Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

images - pissaro with chalk pastels

“But now this alternative [learning with the heart] is being revealed to you and it does call for a change of thought so extensive that all thought, as you once knew it, does need to cease.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.8)”

Affirmation:  “May I comprehend the new way of thinking.”

Reflections:

1 – What We Need

We do need to learn with the heart.  The heart knows things that our mind does not understand.  Frequently the mind wanted proof of God, and the heart knows of His existence without proof.  I do not mean that we never question, for that would not be realistic, but we rest in assurance that all that we need to know will be provided us.  And it will be.  We do not need to check our minds at the door of salvation.  But learning through the heart takes us through the door of salvation.

2 – Cease the Old Way of Thinking

It does seem daunting that we are asked to cease to think in the old way.  How will this be accomplished?  It seems so impossible and perhaps even impractical.  But it works.  We are reminded, at the point of need, of plans that need to be made.  When we listen to intuition, we know without being told.  We follow guidance, and we are where we need to be at the right time.

3 – Jesus

Can we make this shift?  Yes, but not totally alone.  Jesus promises to be with us, and in A Course of Love, he says that it is necessary that we accept him.  He does not mean that he is the only way to salvation, but if we have made our home in ACIM and ACOL, then he is our way to salvation.  We have made our choice, and we need seek no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I follow the guidance that comes with today’s passage.  May I listen to intuition, guidance, and may I follow–turn on a dime.  May I learn to even think in a new way.  May I listen with my heart, and not second guess.

Be with me today as I seek to make these changes that will be more in line with Your will for me.

Amen.

Lightheartedly in the Flow

pissarro - artist's garden“When you are guided to act in ways that are contrary to usual patterns of action you have taken in the past, you will often meet resistance.  Try to be lighthearted at such times and to remember that if it ‘doesn’t matter,’ you might as well try the new way.  Remind yourself that you have nothing to lose.  You will soon learn that this is so.  (A Course of Love, 25.24)”

Affirmation:  “I will follow guidance consistently.”

Reflections:

1 – Guidance

One of my favorite topics to think about is the question of guidance.  And this passage for today is directly on this topic.  What might I say to you about guidance?

2 – “Turn on a Dime”

First, it is hard to be consistent in following guidance.  I still pause and consider before acting, and this may not be a bad thing.  Our emotions can carry us away, and we can do unwise things.  We would not do insane things, and insanity is an attribute of an undiminished ego.  I often ask to be able to “turn on a dime,” once the guidance appears to be sure to me.  And when I do, I never regret it.

3 – Clear Mind

Guidance is also lighthearted and clear to the mind.  We do not have to obsess or to analyze.  Something within us just “knows.”  And, when we act accordingly, we will soon come to see that it is as Jesus has said, we will find out that all is right.

4 – No Pressure

Guidance is not pressured.  If we feel pressured, it is likely that the ego is involved, and that we are misleading ourselves.

5 – How to Know Guidance?

How do we know guidance?  Feelings, intuitive feelings, mainly.  But dreams do figure prominently in the Bible, and I do also listen to my dreams.  If the dream is particularly lucid, it becomes a touchstone for my life.

6 – In the Flow

When we are “in the flow,” so to speak, of life, then guidance comes easily and is welcomed.  When we are resisting, we ought to wait.  We are not ready.  Do not fight yourself, as Jesus says in A Course in Miracles.

7 – Great Blessing

Guidance is one of the greatest blessings of God.  And we ought, therefore, to take it seriously, but, paradoxically, with a light heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We all live too highly strung lives, even those of us who are not working full-time.  Our emotional lives are too much in turmoil.

Jesus can help us with this, as he tells us what to do in A Course of Love.  Follow guidance, but with a clear mind and a light heart.   Guidance comes in many ways, and it behooves us to try to listen wisely.  Not passively or without thinking, but with the full use of our faculties.  But we must not make a big deal of evaluating guidance, for by its very nature, it is a bit beyond us.  Guidance comes, frequently, in intuition.  But a word from a book may just as easily speak to us.

Help me to turn on a dime, if I am on the wrong pathway.  Be with all of us today to give us, with Your help and our cooperation, a good day.

Amen.

No Longer Use People / Serve Them

“The inanimate as well as the animate is called upon, depended upon for service.  All use Farmhouses in a Wheat Field van goghis replaced with service, and appreciation replaces the callousness with which use once occurred.  (A Course of Love, 20.38)”

Affirmation:  “I will not use another person today.”

Reflections:

1 – Use

We are led to understand in A Course of Love that much of our time on earth has been a reaching out to others to “use” them in some way.  We have known that we need others, but rather than love those others with a wholehearted embrace, we have chosen to “love” those who can do something for us, who can answer some need within ourselves.  This is to use the other person.

2 – Self-Interest

What a sad way to live!  And, most importantly, it won’t work, even if our egoic notions are telling us that it will.  Other people, whether religious or not, know when our interest in them is tainted by self-interest, and other people naturally recoil from this.  Only in special relationships, in which it seems that each person has something that he/she can gain from the other, is there even the illusion of a mutual exchange.  And the special relationship does not stay special.  Frequently, if it doesn’t evolve into a holy relationship, the special relationship deteriorates into hate.  Our needs fail to be met by the other, and we hold that against him/her.

3 – Service

We do not need to use others.  We need to be of service to them.  And the best things that we do will justify us in our own eyes.  We will feel guilt no longer.  We will experience the love that we are meant to experience, for we are giving, not “using” another.  When we give, we also receive, for both are equal in God’s sight.   Only when we give and receive in equal parts do we share the holiness that is ours by birthright (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).

4 – Appreciation

When we are of service, we naturally appreciate the one whom we are serving.  We do not treat him or her with contempt or callousness any longer.  Our way has brightened, and we are once again on the way back to God.  What better way than to walk with Jesus along a brighter path?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I serve others today, in the best connotations of what Jesus meant.  May I not let self-interest cause me to “use” anybody for any reason whatsoever.  May I not stoop to that level.

Help me to ask You how I might best be of service to others.  Let me not see the need for service where it would be unwelcome.  Help me to withdraw if another does not want me near.  Help me to follow Your guidance in such matters.

Be with me as I seek to expand my service over the coming days and weeks.  I would do more for You, but only the more that You ask.

Amen.

We Need to Know What to Do

“As long as you fear your own ability to know what you do, you cannot be fully imagescooperative.  (A Course of Love, 20.32)”

Affirmation:  “cooperation”

Reflections:

1 – Tiny Little Statement

This is a tiny little statement with deep meaning.  If we don’t trust ourselves to do the right thing, we will not be fully cooperative with our brothers and sisters.  We will think, subconsciously, that we may lead them astray.  And well we may.  We need to ask for guidance at every turn, and when that is assured, we can be cooperative without fear of making wrong decisions.

2 – Guidance

We do have the ability to know what we do, and we can do the right thing when we look to God as our guidance.  Many of us have sought over long years to “do the right thing,” but we have remained unsure of ourselves.  Have we really always made the right decisions?

3 – Mistakes

Probably not!  But mistakes do not ultimately matter, for we have received Atonement.  We are one with God, by the time that we have walked the whole pathway.  We are both human and divine, and we know that we are on the right track.

4 – God Will Provide

Nobody needs to be fearful in his/her daily life.  God will provide, and when we make the determination to “do the right thing,” we can rest assured that His guidance will be forthcoming.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As You know, guidance is one of my favorite topics.  I welcome the advice that You give me.  The only problem is when I wonder if the advice is coming from my ego and not from You.  Then I can easily get confused.

Take the confusion from me today.  Help me to discern exactly what Your will really is, and I do know that it is my will as well.

Amen.

THE GIFT CALLED GUIDANCE

Published in Miracles for November/December 2012 (publisher Jon Mundy).

by Celia Hales

A Course in Miracles would have us defer to the Holy Spirit in our decisions.  This guidance is true, and it does not always have to be constant in our lives.  But it can be.  Let me explain.

“Does this mean that you cannot say anything without consulting Him?  No, indeed!  That would hardly be practical, and it is the practical with which this course in most concerned.  (M71)”

Jesus goes on in this passage to recommend consulting with the Holy Spirit in the morning, asking for the His guidance when it is feasible to do so, and then thanking Him at night.  In other passages throughout the Manual, though, Jesus goes further in recommending that we turn over our decisions increasingly to the Holy Spirit.  He speaks of this need particularly in regard to judgmental thinking, which he indicates that accuracy is impossible for us, because we do not know all the facts–past, present, and future–that impinge on a given decision.  If Jesus really means this (and I feel certain that his words are very intentional), how might we turn our decisions, especially our judgments, increasingly over to the Holy Spirit?  How do we know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us?

My own reflections over the years of studying ACIM have evolved from a primary dependence upon feelings, or intuition, to a broader recognition that the aspects of life that we cannot get out of our minds may be the Holy Spirit speaking to us.  Here is a 10-point list with some commentary of the ways that I have discovered guidance acting in my life.  Do not take anything unto yourself unless it finds a place in your heart.

1 – Listening in Prayer.  The “listening” time of prayer is the best way that I believe that I receive guidance.  I am careful, though, not to forget that my own desires may interfere with what I “hear,” and that I may make a mistake.  Many have said that God speaks in the silence, and I think this is an appropriate way to seek His Will.

2 – Keep a Prayer Log.  In the early eighties the spiritual writer Catherine Marshall recommended keeping a prayer log, very specifically, with prayers listed succinctly and then the answer, when it was received, recorded and dated.  I followed this recommendation for the remainder of the eighties and into the nineties, and I found it very, very useful.  (Probably I should return to this practice.)

3 – Intuitive Advice.  In daily life I receive guidance through a feeling that I ought to take a given course of action.  “Feeling” is akin to intuition, but that is not the whole of it, I think.  I believe that our minds, our intellects, frequently interfere with receiving the Holy Spirit’s messages, and that the Holy Spirit finds it easier to reach us through our emotions, our feelings.

4 – Intrusive Words.  Sometimes I am able to be in a spirit of inspiration, and, much as if I were writing without being sure what I would say next, words come into my mind from my unconscious that suggest a given pathway.  I do not actually hear a voice; it is my own thinking, but it also seems to be a bit beyond me.

5 – An Inner Knowing.  Quiet times may bring forth an inner knowing of how to proceed in a matter that is troubling us.  This is non-verbal, akin to hearing the Holy Spirit in our innermost hearts.  This “knowing” without being able to verbalize “how” we know is powerful stuff.  I think that it is certainly one of the most potent forms of guidance.

6 – Journaling.  Writing out our struggles in a journal is a way to invite the Holy Spirit’s input.  I try to let my conscious mind die down and to invite thoughts from my deepest spirit.

7 – Dreams.  In especially faithful times, we may have a dream that appears vivid and suggests the next step for us in our life.  Certainly dreams and visions are important ways in which God spoke to His people in the past, as recorded in Scripture.  I have had two significant “warning” dreams in my life that I still recall vividly.  The dreams came when I was contemplating a pathway that I now realize would not have been healthy for me.

8 – Agitation.  Occasionally in my life I have become severely agitated when I was walking along a given pathway.  I have come to see such agitation as evidence from the Holy Spirit that I am walking the wrong way.

