s own thought from one’s own personal self lacks. We are, I think, speaking with our Inner Wisdom, a term used by a friend of mine who has experienced Awakening, and sustained the Awakening for over 30 years.

11 – We Are in This Together

So let us be both teachers and students for each other. There is no difference. We need each other, for we are in this together.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to see in my brothers and sisters the same interests as my own. We want the same things–love, peace, joy, and a sense of aliveness about life. The Course can show us the way.

Help me to share the Course in the way that these books can best be received. May the Holy Spirit guide me in my interpretations, keeping me from mistakes and leading my brothers and sisters to Home.

Amen.

Time Goes Backward to an Instant So Ancient that It Is Beyond All Memory

“Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering. Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now. And thus it is that pupil and teacher seem to come together in the present, finding each other as if they had not met before. (M5)”

1 – Difficult Passage

This is a difficult passage, but one that is central to the Course’s tenets. Time, which really doesn’t exist, does in our world go backwards for eons, and in our world we relive that instant over and over. We have met everyone whom we encounter sometime before. “Everyone” includes our pupils, for only time separates us all from being teachers of God. This is theology, and if we can’t accept this assertion now, then just lay it aside for a while. It is better to focus on an experience. (ACIM tenets.)

2 – Pupils

Moreover, in interpreting a bit from A Course in Miracles, we are all pupils also. There are those who are more advanced than are we, who teach us. Indeed, the Course says that all of us are teaching all the time, because we cannot avoid it.

3 – Healing

It is good to know that our brothers and sisters are familiar to us, that we have met before. When the going seems rough with any of them, we can realize that we are working out our problems with each other. Surely this is reassuring. If the time of healing seems a long way off, we must be patient, for time indeed will work to heal when we follow guidance.

4 – When Pupil and Teacher Come Together. . .

“When pupil and teacher come together, a teaching-learning situation begins. For the teacher is not really the one who does the teaching. God’s Teacher speaks to any two who join together for learning purposes. (M6)”

This passage reiterates that we are teaching and learning all the time, and the two cannot be separated. And even a teacher does not really do the teaching, for the Holy Spirit—God’s Teacher—is informing the discussion. Of course, I do not believe that this means that we are beyond making mistakes in our interpretations of ACIM or of anything else that we say. We do make mistakes, and we need to be aware that we are very, very far from infallible. The ego would remind us of this constantly, for the ego believes that to think that we are led by the Holy Spirit in our speaking is arrogance.

5 – Holy Spirit

To believe that we are led by the Holy Spirit is not arrogance. It is the most supreme good sense. Only when we are listening to guidance do we speak wisely. And this comes only in communion, in opening ourselves up to what we “hear” internally. This does not mean that we are mentally ill—quite the reverse. We are more sane than we have ever been.

6 – A Course of Love

In A Course of Love, believed by many to be a sequel to ACIM and believed to be channeled by Jesus, we learn that the inner Christ Self becomes our guidance. It is said that the time of the Holy Spirit is over, and that the time of Christ is here. But right now, in this blog, we are considering A Course in Miracles, and this work is consistent in giving credit to the Holy Spirit, or Universal Inspiration.

7 – Walking Farther Along

Is there really any difference? When we have walked further along the pathway home, we will be more open to the divine spark within. And ACOL calls that spark the Christ.

8 – Holy Relationship

“The relationship is holy because of that purpose, and God has promised to send His Spirit into any holy relationship. (M6)”

Our purpose with each other determines what we will accomplish. Our relationship to our brother/sister is our way home, in the way of A Course in Miracles. We seek to let the Holy Spirit transform all of our special relationships into holy. At the point that the transition is made, the relationship will appear, to our limited eyes, to be dysfunctional. And we may break off the relationship at this point and seek a new relationship that will accomplish the old goals. Yet, if we persevere, we are at the point of greatest achievement. We will move into a new day in our most significant relationships. When the relationships have turned holy, we will consistently offer pardon, knowing that nothing bad has ever happened in reality.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you that You have taught me that I have met all my brothers and sisters, whom I encounter, earlier. I do not understand how time can go backward, but let me accept Jesus at his word.

Please help me to say and do the right things with my brothers and sisters to lead them to You. Whether I am a pupil or teacher at the time, may I learn from You.

Amen.

Holy Spirit = An Idea

1 – Transfer of Perception to Knowledge

“The way to recognize your brother is by recognizing the Holy Spirit in him. I have already said that the Holy Spirit is the bridge for the transfer of perception to knowledge, so we can use the terms as if they were related, because in His Mind they are. (T78)”

Perception is temporary, caught in time with us, but knowledge is eternal, and is of God. These are tenets from elsewhere in A Course in Miracles. Miracles are perceptual, and therefore do not last. Revelation is knowledge, and therefore is eternal. Revelation always comes from God, and it is intensely personal and therefore hard to convey to another. Its validity is determined by the self, the personal self that is trying to access the inner Christ Self (from A Course of Love).

2 – Holy Spirit in Our Brother/Sister

The Holy Spirit is in our brother, and when we recognize the Holy Spirit in him/her, we are seeing the other truly. The Holy Spirit is in us in a very practical sense. Though an idea, He is the Source of Universal Inspiration, the way that we come to know, as opposed to our perceiving. The ego perceives; the self which is accessing the Holy Spirit knows.

3 – Idea of Healing

“The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared. (T78)”

Ideas do increase when shared. That is why it is so important to seek first the intangibles of God, the peace, hope, joy, harmony, and the like. If we seek first for material pleasures, we will never be satisfied very long with anything we get.

4 – Increases when Shared

“The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the Universe of which it is a part. It is strengthened by being given away. It increases in you as you give it to your brother. Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur. (T78)”

This is a passage with deep meaning. It suggests that we do not have to get our brothers and sisters to study the A Course in Miracles before they will derive great meaning from it. They will derive that great meaning by our own living out of the principles of ACIM.

5 – A Strengthened Idea

When we give away our understanding of the Holy Spirit, we enrich our brothers and sisters. The idea of the Holy Spirit is strengthened. And they do not have to even be aware of what we are doing.

6 – Miracles

Jesus calls this sharing of the Holy Spirit a “miracle.” It will indeed seem so as we see our brothers and sisters more loving and peaceful, just by the fact that we are trying to share our understanding of the Course with them.

“The Voice of the Holy Spirit is weak in you. That is why you must share It. It must be increased in strength before you can hear It. (T79)”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I share my understanding of the Course and the Holy Spirit, silently, with my brothers and sisters. May I especially share this understanding with those most close to me.

We will bless our brothers and sisters by our own understanding. May I not try to get anybody else to follow my way, but by my own following of it, may I lead others to You.

Amen.

It Is Impossible to Be Wholly Helpful without Being Wholly Harmless. The Two Beliefs Must Coexist.

“God is praised whenever any mind learns to be wholly helpful. This is impossible without being wholly harmless, because the two beliefs must coexist. The truly helpful are invulnerable, because they are not protecting their egos and so nothing can hurt them. (T71)”

1 – Helpful and Harmless

May we learn to be both helpful and harmless. This passage recommends that harmlessness is an attribute of those who are following its way of peace and love. We will not attack when in our right mind, though we sometimes slip up. We know that anger is unjustified, even though we may still feel it from time to time.

2 – Invulnerable to Pain

When we are bent on helping our brothers and sisters, we will not knowingly do them harm. Not only do they benefit, but so do we. This helpfulness renders us invulnerable to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” to quote Shakespeare. What this means is that we are invulnerable to pain from our egoic selves. We are leaving our egos behind as we embark on the pathway set forth by A Course in Miracles.

3 – Goals

So: helpful and harmless. What goals these are! And how blessed we are when, even in our imperfection, we reach those goals in our daily lives.

4 – Existence vs. Being

“Existence as well as being rest on communication. Existence, however, is specific in how, what and with whom communication is judged to be worth undertaking. Being is completely without these distinctions. It is a state in which the mind is in communication with everything that is real. (T70)”

This passage is often overlooked in A Course in Miracles, but it is a comparison of existence (which is of the ego), and being (which is of God). Previously, many of us who study ACIM might have made decisions about which people were worth our time. But this is a false distinction. We need to be totally in communication with all that is real—and individuals, our brothers and sisters, are real. We feel love for them, and sometimes we feel hate. But never are we indecisive about feeling for others. We may not know what to feel, but feel we must. It is locked in our bones.

5 – God as Being

We need to understand our being, which is better than mere existence. Another name for God is Being, with a capital “B.” And we are part of God, but we do not capitalize our personal, or little, self. We need to be in communication with others, giving them our love, not our hate. And we will find a way when we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration.

6 – Sharing

“God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually, but who want to share it to increase their joy. Nothing real can be increased except by sharing. That is why God created you. (T70)”

Gerald Jampolsky, in Love Is Letting Go of Fear, put a great deal of emphasis upon the fact that the intangibles of God—the love, the harmony, the peace, the joy—are increased by sharing; other the other hand, material goods diminish when shared. And material goods, like everything in this world that we can see with our physical eyes, are illusion.

7 – Why God Created Us

Here we learn why God created us: to increase the real by sharing. He shared with us, and we are meant, ultimately, to be co-creators with Him. Let us hasten that day along today.

