Tag Archives: guilt

Gather the Harvest that Is Ours

“Everything you attract in your life is perfect because, in agreement with God, it is what you have created as your experience on Earth. . . .[W]e are remembering today:  to stop spreading guilt and to start gathering the harvest that is already yours. . . .”  Choose Only Love:  Let Yourself Be Loved (COL bk.2, 8:I)

We are living a perfect life.  Oh, I know it might not seem like that, but it is the truth—for everything that happens to us has been ordained by God for our lifting up into Christ-consciousness and salvific living.  Even if we are in pain, still this is true.  Even if we are suffering, still this is true.  If we wrap our minds and hearts around this idea, we will know a peace that has eluded us until now.  We will know that all is right in our little world.

A Course in Miracles says that it is not necessary to learn through pain, that learning through rewards is more lasting.  If we can believe this, we can alter the pain and suffering that we sometimes bring to ourselves.  Often our guilt is what has attracted the negativity, and guilt is a false witness to the love of God.  If we gather our harvest, we will know that there is no good reason for us to punish ourselves anymore.  We are blessed children, creations, of God, and it is time that we started believing that and living it accordingly.

Accept this truth of being into our being today.  Live with God in our minds and hearts, and He will do all the rest.  God needs only our cooperation to bring everything good into our lives.

Join Hands with Our Brothers

            In forgiving mistakes, in ourselves as well as others, we no longer need to feel that we must hold ourselves “above” another (more special than she).  We are all in this together.  As I forgive my brother of the illusory evil that he does, miraculously I find that I am more tolerant of my own mistakes.  Everything is not a matter of life and death, purest glory or blackest sin.  If I can overlook my brother’s misdeeds, forgiving them before I study them sufficiently to make them seem real to me, then I am well on the way to handling my own problems with the same benign feeling.  Judgment always reverts back to the one who judges.  That is the truth of “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” and the A Course in Miracles has given us the explanation of why this is true.

            The desire for specialness simply dissipates.  One wishes instead to be part of the great mass of humankind with a kind of mystical love that leaves one at peace.  The guilt engendered by the false pursuit of specialness and separateness from one’s brother dissipates as well.  On some level, we all intuit that holding oneself apart, with a little sense of superiority, is actually self-deception and evidence of a shabby self-perception, not an exalted one. (M-21.5:5) Walk with Jesus as together we seek to join hands with all of our brothers, enemies in specialness no more.

Give Up Blame!, by Ivor Sowton

Here’s a quote from Jesus in the 3rd Treatise of A Course of Love (ACOL). The context of this quote is that, having established that our only purpose here is to remember our true Selves, which will bring Heaven on earth, Jesus then tells us that to remember that true Self we first have to forget the false self:

The first think I ask you to forget is the need to find a place where blame can be placed. You who have been waiting to get to the “hard part” of this course of study may find it here. (10.3)

We’ll pick up with the rest of the quote in stages here, for (as usual!) each sentence bears great meaning for us. First let us note that we have been warned by the Master to expect resistance around this idea of renouncing blame. Knowing this, we can be more humble and open to the guidance that will see us through this great letting go.

How on earth, you might say, could it be such a big deal to let go of such a negative thing as placing blame? Let’s think here; if I’m depressed I am for sure (in my case, anyway!) blaming someone for it–someone else or myself. These are both very painful–for me–but they do let my ego stay separate from all those bad guys!

If I’m anxious I’m usually blaming myself. This also is very effective in making me feel separate and alone, with the ego as my only ally.

If I’m angry, well obviously it’s someone’s fault! Now I get to be both separated and vindicated by being right!
Hmm.

Some more of the quote:

The idea of blame is incongruous with the idea of a benevolent Creator and a benevolent Creation and as such is the only blasphemy. (10.3)

This chapter in the Third Treatise leads to the liberating idea that if we do what Jesus is suggesting here then everything that happens to us WILL be benevolent. Everything will be a lesson, and every lesson is a gift from our loving Father if we can but release this blaming reflex.

Now let’s get real. Do we really want unity in relationship–Heaven on earth? As who, though?! That’s the great ego fear, maintained by blame placing. Can I really dare give up my grievances? Who would I be then?! Would I even be an I? That’s the deep inquiry we’re being led into here.

Now, the ego really doesn’t care if we blame others or ourselves, for we get the same separation experience either way:

To blame yourself is just as senseless as blaming others and your inclination to place blame upon yourself must be given up. (Ibid.)

So, we can start to see that this IS a big undoing. To do it we have to watch our thoughts throughout the day with determined, loving attentiveness. I put in the loving part to get us out of the

” I should exercise but I don’t want to” syndrome. Jesus has so constantly reassured us of his completely constant love for us that maybe we are slowly coming to believe him on that. So now if he says it would be really good for us to forget blaming, we’re more inclined to trust that love and really try it out.

Taking away the idea of placing blame will change your thought processes beyond your wildest imagining…what you will find will come in the place of blame is an idea of acceptance of what is, an idea that is needed now. (10.4-6)

For to Jesus, what is is the eternal love of God? To live in that, always. Heaven on earth. As he says later, are you ready for that?!
So, having had our resistance predicted, we begin:

All you need do is catch yourself in the act of placing blame and say to yourself “I was placing blame again and I choose to do so no longer.” (10.4)

And then we heroically put our minds on something positive right away and we don’t let ourselves slip back into blame. Heavy lifting! You’ll see what I mean I’m pretty sure. Even looking at it from our very limited scientific perspective in terms of neural pathways, we have literally built our entire previous identity on fault-finding, establishing huge default connections–neural super highways– which have become completely automatic and almost completely effective at keeping us feeling separate from others–almost all of them, all the time!

