Tag Archives: happiness

Turn to More Awareness by Giving Up Fear & Judgment

“Judgment is a turning away from consciousness out of fear.  Thus you are urged again and again not to judge.”  COL bk.2, 19:II

Judging makes us unhappy, too.  As a fearful reaction, it is nothing to be desired. 

The New Testament was very clear about a non-judgmental attitude.  Now we see the same in Choose Only Love.  And the same in A Course of Love, where both fear and judgments were prohibited if we were to make progress toward Christ-consciousness.

We need full consciousness in our lives, and we cannot have this blessing if we have restricted our thinking and our feeling out of fear.  Fear contracts the soul, and who would have that?

We often have to evaluate things in our lives, but evaluation is not the same as judgment.  Judgment has a denunciatory aspect that evaluation does not.  When we denounce another, we suffer in our attitude.

Keep our mind clear today of judgment. 

We will know a release in daily life that has been denied us previously.

Knowing Heaven

“[I]f you knew the Heaven that awaits you here and now you would cry of happiness.”  COL bk.2, 16::II

Here we are considering a series of quotations attributed to Mary, mother of Jesus.  She constantly reminds us of joys that we could know, if we weren’t so obtuse.  We can even know Heaven, she says here, and she adds, we can know Heaven “here and now.”

What a glorious promise!  We would be happy beyond compare if our world were to open up into an experience of Heaven.  And this can come true, regardless of outer circumstances.  Of course, it takes some mental adjustment on our part.  We need to turn inward, not outward, because within is where the treasures are. 

We turn inward not in a self-centered way, but in a way that opens up God’s treasure house for our enjoyment.  We touch God when we clear our mind, open our heart, and listen to the gentle, quiet promptings from inside.  Then Heaven really does begin to appear outwardly, too, for we are projecting our vision from the inside, making for the perception of a better world.

A Course in Miracles tells us that projection makes perception.  And it is this truth that allows us to see how Mary’s promise can come true in our lives—even when things seem darkest.  We are not fooling ourselves when we see a better world.  We really do see a better world, for we are not adding our pain to that world. 

Our happiness is seeded from within.  And there too we find Heaven on earth.

Delights of God’s Heart Embellish the World

“Let us observe together how the delights of God’s heart embellish not only the soul, but the whole world.  To make them present in the world is to bring Heaven to Earth.”  COL bk.2, 15:III

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own neuroses that we forget that there is a whole world out there needing our help.  This, with the coronavirus, is such a difficult time for just about everybody.  But God is still God, and His way is joyful.  If we listen to the promptings, the quiet promptings, of our heart, we will know the truth of a joy that never ends.

If we seek to embody God’s joy, we will necessarily be a good force in this world.  And the world is crying out for understanding and comfort now.  Let us let go of our own hang-ups and instead walk the happier path, metaphorically holding God’s hand, remembering His delights.

God is not responsible for the bad things that happen in our world.  Our mindset has fallen, even as our free will has remained constant.  And God does not interfere with free will.  That is an axion never broken.

If we open our hearts to a never-ending love, we will understand what these “delights of God’s heart” really are.  And, as the quotation says, not only will our own soul be embellished, but also the whole world.

The world needs us now.  Let us reach out and heal, first ourselves, and then our circle in this world, and then, beyond that, to the much larger community.

We can do this.  It just takes the proper mindset. 

And with have within our power the means to uplift our mindset.

Delights of God’s Love

“As you go along this path, painting your being with the delights of God’s love, you will begin to enjoy life much more, whatever your life is like and wherever you are.”  COL bk.2, 15:III

This quotation is very true.  When we hunger for greater enjoyment, thinking of the things in our life that give us joy, we really do see an increase in our joy, more things to be happy about.

This experience is independent of actual circumstances.  Many people in the world in impoverished circumstances are actually happier than we, in our materialistic culture, are.  And this holds true even though we are living now in the midst of a scary pandemic.  We have the wherewithal to rise above our difficulties, with God’s help, and when we do so in tough times, we will be the better for it when times smooth out again.

When we “paint” our being with the delights of God’s love, we are walking the pathway that will lead us to Christ-consciousness.  God would have us find pleasure in everyday occurrences.  And this change in our outlook is eminently possible.

It is just a prayer away.

Always & Only Love

“This message invites you to remember that your function is to bring love to the world.”  Choose Only Love:  Let Yourself Be Loved (COL bk.2, 14:I)

Life would be so much simpler if we just realized most of the time that we are meant to bring love to the world.  A single, all-embracing purpose such as this also gives meaning to our lives.

Unfortunately, we have heard “love” mentioned so often in this context that we zone out because it seems like the same concept, over and over.  If we had taken this concept to heart, this might be understandable.  But the problem is that we have not taken this concept to heart.  We “play” at love, often special love, an inferior rendering to love that has plenty of drama, including low points.  Our holy love, one to another, will save us now.  It is the only thing that will save us.

I have found that if I focus on just giving my husband love in this time of isolation, I am walking a green earth.  We are happy in the midst of quarantine.  May we take this knowledge with us, out into the world, when the quarantine is over.

A Course in Miracles says variously that forgiveness and happiness are functions for us.  But Choose Only Love makes it simpler for us.  If we focus on love, the forgiveness and happiness will happen all of its own accord.

What more could we ask?

Happiness in the Midst of Adversity

“You are the one who can bless creation.  It begins when you are willing to assume responsibility for what you want to use time for.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” WOM, Chapter 13, Page 161)

In The Way of Mastery, Jesus says quite a lot about assuming responsibility for ourselves.  We so often want to think of ourselves as victims, when just picking up the phone and opening up lines of communication might be all that is lacking.  As the Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements says, we need to ask questions when we are unsure.  We don’t need to make assumptions that are possibly wrong; in fact, we don’t need to make assumptions at all.

We have a responsibility to use time well.  What do we have to lose but a poor self-image?  Using time well will give us a good experience of life.  And when we enjoy our days, we are blessing creation.

Let today be different from the past by letting go of the past and clinging to the Now, as Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now.

We can be happy, even in the midst of adverse circumstances such as we have now in our world—isolation, quarantine, coronavirus.  If we aren’t sure what we can do to be happy, then an Answer is only a heartfelt question away.

Happiness Is an Inside Job

“As long as there is a trace of energy within you in which you are striving to get from any perceived thing or object around you what you are sure you lack inside yourself, you cannot know the love of Self. And you cannot experience freedom. Happiness is an inside job.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 7, Page 89)

Abundance is our natural state of being. God does not actually know “lack” in us. We think that we need what others have, and so we seek to “take” from them. This is especially true when it appears that they have an increase over what we have. When we imagine such as this, we look for “special” relationships.

When we seek to supply an imaginary lack in ourselves through others, we are looking amiss. We are already whole. Our only problem is that we have made many mistakes. But these mistakes are not rightly called “sins,” for sins have an attracting quality that keeps us coming back to them.

When we know that God’s way is to give us abundance, we shape our minds and hearts to that end. And we attract it. But we don’t take from others to do so. We experience freedom only when we live and let live, i.e., let others walk their own pathway without our trying to “take” from them. Others will round out our lives, but we must give from the standpoint of fullness/abundance, always.

“Happiness is an inside job.” Yes! And giving and receiving, because we are all one Self, is always mutual. We will have what we need, with the need always supplied immediately, when we cease grabbing for what we want. “Grabbing” is an egoic state of mind, and it is never the right way to achieve our ends. Love of Self is the way to God’s greatest blessings, not greed.

Lack is not our birthright as children of God. If we see lack in ourselves, we are seeing wrongly, and when we replace our thoughts and feelings of lack with the truth that abundance is ours, all will be well.

Love which Kept Us Safe – and Happy – and Bound to Those We Love

“The desire to protect is a desire that arises from distrust and is based totally on fear. If there were no fear, what would there be to protect? Thus, all of your love—the love that you imagine you keep within yourself, and the love that you imagine you receive and give—is tainted by your fear and cannot be real love. It is because you remember love as that which kept you safe, that which kept you happy, that which bound all those you love to you, that you attempt to use love here. This is a real memory of creation that you have distorted.” (ACOL, C:9.3)

We are not able to use love to protect us, although we often try. The desire to protect ourselves is a fear-based motivation, one that can’t be what it tries to do, keep us safe. We are already safe; we don’t need anything extra to make ourselves so.

We have, Jesus says, a memory of love from eons ago (as the world judges time). Love at the beginning, before the illusory separation, kept us happy and kept together all whom we loved. Somehow, dimly, we remember this true event, and we want some of that same feeling now. We try to find it in fear that comes from distrust. If we didn’t think we were in danger, why would we think at all about being “protected”? We would know that there is nothing that we need protection from, and we would be at peace. So this desire is wholly fear-based. We do love a disservice when we attempt to “use” it at all. Love cannot be used, just as we would be wise not to use each other for our own ends. We are safe, we have always been safe, and sooner or later we will all realize our safety is a God-given gift.

When love is tainted by fear, it is not real love. Unfortunately, most of our love in this world is tainted by fear, and thus we need another way to view love. We need to realize that it is part of the long-ago memory of Oneness with God. Only our attempt to separate from God, with the concomitant rise of the ego, has kept us from real love. Let us decide today that we will be done with all of this foolishness. Ask to experience real love, remove our mind from attempts to use this love to protect your physical body, and see if a better day doesn’t dawn.

Highest Joy, Peace, Bliss

“For although you are given complete free will to create as you choose, the soul begins to learn that what brings it the highest joy, the highest peace, and the highest bliss imaginable is that which flows from the Mind of God through the mind of the channel, the soul, and expresses itself in the field of experience. It is for this reason that the Father’s will is that you be happy. And your happiness is found in choosing to restore your perfect alignment with only the voice for God.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 2, Page 14)

Do we not want the “highest joy, the highest peace, and the highest bliss”? Of course we do.

But we are not smart enough to know how to bring these blessings to ourselves. That is why the Holy Spirit’s promptings are so important. He knows how to bring these blessings to us. A short while honestly invoking His guidance will prove to our satisfaction that God’s will for us, and our own, are actually identical. The Holy Spirit is, of course, the Voice for God.

Sometimes we wonder if happiness is the best purpose in our living. We wonder if we ought to be about good works, that somehow God will like that better.
We naturally do good works (or what we hope are good works) when we are happy. A person who is caught up in conflict is not well-suited to reach out to others. All of our conflicted thinking is just tying us up in knots, and we don’t have enough love to give to others, enough sanity to try to assist them. All of our energy is caught up in our own selves.

This is why happiness is a lofty goal. We can be there for others as well as ourselves when we are in joy. But this is not the whole truth. God wants us happy because He loves us. Do we not want happiness for our own children?

