Tag Archives: Conversations with God

Reaching God

“When I told you to concentrate on the phrase ‘Here I am, Lord,’ I did not mean ‘in this world’ by ‘here.’ I wanted you to think of yourself as a distinct consciousness, capable of direct communication with the Creator of that consciousness. You must begin to think of yourself as a very powerful receiving and sending channel.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.8:1-3)

Jesus is first talking to Helen, but, as usual, we can appropriate his words to ourselves. We can communicate, as a “very powerful receiving and sending channel,” with God Himself. If this is too threatening to us, then the Holy Spirit will mediate. This is the whole purpose of the Holy Spirit, of course, to draw us back to God when we are in fear that would prevent a direct channel to the Almighty.

A Course of Love, sequel and continuation of A Course in Miracles, postulates a more direct route to God. In this age of Christ, it postulates, we are capable of direct communication with God, no longer so fearful of Him that we need the Holy Spirit as mediator. The age of the Holy Spirit, ACOL says, has now passed. We are to derive our guidance from the Christ-Self who dwells within each of us. This Christ-Self, still a learning being until morphing into discovery through observation and an informing by the heart, is capable of accurate choices. This Christ-Self is being healed, through and through, all layers of the subconscious. And when this healing is complete, we will know Awakening/Christ-consciousness/enlightenment.

God dwells within and without, though we project the world from the Mind. I believe this world does not really exist, because the Mind is all, and the Mind is, at base, Spirit. This non-dualistic world view gives a way to understand that God is everywhere at one time. We are “God-stuff,” and out of his individuations/differentiations of His Being, we develop as His children.

God then knows us as His own. Finiteness does serve a purpose, to experience, because knowing the Whole, as God does in His Godhead, would make experiential effects not separate from Cause, and thus unknowable. (This interpretation is based in part on Neale Donald Walsch’s “conversations” with God, and is not found in ACIM/ACOL.)

We Invite Love

“The elevation of the self of form is nothing but the recognition of the One Self within the Self.

“The One Self exists within the many in order to know Its Self through sharing in union and relationship.

“All the benefits you might want to bring to the world are brought about in only one way: The way of sharing in union and relationship. It is only in relationship that the oneness of the self separates from oneness and so knows oneness. It is only through the means of separate relationships joining in union that the One Self is capable of being either the observer or the observed. This is as true of God as it is of the self of form. God is the oneness and the separation. Life is the relationship. God is what is. Life is the relationship of what is with Its Self.” (ACOL, D:Day11.3 – Day11.5)

If the Self has seemed to be a confusing concept to us, Jesus clears it up today. Reread the quotation. Let the words sink in.

God is the One, the All, but in order to know Himself, He had to differentiate into relationship. The Whole made up of the parts. He is the Self, divided into discrete parts, all of which, like a hologram, contain the whole.

When we become aware of the Self, we become aware of love, but Love with a capital “L.” We are inundated with Love. It forms the bedrock of our experience. This is when God is very real to us. Our Self, a part of God, reaches out to our brothers and sisters in relationship, and we have the best of what life, our life, can offer.

The quotation today gets into the theology of A Course of Love. It explains, much as does Neale Donald Walsch in his Conversations with God, how the One had to divide itself into relationships to discrete others to actually know anything. This is not understandable, I feel, to our finite minds. But when we read Jesus’s words, they have the ring of truth for us. They have the ring of truth for everyone.

So: Reach out in love today. Let God’s felt Presence overwhelm our heart, and with that will come a non-neurotic need to express the Love that we feel within.

This is the way back. As well as the best way to live.

Dear God,

I would sense Your Presence today, today and every day. When I sense Your love for me, I am opened up to love myself, and then I want to share this all-encompassing love with my brothers and sisters. Help me to do that. But never let me forget that I am never isolated, that You are always inside me, in my interior, healing and helping.

Thank You for leading me to a greater tomorrow. I sense it. I appreciate it.

Amen.

A New Choice that Remains Tolerant of Others

“There is room in the universe, dear brothers and sisters, for everyone’s choice. I call you to a new choice, but not intolerance of those who are not ready to make it. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 6.6)”

1 – Tolerance

We are to be tolerant of our brothers and sisters who have not walked the full pathway. Not all are ready to accept the words of Jesus as scribed in A Course of Love. We are not to look down upon them. Perhaps a smile is all that they can handle. We are not called upon to be proselytizers of the way that we have found.

2 – New Choice

We are called to a “new choice,” but not intolerance of those who are not ready. This is a bit of a strong warning of the misstep that we might make. And our arrogance would be ego-inspired, taking us down rather than up. Surely we do not want to walk the path of the ego all over again. And Neale Donald Walsch in his Conversations with God series, says that evolution is not a “straight line.” So it would behoove us to walk carefully down our pathway.

3 – The Universe

The universe(s) is a very large place, metaphorically as well as actually, physically. It can accommodate the many pathways that people find in their way back to God. ACIM says that there are many courses, all with the same purpose. In ACIM and ACOL, though, we have found one united pathway that many believe came from Jesus. We should not, as ACIM notes, follow pathways that are meant for others, but to adopt that which we see as our own, our best way back to God. ACIM and ACOL work together to embody that pathway for many people.

4 – Self-Righteous?

All too often people who are trying to follow God’s way become self-righteousness, without ever meaning to so become. We think that because we are trying to do right, we are somehow better than those who are not interested in religion.

