Tag Archives: gladden

Gladden Ourselves–for Jesus Is with Us

“I offer far more than partial guidance, although you do not ask for more. The uneven quality of your skill in both asking and following my direction is due to the alternations you experience between ego- and miracle-oriented perception. This is a strain, but fortunately one which can be overcome along with the rest. There will never be a time when I do not will to try again. You might be gladdened by remembering that.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.IX.10:1-5)

Jesus is once again speaking just to Helen (and maybe Bill) in this reassurance that he offers continual guidance. But if we ask, he will do the same for us. In these early words, he has not yet solidified the Holy Spirit in A Course in Miracles. Soon he will ask that all of us turn immediately to the Holy Spirit when confronted with a dilemma. The Holy Spirit connects us to God, but not in a threatened way. At this point in our progress, we are still too fearful of God to approach Him directly.

Jesus points out the strain that we under. He seems particularly aware of this strain, as we seek to mediate between hell and heaven, the ego and love. Heaven and love are the only things that we truly can want, once we have let the magnitude of our mistakes sink in. Our attempt to create unlike God, something that is actually “making” rather than “creating,” has produced all of the chaos in which we live. We need to get beyond this. We need to recognize that our attempt to create something beyond God has just failed miserably. There IS nothing beyond Him except illusion.

Jesus constantly looks for reasons that we might gladden ourselves, for he knows that we are usually morose when caught in the vines of the ego. We need just to kick those vines away from ourselves, away from our feet (as Pat Rodeway’s Emmanuel says), and be on about our business. Jesus will untangle any egoic vines that won’t automatically disengage from our toes.

Gladden Ourselves

“Have you really considered how many opportunities you have to gladden yourself, and how many of them you have refused? There is no limit to the power of a Son of God, but he himself can limit the expression of his power as much as he wills. Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, and releasing the strength and beauty of God into everything you think and will and do. Do not settle for anything less than this, and refuse to accept anything but this as your goal. Watch your mind carefully for any beliefs that hinder its accomplishment, and step away from them.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VI.11:1-5)

Certainly everybody has experienced times when, in retrospect, we might say that we have been our own worst enemy. This is, I believe, what is happening when we have refused opportunities to gladden ourselves. We seem to wallow in self-pity, never a very laudatory experience. When we are so absorbed by self-pity, it certainly makes it hard for anybody else to sympathize and to emphasize with us. Our own self-centeredness at such times makes inevitable the truth that the ego will be in the ascendancy.

Jesus will join his mind to ours, and the two of each of us can shine the ego away. His offer is a free offer, with no strings attached. And should not we make the tiny effort to accept his free offer? Only a “little willingness” is necessary, as Jesus says elsewhere in A Course in Miracles. The Holy Spirit will take our little willingness, and make it into something mighty. Jesus will cooperate with us as we seek to leave the remnants of the ego in the dust under our feet.

We need God’s strength to finally take tentative and hesitant steps toward accepting His great blessings for us, His blessings in a world that is slowly giving up the ego as a very bad idea.

When tempted to indulge in the misery of self-pity, let us lift our thoughts with an effort of the will, and let God’s grace show us a world that will gladden us.

Gladden Yourself!

“Have you really considered how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many of them you have refused?  (T64)”

Affirmation:  “I will gladden myself today.”

Reflections:

1 – We Can Be Happier!

This is a message of extreme optimism.  We can be happier!  Jesus says that we have actually turned aside moments of joy, turning again to depressed thoughts.  How wrong of us!

2 – Personal Experience

My most vulnerable time is first thing in the morning.  I have a tendency to look quickly ahead to my day and not be too excited about what I see.  But this is insanity.  I have a good life, and it is only bio-chemicals in my brain that are leading me to see something different.  So what do I do?  Most importantly, I put one foot in front of the other, and keep going.  I fix breakfast, I enjoy a good breakfast with my husband, I give thanks for the many blessings that are mine.  Also, I get outside in the sunshine, because light helps the mood.  At the first opportunity, I make a list of all for which I am grateful.  And I mull over this list.  It is indeed a blessed life that I live!  And when the day wears on a bit, I will recognize that.  The mind, with God’s help, does rise above any sense of depression.

3 – When to Seek Help

If I were clinically depressed, having short-term memory loss and the like, I would seek medical help.  I would not suffer alone.  If this is not the case, though, there are simple things that we can do in any given day not to be disheartened.

4 – Make a List

Gladdening is a personal experience.  What would please you, might not please me.  It is up to each of us to make a mental list of those things that gladden our day.  And then refer to that mental list often, until the bad mood lifts.

5 – Pure Joy and Limitless Release

It would be a useful practice for all of us to look upon the day as full of opportunities to gladden ourselves.  Elsewhere Jesus asks us to think of pure joy and limitless release in our daily lives.  This passage is a reiteration of this request.

6 – Remember Today’s Passage

It is a serious mistake to refuse to entertain joy.  We make our lives much harder than they need to be as a result.  Would that we might remember this passage often when faced with a day that seems filled with woe!

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be happy today, in all the moments of my day.  May I not succumb to depressed thoughts, but choose instead to find moments in which to gladden myself.

I have sometimes withdrawn into depression rather than to seek the way out to better thinking.  Optimism can be cultivated.  May I do so today.

Amen.