9 – Visions.  Many years ago, when I was 25, I had a series of nighttime hallucinations, or visions, that became important to me in setting the pathway for my life.  Perhaps there was a reason that this gift came at an early age.  The visions have not recurred.

10 – Signs.  Signs are welcomed by many, but I would caution against too much an emphasis here, because it is very easy to twist signs around to mean anything that we want.  (Jesus says in ACIM that we can twist symbols around.)

I have not followed blindly.  Jesus would not have us check our minds and spirits at the door.  I have tested out my perceived guidance, and that is how I have found it true.  I invite you to do the same.  Intuition is a right-brain activity, and, as such, it does not respond well to our timetables.  We may need to present a question to the Holy Spirit, and then go about our day in full confidence that the answer will come when the matter has retreated from the forefront of our minds.  Present a problem or question, and then let go.  Trust the Holy Spirit to make His will known to us.  He will not fail.

In my twenties I heard a very dynamic preacher of the gospel speak on the topic of guidance.

He stressed, “I have known people at the end of their lives who said, ‘I knew that God was telling me to do that.  But I didn’t do it, and I regret it.'”

He went on, vehemently, “I have never known anyone to say, at the end of their lives,  ‘I knew that God was trying to get me to do that, and I did it, and I regret it.'”

Jesus may be commenting on the same guidance when he says the following in the Manual, in a passage that is comforting in the extreme:

“Do not, then, think that following the Holy Spirit’s guidance is necessary merely because of your own inadequacies.  It is the way out of hell for you.  (M70)”

By this statement, I think that ACIM is telling us that we make our own hells on earth.  Listening to the Holy Spirit with increasing frequency shows us the way out of our self-made hells.  I believe that in fact there is no limit to how the Holy Spirit speaks to us,  for our God is not a limited God in any way.  He will find a way to get through to us.  He asks only that we try to discern.  If we miss the first glimmering of guidance, God will bring the same message to us in yet other ways until we get the message.    Remain flexible.  Learn to turn on a dime.  Following the Holy Spirit in this way is joyous.  It is the enlightened way to live, even before we know the Awakening that the Course holds out to us.  As A Course in Miracles makes clear, there can be no better way to live, in the time of the Holy Spirit,  than in following the guidance of Universal Inspiration.

I once read, “Why beseech heaven for a miracle one would not recognize at high noon?”  After actively seeking guidance, we are perhaps in the right frame of mind, for the first time, to recognize miracles when they occur.

Such Foolishness as the Heart Desires Will Save You Now

“You who think this idea [to appeal to our hearts] is rife with sentiment, sure to lead you to abandoning logic, and thereafter certainly to cause your ruin, I say to you again:  take heart.  Such foolishness as the heart desires will save you now.  Remember it is your heart that yearns for home.  Your heart that yearns for love remembered.  Your heart that leads the way that, should you follow, will set you certainly on the path for home.  (A Course of Love, 3.18)”

Affirmation:  “take heart”

Reflections:

1 – Different Appeals Work for Different People

A Course of Love is sometimes a circular path of reasoning, with the same thought expressed by Jesus in several different ways.  We need all these ways, for what will appeal to one of us will not appeal to another.  And Jesus is speaking to all of us.  He is leading us to observe our world, to observe with the non-physical eyes and therefore to understand true vision, and to accept him as our teacher and, then, our companion (for we have no more need for a teacher other than our own Christ-consciousness).

2 – Far Along Our Pathway

These are words that can be misconstrued.  Surely we must be far along our pathway if we are not in need of Jesus as our teacher.  First, we must master, with our hearts, the first volume of this trilogy.  This volume gives us the almost-final words that will teach us how to learn.  (And the second volume, the Treatises, goes a few steps farther on.  It is the final volume, the Dialogues, that take us to the mountain top with Jesus and that assures that all is well with us.)

3 – Foolishness with a Purpose

The heart is said to be “foolish,” but it is a foolishness that has a purpose.  The partially sane are apt to be quite foolish at times (from A Course in Miracles).  And we are still, at this point, only partially sane.  We can commune with God to take us farther into sanity.  And we can ask Jesus’s help in this endeavor.

4 – The Heart Not All Emotion

Do not think that the heart is all emotion, though it is the love (in one definition, an emotion) that draws us closer to God and closer to Jesus.

5 – Fear Not to Follow the Heart

We need not fear to follow our hearts, that we will take steps that are amiss.  They are our new route home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I follow my heart today, the guidance that through my heart I know what to say and do.  May I cease doubting.  Let me lean not unto my own understanding, but acknowledge and follow You.

Following the heart is not actually foolish.  It is the shortest route home.  

And we all desire home.

Amen.

Guidance from Our Hearts

“It is to our hearts that we appeal for guidance, for there resides the one who truly guides.  (A Course of Love, 3.17)”

Affirmation:  “May I appeal for guidance to my heart.”

Reflections:

1 – Christ Within

Christ is within our hearts, our higher Self, the elevated Self of form (the latter being what A Course of Love eventually explains).  We are not different from Jesus as the Christ; he just walked the whole pathway back to God, something that we have yet to do.  But in this first volume of ACOL, he is seeking to teach us, through our hearts, what we need to do to walk that pathway with him as our teacher.  By the final volume in the trilogy, he will have resigned as our teacher, saying that we no longer have need of him as a teacher.  He then becomes our companion along the pathway.

2 – God Seen with Inner Sense

The heart, as we have been saying, does not demand intellectual proof of anything.  We just sense, or intuit, what to say or do, and when we follow this guidance, we are led home to God.  We do not die; we live in this world, but we see God with an inner sense, an inner vision with non-physical eyes.  (A Course in Miracles implies the same.)

3 – Avoid Discouragement

We must not get discouraged along the way.  As A Course in Miracles pointed out, we are not meant to be without limitations in this world, but we are to overcome them.  Previously, in ACIM, we followed the guidance of our Guide, the Holy Spirit (or Great Communicator, or Universal Inspiration), but now, in ACOL, we are to follow the guidance that comes from our hearts in the Christ spirit, for we are now in the time of Christ.  I would believe that there is some overlap, and that here Jesus is speaking specifically to those of us who are students of A Course of Love, who are those who have studied and understood A Course in Miracles.

4 – Be Vigilant Against the Ego

Be vigilant today against letting our minds take over, for this is a prime egoic tendency, and with the ego in ascendancy, we will be unable to hear what our hearts are trying to tell us.  Jesus is bypassing the mind, the intellect, for just this reason–that the ego lives here, sometimes beyond the time that we would wish it.  We may have made a decision to let the ego wither away, just disappear, some time before this actually happens.  And we are especially prone to making mistakes (though not “sins”) if we don’t listen to these new words from Jesus, and open our hearts for their counsel.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be contented today, sure in Your love.  When challenges seem to arise, I will recognize that there really is no challenge that Your love cannot solve.  We are not meant to be challenged, because when we follow Your guidance, we choose for all humankind, sure of Your guidance and sure of what we ought to do.

Thank You for the improvement in my day as the morning ebbs.  Help me not to drop into melancholy, but to know that You have everything in hand.  With You we are safe.  With You we are loved.  Your way is best for us.  And I ask that all that I touch today, including myself, find Your way to the blessings that You hold out for us.  May we know tranquility.

Amen.

The Christ in Us

“It is easy to imagine how the Christ in you differs from your ego but not as easy to recognize how the Christ in you differs from spirit.  The Christ in you is that which is capable of learning in human form what it means to be a child of God.  The Christ in you is that which is capable of bridging the two worlds.  (A Course of Love, P.7)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to recognize the Christ in me.”

Reflections:

1 – Christ = the Self

This passage is part of the theology of A Course of Love.  The Christ in us is the Self in us that A Course in Miracles mentions.  And the Christ mitigates between the mind in this world, the mind of the personal self, and the spirit, which is akin to the soul and has never been born.

2 – Beautiful Words in ACOL

While I have given you this quotation to give some context for A Course of Love, we do not need to let theology delay us, if we find the words difficult to understand and, especially, difficult to accept.  Jesus is ever-practical, and in this blog we will assume that it is indeed Jesus who is talking in A Course of Love.  But even if this belief is too much for you to accept, just pay attention to the words, which are lovely indeed.  See if there is not something that will captivate you, as the words did for me.  Give A Course of Love a chance.

3 – Christ-Consciousness

The Christ in us will lead us eventually to Christ-consciousness, or the Awakening, or the Enlightenment.  The words all mean the same.  But in A Course of Love, Jesus says that nobody, just nobody, has sustained Christ-consciousness yet (the trilogy was written ten years ago or so).  He doesn’t even make an exception for himself, and this seems difficult for me to accept, something that I can’t quite know he meant to say.

4 – Glimpses Come First

I do know that many of us have had glimpses of Christ-consciousness, either over a few days, months, or, perhaps, even years.  So we may know what to expect more than we realize.

5 – Christ-Consciousness Ever More Constant

Pray today that Christ-consciousness might come upon more and more of us, sooner and sooner.  Then this world would indeed morph into something much grander than we know today as a troubled and difficult place, with light coming only from our spirituality.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask You, today, to lead me by the hand and show me another glimpse of Christ-consciousness.  I know that You have done this before for me, at first a long, long time ago–long before I found A Course in Miracles.  Help all whom I encounter today to be happy and at peace.  Help me to increase their happiness and peace.  Joy is the best form of reward for those of us who find Jesus’s message compelling.

Thank You for being there for me when I needed guidance.  I ask for guidance, and the guidance came to me.  At first I rejected it as just my notion, but a day later, I know that what I experienced was really meant to be followed.  A day later, I followed your guidance.  And tomorrow will be the better for an obedient turn of my mind and spirit.

Thank You for even the shocks of this day.  In the past day, I have learned of one death, and there is someone clinging to life, now without life support.  Be with us in these matters of life and death.  And help us to know, as Ruth Montgomery’s Guides said, that death is like walking through an open door.

Amen.

The Way Out of Hell

“Do not, then, think that following the Holy Spirit’s guidance is necessary merely because of your own inadequacies.  It is the way out of hell for you.  (M-29.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I diligently follow guidance today.”

Reflections:

1 – Following Guidance

I am not yet consistent in following guidance, and some of the ways in which guidance comes to me are not entirely clear.  Perhaps this is the way for all of us:  We don’t follow consistently, and so we don’t always hear accurately.  We have not done our part.

2 – Insight about Guidance

May we recognize that the ways in which guidance comes to us may differ from person to person, and even differ for a given person over time.  The words that come into my mind that sometimes appear to be guidance are actually egoic in intent.  And the ego does not mean me well.  I pray for help in watching this ego of mine just dissipate, just wither away.  But the ego still dogs my footsteps, and when I am ego-driven, I am likely to be angry or in verbal attack mode.  Neither of these states of being are of God.  And I choose to follow His pathway.

3 – Becoming Stronger

My weakness, I know, can become my strongest point, with the Holy Spirit or Christ[-consciousness leading the way.

