Choose to Live Differently—Better—Today

“What God, in effect had to do, what you in effect had to do in order to live in a nature inconsistent with that from which God could not disconnect, was disconnect from God. Since God was the center of your being, it was impossible to disconnect your heart and still live. What could be disconnected was your will—or in other words, your mind. Just as it is your nature to breathe oxygen, and not breathing oxygen is thus inconsistent with your nature, fearfulness is inconsistent with God. Judgment is inconsistent with God. Bondage or lack of freedom is inconsistent with God.” (ACOL, T4:8.8)

God’s nature, and His choice for us as well, includes freedom from fear, freedom from judgment, freedom from bondage. We left all of that behind eons ago when we took a wrong turn. Our heart didn’t disconnect, because our heart is the very center of our being, what is bonded with God. But our will, lodged in our mind, did just that—disconnected from God when we took that wrong turn. We have been trying to get back, mind with heart, for all the time since.

And we have suffered, though in illusion and never for real. We think that we suffer, and indeed suffering is very real to us. But we can leave this illusion behind, especially as we bring our mind into league with our heart. The way back is strewn with the well wishes of angels who guide our way. We cannot fail this time; we can only delay, and delay is senseless.

We need to release fear and judgment, and bondage, in that we lack freedom—and in the doing of this release, we will come to truly know God again. He hasn’t gone anywhere while we procrastinated. But the world is in a very bad way now, with many believing that they suffer, and it behooves us to do what we can to create a new world. This new world is something on which we stand at the brink. It is always darkest just before the dawn.

How do we release these negative feelings? It is as simple as saying that we do. Just that simple. And then we return to more releasing if the feeling returns. We can give up fear, we can give up judgment, and when we give up these two, our sense of being constrained, in bondage, will release as well.

Choose to live differently today. It is our choice. And the more we emit love to others, the more in line with our real purpose we will be. Our real purpose is expressing love (from The Way of Mastery). And when we express love, we feel better. It is a guaranteed new day.

Prayer

Help me to live fearlessly and without judgment today. This will release me from any constraints that my karma has seemed to bring to me. I will be free of bondage. My life will be a testament to what Jesus is saying in A Course of Love. All of us need to let that testament shine through our busy doings in this world.

Help me to make good choices today. The way is clear when I listen to You. And I choose to listen today.

Amen.

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Thrive by Making Choices Internally

“Again let me repeat and reemphasize my statements: where once you turned outward in your seeking and saw within what you perceived without, now you turn inward and reflect what you discover within outward. What you discover within is in a way that what you perceive without is not.

“I have always been a proponent of The Way of Christ-consciousness as The Way to Self and God.” (ACOL, T4:2.2 – 2.3)

Jesus encourages us to look within, in the quotation for today. Always what is within has made what is without; our perceptions were made from projection (a tenet of A Course in Miracles). Now we are encouraged to take our cues from within just all the time. Externally driven choices can be misguided more often than not. Internally driven choices have a better chance of being right, especially when that internal choice is informed by the inner Christ-Self. And as we all develop Christ-consciousness as our modus operandi, we will make good decisions based on the internal. Our projections will not just make perception, but knowledge as well. The second paragraph of the quotation makes this clear: Christ-consciousness is the Way to Self and God. And Self and God can only be found internally.

Reflection on what we see inside ourselves is the new way, the new way of creating without planning. The Self will guide, if given half a chance. We all too often look to others, and it is true that observation of our brothers and sisters is a hallmark of A Course of Love. But these individuals whom we are observing are serving as mirrors for us. They show us what we have internally. And then we act upon the internal direction.

What is internal is real in a way that the outer world is not. There is a difference of opinion among ACOL enthusiasts about whether or not, in Christ-consciousness, the outer, physical world becomes true reality. But let us not get hung up on theology, for A Course in Miracles tells us that a universal theology is impossible. But a universal experience is not only possible but necessary.

Let’s ask for that universal experience today.

Prayer

When I look inward, my patterns of fear dissipate. The inner Christ-Self heals me. This is something that I can benefit from each day. The pathway home would have been give over these lingering patterns of fear to something better—a self-confidence that assures me that whatever happens, I and my Self can handle it. This is a new way of thinking for me. But it is a way that works.