8 – Praising God

“The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is. He has no ego with which to accept such praise, and no perception with which to judge it. (T70 – T71)”

I have often found this passage to be somewhat amusing. In our previous lives, before ACIM, we may have thought just that—that God wanted us to tell Him how wonderful he is, by praising Him. But this type of praise feeds the ego, and God knows not the ego. So we praise God, but not to appeal to an ego-less Being. We praise because we need to express gratitude for our own sakes.

9 – Lonely God

“The constant going out of His Love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him. (T71)”

This is an especially sweet passage, that God would be lonely if we do not commune with Him. Elsewhere we learn that He recognizes that we are asleep and need to be awakened. And He sends the Holy Spirit to show us the way.

10 – Internal Dialogue

We would be far better off if we carried on an internal dialogue with God all through our days. He will speak to us, and we do not have to fear that our sanity will be jeopardized. Indeed, our sanity will be restored instead. For we have been mad, quite insane, with an ego that has driven us to madness. Let us be done with this foolishness. Learn what joys await on a day dedicated to communion with God. We do not have to jeopardize anything in our busy lives. But the better parts of ourselves will be augmented.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I not lose my temper. May I remain helpful and harmless to my brothers and sisters. May I communicate with God today on an ongoing basis. May I forget not.

It God is lonely when He realizes that our channels of communication are closed, may we act today to open them up to Him. What better way to experiment with reality?

When I have remained helpful and harmless, then I am invulnerable to hurts as well. This is a great desire of mine. Thank you for helping me to be both helpful and harmless.

Amen.

Praying for Others Lifts Projections of Guilt

water-lilies - monet

“Praying for others, if rightly understood, becomes a means for lifting your projections of guilt from your brother, and enabling you to recognize it is not he who is hurting you. (S-1.III.1)”

When we pray for our brothers and sisters, we are enabled to feel more positively toward them. We begin to feel compassion much more readily, and, if all goes well, we recognize that others deserve the forgiveness that we try to offer.

2 – Projecting Guilt

This passage indicates that what we are doing when we fail to forgive is to project guilt upon our brother. The reason for this projection is that we never hold anything against our brother that we do not first think we ourselves are guilty of (from the ACIM Text). We first denounce and reject ourselves, and then we project that denunciation upon our brother, who is actually as innocent as are we. We ourselves, though, while we can see ourselves as innocent (and normally do see ourselves as innocent), do not automatically, without some guidance from the Holy Spirit or the Self, see our brothers and sisters as innocent. On the contrary, we are wont to blame them for all manner of our troubles. This is projection from our own inner personal self (or “little” self) to others. And it is insane.

3 – Hurt Ourselves?

Our brother is not really hurting us. We are hurting ourselves. Our brother has done nothing to hurt our Self, though he may verbally or physically abuse our minds/bodies. Our Self remains above the fray.

4 – Special to Holy Relationships

We always hurt ourselves by this dynamic of projecting guilt onto our brothers and sisters. We would not have it so. And we must not have it so if we are to see our special relationships turn to holy. Turning to holy relationships prepares us for the Awakening.

5 – Praying in Error

“It is not easy to realize that prayers for things, for status, for human love, for external ‘gifts’ of any kind, are always made to set up jailers and to hide from guilt. These things are used for goals that substitute for God, and therefore distort the purpose of prayer. (S-1.III.6)”

This can be a difficult passage. When we pray for tangible goods, we often mislead our inner personal selves, our little selves. Our Self is not mislead, but this inner Self can become inaccessible to us in our rapaciousness to gather the physical to ourselves.

6 – Intangibles

We need to focus on the intangibles. We need to rise above a constant desire for more material goods, because this is an endless road. We will get one “toy,” only to want another, and then another. There is no end to the desire of the ego for material things.

7 – God as Our Friend

It is hard to realize sometimes that having God as our Friend will ensure that we stay on the right pathway, the pathway to complete and total happiness—even in the absence of material goods. We know that God also wants our material needs satisfied; He is not blind to our creature comforts. But the communion of our spirit with God is the greatest blessing that human beings have on this earth. And this communion, in prayer, assures that more and more good will flow to us. It is an example of the law of attraction, like attracts like. Our desires are in the right place, and God answer us, therefore.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me today to life guilt from my significant others. May I realize that I am always blaming myself when I see guilt in others; it is my own presumed guilt that I see.

Be with me today as I seek to get my projections ended. I would not push onto others my own sense of guilt. And my own sense of guilt is misplaced. To know this is such a blessing!

Help me to have a good day. I haven’t asked for this recently, but this day promises some stress, and I would not buy into that emotion. Help me to offer gratitude to You for the day that has been given. And may I reap the reward of another day in this world, the intangible rewards of communion with You while still on earth.

Amen.

Devotion to a Brother or Sister Cannot Set You Back

cezanne - bowls of fruit
“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 – Masculine and Feminine Gender in ACIM

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. (A Course in Miracles was scribed in the sixties, and inclusive gender language had not yet become inherent in our writing. This aspect of ACIM has become controversial, especially among younger students/teachers.) A brother or sister is someone in the world who may need us in ways that we can answer, or who may need us in ways that we cannot answer. ACIM recommends tolerance of differences, but in no way does ACIM imply that one is to disregard one’s own better instincts in order to cater to a brother or sister. We may walk farther along a pathway, due to the tolerance that we are encouraged to adopt, but we do not do anything to lengthen the journey that our brother or sister has set upon. After all, all of us are on a “journey without distance” (from ACIM), and we do not actually have to “go” anywhere at all to find our way to the spark of divinity which is within.

“The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. (T-8.VI.9)”

2 – Go the Extra Mile

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 in the Manual of ACIM 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. If we ourselves cannot be hurt by a brother (and we cannot be), then we have nothing to fear from him–even when he misunderstands us. We may need to absence ourselves from him in such cases, though. Though A Course in Miracles does not say so, sometimes absence from the picture is a loving thing to do. We are not the right person for every other person, because we differ radically in our personalities (from the Manual of ACIM). Our personalities are quite distinct.

3 – No Lost Ground

Also important to this passage is the fact that our devotion to our brother cannot cause us to lose ground. Our pathway, according to ACIM, 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 A Course in Miracles spells out in abundant detail.

4 – We Don’t Lose by Helping

If it seems that we have walked farther along our metaphorical pathway than our brother, know that if he/she has been “given” to us, then our companionship with him/her will not set us on a longer pathway home. Each of us is given certain others to whom we can fulfill a teaching role, and this occurs even if we are new students of A Course in Miracles. As soon as we have answered the call, these others will begin seeking us. We will know internally which new faces surrounding us really need us in some way that we can fulfill. And this may take patience. Not everyone is ready at the point of introduction. But if we stay in close touch with the Answer (the Holy Spirit), we will be led in how to conduct a given relationship. Our own desires for special relationships will fall away as we seek to make each encounter holy. And our ongoing special relationships will turn holy (though this may not be without pain).

5 – We Are Here for Each Other

What better way can we spend an eternity than to “be there” for our brothers and sisters? In A Course in Miracles, this is both our primary purpose and our means of salvation leading even unto Awakening. Forgiveness of our brother and sister is the means that we use. Remember that we do not pardon real offenses; our brother and sister are innocent creatures who are doing the best that they can. They may misinterpret the signals that we give, and, if so, it is for us to pull back. But forgiveness remains the central means that we move from fear to love in ACIM. And forgiveness means that even when we get our signals crossed with a brother or sister, we are encouraged still to be loving to that individual. Knowing what to do, and when, takes great skill, and we can never succeed in this tricky business without the guidance that the Holy Spirit prompts.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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 A Course in Miracles. Thank you for these words of encouragement and advice.

Amen.

Love Does Not Demand Payment

impressionist paintings
“How you implement this idea [refusing to believe in earning and paying] will be your choice. But the idea that you do not have to earn your way nor pay your way must be birthed and lived by. While most of you will immediately think of your survival needs, this is far from the only area in which the idea of earning or paying your way can be found. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 13.7)”

Affirmation: “Under the laws of love, I don’t have to earn or pay for my pathway.”

Reflections:

1 – Earning and Paying

Upon reading the passage for today for the first time, we are very apt to discount it as impractical. Of course we have to earn our way! Of course we have to pay for our way! But do we really? What does earning and paying for really mean?

2 – Cost

In the idea of earning and paying, everything comes at a cost. And in the laws of mankind, that is indeed true. But the laws of mankind are laws of illusion, laws of the ego in that illusion. And the laws of love say something very different.

3 – Laws of Love

We still have to make our way in the world, and so it would be very wrong to quit our jobs and expect the world to care for us. We do not willingly give up our livelihood, and that is good. But the laws of love need no payment, and it is in the love that we would live today. We need the love of ourselves toward ourselves (self-love), love for God, and love for our brothers and sisters (giving and receiving). We are not meant to be alone, to be solitary creatures in our isolation because we do not trust.

4 – Trust

We can trust the world to give love back to us that we have also given to the world. And for this blessing there is no need to think of earning that love or paying for that love. The earning and paying are all of the old world, the world before the time of Christ. Now we seek only love, though our material needs do enter in (and rightfully so). God would have all of our needs—physical and emotional—be met. And this will happen as we proceed along our pathway. God’s children lack only from their own choice, but it is a choice of the Higher Self, not the personal self. And lack is not a conscious choice, and so we are not to blame the victim.