5 – Secular Humanism

God is God of the secular humanist as well as the believer. He leaves no one out, and we must not either.

6 – Reverence for God and Love

There is a reason that reverence for God is likely to bring us to an Awakening, a new choice in our lives. If we did not need reverence, with the propensity to love that it brings, we might not be drawn so precisely toward God. We crave the love that He gives. This craving is what takes us Home to Him. And so we may have a need for love that is greater than any possibility of getting love for ourselves.

7 – The “Handicapped” Child?

We may be the “handicapped” child, the one who blossoms with love because we are closer to God out of need. Others are more independent-minded, and wander farther from the Way. This is OK. All will eventually see the benefit of following truth to the Home that we have never really left, though we think that we have. Ruth Montgomery, in books written, channeled in automatic writing by “Guides,” says that in the beginning we were spun out from God to make our way through reality, experiencing, but always finding our way back to Him and to Home again. We can understand that this was God Himself who so differentiated Himself into parts for the experiencing. We are a part of God, as ACIM and ACOL make clear. Let us remember that our real finding of love is possible only when we return to the fold, to the Home that He has prepared for us. And this does not have to be after death. This Heaven on earth can be right here and now.

8 – Preparation

Let us do the little that we need to do to prepare today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be and remain tolerant of others and their different pathways. May I especially be tolerant when they do not subscribe to my pathway, as seen in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. May I be understanding even if they denounce me.

May I follow the way that is mine. This involves my holy relationships to my brothers and sisters. This does not necessarily involve tedious hours spent in contemplation. Jesus himself has said this, and may I take it to heart.

May today allow glimpses of Awakening that lead to a sustaining of this great blessing. May I remember to slow down, to be mindful, and to invite enlightenment by my demeanor and my willingness to let You lead the way. May I never think that I can control You. You make the decisions; I follow.

And well that it is so. Thank You.

Amen.

We Are God’s Song, His Melody

“Life-everlasting in form is not your only choice. As many of you believed that I was the Son of God and more than a man before my birth, during my lifetime and after my death and resurrection, so are you. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 5.1)

1 – Forms over Time

This quotation strongly suggests a continuance of life all round—before birth, during a lifetime, and after death. It stops short of describing reincarnation, but there are other quotations that could hint at that. Jesus is deliberately, I think, staying on the fence in regard to reincarnation. He knows that all time is Now, and so each of us is living the only life that we can live Now. Jesus doesn’t want to commit to other lifetimes, because he wants his message to be as acceptable as possible to all. Because all is really Now, we can focus on the present form and lifetime, knowing that birth into bodies is actually all part of the illusion. We feel the illusion, though, for our bodies feel solid enough to us. And so we experience within the illusion. We do not have to deny the reality of our senses. But we do need to avoid a stand on existence in multiple bodies over time and in many lifetimes. We need to be as open to those who believe in reincarnation as to those who don’t. That is what Jesus is trying to be.

“This could as easily be stated as your being a Song of God. You are God’s harmony, God’s expression, God’s melody. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 5.2)”

2 – Blessed by God

We are blessed by God. We are His expression. And this is a good expression. We are living God’s lives for Him. It is the way that He experiences reality. Neale Donald Walsch, in Conversations with God (a trilogy), says much about this aspect of reality.

3 – Song

To be a song is a lovely metaphor. We want to give God good days. This means that we are not to feel sorry for ourselves, however dismal the weather (or our personal weather) seems to be. We live for the highest and best of which we are capable. Then we will truly know God’s reality. We will know that the divine spark truly is within each of us. The Divinity is within, as well as without. And, just as in hologram, the spark of the whole is embedded in each portion.

4 – Depressed?

All too often we let ourselves get depressed when things do not go our way. At such times, go within to God. Ask for His presence to be made known. And He will respond. There is a whole world waiting for us to explore. Do not retreat to dismal thoughts when this is the world that God has made, and we are to rejoice within it.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am blessed to be a Song of Yours. I do not fully understand this, but I do know that you love me–with a love that does not diminish, regardless of what I say or do. You are always there for me. I thank You often for Your presence, and today I mean it especially keenly.

I know that You will guide me. Guide me today to be a true and lovely Song of Yours.

Thank You for the books that we believe Jesus has channeled. That scribing is precious to us. May we learn from what Jesus has said so that we are focused, constantly, in Your arms. Our approach to You is assured as we move into Christ-consciousness again. The channels to You are no longer closed. Your presence comes close to us, closer than our own breath. May we know that we are a part of you, made of God-stuff. And may the divinity that shapes our ends direct my decisions today.

Amen.

All Is One / All Are One Self

1 – No Loss / Only Gain

“We are one self. How else could we be capable of receiving what we give? How else could our lives be capable of experiencing no loss but only gain? Why else would we have to share ourselves to know ourselves? (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 11)”

2 – Mystical

This is the truth, though it is a mystical concept and therefore difficult to understand, difficult to wrap our minds around. How can we be one self with others? How can the many be one?

3 – God-Stuff

We are all “God-stuff.” We are all differentiated from the Godhead. And the universe(s) is constantly expanding, and so there is always growth (though no real change). When we recognize that we are all one, that there is no loss but only gain, we know that what we “lose” goes to our brother or sister, who is actually one with us. So we only expand into a spacious self, as A Course of Love says. This spacious self recognizes that all are One, that we lose nothing when we spread abroad the intangibles.