He is no different, in this sense. He reaches out with the intermediary, the Holy Spirit, His own Voice, and He tells us how to proceed to the life we were meant to have while on this plane of earth, this world.

We are right where we want to be. Are we satisfied with this place? If not, ask some serious questions of the Voice for God, and see if the Answer satisfies.

It will.

WOULD YOU PREFER THAT YOU BE RIGHT OR HAPPY?

by Celia Hales

The New Age is bright with promise about the choice for happiness as a way of life and certainly an ethical goal. The spiritual classic, A Course in Miracles, and its sequel, A Course of Love, both espouse a way of being that offers full happiness to those who are ready for it.

This does not include those who look, in the way of the Law of Attraction, to material satisfaction. The material doesn’t satisfy long, but being and doing, with a view toward living in true reality, are indeed satisfying.

The title of this short piece comes from A Course in Miracles. (T-29.VII.1) It is an often quoted. But we do not have to look to the New Age for proof of the edification of happy living as a way of walking the path back to God.

Jesus says the same in the New Testament:

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

We have been asleep, and only dreaming a dream of reality. ACIM and ACOL, affirming the new world that we are creating, affirm this; and the Bible could be so read. ACIM says:

“Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up.” (T-2.I.3)

ACOL says:

“Love alone has the power to turn this dream of death into a waking awareness of life eternal.” (C:4.7)

And the New Testament says:

“Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.” (Luke 8:52)

Who among us does not want a miracle in our everyday lives—tedious, tense, and tortuous the pathway back to God often seems to be? We need only awaken from our tortured dream, and happiness could be ours. A happiness that is fully promised and recommended as an ethical choice by New Age texts and the Bible.

Finally We Are Happy

“Denial of yourself was the precondition that set the stage for the time of learning. The time of learning would not have been needed had you not denied your Self. When you saw yourself as separate and alone, you could not help but suffer fear, loneliness, and all the ills that came from the base emotion of fear. Fear is degenerating. Nothing about fear is life giving. You thus were given life only to have it become degenerated by fear.” (ACOL, D:Day7.2)

Eons ago we thought that we separated from God, because we wanted to see if what we would make would be something that we liked better than what God had created. What a miserable thought! And we have suffered, in illusion, from this pain-filled choice ever since.

Now we can turn things around. When we choose to reunite with God, we choose the best route possible for ourselves. We are glad again, for every day that we experience. Finally we are happy.

The way back is not hard, for in truth the separation has not really happened. It could not, for we are part of God, and we can thus never leave Him. Anything that is illusion is easily left behind, when we make a new choice. Make that new choice now. Be through with illusion.

In the meantime, since we thought we separated from God, we have filled our mind with much garbage. And it is this subconscious, and sometimes conscious, garbage that must now be eradicated. Slowly, but inevitably, the negative thoughts rise to the surface when bidden to come. Literally everything in our world is designed to take us back home to God. And so the true answer is coming. But it can seem to take a long time without cooperation. Cooperate today. Let the negativity rise to the surface, pray for its release, and know a new day.

Prayer

Dear God,

I would be rid of suffering and pain from my own negativity today, for all the future. Thank You for guiding me back home. Thank You for being You. Full of love, caring, peace. A wondrous Sight to behold.

Be with me as the suffering and pain subside. There is no reason to let minor problems escalate. Help me to get and keep a good attitude today. Attitude is everything.

Amen.

Happiest Way to Live

“Life and the movement of being into form is what occurred when God “spoke” and the Word came into being. Movement is energy, the life force of creation and of being, both in unity and in time. By being you are in move¬ment. By being you are an expression of being.

“The second principle of creation, then, is that being is. It is what is and it is the expression of what is.

“Life is movement through the force of expression. The third principle of creation is thus expression.

“These are not, however, separate principles, but a single unifying prin¬ciple of wholeness: Movement, being, expression. One did not occur before the other, as they are not separate. There was movement into being and an expression of being.” (ACOL, D:15.3 – 15.6)

Without movement, caused by the presence of energy, there can be no life. Life leads to being, and then life leads to expression . A miracle, we learn from the new Circle of Atonement edition of A Course in Miracles, is the expression of love. And that is why we are here: to express love.

Jesus gets very precise in this passage for today. It is not necessary to comprehend fully what he is saying in all its ramifications; we probably couldn’t if we tried. But the seed has been planted, and as we move into Christ-consciousness, our intuition will inform us of everything we need to know. The way that guidance works is truly miraculous. We are happiest when we are in flow, responding to hints of the next move, the next thought, the next miracle.

It is very good to experience flow in our expression of life, our being actually reaching out to others and connecting with them. The miracles abound then, building from one to the other, offering us the consolation that we offer to our brothers and sisters.

This is the happiest way to live. We live productively, but we pace to ensure the longevity of our actions. We don’t adopt a hare-like pace, as seen in the old fable of the hare and the tortoise. We learn to take it easy, to relax, and to fulfill our mission in life in a measured fashion. Then we are truly living.

Prayer

Thank You for this good, busy day. I wonder what I might do to improve on it, and actually I can’t think of a thing. Such is Your grace. Such is Your mercy.

Be with me as the day continues to unfold. Help me to make the right decisions. I ask that You show me the next step. Now and always. Today and every day.

Amen.

Our Zen-like Feelings Give Us Happy Days

“How often have you hidden thoughts and feelings because you ques¬tion whether they are legitimate thoughts and feelings? For some of you this answer has changed greatly over time. But for many of you, you have become less, rather than more forthcoming about your thoughts and feelings since taking this Course. You have done so out of a desire to be truthful, a desire to not express thoughts and feelings unworthy of your real Self. You may have increasingly denied thoughts and feelings you would judge as negative or bad.” (ACOL, T2:7.17)

If we have increasingly denied our real feelings, judging them to be bad, as we have read A Course of Love, then we are living a false persona, even with the best of intentions. We no longer want to vent our frustrations, our anger, with attack; we want to treat our brothers and sisters with whom we are in holy relationship, much better than that. But feelings of anger need an outlet, and if we have suppressed this feelings, they are not gone, but have merely gone underground—to emerge later, perhaps with more vehemence. If you feel anger, Jesus says elsewhere that we can ask that this be removed from us, and it will be. Of course, we have to believe that Jesus means what he says, that anger can be removed by a prayer. Of course, we have likely had many examples of answered prayers in the time since we started reading ACOL. And so we are less likely to be skeptical of what prayer can bring about.

Let us ask to have those negative feelings and thoughts removed from us. Let us ask today. It is enough to want a Self who is worthy of being a host to God. And we do have such a Self; it just has been overlaid with illusion for so long that we don’t entirely know what is truly within us, each of us.

Of course, we have previously gotten something out of venting anger, out of attacking our loved ones. We may recognize, of course, that this is not the better way to interact, but the drama has still called to us. It will be easier to fall in line with God’s removal of anger if we first recognize that we are leaving drama behind. We are happier without it. Our Zen-like feelings give us happy days. Why would we want to insert drama, simply because it is a familiar way to interact?

So: There is a solution. We may still not consistently choose this solution, this way of leaving behind anger and attack. But mistakes are not sins, and we can get back in line as soon as we realize that we have taken a false step. The way back to the straight and narrow is not difficult. And when we realize how much better we feel when we live in peace, we will have longer stretches of this peace in the present and future.

Living right is not hard. It is living wrong that makes for all of our problems, not because we are being punished, but because we are not living in true reality—the way that things are meant to be by a loving God.

Prayer

May I do want I can to remove all desire—ever—to attack verbally or to live in anger. These things do not bode well for the life I want to lead, the person I want to be. Living in peace, with my negative feelings removed by prayer, is the better choice. May I choose that better choice now and for all time.

Be with me today as I seek to move into sunnier climes. The peace that You show me is evidence enough that Your way is best, that it is the only way to live peaceably in Your Kingdom. Thank You for the gentle way being shown to me, day in and day out. And thank You for being here for me, today and always.

Amen.

Joy that Knows No Bounds

“The joy that will come to you from the thoughts of a mind joined in union will be unparalleled in your experience here. “Ah,” you will say with a relief and joy that knows no bounds, “this is what it is to experience and know the truth. This is what it is to create, for this is what it is like to think as God thinks.” Where once you recognized only illusion and called it reality, the mind joined in union will now, more and more, recognize only truth and experience only the truly real.” (ACOL, T1:1.10)

Union in A Course of Love means two things, related but not identical. First, union means the joining of heart and mind to form wholeheartedness. This change will transform us. It will make the second thing possible: the emergence of the Self from within, and in this emergence will come union with this Self and union with God.

Of course, all of this change will mean that enlightenment, or Christ-consciousness, is now possible for us, at first to be seen in glimpses, then in lengthening glimpses, and finally to be maintained and then sustained. It is possible for there to be a sudden change that is disorienting, but this form of change occurs less often than the gradual, quiet Awakening.

And we will know joy in union with God and in union with our Self, the part of God Who dwells within each of us. This promise is an enlargement from the dictates in A Course in Miracles, when happiness is seen to be our function (along with salvation and forgiveness). I don’t think that we need to quibble over the difference between the joy that Jesus describes in ACOL, and the happiness that he encourages in ACIM. The point is that our future is much brighter than what we have been living through, suffering because we failed to recognize and to live miracle-readiness.

The art of thought, discussed so obliquely in this first book of the Treatises, is variously described as creating like unto our Creator (God), or miracle-readiness, or prayer, or the miracle itself. The art of thought is also seen a diametrically opposite the thinking of the ego-mind, and so it is imperative that we be certain that we are no longer motivated by egoic ideals.

Let’s welcome this joy today, knowing that union is finally being reached. We live wholeheartedly, and in this new way of handling our world, we merge with the Self, the part of us Who is God Himself.

With such a change, could anything be less than ideal? Aren’t we truly and completely on our way now to a glorious new day, creating the new world that Jesus so longs to see us do?

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be grateful today for the many blessings poured out upon me previously, and the promise of ever greater blessings now and in the future. I would wait patiently for Your action in my life, for the glimpses of Awakening to lengthen, for the Awakening that You want for me to come about. When I am at peace in this world, the future seems bright indeed. And all of us can welcome a little more peace.

Be with my brothers and sisters. May I reach out when I can, and may I draw inward for sustenance when this retreat is necessary. Help me always to be open to guidance, always to cease second guessing the nudges that come to me.

Thank You for another promising day in Your Presence.

Amen.