So, yes, this is a big job. But this is the holiest of work, this forgetting of Illusion so the truth can dawn again upon our waking hearts. What makes it possible for us to undertake this practice sincerely and for the long haul?

For me, I need faith here, and a lot of it. God has given me enough proof of His Love for me to go on and follow through with this practice on faith. I think we will all find our own formula here, which will be the expression of our own True Self in us. As the Buddhists wisely say, we can call upon the Teacher, the teachings, and the company of truth-seekers at any time for help. We can all do that.

In a later ACOL chapter of the same name Jesus says all are chosen. That is, God loves us all, every last one of us, as misguided as we may be! So if we can relate to being chosen of God to be supremely happy all the time if we but can but remember that state, and if we can take Jesus at his word in saying we have to forget untruth first–well hey, bring it on!!
(This is) the thought system of Unity. It is your true thought system and will be easily remembered once you begin to let it automatically replace the old. (10.12)

The Release from Guilt by Guiltlessness

“The crucifixion had no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. (T-14.V.10)”

This quotation states categorically what I have explained earlier. Here Jesus says it himself: the crucifixion did not atone; the resurrection did. The resurrection was achieved by one (Jesus) who was guiltless, and in this act he symbolized for us what is the reality for us: We live in an eternity. We never die. We simply move from one dimension to another. We live in the Now, the present, with time an illusion that nevertheless allows us to experience life in this world.

This assertion flies in the face of traditional Christianity. But Jesus is not trying to be controversial. The idea of a God who required His only Son to die in order that we might live suggests egoic tendencies in our God. And that, according to A Course in Miracles, would be impossible, for the ego is mad, and God is sane. Our God, even of the New Testament, is a loving God, and how might he require of His perfect Son such a sacrifice?

I have long believed that Jesus saw in the sacrifice of small birds and animals in his day the germ of an idea that might draw all men and women to him. If a human being who had helped many, healed many, and was believed by many to be the Christ, were to die—would this not be a sacrifice to end all sacrifices? Would this not be what would draw all men, steeped in the ego, to him?

But what he actually did was put an end to the idea of death. He does not make clear what survived the cross. He notes that he died, but he doesn’t say that his resurrection was physical or ethereal. He leaves that to our discretion to decide. He allows us to see the truth as we need to see it.

Jesus is always practical in A Course in Miracles. If he delved into controversy, he would divide his students. And he has no wish to do that.

It is enough just to see that Jesus’s leadership of the Atonement was made certain by the resurrection, not the crucifixion. This will be enough for us to contemplate.

In Accepting Atonement, Give Up Guilt and Its Madness

“When you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, you will realize there is no guilt in God’s Son. (T-13.I.6)”

We give up guilt by accepting correction, by accepting the Atonement! So this gives us motivation indeed. We don’t realize yet that it is guilt that has driven us mad (though A Course in Miracles tells us this). We easily and willingly will give up guilt when we know that there is a better way to live. We think that we are not good enough, that we have made sinful mistakes that keep us from being justified. But our mistakes are imminently forgivable. Jesus tells us that our concept of a mistake as a sin is largely causing us all of our misperceptions.

We think that we are guilty of deep, dark wrongs that can, in truth, never be corrected. But this is not so.
We know that mistakes are correctable, even in our deluded world. At least some mistakes. And Jesus says that all mistakes are forgivable.

What more do we really need to know? Isn’t this motivation the real reason that we are intrigued with the concept of Atonement?

Atonement Cures the Sick by Taking Away the Guilt

“Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed. (WB-140)”

Atonement takes away guilt, and A Course in Miracles indicates that it is our guilt that causes our sicknesses. This does not mean that if we get rid of all the guilt, we will necessarily be healed of all afflictions; this would be magical thinking. Some illnesses persist, and we need not blame our sicknesses on our “failure” to achieve a guilt-free existence. That would be very close to blaming the victim, which is an inaccurate way of reading ACIM.

When we take away the guilt, though, we are less likely to experience new sicknesses. And what we have may decline and eventually disappear. This will seem a miracle, and indeed it is. Jesus speaks in an ideal mode when making these assertions; we are very fallible, and we may not be able to rise to his ideal.

The cure comes when we do get rid of the guilt. Our minds are cured, and that is cure indeed. Physical symptoms may persist; indeed, may never go away. But with a healed mind, we can deal with anything. Our way is clear; we live successfully even in the face of debilitations and handicaps.

When Not at Peace. . .

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. (T90)”

This passage starts a sequence of helps to return us to a peaceful state of mind. A Course in Miracles says elsewhere that the first obstacle that peace must flow across is our desire to get rid of it. How true, if we stop to think! We are so used to drama and turmoil that we think that we are depressed when we get calm for a change. Yet calm and quiet are where we are headed (ACIM tenets).

I have a friend who questioned this “perfectly calm and quiet all the time.” I know from our long friendship that she is especially prone to drama, and she was letting me know that she liked it like that! Yes, but a little farther along her pathway, and she may change her mind. I certainly hope so.

This passage bears repeating as 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.

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.

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 ACIM 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.

“I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. (T90”

This puts us back in the hot seat as the decision maker, which we always are. We make the decisions about what reality we will encounter, though not in a simplistic fashion, for the dictum, “We create our own reality” has been much misunderstood. Taken in its worst light, this means that we see ourselves as victims, and we blame ourselves for the wrongs in our life that happen. It is not quite like that.