5 – Love

Look to love for your answers. Don’t think of any necessity to pay for this love. It is a free gift, an offer from God to us that will not be obliterated.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize today that love is a free offer from You. Your help is also a free offer. There is no reason to think in terms of payment or “earning my way” where You are concerned.

I would seek the love, in relationship, that is mine today. I would willingly recognize that payment taints the agreement that I have made with love. Love is mine to have and hold, as it is for everyone.

May I spend today in love. May all of us spend today in love.

Amen.

The Definition of Prayer

pissarro003

“Thus prayer must be redefined as the act of consciously choosing union.  With this definition, you can see how your life can become a prayer.  This does not negate the fact that a prayer is also a constant dialogue of asking, being answered, and responding.  This is the aspect of prayer that makes of it an act of creation.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.3)”

Affirmation:  “I will choose union through prayer today.”

Reflections:

1 – Union

This passage for today emphasizes once again how important prayer is to our well-being in this life.  We are said to make of our whole life a prayer, when we follow what Jesus is saying in A Course of Love.  We consciously choose union with our Self/Christ and God within, with our brothers and sisters in this world and all worlds (even unseen), and we choose to embrace the universe(s).  Union is all-inclusive, and it is a big part of our way home.

2 – Prayer

The second sentence in this passage is important:  “This does not negate the fact that a prayer is also a constant dialogue of asking, being answered, and responding.”  Certainly!  This is the way that we have traditionally seen prayer at its most simple:  asking and being answered.  But here we also see that we are to respond.  And this is the new art of thought.  We learn through receiving and then responding, not only to God, Who has answered our prayer, but also to others who can benefit as well.

3 – Personal Experience

I have personally found that my answers to prayers have increased in very recent days.  What we believe does make a difference, and I have been expecting answers to come at the point of asking.  I have not had to wait long.  Recently I asked for a solution to a minor health problem, and immediately–yes, immediately–the answer to my problem came into my mind, not as a voice, but as an internal word that was my own thought, but yet a bit beyond me.  At first I thought that I had misheard, that another one-word answer was meant.  But as the afternoon wore on, I realized that the initial word had been accurate.  I acted on this precise directive, and my minor health problem cleared up.

4 –  Mind

The word that come into our minds are not always God speaking to us.  There is much left in our minds that alter His messages.  But as we walk further along the pathway to Awakening, the chaff tends to fall away, and our internal hearing does seem more on the beam with God.  We can ask silently, and receive an answer.  We can also journal our questions, and wait for an internal prompting of what to write by way of an answer.  This latter suggestion is championed by a writing expert, Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way).  And it works.  The fact that we capture on paper what is impressed upon our minds encourages us to reread and to respond in the future to what has been answered in our prayer.

5 – Listening in Prayer

So, pay attention to the internal, silent monologue of thoughts when asking in prayer.  I have been very, very pleasantly surprised that this type of listening increases as it is used.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the immediate answers to my prayers that I have been receiving.  I realize that this is the way that prayer is supposed to work, for our communion with You answers all problems.

May all of us have a good day.  May anxieties fall away, and may we walk into the sunlight with You.

Amen.

You Are Home

images -impressionist“Thus we end this Course with love given and love received in truth.  You are the learner here until you realize that you are Love.  You then become the teacher of what you are.  Your mind and heart join in wholeheartedness in the embrace.  You are home, and there you will forever stay.  (A Course of Love, 32.3)”

Affirmation:  “I am home.”

Reflections:

1 – Comfort

What a glorious statement of our place in this world!  Being “home” is a comforting thought, and it the place toward which we have longed to come for such a long, long time.  Eons have been spent in searching for what can only be found within, the God within.  And to find God, we must give up the version of our personal self that is the ego.

2 – Definition of the Ego

This assertion does not mean that we will fall apart on the inside.  The ego, as defined in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, is a false view of self, having no basis in reality.  It is not as Freud thought, the integrator of the essence of ourselves.  Instead, while a part of our belief about ourselves, it is the home of lies about our real Self.

3 – Elevated Self of Form

When we have truly integrated, we will become the elevated Self of form, and we will know what Jesus is talking about.  This is the Christ-consciousness that so often we have longed to experience.

4 – Soon

May the day be soon for all of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am eager today to be completely at home with You, not that I want to die but that I want to live in Your blessing always, as the best that You can make of me.  “Home” is heaven on earth, and that I long for with all my heart.

Be with us as we seek to do Your bidding.  Your bidding is actually what we ourselves would always choose, because Your will is our real will.

May my brothers and sisters find You today, even as I too seek.

Amen.

You Can Know without Knowing What to Do

pissarro - trees“As the dawn is unrestrained  in its bursting forth, so has been your time of innocence.  Not so the approach of day as the sun slowly rises and as slowly sets.  This is a time of being both guided and restrained.  A time of realizing that you can know without knowing what to do, and that this is not a mistake.  (A Course of Love, 28.10)”

Affirmation  “I will be patient today in my ‘knowing.'”

Reflections:

1 – Reassuring Passage

This passage is a reassuring gesture on the part of Jesus to us who are still learning.  We may have experienced a sudden relief when we realized that we truly are innocent, but as time goes on, the movement toward Christ-consciousness slows down–as the sun slowly rises and slowly sets.  While this slow movement is not always the case and does not receive the most attention, it is the most common way.  We see glimpses before Christ-consciousness can be maintained.  Indeed, maintaining the elevated Self of form is very rare indeed, at least at this time in our history.

2 – Commune with God

But we can commune with God, we can internally ask questions of Jesus, and we can read A Course of Love–all to get a roadmap to enlightenment.  Most of the outstanding examples of enlightenment in our history have been sudden experiences, but the very suddenness may have given rise to the awareness of the existence of these people.  A more gradual Awakening is kinder to us, for then the light does not suddenly dawn upon us, leaving us perhaps a bit frightened.  (These are interpretations based in part on both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.)

3 – Rest in Stillness

When we “know,” but don’t know what to do, I think it would be wise to rest in stillness until we do know what to do.  We do not want to go off willy-nilly, making mistakes that will only set us back.  Ask for guidance, for the solution is always found with the problem.  We will always be answered, and my experience is that it does not take long for the answer to come.  Ask, and ye shall receive (from the Bible).

4 – Imaginary Bonds

We often strain at imaginary bonds that seem to restrain us.  We have learned so much from A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, and we are so eager, as a result, to walk the whole pathway to Awakening or Christ-consciousness.   Our eagerness with A Course of Love is greater than with ACIM, even.  This difference, this increase, is because we finally see that we have “learned” all that is needed, and we simply need to assimilate our learning so that it becomes knowledge rather than perception.  The knowledge cannot come until we let the ego die, and sometimes this dying is painfully slow–even when we wish it to happen fast (perhaps especially when we wish it to happen fast).  The knowledge will go with us on the whole pathway to full salvation.  And we need to rest awhile in peace, before we will know what our next steps ought to be.  We are not bade to evangelize the world, but we are bade to live in it as followers of Jesus.  At this point he is fast beyond our companion, our teacher no longer.

5 – Change in This World

Help us to assimilate this knowledge so that the change can happen universally in this world.  Life is at a crisis point (as life has always been), and we need to accomplish what we can to wish our brothers and sisters well in all of their activities toward salvation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the knowledge that will lead me to Awakening.  I would be ready sooner rather than later.  I would not delay by egotistical means.  I would drop the ego.  Help me to do so, today.

Be with us as we seek to have a good day.  This is a blessing, to have a good day.  May we enjoy our companions, including Jesus, if we can believe that he is always by our side.

Amen.

Knowing through Relationship Is How Life Is

pissarro - street scene2“The relationship becomes the known.  While it is your nature to seek for more, it is also the nature of life to exist in relationship and to become known through relationship.  This is how knowing comes to be.  Knowing through relationship is not a ‘second best’ situation.  It is how life is.  It is how love is.  (A Course of Love, 23.2)”

Affirmation:  “I focus on relationship today.”

Reflections:

1 – What Relationship Means

This passage does not only mean relationship with other human beings.  This passage means relationship with all that we know, our inner Self and the world as we see it.  We stand in relationship to all, and that is how we learn, and that is what we love.

2 – Not Solitary Creatures

What does it mean to be “in relationship” to all?  We can take these words literally.  They mean what they say.  We are not solitary creatures; we were not created that way.  We are meant to be in relationship to all that surrounds us.

3 – With Significant Others

Of course, we focus most of all on our relationship to our significant others.  This is the way that A Course in Miracles defined salvation to be found.  And here A Course of Love picks up where ACIM left off, and also amplifies the concept.  It is a progression, because we were not ready for the full truth when we were dislodging the ego, as in ACIM.

4 – Reciprocity

We need to give our significant others the love that they need.  They in turn need to reciprocate, but this is not mandatory for the blessing to happen to us.  We will learn from love even when it is unrequited.  And we will learn from love when it ebbs and when it flows.  There is nothing that we learn outside of love, for Love is all that there is.  Everything else is illusion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize today that the world that I see is illusion, though it seems real enough to me.  I would recognize that the love that I feel in relationship and unity is the only true reality.  Help me to live peacefully with this knowledge, for it is knowledge, not perception.

