Tag Archives: gentleness

Perfect Love

“The world understands power as a means to force submission.  Jesus also submitted, but not to the laws of the world, not to its codes, systems, or authorities.  Jesus wanted to show you, whom He loves infinitely, how far obedience should go to God, that is, to perfect love.”  Choose Only Love bk.3, 6:II

Obedience to God counts for a lot.  We often reach out to Him without realizing that there are requirements in place that we might not want to fulfill.  If we sense that He is asking something of us, we need to dwell on that urge, that sense, and see if it is our personal mind who is speaking to us, or God within.  If what we are imagining will hurt nobody, then we are wise to consider carefully if now is the time to act on the feeling that we are getting.

If we are acting in perfect love, there will be no downside.  We have to use discernment here, though, because if we are still caught by the ego, we might imagine action that is actually far from God.  Practice prayer assiduously.  Really give some thought to the urge that is overwhelming us.  Be sure that what we are hearing is coming from a Higher Power, not our lowly egoic self.

Jesus was gentle.  If we use his example as our guide we will submit to God and not the world, but we will do so gently.  Ask if the will to react is a God-driven initiative, in the example of Jesus.  Ask to be shown the obedient-to-God way.

Let God Act in Gentleness in Our Very Souls

I and I alone am the source of what I experience and perceive. I am not a victim of the world I see. Everything I experience, I have called to myself, plain and simple—no excuses, no ifs, ands, or buts. That is the way it is.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 5, Page 64)

We are one with Jesus, as we are one with all other beings in our world. We are responsible for this “pebble” (Jesus’ word) called “earth.” There is one Self only, and this Self is a manifestation of God, insane though we have been in manifesting Him. He is not insane, and so we could not fully experience God in our illusory separation from Him. But we have never been victims. We did just what we wanted. We thought it smart to develop a worldview that left God out, and in the doing of it, we suffered mightily. Our suffering was chosen by our souls to lead us back to knowledge that what we were about would never work.

God was not punitive. He just had to have universes that were based in Love in order to keep that Creation from self-destructing. We didn’t know this, for our finite minds could not contain the ramifications of this in our delusions. We projected the ego as the Devil, and we imagined a cosmic war going on. This has never been, but we didn’t have, in separation, a certain way of knowing the truth.

Now we do. We live in the time of Christ, and certain things that have been hidden until are now, now are out in the open. Our way back is seen as the smooth path that it is. We need fret, worry, suffer, be in pain, no more. Our Self, seen as individuated entities apart from each other, will gradually return to the fold, knowing that suffering is unnecessary. We will let God have His way with us, learning through rewards, a way that is vastly superior to pain.

Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that it is not necessary to learn through pain. Believe him, and watch the agonies of this world recede.

Let God act in gentleness in our very souls, and our way will be smoothed for all time.

Be Gentle with the Self

Do we really choose, on some level, what we experience? The Course is uncompromising in its insistence that we do. “Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him [i.e., the Holy Spirit] Who must decide for God for you.” (T-21.II.3:5-6)

If this concept is helpful, it is because we see the light at the end of the tunnel. If it makes us feel guilty, we are misusing the words on behalf of the ego’s insanity. All of us are still at least partially insane, ruled by the ego. It is not practical to think, under these circumstances, that we always and consistently follow the Holy Spirit. The little self that occupies this world is still imperfect. Be gentle with that self, even as your Self would be, and perhaps say quietly (if it is helpful), “There is another way of looking at the world.” (W-pI.33.h)

When I fall from Grace into karma, I think, “I have done this thing to somebody else, sometime, somewhere.” I allow myself to feel the pain, but I try not to wallow in it. It is sometimes helpful, if the “sin” (in illusion) seems to be perpetrated by another, to remember, “you always attack yourself first,” (T-10.II.4:5) substituting the offender’s name for the “you.” Then I feel compassion for this fellow traveler, my brother sent to me by God, for we will find the way out together or not at all.