4 – Nighttime Dreams

Often my dreams are reflective of the guidance that is confronting me about any and all problems that may develop in my life.  So I try to listen to my dreams.  The ego has been silenced, I think (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM), in sleep.  Intuition works, and frequently works immediately after the intuition is received.  But all of us can make mistakes in following what we perceive to be guidance, and so we must apply the test of love to what we perceive.  Will this guidance harm anyone?  Or will it just make be feel uncomfortable?  We need to discern wisely, and sometimes kindred spirits in our inner circle can see clearly more than we can.

5 – Still Learning

There is much that I still do not know about guidance.  But I make learning about the way to travel a priority.  And I do trust that I will be led aright.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Sometimes I get stubborn about guidance, and I am reluctant to do the things that I feel are being asked.  This dynamic needs to cease in me.  Help me today to be a willing acceptor of guidance–all the time.

If I am being stubborn, ease my willful mind.  My heart would do Your bidding, for my heart is not influenced by the ego.  May the ego become a non-issue.

Thank You for walking with me today.  And tomorrow, and the day after.

Amen.

God’s Will Is My Will

“The contrast between His Will [God’s Will] and yours but seemed to be reality.  In truth there was no conflict, for His Will is yours.  (M-20.6)”

Affirmation:  “God’s Will is my will.”

Reflections:

1 – Only in Illusions Do We Differ from God about Will

We only, in illusions, believe that we want something for ourselves that God would not will for us.  When we are thinking this way, we are thinking through the ego.  When the Holy Spirit prompts us to say or do or think something, He is speaking for our real will, the one we share with God.  He is getting ready to give us what we really want.  Would we turn aside from this?

2 – Jonah

The distinction between God’s Will and our will then disappears.  We do not have to feel like the Jonah of the Old Testament, a lesson that would have us believe that we cannot escape God’s Will, even when we are acting as hard as we might to do something else.  I don’t know all the nuances of that type of thinking, but it is fallacious reasoning.  Jonah’s best action was actually to do what God wanted him to do.  In that alone would he find the joy and happiness that he, and all others, seek.

3 – Personal

I spent a long time in my early adulthood puzzling over God’s Will.  He seemed to be asking me to do something that I wasn’t sure I wanted to do.  But in my deepest heart of hearts, I did want to do what it seemed I was being asked to do.  I still do not have all the answers, but I followed that pathway for 14 years, and 30 years beyond, I have no regrets.  I expect that as time goes by, I will come to understand more than I do even now, 30 years later.

4 – How to Live Magnificently

Be with God.  Let His Universal Inspiration, the Holy Spirit, guide our steps.  There is no more magnificent way to live the best life imagined.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for putting to rest my conflict over Your Will for me.  We actually wanted the same things so many years ago!  I did not ask for my prayer to be answered, because I wasn’t sure that You wanted it.  You walked with me through 14 years, and now You have walked with me through more than 30 more.  You taught me much in that 14 years, and certainly I hope that You have done the same in the years since that pivotal time.  Be with me now ias I follow my heart and try to write in a way that will be beneficial.

Be wtih all of us.  Lead us to see the way that we can follow our hearts.  May we not toil and sttrive and worry in our lives.  There is so much stress in the world as we live it.  Let us realize that the stress originates in our own minds, and there it can be overlooked.  Let us have a flow to our das, following Your guidance.  May we turn to the Holy Spirit or the Christ deep within.  May we know what to do and say to help other people and ourselves.   We are One with You.  Thank You for the knowledge that this declaration is a truth for all of us.

Amen

Answer to Call for Help Comes Unfailingly

“The single aim of the teacher turns the divided goal of the pupil into one direction, with the call for help becoming his one appeal.  This then is easily responded to with just one answer, and this answer will enter the teacher’s mind unfailingly.  From there it shines into his pupil’s mind, making it one with his.  (M-17.3)”

Affirmation:  “May the Holy Spirit tell me what to say today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Holy Spirit’s Part

This brief passage for today does not mention the Holy Spirit, but that is the context in which the passage occurs.  And the Holy Spirit will specifically tell us what to say:  “. . .this answer will enter the teacher’s mind unfailingly.”  What a blessing this is!  If only we can believe, and indeed many of us can.

2 – Shabby Self-Image

Sometimes we get an indication of what to say that is embarrassing to us (from the Manual).  We need to be willing to let go of this “shabby self-image” (quotation from the Manual), and go ahead and say the words.  Jesus says that these “embarrassing” words will be far wiser than our own.

3 – Ego

May we have the strength to offer the words that come to us, if we are sure that they are not hurtful.  The Holy Spirit would never offer words to us that are hurtful, but the ego might.  And we sometimes do make mistakes in believing that the Holy Spirit is speaking when the speaking is actually coming from the ego.  (Interpretations, not stated in ACIM.)  We are not above making mistakes, though we may be tempted to think otherwise.  The ego is very wily.

4 – Be Quiet and Listen

But Jesus would not have us in conflict this way.  We will be shown the right words, the right way, if we quiet ourselves and then move in the direction of the leaning from the Holy Spirit.  If we are quiet and peaceful about the decision of what to say, we are more likely to be right, to have heard the Holy Spirit accurately.

5 – Follow Guidance as Soon as Possible

If at first we don’t do the bidding of the Holy Spirit, let us do that bidding as soon as we can get ourselves to act.  Sometimes we are walking a given pathway with a certainty that is misguided, and it is hard to turn on a dime.  But turn on a dime we must, and as soon as we can get our stubborn wills to cooperate.

6 – The Outcome is Joy and Peace

We will say to our brothers and sisters what the Holy Spirit wants said.  Then we will know both joy and peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Give me Your guidance, through the Holy Spirit, as I seek to help my brothers and sisters, and myself, today.  You would never lead me astray, but the ego’s wily ways might confuse me.  May I not know confusion today.  May the words that I say to others, and to myself, be right on target with Your will.  Make this happen, almost beyond myself, please.  

I ask You to stay with me if the words seem embarrassing.  I have felt this aspect of guidance, but carried out saying the words, and even then I was still embarrassed.  My self-image was not the best at the time, and so I know that this was the “shabby self-image” of which Jesus speaks.  I would leave that image behind, as I move into the Christ-consciousness that You would provide for me, when the time is right.

Help me to reach others today who may need to hear words of comfort.  May I remain calm and peaceful, even in the midst of any brewing storm.  And thank You for the blessings of this day already received.

Amen

How to Avoid Temptation

“The avoidance of magic is the avoidance of temptation.  For all temptation is nothing more than the attempt to substitute another will for God’s  (M-16.9)”

Affirmation:  “avoid temptation”

Reflections:

1 – How to Avoid Temptation?

How might one avoid temptation?  There will be temptations along the pathway that we walk, and there is no getting around this.  We are not perfect, even, perhaps, when we have awakened.  (A Course in Miracles is not definitive about this, but A Course of Love
indicates that we will still not be perfect.)  The best way to avoid temptation, or, more precisely, not to accept the tempting thing that is offered, is to ask for help at the “point of contact.”  When we are tempted, we are seeking something of the ego, the part of ourselves that thinks that it has separated from God.  We think that another will (our imperfect will) will get us something that we want, something more than the everything that we are promised.  (Yes, we are promised “everything” in ACIM.)  Jesus says that it is as though we would say that we want this one (little) thing, and it will be as everything to us.  But this one little thing would not satisfy for long, and in so doing we are making a pact with our ego–and the ego always fails us.

2 – ACIM‘s Definition of “Magic”

What does “magic” mean in this context?  It is akin to mental illness, the “magical thinking” that secular psychology describes so precisely.  We are thinking things that are not true, and never can we make the true out of the false.  The false will remain false, and it will take us down with it.  We do not want this.

3 – Following the Will of God

If we have love for God (and all of us do, or we would not have read this far), then we will want to follow the Will that grants us everything that we really want.  We really want the intangibles, the promises that God gives; but we also want the material, and we should not think, wrongly, that God Himself cares little for the material.  Jesus recalls to our minds the lilies of the field, and their beauty, and the lilies do not toil.  Yet they cannot compare even to Solomon’s glory.

4 – May We Avoid Temptation

May we not fall prey to temptation today.  May we know that the idea that there is something out there that is better than what God would give is an anomaly.  We will always get the best when we attract it through our gratitude and love for God and our brothers/sisters.  And we must always love ourselves as well, even when we have disappointed ourselves.  We cannot measure up, ever, because we are trying to be perfect, and that is essentially a disheartening message.  The Bible does quote Jesus as saying that we should be perfect, even as the Father in Heaven is perfect.  But I think that there are mysteries here that we cannot understand until we have walked the whole pathway back to God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would stop, consider, and not go forward when I sense that I am trying to somehow get around Your will for me.  Please help me in this endeavor, today.  I would not seek to walk a different pathway, an egoic pathway that will take me far from You.  You want Awakening for me; I know that this is Your will.  But I need help.  And You are there for me.  This I know.

May I say the right things to reach my brothers and sisters, especially those in my immediate circle and those who read this blog.  I would help and not hinder in any way.  

Be with me through this glorious day, this harbinger of better days ahead.

Amen

Awakening / Christ-Consciousness

“Yet there will be temptations along the way the teacher of God has yet to travel, and he has need of reminding himself throughout the day of his protection.  (M-16.8)”

Affirmation:  “I have God’s protection.”

Reflections:

1 – Awakening / Christ-Consciousness

We must remember that temptations are simply attempts to place another will above God’s–choosing this other will as our lodestone or our (inaccurate) guidance.  We are not perfect.  In fact, A Course of Love questions whether perfection is necessary for Awakening.  I have experienced a few spans of time that seemed to be Awakening, but these were not sustained.  And I can certainly attest to the truth that I am far from perfect.  So perhaps we can hope for a sustainable Awakening without “perfection” (whatever that might be).  Jesus, in A Course of Love, asserts that nobody has sustained Christ-consciousness–nobody at all.  And Christ-consciousness is very close to Awakening, though the two are not compared in either A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love.

2 – Temptations

A temptation may be as simple as an inclination not to follow the intuitive guidance that one is getting.  We may be heading in a given direction, get a “stop,” and just not feel very much like stopping–so we forge ahead, and often, later on and sometimes immediately, find out why we should have stopped.  A temptation can be just this benign.

3 – Struggle = of the Ego

And we are human.  We are used, over the years of the ego’s rule, of struggling, but still of following what we perceived to be our own will, whether or not that will seems in accord with the divine.  But now is the time that we ought to listen more carefully to guidance, and to see every instinct not to follow that guidance as a likely intrusion of the ego.  The ego does not wish us well.  This ego is defined as a part of ourselves that we have made, a part that does not follow divine guidance.  And so we suffer as a result.

4 – No Fretting / No Worry

We are protected by God, and His Communicator, the Holy Spirit.  The passage for today says this.  And surely this affirmation warms our hearts.  We need not fret; we need not worry.  We are under God’s protection, but He does need our cooperation to carry out the best and right things that we deserve to have.  He will not violate our “free” will, which is actually the part that the ego controls (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Our real will and God’s Will are actually identical.  So, when we get that nudge, it is best to follow it, unless we have reason to suspect that emotion has carried away our reason, and, with it, our accurate assessment of intuition.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I sense an intuition that seems to come beyond my personal self, help me to realize that this intuition may be genuine guidance of my higher Self–the Christ in me.  I do not, in saying this, make any egoistic claim, because all of us are the same:  the Christ, the higher Self, is in all of us.  Help me to make this point clear in what I write today.