Be with me throughout this day, to make of it a good day.  You will make of it a good day, and it is only I who would rue it.  I would not rue today.

Amen.

Intimacy

pissarro - village“This intimacy itself will allow you to see your ‘self’ as an integral part of all that exists within your world rather than as the small and insignificant personal self you generally accept as your ‘self.’  By eliminating the personal, the universal becomes available.  As the universal becomes available, you will have no desire for the personal.  Even so, you will find that what you consider your individuality or uniqueness is very much intact, but that it is different than you have always imagined it to be.  (A Course of Love, 22.23)”

Affirmation:  “I would encourage intimacy today.”

Reflections:

1 – Moving Away from the “Little” Self

This passage is an excellent statement of what we will gain when we give up focusing so much on the personal, or “little” self.  We will still retain individuality and uniqueness, but we will also be part of the unity of our world, and we will be in relationship to others, always.  We have been so self-centered that we have forgotten our brothers and sisters.  And we would not do that.

2 – Transcend the Personal Self

The universal will be joined in unity and relationship, two words that are used repeatedly in A Course of Love.  The personal self will be deemphasized, as we reach outward to other people.  We will not denigrate the personal self, but we will transcend it.  And then we will know the universality in our experiences.

3 – A New Uniqueness

We will come to know a new individuality or uniqueness in ourselves.  This change will help us to both honor ourselves and others.  We will not lose anything thereby.  On the contrary, we will know the best of all possible worlds, for our perception will have been cleansed, and we will have moved into knowledge granted us by God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know this new “uniqueness” today.  I would move away from, just turn away from, without resistance, the personal self that has been too much turned inward to a self-centeredness.  When I reach out to my brothers and sisters, I reach out in Your will.  But that does not mean that I neglect myself.  All in good time.  To give and receive are one.

Be with me as I explore this new uniqueness of self.  It is something that I don’t know enough about, yet, and I implore You to show me.  May I still recognize myself in the true sanity of the real world, and may I not be jolted out of my accustomed world into a new and strange place.  I ask for a gentle Awakening.  Thank You for those glimpses of the Awakening that come to me from time to time.  I ask that all of my brothers and sisters experience the same, in gentleness and in love.

Amen.

No Longer Use People / Serve Them

“The inanimate as well as the animate is called upon, depended upon for service.  All use Farmhouses in a Wheat Field van goghis replaced with service, and appreciation replaces the callousness with which use once occurred.  (A Course of Love, 20.38)”

Affirmation:  “I will not use another person today.”

Reflections:

1 – Use

We are led to understand in A Course of Love that much of our time on earth has been a reaching out to others to “use” them in some way.  We have known that we need others, but rather than love those others with a wholehearted embrace, we have chosen to “love” those who can do something for us, who can answer some need within ourselves.  This is to use the other person.

2 – Self-Interest

What a sad way to live!  And, most importantly, it won’t work, even if our egoic notions are telling us that it will.  Other people, whether religious or not, know when our interest in them is tainted by self-interest, and other people naturally recoil from this.  Only in special relationships, in which it seems that each person has something that he/she can gain from the other, is there even the illusion of a mutual exchange.  And the special relationship does not stay special.  Frequently, if it doesn’t evolve into a holy relationship, the special relationship deteriorates into hate.  Our needs fail to be met by the other, and we hold that against him/her.

3 – Service

We do not need to use others.  We need to be of service to them.  And the best things that we do will justify us in our own eyes.  We will feel guilt no longer.  We will experience the love that we are meant to experience, for we are giving, not “using” another.  When we give, we also receive, for both are equal in God’s sight.   Only when we give and receive in equal parts do we share the holiness that is ours by birthright (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).

4 – Appreciation

When we are of service, we naturally appreciate the one whom we are serving.  We do not treat him or her with contempt or callousness any longer.  Our way has brightened, and we are once again on the way back to God.  What better way than to walk with Jesus along a brighter path?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I serve others today, in the best connotations of what Jesus meant.  May I not let self-interest cause me to “use” anybody for any reason whatsoever.  May I not stoop to that level.

Help me to ask You how I might best be of service to others.  Let me not see the need for service where it would be unwelcome.  Help me to withdraw if another does not want me near.  Help me to follow Your guidance in such matters.

Be with me as I seek to expand my service over the coming days and weeks.  I would do more for You, but only the more that You ask.

Amen.

Wholehearted Yearning for Union

“It is in your holy relationships that union can be found and experienced, and thus from these that you fuel your desire for union with all and for knowledge of your creator.  This yearning must but be a pure yearning–untainted by fear and judgment and approached with wholeheartedness–for it to be fulfilled.  It is not the means that are lacking but the wholehearted desire.  (A Course of Love, 19.7)”

Affirmation:  “Bless my holy relationships.”Café-Terrace-on-the-Place-du-Forum,-Arles,-at-Night,-The - van gogh

Reflections:

1 – Holy Relationships

If we have wholehearted desire, today’s passage assures us that we can find union in our holy relationships.  This is our way home, according to both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Holy relationships bypass the need for hours of contemplation.  We are our brother’s keeper, and we do well to acknowledge this and to act on it.  Then we will know the peace that we seek.

2 – Holy Oneness

From our holy relationships, we move to a desire for Oneness with all, a holy Oneness rather than the physical that we sometimes think.  The physical is not downplayed by ACOL, though; it is, in fact, applauded, in a sense, by the closeness that it leads us to feel.  It can be a way of reaching toward God.  But union with the All is not physical, but metaphysical.  And we then have knowledge of our Creator God.  We are not alone in our wonderings any longer, but we know.

3 – Jung

Jung, the eminent psychologist, was once asked about faith, and he replied that he “knew,” implying that, for him, knowledge of God was not limited to a nebulous faith.  What a witness this is!  We will come to be so sure in our knowledge of God that we do not have to appeal to faith in the matters of which we are unsure.  We will be told all that we need to know.  And very, very little will be veiled from us.  (An interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL.)

4 – Union

If we are falling short, let us ask ourselves if we have the wholehearted desire for union that this passage indicates we must have.  Do we see any reason for union?  Do we still think that there is something in separateness that will give us the experience of what we want?  If we do want separateness, we will remain in it.  But do we really want to be so isolated or alone?  Do we really want to fear?   All of these things comes with the separate.  And not many of them would any of us long to experience.

5 – Are We Afraid?

We may be afraid of union, not knowing what will be asked of us.  And, indeed, much may be asked of us.  But we will find that we can do these requested missions with ease and peace, with effortlessness.  God does not hold us to a work ethic that we ourselves made.  God desires good works, we might think, but He knows that we are weak and frail children, and that we need help.  Ask (a necessity), and that help will be forthcoming.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would overlook all slights that happen to me currently, seeking instead the union with all my brothers and sisters, and God, that this passage recommends.  May we be forgiving, for this world is difficult, and if we forgive, we will come to understand.

May my yearning for union be without fear of any kind.  May my anxiety melt away.  And may You spend the day with me today, so that I sense Your presence.

Amen.

Overcoming Suffering

Suffering and sin comes from specialness, and so it is but specialness you must leave behind.  And there is a way to do so, a way that will not harm any of those you love even while betraying all they would hold dear.  (A Course of Love, 15.11)”

Affirmation:  “I would leave specialness behind today.”Reproduction-oil-paintings-Vincent-Van-Gogh005

Reflections:

1 – Specialness

Our brothers and sisters very often choose specialness rather than recognizing that in this separation, all is lost.  They do not really want to be separate from us, though they may think that they do.

2 – Likewise, for Us

Likewise, for us.  We may have studied A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love long and hard, but still when the weakened ego beckons, we choose specialness.  We just must choose again.  We also do ot want to be separate from our brothers and sisters.  We are all One, and it is time indeed that we recognize this.

3 – Can We Leave Suffering Behind?

Certainly we would leave suffering behind if we could do it.  And leaving behind specialness, in all its forms, is the way out of suffering.

4 – All Are Equal

We need to realize that we are all actually equal in God’s sight.  While out talents may seem to differ in this world, eventually all will be shared.  While some temporarily have more and some, less, this is indeed temporary.  And it is up to us to assist those in need while our hearts tell us the right thing to do.

5 – Knowledge

Our brothers and sisters hold specialness dear.  But it is not for us to do so.  If we persist, we will endanger all of which we have knowledge.  And it is God Who gives us the knowledge.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would renounce specialness for all time now.  This specialness is of the ego, and I would leave the ego behind.  We suffer because of our belief that we are “special.”  And we truly are not.  All of us are equal in Your sight.

If You would have it so, take this desire for specialness from me today.  Thank You.

Amen.