The Only Change Needed to Bring Permanent Happiness

“It is true that your free will is powerful as it is part, but only part, of what has allowed you to believe in your separated state. While you could have used your free will to create like unto your Father, by choosing to make yourself separate from Him—something that could never truly occur—you have chosen instead to do nothing at all with your free will but make this one insane choice. Your willingness to make a new choice is what will once again make your free will like unto your Father’s will, which is one with it in truth.” (ACOL, C:11.12)

The assertion that our true will is the same as that of God’s Will is the same assertion made in A Course in Miracles. Here the idea is elaborated, in that we are told that we chose to make only one insane but impossible choice with our free will—the choice to be separate from our Father. We couldn’t actually effect this, as He and we are One forever. He lives in us, we live in Him; we are, as has been said repeatedly, part of Him. The only thing that God could differentiate was Himself, and thus He created individuations of Him in order to experience Himself to the fullest. This is revelation that differs from Christian doctrine, but, if we can set aside what we taught as children, we can see the common sense of the assertion.

We do want to make a new choice, one in line with God’s Will, for this change is the only change needed to bring permanent happiness to us. Our function is said in A Course in Miracles to be salvation, forgiveness, happiness—and these are all equated. Our function in A Course of Love is akin. But we are said to be on the verge of making a new decision that will elevate our physical form to the Self, the inner Christ Self Who is longing to come out and be present in our world. This Self is our new Guiding Light, the replacement in guidance for what the Holy Spirit used to do for us (according to A Course of Love).

Free will, of course, is what has enabled us to live a supposedly “separate” existence from God, a separate existence that is impossible in fact. But we could imagine ourselves separate, and in this illusion we could live a miserable and drama-filled life that gave ascendance to the ego, our new version of ourselves. This new version is, of course, insane, and its very insanity is its Achilles heel. Its insanity assures us that when we think more clearly, we will not want any part of this false personal self. Our new personal self will only be the part that we show others, representing our Christ Self. The personal self, therefore, does not fade away, but is transformed, remaining the outer self. This is a truth that is often overlooked a we read ACOL. The idea that the personal self would be no more is tempting, but inaccurate. Yet we can surely imagine that the transformation will give us personalities that will interact well with each other, sharing ourselves as we go about our daily lives in a world that is fast becoming something better.

Use our free will today to choose God anew, a choice that uses only a little of the abundant willingness that we indeed possess. We will see that this new choice will give us everything that we have been wanting in life. Our inheritance of God’s blessings is assured, but we have to be new people to appreciate and to take control of the new world that we will create.

Would You Rather Be Right or Happy?

“Your mind might still prefer to be right rather than happy, so it is important that you let your heart lead in making this new choice. When you find yourself in a situation you do not like, again offer your willingness to find some happiness within it. These instructions to your heart will begin to make a difference to your state of mind.” (ACOL, C:10.18)

Jesus found a good idea when he decided that the way to transform us was to talk about our relating to our heart. All of us know immediately what he means; it doesn’t take a tedious telling. And we know that when we listen to our heart, we make better decisions. Things come out right in the long run, which is something we definitely can’t say when we listen to the ruminations of our mind.

Being right rather than happy is a quest of the ego, one that keeps the ego going strong, in business, keeping us trapped the way we have been for eons. The next time that we are on the verge of altercation with a friend or loved one, we ought to stop ourselves by realizing, “I am listening to my egoic mind.” That may be all that it takes to stop us from pursuing the wrong path. Our heart will love, always, if given half a chance. And just a little willingness is what “half a chance” is all about. Jesus says repeatedly that a “little willingness” is what we need; this is a theme of A Course in Miracles as well as A Course of Love.

We can find happiness in our everyday lives. We don’t need to get nearly as discouraged about this as we usually do. And I am not talking about flights of happiness, ephemeral happiness, the kind of drama that the ego uses to entrap us. The happiness that we need to woo is a stable happiness, a happiness that is full of peace. And with this new happiness, we will find that listening to the heart becomes a habit.

Be with our loved ones today in peace. A transformation is ahead. Many of us feel it. And the future does indeed look bright. Our heart is taking us home to God. Our heart is leading to enlightenment, to Christ-consciousness. Virtually all of us have had glimpses of enlightenment now. And with the mind and heart joined in wholeheartedness, we will walk into a maintained, and then a sustained, Christ-consciousness in our near future.

Jesus has shown us the way in his channeled writing. Let us do our part to listen carefully to what he has said, and then everything will be different—and far, far better.

Entertain Happy Thoughts!

“It is your denial of all your happy thoughts that has led you to a life of such unhappiness. Thoughts of terror and of sin you will embrace, but thoughts of resurrection and new life you still before they have a chance at birth and call them wishful thinking. What harm do you expect happy thoughts to do to you?” (ACOL, C:6.21)

Do you often find that unhappy thoughts predominate our thinking? Our “what if’s” are a big problem, usually. And we worry and obsess about the slightest things. Never a pleasant thought that we sustain! We need to change this, as this passage makes clear.

A Course of Love wants us to think happy thoughts. To dwell on what is going right. One way to do this is to keep a gratitude list. We can begin with just five things, written down in the evening before bed, five things that we are grateful for. This is a painless and potent way to lift our way out of depression. Some days it will be easy to find five; some days we will have to fall back on the tried and true because we have had a decidedly bad day. No matter. The exercise is sufficient to lift our mood, done over time, carefully and consistently.

I have heard first hand from a number of people that this suggestion works. The specific number, five, ensures that everyone will have enough blessings to quickly and usually easily find five blessings to thank God for. And when we do so, we drift off to sleep in a better frame of mind. The first dig out of depression has happened.
When we take to heart the truth that we create our own reality, we can see how harboring distasteful thoughts can be so bad for us. We make more of the same! Just that. And Jesus asks us, poignantly, in this passage, just what do we think that happy thoughts are going to do for us? They will lift us up, change the tenor our days.

There is no doubt about the truth of this assertion, to change the day by thinking happier thoughts. The law of attraction, which unfortunately so often is employed to bring materialism into our lives, also works for the intangible as well. And the law of attraction is another way of saying that we create our own reality.

Play with these ideas today. Accept whatever disastrous thought comes to mind, but resolve not to dwell upon it. Just accepting it, and moving on, in the flow, will move mountains of debris under which we have buried ourselves.

Try it, and we will see.

A World of Joy

“Remember now one lovely day, for each of you has had at least one that was a shining light in a world of darkness. A day in which the sun shone on your world and you felt part of everything. Every tree and every flower welcomed you. Every drop of water seemed to refresh your soul, every breeze to carry you to heaven. Every smile seemed meant for you, and your feet hardly seemed to touch the soft ground on which you walked. This is what awaits you as you join with what you see. This awaits you as you place no judgment on the world, and in so doing join with everything and extend your holiness across a world of grief, causing it to become a world of joy.” (C:5:32)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wish such a day often, even everyday? Is such a blessing possible? Probable?

I think that it is, but I do think that it is rare in our world. I have read of people who never met a person they didn’t like, people who feel happy every day. But I would be the first to tell you that this is not I. Oh, I hope for better days, and I do have many good days—but constant and unremitting joy has not been my lot in life.

I doubt that it has been yours either. But we can move ever close to such a blessed state by doing certain things daily.

It is well to start the day right, as A Course in Miracles points out. And, of course, Jesus also tells us in ACIM that the day can be begun again if it starts out less than the best. How to start the day right?

We need a time of quietness. And not all of us can squeeze this in first thing in the morning. It means getting up earlier, before our family rouses It means that we give a part of each day to God, right off the bat. And we are the better for it.

I do not always do this, but when I have, the rewards have been great. I go out on our sun/screen porch, where the early sounds of the morning, and my reading and prayer, grant me peace. Having this peace first thing in the morning is the best way to ensure that the day will unfold well. If the day turns frantic, we can then go within, in memory, for that moment when everything seemed right with the world—when God was in His heaven, and we were visiting Him, so to speak.

If you can’t carve out the first part of the day to spend with God, spend time with Him as soon as possible as the day unfolds. We will never regret these moments of quiet. We will flourish in a world that seems at time to have gone mad. As it has.

Return in memory to happy times. Recall a pristine day, as the passage for today encourages us. And remember that prayer is God’s way to talk to us. Prayer is sometimes silence, for God is heard in silence.

The world today does not live by these rules. And they are my rules, my interpretation, based on A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. When you have time, develop your own rules.

You will live far happier days. And you will the God Whom you may have forgotten somewhere along the way.

Love Asks Only for Happiness

“Today, let us resolve together to accept the joyful tidings that disaster is not real and that reality is not disaster. Reality is safe and sure, and wholly kind to everyone and everything. There is no greater love than to accept this and be glad. For love asks only that you be happy, and will give you everything that makes for happiness.” (ACIM, T-16.II.8)

What a reassuring quotation! Our reality is safe, sure, kind—nothing to fear at all. It is only when we dip into fear itself that we experience the bad things of this world. Of course, things that are bad appear to spring up quite independent of ourselves, but they, even in our front yard, will touch us not if we are wholly immersed in reality. We will see with larger eyes, seeing past the illusion that is before us, to the reality of love that is within. We are part of God, and this being so, how can our inner being not experience His love?

Love asks only that we be happy. We who are achievement-oriented have long thought that more was asked of us than simply to experience the feeling of love. Of course, love is more than a feeling, an emotion, but that is a legitimate starting point for our experience of reality. Achieving will happen, when we are ready, for we too don’t want to spend our days in a bored funk. But love comes first. Then we are led, skillfully and carefully, to an achievement that would rival our highest dreams.

Love will give us everything that makes for happiness! Yes, the quotation says that. Settle back, relax, take it easy, and let the love that is in our hearts flow over us. We will have a better day. Indeed, we can have no better day when we take this initial step for a good day.

Forgiveness Makes for Happiness

“The happy learners of the Atonement become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created. (T-14.V.3)”

We are these “happy learners.” And we are innocent, something that we don’t naturally think about as a trait of ourselves. We are so used to thinking of ourselves as guilty, but elsewhere Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that we are guiltless. That we have made mistakes is clear, but only in illusion, and only in a mad state of mind (listening to the ego).

When we follow the way of Atonement, we see innocence everywhere. When we are attacked, we see a brother calling for help, asking for love. And we overlook the hurtful way in which he is speaking. We don’t get hurt, because we recognize, on some level, that he is not responsible for what he is saying. It is madness speaking. Just insanity. And then we offer forgiveness, for what other way is there to help, what other way to love?

All of us have a right to see ourselves as innocent. Only when we can contemplate that this must be true are we in league with the Holy Spirit. Before that, seeing ourselves as guilty, we are cut off from our Source in God. Accepting the Atonement, accepting the correction in our thought processes that is necessary, we fulfill the requirements for salvation. We are saved. We are at home in God. And He will act quickly to raise us up to a new type of consciousness, a type that will surprise us and make us ever-joyous: Awakening.