4 – Sharing

When we share ourselves in conversation, we actually become more of what we truly are. We are sharing and in that process, actually gaining a sense of ourselves as One. We do not have to be extroverts to experience the release that we get through sharing. It is an experience that all can relate to and enjoy.

5 – Relationship

“To be separate in truth would be to not exist. To be the All of Everything would be to not know existence. Only what exists in relationship knows that it exists. Thus relationship is everything. Relationship is the truth. Relationship is consciousness. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 11)”

6 – God

This quotation points to a reason that God would have differentiated Himself in the beginning, and continues to do so. He cannot actually experience the Whole, if He is All that there is. It is only in relationship of the one to the other that such experience of reality is possible. Neale Donald Walsch, in the trilogy of Conversations with God, makes this identical point. But it is a theological point, and we do not want theology that we cannot accept to divide or separate us.

7 – One and the All

We are both one and the All. Unity and relationship, as A Course of Love says repeatedly. It is in reaching out to others, and in reaching down deep within, that we come to know reality. The deep within is God; the others are God as well, but as differentiated aspects of God. Parts of God that are yet part of the Whole.

8 – Hologram

It is like a hologram. Each part contains the whole. This is ultimately why everything has been given to each of us (tenet from A Course in Miracles).

9 – Christ-consciousness

“Christ-consciousness is the awareness of existence through relationship. It is not God. It is not man. It is the relationship that allows the awareness of God in everything. It has been called wisdom, Sophia, spirit. It is that without which God would not know God. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 11)”

10 – Awakening

We want and we need Christ-consciousness, a concept that is called Awakening in A Course in Miracles. We don’t know when God will bestow this blessing on any of us, but we can be sure that He will bestow Christ-consciousness at the exact moment that we are ready. If this seems long off, we need not fret. The time will be as right as the Answer. (These are paraphrases of A Course in Miracles.)

11 – In Relationship

We are in relationship when we are enjoying Christ-consciousness. We no longer feel envious that others have what we do not; we know that we all potentially have everything. If that thing we want is not in our life now, we will know that it will be added at a future date (though maybe not in this lifetime).

12 – Sophia

“Christ-consciousness is the awareness of existence through relationship. It is not God. It is not man. It is the relationship that allows the awareness that God is everything. It has been called wisdom, Sophia, spirit. It is that without which God would not know God. It is that which differentiates all from nothing. (ACOL Dialogues, p. 154)”

13 – Separation

This one passage helps to explain why separation from God, and our return to Him, was necessary in the first place. If God is within (as well as without), then He could know Himself only in separation from the Whole. But it is in the rejoining in unity and relationship that makes Christ-consciousness what it is.

14 – Unity and Relationship

The words, “unity and relationship,” are used repeatedly in A Course of Love. They are so repeated that their meaning may be lost, unless we take care to understand fully at the outset. We are one in unity with our brothers and sisters, and we are one in relationship to them–being that two or more are held together in relationship. Thus the phrase, “unity and relationship,” is the central point without which Christ-consciousness could not function.

We are one heart, one mind, one Self–but seemingly fragmented into parts. This is an illusion, but this fragmentation is the only way that God can experience Himself. The All must separate and then see Itself in those separate, but united parts. While this may be hard for us to wrap our finite minds around, here is one of the secrets of salvation, one of the philosophical tenets around which A Course of Love is built. We know Christ-consciousness when we have rejoined our brothers and sisters in unity, but kept them close to use in our relationship to them. This knowing is a celestial event of the highest magnitude.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I offer myself in service to the All that is You. I am in relationship to that All, and I will know Christ-consciousness only as I accept this relationship. I would accept this relationship now.

Thank You for this course, this Course of Love, a sequel to A Course in Miracles. Thank You for granting me the intuitive insight that seems to say, over and over as I read, “yes, yes!” May I come to know the insights of A Course of Love intimately, ever more so over the times that I study.

May I realize that study is necessary, that you can’t just read this sequel like you read a story, something I used to think. The study is ever-reinforcing, as I realize that here is truth that I really, really want to understand. Thank You for Jesus’s dedication in channeling, once again and for us, a work of this magnitude. Thank You for supporting Mari as she scribed.

Thank You for guiding me in this shift in perception, this miracle. I would know the elevated Self of form, and I will endeavor to turn to You often today, so that I may remain close to this new reality.

Amen.

No Reason to Be Afraid

monet - japanese bridge2“The Christ in you has no need to plan. A need to come to know. . .yes. But a need to plan. . .no. The Christ in you needs not for you to choose a lesson plan, but to let life itself be your chosen way of learning. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 10.19)”

Affirmation: “May I do no planning today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Need to Plan

Jesus warns against planning, first, in A Course in Miracles. In a little-known section of ACIM, he indicates that the way to lose one’s way to salvation is to attack, to judge, and to plan against contingencies to come (unless planning has been informed by the Holy Spirit). We can recognize that all three of these–attack, judging, and planning–are defenses against an uncertain future, a future that we don’t want to be uncertain. We are scared.

2 – Fear the Future?

But do we really have to fear the future? If we are dreaming the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings, we will walk a smooth path. And, in A Course of Love, the dreams give way to (at least) glimpses of reality. Mari Perron, who channeled ACOL, believes that in the time of Christ we are no longer living dreams. She believes that we thrust into the real world, as indicated by ACIM as well as the “reality” of ACOL. If so, we really do not need to choose the defense of planning. We do not need to make a lesson plan out of our lives. We just need to live our lives and therein to learn from our lives.