Being Who We Are in Mellowness & Gentleness

“We have talked little of feelings here, and there has been a reason for this discussion coming so late in our time together. To accept the feelings of the self of illusion would have been to accept the feelings generated by the fear of the ego thought system or the bitterness of your heart. It would have been to accept the feelings of a personal self who had not yet unlearned the lessons of the past or taken these steps toward elevation. Now, however, it is crucial that you come to acceptance of yourself—in the present, as you are—for only by doing so will you come to full acceptance of who you are and be able to allow the Self of unity to merge with the self of form, thus elevating the self of form. You will also, only in this way, come to true expression of the elevated Self of form. Access and expression are both conditions of the present.” (ACOL, D:Day8.17)

We are accepting the feelings of the Self of union, the Self who has merged with the Christ-Self deep within us. We are not accepting the feelings of an egoic self any longer. When we accept the feelings of the newly emerged Self, we are mellow and forgiving. We are at peace, and who among us would not want peace at all times?

How do we invite mellowness and peace? This is an important question to come to terms with, for in it is our pathway home made clear to us. Our insights will grow ever greater as we walk the mellow pathway of gentleness. By forgiving those who do not seem forgivable, we are given the blessing of a full peace.

What is more, we are given the blessing of glimpses of Christ-consciousness, the state of mind and heart that will soon be our permanent state. We will sustain Christ-consciousness when we have truly realized that we forgive, first, for ourselves, to ease the pain and torment of a tortured mind and heart. Our brothers and sisters are, many of them, living in insanity, and thus nothing that they do means anything. We can sometimes feel pity for them, but we do best when we feel compassion instead. This compassion will ease the way toward a full-hearted forgiveness of the illusion that we actually reside in.

Be gentle with ourselves today. Know that to dwell on problems is not the way. Ask for a solution at the point of need, and then rest easy—for the solution will come, and at just the right time, an immediate time.

Be good to our neighbors, our brothers and sisters. We will have less to forgive when we embrace all of them with compassion born of a serene and full heart.

Prayer

Dear God,

Thank You for the insight that I had recently, just yesterday, that I once made my own problems with a passion that I have given up now. I would not obsess about any seeming difficulty. There is too much to be happy about, too much to rue a good day.

If I am certain that You will always provide a solution when there is a problem, I will walk a green earth again. And I am certain. Thank You.

Amen.

Listen for What Is Full of Love, What Is Gentle

“Realize that this is how you have learned in the past and that all that is from the past is what you are being called to forget. Thus when uncer¬tainty arises, you need but remind yourself that the time for uncertainty is past. Uncertainty will not now come to teach you lessons you have already learned but will only visit you as an echo from the past. It is a habit, a pattern of the old thought system. All you must do is not listen to it. Its voice will not be gentle or full of love. Its voice will hold the unmistakable edge of fear.” (ACOL, T3:10.11)

This quotation builds upon the quotation from yesterday. When we are uncertain or experiencing self-doubt, we are really living in fear. And this fear can and ought to be avoided. Look to the heart to still the fear, for this fear is only a pattern of the ego that can be overcome. Patterns of the time of the ego may continue to plague us for a while, but listening to the heart quells all such confusion.

Listen for what is full of love, what is gentle. Turn aside from uncertainty by gently opening the heart to what is transpiring in our world. The heart will always guide rightly.

And the self-doubt with which we have been plagued will dissipate as mists before the sun.

If self-doubt seems to linger, then ask a few pointed questions. What is happening in our lives that hasn’t happened until now? Why are we unsure and plagued with uncertainty?

Our minds may be affected by passing illness. We don’t think well when illness is predominant in what we are experiencing. In such cases, we may need simply to wait it out. Lie low for a while. Don’t make decisions from a place of uncertainty. If decisions are necessary, commune with our inner God for long periods of time. He will not mislead.

We may find that the period of uncertainty is a time of testing. Do we know how to distinguish genuine guidance from passing fancy? If not, now is the time to learn. We may not be at our best, but this too can be a way of learning from observation of our world. Maybe our observations tell us that we are not clicking along very well. If so, we need to retreat from the world into our inner sanctuary, and let God take over, ever more.

Uncertainty will pass if we follow God’s direction, and He is present in the Christ-Self, our new Self, the new Self Who will create a new world.

Prayer

I find myself wanting to go in many directions all at once, and this fuels uncertainty—the last thing that I want. Help me with this. Help us with this. Uncertainty is self-doubt, and self-doubt is fear—egoic in nature. I thought that I had left the ego behind, but perhaps its echo is still with me. Please let the ego fall away, once and for all.

Be with me today. Help me to have a good day, now and always. My constant prayer, said every morning.

Help me to discern guidance accurately. Help me to play with You, for You are lighthearted and loving, most of all.

Amen.