Our Higher Self makes many of the decisions about what we will experience, and the Higher Self sees a much broader view.

It is also cautionary not to blame another as a victim. We can’t see what their Higher Selves have in mind. What others are going through is not a conscious choice of the lower mind.

“I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. (T90)”

This moves us into deciding that we want to change our minds, because we want peace. We are being gently led down a pathway to greater peace. Jesus recognizes that our ego will offer some resistance.

“I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. (T90)”

Do not feel guilty! You will be OK. Guilt is not the same as remorse. If we have erred, it is natural to feel some remorse. But we do not wallow in it, and all too often we wallow in guilt. This is insanity.

The Holy Spirit will undo the wrong. Don’t interfere. Let Him.

“I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me. (T90)”

We always choose God when we choose aright. We always feel better after we have chosen for God. And the way home is several steps closer by our so choosing.

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.

Never Feel Guilty!

“If you allow yourself to become guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you. (T90)”

1 – Reinforcing the Error

This passage emphasizes an important psychological truth, but one that we may never have heard before reading the A Course in Miracles. The passage also contains some ACIM teaching that would preclude full understanding without our reading.

2 – Ego

One of the greatest problems that we face when engulfed by the ego is the problem of guilt. We think that we have done horrendous things, and maybe we have, but only in illusion and only as mistakes–not sins. Mistakes cry out for resolution, for remedying. They do not have the attraction that a deed named a “sin” seems to have for our frail psyches.

3 – Holy Spirit

If we choose to eliminate guilt, we will help the error to be undone as well. But “we” do not undo the error; that is the providence of the Holy Spirit. He works in cooperation with our willingness to leave guilt behind. And, with guilt behind, the error is easily overlooked. We choose not to repeat the error as soon as we label it thusly–an error, or mistake, not a sin.

4 – Be Firm with Yourself

“Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. (T90)”

5 – Forgiveness

We need to forgive ourselves. This way we avoid the guilt that threatens to engulf us, even over minor matters (because we don’t perceive those matters as minor). A Course in Miracles says that guilt has made us mad (insane). And an important point: God does not forgive us, because He has never condemned us. One does not forgive unless he has first condemned. That is why it is so important for us to forgive our brothers and sisters. We have condemned, sometimes even unconsciously, and we need to rectify this mistake.

6 – Would I Fail to Forgive Myself for This?

But the most important aspect is that we have had trouble forgiving ourselves, and if we can’t forgive ourselves, we can’t forgive others. It is just that simple. So our prayer should always be, when faced with an attack from another, “Would I fail to forgive myself for this?” Often the answer will be “no,” and we need to alter that choice to something better—complete absolution through forgiveness.

7 – Atonement

Atonement is mentioned again in this passage. Many of us have a problem with the term Atonement, but it is mainly described in ACIM as an “undoing.” We let our errors be undone by the Holy Spirit, and thus we approach Atonement. We are absolved of error, for we have turned our misthoughts and misdeeds over to the only One who can correct them: the Holy Spirit. And He is always quick to change what has hurt us. He means us well, unlike the ego, which never means us well.

8 – Finding Peace

“Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:

“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)”

The above passage is a good one to read and reread when in the throes of our neurosis. The Holy Spirit will act to relieve us of our neuroses, just as Jesus has promised to so act as well. Jesus will stabilize us, and he will heal us. The Holy Spirit, being a part of the Holy Trinity, but an Idea, will move to do the same. All that is asked of us is that we surrender to His will for us. We will never regret that surrender.

9 – Unequivocal Call

The Holy Spirit does not impose Himself on us, but He acts at our slightest invitation. This is similar to Jesus’s promise to come at a single “unequivocal call.” We need the Holy Spirit at the point in our progress. Later on, approaching Awakening, we will turn to our inner Christ Self to change us for the better.

10 – Peace that Passeth Understanding

We are at peace when we have allowed the Holy Spirit to have His way with us. That peace is akin to the peace that passeth understanding, from the Bible.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

If I make mistakes, I will feel guilty when I come to myself. This feeling of guilt can be undone when we seek to be forgiven, of ourselves and of the other person whom we feel we have wronged. May I find that forgiveness now, and leave guilt behind.

Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit when I am tempted to make mistakes that will induce guilt. Thank you for being there for me.

May this be a good day. I am so thankful for the new turns in my life. Blessings seem to be reigning down upon me, and it behooves me to be grateful for these blessings. You are the Source of blessings. And I can so choose to recognize how to react non-neurotically in my daily life. This much I can do, though I cannot do it all. Be with me as I seek to make the best decisions as I go about my day. May my decisions always be informed by guidance. And may I fail to be resistant to that guidance.

Thank You.

Amen.

Praying for Others Lifts Projections of Guilt

water-lilies - monet

“Praying for others, if rightly understood, becomes a means for lifting your projections of guilt from your brother, and enabling you to recognize it is not he who is hurting you. (S-1.III.1)”

When we pray for our brothers and sisters, we are enabled to feel more positively toward them. We begin to feel compassion much more readily, and, if all goes well, we recognize that others deserve the forgiveness that we try to offer.

2 – Projecting Guilt

This passage indicates that what we are doing when we fail to forgive is to project guilt upon our brother. The reason for this projection is that we never hold anything against our brother that we do not first think we ourselves are guilty of (from the ACIM Text). We first denounce and reject ourselves, and then we project that denunciation upon our brother, who is actually as innocent as are we. We ourselves, though, while we can see ourselves as innocent (and normally do see ourselves as innocent), do not automatically, without some guidance from the Holy Spirit or the Self, see our brothers and sisters as innocent. On the contrary, we are wont to blame them for all manner of our troubles. This is projection from our own inner personal self (or “little” self) to others. And it is insane.

