Tag Archives: Cause and Effect

Self Unharmed

Why does karma exist? It is the old law of cause and effect, an immutable law of the universe from which a loving God does not exclude us. This law is largely the reason that God is seen as cruel. We make mistakes, and suffer the (bad) consequences, and then we blame God for not saving us from ourselves! Yet how else could the universe operate? If we are ever to lift ourselves out of madness, we must learn what works and what doesn’t. Only by learning this well can we ever hope to be co-creators with God. If He were to alter magically the illusions in which we have encased ourselves, we would never find our way out of the mists.

It is true, according to the Course, that what we do is illusion. It is a game a child might play, a playing of pretend that will one day, when we have left our madness far behind, be the instigator of real effects. At this point we will have learned fully the “causes” that bring destruction upon us.

We must be firmly convinced that it is ourselves who are living in madness, not God. And even in this world God’s higher laws prevail. The principal higher law is activated by forgiveness, a forgiveness in which we acknowledge that our illusions of whatever nature, of whatever violence, have harmed no one. What has caused nothing can hardly need forgiveness, but as long as we think it does, we need the exercise of forgiveness. Attack is not a real cause, and therefore only illusory effects can result. One is always either expressing love, or calling for love, for Love is our identity, an identity in which we forgive our brother for what he has not done to us. As long as he thinks he has harmed us, though, we must show him that the perceived attack is of no consequence. The blood is but bottled catsup on a stage in which pain only seems real. Our Real Self has continued unabated and unharmed throughout the whole tumult.

Get the Madness Out

How do we let illusions recede? The world that the ego shows us is illusion indeed. The Course counsels that one need not even oppose the ego (which is to oppose illusions), suggesting that the illusions will go of their own accord when nothing opposes them. We welcome reality because it is true, because it opposes nothing and simply is. Would not we feel glad tidings if such could be our state of mind always?

We do get into trouble by fighting against reality and against God. It is He that we would fortify ourselves against. Doesn’t reason tell us that this looks like a losing battle? God is real, and He created our real selves, and would not have us hide forever in meaningless insanity.

This blessing—that God will find us—is the blessing hidden in the “unreality” we have made for ourselves. Ultimately, we cannot stay in a fog of uncertainty. Eventually we seek better answers, and God has “hidden” Reality in the depths of our hearts and minds, where we will surely find it if we but look. Eventually the sights and sounds of a chaotic world become too much for us, and we are thrown back to our inner depths, where God is. He waits only for this, and this alone is what he needs to turn us from madness. Yet we may look outward at a projected dream for many years. It is frequently only in turmoil that we are led to turn inward to our best resources, those resources found only in God.

Do not fight against the world, when events turn against us, and all seems lost. This is the turning point! This is what God has waited in great patience for us to find. He waits with great patience because He loves deeply, and He knows His creatures. Cause and effect will ultimately make untenable the world of madness. And He waits for that realization of another way, a better way, to dawn upon us. We do not have to seek blindly. Madness cannot keep this better way out of our saner mind. And we can “get the madness out” by simply choosing to look on our chaos and recognize, quietly, “This is not truth.” Sanity thus comes to the quiet mind. We need actively oppose nothing chaotic, for it will disappear when we withdraw our belief from it.

The Bible Gives Many References to the Immeasurable Gifts Which Are for You, but for Which You Must Ask.

“The Bible gives many references to the immeasurable gifts which are for you, but for which you must ask. This is not a condition as the ego sets conditions. It is a glorious condition of what you are. (T61)”

Affirmation: “immeasurable gifts are for me”

Reflections:

1 – Greedy?

Sometimes we feel greedy when we pray for something specific. This is not, however, the way of either the A Course in Miracles or the Bible. Here we see that asking is the way to receive. Actually, asking for something specific is the intended way for us to receive.

