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.
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.