3 – Hurt Ourselves?

Our brother is not really hurting us. We are hurting ourselves. Our brother has done nothing to hurt our Self, though he may verbally or physically abuse our minds/bodies. Our Self remains above the fray.

4 – Special to Holy Relationships

We always hurt ourselves by this dynamic of projecting guilt onto our brothers and sisters. We would not have it so. And we must not have it so if we are to see our special relationships turn to holy. Turning to holy relationships prepares us for the Awakening.

5 – Praying in Error

“It is not easy to realize that prayers for things, for status, for human love, for external ‘gifts’ of any kind, are always made to set up jailers and to hide from guilt. These things are used for goals that substitute for God, and therefore distort the purpose of prayer. (S-1.III.6)”

This can be a difficult passage. When we pray for tangible goods, we often mislead our inner personal selves, our little selves. Our Self is not mislead, but this inner Self can become inaccessible to us in our rapaciousness to gather the physical to ourselves.

6 – Intangibles

We need to focus on the intangibles. We need to rise above a constant desire for more material goods, because this is an endless road. We will get one “toy,” only to want another, and then another. There is no end to the desire of the ego for material things.

7 – God as Our Friend

It is hard to realize sometimes that having God as our Friend will ensure that we stay on the right pathway, the pathway to complete and total happiness—even in the absence of material goods. We know that God also wants our material needs satisfied; He is not blind to our creature comforts. But the communion of our spirit with God is the greatest blessing that human beings have on this earth. And this communion, in prayer, assures that more and more good will flow to us. It is an example of the law of attraction, like attracts like. Our desires are in the right place, and God answer us, therefore.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me today to life guilt from my significant others. May I realize that I am always blaming myself when I see guilt in others; it is my own presumed guilt that I see.

Be with me today as I seek to get my projections ended. I would not push onto others my own sense of guilt. And my own sense of guilt is misplaced. To know this is such a blessing!

Help me to have a good day. I haven’t asked for this recently, but this day promises some stress, and I would not buy into that emotion. Help me to offer gratitude to You for the day that has been given. And may I reap the reward of another day in this world, the intangible rewards of communion with You while still on earth.

Amen.

Guilt and Shame

monet - bridge reflections“Those things about which you feel guilt and shame are simply the remnants of lessons unlearned.  While you hang on to them by keeping them hidden, no learning occurs.  (A Course of Love, 31.19)”

Affirmation:  “May I be aware of my guilt/shame today.”

Reflections:

1 – We Do Not Admit

Many of us on the spiritual path do not want to admit to our guilt and shame, but we need to take a look at all parts of ourselves if we are to be awakened.  Guilt and shame may be exactly what is causing us to stay on this side of awakening.  There aer two parts in this lesson, and each mean something a little different.

2 – Regrets

Guilt is a proactive emotion, and is often the result of something that we have said or done that we regret.  The answer is to ask for forgiveness, and to remember that in this we need to ask ourselves for our own forgiveness.  God does not forgive, we are told in A Course in Miracles, because He has never condemned.  He wants only our good, and He fully understands our frailties.

3 – Shame Different from Guilt

Shame is a little different from guilt.  We may be ashamed when there is no need, in which case we have a kind of false shame.  There are always mitigating circumstances, and sometimes our minds are not rational.  We may do or say things that we later look back  upon with shame, but we had diminished responsibility, for which we need to give ourselves some latitude.  Of course, sometimes we do things that are shameful and for which there are no mitigating circumstances.  Then we need to address the guilt that in all likelihood attends the feeling of shame.

4 – Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the touchstone of A Course in Miracles.  And there is no better way to put guilt and shame behind us.  Make amends if necessary, and know that God Himself does not hold anything against our fundamental innocence.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that, rationally, there is nothing to feel guilty and shame about.  That does not mean that I have eliminated all error, but just that forgiveness is mine whenever I ask for it.  Of course, this means that I must listen to You and not repeat the mistake.  To repeat the mistake and repeatedly ask for forgiveness is a misjudgment, in my opinion.

Thank You for the fact that guilt and shame came to the forefront today.  I needed to hear this lesson.  We often say or do things that we regret.  None of us is perfect.  And today I am particularly prone to noticing my imperfection.

Be with me as I seek to reestablish a good self-image, even though that is a persona that is not the real I.  I would soon be done with personae, and rise to my Self.  A Course of Love will show be how.  Thank You for that channeled work.

Amen.

Avoid Assuming Guilt and Misery

“Now you look for one upon whom you can unload your burdens, hoping you can pass your grievances en mass to someone else.  If you succeed through anger, spite, or meanness, you simply take on guilt and withdraw still further into your own misery.  (A Course of Love, 7.12)”

Affirmation:  “May I avoid misery today.”

Reflections:

1 – Unloading Burdens

Sometimes others unload their burdens on us.  This is what happened to me two days ago.  And I could not take it.  I became even more stressed than I already was, from a stressful day.

2 – A Recollection

May I not make this mistake.  I know that for years I did unload my burdens over breakfast, which we enjoyed at a diner.  But that was a mistake, and I know better now.  A Course of Love tells me so.

3 – Turn Inward

So how do we handle burdens?  We turn inward, to the Christ within.  We know that God is within as well, the All, the One of which we are a part.

4 – Sometimes Share Your Problems

This does not mean that we can never share our problems with other people.  This would be taking the passage for today out of context from A Course of Love.  We are in relationship to all others, and it is good that we share.  But not to blame, and not through ill will.  We need to recognize that these negative emotions are not worthy of a child of God.  And such we are.