May we ask for and receive Awakening/Christ-consciousness.  Jesus has used both words in different channeled writings, and to my limited mind, the two words appear to be synonymous.  May today be an especially good day, with glimpses of Awakening/Christ-consciousness.  May I do my part to be ready, though my part is very limited indeed.  This visitation, this glimpse of a higher Reality, is Your decision alone.  And may I not seem to pressure You before I am ready.  I do not want my ego to appropriate good things, good experiences to itself, and thus make of me a more limited being that I am already.

Be with all of us as we walk the pathway to Awakening/Christ-consciousness.  May we know that the time will be as right as the Answer.  And that You are observing us, knowing when we are ready for this blessing.  You will not act precipitously, and I ask that You keep me from acting precipitously in my desire for this blessing.  May I remain humble, yet assured in Your love.  I do not want arrogance, but arrogance is often of the ego (Jesus says), and so obviously I need Your help in sorting all of these concepts out.

Thank You for being there for me.  Thank You for granting me glimpses of what will one day be my norm.

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.

How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

“How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?  To the advanced teacher of God this question is meaningless.  There is no program, for the lessons change each day.  Yet the teacher of God is sure of but one thing; they do not change at random.  Seeing this and understanding that it is true, he rests content.  He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day.  And those who share that role with him will find him, so they can learn the lessons for the day together.  (M-16)”

Affirmation:  “My lessons do not change at random.”

Reflections:

1 – Assurance of Guidance

This passage once more assures us of guidance.  And that guidance is described as being from the Holy Spirit, or Universal Inspiration.  We need to consider very carefully the ways in which guidance can come to us.  In reality the ways are numberless, but it is also possible to categorize some of the more obvious ways in which guidance comes to us.

2 – Intuition

The primary quality for many of us is an internal feeling, which may be described as intuition.  We just have an inner knowing of the right next step to take.  We do not often see a whole pathway stretch out before us; normally we are given the route in a step-by-step fashion.  And we are given that route at the moment that we need to take it.  By what way could it happen otherwise, without confusion?  If the Holy Spirit showed us an end far in the future, would we not fret that we are unable to fulfill the often grand ideas that He has for us?

3 – Reading

Sometimes the guidance comes through reading, especially inspirational reading.  A Course in Miracles is an obvious choice, but I do not counsel opening the book at random and seeking for magical answers.  Jesus warns us about magical thinking, and we can be led very much astray by techniques that partake of randomness.  I believe that it is far better to read bits of ACIM meditatively, and to wait for the guidance to emerge full in one’s thoughts.  Of course, we are human and we do make mistakes.  So we must ask ourselves if anyone would be hurt by the thought or action that we contemplate.  Love is the central theme, along with forgiveness, and nothing borne of love or forgiveness is likely to lead us astray.  This is not romantic love, though, but a settled good feeling toward our brothers and sisters.  Romantic love often speaks to the emotions, and emotional reactions can easily be of the ego.

4 – Period of Quiet

A period of quiet at the beginning and end of the day is almost mandatory.  If we do not subscribe to this idea, there are other ways that the Holy Spirit can reach us.  But sometimes we can avert suffering by listening to Him ahead of time.  When we have been quiet, taking in His counsel, we are less masochistic.  And masochism is at the heart of many of the things that go wrong in our lives.  Not for all of us, but for some.

5 – Devote the Day to God

So, let us devote this day to God.  Let us follow His way with a dedication that we ask Him to give us.  And, at the close of the day, be sure to thank Him for guiding throughout the day.  If the day was not optimal, ask for a better tomorrow.  And seek to spend a few minutes in contemplation over what went wrong and why.  Over time, more days will go right than wrong.  This is my experience, though not stated directly in ACIM.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Guidance has been much on my mind today, and perhaps that is not a coincidence.  Indeed, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that there are no accidents in salvation.  That is reassuring, even as it prompts me to be careful what I think and pray about.

Help me to follow my intuition today.  I am posting this blog late in the day, because I got an inkling of feeling that I ought to wait, to post later in the day today.  Why?  I do not know.  But I do think that maybe I will come to know.

Help my brothers and sisters who need help with their little as well as their large problems.  Give them (and me) the assurance of what to do to live a sane and joyous life.  I know that joy is the hallmark of my contact with You.  And I thank You for that.

Amen.

Safety = God’s Promise

“There is no deceit in God.  His promises are sure.  Only remember that. His promises have guaranteed His Judgment, and His alone, will be accepted in the end.  It is your function to make that end be soon.  It is your function to hold it to your heart, and offer it to all the world to keep it safe.  (M-15.3)”

 

Affirmation:  “I would ultimately find everyone at home in God.”

Reflections:

1 – Plan of the Teachers

This passage is about the plan of the teachers of God (from ACIM), to bring everyone back to Him, though that may take millions of years.  I have often mentioned this length of time in this blog, but always with a reassurance that our own way and God’s way in time are not the same.  Jesus says that each of us saves a thousand years, as the world measures time.  But time, also an ACIM tenet, is an illusion; there is no time.  Modern physics is coming to see this truth as well.

2 – God’s Judgment Is Benign

God’s Judgment is benign.  It dwells not at all on “sin.”  And it certainly does not dwell on hell.  God’s Judgment will come to all of us, when we are ready to welcome it (from the Manual).  The Judgment will be carried out by Jesus in conjunction with his brothers (and sisters).  Can we understand this?  Of course not.  We are very human, and this is part of the theology of ACIM that is in all likelihood something that is beyond us.  But having led us this far, is it likely that Jesus would be wrong herein?  Most students/teachers of A Course in Miracles do not believe Jesus is leading us astray.  He himself says that we might sometimes get that idea, but he has tried to choose words that are impossible to misconstrue (a paraphrase from the Text).  But he also says that we can twist symbols (which words are) around if we wish.

3 – The World Is Weary Now

We need to make the end come sooner.  This world is very weary now, and there is an astounding amount of suffering and pain.  Surely we ourselves weep when we hear some news accounts.  But this illusion will not stand before the compassion of God.  And our way home has been pointed out to us (in my opinion, in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love).  Let us seek today to be quiet a bit, and listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Let us ask today what we can do to be sure that the illusory separation from God does not continue for eons.  Let us ask what we can do today to save the thousand years that Jesus has promised to each of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is hard for me, as a limited human being, to comprehend the millions of years that Jesus says may be ahead before everyone is home again.  It seems such a sad dilemma.  But I know that Jesus is not a morose figure.  He always means well, and there are few of us who would ever doubt this.  So even a million years will be short when we have Awakened.  And it is our function in salvation to make that glorious day sooner for those with whom we come in contact.  Help me to remember this, and be with me, I ask.

I know that Jesus does not ask us to force our will on anyone.  Many, perhaps most, of us are not yet ready to accept all that salvation holds out for us.   It is my belief that each day, lived well and happily, provides a means to reach others with the glorious message of Awakening.  And, before Awakening, we are made gentler–not to be scared–by the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings to us.

Be with me today, as I seek to share Your message.  Help me to reduce mistakes in conveying Your message.  May all who are ready to receive help from You and Your Communicator, the Holy Spirit, open their hearts today to receive.  And may we be consistently happy as we receive, for that happiness is also a function for us in this world, according to Jesus in A Course in Miracles.

Amen.

All God Would Have You Do You Can Do

“To turn hell into Heaven is the function of God’s teachers, for what they teach are lessons in which Heaven is reflected.  And now sit down in true humility, and realize that all God would have you do you can do (M-14.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would turn hell into Heaven.”

Reflections:

1 – Students/Teachers

All of us are students/teachers of God.  Time is an illusion, and only time separates students from teachers.  We will all be teachers, and many sooner rather than later.  We are actually already teaching and learning at the same time.  As soon as we have answered the Call, the individuals whom we can serve best will begin looking for us, and finding us.  There are no accidents in salvation.  Who we are to meet, we will meet.  The lives we are to touch, we will touch.  And in this plan of the teachers is found much joy.

2 – Plan of the Teachers

Jesus says elsewhere that without the plan of the teachers, there would be no way for all of our brothers and sisters to find their way home again.  The detour into fear has been long and burdensome, troubling in the extreme.  Let us ask today to be free of the fear in whatever form the fear manifests.  Often it is simply a low-grade anxiety, from which our jobs and our relationships seem to offer no respite.

3 – Bill and Helen

But there is a better way, and Helen and Bill (co-scribes of ACIM) found it, perhaps Bill more than Helen.  As Vahle points out in his biography (see review in this blog), and as Ken Wapnick has made so clear, the peace that Helen gave to others eluded her.  Ken’s biography of Helen Schucman is entitled, Absence from Felicity.  And it was only in death, when Jesus came to claim his own, that her face was at peace.  Bill, on the other hands, moved to California and there, amid friends of ACIM, lived a much more peaceful conclusion to his life.

4 – Let’s Do Our Part Today

May we do our part today to turn this hell on earth into Heaven on earth.  Ask the Holy Spirit what small thing you might do today to effect this reversal.  And He will respond.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Helen’s experience has led me to understand that there are no guarantees in this life.  I know from my reading that she understood A Course in Miracles very well, but still she was without the peace that ACIM had brought so many others.  May all of us realize that we must depend on the Holy Spirit in this world, and that, even then, we may not always have happy dreams.

Be with me today as I seek, once again, to understand Your guidance.  My nighttime dreams seem to give me indications, as well as my intuitive, inner sense.  I have not put it all together yet.  Be with me, and be with other whom I touch today, in whatever way.  We are not to be without limits in this world, but we are to seek to overcome the limitations, with the guidance that we receive.  May that guidance come in Your own Way, in Your own time.

Amen.

Bits and Pieces Seem Sensible?

“The world will end when its thought system has been completely reversed.  Until then, bits and pieces of its thinking will still seem sensible.  (M-14.4)”

Affirmation:  “May my thought system be reversed sooner rather than later.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Rearing

The thought system that needs reversal is ego-inspired.  This ego causes us more problems than a little!  And we were probably reared with a strong competitive streak that was essentially ego-oriented.

2 – Personal Experience

My parents wanted me to make them proud.  Neither ever read A Course in Miracles, but I wonder now how different I would be if they had.  I think that they would have been ripe for accepting the ideas, for when the ego is strong, we tend to recognize that our way of life needs improvement.

3 – Attack & Anger Lead to “Venting”

I personally needed to know that verbal attack and anger were not the way to respond to someone else’s “venting.”  The someone else was always asking for help and for love.  And to offer those things–help and love–took the sting out of the venting.  Try it yourself.  I think that you may be surprised at how much easier your life will evolve.

4 – Being Defensive

Another idea that may still make sense is to defend one’s self against attack.  Or to defend one’s self against anything that seems adverse.  But A Course in Miracles says that we make what we defend against; by our defense is the awful thing made real.  This too is an idea that may need testing out.  (ACIM does not object to our testing, though this is an interpretation, not stated in ACIM.)

4 – ACIM Forbids

So no defense, as in planning for contingencies to come–contingencies that the Holy Spirit has not instructed us to consider.  And no attack and no judging.