2 – Be Specific

If we are not specific, the Holy Spirit will need to lead our minds and hearts to know what it is that we really want. This takes additional time, time that we do not need to waste in such a fashion. If we want the “immeasurable gifts,” we need only ask. The Bible says, “Ask, and you will receive.” This glorious promise is in line with the teaching of the Course as well, as we see in this passage.

3 – What Gift?

What gift would you really like to have? If it is in line with our best interests, we can have it for the asking. Elsewhere Jesus points out that our Father does not give gifts that are not good to His children; He protects us from our own misunderstandings. So do not be afraid that you will ask amiss. Pray for His will, and the blessings will always be good.

4 – God’s Will and Our Real Will

The unspoken truth that the will of God and our real will is identical is implied in this passage:

“No force except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you. In this you are as free as God, and must remain so forever. (T61)”

5 – Imprisoned Will

Our will, though, becomes imprisoned when this will is placed in the hands of the ego. This imprisonment leads to terrible things, terrible pain. And ACIM says that when this pain becomes bad enough, we will be led to understand that there is another way. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not ascendant. We change our ways.

6 – Not Punishment – Cause and Effect

This is not punishment, but just the inexorable way of cause and effect. Jesus says a lot about cause and effect in ACIM, and he makes it very clear that he will not tamper with our mind’s choices until we see that a different way is called for. If he interfered with cause and effect, he would be tampering with a law of the universe, and this is not something that he would ever do.

7 – Joy

So we choose with our will. That will must be bent to the will of God eventually, knowing that that is what we really want. And the joy that we know when we have surrendered makes certain to our minds and heart that we have chosen correctly. We are free to choose, always. But ultimately, we will not choose to walk apart from God. All of us find our way home at last.

8 – No Preconditions

A side issue that is important to our study of A Course in Miracles is that we need not use our free will to put preconditions on God. He cannot even move to bring Awakening to us when we have closed off ourselves by preconditions. We don’t want to be made anxious, we don’t want to feel pain, we don’t want to have a scream of mortal terror when the light comes on. And when we study ACIM, we are promised that we will not have a scream of mortal terror when the dream ends and we awaken. The light will come on, and we will recognize that we are no longer dreaming of a light, but seeing a genuine light. And we will not fear.

9 – Mindfulness

“Let us ask the Father in my name to keep you mindful of His Love for you and yours for him. He has never failed to answer this request, because it asks only for what He has already willed. (T61)”

This is a plea that we remain open to God’s Love for us. There is no Force greater in the universe. And when we walk in Love’s way, we walk with a charmed life. We are joyous. We live in harmony. We do not suffer. Life is good, for we have found the secret.

10 – No Other Gods

“Those who call truly are always answered. Thou shalt have no other gods before Him because there are none. (T61)”

This passage is akin to the New Testament’s “Ask and ye shall receive.” We will receive answers to our questions, when we ask those questions of the Holy Spirit. Our problems will be solved, for the solution is always with the problem. So we need not wait long, unless we think (erroneously) that we have a long wait. The actual truth is that God moves immediately when we ask the right questions. This harkens to the first passage in this posting, which emphasizes that we have to ask for things from God. He will, however, in my opinion guide our thinking so that we stay on track. He will guide our thinking so that we know the right questions to ask.

11 – Gentle Way Home

This way home is gentle. The light comes on, but we do not scream. And Jesus is the companion who holds our hand on this walk.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help to realize that asking for Your gifts is not greedy. And I must ask if I am to receive. Guide my asking in line with Your will.

May the Holy Spirit inform my choice about what to ask for. Then may I thank You for those manifold blessings.

May today go well, because it starts off well. May I keep my mind and heart positive, full of Your grace. May I know that any and all problems have a solution, right with the problem. And may I open myself to find the solution to anything that troubles me.

Amen.

I Am Not the Victim of the World I See. I Have Invented the World I See.

impressionist paintings1 – There Is No World!