Thank You for quelling leftover patterns of egoic fear today, for all fear is actually leftover and egoic. The way to a better life lies with turning inward to divine revelation. And this is a blessing that is always available to me.

Help me remember that You are always, always, here for me.

Amen.

A New 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 hate- and pain-filled, that you have been moved to a new choice.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 36, 36.15)

What a promise this quotation holds: a new choice! We don’t have to live such a pain-filled life ever again; we can so create that the lamentable happenings of the past are a distant memory, never to be revisited.

We have made a god who is god-like (because we have some dim memory of what God is really like), but who is really god-less. And we have made a world of destructive tendencies, hate- and pain-filled, because we were living insanely. Nobody in their right mind would make the world that we have had to live in; certainly our loving God did not create it.

This belief is central to A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, that God did not create the world that we inhabit. Not all of us are ready to accept this idea yet, but as long as the germ of an idea is planted, we may come further along to this point of view in time.

God is here to rescue us, though. He never left us all alone in an illusory, mad universe. He always stood ready to retrieve us for a real world of joy and harmony. And it is this reality, this true reality, before which we stand poised today. We cannot give up the pain-filled illusion without realizing that someone quite out of their mind made this insanity. And God is not insane. Our new reality rests on a solid Foundation.

Let us make the new choice today. Let us look within for guidance as to what type of true reality we wish to inhabit. And then take the steps given us to create that new peace in a new world.

There can be no better way to spend today.

You Are Doing This unto Yourself

renoir - moulingallette
“The suffering that has been chosen has been mighty. The choice now is not a choice to explore the why behind it or to look for remedies for the past. The choice now is whether you want suffering to continue or want to abolish it for all time. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.11)”

Affirmation: “I would choose to abolish suffering today and every day.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

I have often quoted Eckhart Tolle in this blog, to the effect that pain does not have to turn into suffering. (Eckhart wrote The Power of Now and A New Earth, and he is an international spiritual teacher not limited to any particular religious tradition.) Now we are bade by Jesus to leave suffering behind forever. Jesus says that we can do this. It is a choice.

2 – Choice

How might we make that choice? It is easy. Just make the decision that you will recognize that you are doing this unto yourself (from A Course in Miracles). And choose not to do it any longer (a recommendation from Dr. Phil). We have this much choice. We can stop suffering in its tracks by recognizing that we can exert our power to overcome it. We can and will still experience pain in this physical and emotional body on earth, but, as Eckhart says, we don’t have to turn that pain into suffering.

3 – Blame and Bitterness

The two principal reasons that we hold onto suffering are blame and bitterness borne of guilt (from A Course of Love). We may think that we do not deserve a happy life, for we have done so many things wrong.

4 – God Has Never Condemned Us

This is false reasoning. God has never condemned us, and therefore He has no reason to forgive (from ACIM). But we ourselves must forgive ourselves, and this we can do. We would wish others to forgive themselves; would we withhold this blessing from ourselves?

5 – Madness and Forgiveness

I think not, when we reason it out. There is much madness still in us, though the madness is diminishing. We can make others as well as ourselves happier when we have forgiven. And forgiveness is the principal message of ACIM. That we have moved beyond forgiveness is perhaps not true. We will ebb and flow as we move toward Christ-consciousness.

6 – Guilt

So let us choose today to give up our guilt, and with it our blame and bitterness. With this choice, we make the decision to give up suffering, even though pain may still be present. And when we turn to happy dreams, we will even find that often we are free of the pain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When the day goes badly, I must realize that I am doing this unto myself. I will get clues when I need to slow down and be careful, if I am open to listening to an inner Voice. May I be so open today.

Let us choose to have good days. Let us be patient with ourselves when we falter. And may the times of faltering lessen.

Amen.

Leave Behind Illness, Scarcity, and Disrespect

renior - ladies in the rain
“This is precisely why you must choose not to keep the life of discomfort caused by perceived illness, the life of scarcity caused by perceived lack, the lack of stature caused by perceived disrespect. It is only by your choice that you will keep these things and only by your choice that these things will leave you. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.7)”

Affirmation: “I would choose to leave behind illness, scarcity, and disrespect.”

Reflections:

1 – Discomfort

We can choose to leave behind negative things in our lives. Here three aspects of negative living are highlighted: illness, scarcity, and disrespect. How might we do this?