Atonement Solves ALL Problems

“The teacher of God has taken accepting the Atonement for himself as his only function. (M-22.1)”

We know that Jesus in A Course in Miracles often talks of our function, and he uses different labels: forgiveness, salvation, happiness. Here he says that our function is accepting Atonement. Jesus is equating all these terms, and may he not do so with impunity? We know that we cannot do little for this world or for God when we are lost in mistakes, following an egoic pathway to nowhere. The only thing left for us to take our place among the saviors of the world is to accept correction, and this is what Atonement is all about.

Are all of us really “saviors”? We don’t think of ourselves this way, mainly because to do so sounds so very egotistical. Yet Jesus would say that we all have a place in salvation, that we all have something to do—once we have gotten on our own pathway and are trying to live a good life in religious terms.

I don’t see myself as a “savior,” because it does seem too egotistical. A word like savior is reserved for Jesus, to my mind. Yet he welcomes us to do what we can, and if we can save another, that too is very, very good.

We need to realize that sometimes what we think is egotism is actually the ego telling us that we are being egotistical, thinking that it [the ego] will reel us in.

We don’t want to be reeled in. We want to following the footsteps of Jesus, helping others to the best of our abilities. We want to live good lives, following the highest and best that we know.

Let us seek to understand what our function really is today. It may be forgiveness, salvation, happiness, accepting Atonement. All are one in Jesus’s eyes, for he melds all of our life here on earth into something that can save us. And we reach out to others, trying to encourage their good sense to rise up and follow the ways of Jesus as well.

The day holds promise, if we practice the functions that Jesus has given to us in these words of A Course in Miracles. Let us ask that this day will hold promise for us. Let us thrust aside tiredness and jadedness, and walk into the sunlight with Jesus.

God’s Will Identifies My Real Desire

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“What you desire now is the Will of God because it is your true desire, your will and God’s joined as one. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.14)”

Affirmation: “I desire God’s will, which is the same as my real will.”

Reflections:

1 – Guidance

An echo of A Course in Miracles, this passage for today emphasizes why we ought to listen to guidance or intuition, or whatever way in which we understand God’s Voice reaching us. If we are following ACIM, this way will be the Voice of the Holy Spirit. If we are following A Course of Love, this way will be the inner Christ leading us home. In actuality, because All is One, I see no effectual differences between these two. We can appeal to the triune God to see how this might be: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2 – Choice

The realization that God chooses for us (or the Holy Spirit chooses for us) is the realization that we want no alternate will. He chooses the way that will make us the happiest, and happiness is a laudable goal. He also chooses the path toward Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, or enlightenment, or salvation (there is no real difference in these terms).

3 – God’s Will

For those of us, myself included, who have wrestled as Jonah did with God’s will, we can now recognize that the wrestle is a false issue. God does not bend us to His will if we are unwilling. But, in effect, He says, “Choose this way, for it will make you happiest.” The Holy Spirit in ACIM chooses very small details of our everyday life, setting up the flow of events and circumstances so that we have good days. Even when times are tough, still is this true. The times will not be experienced as tough when we stay close to guidance and God. We will sail through as though there were no barriers to our happiness.

4 – Listening Internally

So the Holy Spirit (in ACIM) chooses “for us” (from ACIM). His way is the one that we would choose if we understand all circumstances, past and present, as well as future. Of course, it is impossible for us to know all of this, and this is why we need an informed Guide. We need to give up our personal judgments, which are always false, and listen to an inner voice.

5 – The Pathway

We will walk the pathway with surety when we follow that inner voice.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would listen to inner knowledge, knowing that I am guided every step of the way—if I listen correctly. May I recognize that I can still make mistakes, even big mistakes, but I pray that I will follow instead, Your way, accurately.

Be with me as I go about my day. Help me to correct my wrongs. Give me the grace to see Your way in everything. There is no better way to live an egoless existence than to follow You moment by moment.

Amen.

Recognize the Christ-Mind by How Gentle Its Thoughts Are

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Gentle Thoughts Give Happiness

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

2 – Avoid Harshness

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

3 – Flow

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

4 – Commune with God

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Salvation a Game that Happy Children Play

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“Not one situation coming to you now will be a repeat of the past. How can it be when the past was lived in the house of illusion and the present is lived in the house of truth? Being cognizant of this is the only way that the simultaneous learning and unlearning that was spoken of earlier will be able to be realized. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.7)”

Affirmation: “I will seek to learn new things today.”

Reflections:

1 – Badly Taught

Earlier in this chapter in A Course of Love, Jesus asks us to forget as much as possible. Apparently he thinks that we were badly taught, and the reason comes out in the passage for today: We were living in the house of illusion. Now, he encourages us ever so much again by saying that we live now in the house of truth. He, if not we, are certain that we have walked far toward Christ-consciousness.

2 – How Happy Are You?

How can we measure our progress? A very simple way is to decide how happy we are, even if life is still tough in some respects and maybe in many respects. We will have an ineffable joy if we are living right. And actually things will turn out better, though Christ-consciousness and the preparation for it do not mean that all will always go swimmingly. Certainly Jesus had things go very badly, though he believed in what he was doing, and history has borne out the wisdom of his pathway.

3 – Do You Blame?

Other ways to know if we are proceeding along a path that leads ever closer to Christ-consciousness is to determine how we feel toward other individuals. Do we still blame them when they act badly? Do we still blame them when they blame us for something? Do we forgive readily? The life that is dedicated to Jesus’s way will proceed in concert with other individuals, always away that we hold each other’s hand as we walk through life. We walk side-by-side also, especially with our significant other, our brother (from A Course in Miracles). If we take turns moving ahead and falling back in this walk, neither we nor our brother make any forward progress. But if we walk gaily along, holding hands, we know salvation to the joyous game that children play (from ACIM).

4 – Walk to the House of Truth

So we walk to the house of truth. We may not always be certain what that truth really is, but nevertheless, we know that we are not wholly caught in illusions anymore. We feel better most of the time. Life seems a blessing, not a curse. And we walk in love of ourselves (for self-love does not have to be egotistical), others, and God.

5 – First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

Take time today to forgive, to love, and to reach ever forward on our walk. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Let’s don’t rue the day. We can and will reach Christ-consciousness, if we remain true to what we are reading. Only remember that God Himself makes the decision of when we are really ready to accept the ultimate blessing of living in this time of Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would emphasize my walk toward reality in my prayers to You today. I walk as humbly as I can, though egoic notions still impinge. I am ready to be done with the ego, and indeed Jesus says in A Course of Love that we all, who have reached this far, are done with the ego. May I recognize the truth of this statement.

I would drop my illusions today. I would drop the things that I say to myself that are injurious to myself. May my thoughts and words in in Your will, today and always. Be with me as I seek to walk into truth.

Amen.

What Has Caused Unhappiness?

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“While society would seem to have done so much to cause your unhappiness, and while you have in turn blamed it as much as it blamed you, you never blamed anything quite as much as you blamed yourself.

“This is the vengeful self we eliminate now. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.5 – 3.6)”

Affirmation: “I would forgive myself today, letting go of any vengeful self.”

Reflections:

1 – Forgiveness of Self

How hard it is to forgive ourselves for what we have NOT done to ourselves. We blame ourselves for our pain, especially when we are not able to keep pain from turning into suffering. We still harbor thoughts that we were responsible, in some nefarious way, for the separation from God (the illusory separation). And so we blame ourselves most of all.

2 – Projection

Yet this blame is projected unto others, and harms our relationships all around. What misery we concoct for ourselves! We need to end this insanity.

3 – Vengeful Self

Jesus would have us turn aside from the vengeful self. And he offers the antidote today. We do not need to assign blame, lest of all to others and ourselves. We dipped into madness for a long, long time–all of us. And we are finding our way back to sanity and the real world now. What better way to spend our time?

4 – Self-Blame

So we blamed others, “society,” but we, most of all, blamed ourselves for our predicament. And then we found it hard to forgive either others or ourselves. This kind of thinking needs to go. It must be forsaken once and for all, if we are to make any progress at all.

5 – Better Way to View

Turn now to your better judgment, informed by guidance. Does it not seem that there is a better way to look this world in which we are embedded? Is not it really a benign world, waiting for us to paint our meanings upon it? Decide today to paint no perilous dramas on this world. Decide for a perfectly “calm and quiet” (from ACIM) day.

6 – End Result

And such can be our experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be happy today. The first thing that I need to do, with Your help, is to make this determination. Then I need to calm down so that serenity comes to me. Then I will be immune to anger and its all-too-often attack. Be with me today to see that I walk the straight and narrow.

Thank You for the increased happiness that You have given me for very many years now. I also owe a debt to Jesus for his channeled words in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. My happiness has increased exponentially since discovering ACIM many years ago. Thank You for this.

May we, together, choose happy hours in our happy day. May we reach out to others, bringing them happiness as well. While we cannot make another happy, we certainly can and do make them miserable when our thoughts, words, and actions go awry.

I would have nothing go awry today, and, with Your help, a good day is ensured.

Amen.

Indescribably Happy

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-kenneth-nunamaker-over-looking-the-delaware-from-center-bridge-1928-original-size-22-x-24“If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be. It is this you see in it. It is this that is meaningless in truth. (W-12)”

Affirmation: “I would be indescribably happy today.”

Reflections:

1 – Preconceptions

How do we let go of our preconceptions about this world? We have written our own meaning upon it. That is all. We need to accept that the world itself is meaningless, and then let the truth be written upon it for us.

2 – Passive

This attitude is essentially passive. But we do contemplate, read, study, and pray. And in these actions we come to understand more fully what this world really means. We do not add our own meaning to it; we accept what comes to us in such moments of reflection, essentially waiting for God to speak to us.

3 – God

And He will. We all too often think that God is remote from us, but instead He is the deepest part of our being. When we turn within, we will find Him. And we will also find the answers to our questions.

4 – Solution Is with the Problem

Remember that the solution to the problem is always with the problem–at the very moment. And frequently we get an answer immediately. Unfortunately, when our emotions are turbulent, we cannot always hear the answers. We don’t get the solution, and so we need to calm down, relax, commune with our deepest nature, and then take the steps that come to us, intuitively.

5 – Problems

When we contemplate in the most serene way, our answers come to what is troubling us. And if the answers don’t come, perhaps this is a problem that God is holding out to us as a learning exercise. Ask, instead, what this problem is meant to teach us? And the answer will dawn, sooner rather than later.