Let Gentleness Be Our Guide Today and Every Day

“The Christ-mind and the thoughts that come from the voice of the Christ-mind will be gentle. The thoughts of the ego-mind will come as disguises to certainty. Given just a little practice, these disguises will be easily seen through and the uncertainty behind them revealed. Thoughts of the Christ-mind will hold a certainty that cannot be disguised. Remember that all doubt is doubt about yourself and that you are no longer called to doubt yourself. Your Self is now your Christ-Self.” (ACOL, T3:10.9)

We are encouraged to eliminate self-doubt in this quotation for today. We have long been uncertain about our reactions to others, even when we have been following intuition and guidance. Of course, following guidance is recommended in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. But how do we know when we are accurately assessing what to do? This is where uncertainty rears its ugly head, and we wonder. . . oh, how we do wonder!

The problem previously with following guidance and being unsure if the guidance is accurate has been the ego. It has confused us no end. Now, following the Christ-Self, knowing that the ego is gone, will ease our minds and hearts considerably. We will know we are on the right path. We will feel reassured that all is well.

And the ego is gone. This far into A Course of Love, Jesus has reassured all readers that the ego is gone. Of course, a new ego can be formed, but for now we are safe. And if we truly live love, we will not let the egoic thought return. We will be safe forever.

The thoughts of the Christ-mind are gentle. This is the way that we can tell about its guidance. If the way being shown to us is a gentle path, a path with heart, we will know that we are right on—not being misled in any sense at all.

Let us let gentleness be our guide today and every day. Let us let the Christ-mind take over, as long as this mind is informed by the heart. And the mellowness that we feel from the heart will be unmistakable. We will know when to act and when to refrain from acting. Our way will be sure.

Prayer

When I am uncertain whether or not the guidance I seem to sense is true, I need to go within and ask again. If the same guidance keeps coming up to the surface of my mind, out of my heart, then I can be more assured that this guidance is accurate. Self-doubt is confusing, and it is so unnecessary. I will learn better as I progress farther back to You, leaving self-doubt in the dust below my feet.

Be with me today as I seek to find my way. My way, I have determined, is Your way. And when I am assured that my guidance is coming from deep within me, then I know that You are doing the prompting.

Thank You.

Amen.

Tenderness in Our World

“Where you learned to hate, you will learn to love. Where you learned to fear, you will learn safety. Where you learned to distrust, you will learn trust. And each learning experience will be a learning experience because it will touch your heart. It may be as simple as a smile from a child that melts away all the resentment you held from your childhood—because you allow that smile to touch your heart. It may be a time of weepiness and what you would term emotionalism. You may feel as if everything makes you want to cry because everything will touch you, each lesson will feel tender. Unlearning has no harshness about it. If you simply allow it to come, it will reward you constantly with what can best be described as tenderness.” (ACOL, C:24.1)

When we read on in A Course of Love, the beauty of the words lulls us into a sense of comfort. This comfort is called the “time of tenderness,” when we may even weep for apparently no reason. These are heart-warming moments, not to be pushed aside but embraced. These will take us every closer to the salvation that we all seek. These will take us Home.

Unlearning is gentle. And our life experiences, as we learned yesterday, will lead us to this change. We don’t need to rush things, or to be become frustrated because things don’t seem to be happening as we want. The beauty of this time of tenderness is that it creeps up on us in unguarded moments, moments filled with joy. We weep in joy, not frustration, anger, or resentment—and not even from sadness. We may, it is true, be somewhat melancholy in these times, but we will not regret the melancholy. We will lean into it, and when we do so, we allow it to teach us new things, new things from observation of our world.

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day in the time of tenderness lead me to a patience with myself and all others, my brothers and sisters in Christ. May I also have patience if I see others who are still caught in egoic nonsense; the ego will cease to capture all of us one day, and may that day come sooner rather than later.

Help me to be patient with myself, to let the tears flow when they want. I am heartened by the heartwarming feelings that flow over me. And I hope that this means that my heart is softening to a forgiveness of myself and all others, even You, for creating a reality that I, in my ignorance, sometimes have rued.

Amen.

May We Be Faithful—Honest, Trusting, Gentle, Joyous, Tolerant

“True faithfulness, however, does not deviate. Being consistent, it is wholly honest. Being unswerving, it is full of trust. Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle. Being certain, it is joyous. And being confident, it is tolerant. (M15)”

1 – Dense Passage

This is a dense passage, dense with meaning. It builds upon the definition of faithfulness we read yesterday, and it is extols consistency in our image of the idea.