2 – Choice

Choice often does not seem to be a possibility for us. We don’t normally think that we can just decide to be well and free of illness, and have this blessing come upon us. The law of attraction says that we can have what we want to create. But the Self/Christ is the one who does the choosing, and often this Self seems unavailable to us. I say “seems,” for many of us are caught still in the personal self that is contaminated by the ego. The Christ Self does the choosing, and we can influence that Self by taking the personal self deep within.

3 – Illness

We would choose to leave behind illness if we could. Sometimes the Christ Self chooses the negativity of illness for a lesson. But we learned in A Course in Miracles that we don’t have to learn through pain, that learning through rewards is much better and more lasting. Learning through pain is temporary. But it is the only way, often, when we are stubborn. God has to get through to us in some way. And our Christ Self knows this and acts in our lives accordingly.

4 – Scarcity

We fear scarcity, and in this fear we can make the scarcity an illusory reality in our world. God knows that we have material needs, and it is true to the law of attraction, also, that we can create the material wants that we call forth. If this calling forth is for ego gratification, though, the blessing, the happiness, will be short-lived. And we will want and want again, trying to fill ourselves up to avoid scarcity. There is a better way. And that is to let God do the choosing for us. Let Him satisfy our material needs, if not our wants, and we will not have a sense of scarcity even in the midst of plenty. Our own wanting is never satisfied long.

5 – Disrespect

Disrespect is different from the others, for this sense comes often from what others think of us. Wishing that we had the approbation of others is a dead-end street. Wanting approval means that we are in a very “grabby” mood, and we will not have the satisfaction of long being assured that we have approbation. We want a gentile sense of respect from others, and we can have this. But we don’t get it by the wanting itself.

6 – Choose Once Again

If illness, scarcity, and disrespect dog your steps, choose again. As ACIM says, “Choose once again.” The personal self, once it fully understands, is capable of reaching downward, in the heart and mind, to the Christ Self within. And it is this Christ Self that will heal us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose only good things, certain that I don’t have to choose negativity in order to appreciate the positive. I would especially let illness drop away entirely, despite growing older. I can enjoy my physical body and then, when my time comes, lay it down peacefully and without pain/suffering. I can choose this, and if my Self agrees, the way is smoothed.

Be with me today as I seek to have a good day, free of depressed thinking and doleful thoughts. I would be joyous, happy in the blessings which I have. Your way shows me those blessings, and if I just follow guidance, the blessings multiply without any effort at all.

Thank You.

Amen.

House of Illusion vs. House of Truth

watercan - renoir
“The house of illusion exists within the House of Truth because it is where your brothers and sisters think they are. The house of illusion is not a hell that anyone has been banished to. It can at times be a chosen hell, just as it can at times be a chosen heaven. Choice and the awareness of the power of choice that exists within is all that differentiates one from the other. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.13)”

Affirmation: “I would leave behind the house of illusion today.”

Reflections:

1 – Change

This passage for today is a reassurance for our sisters and brothers who are not yet emerging from the house of illusion into the brighter world of the House of Truth. We are elsewhere bidden not to rejoin others in this house of illusion, if we have already emerged into the brightness of true reality. Yet the explosions within cue us to the fact that change is underway. We will not long be without our significant others, with us in the House of Truth.

2 – Hell on Earth

We do not wish for anyone a hell on earth, and the house of illusion is sometimes that. It can also be a heaven, as when we dream the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles). But we are in a more substantial heaven when we have emerged from these illusions. We try to make our elevated Self of form sustainable, and while this is not always a realistic goal, it is realistic to know that we can and do catch glimpses of the real world nearly every day.

3 – Choices

Our choices are open in reality, in the House of Truth. Our choices are restrained in the house of illusion, for our will is imprisoned (from ACIM). An imprisoned will induces discomfort in the extreme, even pain. And we would be free of imprisonment. Let us today resolve to live well, to emerge from illusions into truth.

4 – God’s Will Is Our Real Will

Our choices ought always to be aligned with what God’s will really is, for His will is our real will. This negates the oft-repeated sense that we are being coerced. The Holy Spirit (in ACIM) and the Christ Self (in A Course of Love) do not in any way coerce us. We live a free life, secure in the love of our Father.