6 – The World

We do not stay with the idea that the world is meaningless, for to believe this would be demoralizing. We let God write its meaning upon our hearts, and then we are at peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The solution is with the problem. Thank You for that knowledge–a great blessing! When problems come up, if I remember to listen to guidance, the answer does come. Invariably. But my emotions must be calm for the guidance to come through. Help my emotions to be calm today.

I would be indescribably happy today. There is no better way to follow You, and no better way to live in this world. Happiness is a worthy goal, for we are of much better use to others when we are happy. And happiness is a witness to what salvation offers. May I never forget this.

Be with me today as I seek to pray for others whom I know are in crisis. Praying to You works, a very practical technique for healing.

May this day, as all days, be good.

Amen.

Joy without Sorrow

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“You used your free will to choose the human experience.  Now are you willing to use it to choose the Peace of God instead?  Can you wholeheartedly choose peace?  Can you choose peace long enough to become accustomed to joy without sorrow?  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Relax

This passage identifies a shortcut to Christ-consciousness, and it is an easy route, without effort, for we just relax into the peace that God wishes for us.  We no longer seek drama, and if we inadvertently do make drama in our lives, we turn aside from this drama as soon as we recognize the mistake we have made in letting peace fall by the wayside.  We would know joy without sorrow, and to do so we must let go of the ego.  We must turn aside from the ego, not in resisting it, but in simply making that simple turn away.

2 – Peace of God

How much we do we want joy without sorrow?  Probably very much, and it is only our ignorance about where to begin that causes us any problems.   We need to use our free will to choose the Peace of God.  Free will is never taken from us by God, but we use free will to turn back to Him.  And then we know His Peace.  We know joy without sorrow.  And, we are farther along toward Awakening/Christ-consciousness.

3 – Simple Guidelines

The Treatise on the Art of Thought gives us simple guidelines for making progress toward Christ-consciousness.  Indeed, all of the three volumes of A Course of Love do the same.  We read them with an abstract mind, for to read them with an intense mind will not work.  We absorb the meaning, not through intense study, but through observation of “what is.”  And thus we come to understand what is required of us.

4 – Key

We hold the key.  And we make great strides when we simply choose to have the Peace of God in our minds, hearts, and spirits.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Following You, I will have joy without sorrow.  What a glorious promise!  Thank You.  You do want me to be happy, and happiness is not an inferior goal.  I can contribute best to this world when I am in a joyous frame of mind.  If my religion doesn’t give me cause for joy, why would anybody else want to listen to what I say or do what I do?

Once again, I turn aside from the ego.  There is no other way.  I won’t try to resist the ego, which will just make it stronger.  What one resists, persists.  I would just gently turn aside, turning away from the ego and in the direction of You.

May I drop fear and anxiety from my repertoire of emotions.  If I continue as I did when younger, then these long-held emotions will stay with me.  But I want a break with the past, a break that will put harmony and peace on the throne and dislodge fear and anxiety.

With Your help. I can and will feel harmony, peace, joy–all the intangibles that You hold in such abundance.

Amen.

Joy that Knows No Bounds

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“The joy that will come to you from the thoughts of a mind joined in union will be unparalleled in your experience here.  ‘Ah,’ you will say with a relief and joy that knows no bounds, ‘this is what it is to experience and know the truth.  This is what it is to create for this is what it is like to think as God thinks.’  Where once you recognized only illusion, and called it reality, the mind joined in union will now, more and more, recognize only truth and experience only the truly real.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 1.10)”

Affirmation:  “May I experience truth more and more.”

Reflections:

1 – Enlightenment

This passage for today indicates that our enlightenment proceeds, frequently, in an ever-increasing way.  We know moments of peace and awakening more and more as time goes by.  For some people, of course, the experience is sudden and can be disorienting.  But this passage indicates that for most of us, it is a gradual process.

2 – Don’t Be Frightened by Awakening

We do not want to be frightened by the coming of Awakening.  And that is the purpose of both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Jesus says in ACIM that we may be frightened if a light is suddenly turned on when we are asleep, but we will awaken and then realize that the light is not part of the dream.  Well, we are in a dream in waking life as well.  And we do not want to be frightened by the light of Awakening coming on in our lives.

3 – God within Us

We want to think as God thinks, and He is within us, as well as without (though really nothing is without).  We will experience His truth as time goes by, and we will be experience this truth in ever-larger spans of time.  This is the way that Awakening comes to many of us.  The coming is not upsetting.

4 – Joy in Union

We will know joy in union with ourselves, our God, and our brothers and sisters.  This joy will be something internal that nothing can dissuade.  We will occupy an elevated Self of form that is the Christ-consciousness of which we have heard so much.

5 – All Will Be Well

And our days will go well.  All will be well with us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask so to live in the Now, releasing feelings of discontent continually, that Awakening is welcomed by me.  It will never come if I am afraid of it, or so I believe.  My real prayer would not be for Awakening if I were afraid of it.  Thank You for the two glimpses in my life that I have had.  Both were a long time ago, even before I found ACIM and ACOL, but they presaged what is possible.  Thank You.

Be with us today as we seek to walk the pathway together.  May I have a smooth day with my significant others.  May I have patience, which I used to think I had, but I know different now.  May patience come in ever-increasing moments.

Thank You for your comfort.  Thank You for the channeled readings that mean so much to many of us.  May today be good, and may I find the will of Yours that is mine as well.  Your will and my real will are always identical.

Amen.

The Truth Is Not a Secret

giverny-3 - monet - garden“Your ego thoughts can never share the truth with you nor with anyone else.  The ego invented the idea of ‘telling’ the truth and using it as an opposite to telling an untruth or lie.  Thus were born ideas of being able to keep truth a secret, one of the most ridiculous ideas of the ego thought system.  (A Course of Love, 31.25)”

Affirmation:  “I forget my ego’s version of the ‘truth’ today.”

Reflections:

1 – Non-Dualism

A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love present a non-dualistic view of reality.  This non-dualism is the fact that God is All, and that anything else is illusion, projection, or dreams.  Thus the “truth” of the ego, which is illusory, means nothing.  All of this is part of the theology of both ACIM and ACOL.

2 – Don’t Let Theology Delay You

If the theology bothers you, don’t let it cause you to dismiss ACIM and ACOL out of hand.  Jesus says in ACIM that theology can delay us, and we would not be delayed.  We would have the universal experience that he says is possible.  And a universal expereince threatens no one.  A universal theology, on the other hand, is impossible.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

3 – Personal Experience

We need to tell the truth.  We need to drop lies from our pantheon of impulses.  But that does not mean that the truth has any truth in it when the idea that we are expounding comes from the ego.  It is quite possible even to tell the ego’s truth in your nighttime dreams; I did that just last night.  And I awoke in a good mood, but I quickly told myself that this good mood was an appeal to my ego, and not something that I wanted to encourage.  The ego dies hard in us, even when we have studied carefully for years.

4 – Appeal to Sanity

Today’s passage is an appeal to sanity.  The ego is not sane (and neither was my nighttime dream).  We would drop the insanity or madness from our lives, and the only way to do that, if we are working in the framework of our courses,  is to be diligent in our practice of the tenets of ACIM and ACOL.  (There are, of course, other ways to reach God, but our way is ACIM and ACOL, if we so choose.)

5 – The Ego

Don’t fret or worry if the ego intrudes, as it did in my nighttime dream.  Don’t resist, either, for the ego is strong in strife.  Just turn aside gently, and choose again (an ACIM tenet).  Choose again on this journey without distance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The truth is not a secret, kept from us.  We are fully able to ascertain Your truth, but we must do so without the intrusion of the ego.

I would know Your truth today.  I would drop all egoic and egotistical ideas from my mind slant, and I would welcome You instead.

Be with me as I walk along my pathway for today.  There is nothing that being with You in Your presence will not improve.  Thank You.

Amen.

Effortless Happiness

Reproduction-oil-paintings-Vincent-Van-Gogh005“You do not yet, but will soon realize the happiness that is ours.  Your mind cannot accept that happiness, as well as meaning, is due you through no effort of your own.  (A Course of Love, 25.9)”

Affirmation:  “Happiness is due me through no particular effort.”

Reflections:

1 – Free Gift

We do have happiness, when we have the type of attitudes that invite it.  We don’t have to “effort” to deserve happiness.  Happiness is a free gift of God, just as is His guidance.  He wants us to be joyous.  He wants us to live lives that are filled with all blessings that we will accept.  We must receive from Him, though.  We cannot think negative and depressing thoughts, not received from Him, and expect happiness to follow.  Natural laws still apply.  And common sense would tell us that we need to work with our minds to bring forth the goodness that God has in store for us.

2 – No Effort

Is this, then, “no effort”?  Yes, for it takes no struggle to sit quietly and envelope ourselves in God’s love.  This stillness will assure us that just below the surface of our negative thinking is the natural, uncomplicaated, and healthy habit of mind that ensures the sensing of happiness.  Just let go, and the healthy pattern will surface.

3 – Richard Carlson

The ideas in the preceding paragraph are informed, in part, by Richard Carlson, a psychologist and specialist in happiness who wrote a number of books about not “sweating the small stuff.”  Prior to that successful series, he wrote other books on alleviating depression and inviting happiness (some of which are out of print).  The natural, healthy sensations of happiness will arise easily when we allow the very unnatural habit of depressed thoughts to be eliminated.

4 – Happiness Will Bubble Forth

So let us take the effortless way to improve our attitudes so that happiness will bubble forth.  Just sit in the stillness with a clear mind not focusing on anything in particular.  See, by experiment, if Your sensation of God’s presence, which will come unbidden, does not alleviate depression and welcome a calmer, more peaceful feeling that can only be called the beginnings of happiness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand that happiness is a laudable goal, and that it is my due, through no particular effort of my own.  I do need to fill my mind and heart with peace, though, and this will happen when we read and reflect on Jesus’s words.

May we reach out to others who do not feel happiness.  May we be their guide home to happiness.

Be with us as we seek Your way.  And may our pathway smooth before us.

Amen.

Determining the Distinction between Pleasure and Pain

“Determination of pleasure and pain is made with the judgment of the separated self who not only believes it is the body, but that it is at the body’s mercy.  The body has no mercy to offer the separated self.  It is only a learning device.  (A Course of Love, 18.23)”

images - van gogh
Affirmation:  “May I avoid judging pleasure and pain today.”

Reflections:

1 – Awaking of Christ-Consciousness

The ideas in today’s passage are echoes of A Course in Miracles.  All in all, A Course of Love is more forgiving of the body, seeing, ultimately, that an elevated Self of form is a legitimate way to live.  We can enjoy this way of living on this earth, and this is when the Christ/Self has been actualized in us.  This is the Awakening or the Christ-consciousness embodied.