5 – An Easier Way

Our way will already seem to be easier, when we have stopped considering those bits and pieces that still seem to make sense to the ego.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Monday has come and gone, and to my way of thinking, “bits and pieces” of the ego’s thinking still seem to make sense at this very moment.  I pray that any delay that I allow is not detrimental to anyone in my care.  My husband and I both still have egos, and we must make some decisions together.

If my intuition over the weekend was informed by too much ego, perhaps the intuition was wrong.  But I can point to no times in my past that intuition that has been prayed about actually turned out to be ego-inspired.

Be with us as we allow time to pass.  The Holy Spirit knows us well, and perhaps now is the time to learn that the anger that I felt last week has led my thinking to be too influenced by the ego, meaning that my psychic attunement was off.  I know that the solution is with the problem.  And I pray for patience to make the right decisions for my loved ones, in consultation with the Holy Spirit on a heavenly plane, and my husband, on the earthly plane.

I would learn a great deal that would benefit me in the future if the ego actually does lead wrongly, causing intuition to run false.  I pray for Your true guidance, and I pray for the right words to make my present situation a good one–not only for myself, but for all other that my life touches.

You are still working with me.  You have not finished with me.  May I never get so arrogant as to think that I have all the answers at any given time.

May the mystery clear up, sooner rather than later.

Amen.

Give God a Chance

“Decide for God, and everything is given you at no cost at all.  Decide against Him, and you choose nothing, at the expense of the awareness of everything.  (M-13.8)”

Affirmation:  “I choose the awareness of everything.”

Reflections:

1 – Decide for God?

How does one decide for God?  Perhaps we are skeptics.  Perhaps we have a guilty conscience.  Perhaps we have intellectual doubts about God.  Then what?

2 – A Chance

Give God a chance.

3 – Try a Little

That is all that is required.  Try a little prayer.  Ask for something that you think is in line with God’s Will, but be sure that you are not “testing” Him.

4 – God

You may not succeed.  But God may.

5 – What Do We Have to Lose?

What do we have to lose by trying to believe, even just a little?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

This is starting out as a hard day, because I asked for guidance in a particular situation, and I am unsure if my ego intruded.  I am unsure if the guidance that I received is from You.  I asked for further indication, and that was forthcoming, and the Answer from You was the same.  Is my ego just trying to foment struggle?

I would calm down, following Your guidance.  I am not alone in this decision facing me.  My husband is with me, and I believe in help from the Other Side.  Be with me today; help me to drop the issue for the weekend, so that next Monday, when I can actually do something, I will be in a state of mind that will allow the calm carrying out of what guidance has already shown me.

Thank You.

Amen.

Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

“God’s teachers choose to look on dreams a while.  It is a conscious choice.  For they have learned that all choices are made consciously, with full awareness of their consequences.  The dream says otherwise, but who would put his faith in dreams once they are recognized for what they are?  Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God’s teachers.  (M-12.6)”

Affirmation:  “awareness of dreaming”

Reflections:

1 – The Degree of Insanity

We dream, but our progress back to God is either pleasant or unpleasant, depending on our degree of insanity in the dream.

2 – We Dream

To say “we dream” is to mean that are in an illusion, not the real world.  We live with an imprisoned will when we are caught by the ego, and all of us have experienced the bad times of the ego.  When we follow its guidance, we know pain and suffering.  We may know heights of joy, but these are eclipsed by an equal number of low points (a paraphrase from ACIM).  We would not choose to live a labile life, when we know better how to live.

3 – “Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings”

The better way is to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who changes the kind of thinking that we do.  We start attracting a better life, the “dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).  And we know a quiet peace that heretofore may have been unwelcome to ourselves.  In fact, in ACIM we learn that being “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time is to be expected as we reach home.

3 – The Real World = A Condition of Mind

The real world is not easily identified, but it is the condition of mind that we enjoy when we are almost ready gor Awakening, when God Himself metaphorically reaches down and lifts us up.  We know happiness, which ACIM says is our function.

4 – Insane World

When we know that we are dreaming in an insane world, we will not be upset by what we see.  We will know that it is all illusion.  We will empathize with our brothers and sisters who are caught in pain, but we will  not overdo our sympathy, lest we contribute to making pain part of their self-image (a paraphrase from ACIM).

5 – Have a Better Day

Let us be aware of dreaming today.  And, with that, a better day is set before us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a better day today, ever better, day by day.  Thank You for the many blessings conferred upon me so recently.  When I am unsure of what to do, I just need to listen to guidance.  And the Answer will come, unfailingly, into my mind.  A Course in Miracles promises this; You promise this.  The Holy Spirit fulfills His role splendidly.

Be with me today in my dream of what life can offer.  May I know the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.  And may I move ever closer to Awakening, an Awakening that will be sustained.

Thank You.

Amen.

Experiencing Deep Love Eliminates Fear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 199 – for Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.”

“The mind that serves the Holy Spirit is unlimited forever, in all ways, beyond the laws of time and space, unbound by any preconceptions, and with strength and power to do whatever it is asked.  Attack thoughts cannot enter such a mind, because it has been given to the Source of love, and fear can never enter in a mind that has attached itself to love.  It rests in God.  And who can be afraid who lives in Innocence, and only loves.  (WB382)”

Reflections:

1 – Heaven on Earth

If we could live the way in which the quoted passage, above, says, we would go a long way toward having Heaven on earth.  Were it not for our mistakes and our habits of long-standing, we would be able to live this wondrous way.  A Course in Miracles presents an idealized way of living, and many of us are not able to live up to its many wonderful promises.  But we can begin each day, and end each day, with time for contemplation of ACIM, our meditations, and these will reform long-standing errors.  ACIM can heal a neurotic through Jesus’s guidance.

2 – Choose Not to Be Afraid

May we live the Source of love today.  We need to determine that we will leave fear behind, to determine that we do not choose to be afraid ever again.  We will in all likelihood not succeed in the beginning, but we can, with God’s help, keep trying.  And that is all He asks.

3 – Serving the Holy Spirit

Serving the Holy Spirit means that we will follow the guidance that comes to us.  It may be by intuition (a likely response), an inner knowing that seems deeper than simply intuition, an interior word from the Holy Spirit, prayer, contemplation, meditation, writing in a journal to solutions, and so forth.  We do not know the many ways that the Holy Spirit can guide us.  But if we are open to His prompting, our lives will transform in ways that seemed impossible only yesterday.  Time is in Jesus’s hands (a Text tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose love, and gratitude for my many blessings in a strong way to choose love.  Help me to know that being grateful does enhance my feelings of love.  And choosing love over anger is always a blessing.  I would eliminate anger from my repertoire of emotions sooner rather than later.

Thank You for the guidance that I received yesterday in my realization that something might arise that would cause anger.  I decided to leave the room.  As it turned out, I could not easily do so, but still, remembering what I had decided kept me quite and self-contained.  This in itself is a tremendous blessing.

Now, again today, as the day has started well–help me.  May the day go well for all its hours.  And may I always be thankful for the many blessings that You have given me, and for the many blessings that You have given all of my brothers and sisters in this world.

Amen.

Forsake Attack / Find Gratitude

ACIM Workbook Lesson 197 – for Monday, July 16, 2012

 

Affirmation:  “It can be but my gratitude I earn.”

“God blesses every gift you give to Him, and every gift is given Him, because it can be given only to yourself.  And what belongs to God must be His Own.  Yet you will never realize His gifts are sure, eternal, changeless, limitless, forever giving out, extending love and adding to your never-ending joy while you forgive but to attack again.  (WB377)”

Reflections:

1 – Attack / Forgiveness

As long as attack is attractive to us, we will need to turn again and again to forgiveness so that we get back on the right track.  And who among us can say that we never have the urge to attack (usually verbally), or that we never feel anger?  These are very human characteristics.  After all, think of Jesus in the temple with the moneychangers, as depicted in the New Testament.

2 – God Does Not Condemn

When we have made progress toward leaving attack behind, we will know the love that is described in today’s Workbook lesson.  We will know that God does not condemn, and we will know that our best action is also not to condemn–even when we don’t recognize that there has just been a mistake that can be rectified by forgiveness.  Remember the illusion in which we live.  The Self is never hurt–only the “little,” personal self.  And we would not take offense at a brother or sister who is having a hard time and takes it out on us.  We need to be bigger than that.

3 – Very Human Traits

All of this is not easy.  We carry these human traits, many from childhood and brought on by the insane ego.  Most of us have not completely relinquished the ego, and so we are more prone to take offense easily.

4 – Harmony

We need to do what we can to bring more love into our lives.  Do we not sense the harmony that can be ours when we choose the word or deed that comes from love rather than attack?

5 – God = Love

Let us today ask for the grace to live our lives in love, or in Love.  For God is Love, as the Scriptures tell us, and now as borne out by A Course in Miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for reminding me that attack has no place in the group of reactions that we would have in this world.  Attack always blinds us to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, and attack also hurts our brothers and sisters.  We need the harmony that Love (God) and love (Awakening or Christ-consciousness) can effect in our lives.  May I ask for that harmony to be mine today.  I realize that this may be a daily prayer, for I do not know when I will be ready for You to reach down and awaken me.

Thank You for being here for me.  The day has been good so far, and always a day goes better when the morning is good.  You know that I am not a morning person, though I get up and start the day at a relatively early hour.  You know that I need structure to my day, to make that day be devoted to the pathway that You point out to me.  Thank You for guiding my decisions, so that the little decisions that the Holy Spirit gives me, moment-by-moment, are heeded.

I am grateful for the blessing of Your Love.  May I never forget my indebtedness to You.  And may I never forget how much You love me.

Amen.

All Cause of Sorrow Disappears

ACIM Workbook Lesson 195 – for Saturday, July 14, 2012

Affirmation:  “Love is the way I walk in gratitude.”

“Gratitude is a lesson hard to learn for those who look upon the world amiss.  The most that they can do is see themselves as better off than others.  And they try to be content because another seems to suffer more than they.  How pitiful and deprecating are such thoughts!  For who has cause for thanks while others have less cause?  And who could suffer less because he sees another suffer more?  Your gratitude is due to Him alone Who made all cause of sorrow disappear throughout the world.  (WB372)”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Compare

We would be wise not to compare ourselves to others.  There will always be those who seem to have more, as well as seem to have less.  This practice of comparison is not a good practice that could ever lead us to a sane mind.

2 – Cooperation

We need cooperation, not competition, in our world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  And in cooperation we find the gratitude due our brothers and sisters that is so lacking when we are competing with them for the “top” spot in our world.  We find ourselves loving each other more when we cooperate toward a common good.  We do not find ourselves in a loving mood when we are competing.

3 – Public Schools

Even the public school system is learning this truth.  Research in educational circles has been going on for a quarter of a century, and more, that recommends “cooperative learning” in our schools.  It is conceivable that this wide-based endeavor will turn out very different young adults than in our generation.  Our world needs a new system, and perhaps cooperative learning and living will emerge in the next generation.  (These ideas are not discussed in ACIM or in A Course of Love.)