3 – Learn through Life

So we are to learn through life itself. Actually, has not this always been the case? Many spiritual writings, though not all, believe that we are in a school room on earth. Psychic writers have said this as well. (Notably, Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God does not see the earth as a school room.) Whether or not we are actually in school is not a question with which we need to preoccupy ourselves. We do not need to let theology delay us, for all of us will never agree on theological points.

4 – Next Step

We do need the universal experience, though, and that is life itself. We do not give up planning entirely, if we have to catch a plane, for example (as detailed by Eckhart Tolle in a CD entitled “Even the Sun Will Die”). But we do not make sweeping generalizations about our life’s course. The next step is really what we need to know. And that next step will enter our minds unfailingly when we ask for guidance, either from the Holy Spirit (if one is following A Course in Miracles) or the Self/Christ (if one is following A Course of Love).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would realize today that my fears have always been ungrounded. What I need to know comes to me in the moment, not from extensive defensive planning. I do not have to be afraid of anything. Even if the worst that I contemplate comes to pass, You are here for me. And that is all that I really need to know.

Be with me today as I seek to leave social anxieties behind. And all other anxieties as well.

There is no reason to be afraid. May I never lose sight of this truth.

Amen

Finding Comfort in the Sacred Trinity

“When you call upon Love you call upon your Source.  When you seek the wisdom of your morisot-summer-dayheart you call upon me.  When you seek the truth that is in your mind, you call upon the Holy Spirit.  Thus is the Sacred Trinity always available in every situation, and for whichever learning mode you are most comfortable.  (A Course of Love, 32.2)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to understand the Trinity.”

Reflections:

1 – Traditional Theology in Christianity

The passage for today harkens back to traditional theology in Christianity–the Holy Trinity as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Let us take each part and see what we can come up with.

2 – God, the Father

The first part, the Father, is God Himself (gender is actually neutral).  When we feel Love, we are seeking God Himself.  And we will find Him.  We do not  have to believe that God doesn’t know about us, unless that is the theology of A Course in Miracles that appeals to us.  There is a difference of opinion within the Course community about this question.  In addition, Neale Donald Walsch, in his Conversations with God series, indicates that God, in effect, sent us out to play and does not really care what we play.  This suggests that the illusion is really somewhat meaningless.  Yet the illusion is very real to us, and we do feel pain and we do experience suffering.  So there are no easy answers.  It is best that we take unto ourselves only what seems to speak to us, not straining to believe what does not come naturally.  Jesus says in ACIM that a universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary.

2 – The Son

The second part, the Son, is Jesus himself.  He says in this passage that when we seek the wisdom of the heart, we are seeking him.  We do not understand how he can be with anybody and everybody simultaneously, but he seems to suggest that this is possible.  And we know that there are natural laws about which our science, as yet, knows nothing.  Calling upon the presence of Jesus is part of traditional Christianity also, and feeling his presence, when he is called upon, also is a part of traditional faith.  Certainly I have been led to feel closer to him from my reading of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, for I used to see Jesus as a judgmental figure.  This judgmental figure seems to be a product of certain passages in the New Testament.  But the love that Jesus actually has for humanity shines through very vividly in these newest channeled writings.

3 – The Holy Ghost

The third part, the Holy Ghost (Spirit), speaks to our minds.  His was the Voice that we were to listen to in A Course in Miracles.  He speaks to us, in those volumes, as intuition, as well as a host of other almost miraculous ways.  Jesus tells us in A Course of Love, though, that we are in the time of Christ now, and so we harken to Christ-consciousness rather than the Holy Spirit.  We may not yet understand this, but when we have experienced the Awakening, we are promised understanding.

4 – The Bible, ACIM, and ACOL

Certainly this blending of traditional Christianity with A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is a blessing.  We don’t have to discard what has served us well in the past.  We need only walk into the future with the best that we can find in the newest writings available to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the continuity of Christian thinking.  This continuity is a great comfort to me in today’s troubled times in our world.  May we see that Jesus comes to fulfill Scripture, not to turn away from it.  His words reach us now in ways that we are ready to hear.

May I come to greater and greater understanding as time passes.  May my brothers and sisters come to greater and greater understanding as well.

Thank You for the inspiration that prompts the texts that mean so much to me.

Amen.

The Prayer of the Heart

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

Affirmation:  “God will protect me.”

Reflections:

1 – Important Passage

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

2 – An Impersonal God?

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

3 – Practical Help

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

4 – A Loving Father

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

5 – God “Let Go”

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

6 – A Paradox

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

The Embrace of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 317 – for Sunday, November 13, 2011

Affirmation:  “I follow in the way appointed me.”

“And all my sorrows end in Your embrace, which You have promised to Your Son, who thought mistakenly that he had wandered from the sure protection of Your loving Arms.  (WB459)”

Reflections:

1 – God and Jesus Embrace Us

The embrace of God is similar to the oft-quoted passage from A Course of Love, in which Jesus embraces us.  Both are meant to offer comfort and love.  We would ourselves want our sorrows to end, but to have that happen means that we must cooperate with God’s plan.  We have never actually separated from God, though we live in a dream world (before we awaken) that says that we are separate from Him.  We need to be flexible, to follow guidance, to relax into the day rather than to fight against it.  If our thought or action makes us feel bad, then surely there is another way to live.  We can ask.  That is all that we really need to do to live a better life, one in which we rise above difficulties and disappointments in this world.  We also rise above the tragedies of this world, recognizing that they are illusion.  This does not mean that we do not offer comfort to our brothers and sisters, as we would ourselves wish to be comforted.  Offer others the embrace, symbolically and, if appropriate, actually.  We will not be sorry for having done so.