A Course in Miracles stresses repeatedly that we live in a dream, that this world is illusory. And in support of this idea comes the assertion that projection makes perception. So all that we experience comes from within ourselves. There is no world! (This is an ACIM declaration.) Now the following passage repeats this idea in slightly different words:

“You will escape from both [the inner and the outer world] together, for the inner is the cause of the outer. (WB31)”

2 – Projection Makes Perception

If our inner world makes our outer (what we have been learning), then it behooves us to transform our inner to loving concepts. Fear in the inner world will make the outer world seem fearful to us. And when the ego is reigning within, we have little choice but to view an outer world that scares us.

3 – ACIM’s Purpose
We would not have it thus. Nobody would, if they knew what to do to change things. And with ACIM, we are learning the means to Awakening the transformative experience that will make all the difference.

4 – Useful Idea

“The idea for today [“I am not the victim of the world I see”] is also a particularly useful one to use as a response to any form of temptation that may arise. It is a declaration that you will not yield to it, and put yourself in bondage. (WB31)”

We are in control of our destinies. Our world is what we want it to be, once we have taken conscious control. Otherwise, we may be living with an imprisoned will, made that way because of the “tiny, mad idea” that changed us, that made the illusory separation from God. But many New Age writers have declared that we create our own reality. And ACIM says the same, though in this world ACIM uses the word “make” rather than “create.” We are not ready for true creation as long as we are in egoic clutches.

5 – We Invented This World

“Today we are continuing to develop the theme of cause and effect. You are not the victim of the world you see because you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want, it will not be there for you to see. (WB32)”

6 – Cause and Effect

Cause and effect can be a hard concept to wrap one’s mind around. But it is really very simple. It says that like creates like, and when we live in egotism, we make egotism in our outside world. Again, projection makes perception.

7 – Avoidance of This World

We do not want to see the world in which we have been living. But it is things of the spirit that will save us, not materialistic goods. Our reality is one that cannot be viewed by the seeing eyes. Our reality is the intangibles of God, his blessings of joy, peace, harmony, serenity, love.

8 – The Secret

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, has given me personally much room for thought. In this book and DVD, she and others say that we attract the world that we want. The first book in the series, The Secret does focus quite a bit on the material. But the second and third books in the series, The Power and The Magic, look to spiritual concepts of gratitude and love far more.

9 – Spiritual Concepts

It is to these spiritual concepts that I want to take our attention. We will never be satisfied for long with material goods. We will always want more, as long as those goods are coming to us to satisfy egoistic wants. But when we are grateful for the world in which we live, and when we love mightily, we have it in our power to transform the world that we see. And transformation is what we are after, if the truth be told.

10 – Apply Today’s Idea

“The idea for today [‘I have invented the world I see.’] should also be applied immediately to any situation that may distress you. Apply the idea by telling yourself: I have invented this situation as I see it. WB32)”

All of the passages from this Workbook lesson say much the same as what Rhonda Byrne is saying, and she has gotten a great deal of press in recent years. The concepts are making their way into the mainstream, much as have the concepts of ACIM. (Frequently entire books are written which set forth the philosophy of ACIM without ever crediting where the ideas have originated.)

11 – Change Your World

So, if we are not victims of the world we see, we can change that world. And let us seek to do so today. Let us get started. The world will continue on in its poor, downtrodden ways until we seek to make a change. It is not hard to change a thought that we wish to change. And the world is a thought, an idea.

Affirmation: “I am not the victim of the world I see.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May the world that I see today make a dramatic shift. May I see that this world is my own invention, that I am part of a mass hallucination. May I join others in the desire to make a better world that is not dependent on the physical eyes to see.

Be with me today. I long for an anxiety-free day, and I have much on my plate today. Help me to call upon You, to remember to call upon You, when I sense stress. You would not have me stressed. That is not Your way. Show me Your way today.

Amen.