4 – Pity Is Unworthy

It is particularly unworthy if we simply look with pity on another’s suffering, and use that situation to be glad that we too are not suffering that much.  Surely we ought to do what we can to lighten another’s load, and turn suffering into joy.  Surely we ought not to doubt the results of a healing when symptoms still seem evident (a Manual tenet).  But we need to recognize that, however lamentable, the suffering is not real (a Manual tenet).  It is an illusion, however much it may seem real to us or to the sufferer himself/herself.  The real Self (the “Christ” in us) has not been harmed.  Our task now is to move beyond suffering and to turn it back, if need be, simply into pain that would be avoided.

5 – Sickness as a Way of Life

Not everyone is ready for this change.  Some use sickness as a way of life, and a sudden healing might precipitate depression so deep that one would want to commit suicide (from the Manual).  So healing has to wait.  But we cannot doubt that a healing will be accepted when the individual is ready.  This can be either physical or emotional healing, and perhaps the emotional is the most important.

6 = With Grateful Eyes

Let us look with grateful eyes on our brothers and sisters, and let us help them, with more kindness, through their journey.  What better way to spend our day?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do feel grateful today for my many blessings.  I would feel more gratitude than is usual for me, for this lesson today is a reminder of how much we owe to You.  Be with me today as I walk through this world.

May I never use sickness to get me something that I want.  Nothing needs to be used in such a way.  I would not feel pity for those less fortunate, though I would try to help my brothers and sisters in need.  Show me what to do and say.

Thank You.

Amen.

Live in the Moment

ACIM Workbook Lesson 193 – for Thursday, July 12, 2012

Affirmation:  “All things are lessons God would have me learn.”

“Each hour, spend a little time today, and in the days to come, in practicing the lesson in forgiveness in the form established for the day.  And try to give it application to the happenings the hour brought, so that the next one is free of the one before.  The chains of time are easily unloosened in this way.  Let no one hour cast its shadow on the one that follows, and when that one goes, let everything that happened in its course go with it.  Thus will you remain unbound, in peace eternal  in the world of time.  (WB369)”

Reflections:

1 – “Chains of Time Are Easily Unloosened”

This is a comprehensive statement of the dictate of A Course in Miracles that we live in the moment.  We don’t often do that, though.  We are more familiar with trying to live one day at a time.

2 – Relinquish What Just Happened

Here, though, ACIM goes a step farther, and asks us to relinquish what has happened just a moment ago.  This allows grievances no time to build up.  We offer forgiveness virtually simultaneously to the offending word or deed.  And this puts us squarely on the path toward home in God.

3 – Hour by Hour

So, here it is “hour by hour,” rather than day by day.  A challenging thought!  But we know that the teacher of God, according to the Manual, does not know challenges, for he/she lets guidance direct the way, always.  It is highly unlikely that we can sustain this degree of flexibility in following guidance, though.  What we must do is to accept the guidance just as soon as we are emotionally able.

4 – Having a Good Day

There are a few stunning pages in the Text that tell us how to have a good day.  And in the midst of these words we see that we frequently don’t like how we feel when we have put ourselves squarely in control.  Our lives seem to be spinning out of control, even with our best efforts.  This is because the ego is insane (an ACIM tenet), and the ego does not wish us well (also an ACIM tenet).  If we don’t like how we feel, we can turn to guidance at any time, and with good results.  And the sooner we readjust our priority in thinking, the sooner we will walk a green earth again.

5 – Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the central lesson of A Course in Miracles.  God does not need to forgive us, because He has never condemned us (an ACIM tenet).  But we need to forgive ourselves, and, if we have wandered amiss, we may need to ask forgiveness of certain of our brothers and sisters.  Given this willingness to forgive, we will understand:  “to understand all, forgive all” (an aphorism from my reading of many years ago, not ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live moment by moment, not jumping ahead to even the next hour.  If there are plans to be made for my day, I will receive a prompting from the Holy Spirit of what to plan, and also how to “plan” the planning.  We are never left bereft.

Be with me throughout this day, and especially help me to practice the lesson for today.  I have the feeling that my life will improve dramatically to the extent that I can fulfill what this workbook lesson says.

Amen.

Do as God’s Voice Directs

ACIM Workbook Lesson 186 – for Thursday, July 5, 2012

“Do as God’s Voice directs.  And if It asks a thing of you which seems impossible, remember Who it is That asks, and who would make denial.  Then consider this; which is more likely to be right?  The Voice That speaks for the Creator of all things, Who knows all things exactly as they are, or a distorted image of yourself, confused, bewildered, inconsistent and unsure of everything?  Let not its voice direct you.  Hear instead a certain Voice, which tells you of a function given you by your Creator Who remembers you, and urges that you now remember him.  (WB353)”

Affirmation:  “Salvation of the world depends on me.”

Reflections:

1 – Summary

This passage is a concise summary of one of my favorite tenets of A Course in Miracles.  We need to follow guidance.  It is an imperative.  And we need to be sure that the guidance that we are getting is genuinely from the right Place, not from the ego.  The ego likes to masquerade as our Maker, and we would be wise to test out our guidance, to be certain that the ego is not intruding, giving us ideas for self-aggrandizement that will only give us grief.  (This is interpretation, not stated in ACIM.)

2 – Intuitive Advice

When we ask for advice, intuitive advice, from the Holy Spirit (or from Christ-consciousness, if we have progressed that far), then we are assured that we will have a good day.  We will not be “confused, bewildered, inconsistent, and unsure of everything.”

3 – Motivation

Is not this great motivation?  Could we ask for anything better?

4 – Flow and Ebb in Balance

Our days will flow and ebb in precise balance with the degree to which we are attuned to what our Guide tells us.  Begin the day with God, follow Him throughout the day, and then thank Him at night for the glorious day that you will have had.  These are instructions from the Manual, in which we are led to realize that a constant asking may not be practical, and it is the practical with which A Course in Miracles is most concerned.  If we turn to the Holy Spirit at the beginning of our day, at the end of our day, and in between, when we get a moment to reflect, then our day will be wisely spent.  Jesus does not ask for more than we are willing to give.

5 – Be Still

I have found, though, that more frequent turning inward for guidance is, for me, a better practice.  I do not say that I always succeed in coming to know God’s Will for me, but, if I become quiet, and listen inwardly, I am more likely to know what guidance is saying than if I rush about and hurry so.  Intuitive thoughts come unbidden, when we have been quiet enough.  There is a caveat, though, in that we must be sure that the intuitive thoughts that we choose to act upon do not harm ourselves or anyone else.  Then if we can be sure that we are being harmless (as well as helpful), we will walk a green earth.

6 – A Blessed Day!

There is no better way to have a blessed day!

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day be as grand as yesterday!  Thank you for the blessings that You are bestowing on me in the present.  May I listen attentively to Your Voice, and may I follow Your advice to me.

Be with me as I walk about my world today.  There is no better way that I have ever found than to follow Your guidance consistently.

Thank You.

Amen.

When Not at Peace

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the
   consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.  (T90)”

Affirmation:  “I can decide for peace.”

Reflections:

1 – Choose Peace Moment by Moment

This passage is a lovely blank verse poem.  If we are not at peace, we have made one or more errors.  We are in charge in making the decisions that will bring us to peace.  We can decide otherwise, and thus choose peace, moment by moment.

2 – Do Not “Study” the Ego

If we have already chosen wrongly, we may feel an ennui that is hard to describe.  This appears to be a time that we need to be especially protective of ourselves, but actually it is a prime time that we need to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  We have seen or done something that has made for increased fatigue, either mental or physical, and until we get to the root of the problem, we will suffer.  We are not to study the ego, though!  Jesus specifically says in A Course in Miracles that the ego (this part of ourselves that has led us astray) approves our study of it, that this study seems to increase its importance to us (from the Text).  But if we find fatigue, an unnatural fatigue, steeling over us, perhaps we need to stop what we are doing and commune with the Holy Spirit.  He will respond with some quiet thoughts that will come automatically into the mind, when we have calmed down the agitation enough to listen.  (These are interpretations of ACIM, not stated therein.)

3 – Undoing Eliminates Guilt

We do not have to feel guilty, because of the power and glory of the Holy Spirit.  He can undo the consequences of our wrong action or thought–the error that made us lose our peace in the beginning.

4 – “Perfectly Calm and Quiet

Peace is a great blessing.  All of us would choose it, rather than drama, if we would give it more thought.  “Perfectly calm and quiet” is said elsewhere in the Course as the direction in which we are heading.  We may, actually, not welcome this now, because we are tied to our dramas, but as we choose more and more the peace that God grants, we will know the genius of this proscription.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to decide for peace, not drama.  I am in charge of this decision, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  If I am not at peace, I have decided wrongly.  I choose now to change this decision to one of peace.

Help me to know the value of being perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  May the Holy Spirit, day by day, lead me in this direction.

Amen.

You Must Ask for Gifts

“The Bible gives many references to the immeasurable gifts which are for you, but for which you must ask.  This is not a condition as the ego sets conditions.  It is a glorious condition of what you are.  (T61)”

Affirmation:  “immeasurable gifts are for me”

Reflections:

1 – Ask in Specifics

Sometimes we feel greedy when we pray for something specific.  This is not, however, the way of either the Course or the Bible.  Here we see that asking is the way to receive.  Actually, asking for something specific is the intended way for us to receive.

2 – You Will Receive

If we are not specific, the Holy Spirit will need to lead our minds and hearts to know what it is that we really want.  This takes additional time, time that we do not need to waste in such a fashion.  If we want the “immeasurable gifts,” we need only ask.  The Bible says, “Ask, and you will receive.”  This glorious promise is in line with the teaching of the Course as well, as we see in this passage.

3 – Personal Experience

I remember, as a child, not wanting to be greedy.  I don’t know where this trait came from, but I remember having it.  My mother has told me that she and my father often had great difficulty knowing what to give me for Santa Claus, because I would not ask for anything.

4 – Faulty Reasoning

This type of thinking is actually poverty-driven.  Instead, we are bade to ask for what we want, of the Holy Spirit.  If the desired gift is not in our best interests, we are asked to seek guidance so that we ask aright.  We may be able to have anything that we want, but this must be a seeking that gives us good things.  A Course in Miracles says that the Holy Spirit protects us from asking for that which will harm us.  We know, inwardly, when we are to  avoid a prayer for something that would be bad for us.  This is the advantage of listening to intuition.

5 – What Gift Would You Like?

What gift would you really like to have?  If it is in line with our best interests, we can have it for the asking.  Elsewhere Jesus points out that our Father does not give gifts that are not good to His children; He protects us from our own misunderstandings.  So do not be afraid that you will ask amiss.  Pray for His will, and the blessings will always be good.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help to realize that asking for Your gifts is not greedy.  And I must ask if I am to receive.  Guide my asking in line with Your will.

May the Holy Spirit inform my choice about what to ask for.  Then may I thank You for those manifold blessings.

Amen.

The Ultimate Way to Erase Misperceptions

“I cannot unite your will with God’s for you, but I can erase all misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under my guidance.  (T43)”

Affirmation:  “I can erase all misperceptions from your mind.”