5 – Alternatives to Dumping on Another

So, share if we must–but not in misery and not in ill will.  If we feel badly, it would be wiser to settle down and read inspirational literature, meditate, or pray.  These are not new ideas, and we know that these ideas work.  All of us know this, for we have followed religious ideas for a long time now.  May we turn aside from the ego.  May we just turn aside from stresses.  We live in a sometimes difficult world, but this world does not have to be difficult when we attract the best to ourselves, and our gratitude for a good life is paramount.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As my life lengthens, I become ever more conscious of the need to surrender anew to You each day.  When I do this, my day goes smoothly.  And that is because I feel Your partnership.  It is not because the day is any less stressful.  The things that troubled me before just do not have the power to touch me now.

Be with me on this day.  May I reach out to others to lessen their burdens.  May we join together in trusting the universe to care for us.  You are with us constantly; You are in us.  May this knowledge keep us in the faith today.

Amen.

How to Stop a Bad Day

“An unreturned phone call, a bit of traffic, a harsh word spoken, an unremembered errand–all can be resentments you hold to yourself and refuse to let go.  By the time you begin your day you may hold several of these in your mind, and there you build them into reasons for even further withholding.  Now you have an excuse–or several excuses–for a bad day.  Why should you give anything to anyone when your day has already treated you so badly?  You withhold even a smile, because you have chosen grievances over love.  (A Course of Love, 7.11)”

Affirmation:  “May I have a good day today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

We know when our day has gotten off to a bad start.  Last night I had had stress in the day, and then I got home and found more stress, for stress had impacted my home life as well, in my absence.  I needed just to get quiet.  But I allowed my ego to take over my life momentarily, and I did not act well, the way that I know is best.

2 – Stress

This morning I awoke with a fresh start.  At first I did not even remember what had happened last night that was bad.  But, regrettably, I searched my memory until I did remember the stress of the previous evening.  Bad mistake!  This was enough to start the day off badly.  A day that I was about to rue.

3 – Begin the Day Again

But now I have settled down to write about A Course of Love, and, lest I feel like a hypocrite, I must put aside the stress and, yes, the grievances, that arose last night, and, to a lesser extent, this morning.  I must begin the day again, as Jesus encourages us to do in A Course in Miracles.  I do not like the way that I am feeling, and so I will start afresh.  And then, as promised, all will be well.

4 – Guilt

Why would any of us cling to a bad day, except out of guilt, a form of madness?  There is no other reason.  Thinking of reasons to be unhappy does not turn around unhappiness, nor does it ensure that we will make amends for our poor thoughts and behavior.

5 – Start Over

The only way to get around a bad day is to start over, a feat that can happen at any time.  And Jesus has recommended this practice in ACIM.  Surely the same technique will work, now that we are considering A Course of Love.

6 – A Good Day without Guilt

Be quiet.  Be tranquil.  Pray.  Even meditate, if this helps.  The only thing standing between us and a good day is our sense of guilt.  And we are not perfect, nor, we find later on in A Course of Love, is perfection required of us.  We are human and divine; let us look to the divine within to solve our dilemmas.  And then just let the grievances drop away.  Forgiveness of ourselves and others was our function in A Course in Miracles.  Let us return to those statements, and live a better day from now on out.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

If I begin each morning with the affirmation, spoken to You, “I turn myself over to You,” then I am well prepared for anything that might happen, anything that might seem to give me a bad day.  Even the so-called “bad” things do not faze me as they would if I had not said to You, “I belong to You.”

We have plenty of helpers on the Other Side, and plenty of helpers in this world, as well.  Try to keep a good mood going, and the day will seem much, much better.  How to keep a good mood going?  I need to lighten up before You.  And then I know that You will handle everything else.

Amen.

A Mistake Is Not a Sin

“You but mistake interpretation for the truth.  And you are wrong.  But a mistake is not a sin, nor has reality been taken from its throne by your mistakes.  God reigns forever, and His laws alone prevail upon you and upon the world.  His Love remains the only thing there is.  Fear is illusion, for you are like Him.  (M-18.3)”

Affirmation:  “Love is the only thing there is.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Condemn Yourself

This is a reassuring passage, one that leads us to understand that God truly is Love, and that we have only made mistakes–nothing to condemn ourselves.

2 – When Afraid

When we are afraid, when fear has moved into our conscious minds, we need a remedy, and we need it now, not later.  The best remedy is to fill our minds with these reassurances that Jesus gives to us in A Course in Miracles.  The fear may make our heart beat rapidly, pounding in our chest, but we can still say to ourselves, “This is illusion.  I have no reason to fear.”

3 – Moving Away from the Abyss of Fear

And then we can distract ourselves from the abyss of fear in which we have fallen.  A Course in Miracles does not give specific practices, beyond affirmations in the Workbook, that can be called upon.  But most of us know that prayer, communion with God, helps tremendously.  And communion with God is emphasized in the opening pages of the Text.  We can also do something as mundane as listen to quiet, soothing music–praying as we listen.  We can talk to a significant other, if we have not called upon him or her so often that we have worn out our welcome.  And, of course, when fear comes, it is frequently in the middle of the night, when we do not want to awaken anyone.  Writing in a journal can help.  Some have found meditative yoga to be helpful.  I have found it useful to pray aloud, away from others in a quiet room.  Praying aloud seems to keep me on track.  If one is agitated, the best thing that we can do is simply to rest in that agitation, watching it subside gradually.  We will actually all get the amount of sleep that we need.  We need not fear insomnia, thereby making it worse.