2 – Honesty

We have read elsewhere that honesty is actually consistency of thought and deed–nothing contradicts our inner beliefs and nothing that we do externally contradicts what we feel inside.

3 – Trust

Trust is mentioned again, as it was yesterday. We must place our trust in the Word of God to set all things right.

4 – Gentleness

Gentleness leads to fearlessness, because we are not always looking toward our backs to see who might betray us.

5 – Joy

When we are certain about the course that our lives will take, in love, we can feel joy.

6 – Tolerance

And then, finally, when we are tolerant we can live with the strength of confidence in our choices.

7 – Promises

Nowhere else in the Course are so many promises packed in so short a span of phrases.

8 – Strengths of the Manual

This is one of the strengths of the Manual, which can lead some readers to choose this shorter part as the one with which they begin. Jesus does not counsel against this, leaving it to the reader to choose the parts first that speak to him or her the most.

9 – Faithfulness

“Faithfulness, then, combines in itself the other attributes of God’s teachers. It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son. (M15)”

10 – Faith

We so often misread the concept of faith and faithfulness. In the Bible, we learn that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

11 – “On Faith”

Growing up, we may have rejected taking things “on faith,” because perhaps this implied to us that we were to leave our minds behind, let our intellect go. While this is probably a false conception, even when based on biblical teachings, this conception is totally antithetical from the spirit and words of A Course in Miracles.

12 – ACIM’s Take on Faith

In ACIM, we are not ever required to take anything on blind faith. We are led, step by step, to knowledge that we can accept with our intelligence even working overtime (unless this intelligence is overly informed by our egos). We are led to realize that nothing in faith need contradict reason, a tenet of St. Thomas Acquinas. We are led gently to pathways of faith. We are not ever chastised if we are not yet ready to a given concept. The Holy Spirit is eminently patient with us.

13 – Defenselessness

“Toward Them [God and God’s Son] it looks, seeking until it finds. Defenselessness attends it naturally, and joy is its condition. And having found, it rests in quiet certainty on That alone to Which all faithfulness is due. (M15)”

This use of the term “Them,” capitalized is a bit confusing in ACIM. It does mean God and God’s Son (and Daughter), as a careful reading will let us know. We do seek God; we do seek our real Selves, the Christ Self deep within us (a tenet of A Course of Love).

14 – Quiet Certainty

We do rest in “quiet certainty,” a wondrous concept. All of us thrive on certainty in this ever-changing world. Most of us don’t take kindly to change that barrels us forward at breakneck speed (though some of us thrive on the thrill of it all). Quiet certainly is calmer, and in this stressful world we often want calm.

15 – Peace of Mind and Joyous Living

Faithfulness to our curriculum in A Course in Miracles will bring us peace of mind and joyous living. This is ACIM’s promise, and the vast number of students of ACIM will attest that the books live up to their promise.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I can remember all parts of this great promise as I walk through the day. Forgive my limitations. Help me now to drive these ideas deep into my mind, so that they are there in my subconscious when I need them.

Help me to be tolerant of my own limitations. I know that in this world I will have limitations, but Your promises are sure, and I can depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I walk through the day.

Amen.

The Gentle Have No Pain. Why Would They Not Be Joyous?

1 – Beloved

“The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. (M13)”

Gentleness works. On the days that I am most gentle, I walk a smooth pathway. Nothing fazes me. Life is good. Part of this blessing is that I know that I am safe in this world, regardless of what the world throws at me.

2 – Safety

You are safe also. All of us are equal children of God, receiving equal blessings when we come to ourselves enough to ask for those blessings. But we must ask. The Bible is filled with examples of blessings that can be ours, but for which we must ask (ACIM tenet).

3 – Greedy?

We are not being greedy when we ask for what God wants for us anyway. He wants all good for us. Never is He guilty of bringing to us pain; we do this to ourselves.

4 – Personal Experience

When I was growing up, I did not want to be greedy in any sense at all. My mother told me that she and my father had a hard time knowing what Santa should bring, because I would not name what I wanted.

5 – Personal Experience II

Later on, when I was 25, I saw a vision (hallucination) of my bad karma, and it was the fact that I wanted to “get mine.” This is technically called “rapaciousness,” and William Faulkner, Nobel Prize laureate, has a great deal to say about this character trait. It is wanting for self, a reaching forth in a negative fashion. Loosely understood, it is greed.