Observe the Laws of Love

Ballet-Rehearsal,-1873 - degas
“Will those you love still suffer? Many may. But not with your help. Will many more, with your help, see an end to suffering? Many will. Will an end to suffering be what you work toward? No. This is not your work. This is not about your effort. This is about your observance. Your observance of the laws of love. Your observance is to remain with cause rather than to stray to effect, the manner of living practiced by those who have birthed the idea that cause and effect are one in truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 20.13)”

Affirmation: “I will observe the laws of love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Suffering Is an Effect

We are not, as our work, to seek to end suffering, because suffering is an effect, and we are not to stray to effect. But we are to live love, and in that pursuit of love will our mission be effected. We will seek the “observance” of love, and in that we will find peace and happiness. We will not reinforce the suffering of others, or of ourselves, by focusing on suffering. We will turn aside from the suffering, not in rejection, but in knowing that there is a better way, a way to learn through rewards. This does not mean that we will be blind to the tears of others, or of ourselves, but we seek to create the reality that we want, and we do not want suffering. To focus on suffering is to create that reality.

2 – Remain with Cause

We are to remain with cause, and the observance of love is a cause. The effect of failing to observe love may well be suffering, though this is in an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love.

3 – Cause and Effect

It is easy to get lost in discussions of cause and effect, but let us not do so today. Let us realize that love is the great cause of all good, and the absence of love brings an effect that is often suffering. We would not focus on this, for it not this that we want.

4 – Do Not Resist

Be there for each other. May all of us do this. May we be gentle with ourselves when we stray from our path and fall into suffering. May we be accepting of ourselves in such an instance, and then may we gently (also) turn aside from the suffering—not rejecting it, for this is resistance, and resistance creates that which it would resist. The best way is to turn to God (or the Holy Spirit, if following ACIM), and to commune with Him for a surcease of the suffering. He did not cause it, but He will help us to overcome. And then pain, perhaps, will remain, but the pain will have lost its sting.

5 – Observe Love

So observe love, and see what good comes of this. The benefits are great, and blessings, abundant.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

All will be well when I am consistently focused on love. What a traditional idea this is! But still of the essence of spirituality. Thank You for guiding me to this realization.

May I avoid reinforcing suffering, either in myself or in others. May I gently turn aside from suffering, though I do not turn aside from those who are suffering. It is not my purpose to try to end the suffering, but it is my purpose to offer solace without focusing on the suffering. Focus on living, and living in love, and the suffering is very likely to dissipate or to diminish markedly.

Be with those whom I love today. And may I turn some of that love on myself, for what I receive I am in a better position to give—for giving and receiving are one.

Amen.

Why We Took Physical Form

monet - bridge reflections2“There would be no need for form if there had been no desire for expression. Life is the desire to express outwardly what exists within. What I refer to so often here as being within, as if ‘within’ is a place in which something resides, is unity and it is the place where being resides. It is the place or realm of one heart and one mind. It is the place where everything already exists fully realized. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 3.3)”

Affirmation: “I would use my body for expression today.”

Reflections:

1 – This World

This passage for today emphasizes why we were born in this world at all–why eternal beings took physical form. It was for expression, and there ends the matter. We did have a “tiny, mad idea” that separated us from God (or so we thought, but not actually), and therein was the ego born (from A Course in Miracles). What expression did we wish if the ego had not been born? That would seem to be the Self/Christ toward which we are headed now. The Self/Christ that is not egoistic and that seeks within for all answers.

2 – One

We are One with all–one heart and one mind. We tend to forget this, even when we have walked a long way on the pathway.

3 – World Is a Projection

But we must not forget. We are One, and we are a part of God, who dwells within. We project the world from within, and we project a better world when we are dwelling in our Self/Christ.

4 – Fully Realized

What does it mean to say that within everything is “fully realized”? I think that it means that we are merely bringing forth what has always existed. A Course in Miracles indicates that we simply walk a pathway in reverse, retracing our steps. The end is certain, and that end is One with God. We do not have to suffer (though we feel pain in physical form), and we can turn inward for comfort always. Indeed, we must turn inward for comfort.