4 – Is It Guilt?

If guilt is a major reason for our fear, then we can pray for forgiveness.  Remember that God does not forgive, because He has never condemned (an ACIM tenet).  But we need to forgive ourselves, and this we can do.  The ego may object, but then the ego does not wish us well.  We need to be gentle with ourselves; we need to wish ourselves well.

5 – Sin vs. Mistakes

Remember that the concept of “sin” and the concept of “mistakes” are very different.  Sin has an attracting nature, one that would have us repeat the same thought or action.  Mistakes, on the other hand, simply call for correction, something that we can do when our motivation is strong.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be fearful today.  There is no reason that the daily activities need to make us afraid.  We can get excited, but better not to get fearful.  

You know that our emotions are often vacillating.  We feel one way one moment, and something entirely different just a moment away.  I would stop this merry-go-round of fear in its tracks by denying the ego its field day with my mind.

May You help me to turn to You repeatedly, anytime that the ego threatens to engulf me with fear.  Thank You.

Amen.

Forsake Anger / Guilt Forgiven = Overlooked Completely

“And now is guilt forgiven, overlooked completely in His sight and in God’s Word.

“Anger but screeches, ‘Guilt is real!’ Reality is blotted out as this insane belief is taken as replacement for God’s Word.  (M-18.2 – M-18.3)”

Affirmation:  “guilt forgiven”

Reflections:

1 – Varying Definitions of the Ego

Anger is empowered by the ego when it screeches at us, “Guilt is real!”  This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles which differs from traditional Christianity.  But then the ego was not known about, in the sense that we know about it now.  Freud changed all that, though Freud’s definition of the ego is not the same as that of Jesus.  Freud thought that we all needed a strong ego to mediate between the superego and the id.  Jesus’s definition of the ego as a part of our belief about ourselves, but not a necessary thing to secure a central place in our psyche.  Jesus would have the ego wither away (though he does not use the term “wither”).

2 – The Ego Becomes Strong in Strife

We cannot let the ego wither by trying to overcome it with drastic measures.  We cannot launch a frontal assault.  The ego becomes strong in strife (a Text tenet).  That is why anger is so real when the ego is in the ascendancy.

3 – Jesus Corrects Errors that Are Beyond Us

But we have only made correctable mistakes.  And Jesus stands at the end to correct all errors that we ourselves cannot correct (an ACIM tenet).  This suggests that he is our friend, as traditional Christianity tells us.  He is always there for us, taking our hand, if we wish to so imagine.  He says that this is no “idle fantasy” (a quotation from ACIM).

4 – Mistakes / Not Sins

Because our mistakes are correctable, they are not “sins,” which would seem to be forever uncorrectable without a sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross.  And Jesus in A Course in Miracles asks us to look beyond the cross to the resurrection.  He says that we make a mistake when we “cling to the old rugged cross.”

5 – Theology May Delay Us

These ideas are definitely a step beyond the New Testament, and Christianity as taught in most of our churches.  If we are not yet ready to entertain these concepts, do cling to the practical nature of A Course in Miracles.  Theology will only delay us, and we do not need to be controversial.

6 – Guilt Recedes when Anger Recedes

See if the idea of guilt does not recede when anger recedes.  That is really all that we need to test.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would let the ego wither; I would not accentuate the ego through anger, for the ego is strong in strife.  I would feel no strike today.  And that becomes easy when I am having a good day.  Thank You for this good day today.  And may the same occur tomorrow.  We need Your help to be happy, for many of us have not always thought that happiness is a laudable goal.  But it is one of our functions, along with salvation and forgiveness, and I believe that when we reach for salvation and forgiveness, we find ourselves, unaccountably, happy.  We grow from the days spent in pain, but we do not have to learn through pain, as Jesus says in A Course in Miracles.  We can learn through rewards, which give us a lasting learning experience.

Be with me as the day closes.  And help me to remember to express gratitude to You tomorrow morning, first thing, for another day in which to enjoy this world.  We are not meant to yearn only for a hereafter.  We are meant to be happy with this world as well, and the Holy Spirit will see that we have happy dreams in this illusory world.  Healing may occur for us, emotional and/or physical, and we would do well to remember that we are making the illusion that we live in.

Amen.

Guilt, Sickness, Pain, Disaster, Suffering: Begone!

“The final outcome of this lesson [i.e., the insignificance of the body] is the remembrance of God.  What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now?  Having no purpose, they are gone.  (M-5.II.4)”

Affirmation:  “My body is actually insignificant.”

Reflections:

1- The Ego’s View

A Course in Miracles notes that we all too often want things of the world that glorify the body.  These usually, though not always, are material things.  They may also be intangible, such as our bent toward wanting success in this world.  But do these things–beauty of the body, prestige, comfort, success–really mean anything to our Self, the part of us that is not a body at all?

2 – Negative Experiences

I think not.  We are inescapably in a body for the duration of our time on earth, although out-of-body experiences are sometimes reported.  When we put the body first in all things, we also invite negative experiences–the guilt, sickness, pain, disaster, suffering that are mentioned in the above passage from ACIM.

3 – Body = Communication

ACIM does not deny that the body exists, but ACIM does reconsider what it is best used for, and that greater reason is for communication from one individual to another.

4 – Jealousy

If we use the body for communication, we will not want to use it to create jealousy in others.  We will be benign in our use of the body, hurting nobody, including ourselves.  This is the real reason for physical expression at all.