6 – Restlessness

But gentleness quells all this restlessness to “have.” It is quite true that God wants us to have everything good, and we will not be satisfied until we do have everything. The ego tells us that sometimes we separate out something very desirable (from the ego’s standpoint) as if to say that having this one thing, we will forego all other (ACIM paraphrase). Yet this fails to satisfy, if we succeed in getting this desired goal. For we want everything, and everything does belong to us in truth.

7 – Joy

“Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. (M13)”

We will be happy if we can remain gentle; this is joy. We will certainly feel remorse, at least later on, if we succumb to attack; this is the tragedy of grief experienced.

8 – Attack

It is true that momentarily after attack, we may feel better, not worse. This is because we think, erroneously, that we have gotten rid of the guilt that has otherwise dogged us on our paths. But we haven’t really gotten rid of the guilt. It has, instead, become enhanced through our giving in to attack. This is the folly that we don’t see when suddenly we “see red.”

9 – Find the Gentleness

To find the joy, we must find the gentleness. To remove the grief, we must disavow attack. This formula works in daily life. Why don’t we all give it a try?

“God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. (M13)”

Yet another passage affirming the validity of guidance by the Holy Spirit, Who is identified here as God’s Voice, we know that this is true—if we have studied A Course in Miracles to any extent at all. The Holy Spirit, to Whom we give up our own puny judgment, gives us our real will. And we are made happy in this exchange.

10 – No Harm!

No harm! Yes! Even bad things lose their sting. We know that our real Self, the Christ within, cannot be harmed in any way. Let the world do what it will, we are safe.

11 – Song of Thanks

“Joy is their song of thanks. . . .How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation! (M13)”

Would it not be a wonderful thing to be joyous all the time! That is indeed the very blessing that is held out to us in Awakening. I have a friend who experienced Awakening some 30 years ago, and she is a prime example of happiness in life. The negative does not hurt her at all. She sees the bigger picture.

12 – Awakening

And so can we all, even before we experience enlightenment. Enlightenment is increasing in numbers, according to Eckhart Tolle, but is still comparatively rare. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (from the Bible), knowing what the glorious end will be.

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack in all my dealings with my brothers and sisters. This one step will give me joy. Gentleness will also accompany this change in me.

Thank you for the courage to give up attack. Help me to realize that it offers nothing that I want, and everything that I do not want. Lead me along Your pathway to joy, led by the gentleness that You will help me to acquire.

Amen.

God’s Teachers Are Wholly Gentle. They Need the Strength of Gentleness, for It Is in This that Salvation Becomes Easy.

1 – Harmfulness

“No teacher of God but must learn,–and fairly early in his training,–that harmfulness completely obliterates his function from his awareness. It will make him confused, fearful, angry and suspicious. (M13)”

Certainly, if we think about it, we know the truth of this passage. When we have dipped or dropped into a negative mood, everything looks black. We are courting depression.

2 – Reaping the Results

If we do harm to another or to ourselves even in a thought, we will reap the result. We will become confused about our purpose because we will start being suspicious, even paranoid. We will become fearful, because we don’t know where the next attack will appear—and it will appear. When we become fearful, we are stressed, and stress (at least in my experience) nearly always produces anger, even attack.

3 – Nobody Wants to Live This Way

Nobody wants to live this way. We do not wish to do harm to others or ourselves, and we are given in A Course in Miracles the way to live so that we lives harmlessly. The Manual of ACIM is especially helpful in this regard, including most especially the passages on giving up judgment and living in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

4 – Pray Harmlessly

If we pray to live harmlessly, our prayer is in accord with what God wishes for us, and we will walk a primrose path. Our prayer WILL be answered, being the divine Way. Let’s make a decision today to live in the Presence of the Divine, of God, and all of the subsequent decisions will be ever so much better.

5 – God’s Teacher

“Nor can God’s Teacher be heard at all, except by those who realize that harm can actually achieve nothing. No gain can come of it. (M13)”

We lose the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God’s Teacher, when our minds dip into harm. He simply departs from us, knowing, probably, that we are temporarily unable to access our better nature, the nature of the indwelling Spirit of Universal Inspiration. We will feel bereft, especially once we have become accustomed to hearing God’s Voice (the Holy Spirit).