5 – Karma

The way that we express ourselves in physical form says a lot about our current state of mind and heart. If we hurt others, we ourselves will hurt. If we injure others, we ourselves will be injured. Cause and effect are real, and in that the law of karma is played out. As we give, we receive.

6 – Self Emerges

And the best gift is a full mind and heart, offered to God as our real Self/Christ within emerges.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would contemplate today why I would ever have chosen to be born in this world. It is reassuring that physical form is not to be rejected, but perhaps to be rejoiced upon. I would express myself in the way that You deem best. I would turn aside from egotistical thoughts, feelings, and actions, and instead let Your guidance run my life. You know best what I really want, for our wills are identical.

Be with me today as I walk through this world. If disappointments loom, then may I release on them immediately. There is no blessing greater than the way that You point out to me. And I thank You for this.

Amen.

Law of Karma

Monet-Irises-II-font-b-famous-b-font-hand-made-Oil-font-b-Paintings-b-font

“The laws of God or the laws of love can be summarized by the simple statement of giving and receiving being one in truth.  The implications of this statement are far broader than at first might seem indicated. . . .The most essential of these implications is that of relationship for giving and receiving cannot occur without relationship.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.11)”

Affirmation:  “Giving and receiving are one.”

Reflections:

1 – Giving and Receiving

We are very, very familiar with the truth that giving and receiving are one.  We are so familiar with this concept that we may have trouble understanding it anew.  But to give is to know that what we give will be returned to us in like manner.  We will receive that which we gave.  This is the old law of cause and effect, or of karma.  An Eastern concept, it is not often identified as such by Christianity, but it is indeed a principle of karma.

2 – Relationship

The emphasis in this passage is the fact of relationship.  Union and relationship are hallmarks of A Course of Love.  We are in relationship to All.  And in the All is the giving and the receiving.

3 – Special Transformed to Holy

We understand the most about this law of cause and effect, receiving and giving, in our most significant relationships.  If we have diligently followed A Course in Miracles, we will have morphed our special relationships into holy ones.  We know from our intimate relationships that when we treat our holy other with love, he/she returns in kind.  When we are attentive, we turn the relationship ever more into love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask to create for myself today only good karma, only good cause and effect, only good giving and receiving.  May my relationships transform, every one, into the holy.  May the specialness that we have all known in relationships be seen anew as a holiness that knows no bounds.

Thank You for leading me to understand that karma is at work in our lives, but in a more benign way than is usually believed.  You do not ever “punish” us.  We do that to ourselves.  May I make certain, within the bounds of my limited human mind, that I create only the good as I walk throughout this day.  Thank You for being with me, night and day, and thank You for Your perceived Presence.

Amen.

Fear Is a Call for Love

“If only attack produces fear, and if you see attack as the call for help that it is, the unreality of fear must dawn on you.  For fear is a call for love, in unconscious recognition of what has been denied. (T217)”

Affirmation:  “Fear is a call for love.”

Reflections:

1 – Improving Our Relationships

This passage will go a long way toward smoothing our relationships with each other.  If another attacks us, it is best if we can see it solely as a call for help.  If the attack unnerves us or makes us angry, we are only being fearful.  And, the passage says, we are calling for love.

2 – Love in ACIM

A Course in Miracles sees everything in our world as either an expression of love or a call for love.  If we can believe this, we will be led to forgive our brother, regardless of the form of attack that he might use.  (Note:  This includes our “sister.”)

3 – Fear = Feeling Unloved?

When we feel fear, we have felt unloved.   But this passage speaks of the “unreality of fear,” and this is an important point.  The overarching thought is that the world itself and all that happens in it, outside of love, is an illusion.  This is part of the worldview of ACIM.  When we can truly believe, and let ourselves be comforted by the passages that we read, we will turn loose our hold upon fear.