Banding Together against Fear Makes Fear Real

“Loyalty stems here from your faith in fear and all from which you need protection.  To belong to a loyal group, a family or community of supporters, is seen as necessary for your safety.  While many of you do not have this, you strive for it, and its attainment has been the cause of much suffering in your world.  This banding together for support against fear simply makes fear real, and the seeming cause for loyalty essential.  (A Course of Love, 15.8)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek God’s protection only.”

camille-monet-and-her-son-jean-in-the-garden-at-argenteuil-renoir-large - renoir

Reflections:

1 – Growing Older

When we grow older, often we harbor secret fears that we will die alone and friendless.  We think that we need to bind ourselves to family or friends as a way to hold off the darkness.

2 – Fear of Being Alone

These fears only reinforce the basic fear of being alone.  And this fear is what the ego has done to us.  We thought that we wanted separation from God, independence when we were strong and healthy, but when bad days come we want protection above all.  Is this any way to live a life?  A life in fear of what may come?

3 – Faith

Neither A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love says much about faith.  Faith is simply assumed, for we are told in ACIM that the Universal Inspiration, the Holy Spirit, will protect us; and we are told in ACOL that Christ-consciousness will offer all that we might want in this life and the life beyond.  We are meant to commune with God.  We are told that we have taught ourselves the unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator, and He knows that His children sleep, and need to be awakened (ACIM paraphrases).  He knows that His channels are closed (ACIM tenet), and He would reopen communication with us as willing recipients of His guidance.

4 – The Future

Do not waste one moment in fear of what the future brings.  God has never failed to provide, regardless of what dangers we have lived through, or what disasters we have experienced.  Sometimes those of us who have suffered the most are actually the most grateful to God for the life that they have lived.  So know that He is always watching over us, as little children are told.  We have not outgrown the need to know that God Himself looks out for us and looks over us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It sounds counterintuitive to say that we don’t need to bank together for safety.  But You are the only safety that I need, the only safety that I want.  Help me to know that I will always be safe, regardless of how alone I might be.  You are there.  And that is all that I need to know.

Be with us as we form true bonds with other people.  These will be bonds of service, not use of other people.  We do not need to form bonds out of fear of the unknown, but because we love one another.  And that is all that we need to do–just love one another.  And then Your protection is readied.

Thank You.

Amen.

Memories

“While you will not realize it at first, because you have no experience but only memory of feeling yourself in such a way, you will eventually realize that the memories you recall of the spirit of others include memories that are your own, memories that are of your own Self.  For no spirit exists that is not part of you, or you of it.  (A Course of Love, 13.8)”

Affirmation:  “My brothers and sisters are one with me.”

Amazing-Van-Gogh-Paintings-dining roomReflections:

1 – Our Spirits Are One

We, our Selves, have no experience, at least now, of the fact that our spirits are one with others.  We do have memories of a time when we knew this.  And this time reaches backwards to a time beyond time, beyond hope of remembrance, except that God intervene.  This idea is alluded to also in A Course in Miracles.  But there it says that the time is past all hope of remembrance, and here we are told that the memory can return.  So there is some conflict between the two ideas.

2 -Unite with Our Spirit

How might we understand this conflict?  Our remembrance, as described in ACIM, is part of our experience, and ACOL clearly says that we can remember the experience of oneness with others.  But there is a part of us, in our spirit, that does lock away the memory.  And  when we come closer to a union with our spirit in everyday life, we will have memories that have heretofore been excluded from us.

3 – Self/Christ

Our Self is the Christ that we all share, and when God has reached down and lifted us up (a metaphor), we will know Awakening (as called in A Course in Miracles) or Christ-consciousness (as called in A Course of Love).  No spirit is alone.  All are part of the one Christ spirit, and that is how we can understand our kinship with Jesus.

4 – Jesus

Traditional Christianity avoids the issue of whether we can have what Jesus had–the Christ embodied, although the New Testament clearly points to the fact that he indicates that there is nothing that he has that we will not one day have as well.  ACIM and ACOL make this similarity conclusive; we are one with Jesus, once we, like him, have walked the whole pathway back to God.  And, because he walked it first, he will help us, and he will clear our imperfections that otherwise we would not be able to alter (an ACIM tenet).

5 – A Great Promise

What a great promise today’s passage offers to us!  May we not forget to offer our gratitude to God for such a glorious plan of salvation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would welcome memories to my mind today.  I know that it is possible to recall that which has been hidden to me until today, because Jesus says so in this passage, and I trust him.  May I put aside all temperamental thoughts and actions that would negate this great promise, this great blessing.  Be with me as I seek to walk Your way today.

Help us to recognize that the memories that we hold of others include ourselves.  We are not alone in this.  There is a definite joining of minds, and therefore spirits, one with another.  May I sense this today.  And may I give up all attack thoughts, for these are separating, and they, as well, will be felt by the people whom I encounter.

Be with our walk today, as always.  And thank You.

Amen.

Love Others and Thereby See the Self

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Forgiveness of Our Brother/Sister

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

2 – Adverse Happenings

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

3 – See Our Self

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

4 – Perception

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

5 – Insane Behavior

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

The Reason for Unhappiness

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

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

Reflections:Woman in a Boat - renoir

1 – Joining, Not Separation

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

2 – Spending Time with God

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

2 – Joining in Onwness

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

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

Amen.

A Separated Self Is an Illusion

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

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

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

1 – Separation

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

2 – Did We Separate from God?

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

3 – Union

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

4 – We Have Not Separated

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

5 – A Better Day

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

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

Amen.

End the Charade

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

Reflections:

1 – Independence

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

2 – We Need Union

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

3 – Interdependent

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

4 – Union

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

5 – Joining in One

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Union

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

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

Reflections:

1 – What Does “Union” Mean?

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

2 – The All = God

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

3 – No Conflict

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

4 – Need to Love

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Be Reassured Today

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Excuses

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

2 – Jesus

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

3 – Pray

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

4 – Not Alone

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

5 – The Way Will Be Shown to Us

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

6 – Needs of Ourselves and Others

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Banishing Fear

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

Affirmation:  “I choose love.”

Reflections:

1 – Separate and Alone

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

2 – Brothers and Sisters

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

3 – Banishing Fear

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

4 – Independence

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Where Is Heaven?

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

2 – Relationships

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

3 – Holy Day

And see if the day does not turn holy indeed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Peace = Enjoyment of Rain and Sun Alike

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Tranquility in Tough Times

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

2 – “Perfectly Calm and Quiet” Good?

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

3 – Judge Not the Negative

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

4 – Being with Our Brothers/Sisters

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Eyes of Love See Not Misery nor Despair

“There is not a soul that walks this earth that does not weep at what it sees.  Yet the Christ in you does not weep, for the Christ in you sees with eyes of love.  The difference is the eyes of love see not the misery or despair.  They are not there!  This is the miracle.  The miracle is true seeing.  Think not that love can look on misery and see love there.  Love looks not on misery at all.  (A Course of Love, 2.10)”

Affirmation:  “The Christ in me does not weep.”

Reflections:

1 – The Illusory World

A Course of Love does not elaborate on the sometimes confusing statement made here, “They [misery and despair] are not there!”  Given the theology of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, I think that we are here to view the misery and despair that we observe as being illusory–not real.  ACIM is particularly keen on this interpretation.

2 – Need for Compassion

This conclusion does not mean that we lack compassion, nor that we fail to offer compassion to ourselves and to our brothers and sisters who are in need.  We know that bad things happen in our illusory world, and these bad things certainly can indeed bring pain and suffering.  The pain does not turn into suffering, though, if we acknowledge clearly enough to our beleaguered minds that what we are experiencing is not real.  We can be healed in many ways, and sometimes we are not “healed” physically, but emotionally.  Yet we are assured by Jesus that healing will always be accepted when the individual is ready for it.  (He does not state whether or not he is speaking of physical or emotional healing.)  I think it is best that we take Jesus at his word, even when we are incapable of fully understanding.  He has shown us much in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love that have brought us out of the forest of discontent.  Surely we can trust him to lead us rightly in the matter of healing.

3 – The Other Side

Of course, most of us make the transition to a better world in death through an illness of some type.  And so, in these cases, our healing is a graduation ceremony, for nobody believes that he/she takes his/her infirmities to the next world (the Other Side).

4 – See with the Heart

Still this passage may appear confusing.  How can love not look on misery at all?  We have physical eyes that see, but my interpretation is that Jesus would have us look with our hearts, and with our hearts we love.  We do not judge ailments as something real.  We know that the love that we feel in our hearts is the only truly real aspect of this sometimes difficult world in which we find ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see with my heart today, recognizing that the misery that I feel or that I see if illusory, because this whole world is illusory.  May we find the real world today, inwardly, so that our joy might be complete.

May my heart be soothed as I begin this day.  May Your blessings abound, and may I not forget to thank You for those blessings.

Be with me throughout this long day.  May I put aside my own contribution to any misery that I feel, knowing that to focus on it is to make it seem more real.  And the misery is not real.  Thank You for the knowledge of this truth.

Amen.

Disengage from Meaningless Conflict

“To strive for that which has value is what this course  is about.  It has nothing to do with struggle.  You think also that to leave struggle behind, to disengage from the conflict of this world that causes it, is to turn your back on the real world and all that has meaning in it.  In this you think correctly.  . .This desire to engage in struggle has nothing to do with your sense of responsibility and duty.  It is merely your ego’s attempt to involve you in distractions that keep you from your real responsibility.  (A Course of Love, 1.14)”


Affirmation:  “May I strive to do Your Will today.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego’s Struggles

We all have struggled long and hard for accomplishments in this world.  But Jesus would say that, in all likelihood, most of those struggles were instigated by the ego (an interpretation, not state in ACOL).  So, having given up the ego (or in the process of doing so), we do not have any reason whatsoever to “struggle” anymore.  The suffering entailed won’t buy us anything that we want.  So what is the difference between struggling and striving?