5 – Heaven

Let us today live in heaven, whether we are still caught by illusions or whether we have emerged into the light of truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live in the House of Truth today. I would not reenter the house of illusion. And I am actually helping my brothers and sisters more by so doing. I cannot help from within the house of illusion, because my own mind would be caught in illusions again. And I would not have it so.

Be with me as I seek earnestly to live abundantly within the House of Truth. I would leave fear, as an egoic notion, behind. I would enjoy the peace and tranquility that is promised me by you, when I enter the House of Truth. Help me to know only calm and quiet today.

Amen.

Love or Fear Is Your Reality by Your Choice

“Love is at the heart of all things.  How you feel but reflects your decision to accept love or to reject it and choose fear.  Both cannot be chosen.  All feelings you label joyous or compassionate are of love.  All feelings you label painful or angry are of fear. This is all there is.  This is the world you make.  Love or fear is your reality by your choice.  A choice for love creates love.  A choice for fear creates fear.  (A Course of Love, 1.18)”

 


Affirmation:  “A choice for love creates love.”

Reflections:

1 – A Summation of ACOL

This passage is a summation of much that A Course of Love says, in all three volumes of the work.  If we are having a good day, on some level we have chosen love; if we are having a bad day, on some level we have chosen fear.  We cannot simultaneously live in both worlds–the world of love and the world of fear.  We make the choice constantly.  How we begin the day determines, to a great extent, what we will attract into our lives on this day.  We are creating our reality.  (Much New Age literature has said this, beginning with Jane Roberts’s Seth in the seventies.)

2 – Reach Out to Others

We would choose joyous and compassionate feelings, and these are emotions akin to love.  If we choose something else, we will not be happy, and A Course in Miracles indicates that happiness is one of our functions (salvation and forgiveness are other functions given in ACIM).  Happiness is a lofty goal, not an inferior one (as we may have thought).  We can really “be there” for our brothers and sisters when we are happy.  Any less exalted feeling will mean that we are turned back in on ourselves, to the detriment of ourselves and others.

3 – Let the Heart Speak

If we are fearful, we will not know happiness.  It is just that simple.  If we find ourselves overcome with fear, we need to take a timeout for heartfelt prayer.  This is a time to let our heart speak to us (the heart is primary in A Course of Love).  If we just get out of our ego, by whatever means we can, we will be forgiving and loving, and almost inevitably, we will know joy.  Do not let anyone or anything take away joy today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I was stressed yesterday, and again this morning, I was inadvertently choosing fear, and anxiety–fear–is what I got.  I cannot afford to indulge in such foolishness.  My frame of mind cries out for the emotions of love–the joy, harmony, delight in a good day.  I cannot afford to indulge in the darker emotions, because I might be so weak thereby that I would lose some of the emotional stability that I have long enjoyed.  Help me, the next time there is stress on the horizon, to recognize that I can choose differently.  I can take action that will reduce the stress that I am beginning to perceive.  I can slow down.  I can talk to someone.  I can pray or meditate.  Mostly, I can recognize that my anxious feelings are a choice that I would just avoid escalating.

Be wtih my brothers and sisters today as the sun comes up for another day in this beautiful world.  May I do what I can to give those I encounter a good day.  And may I not forget to thank others for the blessings that they too are bestowing.  We are all in this together.

Amen.

Sickness Is a Decision of the Mind

“The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing.  And this is so for healing in all forms.  A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers.  If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed.  (M-5.II.2)”

Affirmation:  “Sickness is a decision of the mind.”

Reflections:

1 – A Summary

This passage encapsulates much that I have tried to teach over the last few days of postings.  If we decide against recovery, we are not healed.  If we decide that we have to take medication for the rest of our lives, we have decided to use magic agents to accommodate our physical and emotional states of health.  Neither choice is to be lamented, though Jesus is the healer that encourages us to recognize that pain is not necessary, even in this world.

2 – The Self Chooses

We stay in the driver’s seat.  We make the decisions.  But it is the Self that does so, and we, as personal selves living in a fantasy, are not privy to all of the reasons for decisions made by the Higher Self.  So we suffer, sometimes needlessly, because we do not turn over our sickness to God.