5 – A Love/Hate Relationship

Most of us already have a love-hate relationship with our bodies.  We criticize their appearance, even when we are beautiful or handsome.  We are never satisfied.  Is not this primary evidence that the ego is in the ascendancy?  And would we have that?  Have not we come far enough along on the pathway to know that the ego will only wish disaster upon us?

6 – Health

Let us thank God for the health that we do enjoy, even when that health is impaired.  To the extent that we can still communicate with others, in some way, our bodies are important to our experience in this world.  And nothing more.  The body then becomes deemphasized in our own experience, and we look to the intangibles of God–the love, joy, peace, tranquility, strength–that are our birthright as children of God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would understand today that my body is my means of communication with my brothers and sisters.  I would not use it as a means to incite jealousy.  I would be gentle as I go about the world, realizing that my body is mine, but that there is more to me.  The body itself is illusion.

Thank You for these insights, which come from A Course in Miracles.  Thank You for the channeling of so wonderful a communication from Jesus to us.  May all find A Course in Miracles who are ready to appreciate what these books say.

Amen.

Release from Guilt = Release from Sickness

“Herein [he who has looked on the world and seen it as it is not] is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one.  Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

“With this idea is pain forever gone.  (M-5.II. 3-4)”

Affirmation:  “release from guilt and sickness”

Reflections:

1 – Guilt and Sickness

A very instructive passage from A Course in Miracles.  We may never have realized, heretofore, that guilt and sickness are one, and that when we are rid of the guilt, we will not know sickness.  Perhaps this seems too hard, for who can rid themselves of all guilt for all the mistakes that are recognized in a life?

2 – Turn Guilt over to the Holy Spirit

It can be done, and we do not have to be psychopaths or sociopaths to rid ourselves of guilt.  This, once again, is something that we turn over to the Holy Spirit.  He know that when we have expressed a desire for forgiveness, then we are in a position to be rid of the guilt that our misdeed or errant thought has caused in us.  It seems so little, just to ask forgiveness.  Our egoic mind cries out for punishment, even though on a conscious level we do not actually invite punishment.  When we are insane in the sense that ACIM means, we do ask to hold onto the guilt, and therefore receive the punishment.  If we can recognize that this is madness, we will be more ready to accept God’s glorious Answer, given us internally by the Holy Spirit.

3 – Sensitive Consciences

Those of us with particularly sensitive consciences will suffer the most, and, paradoxically, we can receive even more than perhaps another who does not suffer as we do.  We are still equal to each other, though.  We are not equal in time, but in eternity, and eternity is all there is; there is no time, which is an illusion.

4 – Removal of Guilt

May we pray today for forgiveness, for a removal of the guilt that clouds the minds that Jesus interprets so kindly.  He loves us, we are told in ACIM.  He holds nothing against us.  May we not hinder his love and kindness by refusing ourselves the forgiveness that we need to render unto ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be aware today that when I have recognized that forgiveness is mine, any guilt that I might feel over something I said or did will dissipate.  Thank You.  The fact that sickness may also subside is another blessing bestowed by the removal of guilt from my mind.  Thank You again.

Be with me today as I live a healthy life, unimpeded by guilt.  May I ask for forgiveness of my brothers and sisters, as well as of myself, and may I realize that You do not need to forgive me, because You have never condemned me.  What joy this should bring to me!

Thank You for this good day.  May my evening be peaceful and my joy, under You guidance, be complete.

Amen.

Guilt Reinforces the Error

“If you allow yourself to become guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you.  (T90)”

Affirmation:  “If. . .feel guilty. . .allow it to be undone”

Reflections:

1 – Psychology in ACIM

This passage emphasizes an important psychological truth, but one that we may never have heard before reading the Course.  The passage also contains some Course teaching that would preclude full understanding without our reading ACIM itself.

2 – Guilt

One of the greatest problems that we face when engulfed by the ego is the problem of guilt.  We think that we have done horrendous things, and maybe we have, but only in illusion and only as mistakes–not sins.  Mistakes cry out for resolution, for remedying.  They do not have the attraction that a deed named a “sin” seems to have for our frail psyches.  Sins remain attractive, but mistakes call out for simple correction.  We probably do not realize the extent to which the ego depends on our sense of guilt when we believe that we have “sinned.”  Elsewhere we learn that guilt is hell.  And so we are getting into territory with this theology from ACIM that will be very, very threatening to us when we are identified with the ego.

3 – Error Undone

If we choose to eliminate guilt, we will help the error to be undone as well.  But “we” do not undo the error; that is the providence of the Holy Spirit.  He works in cooperation with our willingness to leave guilt behind.  And, with guilt behind, the error is easily overlooked.  We choose not to repeat the error as soon as we label it thusly–an error, or mistake, not a sin.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

If I make mistakes, I will feel guilty when I come to myself.  This feeling of guilt can be undone when we seek to be forgiven, of ourselves and of the other person whom we feel we have wronged.  May I find that forgiveness now, and leave guilt behind.

Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit when I am tempted to make mistakes that will induce guilt.  Thank you for being there for me.

Amen.

Self-Accusing Shrieks

“Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the delusions of the world. . . .It does not heed the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt.  It looks on them with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, ‘My brother, what you think is not the truth.'”  (WB249).

 

Affirmation:  “I would forgive today.”

Reflections:

1 – Guilt

Guilt is a great bugaboo in our world:  “the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt.”  Guilt makes hell for ourselves.  It is only through our forgiveness of others as well as ourselves that we emerge from this self-made hell.