2 – Striving

Strive is, bottom line, more compassionate to ourselves.  It is also a more positive attitude.  A Course of Love does not want our sacrifice of ourselves for the “good” of somebody else (an ACOL tenet).  Sacrifice is never called for, according to ACOL.

3 – Guidance

But we will continue to strive to help, and it will not feel like work to do so.  We have guidance.  We are on the road to Christ-consciousness.  We have entered the time of Christ, and we are exiting from the guidance of the Holy Spirit (on which we depended mightily while studying A Course in Miracles).

4 – Christ-Consciousness

Very likely this transition to Christ-consciousness will not happen suddenly, though this sudden transformation is also a possibility.  We will see glimpses of Awakening before we sustain Awakening.  Let us ask for a glimpse today.  Elsewhere in ACOL Jesus encourages us to ask for a miracle, one that would put our minds at rest, one that would provide certainty that we are not alone.  Perhaps today is the day for us to ask for a glimpse of Awakening, for we can ask for miracles any day.  They are our birthright.  If you can conceive of the miracle happening, then indeed it can happen.  Do not be foolish about this recommendation, but do look inwardly before you ask.  We may all be surprised with what we are guided to request.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave behind the fruitless struggles of this world.  But may I remember my brothers and sisters who need my assistance.  To disengage from conflict is to drop the ego–nothing more.  I would strive when led to do so, but I would not struggle again.

This world is a place of struggle, and joining others in struggle does not help them.  We need to realize why this is so, and perhaps the passage for today will guide us in our interpretations.

Help us to have good days always.  If there are things that need to change in our lives, may we strive to change them.  But otherwise, let us be mindful of the needs of ourselves and  others, and seek to answer those needs without struggle.  Without the ego.

Amen.

How Might We Become Complete?

“The goal of this world is for you to stand on your own, complete within yourself.  This goal will never be reached, and only when you give up trying to reach it can you begin to learn anything of value.  You are complete only within God, where you endlessly abide.  Striving to be that which you can never be is the hell you have created.  (A Course of Love, 1.13)”

Affirmation:  “I would depend on God, my Father.”

Reflections:

1 – “Complete within Yourself”

This passage from A Course of Love builds upon the passage from yesterday’s posting, “Are You Loveless and Alone?”  The passage gives a strong warning that we would not actually strive for that which this world encourages:  “complete within yourself.”  This is not a natural way to be.  It is full of stress and pressure, and it ignores the fact that we are in a world filled with our brothers and sisters, to whom we are meant to reach out–to help them and to help ourselves.

2 – Complete Only in God

We are complete only in God, as this passage says.  He is our completion.  And, with Him and our brothers and sisters, we are part of the All.  When we strive to be that which it is not in our nature to be, we make our own hell.  And we are very unhappy in this hell that we have made.

3 – “Make” and “Create”

A Course in Miracles keeps separate the idea of what we “make,” as opposed to what God “creates.”  But A Course of Love is not so careful about this terminology.  Here the passage says that we have “created” the hell in which we live.  Perhaps we may loosen up a bit about the terminology that we use.  Both terms, “make” and “create,” still keep us in hell, until we turn back to what is natural to use as Co-Creators with God.

4 – Independence

We need to give up the goal of independence, a word that is implied but not used in this passage.  We need to stop trying to be “complete within” ourselves.  We can never reach such a goal, and we will find happiness only when we give up trying.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I learned a long time ago that I would never be complete as long as I tried to be super-independent.  When my ego ruled, I thought that this independence was the epitome of right living.  How wrong I was!  Of course, You know that I remembered You, but I even thought that you wanted me to be independent of my family, and because I was shy and introverted, I had a small, though close, circle of friends.

How different life is now that I have learned from Jesus what a mistake it is to seek to be so independent!  We are meant to serve and to be served.  We are meant to help others, and they in turn will help us.  We are meant to reach out.

Once I started reaching out, life settled down for me.  Thank You.  This passage, written long after I learned from You that I would live best if I reached out, does say the same thing in different words.  Maybe Jesus was my companion then, unrecognized (and feared) by me at the time.

We learn as we grow in Your grace.  Help us all to live a bit more interdependently today.  And may we know the truth of the passage for today from A Course of Love.

Thank You for still being there for me in the years that the ego ruled.

Amen.

Are You Loveless and Alone?

“Those who are seen as loveless and alone in the world are those you find to be the objects of your pity.  Yet you do not realize that this is the state your ego has you endlessly striving to achieve.  (A Course of Love, 1.13)”

Affirmation:  “Let my ego wither away.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego and Self-Sufficiency

The ego wants us to, somehow, make ourselves self-sufficient.  We know this, if we stop to think.  Has not much of our adjustment to society included the desire to be independent–first, from our parents, and later on, from almost anyone else as well.  Our egos have prized independence.  But is this natural?

2 – In Relationship to All

It is not natural to be “independent,” separate from God and our brothers and sisters.  We are meant to be in relationship to all.  In union with all and in relationship to all.  We think that we want love, but on our own terms–to give and to receive when we are willing.  Sometimes we agree to separate, and then to meet again when it is convenient to us (from the ACIM Manual).  But love almost never turns out well this way.

3 – The Ultimate Independence

If we realized that the ultimate of independence would be being “loveless and alone,” then we would not prize the independence so much.  We would see its failures in our own lives.  And independence has failed mightily, most of the time.

4 – Being Cared For

Our ego has tried to make us feel guilty for wanting others to sometimes take care of us.  But this caretaking is a two-way street most of the time.  We can help others as well, at least until our oldest old age is reached.  And we dread that day with a passion, though we would not die too early, unless we are driven to distraction by depression.

5 – Communicate with God

So let us not strive for independence, knowing that a failure to communicate with our Creator is most unnatural (from A Course in Miracles).  God is always there to help.  And He is eagerly leading us toward Christ-consciousness, which will be a strength that will show us when to turn to others and when to turn to God alone.

5 – Let’s Take Heed

Let us take heed today, and not strive for the independence that will leave us “loveless and alone.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that I have rarely felt “loveless and alone,” though I have been known to cry into journal pages that seemed to indicate that.  Thank You that those days seem far behind me now, with You as my Mainstay.  Your blessings are the joys of my life, as they would be for anyone.  When one love exits from a life, another enters.  When one door closes, another farther down the pathway opens.  You do not wish us to be loveless and alone.

Whey do we prize independence so much?  Some of us may do so out of shyness, but we are never truly happy when we cut ourselves off from our brothers and sisters.  We are, I feel, not meant to be alone.  Some of us are more introverted, but a certain degree of love asks that we invite others into our heart.

Be with me on this lovely day.  I thank You for the knowledge that we are not meant to be solitary creatures in a lonely world.  We are meant to reach out.  And, when we do, the heavens open for us.  

Thank You.

Amen.

Answer to Call for Help Comes Unfailingly

“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.  (M-17.3)”

Affirmation:  “May the Holy Spirit tell me what to say today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Holy Spirit’s Part

This brief passage for today does not mention the Holy Spirit, but that is the context in which the passage occurs.  And the Holy Spirit will specifically tell us what to say:  “. . .this answer will enter the teacher’s mind unfailingly.”  What a blessing this is!  If only we can believe, and indeed many of us can.

2 – Shabby Self-Image

Sometimes we get an indication of what to say that is embarrassing to us (from the Manual).  We need to be willing to let go of this “shabby self-image” (quotation from the Manual), and go ahead and say the words.  Jesus says that these “embarrassing” words will be far wiser than our own.

3 – Ego

May we have the strength to offer the words that come to us, if we are sure that they are not hurtful.  The Holy Spirit would never offer words to us that are hurtful, but the ego might.  And we sometimes do make mistakes in believing that the Holy Spirit is speaking when the speaking is actually coming from the ego.  (Interpretations, not stated in ACIM.)  We are not above making mistakes, though we may be tempted to think otherwise.  The ego is very wily.

4 – Be Quiet and Listen

But Jesus would not have us in conflict this way.  We will be shown the right words, the right way, if we quiet ourselves and then move in the direction of the leaning from the Holy Spirit.  If we are quiet and peaceful about the decision of what to say, we are more likely to be right, to have heard the Holy Spirit accurately.

5 – Follow Guidance as Soon as Possible

If at first we don’t do the bidding of the Holy Spirit, let us do that bidding as soon as we can get ourselves to act.  Sometimes we are walking a given pathway with a certainty that is misguided, and it is hard to turn on a dime.  But turn on a dime we must, and as soon as we can get our stubborn wills to cooperate.

6 – The Outcome is Joy and Peace

We will say to our brothers and sisters what the Holy Spirit wants said.  Then we will know both joy and peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Give me Your guidance, through the Holy Spirit, as I seek to help my brothers and sisters, and myself, today.  You would never lead me astray, but the ego’s wily ways might confuse me.  May I not know confusion today.  May the words that I say to others, and to myself, be right on target with Your will.  Make this happen, almost beyond myself, please.  