2 – Follow in the Way Appointed

If we follow in the way appointed, we are following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Later on, in A Course of Love, we are living the elevated Self of form, and we turn inward for our guidance in the time of Christ-consciousness.  But for now we are studying ACIM, and guidance in ACIM is from the time of the Holy Spirit.  We seek Him always.  And He will never disappoint us.  The way that we will follow will be joyful.  We will know peace.  And the egoism, and egotism, that overcame us for eons will just dissipate.  What a blessing that indeed will be!

3 – Our Sorrows End

If our sorrows end in the embrace of God, then we are at home in Him.  This is a very great promise, and one that we would do well to remember in our darkest moments.  And we may have more dark nights of the soul.  Our evolutionary pathway is not a straight line (from Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God).  The way to Awakening is often a kind of spiral.  We see glimpses that revelation gives us, but we do not live the ending.  But the ending is sure, and it will come quickly when we are ready.  Once we have seen the real world–the world of peace and happiness–consistently, it is only a matter of a short while before we will know awakening.  God Himself takes this step, when He knows that we have been made ready.  Because we have been so prepared by A Course in Miracles, the light that is turned on in the dream will not frighten us anymore.  We will awaken gently and with peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would sense Your embrace today.  Thank You for this reassurance.  We so often forget that You are always with us, carrying us when times are difficult.  Help me to do my part to ease the burdens of my brothers and sisters, and help me to know what to say to them when they are struggling.  If they are open to faith, give me the words to say.  I know that the Holy Spirit’s guidance is always true.  Help me to discern accurately.

An embrace is such a comforting gesture.  May I rest easy as I walk through this day, knowing that I am a part of You, and that You wish me well always.

If times seem tough, let me retreat to an inner sanctuary, in quiet, where I can feel the embrace that Jesus tells us about today.

Amen.

Salvation Rests on Us

ACIM Workbook Lesson 238 – for Friday, August 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “On my decision all salvation rests.”

“Father, Your trust in me has been so great, I must be worthy.  You created me, and know me as I am.  And yet You placed Your Son’s salvation in my hands, and let it rest on my decision.  I must be beloved of You indeed.  And I must be steadfast in holiness as well, that You would give Your Son to me in certainty that he is safe Who still is part of You, and yet is mine, because He is my Self.  (WB411)”

Reflections:

We are One.  Our brothers and sisters are our Self.  This is an idea that Conversations with God, by Neale Donald Walsch, also develops.  There is no place that we leave off and our brothers and sisters begin.  Yes, we are all One.

We do not have to understand this concept fully to accept and to live it.  This concept gives the best assurance that we will be there for others when they need us, because we will understand, on a practical level, that we are showing up for ourselves as well.  Likewise, they will be there for us, once they too realize that we are One.  What a glorious way this is to run a universe!

We are needed by God to bring others to Him.  This has long been a tenet of religions worldwide.  Certainly the Bible makes this clear as well, especially the New Testament.  In many ways we can see that ACIM is the next step for Jesus beyond the instructions he gave while he walked this earth.  His disciples were bade to take his message into all the world.  And churches have been doing this in all the years since.

It is extremely comforting to know that we are beloved of God.  Often we forget this, because we tend to see God in our own image, and we often do not love ourselves.  But we must realize that we can love others only to the extent that we, non-egotistically, love ourselves.  The love that we feel for others first originates in our own hearts, and if it is not there in our hearts, it will not be there for others.  (These last few sentences are not ACIM interpretations, but are my own thoughts.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to fully comprehend and live the truth that my brothers and sisters are one with me.  May I be there for them, and I ask today that they be there for me.  We need each other in this very troubled world.

Help us to be doers of salvation.  For this, for us, we need to read A Course in Miracles with real attention.  Help me to give my full attention today to my meditations and prayers surrounding my devotional time with ACIM.

Amen.

Lessons

ACIM Workbook Lesson 213 – for Monday, August 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”

“All things are lessons God would have me learn.  (WB394)”

Reflections:

In ACIM, we are viewed still as learners.  (In A Course of Love, we are seen to have completed our learning.)  If we find our greatest affinity for ACIM, then the passage for today will make the ways of this world most understandable for us.  We are in a schoolhouse here, after all, which most New Age thinking says.  (Neale Donald Walsch in his Conversations with God is a notable exception.)

Turning to our day, as we awaken each morning, as a learning experience will make the day more manageable.  We will realize that life, however difficult it can sometimes seem, is teaching us something, and these lessons (according to the Manual) differ from day to day.  There is a learning goal each day, though the lessons also change each day (a Manual paraphrase).

We can also pray for the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (a quotation from the Workbook).  This in itself will lighten our perceived “load” of difficulties.  And the Holy Spirit will respond.  If He does not change the conditions, He will alter our perception of them.  We will find ourselves better able to cope.  Turn to the pages of ACIM for inspiration.  We will not be disappointed.  Even a quick opening of the book may provide just the Word that we need at the time that we need it.  This is not magic.  Any page will do; ACIM is just that powerful.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would still perfect the lessons that You would have me learn.  I look ahead to the time when I will no longer be a learner, but I am not consistently in that frame of mind and spirit.  Lead me to progress to the level that You would have me find.  

