Tag Archives: devotion

Being Devoted to Others

“Devotion is synonymous with true service. True service does not look for what another has to give or what another has that you might use. True service recognizes God’s law of giving and receiving, and the practice of devotion is, in effect, the practice of allowing giving and receiving to be one. It is, during the time of tenderness, a true practice that, like vigilance, is a means to a desired end. You must practice recognizing your feelings of lack of love, and realize these feelings come from your inability to receive. Do this practice until it is no longer needed.” (ACOL, C:25.7)

Jesus uses the word “devotion” with a very precise meaning; it is the dedication that we feel to ourselves and others when we are loving ourselves and others. We are “serving” by loving, and this service does not mean subservience at all. Serving another is something that is good, for our way of living in the world—once we have come to know the truth—is to serve and be served, to give and receive. Serving and being served, giving and receiving are one action, for we are one Self. We can, if it helps us, think of the actions as twofold, for the Self of form does make what comes to use from another seem somehow different. But, in actuality, since the Self is always One with another, the action is complementary, an action of the one Self serving the one Self.

When we are not receiving love, we feel unloved. But it is always in our perception that this dichotomy comes about. We tend to reject that which we do not understand, and when we lack love, we have actually rejected that love which is actually around us at all times. Receive and be glad. Recognize that our perception is faulty when we are too blind to see what is all around us.

Dear Father/Mother,

Our devotion to others in our lives is the best way that we can exhibit love, and I want to thank You for the inspiration that came from words like this in A Course of Love. Our devotion means that we care, and we know that You care for us, very deeply—far more deeply than we can even imagine, for we are inhibited in love.

Be with us for a good day, as always I ask this. May we know when to forge ahead and when to rest, when to strive to improve and when to sleep, when to reach toward our goals and when to take a breather. The best means of learning this is from our observation as we go about our day. Help us to make wise decisions in what we do and say.

Amen.

Devotion to a Brother or Sister Cannot Set You Back

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Masculine and Feminine Gender in ACIM

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

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

2 – Go the Extra Mile

It is important to note here that we are to follow the biblical injunction of going the distance with our brother. We are to go the extra mile. But we are not encouraged to send our brother searching alone for his (or her) pathway; we are to help him in the best way that we know how. This best way may not always be apparent. Sometimes we can help best by stepping back, and only smiling at him (or her); this is stated in the Manual of ACIM We are bade to pay attention to what our brother is ready for. And this may not be readily apparent, and so we need to think carefully before we act. If we ourselves cannot be hurt by a brother (and we cannot be), then we have nothing to fear from him–even when he misunderstands us. We may need to absence ourselves from him in such cases, though. Though A Course in Miracles does not say so, sometimes absence from the picture is a loving thing to do. We are not the right person for every other person, because we differ radically in our personalities (from the Manual of ACIM). Our personalities are quite distinct.

3 – No Lost Ground

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

4 – We Don’t Lose by Helping

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

5 – We Are Here for Each Other

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Worship

Towpath_Bridge - gordon hass“You must constantly remember that your observance is now an act of worship and of devotion and that you are called to observe the truth rather than illusion no matter how real illusion may still seem to be. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 18.8)”

Affirmation: “May I observe in reverence today.”

Reflections:

1 – Reverence

The term “reverence” seems to my mind to be the best way to find a synonym for both “worship” and “devotion” in regard to the observance of the truth as opposed to illusion. We need reverence in our daily life, as it calms our minds and gives us a settled good will toward divinity. God does not need our praise, according to A Course in Miracles, but we need the act of communing with Him, and in this there is an element of devotion, if not outright worship. We need worship of, and devotion to, God, even if He doesn’t need or require either of these from us.

2 – Reality

The section of A Course of Love that we are considering does repeatedly stress the pursuit of truth as opposed to illusion. This leads me to conclude that truth, or reality, or the real world, is available to us. Previously truth, reality, or the real world had not been available; we were lost in illusion, or maya (the Eastern term), and there was little we could do about it other than ask for the “happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles). Now, it seems, we have traveled farther along the pathway, and, while I do not want us to get lost in theology, we are perhaps, most of us, able to at least catch glimpses of the truth, glimpses of reality or the real world. ACIM says that this experience will be fleeting, because God will act quickly to reach down and lift us up to Awakening—once we have experienced the real world for a time. Because time differs in eternity from our world, we cannot know what a short time in experiencing the real world would be like. We do not know how long we must wait for Awakening (or enlightenment, or Christ-consciousness—all synonyms).

3 – Impatience

Let us hope today that the wait is brief. We are impatient, but this is often an egoic notion that is best left behind. We need to cultivate patience with others, our brothers and sisters, in part because this helps to create the holy relationships that we long to have. And holy relationships are our ticket to the ultimate in salvation.

4 – No Injury to Others

Let us open ourselves to the truth today, but take care that what we perceive to be the truth is not injurious to anybody.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Unless I am anxious, I sometimes forget how important communing with You really is. I go about my business in this world, safe in Your love, but not realizing fully where my safety lies.

My safety lies with You. I would not choose anxiety as a goad to greater prayer. I would pray willingly and repeatedly, for communing with You is life-affirming. It is the best that this world offers. The sense of Your presence brings a serene and calm outlook on this world. It alleviates stress, and all of us need to have that, given the state of our world.

May today be the first day of a new sense of continuing communion with You. May I never forget You. I know that You will never forget me. Thank You.

Amen.

Devotion to a Brother Cannot Set You Back

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

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

Reflections:

1 – What “Brother” Means

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

2 – What Devotion to a Brother Means

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

3 – Do We Always Act?

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

4 – Difficulties with a Brother

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

5 – No Setbacks

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.