6 – Voice?

Note that in all likelihood we don’t actually hear a voice. We might worry about our sanity if we did. My own sense of the Holy Spirit comes through intuitive feeling, a knowing, or my own thinking that enters my mind when I am not consciously choosing to think of a given puzzle in my life, a given decision that I want to make about what to say or do next. I used to have feelings almost exclusively. The internal “thinking” mode has come to me only in the last few years, and I have not truly known how to interpret this. I have never read anything like it, though surely the phenomenon is commonplace. I have wondered if this new phenomenon is akin to the thesis set forth by Julian Jaynes in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.

7 – Julian Jaynes

Julian, since the seventies, has enjoyed quite a following in some circles. He hypothesized that the ancients thought differently from us because they had not yet developed consciousness; they hallucinated voices, and these voices were largely auditory. His thesis explains the many passages in the Old Testament in which we are told that “God spoke” to individuals. The theory cannot be disproved; nobody can know what thinking was really like in the distant past.

8 – Madness

But surely there are times we ourselves may experience something similar, something similar even in our relative sanity. I say “relative,” because ACIM notes that all of us who have not yet awakened are mad, to one degree or another. We are not living as ultimate salvation would have us live. Yet there are degrees of insanity, and we live more and more sanely when we follow the Holy Spirit’s directives. We learn that gentleness really works.

9 – Wholly Gentle

“. . .God’s teachers are wholly gentle. They need the strength of gentleness, for it is in this that the function of salvation becomes easy. (M13)”

10 – Consoling

This is a consoling passage. Which of us would not want to be gentle, to feel gentleness?

11 – Strength of Gentleness

When we learn, through this passage, that the strength of gentleness helps us in salvation, then our motivation to become gentle multiplies.

12 – No Anger and No Attack

To be wholly gentle is not to attack and not to act on anger. Both are lamented elsewhere in the Course as not being justified under any circumstances. How so? Our brothers and sisters are innocent of sin (though perhaps not of having made mistakes). When we can see the innocence of others, we are well of our way to becoming gentle in our interactions with them.

13 – Praying

Gentleness is a trait much to be admired. We do not often pray for this, perhaps, but perhaps we should. In it are found many of the other traits that we do aspire, frequently, to have.

14 – Might of God’s Teachers

“The might of God’s teachers lies in their gentleness, for they have understood their evil thoughts came neither from God’s Son nor his Creator. Thus did they join their thoughts with Him who is their Source. And so their will, which always was His Own, is free to be itself. (M13)”

Our will becomes free, no longer imprisoned, when we realize that God’s Will and our real will are actually identical. The Holy Spirit chooses for us. We are not lost in a quandary of false values and false decision-making points. We don’t have to feel like Jonah. We actually do what we truly want when we follow the guidance that comes to us, guidance that we do test out, because we can still be mistaken in our choices.

15 – Harmfulness of the Ego

If the guidance that comes to us is of no harm to another, we are on the right track normally. Any harmfulness is of the ego, and we are trying to let the ego wither away.

16 – Our Path

Gentleness is our path now. Let’s make a decision to react gently to any and all circumstances, to any and all circumstances that we can.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for gentleness, for in gentleness is the function of salvation made easy. I pray for Your help to allow gentle thoughts and actions in my life and the lives of those I touch.

May I be a teacher of God. This is something that Jesus would have me to be, and I pray that I am doing what is necessary to be such a teacher.

Amen.

Recognize the Christ-Mind by How Gentle Its Thoughts Are

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“The first step in being able to forget such thoughts [of the ego] is in recognizing them as separate and distinct from the thoughts of your right mind or Christ-mind. This will be easy because the thoughts of the ego-mind were always harsh with you or with others. The Christ-mind and the thoughts that come from the voice of the Christ-mind will be gentle. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.9)”

Affirmation: “I would experience the gentle thoughts of the Christ-mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Gentle Thoughts Give Happiness

Most of us may now recognize that gentleness is much preferred over the raucous shrieks of the ego-mind. And the Christ-mind gives us the gentle thoughts that give us so much happiness. Is it any wonder that happiness is a worthy goal to be sought?

2 – Avoid Harshness

We do not really want to be harsh with ourselves or with others. I have recently prayed that I would get along better with myself. This seems to be an inspired prayer, not unlike a prayer to get along better with other people. We want to be gentle. It is a mandate if we wish to live well.