Reflections:

1 – Following Intuition

Jesus does not take away the power of our minds.  We retain in full control, but it is a control that we are bade willingly to relinquish to the Holy Spirit.  How do we do this?  We listen to a knowing, an intuition of how to live our days.  Thus Jesus cautions that we cannot ask him to take over our minds.

2 – Jesus as a Guide for Us

What Jesus can do, though, as he tells us in this passage, is to “erase all misperceptions” from our minds.  We are willingly putting our minds under his guidance.

3 – The Holy Spirit and Jesus Work Together

Retaining the power of our minds, but listening to guidance, is not contradictory.  We willingly relinquish all that does not matter, choosing to keep only the real and the true.   Jesus guides this activity when he is shown a willing mind and spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I enthusiastically and willingly place my mind under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Then misperceptions fall away, and I live in a much happier world.

Thank you for Jesus’s guidance.  He will help us to eliminate misperceptions if we are open to his guidance.

Amen.

Guidance

“It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance without conscious effort, but this implies a willingness that you have not developed as yet.  (T30)”

Affirmation:  “reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance”

Reflections:

1 – Is Learning Effortless?

This passage occurs at the beginning of the Course.  It suggests that following our guidance must be a willful thing, and that we choose to follow guidance by conscious effort.  Yet we are also told that much of the learning of the Course can be effortless.  Is this a contradiction?

2 – The Guidance of Jesus

No, because there is a progression here that we would be wise to understand.  In the beginning of our study, we cannot just turn our wills over to Jesus without choosing to do so.  It is noteworthy that in these beginning passages, Jesus says that it is “my guidance,” and later on in the Course, he stresses following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We are not yet, at this point early on, ready for the more theoretical aspects of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Later on we are ready.  Then we can truly move effortlessly to make decisions with our minds and our spirits.

3 – Living Is Effortless

I find the fact that living is meant to be “effortless” a very comforting thought.  Most of us have spent many days, months, and years caught in fretful activity that drove us to distraction.  We were made anxious by the pace of our living.  But we can slow down, even in the midst of great productivity.  And, actually, we will in all likelihood find that we are even more productive than we have been when busily hurrying about.  Self-help literature is filled with this paradox.

4 – Guidance without Conscious Control

Surely we can await the time that we bring our minds under guidance without conscious effort.  In the meantime, we can use our intuition, which is a form of guidance, to know what and how to respond in our world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I bring my mind under the guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  May this form of intuition be something that will bless others in my world as well as myself.

I realize that this need not be hard.  Indeed, surrendering to guidance can be effortless.  Help it to be effortless in me today.

Amen.

Worry Not

“I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what
   to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing
   He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.  (T28)”

Affirmation:  “I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do.”

Reflections:

1 – Follow the Holy Spirit

This is a lovely prayer, set in the form of a blank verse poem.  The “He” and “Him” referred to in the poem mean the Holy Spirit.

2 – Beautiful Poetry

Two of the most beautiful lines are Lines 3 and 4, in which we are assured that the Holy Spirit will guide us.  We do not have to reach ahead to the future, wondering what to do.  We will be told in the present.  If there are plans that need to be made, we will be told of them at the point of need.  There is no need to worry.

3 – Guidance Where We Are Led to Go

We will follow guidance to go wherever in this world we are led to go.  This is truly being led by the Holy Spirit, and it may not take what is commonly known as blind faith.  We will know inwardly and with assurance what pathway is best, and where that pathway is physically located.  We will go with knowledge that we are there with the Holy Spirit.

4 – Our Brother’s Keeper

We are also our brother’s keeper.  “I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal,” which is the last line, is an assurance that our relationship to our brother is where healing lies.

5 – The Blessing of This Poem

If we study this poem, we will have its blessing, for it is indeed dense with meaning.  Let the Holy Spirit speak to us as we read.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you for helping me to make decisions through the Holy Spirit.  Let me realize that I do not have to worry about what to say or do, because I will be guided.  This is Your promise.

Help me to be helpful to others in my daily life.  As I am healed, I will be better able to effect healing in others through Your grace.

Amen.

If Pain and Suffering Visit

“An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable.  Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.  (T21-22)”

Affirmation:  “Tolerance for pain is not without limit.”

Reflections:

1 – An Imprisoned Will

This “imprisoned will” is a philosophical tenet of A Course in Miracles.  When the separation seemed to arise, we were caught in a situation that seemed to make God’s will and our will at odds with one another.  Actually the two are inseparable, and only our dim understanding makes this aspect of faith difficult.

2 – Rejecting the Holy Spirit’s Guidance

When we reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are caught in the bonds of an imprisoned will, which engenders pain–sometimes extreme pain.  Although the Course affirms the releasing truth that we do not have to learn through pain, the truth is that many of us do learn through pain.  We can suffer in this pain greatly, but our tolerance for pain, as this passage says, is “not without limit.”  Sooner or later we will come to see that there must be another way, a better way, to live, and this is when we turn to God and His Voice, the Holy Spirit.

3 – Another Way

Helen Schucman and William Thetford, the two individuals responsible for bringing us the Course, agreed together to seek another way.  At the time they and their department at Columbia University were embroiled in competition and attack, and camaraderie was largely missing.  Helen and Bill embarked on a seven-year project, with Helen channeling from Jesus, and Bill, each morning, typing what had come through the day before.  Tolerance for pain in these two had become intolerable.

4 – No Tolerance for Pain

May this tolerance soon become intolerable for us as well, and then we will be ready to listen, perhaps for the first time, to innermost guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I choose to eliminate pain from my experience.  I know that pain is not Your will, and may it not be mine either.

If I have learned through pain, may this learning come to an end.  Your will for me is total happiness.

Amen.

Temptation

“‘Lead us not into temptation’ means ‘Recognize your errors and choose to abandon them by following my guidance.’  (T9)”

Affirmation:  “I would abandon my errors today.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Jesus’s Words

This is Jesus’s interpretation, for students/teachers of A Course in Miracles, of a biblical statement attributed to him.  Perhaps the interpretation has always been in place, but now the world is ready to hear it through ACIM.  We may see herein that the temptation to go against the guidance of Jesus, or the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is a choice that will slow us down.  We need to be flexible, to find the affirmations that will keep us from rebelliously avoiding guidance because we are still so strong-willed.  My personal favorite, which is very secular, is simply, “Be flexible.”  This talks to my ego in a way that undoes it, and it uses secular language that will not cause temptation to overcome me.

2 – We Do Not Sin in Eternity / We Make Mistakes in Time

Elsewhere the Course makes clear that we do not sin in eternity (we are still innocent, because we are caught in illusions), but we do make mistakes.  And if we recognize mistakes, we will move quickly to correct them.  Calling a mistake a “sin,” though, is highly attracting, in a perverse sort of way.  We will sometimes choose to sin again and again; changing the concept to that of a “mistake” eliminates the attraction at its core.  Who would repeat mistakes that, with Jesus’s guidance, are very easily corrected?  At one point in ACIM, we are told that we have “sinned” in time, but that time does not really exist.  Eternity is on the valid concept that is close to time, but not the same.

3 – How Do We Recognize Our Errors?

We need to recognize when we have made errors, though.  This is not always easy, because our conscience may have damaged areas in it.  We may be led astray, having rationalized poor thinking and behavior in ourselves many times previously.  This is the time to return to A Course in Miracles, and to ask humbly for guidance to see anew.  This guidance will lead us along more positive lines, and we will leave behind the erroneous thoughts and misdeeds of the past.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Sometimes when my emotions are especially strong, I am sure that I have great difficulty in discerning Your guidance.  My emotions, sometimes ruled by my ego, interfere with my intuition, my discerning of Your way.

I would not have it thus today.  I would stop, calm myself, and then ask quietly and peacefully, “What would You have me do?”  I pray that this is enough.  Please guide me even when my thinking is muddled by overwrought emotions.  When stress is heavy, we often cannot discern in peace.  Be with me especially at such times.  I know that my good intentions are not enough, but I pray that when times are hard, You will always remember me–even when I forget You.

Thank You.

Amen.

Striving Can Hurt You

“Anything in this world that you believe is good and valuable and worth striving for can hurt you, and will do so.  Not because it has the power to hurt, but just because you have denied it is but an illusion, and made it real. (T553)”

Affirmation:  “We live in illusion and would not make it real.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Striving = of the Ego?

This passage is very close to saying that our striving is nearly always of the ego, which will inevitably hurt us.  A Course in Miracles is very clear that the world that we know is an illusion, but we do not usually recognize this, and so we make it real to ourselves.  If we stare at a misdeed, we cannot overlook it, because we have made it real by the fact of thinking about it seriously.

2 – Avoid Meaningless Striving

ACIM would not say that no deeds are worthy.  Our function of salvation is worthy indeed, to name the central function that we have.  But we ought never to engage in meaningless striving from the standpoint of the ego.  The ego always lets us down.  The world is set up that way, and Jesus in ACIM makes this point repeatedly.  The ego is constantly being undone, and as long as our investment is there, we will be hurt when the ego is undone.

3 – Salvation = Effortless Way of Living

Living in the way that forwards salvation is meant to be an effortless way of living.  Of course, in this world we are not often ready to accept this.  We think that there is more that we have to do.  But ACIM notes that the contribution of the Holy Spirit is much greater than our own.  We need to display only a “little willingness,” and we will be on the pathway home–for ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would appreciate this passage today, in that it reminds that much of the striving that I have done, much that has weighted me down, was actually of the ego and not a fit way for Your child to function.  Help me to let the ego wither away, doing nothing to reinforce it today.  May I, instead, seek to know how to live Your way, which gets things accomplished effortlessly.  To my personal self, this seems to be a paradoxical way to live, but I know that You do not mislead us, and so it is a true way to live.

Be with me today as I seek to carry out the tasks for the day.  I know that the tasks change each day, for we get a new start.  May I lean upon Your Guide as my leader in what to say and do.  May I come ever closer to the Self that You would have me be.

Thank You for the direction that You provide almost constantly to me.  Help me not to be mislead into thinking that I always choose the right, but help me to discern when my still present ego is falsifying all my dealings.  I would walk Your way today and every day.

Amen.

How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

“To the advanced teacher of God this question is meaningless.  There is no program, for the lessons change each day.  Yet the teacher of God is sure of but one thing; they do not change at random.  Seeing this and understanding that it is true, he rests content.  He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day. (M40)”

Affirmation:  “I will follow guidance in living this day.”

Reflections:

1 – What Does “Advanced? Mean?

Not all of us are “advanced,” and the workbook lesson that begins on M40 goes on to explain further.  Yet there are many in the Course community now who have studied A Course in Miracles for many years.  They rightfully can be called “advanced.”

2 – No Planning

Knowing that there is nothing in a day that needs to be planned is enormously freeing.  Practical plans may need to be made, and, if so, those plans will flawlessly come into one’s mind at the time of action.  This is the way the guidance of the Holy Spirit works.  While it takes great faith to commit to such a way of life, our new way does not have to be perfect, especially in the beginning.  Mistakes that are given over to the Holy Spirit are easily corrected.  Pause a moment, mentally and emotionally start the day over, and we are once again on the right pathway.