2 – Separation

But in the passage above, we are still recognizing a delusional separation from God.  We did not, as we have said repeatedly, actually separate from God, for we are part of Him and thus can only fantasize that we have separated.  In this fantasy our whole world evolved.  And we lost the felt presence of God.

3 – Pleasure

But let us rise to the occasion, recognizing that we want something better (re ACIM).  We want to know God’s happiness, not the pleasures of this world.  We will have pleasure, but it will be more than pleasure, because pleasure is fleeting and never satisfies very long.

4 – Body = Learning Device

The body as a learning device is best used to communicate with others, with out brothers and sisters.  To use it as a way to get out way is a misuse, if our way would be detrimental to another.  So let us be gracious in our understanding of the body, and not try so hard to decorate it with jewelry and fancy clothes.  We may want to be presentable, but the real beauty comes from within.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the difference between pleasure and pain today, but I would seek joy–God’s joy–rather than simple pleasure, which is fleeting.

Be with me as I see Your will for my life today.  May my decisions be sound, based on guidance and common sense.

Amen.

How to Find Happiness

“God’s will for you is happiness, and of this you can be certain.  To align your will with God’s is but to make this certain state your home.  This is but a wish come true, and when it is all you wish for it will come to be.  And in the granting of this wish will come your rest and the laying down of every heavy burden you have carried.  (A Course of Love, 12.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am grateful for the happiness that I have today.”

Reflections:

1 – Is Happiness a Laudable Goal?renoir-auguste-die-kleine-irene-cahen-danvers-9701659

I have mentioned previously in this blog that I have not always believed that “happiness” was a laudable goal.  I remember encountering a college freshman in my early teaching days who proclaimed without hesitation that “happiness” was her goal.  I did not challenge her, but I did, inwardly, cringe.  I felt that she was missing the mark.  At that time I felt that the only worthy goal was a contribution to society.

2 – Being Unhappy

I still feel that contributions to society are important, but I have also recognized that one who is unhappy in a personal sense will find outward manifestations to caring to be limited at best, ineffectual at worse.  We don’t do so well when we are not joyous, and other people certainly do recognize when we are not joyous.  How can we win over others to a point of view that is negative?  Who wants negative interpretations to rule the day?

3 – Inner Contentment

A Course in Miracles gave several answers to the questions of our function–salvation, happiness, forgiveness.  A closer look at these three, and the interpretations that are given them in ACIM will let us see that these are all one function.  To be believed by others, we can’t espouse one without the others.  Now A Course of Love makes the point that God’s will for us is happiness.  What a joy it is to hear this assertion!  What can we not accomplish when we are happy?  Certainly we can do much more for others when we are contented within ourselves.

4 – The One that All of Us Are

And we are meant to be in a body that includes all others–the One.  We are meant to be in unity and relationship with the All.  And the All most assuredly includes our relationships with any brothers and sisters whom we encounter.

5 – Love of Our Heart

Let us today let the free-flowing thought of our minds touch base with the love of our hearts, and then we will be contented.  And in this contentment is found the germ of happiness that we seek.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a blessed day indeed when we can live it in a contented, happy fashion.  This does not mean that nothing will go wrong.  Some things may go awry, but we will be able to handle all problems with assurance that they are handled correctly when we live in the light of God’s will.  He wishes for us only the best, and we must reocgnize that He has our best interests in mind always.

May I listen with my heart today.  There is no reason to let the ego rule any longer.  We ought to be getting past this, as far along in A Course of Love as we have come.  May the egoic rule of our mind end, and the more serene message of our heart take over instead.  May today go well.  You would have it so.

Amen.

Happiness So Fulfilling

“Each of you is aware of a threshold you would cross that leaves no route open for return.  That threshold is often a happiness so fulfilling that once you have experienced it you say, ‘I will take this despair no more.’  For others this threshold is the opposite, an experience of pain so great that they would rather die than continue on in such a way.  (A Course of Love, 10.21)”

Van-Gogh-sunflowersAffirmation:  “May I choose despair no more.”

Reflections:

1 – Dark Night of the Soul

When we reach the threshold that today’s passage proclaims, we are on our way to better times–that, or we choose to die (but normally not by suicide).  We have often heard that it is darkest just before the dawn, and it helps me to realize this when I feel a dis-ease or discomfort, or agitation (any negative emotion, in fact).  The turning point that is called the “threshold” is, though, an example of living in the midst of the dark night of the soul (a characterization by St. John of the Cross).  Most of us choose to put one foot in front of the other, and to go forward.  Very few choose to end their lives before the span of their years has run out.  (I speak now of choice in regard to physical ailments rather than the taking of one’s own life, for the physical ailments, even unto death, are a choice.)

2 – Accept Despair No Longer

Choosing to accept despair no longer is a choice for life, and a choice for a healthier life, both emotionally and physically.  It is also a better life spiritually, though we do not often think in those terms.  Sometimes the despair drives us to our knees, and we have an experience of God that has not come heretofore in our experience.  This is the blessing of dark nights of the soul.

3 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

But we do not have to learn through pain (from A Course in Miracles).  It is said in ACIM that learning through pain is temporary, and that learning through rewards is lasting.  Here in the threshold, though, I think we are dealing with something qualitatively different.  We have reached the limit that we can withstand  in regard to pain.  And we choose pain no more.

4 – Eckhart Tolle

The experience described in the above paragraph hints at the experience that Eckhart Tolle so clearly has described as leading to his Enlightenment (i.e., The Power of Now and A New Earth).  The way of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is not so extreme, but this very low point can and does come to students/teachers of these two works.  We cannot predict the future; we can only ask that God be gentle with us.  And then we need to cooperate in that gentleness.  He cannot reach us until we open the door from the inside.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose a happiness so fulfilling today that there is no turning back to despair.  I would reach the threshold that is You.  You are my goal as well as my Blessing.  Be with me as I walk along the path that You point out today.

May we live through dark nights of the soul, but may we not linger there.  They are teaching devices, but we are reaching the point that we come to know by observation, not learning, as A Course of Love tells us.  Be with me today as I seek to “learn” in the old way no more.

I cannot change overnight.  I need You to make the transition to a better life.  Help me to thank You for the blessings that You give so abundantly.  And may I never forget to thank my brothers and sisters who are also there for me.

Amen.

Living with Happiness and Love and Miracles

“Without your vigilance it [the ego] may even seem to have become stronger than before and fiercer in its criticism.  It pretends to hold you to new standards, only to use what you have learned to increase your guilt.  Thus it wins in daily battles and works for your final abdication, the day that you give up and admit defeat.  It challenges your right to happiness and love and miracles, and seeks only to have you claim that living with such fantasies does not work and will not ever be possible here.  (A Course of Love, 2.19)”

Affirmation:  “happiness and love and miracles”

Reflections:

1 – Reminiscent of ACIM

This passage reflects the attitude of A Course of Love in regard to the ego, an attitude that is in agreement with A Course in Miracles.  The ego was dislodged by our study of ACIM, and this previous reading was necessary as a precursor to A Course of Love.  (Mari Perron herself, the scribe, read A Course in Miracles seven times prior to channeling ACOL.)  But we need to go beyond just dislodging the ego, and that is, I believe, why Jesus channeled the later work, A Course of Love.  We need his definition fo “wholeheartedness” to replace the void that perhaps we have felt with no dependence on the ego.  We have to step forward and let the heart take over a bit from the mind.  We do not ignore the mind, but we combine the heart and the mind into what Jesus calls “wholeheartedness.”  So mind and heart work in conjunction with each other.

2 – Mind & Heart = Wholeheartedness

The paragraph above is a paraphrase of a good bit of what is told us in the opening pages of ACOL.  If we can keep these distinctions between mind and heart and wholeheartedness close to ourselves, we will come a long way toward understanding the new way of learning, dubbed “observation.”  But in this first volume of ACOL we are still learning in a somewhat anomalous way.

3 – The Ego = the Nemesis

As Jesus describes the ego, a part of our belief about ourselves, the ego sounds a lot like previous conceptions of the “devil.”  Yet all of this idea is internal.  There is not outer devil, in the understanding of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  We do it all to ourselves (though we do not blame the victim, as the Self makes decisions that the personal self knows not of).  We would recognize that in an egoic world, we cannot conceive of the good without the bad, God without the devil.  And this is also madness.  But it is the way that our minds work.  We need to better than this, and we can when we study ACIM and ACOL.

4 – Into the Time of Christ

We do have a right to happiness, love, and miracles.  And we would do well to step forward to claim that right.  The Christ within us, the Self, will guide us as we move beyond the time of the Holy Spirit, into the time of Christ.

5 – Move Forward

And may we move willingly, not clinging to the past because it is all that we have known.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would spend today being sweeter, and this means that I look aside from the ego.  I don’t resist the ego, for that would increase its power in my life–but I just turn away, focusing on the love that is at the center of my being.  I focus on the Self/Christ that is internal to me.  I focus on the happiness and love and miracles that are mine to choose.  And they are mine to choose.  We do not have to live a paltry life.  Glorious blessings are our birthright.

Be with me today as I seek to be a sweeter person.  That is all that one member of my family ever asked of me, and I have remembered his blessing fondly.  His desire was in stark contrast to the push to “succeed” and to “achieve” that everyone else in my family wanted.

But You want us only to follow Your pathway, and Your pathway is a way of ease and the cessation of difficulty.  You will lead us to every miracle that You have saved for us.  Our health can improve daily, our dispositions as well.  And we can be the sweet creatures that You, too, want us to be.

Amen.

We Live in an Eternity. Be Happy Today.

“As God created us so will we be forever and forever, and we wish for nothing but His Will to be our own.  Illusions of another will are lost, for unity of purpose has been found.  (M-28.5)”

Affirmation:  “unity of purpose”

Reflections:

1 – Eastern Thought

We live in an eternity.  Be happy today.  The previous two sentences are from an Eastern master.  But I have long loved those words, as though they had been in my own religious tradition.

2 – God Will = Our Real Will

Here Jesus is saying the same thing.  Because God’s Will and our will are actually identical, we do wish to do God’s Will.  We do not want to wander off in tangents, seeking who knows what.  We want to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, because it is the way home for us.  Nothing and Nobody else will do.  There is no other way, until we reach Christ-consciousness (as discussed, perhaps, by Jesus in A Course of Love).