Thank you for A Course in Miracles.  The solution is always with the problem, as ACIM says, and I have found many solutions to my various problems within the pages of Your inspired writing.  Be with me today as I seek to have a good day, a day I seek to spent in league with you to help in some small way to bring a better way of living to this sometimes difficult world.

Amen.

The Felt Presence of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 209 – for Thursday, July 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”

“I feel the love of God within me now.  (WB392)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Love Felt

This passage for today is my most frequent prayer.  When I feel the love of God within me as a felt experience (a state described by Eckhart Tolle), I have all that I need to make it through the day.  We all must do our part to bring about this felt experience.  We need our quiet times at the beginning and the end of each day, if at all possible.

2 – Does God Ever Withdraw?

It is sometimes said that God withdraws, and this is an experience of the dark night of the soul that was described so vividly by the medieval saints.  (St. John of the Cross coined the phrase.)  When God withdraws, we are not to lament in silence, discouraged.  Evolution, according to Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations with God) is not a “straight line,” and there will be times of greater and lesser experiences of God.  We need to continue walking the pathway.  The felt experience of God will return.

3 – Gratitude for the Felt Presence

On the days when we feel God’s love especially keenly, we need to express, at least inwardly, our gratitude.  God does not need our gratitude, but we do.  And we can have more and more blessings as we express more and more gratitude (from personal experience, not stated in ACIM).

4 – Feel God’s Love as We Walk through the Day

May we live a good day today.  May we feel God’s love as we walk through each hour of the day.  And may we not be heartbroken if some tragedy strikes.  God is not walking beside us, but is carrying us at such times (from an anecdote written by Hugh Prather).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I appreciate that You allow me to feel Your presence on most days.  I suspect that when I don’t feel Your presence, it is because I have distanced myself by being unconscious to my deeper being.  I pray for no dark night of the soul, though I recognize the value of such experiences.  I would not be “in extremis” in regard to living my life.  Having Your presence as an intimate part of my day ensures that all will be well.  Thank You.

Be with all of us today as we do the best that we know how for ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  May we return love for attack and anger, knowing that attack and anger are always calls for help.  May we give that help in the best way possible.

Amen.

I Want the Peace of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 205 – for Sunday, July 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”

“I want the peace of God.  (WB390)”

Reflections:

ACIM says that to say these words can be meaningless, but to mean these words, “I want the peace of God,” is everything.  If we truly want the peace of God, we need to meet the conditions, which is a true, lasting commitment to seek and therefore to find.  Neale Donald Walsch, in his Conversations with God series, cautions us against using the word “want,” because the very use of this word will make the “wanting” all that we get.  ACIM does not seem to take this caution to heart.  God knows what we mean by “want,” although other writers also, especially Shakti Gawain, have encouraged us to state affirmations in the here and now–as though we already had that for which we are asking.

Perhaps we do not have to see inconsistency in these two positions.  We can move from “want” to “be” to “have” (similar to Shakti’s writing) in one easy stroke.  God will move mountains to help us, once we are expressing the desire that He move into a central place in our lives.  Indeed, He is here even when we have not asked for His presence.  God does not leave His children.  We need, though, to open to Him in order to be aware of His presence.

The peace of God will give us everything that is for our highest good.  It does not dwell on material things, for these are illusion.  But if we have peace, we can live calmly, regardless of what life may deal us.  We will be at home in God, and nobody is ever homeless with such a Haven.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me today as I seek to follow Your way ever more closely.  I would be happy in this world, and to do that I must overlook the attack that another may make upon me.  I need to forgive.  Then I will know the peace that only You can give.  And I will heal my brother or sister who attacked me.  They do know forgiveness when it is offered, even when nothing is said.

Be with me today.  It is all that I ask.

Amen.

The Gift of God’s Grace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 179 – for Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is but Love, and therefore so am I.”

“1.  There is one life, and that I share with God.

“2.  Your grace is given me.  I claim it now.  (WB334)”

Reflections:

We are One with God, oft repeated in this blog.  This goes against some traditional Christian teaching that the earth and all in it are God’s handiwork, and that He stands apart from His handiwork.  But the latest revelations, including A Course in Miracles, does state that God is One with us.  Our life is His; He is experiencing Himself through us.  These ideas are developed at some length by Neale Donale Walsch in his Conversations with God series.

We need only ask for God’s grace to receive it.  He wants to give grace to us.  Grace is the truth of forgiveness, but God does not forgive, because He does not perceive that we have ever sinned (a Text tenet).  God does not need to forgive, but we do.  This is a principal tenet of A Course in Miracles.  When we have traveled far enough along the pathway, we will know that there is actually nothing to forgive, but most of us have not traveled that far yet.

Grace is a great boon that need only to be claimed to be our own.  We will know God’s love for us when we accept the grace that He so willingly holds out to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask for Your grace today.  This is the mercy that You extend to us all the time, but our eyes are frequently blind to it.  I would not be blind today.  Help me to live always in Your presence.  Give me Your peace, along with the will to follow what You would have me say and do.  Help me to be kind to those whom I encounter.

Your grace is partially a mystery to me, but I know that You can open my eyes to all that You mean by “grace.”  Help me to comprehend more today, with my spirit as well as my mind.  I would not follow the ego’s raucous calls today.

Amen.

No Separation between God’s Mind and Mine

ACIM Workbook Lesson 110 – for Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am as God created me.”