2 – Personal Experience

Sometimes others in our circle try to make us feel guilty.  In my family, this happened to my mother from another relative.  I thought that it was my mother’s hang-up, until this relative did the same thing to me!  Then I realized how prone I too was to guilt that others attempt to inflict upon ourselves.  I do not still have the answer, but I do believe that if you do the best you can and remain kind to another in need (for this dynamic always comes with need), then we are less prone to feel guilty about our exchanges with others.

3 – Really Nothing to Forgive

Eventually we see that not even forgiveness is needed, because there is nothing to forgive in illusions.  We have not actually been harmed in any real way, because the real way is only the way of love.  Notice that “quiet eyes” are needed to perceive the truth.  Forgiveness looks with quiet eyes.

4 – Stay Calm

We must stay calm in this world.  As I have mentioned before in this blog, I do not get angry unless I am stressed.  The same might be said for feeling guilt.  A serene attitude, being right with God, holds many answers for us.

5 – Beautiful Words in ACIM

This passage is filled with vivid images.  Vivid images are a hallmark of the Course.  The words are terrifying, but strangely beautiful, and we do well to heed them.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not act badly today, and thus invite guilt.  I would forgive, in myself and others, any previous “bad” behavior, and by this I mean verbally attacking behavior.  Thank You for reminding us that we need to forgive, and that this is our way–forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in this world.

Help me to stay calm on this day.  When I am not stressed, You know that I behave better.  May all of us who have moments of pique turn those moments over to our Guide to resolve for us–immediately.

Thank You.

Amen.

Self-Accusing Shrieks of Sinners Mad with Guilt

“Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the delusions of the world. . . .It does not heed the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt.  It looks on them with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, ‘My brother, what you think is not the truth.'”  (WB249).

Affirmation:  “I look out on the world with quiet eyes.”

Reflections:

1 – Guilt

Guilt is a great bugaboo in our world:  “the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt.”  Guilt makes hell for ourselves.  It is only through our forgiveness of others as well as ourselves that we emerge from this self-made hell.  Guilt is even said in ACIM to “be” hell.  We probably do not fully understand this, but probably can relate to the idea, also in ACIM, that our way to salvation is forgiveness.  And we inevitably feel guilty when we have not forgiven.

2 – The Place for Forgiveness

Eventually we see that not even forgiveness is needed, because there is nothing to forgive in illusions.  We have not actually been harmed in any real way, because the real way is only the way of love.  Notice that “quiet eyes” are needed to perceive the truth.  Forgiveness looks with quiet eyes.  Our wrongful deeds toward another have always been a call for help, and when we receive attack from others, we can therefore recognize that this time they are asking for help.  If we perceive all that happens as either an expression of love or a call for love,  we will be well on our way home.  I have never found in ACIM this exact quotation, though many commentators on ACIM use it.  Certainly the sentiment is implied in A Course in Miracles.

3 – ACIM’s Language

This passage is filled with vivid images.  Vivid images are a hallmark of the Course.  The words are terrifying, but strangely beautiful, and we do well to heed them.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would look out on the world with quiet eyes today.  I would not live in hell out of a sense of guilt.  I would forgive when I have held offenses in mind; I would know that illusions are not part of the real world, and it is in the real world that I would live today.

I would not overreact to terrifying images.  Hell only seems terrible.  In truth it cannot touch me as long as I keep my eyes on You.  Only when I fall away from following my Guide do I make mistakes that lead me to feel guilty.  I would avoid those mistakes, with their attendant guilt, today.

Amen.

My True Identity Abides in You

ACIM Workbook Lesson 283 – for Monday, October 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “My true Identity abides in You.”

“Father, I made an image of myself, and it is this I call the Son of God.  Yet is creation as it always was, for Your creation is unchangeable.  Let me not worship idols.  I am he my Father loves.  My holiness remains the light of Heaven and the Love of God.  Is not what is beloved of You secure?  Is not the light of Heaven infinite?  Is not Your Son my true Identity, when You created everything that is?  (WB439)”

Reflections:

1 – We Make Personas

We all, in our egoic state, make personas, and then we live out what we are trying to present to the world.  This is an egoic image, and images cannot talk.  We find that others see through our personas, straight to our hearts, though they do not frequently see the love that actually resides there.  They think, sometimes, that they are seeing something that deserves rejection.  But nothing deserve rejection.  If we are prone to attack or anger, we are actually making calls for help, an an ACIM student/teacher, in his/her better moments, will recognize this.  We are acting at such time out of an ego that needs to wither away.

2 – We Are the Light of Heaven

We are the light of Heaven, though we do not often believe this.  It is not arrogance to so believe, because we are talking about the Self that is Christ, the Self as God created us.  But it is up to us to save the world, though not through overbearing means.  Not everybody is ready for our message, and many will actively discount it, believing that what we say is of the “devil.”  But there is no devil; there is only an ego that projects a devil.  This is part of the theology of ACIM.

3 – Hell Is Guilt

Even hell is not real, according to ACIM.  Hell is guilt that we experience right here on earth.  Of course, we can make images that appear to be hell, but that does not make them real.  Jesus asks if the number of pitchforks a devil carries make us believe in him/her more readily (a paraphrase from ACIM)?  Certainly not.  We either believe or not, but the extent of the delusion matters not.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live today the real person that I am, the Self that You created.  May I not remain mired in an image of myself that is not true.  May I not wear a mask before the world.  Let me show my real Self, the Daughter of You, as You would have me do.

May today be good in all respects.  May I remain patient in trials, if they come, and may I realize that trials are but a chance to make a new choice, a better choice than something that I once chose before.  Be with me as I seek to live the Self whom You would have me be.

Amen.