3 – A Course of Love

We are united, yet in relationship to one another and to God.  A Course of Love talks repeatedly about “unity and relationship,” and to my eye this seems a paradox.  How can something united be in separate parts that would be demanded for a relationship to take hold?  I think that Answer is that we are One, and yet we have differentiated into seemingly separate entities, separate Selves, in order to experience all facets of reality (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or A Course of Love).  So the fact that A Course of Love counsels “unity and relationship” repeatedly is actually a fact that must be faced head-on.  We must be One with ourselves and our brothers and sisters, at the same time that we are in relationship one to the other.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be happy today, knowing that we live one day at a time.

May my day equal my magnificent expectation for it.

Thank You.

Amen.

Overcome Misery / Find Lasting Happiness

“‘Seek but do not find’ remains this world’s stern decree, and no one who pursues the world’s goals can do otherwise.  (M-13.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek and find, not the reverse.”

Reflections:

1 – We Find Only to Lose

We do not ever really “find” anything permanent in this world, when we are following this world’s dictates.  We find only to lose, later on–sometimes immediately, sometimes delayed.  Does this make any sense?  Would we follow the world’s dictates when we are sure to be losers in the process?

2 – Peace, Joy, Harmony, Tranquility

I think not.  We need to ask for the intangibles of God–the peace, joy, harmony, tranquility–and we will be richly rewarded.  We will know happiness, lasting happiness, for the first time indeed.  And happiness, according to A Course in Miracles, is a laudable goal.

3 – Egotism Leads to Misery

The ego is mixed up in this confusion.  Following the world’s dictates really means seeking for that which is egoistic.  And we know, by now, where that leads.  Straight to misery.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would find happiness in my daily round today.  I would keep in mind what You have led me to know:  the solution is always with the problem.  When I tell myself this, my mid calms down, and I can think–not worry.  And then the answers come.  May I live out this understanding in all that I do and say and even think today.

I would not be miserable, which I view as actually an affront to You.  You have should me much, and would I reject that knowledge in a low point of mind?  Emotions play tricks on us all too often, and I would choose the harmony that only Love can give.  Help me to be consistent today in my good humor.  Help me find time to laugh, to enjoy Your world.

Thank You.

Amen.

How Do I Discover Happiness?

“Once this confusion has occurred, it becomes impossible for the mind to understand that all the ‘pleasures’ of the world are nothing.  But what a sacrifice,–and it is sacrifice indeed!–all this entails.  Now has the mind condemned itself to seek without finding; to be forever dissatisfied and discontented; to know not what it really wants to find.  (M-13.3)”

Affirmation:  “The ‘pleasures’ of the world are nothing.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego

The passage for today highlights the manner in which the ego has us by the throat.  We “seek without finding” and we are “forever dissatisfied and discontented.”  Does this not characterize our journey here when we are seeking after something that, in retrospect, we identify as ego-identified?

2 – Happiness

We would not let the mind behave in such a way, if we would know happiness–and happiness is one of the functions that A Course in Miracles gives to us.  We reach this happiness by forgiveness, the one function is this world that cannot be turned against us.  It always works.  But we do not pardon or forgive “real sins,” as there is no such thing.  We know, once we have studied ACIM, that our “sins” are actually mistakes for which we would seek a remedy, a correction.  We are only attracted to correcting the mistake; we are not drawn, as with “sins,” to repeat the sin.

3 – Ego = Leads to Strife and Fury

We would not live in unhappy circumstances.  And if we follow the ego, this strife and fury are exactly what we will find.

4 – Our Better Way

Turn today from such insanity.  Do not allow the mind to become confused.  Our way, as pointed out in ACIM, is the way that leads to happiness, quiet, and calm.  And these will be our goals when we have assimilated ACIM through and through our minds and hearts.

5 – The Ego Is Constantly Being Undone

If we reflect upon it, we will know that the joys of this world are matched by equal lows.  The ego is constantly being undone, and it is our will, as well as God’s, that this undoing occur.  We cannot live a free life with a constrained will, an imprisoned will.  And that imprisoned will is exactly what obeying the ego commands.  We would be free, and the only freedom is in becoming aware and certain that what God wills, and what our real will is, are identical.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Happiness in this world does not mean that we give up all the pleasures of this world.  There are many pleasures that are in complete accord with what Jesus is saying.  If we felt that we were called to give up all pleasures, what would lead us to seek his way?  Your Way, though, gives me the understanding that the egoic influence upon things of this world is misguided.  So the power plays of this world do need to disappear from our thinking.  Help this to happen for me today.

May I enjoy the pleasures that are perfectly in line with A Course in Miracles.  These are better called “joys” rather than “pleasures.”  These joys give us a peace beyond compare.  We are no longer attracted to drama for its own sake, and our days smooth out as a result.  We find that the people in our lives seem to be behaving better.  We do not find so much about which to complain.  And so naturally we live with more ease.

I would not give up pleasures, but I would transform them.  And in the transformation is all that You would seek for me.  You would enable me to find happiness, as Jesus has given “happiness” as one of our functions.

Amen.

I Choose the Joy of God Instead of Pain

ACIM Workbook Lesson 190 – for Monday, July 9, 2012

Affirmation:  “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.”

“Lay down your arms, and come without defense into the quiet place where Heaven’s peace holds all things still at last.  Lay down all thoughts of danger and of fear.  Let no attack enter with you.  Lay down the cruel sword of judgment that you hold against your throat, and put aside the withering assaults with which you seek to hide your holiness.  (WB362)”

Reflections:

1 – When in Anger or Attack

Today’s passage will comfort in times of distress, especially when we are in anger or attack mode.  We are to get quiet, feel the peace of Heaven, and let the discouraging emotions die an easy death.  We will then feel better, and the effect will be extreme relaxation and serenity.

2 – Do Not Judge

If we judge on an ongoing basis, we will never know Awakening.  We are told elsewhere that judging precludes Awakening.  We are also told that if we seem to slip from grace, we have in all likelihood dipped into attack, judgment, or have started making plans against contingencies that are not supported by the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Text tenets).

3 – Help in Dropping Judgment

If dropping judging can do so much for us, how do we effect this?  We must remember that we have lots of help.  There are Teachers of teachers, watching from the Other Side (from the Manual).  There is our internal Guide, the Holy Spirit.  And Jesus offers his help, help that he will bring to us upon hearing “one unequivocal call” (quotations from ACIM).  So we call on this help; we do not even attempt to drop judging as a personal crusade.  Personal crusades are one way that the ego hides from us, and the outcome is never good (personal interpretation, not stated directly in ACIM).  We are bad to commune with God (in the opening pages of the Text).

4 – We Are Never Alone

We never, in short, need to feel alone, because we never are alone.  But we have to relinquish the ego-oriented self-will that is not open to God’s direction.  As ACIM says many times, God’s Will and our will are identical, but we just don’t recognize this.  The Holy Spirit chooses for us.  He lets us know what will make us happy, for happiness is a function that ACIM ascribes to us.

5 – No More Judging

We pray that judging step aside from us.  We pray that the ego, a part of our belief about ourselves, cease to call the shots.  And when we have become pliable and flexible in God’s Hands, we will know the peace that today’s passage promises.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to get through this day.  It appears to be difficult, but this is only a mirage.  No day with You is difficult.  And I bring my own pain upon myself.  Help me to do no judging of my brothers and sisters.  All are doing as well as they can.  And help me to do as well as I can.

Amen.

Happily Lay Judgment Down

“It is not difficult to relinquish judgment.  But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it.  The teacher of God lays it down happily the instant he recognizes its cost.  All of the ugliness he sees about him is its outcome.  All of the pain he looks upon is it result.  All of the loneliness and sense of loss; of passing time and growing hopelessness; of sickening despair and fear of death; all these have come of it.  And now he knows that these things need not be.  (M-10.6)”

 

Affirmation:  “I would relinquish judgment today.”

Reflections:

1 – Pain = Caused by Judgment

Today’s passage from the Manual of A Course in Miracles continues the theme of judgment.  It makes clear that our pain is a direct result of the judgment in which we have been engaged.   The negative ramifications are indeed dire.  We need to give up judgment.  It comes close to being mandatory, though ACIM does not make this direct statement.

2 – Review Today’s Passage Frequently

If we could avoid all pain by giving up judgment, is this not an end result that we would want?  Indeed, yes.  If we could avoid the fear of death by giving up judgment, would we not rush to such a remedy?  Today’s passage says this and much more.  It would be a good passage to return to over and over, when our resolve falters and we find that the ego has intruded, with our judgment being an unwelcome result.

3 – Judgment vs. Evaluation

Judgment and evaluation are different.  I used to wonder, when doing peer evaluations in my work, if I were actually judging.  I was not sure that judgment and evaluation were different.  But now I recognize that an evaluation, done in the spirit of incomplete knowledge, is a technique of management in the work environment.  We do not have to make emotional and negative attitudes a part of our evaluation.  When we have invited the strongly emotional and the negative, we have indeed switched into judgment.  Keep in mind that we cannot see the whole picture, the whole picture being reserved for the Holy Spirit.  So we walk tentatively when we try to evaluate our world, to determine what we need to say or do in regard to others with whom we live and work.  We know that we may be mistaken in our evaluations.  But, especially, we do not fault a person for poor performance in a judgmental way.  Using the term, “judgmental,” may be a clear way to discern the difference between judgment and evaluation.  We do not have to thrust our brothers and sisters away from us when we see poor performance.  Our cooperation with them is all that our evaluation ought to elicit from us.  Cooperation has been seen to be mightily superior to competition, though not everybody is able to accept this finding in the social sciences.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not judge past, present, or future today.  I would not judge anyone whom I think (just think, of course) has mistreated me.  This world is illusion, and there is no way of knowing what I personally did to bring on the attack.  

I would also note the difference between judgment and evaluation.  They are very different, and evaluation is a much more benign concept.  Our world does hinge on correct evaluation, though intuition is often the route that we would take to know how to frame an evaluation.

Thank You for the good way in which this day has begun.  May goodness come to all my brothers and sisters as well.

Amen.

Not Joyous? Study Your Lack of Love

“Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations.  (T89)”

Affirmation:  “not wholly joyous. . .lack of love”

Reflections:

1 – When Feeling Low

This passage is particularly insightful.  We can determine when we have been unloving, because we don’t feel any joy.

2 – Love Brings Joy

Of course, this sounds extreme.  Surely there are reasons for depression other than a lack of love toward God’s creations.  But are there really?  Virtually all of us are trapped in egoistic thinking, which is by definition unloving.  We do know joy, and by this we can recognize the difference.  When joy comes upon us, all seems right in our little world.  We then recognize that we love the world and everyone in it.

3 – Drop the Unloving Attitude

This statement can become a harbinger of the times to change our thinking to be more in line with the Holy Spirit. If we are wholly joyous, very likely we would wish to change nothing.  When we are not wholly joyous, we will want to change much, and the first thing that we need to change is our own unloving attitude.