3 – Flow

What other characteristics accompany gentleness? Peace of mind, tranquility, serenity, calm. And we are more loving as well. When we treat others as well as ourselves gently, we flow with the day. We don’t have to talk ourselves into a good mood; it is part of the blessing of the prayer to be gentle.

4 – Commune with God

The ego ought to be falling away now. And we will know this when we commune more with God. Communion sometimes means verbal prayers, silently or aloud, but it also is a state of mind and heart. We feel better when we communicate with our Maker. Try it and see.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would remember You today. I know from my reading that You are lonely, in an anthropomorphic way, when Your children don’t communicate with You. You recognize that we sleep and need to be awakened. I would awaken at Your command. But help me to be patient.

Help this day to flow well in gentleness. May I avoid harshness in my words and in my demeanor, and may I do You justice as I walk through my day. Others need me, and certainly I need, in an almost selfish way, to treat myself well in order to be able to serve others. There is no better way to live than to talk with You on my daily rounds. I pray that I will not forget You today.

Amen.

It Is Well to Start the Day Right

“Broadly speaking. . .it can be said that it is well to start the day right.  It is always possible to begin again, should the day begin with error.  Yet there are obvious advantages in terms of saving time.  (M-16.2)”

Affirmation:  “I start the day aright today.”

Reflections:

1 – Before Arising

While our heads are still on the pillow, we ought to have a word with God.  We need to dedicate the upcoming day to His purposes.  And we need the strength and gentleness that turning to Him will bring without fail.  Then as we get up, may we say a word of two of gratefulness for the lives that we have.  (This is a recommendation from Rhonda Byrne’s books).  The fact that we start the day aright does, as Jesus says, save time; and ACIM notes that, at least in the beginning of our study, we ought to think about saving time.  This world has worn on wearily for eons, and if we believe nothing else from ACIM, perhaps we ought to realize that we too think that there has been enough suffering.  Let us do nothing that will bring on more suffering.  May we choose to offer joy to ourselves (we do have this as an option), and our brothers and sisters.

2 – Start the Day Again

If we do not begin the day aright, or if we try and fail, then Jesus offers us a way out:  We can choose to start the day again.  And this can happen as often as we fail in our thoughts, words, and actions throughout the day.  He will be there to help us.  And the Holy Spirit will offer the guidance that we so desperately need in living our lives.  He knows all circumstances–past, present, and future–that impinge on any decision, and He will never lead us wrong.  Perhaps we mistake His Words, but that is a different issue.  If discerned correctly, His Words are always on the beam.

3 – Begin Again

So:  Let us resolve today to begin again whenever necessary, but, optimally, let’s get the day started right from the very beginning.  And we will then know the blessing of a good day, optimally lived.  We will surely save some time in that thousand years that we are promised in ACIM we will save for ourselves, and our brothers and sisters.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the reassurance that even when things get started badly on any day, there is a solution.  Jesus offers it:  Just start over.  Thank You for this insight from my elder brother.

Be with me throughout the day today.  Even as I write, I sometimes need to reread what I have written, for You speak to me and correct what I have said.  I may be misinterpreting about this, but I do believe that You guide me.  I do not always know when, and I can make mistakes about guidance.

Help me to have a good day.  Help me to be good to those who are struggling through the day.  They won’t tell me that they are having a bad time of it, but I will recognize in the ways that I am spoken to.  Be with me to offer compassion.

Amen.

Commune with God = Immediately Feel Better

“Who can escape this self-condemnation?  Only through God’s Word could this be possible.  For self-condemnation is a decision about identity, and no one doubts what he believes he is.  He can doubt all things, but never this.  (M-13.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would foster self-acceptance.”

Reflections:

1 – Acceptance

We condemn ourselves when we fail to understand that God’s Word would give us freedom.  It is perhaps a paradox that we don’t understand, and it is born of the separation that only apparently happened.  The separation never actually happened in fact, but only in illusion, in the dreams in which we are caught.  And we condemn ourselves for supposedly rejecting God.  We recognize, however dimly, that it is our acceptance of God and His blessings that we are ever truly at peace and happy, joyous.

2 – Reject God?