I ask You to stay with me if the words seem embarrassing.  I have felt this aspect of guidance, but carried out saying the words, and even then I was still embarrassed.  My self-image was not the best at the time, and so I know that this was the “shabby self-image” of which Jesus speaks.  I would leave that image behind, as I move into the Christ-consciousness that You would provide for me, when the time is right.

Help me to reach others today who may need to hear words of comfort.  May I remain calm and peaceful, even in the midst of any brewing storm.  And thank You for the blessings of this day already received.

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.

Oneness = Only Non-Dream

“Unity alone is not a thing of dreams.  And it is this God’s teachers acknowledge as behind the dream, beyond all seeming and yet surely theirs.  (M-12.6)”

Affirmation:  “unity”

Reflections:

1 – We Are All One

We are all One, with each other and with God.  This is the understanding of unity that I take from an interpretation of A Course in MiraclesA Course of Love similarly stresses unity also, as well as relationships with our brothers and sisters.

2 – Elements of the Real World

We are caught in a dream (ACIM tenet), an illusion.  But there are elements of reality, the real world, in what we experience.  And unity, as well as relationship, are elements of the real world.  We will experience unity and relationship to a much greater extent when we have experienced Awakening.

3 – Unity Is behind the Dream

If we know that unity is behind the dream, we have ample reason to rest easy.  There is nothing that we need to worry about.  God is underneath all, and we are His children.  The unity is behind all “seeming,” as we are told here, and we do not have to worry about “seeming.”  We are protected.

4 – Harold Kushner

What about the bad things that happen to “good” people, as Harold Kushner has said in his book by the same title?  We are told in the Workbook that healing always occurs when it is asked for, but there may be lingering symptoms and we may not be ready to accept the healing.  These are hard passages to understand, because we are bidden not to deny inappropriately, but still to realize that the continuance of symptoms does not mean that healing has not occurred.  The healing will be there when we are ready to accept it.

5 – Healing Is Always Here

And there is both emotional healing and physical healing, and sometimes the emotional is the most important.  That is the ultimate truth of ACIM, that healing is always here.  We may be right with God with an emotional healing.  Moreover, the illness for which we seek healing may be the individual’s way to die.  It may not be appropriate in such cases to cry for a healing.  Most of us in today’s world do choose to leave for the Other Side through an illness or disease.  Advanced teachers of God, we are told in ACIM, may just lay their body aside when its usefulness is over, but not everybody is advanced–yet.  Time, which does not really exist, separates the student from the teacher.  So all will reach the Awakening eventually, though that time may take millions of years (just as the separation also extended over millions of years).  (These latter points are paraphrases from the Text.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I revel in Your goodness today.  This day has started so well, and I pray that this will continue.  When I am reassured that healing is always an aspect of our life on earth, then I am reassured also that no matter what comes, all is well.  Be with my significant others.  Thank You that as of today, everybody close to me is well.  And may my faith not be shaken if this is not always the experience that I have.

We live in a dream, but unity is not a thing of dreams.  We live in unity, as One with each other, and in relationship, as we experience the various parts of ourselves that others embody.  Help me to carry this paradox in my mind and heart.  Be with me as a I seek to convey these paradoxes to other people.  May the intuitive truth light upon the minds and warm the hearts of the individuals who read this blog.  

Amen.

All Cause of Sorrow Disappears

ACIM Workbook Lesson 195 – for Saturday, July 14, 2012

Affirmation:  “Love is the way I walk in gratitude.”

“Gratitude is a lesson hard to learn for those who look upon the world amiss.  The most that they can do is see themselves as better off than others.  And they try to be content because another seems to suffer more than they.  How pitiful and deprecating are such thoughts!  For who has cause for thanks while others have less cause?  And who could suffer less because he sees another suffer more?  Your gratitude is due to Him alone Who made all cause of sorrow disappear throughout the world.  (WB372)”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Compare

We would be wise not to compare ourselves to others.  There will always be those who seem to have more, as well as seem to have less.  This practice of comparison is not a good practice that could ever lead us to a sane mind.

2 – Cooperation

We need cooperation, not competition, in our world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  And in cooperation we find the gratitude due our brothers and sisters that is so lacking when we are competing with them for the “top” spot in our world.  We find ourselves loving each other more when we cooperate toward a common good.  We do not find ourselves in a loving mood when we are competing.

3 – Public Schools

Even the public school system is learning this truth.  Research in educational circles has been going on for a quarter of a century, and more, that recommends “cooperative learning” in our schools.  It is conceivable that this wide-based endeavor will turn out very different young adults than in our generation.  Our world needs a new system, and perhaps cooperative learning and living will emerge in the next generation.  (These ideas are not discussed in ACIM or in A Course of Love.)

4 – Pity Is Unworthy

It is particularly unworthy if we simply look with pity on another’s suffering, and use that situation to be glad that we too are not suffering that much.  Surely we ought to do what we can to lighten another’s load, and turn suffering into joy.  Surely we ought not to doubt the results of a healing when symptoms still seem evident (a Manual tenet).  But we need to recognize that, however lamentable, the suffering is not real (a Manual tenet).  It is an illusion, however much it may seem real to us or to the sufferer himself/herself.  The real Self (the “Christ” in us) has not been harmed.  Our task now is to move beyond suffering and to turn it back, if need be, simply into pain that would be avoided.

5 – Sickness as a Way of Life

Not everyone is ready for this change.  Some use sickness as a way of life, and a sudden healing might precipitate depression so deep that one would want to commit suicide (from the Manual).  So healing has to wait.  But we cannot doubt that a healing will be accepted when the individual is ready.  This can be either physical or emotional healing, and perhaps the emotional is the most important.

6 = With Grateful Eyes

Let us look with grateful eyes on our brothers and sisters, and let us help them, with more kindness, through their journey.  What better way to spend our day?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do feel grateful today for my many blessings.  I would feel more gratitude than is usual for me, for this lesson today is a reminder of how much we owe to You.  Be with me today as I walk through this world.

May I never use sickness to get me something that I want.  Nothing needs to be used in such a way.  I would not feel pity for those less fortunate, though I would try to help my brothers and sisters in need.  Show me what to do and say.

Thank You.

Amen.

How to Strengthen the Holy Spirit in You

“The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the Universe of which it is a part.  It is strengthened by being given away.  It increases in you as you give it to your brother.  Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur.  (T78)”

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit is strengthened by being given away.”

Reflections:

1 – Live ACIM

This is a passage with deep meaning.  It suggests that we do not have to get our brothers and sisters to study the Course before they will derive great meaning from it.  They will derive that great meaning by our own living out of the principles of the Course.

2 – Set a Good Example

We have long taught in our world that one’s example is the best teacher.  Living what one says is far superior to giving the words.  Any parent knows this.  And if our words conflict with our living out of the words, the individual we are affecting will look to our behavior first of all.  We do a great disservice to Jesus if we study the Course and then do not live its principles among our most significant others.

3 – Strengthening the Idea of the Holy Spirit

When we give away our understanding of the Holy Spirit, we enrich our brothers and sisters.  The idea of the Holy Spirit is strengthened.  And they do not have to even be aware of what we are doing.

4 – A Miracle

Jesus calls this sharing of the Holy Spirit a “miracle.”  It will indeed seem so as we see our brothers and sisters more loving and peaceful, just by the fact that we are trying to share our understanding of the Course with them.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I share my understanding of the Course and the Holy Spirit, silently, with my brothers and sisters.  May I especially share this understanding with those most close to me.

We will bless our brothers and sisters by our own understanding.  May I not try to get anybody else to follow my way, but by my own following of it, may I lead others to You.

Amen.

Do Not Isolate Yourself

“Salvation is a collaborative venture.  It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me.  (T69)”

Affirmation:  “Salvation is collaborative”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Isolate Yourself

We are not meant to isolate ourselves in this world–even to study the Course.  We are meant to stay in the world ,and to minister to our brothers and sisters.  Our brothers and sisters are the Sonship.  (Note:  Scribed in the sixties, A Course in Miracles uses the same masculine terminology that the Bible does, but in the sixties, the masculine gender was recognized by everyone as including both genders, male and female.)

2 – Let Jesus In

Jesus, in this passage, indicates how important it is that he be a part of our lives.  This is his wish, but it is not mandatory.  Indeed, Helen and Bill were reluctant, when introducing the Course, to tell their listeners that their considered opinion was that the speaker was Jesus.  They knew how foreign this would sound to some hearers of the new message.

3 – Jesus as Elder Brother

Jesus can do more for us if we consider him a friend, an elder brother.  He speaks at one point of how we can imagine him holding our hand as we walk along, and he indicates that this will be no “idle fantasy.”  We cannot understand how this is possible, but we can take him at his word and see if it does not appear that he is with everyone who gives an insistent call.  He will come at the first “unequivocal” call (from the Text).

4 – The Consequences of Withdrawal

When we withdraw for too long, we also withdraw from Jesus.  And we cannot do that, because he and the Holy Spirit are our guides to better living.  He is the elder brother who catches us when we fall, and the Holy Spirit is the inner guide that leads us every step of the way–guidance.