Selected Passage:

“If you are as God created you, then there has been no separation of your mind from His, no split between your mind and other minds, and only unity within your own.  (WB199)”

Reflections:

1 – Unity and Relationship

This passage presages A Course of Love, viewed by some to be a sequel, channeled by Jesus, to show us our way Home and to let us know that the time of constant seeking is no more.  A recurring theme in ACOL is “unity and relationship,” in which is meant that All is one (i.e., we are One with all of our brothers and sisters, and with God), and that we are in relationship to the All, which includes God as well as our brothers and sisters.

2 – Perfect Honesty = Consistency

“[O]nly unity within your own [mind]” means that we are consistent in our thought; we have perfect honesty.  These are concepts from the Manual.  No thought is at war with any other thought (also from the Manual).  We are truly honest, in that we do not have the conflict that previously engulfed us.  The ego wanted only conflict; indeed, the ego thrived on conflict.  But we are moving beyond the ego now.  We must be patient.  Sometimes the Way opens up to us quickly, but more often we have a slowly evolving training period (a Manual tenet).

3 – No Separation from God

Our mind knows no separation from God’s mind.  This is a more esoteric thought than many in ACIM, because we may have been taught in church, previously, that the world is God’s handiwork, and that He is separate from the world.  But ACIM says repeatedly that God is the All.  This is a concept developed by Jane Roberts in the Seth books, as well as Neale Donald Walsch in the Conversations with God series.  It is New Age thought, but not just this, because it harkens back to Jesus’s declaration in the New Testament that he and the Father are One.  In ACIM, Jesus says that there is nothing that he has that we cannot have, are not meant to have, as well.  We will know this truth when we ask for help, in communion with God, that there be only unity within our mind.  That will mean that the split that seemed to occur in the separation, the split that gave us the ego, has been ended.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know deeply within my heart and soul that my mind is One with Your Mind.  I realize that this does not mean that we are equal.  I am a part of You, but I am part of the Whole that is One.  May my understanding of this mystical thought grow daily to a fuller knowledge.

May I grow in joy and love for my brothers and sisters, and may I be a blessing to them.  May I be happy, that I might share my life more fully without neurosis.

Amen.

A Happy Ending to Dreams of Disaster

ACIM Workbook Lesson 75 – for Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “The light has come.”

Selected Passage:

“You are at peace and you bring peace with you wherever you go. . .Today we celebrate the happy ending to your long dream of disaster.  There are no dark dreams now.  The light has come.  (WB132)”

Reflections:

This passage is a glorious celebration that, if we are ready, signals the end of our suffering.  Pain will not affect us as it has; we will rise above, and turn to God, as we have before, but with a difference.  Jesus says in the Text, “It is not necessary to learn through pain.”  And he goes on to explain that pain can have only a temporary effect, that it is much better to learn through rewards.

Here we learn that the light has come.  We are ready to learn through rewards.  We need only make a concerted effort to fail to let the ego influence us.  How do we know when the ego is calling the shots?  We may feel momentarily elated (because we have temporarily gotten rid of the anger–an ACIM tenet), but the elation will turn to ashes.  We will feel lost, forgotten by God, and hostile to this world and all in it.  We will even feel hostile to ourselves.  We will feel out of sorts, in the mildest version of ego-oriented thinking.

Let us leave all such nonsense behind today.  Our dark dreams have disappeared.  If we do not stay close to guidance, we will lapse back into darkness, though.  As Neale Donald Walsch says, evolution is not a straight line.  Returning to the Holy Spirit and following his guidance, leaving judgment to Him, will get us back in line.  We also need to remove attack from our repertoire of emotions, and we need to leave unnecessary planning against contingencies to come behind also.  The Text says that these three lamentable actions will cause us, once again, to lose our way.

But we are not lost today!  We are at peace, and we know that God is with us.  Let us rejoice with all that this is so.  May this be a particular day of dedication.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You that the light has come!  Disaster will stalk me no longer.  Pain does not turn to suffering.  My attitude allow Your blessings, even in adversity, to shine through.

I am ready to learn through rewards.  I know that this is a decision that I can make.  I do not choose to learn through pain, and I will today constantly remind myself that Jesus says that to learn through pain is unnecessary.  I long for a lasting new life, one that I have learned through rewards, and these rewards are what make it lasting.  Be with me today as I seek Your Voice in all my doings.

Amen.

The Ancient Search Can Be Over

ACIM Workbook Lesson 69 – for Thursday, March 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “My grievances hide the light of the world in me.”

Selected Passage:

“Let us begin our longer practice period today with the full realization. . .[and] with real determination to reach what is dearer to us than all else.  Salvation is our only need.  There is no other purpose here, and no other function to fulfill.  Learning salvation is our only goal.  Let us end the ancient search today by finding the light in us, and holding it up for everyone who searches with us to look upon and rejoice.  (WB117)”

Reflections:

We just must give up grievances if we are to find our way forward on the right pathway.  Grievances make us feel unsafe, because we imagine (rightfully) that the attack we are harboring in our hearts will turn and rend us.

We often do not really believe that salvation is our purpose on earth.  Most New Age thinking agrees (there are exceptions) that life is a school, and that we are here to learn.  (Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God is a notable exception.)  Salvation is our curriculum, and A Course in Miracles is a part of that curriculum.  In the foreword, we are made to understand that we don’t choose the curriculum, that we only can elect what we will take a given time.  And A Course in Miracles is required.