We think that we have rejected our Maker, and to prove this rejection, we don’t communicate with Him.  We pray only when in dire straits, the foxhole prayers.  This is, as Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, a most unnatural habit that we have taught ourselves.  We are meant to commune with our Maker, and it is God who made us, not we ourselves.  We tend to forget this when we are being especially egotistical, and therefore especially caught by the ego.  But we can learn a better means of living.  We can return to frequent communion with God and His Voice, the Holy Spirit, and as soon as we make the choice for this return, we will immediately, sooner rather than later, feel better.  Our lives will immediately smooth out, and we will feel love again.  We will reach out easily to our brothers and sisters, and we will accept ourselves as having made mistakes, but none that cannot be forgiven.  Note that God does not forgive (an ACIM tenet), because he has never condemned.  It is only with self-condemnation that we are concerned in today’s passage.

3 – Gentleness

Be kind to yourself today.  We need the strength of gentleness, for it is only with gentleness that ACIM becomes easy to accept, salvation become easy to experience.  Be rid of the insanity of self-condemnation, and all will be well again in our little worlds.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would stay close to You today.  I am certain that when days go awry, it is because I have not been close enough to You.  Perhaps my sense of guilt, because of the ego, has come alive, and so I think that I am not worthy.  But I am Your child, and You do love me.  I have ample evidence of this love in the blessings of my life.  And even if those blessings were withheld, I would know that You are there for me, carrying me.  Thank You for this parable of the way things really are, retold by Hugh Prather.

I would commune today with You, even when my mind is on other things.  You do not expect conscious constant contact.  You know that we have busy minds  (perhaps too busy), and that we have many things that we have to do in this world.  May we think of You just a little more often, and in the thinking may we understand that it is You Who created us, not we ourselves.

I know that I will feel better today if I follow these goals.  Be with me when I forget.  I may forget You, but please, don’t You forget me.

Amen.

Turn Away from Death

“Very gently they [i.e., teachers of God] call to their brothers to turn away from death:  ‘Behold, you Son of God, what life can offer you.  Would you choose sickness in place of this?’ (M-5.III.2)”

Affirmation:  “I choose life.”

Reflections:

1 – How to Live

The way of A Course in Miracles is the way of living life in an extremely positive manner–full of joy for all that one’s day holds.  It is a way of gratitude for the goodness of God, the certainty that we are not alone in the universe, and the peace that living with guidance from the Holy Spirit or Christ-consciousness does bring.  Nothing negative has to be so viewed, even very bad things.  We are living an illusion, a dream.  We feel empathy for others who do not believe that life is meant to be good, and we do not blame them for any negative circumstances that arise.  But we ourselves choose the good for ourselves, and both ACIM and A Course of Love lead us down the lovely pathway to salvation and oneness with God.

2 – Gentleness

The change in our lives is known as soon as we fill our minds with the words of Jesus.  This knowledge automatically keeps us on the straight and narrow, and if we do stray, we immediately ask for forgiveness and walk a smooth path again.  This is a gentle way to live, and gentleness does attend the teacher of God (from the Manual).

3 – Sickness

We do not have to choose sickness, and neither do our brothers and sisters.  Sickness is not automatically eliminated from our lives, though; this would be unrealistic and impractical, and it is the practical with which A Course in Miracles is most concerned.  We must recognize that we have made the reality in which we find ourselves.  Some of us have chosen sickness as a learning device, though Jesus warns us in ACIM that pain offers a temporary bit of learning only.  And we do not have to learn through pain, though many of us choose to do so.

4 – The Self and Sickness

It is important to note that the Self is the part of our being that has chosen sickness.  That is ultimately why no credence is given herein to blaming the victim.

5 – The Personal Self

The personal (little) self that walks the way of the world does not normally choose sickness, unless there are benefits that come about from such a choice.  We may get a day off from work, to relax when we will not allow ourselves any relaxation without sickness.  We may get sympathy from our significant others, and perhaps they do not realize that this sympathy is reinforcing the pain–making us more likely to choose illness again in the future.

6 – No Suffering

We must live in such a way that suffering is eliminated from our lives.  This means that we are able to live above any pain that does occur.  By carefully rising above the pain, we do not turn it into suffering, and therein lies our release.  Then we are free, next time, to choose to learn through rewards, which Jesus says is the only lasting way to retain our learning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live well today, as You wish.  I would not worry needlessly and frantically.  I would turn to my Guide when I am tempted to overreact to something that seems negative.

Help me to find my way in peace today.  Staying in peace is Your way, and I would go Your way, with determination.

Amen.