4 – Being Happy

All of us wish to be happy, and one of the great benefits of studying A Course in Miracles is that we learn that this desire is not an inferior choice.  We are intended to be happy, and it is only the ego and its “gifts” that prevent joy from embracing us throughout the day.  We need only look to people of great faith, who have afflictions, to know that suffering is not necessarily a part of one’s experience.  The greater one looks beyond the physical (which is illusion, of course), the more likely we are to cease turning any pain into suffering, and hence avoiding joy.

5 – We Are Meant to Be Joyous!

We are meant to be joyous!  If we are not, let us make this prayer the first one that enters our minds every morning.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know the joy that you would have me to know.  To feel this love, I must love my brothers and sisters.  I must react with love toward them.

When I am not wholly joyous, let me realize that my ego has interfered, and that I have reacted without love.  I can change this, with Your help.  Please give me Your help.

Amen.

Gladden Yourself!

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

Affirmation:  “I will gladden myself today.”

Reflections:

1 – We Can Be Happier!

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

2 – Personal Experience

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

3 – When to Seek Help

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

4 – Make a List

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

5 – Pure Joy and Limitless Release

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

6 – Remember Today’s Passage

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Finding Happiness and Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 92 – for Monday, April 2, 2012

Affirmation:  “Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.”

Selected Passage:

“Truth is a savior and can only will for happiness and peace for everyone.  It gives its strength to everyone who asks, in limitless supply.  It sees that lack in anyone would be a lack in all.  And so it gives its light that all may see and benefit as one.  It strength is shared, that it may bring to all the miracle in which they will unite in purpose and forgiveness and in love.  (WB159-160)”

Reflections:

1 – Truth

We sometimes have trouble with the concept of truth, for we know that our own interpretations intervene, sometimes leading us to false assumptions.  Truth frequently seems to be all interpretation, and actually, when we have guidance, it is not all interpretation.  Truth, rightfully understood, leads to happiness and peace, and which of us does not want this boon?

2 – Share with Others

We are here encouraged to share in unity with our brothers and sisters, a tenet that is shared by the later A Course of Love (Note:  See “About” section of this blog).  When we share in unity, a miracle comes easily.  We no longer seem to be alone and abandoned by God; He is with us, because we are with Him.

3 – We Must Be United

We who are to save the world must be united, if we are to succeed.  There are many different curricula, but ours is A Course in Miracles (and perhaps the volumes seen by some as a sequel by Jesus, A Course of Love).  It would not do for us to try out many different pathways, though many of us have done just that over the years.  Why choose, again and again, when ours has been given to us (a Text tenet)?  We will have the strength to succeed in our endeavors when we turn to guidance of the Holy Spirit, following Jesus, who holds our hand as we walk along (a Text tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know happiness and peace today.  I would stand united with my brothers and sisters in the endeavor which we are undertaking to bring salvation to a troubled world.  I would not proselytize, though, for I do not wish to turn off others when they are not ready.  Help me to make the correct discernment about the readiness of others, before I share anything about God with them.

Be with all of us today to lead us to a good day.  May our blessings reassure us that You have always been there for us.  I know that You are within, and that nothing is without.  May the knowledge that You bring to me cleanse my perceptions, so that the projections that lead to my perceptions do not lead me astray.

Thank You.

Amen.

Vicious Dream Figures

“. . .[Y]ou would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming.  Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream. (T588)”

Affirmation:  “I am living a dream.”

Reflections:

1 – An Insane World

This is the solution to individuals who, in our opinion, treat us badly.  It leads easily to forgiveness.  It suggests to me that we can call these lamentable actions “insanity,” and then let it go at that.  Over time, we may find that calling bad words or actions from another just “insanity” will help to initiate our own sanity, our own living in the real world.  At such times of forgiveness, when we are truly living ACIM, we recognize that there is really nothing to forgive.  But most of us have not reached this pinnacle yet.  We still need to have the gesture of forgiveness, as much for ourselves as for the other(s) involved.

2 – An Illusion

Of course, there are times that we will react first, and then, maybe much later, remember this passage from A Course in Miracles.  It is hard to recognize that the “reality” that we see all around us is not really real, especially if things happen in that reality that hurt us.

3 – Patience

May we have patience with ourselves when we fail.  There will be times when we do not handle an attack from another in the best way.  We will retaliate, only to recognize later that we have acted amiss.  Then we need to retrace our steps, and make amends.  But first we need to recognize our own frailty, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide our minds ever more carefully.

4 – Resist Attack

ACIM suggests the remedy in these two sentences in the passage, above.  May we incorporate this passage so firmly in our minds that we are able to resist striking out verbally (or any other way).

5 – It Is Our Own Dream

We are in a dream that we ourselves made up.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would remember today that I live in a dream, and so if someone attacks me for any reason, I can know that I had something to do with finding myself in that situation.  Attack can be forgiven as a call for help.  Help me to have the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” today.  I would thank You repeatedly through the day for the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who will take me back home to You.

May I resist responding in attack.  Give me the forbearance to refrain from retaliating.  May my emotions remain calm, as well as joyous, and may Your presence keep me serene.

I love this life that You have immersed me in, and I thank You everyday for my many blessings.  Even though it is a dream, it is a good dream, and only with Awakening will I progress farther along the pathway to You.  May Awakening come sooner rather than later.

Amen.

Pain Begone!

ACIM Workbook Lesson 330 – for Saturday, November 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not hurt myself again today.”

“Let us this day accept forgiveness as our only function.  Why should we attack our minds, and give them images of pain?  (WB466)”

Reflections:

1 – The Role of Forgiveness re Pain

When we forgive, we do not invite images of pain.  When forgiveness is seen as our only function, we do not attack our minds.  We do attack our minds when we hold grievances, attack ourselves and others, and look to the dark side of events in our world.  In fact, when we attack ourselves by holding grievances, we can never feel safe (a paraphrase of the Workbook).  We feel perfectly safe when we have let all grievances go.

2 – Our Functions re ACIM

A Course in Miracles gives other functions beside forgiveness, but these are also synonyms.  Happiness and salvation are the two that are most frequently cited.  But how can we know forgiveness without also signing on for happiness?  And how can we forgive without also offering salvation, in our own way, to our brothers and sisters?

3 – Forgive / Do Not Attack the Mind

It is the most important new concept on this day to note that we attack our minds when we fail to accept forgiveness as our function.  We are here to forgive.  Keep in mind that forgiveness, as we know it, is an illusion, because there is really nothing real to forgive; we forgive only illusions.  But in this world we experience the illusion as real, as tangible, and so we must be practical always (as Jesus bids in the Manual).  We forgive, knowing that nothing bad has actually happened to anyone, but in our deluded minds we think that the world that we see is real and capable of causing harm.  We must do what we can, in this illusion, to right the wrongs.  This declaration is not an insensitive attempt to save the world from itself.  We must reach out when we are welcomed by our brothers and sisters.  We are not meant to save when we would be rejected by the attempt.  But we should never underestimate the extent of the insanity in this world, and so others may not know enough to reach out to us.  Then, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we need to do what we can to lighten the load of our brothers and sisters.

4 – Living on a Higher Plain

If we would avoid images of pain, as seen by our minds, we must forgive.  When we forgive consistently and peacefully, we live on a higher plane.  Let us reach toward that higher plain today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to forgive today, that I would help others and that I would also be helped.  I would not fill my mind with images of pain, which is the outcome when attack is made upon ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  

May I come to understand the other functions that find their primary home in forgiveness:  happiness and salvation.  I would ask You to help me to lead a happy life, in spite of appearances that invite the feeling that I am a victim when attacked.  Help me to realize that You honor the illusion, in that You wish us to treat well our brothers and sisters who believe in the illusion, and do not have the assurance that reality is a better place to make our home. 

May I live in Your real world today.  Assist me in making wise decisions that will lead to joy.  I know that this is Your will for all who make the earth our present home.  May illusions lose their hold upon my brothers and sisters, and me.  May together we walk into the light, always seeking the Christ-consciousness to which we will eventually be led.

Amen.

I Am Free, Limitless, and Loving–as God Wills

ACIM Workbook Lesson 280 – for Friday, October 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “What limits can I lay upon God’s Son?”

“No thought of God but is forever pure.  Can I lay limits on the Son of God, whose Father willed that he be limitless, and like Himself in freedom and in love?

“Today let me give honor to Your Son, for thus alone I find the way to You.  Father, I lay no limits on the Son You love and You created limitless.  The honor that I give to him is Yours, and what is Yours belongs to me as well.  (WB436)”

Reflections:

1 – Limitless Release and Pure Joy

One of my favorite passages in A Course in Miracles says that we are to go throughout the day thinking of and experiencing “limitless release” and “pure joy.”  The release is limitless because all things are freed with it.  The lesson for today encourages this same idea of limitlessness.  We are truly free, though as long as we listen to the ego, we have an imprisoned will.  And this imprisoned will ultimately becomes intolerable for us, and we recognize that there must be a better way.  Bad things happen to us with an imprisoned will, because we experience pain, and while, the threshold for pain may be high, it is not unlimited.  God set the limits on our possibility to miscreate, and sooner or later all of us will return, though the return may take millions of years.  It is up to us to shorten that time, and each of us, it is said, saves a thousand years.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

2 – We Would Not Have an Imprisoned Will

We would be free today, without an imprisoned will.  This means that we have recognized that God’s will and our own are actually identical, and, when we listen to the Holy Spirit, He is communicating to us what we really want.  We are not puppets, dangled by an indifferent god.  But we have failed to communicate with God, and He finds that His channels are closed.  We are asleep and need to be awakened.  God will effect this in us.  The ending, as said repeatedly in this blog, is sure.

3 – Creators of the Real World

We have the gifts of God.  He has nothing that He will not share with us.  We are meant to be creators of the real world, not makers of the illusory world.  Let us today walk into the sunshine with God, being led by the hand of Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the moments of limitless release and pure joy which I have felt earlier today.  May the remainder of the day and tomorrow be filled with such moments as well.  I would not have an imprisoned will because of the ego’s dictates.  I would recognize that Your Will for me and my own will are actually identical, when I am sane and in my right mind.  Take all madness from my deluded mind today.

I ask to be made ready to be a creator in the real world.  I would not make illusions anymore.  I have only found flights of egoistic happiness, happiness that ended in tears.  Because I know that illusions bring tears, I know that illusions are not Your Will.  Guide me into the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings, and then on into Awakening.  Thank You for Your patience with me, for sometimes I am way too stubborn for my own good.  Make me flexible enough to follow the guidance of Your Universal Inspiration consistently.

Amen.