3 – Planning Prompted by the Holy Spirit

We are led to give up planning, unless the planning is prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Planning against contingencies to come is one of three ways that we digress from the pathway (the other two are attack and judgment).  We are actually living in fear when we try, in vain, to predict the future and to make plans because of what we fear.  The ego is in the ascendancy at such times.  And we will learn through the pages of ACIM that the ego, as defined by ACIM, is a part of our belief about ourselves, but it embodies a persona, a false sense of self.  We would know our real Self, the Self who has never left God in a separation that merely seems to have happened.

4 – Safe at Home in God

We are actually safe at home with God.  In this world, we are not often conscious of this truth, because we are living a dream, caught in illusions (ACIM tenets).

5 – Follow Guidance

Ask today to live the program of the day as guidance dictates.  Ask to follow the Holy Spirit.  If not sure that we have accepted the Holy Spirit’s presence within, then ask for Him to enter today.  He will never fail to hear from one of God’s children.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would drop the idea that I am “advanced.”  Years of studying A Course in Miracles mean nothing if we fail to put into practice, consistently, what we have learned.  And I sometimes fail.  I would have You today take me as a new learner, and give me the best that I can hope for today.  I would learn anew, this year, what guidance would have me to do.  And this year I would actually do it.

Be with me as I seek to be flexible in Your hands, following the guidance that I receive moment by moment.  I know that You do not condemn me when I fail, but I would pray not to fail very often today.  In this world, I will always be fallible, but with Your help, I can walk a smooth pathway to You.

Thank You for always letting me sense You in me.

Amen.

“Unsupported” Faith Is Not Required

ACIM Workbook Lesson 327 – for Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “I need but call and You will answer me.”

“I am not asked to take salvation on the basis of an unsupported faith.  For God has promised He will hear my call, and answer me Himself.  (WB465)”

Reflections:

1 – Blind Faith

We are not asked to have faith only, a blind faith that is totally uncomprehending, and just appeals to “mysteries.”  We have support for our faith in A Course in Miracles.  Salvation, leading to Awakening, is spelled out for us.  And God Himself will answer us when we call.  We will never be left to our own devices.

2 – A Questioning Faith

The fact that we do not have just to say “have faith” is important to me.  I always thought like a heretic, questioning the faith of my childhood.  Until I found A Course in Miracles, and then the answers came that I had been seeking for so long.  Not everybody, of course, finds their curriculum in ACIM, but more and more are.  We who study ACIM seriously ought to be very, very glad that the tenets of ACIM have found their way more and more into the popular culture, especially the self-help or self-improvement literature.  Not everybody realizes that the author is using ideas from A Course in Miracles.  And perhaps this is alright.  Jesus is not proprietary about the ideas that we read therein.  He wants the message to be spread, and he has said that there is a course for every teacher of God.  We all make interpretations, some based on ACIM and some not, and we learn from each other as a result.

3 – Finding Our Way to God

Our supported faith is the faith that God Himself supports.  This is an important truth, and it would be well to dwell on the implications of this.  We are never alone in the universe(s).  We always have guidance.  In ACIM, this guidance is said to come from the Holy Spirit, because we are in the time of the Holy Spirit.  In A Course of Love, this guidance is said to come from the Self within, the Christ-consciousness, as we are in the time of Christ.  Either way is OK.  We do not have to be proscriptive about how we find our way back to God.  He never left us, but we thought we left Him.  And now is the time to return.  As the New Testament counsels, “Seek and ye shall find.”  And I have found this truth in my own experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You today for the day that I found A Course in Miracles.  No longer did I have to grapple with reaching for faith when I had questions and even doubts.  Your gift of ACIM answered so many of those questions.  May I be led today to put into practice the tenets that I have studied.  And may I reach out to others who are similarly questioning.

Faith does not have to be blind.  We are given answers to our reason.  We do not have to appeal to “mysteries.”  Help me to know when I do need to step out in faith and appeal to mysteries, and when the Answer, Your Holy Spirit, will guide me.  May He guide me carefully today.  I so long to walk the way of Your blessings, and Your blessings are never very far behind the guidance that is so freely given, when we ask for guidance.

Be with me today as I seek You.  Guide my thoughts as I reread A Course in Miracles.  Help me to discern the truth of its message.  And may I reflect in a helpful way for those who read this blog.

Thank You for always being near.  May I feel Your presence in me today.

Amen.

I Am Eternally Innocent

ACIM Workbook Lesson 309 – for Saturday, November 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not fear to look within today.”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence, because it is God’s Will that It be there forever and forever.  His Son, whose will is limitless as is His Own, can will no change in this.  (WB454)”

Reflections:

1 – Looking Within

We sometimes fear to look within because we imagine that we are really despicable creatures.  We fear what we will see if we get a good look within.  But is this realistic?

2 – Mistakes – Not “Sins”

A Course in Miracles says that we are innocent.  We may have made mistakes, in illusion, but we have not “sinned.”  So we must be good on the inside.

3 – Ask for Forgiveness

When we know that we can ask forgiveness of the Universe (we do not have to ask forgiveness of God, because He has never condemned us–an ACIM tenet) and of ourselves, not to mention our brothers and sisters, then all is well.  We need the exercise of asking forgiveness.  It heals our minds.

4 – Avoid Stress = Avoid Anger and Attack

Asking forgiveness also calms us.  And it is normally in our stress that we get into trouble with attack and anger.  When we are at peace, these emotions do not often occur at all.  When we have avoided forgiveness and all that it holds out to us, and we attack or respond in anger, then we need to ask forgiveness of the individual against whom we have judged.  We have judged him or her, or we would not attack.  And our attack, we think, has brought us something that we want.  It has been a defense for ourselves (a Text tenet).  But we do not need defenses.  We are little and weak, in need of defense; we are actually quite strong as we follow the Holy Spirit.

5 – “Eternal Innocence”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence”:  This is a phrase that will mean much to us as we memorize it.  It will give us a day in which we feel justified in God’s Sight.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that You have led me to believe that I have sinned in time, but not in eternity.  And it is only eternity that counts.  I have made mistakes in eternity, but I can ask for correction, and it is mine as soon as I make the request.  Help me to remedy any wrongs that I have perpetrated on my brothers and sisters.  And help me to forgive myself, as well as any wrongs that I have imaged that others have done to me.

Be with me today as I seek to avoid mistakes.  I know that I will always make mistakes that need correction, but I ask to be shown where I am wrong, and I ask to be shown how to make amends immediately.  May I discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit accurately today and every day.

Amen.

Heaven Is Restored to Me

ACIM Workbook Lesson 300 – for Thursday, October 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “Only an instant does this world endure.”

“We see Your holy world today.  For we, Your loving Sons, have lost our way a while.  But we have listened to Your Voice, and learned exactly what to do to be restored to Heaven and our true Identity.  And we give thanks today the world endures but for an instant.  We would go beyond that tiny instant to eternity.  (WB448)”

Reflections:

1 – How to Avoid Mistakes

We have listened to “Your Voice,” which is God’s Holy Spirit, or the Universal Inspiration (from the Text).  The more quickly we listen, when confronted with a decision point, the more likely we are to follow in God’s way.  We will not be as likely to make mistakes; indeed, making mistakes is impossible when we learn to discern the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

2 – How Does the Holy Spirit Prompt?

How does He prompt?  The most accessible to me is what I call my intuition.  Other ways are a “feeling” that I ought to do a certain thing, a thought that will not leave my mind about a way to proceed, an inner knowing of what God is pointing out for me to do.  Many find the Holy Spirit’s guidance in silence, when communing with God.  An inner knowing overcomes us, and we just recognize, without strain, the next step to take.

3 – This World Can Be Seen as Holy

This world is indeed holy when seen through the eyes of God.  We wander aimlessly about this world until we turn, once again, to God.  We may wander away many times in the course of a lifetime, but, not matter, as long as we ask forgiveness and seek the pathway again.  We would not wander aimlessly down many pathways, although the world offers many.  This would be meaningless, as well as a crucial delay on the road to salvation.  We do not need to follow all the pathways of this world, only to decide in the end that God’s pathway is best.  We can decide this right now, and it would behoove us to do so.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting consistently today.  May I not drop into defiance.  May I know that He always shows me the way that I would choose, if I had the knowledge that He does.  May I be flexible, even when my reason seems to be listening to the ego that I would disown.

Be with us today as we go about our business in this world.  May we see the world as holy, as You see it.  May this day be a glorious one.  And may I do what I can do to assist my brothers and sisters to see the holiness that You point out to me.

Thank You for always staying by my side.

Amen.

I Need Be Anxious over Nothing

ACIM Workbook Lesson 275 – for Sunday, October 2, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s healing Voice protects all things today.”

“Your healing Voice protects all things today, and so I leave all things to You.  I need be anxious over nothing.  For Your Voice will tell me what to do and where to go; to whom to speak and what to say to him, what thoughts to think, what words to give the world.  The safety that I bring is given me.  Father, Your Voice protects all things through me.  (WB434)”

Reflections:

1 – Follow the Holy Spirit Consistently

The “Voice” is the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration (a Text tenet).  We are, once again, bade to leave our minds to the Voice, and to follow His bidding.  We are not to take matters into our own hands.  If we get quiet and commune, pray, silently, to God, we will almost immediately get a sense of what to do or say in the next encounter–perhaps an encounter that we have been dreading.  We will feel an inner sense of assurance that we are not alone, that the encounter will go well because we have asked for help.  Let us not forget to ask for help all along the way today.

2 – Guide My Interactions with Others

We are even helped by what thoughts to think, for how would we know what to say to our brothers and sisters if we were not guided, ahead of time, by our thoughts about upcoming conversations?  And the guidance comes during the conversation as well.  We are never left to deal with any matter on our own.

3 – May My Ego-Consumed Will Not Interfere with God’s Will

Of course, our own will can intervene, and then we are likely to become quite stubborn, and forget that we never see the whole picture.  The Holy Spirit, the Voice, does see the whole pictures, and so His judgments about what to do or say, not to mention what to think, are true (a Manual tenet).  He knows what has happened in the past, is happening now, and will happen in the future; we do not have such prescience.  And so His judgments guide rightly.  (All of these paraphrases are from the Manual.)

4 – Safety Can Be Found

We will know safety, and so we not all want this in our very troubled world?  In this time of what seem to be escalating difficulties on earth, we need to know that we will be cared for.  We need very practical things by way of sustenance and shelter for our families.  Even if we fail to find these things, we have not been left, abandoned.  Some of the most spiritual people in our history have had very few material possessions.  Jesus himself was quite poor and dependent on the generosity of those who listened to his message.  But he did not worry.  He knew that, regardless of what happened, even unto the cross, he was cared for by the Father.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would follow the example of Jesus today, and be anxious over nothing.  I sometimes think that anxiety is my particular cross to bear in this life.  If I could finally let the anticipation of what others think leave me, then I think that the fear elicited by the ego would lose its punching power.  May I leave anxiety behind as I leave fear behind.  May I not care so much for anybody else thinks.  I need only follow guidance to leave both anxiety–my form of fear–as well as fear itself out in the cold.

Be with me today as I seek to please only You.  And You are in my corner, regardless of what mistakes I may make.  I would correct those mistakes as soon as they occur, and then I would walk more confidently along the path that You have set before me.

Amen.