If it seems that this implies reincarnation, perhaps it does.  But elsewhere Jesus warns those of us who are students/teachers of ACIM not to take a stand on reincarnation, as this will be merely controversial and limit our usefulness.  ACIM does not seek to teach anything that cannot be accepted regardless of such beliefs.  If we have like-minded people with whom to converse, then we are encouraged to discuss reincarnation (as well, perhaps, as anything else mentioned in ACIM).  But we must not limit our usefulness to those we are trying to reach.

May we find the light in ourselves today.  Let us find salvation today.  Not the salvation that we may have found at an earlier point in our lives, but the larger salvation that leads to Awakening (i.e., Enlightenment, though this is an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I end my lifelong search for complete salvation today.  May I come ever closer to You and to Your realizations for me.  May the Awakening come sooner rather than later.

I look to You for my next step.  I know that I do not have to search endlessly, that all that I really need to know has been shown me.  Thank You for taking me by the hand and guiding me.  May I know no attack today that would seem to separate You from me.

Amen.

The Way Out of Fear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 23 – for Sunday, January 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.”

Selected Passage:

“The idea for today contains the only way out of fear that will ever succeed.  Nothing else will work; everything else is meaningless.  But this way cannot fail.  Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see.  It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.  (WB34)”

Reflections:

There is power in these words, real power.  And they work; I can speak from experience.  (Of course, I believe that everything in A Course in Miracles “works.”)  But, as Neale Donald Walsch in his Conversations with God (a trilogy) has said, evolution is not a straight line.  A Course in Miracles says that if we return to attack, to making judgments, or to unnecessary planning for contingencies to come, we will fall again from the higher plane that ACIM is patiently taking us.  So it behooves us to walk carefully, lest we slip.

This passage is based, as are so many, on the premise that projection makes perception.  When we give up attack (thoughts, feelings, actions), we will see a more peaceful world, because we will not be projecting our inner state of mind outward and seeing attack poised to strike back at us.

Test out this important lesson today.  Try to spend the day, not as it might please you most, but as it might please the Holy Spirit most.  Try to spend a day without planning, following guidance consistently (but not compulsively).  Most importantly, start the day off right.  And if something goes awry, metaphorically, start the day again.  We always get second chances, though we do want to save the world and us time, and starting the day aright does save time (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack that I might no longer have fear–at all.  I believe what Jesus has said in this very important words from A Course in Miracles.  Help me to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit throughout the day today.  It will be a special day of dedication if I can stay true to this declaration.

Be with me today as I try to follow the best and highest that I know.  Know that I do wish to live aright, and it is only when I slip that I have problems.

Amen.

Be Tolerant

“There is room in the universe, dear brothers and sisters, for everyone’s choice.  I call you to a new choice,, but not intolerance of those who are not ready to make it.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 6.6)”

Affirmation:  “called to a new choice”

Reflections:

We are to be tolerant of our brothers and sisters who have not walked the full pathway.  Not all are ready to accept the words of Jesus as scribed in A Course of Love.  We are not to look down upon them.  Perhaps a smile is all that they can handle.  We are not called upon to be proselytizers of the way that we have found.

We are called to a “new choice,” but not intolerance of those who are not ready.  This is a bit of a strong warning of the misstep that we might make.  And our arrogance would be ego-inspired, taking us down rather than up.  Surely we do not want to walk the path of the ego all over again.  And Neale Donald Walsch in his Conversations with God series, says that evolution is not a “straight line.”  So it would behoove us to walk carefully down our pathway.

The universe(s) is a very large place, metaphorically as well as actually, physically.  It can accommodate the many pathways that people find in their way back to God.  ACIM says that there are many courses, all with the same purpose.  In ACIM and ACOL, though, we have found one united pathway that many believe came from Jesus.  We should not, as ACIM notes, follow pathways that are meant for others, but to adopt that which we see as our own, our best way back to God.  ACIM and ACOL work together to embody that pathway for many people.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be and remain tolerant of others and their different pathways.  May I especially be tolerant when they do not subscribe to my pathway, as seen in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  May I be understanding even if they denounce me.

May I follow the way that is mine.  This involves my holy relationships to my brothers and sisters.  This does not necessarily involve tedious hours spent in contemplation.  Jesus himself has said this, and may I take it to heart.

Amen.

A Song of God

“This could as easily be stated as your being a Song of God.  You are God’s harmony, God’s expression, God’s melody.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 5.2)”

Affirmation:  “I am a Song of God.”

Reflections:

We are blessed by God.  We are His expression.  And this is a good expression.  We are living God’s lives for Him.  It is the way that He experiences reality.  Neale Donald Walsch, in Conversations with God (a trilogy), says much about this aspect of reality.

To be a song is a lovely metaphor.  We want to give God good days.  This means that we are not to feel sorry for ourselves, however dismal the weather (or our personal weather) seems to be.  We live for the highest and best of which we are capable.  Then we will truly know God’s reality.  We will know that the divine spark truly is within each of us.  The Divinity is within, as well as without.  And, just as in hologram, the spark of the whole is embedded in each portion.

All to often we let ourselves get depressed when things do not go our way.  At such times, go within to God.  Ask for His presence to be made known.  And He will respond.  There is a whole world waiting for us to explore.  Do not retreat to dismal thoughts when this is the world that God has made, and we are to rejoice within it.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am blessed to be a Song of Yours.  I do not fully understand this, but I do know that you love me–with a love that does not diminish, regardless of what I say or do.  You are always there for me.  I thank You often for Your presence, and today I mean it especially keenly.

I know that You will guide me..  Guide me today to be a true and lovely Song of Yours.

Amen.