5 – Salvation for Ourselves AND Others

Surely we do not want to disengage from Jesus.  So this passage has a warning for those of us who would seek our own salvation and not frequently enough think of the Sonship.  The two go hand-in-hand.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I am tempted to withdraw, help to remember my contribution to my brothers and sisters.  They need me, as I need them.  Salvation lies in our relationship.

May I learn from the Course with careful study, and then may I take that learning into the world.  This is the solution that will work for the world and for me.

Amen.

Our Mission Is Very Simple

“My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way.  Your mission is very simple.  You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.  (T68)”

Affirmation:  “Jesus does not choose God’s channels wrongly.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego

Jesus seeks to bring us to him in these well-chosen words.  He assures us that he is certain that we will live without the ego, that we will first live as though we are without an ego.

2 – Mission Substantial

We have a substantial mission in this world.  We are one of “God’s channels.”  We are meant not to find our way Home ourselves, but also to facilitate the coming Home of our brothers and sisters.  Jesus’s faith in us in intense, because he knows that the only way that this world can work is if we do our part to reform the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters–not to speak of our own.  When we do this, all will be well.

3 – Proselytize?

This injunction from Jesus does not mean that we aggressively proselytize.  In A Course in Miracles, he states that some are ready only for a smile.  And so we turn off others if we try to interest them in “our” way–A Course in Miracles–prematurely.  We do not want to turn others off.  We seek to avoid the controversy of theology, as this is only dividing and a barrier between others and us.  We are best to seek help from guidance as often as we possibly can, because we are apt to become zealous in our approach if left on our own.  Jesus does not want us to strain to represent him in this world.  The easy and natural approach will always work best (an interpretation, not stated directly in ACIM).

4 – No Call to Specialness

“I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.”  This is not meant to be a call to specialness.  All are chosen as God’s channels; all are meant to return Home.  And Jesus says elsewhere that all will return, though it may happen over millions of years.  This is not cause for despondency, because we have Jesus as our elder brother every step of the way.  Our own way will lighten immeasurably as we learn to put into practice the dictates of the Course.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help me to realize that I am a channel for God.  However many mistakes I make, still is this true.  Thank you.

May I take up my mission in this world.  To do so, I need to live as though I am without ego.  Help me to relinquish the ego, and to take my place in the salvation of this world.

I know that when the ego rears its head, I am unhappy.  This is my clue that I have gotten off my pathway to You.  Please guide me gently back home.

Amen.

Misery (Ego) vs. Joy (Spirit)

“I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit.  You have taught yourself the opposite.  You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?  (T68)”

Affirmation:  “joy comes with spirit”

Reflections:

1 – The Egotistical Fails to Satisfy

We are used to the ego; we do not think its dictates strange.  But we can realize, if we reflect a little, that egotistical longings have not brought the happiness that we sought through fulfilling those longings.  There must be a better way.

2 – Ordinary Daily Life Satisfying

At this juncture we can see where Jesus is heading.  The ordinariness of everyday life is where the real satisfactions lie.  This, almost paradoxically, is where the joy of the spirit lies.  When we experience this joy, we will be much more inclined to give up the ego in favor of something better.

3 – Read ACIM Frequently

How do we do that?  Reading the Course, really studying it, will take us a very long way.  It is the means that lead to the ultimate revelation of the Awakening.  We can truthfully rarely find anything better to do.  But this does not mean withdrawing from the world.  Our salvation rests in our relationship to our brothers and sisters in the world.  That is, in fact, the means that the Course is using to bring us Home.

4 – Holy Relationships

We are in joy and in Heaven when we are at peace with our brothers and sisters in this world.  We are in joy and in Heaven when we have holy relationships that have brought us home.  May we always remember that the joys of the spirit are much superior to the egotistical “joy” that comes to us from egotistical motives.  We need to drop the competition that the ego fosters and walk home to God through the love that we hold for others in our world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you for the joys of everyday life.  I do not seek the thrills associated with the ego, because they are not lasting, and ultimately they bring unhappiness.

May I turn to the Course more and more often, knowing that, as I do, I will meet You there.  May I drop the miseries of the ego and walk into the joys of the spirit.

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.

Need the Last Judgment Be a Fearful Prospect?

“The Last Judgment is generally thought of as a procedure undertaken by God.  Actually it will be undertaken by my brothers with my help.  It is a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment, however much you may think that punishment is deserved.  (T34)”

Affirmation:  “The Last Judgment. . .a final healing”

Reflections:

1 – The Last Judgment Is Healing

The Last Judgment is usually fraught with fear.  The way Jesus explains it, though, it is a healing, not an opportunity to determine if punishment is justified.

2 – Personal Experience

I once had a real phone conversation  in which I wondered later if I had been hypnotized during it.  For six months later, I seemed to remember, through admitted fantasy, that I had been asked questions that were akin to a Last Judgment.  Of course, I was reading A Course in Miracles at the same time that this experience happened.  And it is possible that I imagined the whole experience, much as in a waking dream that John Keats wrote poetry about in the early Nineteenth Century.  From this distance in time, there is no way to know, for I am not in touch with the individual in the phone conversation.  But I do wonder.  Was this fantasy a real example of the “brothers” of Christ conferring the Last Judgment on one who seemed ready, being at the time in a vulnerable state of mind?

3 – Brothers Working with Jesus

There is an indication here of our “brothers,” working with Jesus, to carry out the Last Judgment.  There are no other indications in the Course of what Jesus meant, aside from the tenet that our brothers are our way home, that we learn through our holy relationships.
4 – An Understanding for the Future

We must just accept the idea that Jesus puts forth in this passage, without being able, within the Course or without, to understand the message fully.  As time passes, perhaps we will come to understand.  It is perhaps in the final working out of the holy relationship that the Last Judgment actually takes place.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My I no more fear the Last Judgment.  I do not understand how my brothers will help with the Last Judgment, but I trust what Jesus has said.

I do not know if I was actually under hypnosis so long ago, when I imagined that I was asked question akin to a Last Judgment.  Perhaps I was so exhausted that I fell into a dream.  But, given this experience, I thank You for it.  The experience has led me to understand, somewhat, how the brothers of Jesus and myself could effect a Last Judgment.  It could happen just as Jesus says in this passage, and for that I am grateful to You.

Be with me now as I seek to join in sharing with my brothers and sisters, to love them, and to avoid fear and judgment.  These aspects of the truth are paramount as we move farther along in the way pointed out by Jesus.  Thank You for this revelation, coming to us now, now that we are all ready.  May the credo of A Course of Love influence my reading of A Course in Miracles, and point out the whole way back to You.

May I endeavor to have holy relationships with all of my brothers and sisters.  May this concept grow in time, and may I feel Your blessing on it.

Amen.

Wholly Worthy of Forgiveness

“But should one brother dawn upon your sight as wholly worthy of forgiveness, then your concept of yourself is wholly changed.  Your ‘evil’ thoughts have been forgiven with his, because you let them all affect you not. (T662)”

Affirmation:  “a brother wholly worthy of forgiveness”

Reflections:

1 – True Love = Forgiveness

If we have truly loved another, we have truly forgiven.  This brother is “wholly worthy of forgiveness,” and then we see that we too are wholly worthy of forgiveness.  How could it work another way?  Our significant others will know when we have incorporated this tenet into our lives.  Life will smooth out; we will not attack when we are stressed; we will love in a more demonstrative way.  And our significant others will respond to the new way that we are living, though they may not understand it, at least not yet.  Let them wonder, and when they ask what has caused the change in us, then is the time to share, over time, the tenets of A Course in Miracles.  Do not try to share before others are ready, or we will surely turn them off.  It is up to us to ask for guidance in this matter of sharing what we have learned.

2 – Our Real Self Is Not Hurt

It is best that we let no one hurt us, because in truth our Self has not been hurt (a tenet of A Course of Love).  If this emotion of healing seems too lofty a concept, then at least do not let a brother know that he has hurt us.  By feeling hurt and letting it be known, one believes that it is possible for illusions to bring suffering.  It is not necessary to learn through pain; this is a concept of A Course in Miracles.  The fact that we do learn through pain does not negate ACIM; it only means that we have misjudged ourselves.

3 – The Real World

Our reality has not suffered, has not known pain.  The real world of the Course makes this clear.  The illusion would not have it so–yet the reality knows the truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept deeply the truth that when one loves, one forgives.  If we have truly loved, we have truly known that the individual is forgiven of anything and everything that might have hurt us.  We need love only once to know this truth.

In the natural course of life, we love many others.  Our brothers and sisters are here for our love.  Thank You for letting us know that our special relationships need to turn into holy ones.  May You help me to do that in every instance, with every brother and sister who has ever crossed my path.  Thank You for the truth that this is indeed a very sane response, that no one has hurt me in the real world, and that my Self is still innocent of wrongdoing.  It is only in time that I have “sinned,” and time does not really exist.  May I come to live in Your eternity more and more.

Thank You for the peace that You have granted me today.  I know that You would have me feel this peace each day.  It is only the remnants of my ego that prevent me from the serenity that You wish for me, a serenity that would be permanent.

Amen.