4 – Choosing Fear

Many of us have chosen fear because we knew no better.  Something went awry in our world, and this threatens us, and before we know it, we are consumed by anxiety.  Jesus would not have it thus.  He asks us to pray for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about (a Text tenet).  He indicates that he cannot resolve the fear, because cause and effect are real, our minds are real, and we have brought fear upon ourselves by not watching our minds closely enough.   Jesus believes that he would be tampering with a most basic law of the universe if he came between our minds and the fear that our minds have made.  Fear is not real, but it seems real to us.  Sometimes fear has a sufficient hold upon the mind that we must turn to magical means for solace.  These magical means are our physical medications, which Jesus does not deny us.  We should not try to heal with the mind if the mind is particularly vulnerable to the results of attack.  A temporary expedient may be needed, if the hold of fear on the mind is particularly tenacious.  (These are all paraphrases from the Text.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose to express love today, knowing that this is what You want.  You have no other advice, actually.  If we feel love and express that love, we will let fear fall away, and, with it, the ego.  The ego, a part of my belief about myself, has given me many anxious days and nights with troubled dreams.  I would leave aside all this nonsense immediately.  I give my all to You.

Be with me as I seek to follow Love’s pathway only.  When I slip back into old ego-oriented, anxious ways, help me to know that the best way, the only sane response, is to forego fear.  Why would I cling to something that has made me so unhappy?  It is only because I did not understand Your way well enough.  Help me to understand and to live Your way today.

Amen.

I Am an Effect of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 326 – for Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am forever an Effect of God.”

“. . .[A]ll Your attributes abide in me, because it is Your Will to have a Son so like his Cause that Cause and Its Effect are indistinguishable.  Let me know that I am an Effect of God, and so I have the power to create like You.  (WB464)”

Reflections:

1 – Cause and Effect in ACIM

The cause-and-effect section in the Text of A Course in Miracles is challenging to understand, perhaps more challenging than most other passages of the theology.  As part of the theology, understanding cause and effect is not absolutely necessary, because theology can delay us, and there is no universal theology.  I am much more interested in the practical that Jesus extols as being most important in ACIM.  But for those who do care about the theology, this prayer explains, succinctly, the relationship between God and ourselves.

2 – Cause and Effect Explained

God is the Cause, the Prime Mover (if you will).  He created us; we did not create ourselves.  So we are still as He created us.   We have made an egoic version of ourselves for this world, and we have suffered mightily for failing to laugh at the tiny, mad idea that there was something more that we ought to experience, apart from God.  But we are still His Effect, the one that He created who has not changed since that creation.

3 – Co-Creators with God

We are meant to be co-creators with God.  Cause and Effect thus become indistinguishable, as stated in the prayer.  God does not have anything that He will not ultimately share with us.  But preparation is necessary first.  God could not have miscreation go too far afield, and thus he set the limits on our power to miscreate.  This was through the pain that we experience.  The threshold for pain may be high, but it is not unlimited.  Sooner or later we have to recognize that there is a better way.  And A Course in Miracles points out that better way.  We are heading, once again, to a reiteration of the fact that Awakening (or Christ-consciousness, as A Course of Love says) is the ultimate aim of this world.  Then we will fully understand that Cause and Effect are One.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have become lost many times in the cause-and-effect explanations in A Course in Miracles.  May I articulate today what Your true meaning is.  May all of us who reread these passage learn more each time that we confront them.  May their theology not delay us or divide us; it is an experience that we seek.  And we do not have to subscribe to theology if it delays or divides us.  We are all One, seekers for You.

Be with me today as I contemplate, once again, what ACIM is saying about Cause-and-Effect.  May I never be so arrogant as to think, as the ego does, that I made myself.  We are Your children, and there is much that we do not know.  Guide us to the greater understanding of Yourself that will sustain in this sometimes troubled world.

Amen.