3 – Healing

If we seek healing, it will be found.  The catch in all of this is that we may not recognize the healing when it is given.  We may still see the sickness and believe, by viewing the lingering symptoms, that all is not well.  Jesus in the Manual would have us understand that the appearance of lingering symptoms is evidence of a lack of trust.  We don’t believe that we can be healed, and so we are not.  But healing will come, in a form that we can accept, as soon as healing is welcomed.  Keep in mind that there are different types of healing, and that emotional healing is not the least of these.  We are not to continue to fear the continuing symptoms.  We are meant to recognize that healing has occurred, though our Self may leave symptoms for reasons that we cannot comprehend.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask for healing today, of any and all difficulties that I may have.  I would ask that I recognize Your healing when it occurs.  May no physical symptoms mask the emotional healing that You always give me.  Thank you for the emotional healing, for You know that I think that emotional healing is more important than physical.

Be with me throughout the day.  Help me to walk Your way.  May my study of sickness, and the choices that I have made throughout my life, mean something good.  May I turn now to learning through rewards, and leave pain in the distant past.  I believe that this is Your wish for me, for You want a lasting healing–not a temporary one that might come from experiencing pain.  You want for me to learn through rewards, and I share that desire.  Thank You for this understanding that comes in A Course in Miracles from Jesus.

Amen.

Who Is Your Physician?

“Who is the physician?  Only the mind of the patient himself.  The outcome is what he decides that it is.  Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice.  (M-5.II.2)”

Affirmation:  “My mind is the physician.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

This is the passage in the Manual of A Course in Miracles that I sought out when my father was gravely ill and in intensive care in 1992–fully 20 years ago.  Believing as I did in the truths of ACIM, I also believed that my father had chosen the particular circumstances of his grave illness for a purpose.  The words of this passage were very comforting to me during this terrible time.  And my father died.  I believe that he chose the manner and timing of his death (interpretations based on ACIM, but not stated directly).  If we can reach this point in understanding A Course in Miracles, there is a great blessing bestowed on us.

2 – When Illness Visits Us

We do not have to seek out this passage only when others are involved.  We can adopt its philosophy as our own when illness visits, for it will sometimes come and seem unsought.

3 – The Self Has Chosen

The answer is that it is the Self that has chosen, the Christ within, not the personal self, not the little self comprised, in part, of an ego.  Knowing this, we can have both sympathy and empathy for ourselves and others when sickness comes into this world.  We do not have to believe in its true reality, for we are, as always, in the illusion.  We particularly do not want to blame ourselves in personal illness, or the evolution of others on the spiritual path (if others are considered at this time).  This is a “blame the victim” mentality, and is one of the pitfalls of those who believe in many of the tenets of New Age thought.  We do not blame the victim in any case; we realize that on a higher level the Self has made a choice, but we can never know the circumstances of that choice.  Only the Holy Spirit can know this, and He does not always tell us enough that we are led to understand.

4 – “Special Agents”

Physicians and other medical staff are the “special agents” that minister to ourselves and others during sickness.  We can ask for guidance about which medical staff, specifically, to seek out.  If we choose to become well again, with the aid of these special agents, we can know that we saw the valuelessness of sickness–at least this time.  There are no guarantees in this world.  We may fall down again, and find ourselves sick–through no fault of our own.  When more sickness comes, it is evidence that we are learning through pain.  Jesus would not counsel this, but ACIM recognizes the almost inevitable nature of this type of thinking for human beings.

5 – When Sickness Strikes

So, when sickness strikes (and, for most of us, it will, sooner or later), ask for the guidance to know how to choose aright, how to choose healing.  And then go about to follow that guidance.  The Holy Spirit will be with us every step of the way, and we can also believe that Jesus holds our hand, for he has promised to come at a single unequivocal call (from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know, if sickness visits me, that my Self has chosen this form of intervention for a purpose.  May I listen quietly and try to discern what that purpose is.

Be with me today so that no illness, physical or emotional, visits me.  I know that You are “for health” all the way, and that learning is better effected through rewards rather than pain.

Many of us choose sickness, but I would not go this way.  I would be healthy and vibrant, and this can happen only if I follow You.  Your Way is the best way, the practical way, to a life in this world that is peaceful, calm, tranquil, and joyous.  I would learn Your way, not through pain.

May I learn through rewards today.

Amen.