Tag Archives: Helen Schucman

Dealing with Our Resistance, by Ivor Sowton

First of all, I want to thank Celia Hales so much for her wonderful post of 11/16/14, entitled “Self-Doubt Is the Only Thing that Will Not Sustain Christ-consciousness.”. If you haven’t seen it yet, please check it out on her blog, Miracles Each Day. She works with a key quote from Jesus in A Course of Love’s Treatise on the New, on trusting the way of the New that Jesus offers us. We deliberately turn our backs on the self-doubt that would have us choose instead the old, the ego thought system we have employed in the past.

I know what she is speaking of is true; I do trust Jesus on this. And you the reader may well want to go to her post and stop reading this one! That’s fine and may be just right for you!

This post is on our resistance to this wonderful spiritual path. It is unlikely to be a popular topic, but I put it forth because I find it is quite relevant for myself and, I think, for many of us.

You know the times when you wake up sad and low and may want to feel the Peace of God for sure, but do not seem to be able to access it at all? What to do at such times? Or when you have been studying these teachings diligently and have really been feeling more peace and joy and then WHAM–something really bad or frightening comes up big time. What do you do then? Or when you, after having really made the spiritual effort for some time, now feel the onset of the doldrums, like an old sailing ship suddenly dead in the water because the wind has totally died down. What do you do then? Or you have been making slow but steady progress, and all of a sudden a big compulsion comes up really strong. What do you do then?

So we’re speaking of resistance to our path, and how to deal with it. Celia’s keynote quote from Jesus is this one, from ACOL, Treatise on the New, 12.19: “But I ask you to try to remember to turn to the new rather than the old each time you think you are experiencing uncertainty or lack.”

A good place to start in dealing with our resistance, then, is to try to interface with our teachings for timely and relevant help in our current perceived distress. Our teachings are literally offering us a new way to deal with past patterns of inertia–our resistance.

Jesus, in both A Course of Love and A Course in Miracles, often recommends an unguarded sharing of our troubles with him, just as they come up. Try to go to an image of Jesus or Mary or whoever in your heart and ask for help right now. Not in a melodramatic way or a demanding way, but instead just assuming that he or she or it does really mean it when they assure us of their eternal love for us. We might start by praying: “Dear____, I know that you are here with me. Guide Thou my thoughts and feelings now as I negotiate this.”

ACIM teacher Jacob Glass is very helpful for me in my times of travail, because he seems to normalize feelings of distress and inadequacy as they come up in our spiritual lives.

Jacob encourages us to just try and be steady, meeting our commitments, rain or shine. Our society demands steadiness, showing up for work however we might be feeling emotionally, parenting the kids evenly, even when we’re under the weather. There’s a real sustaining wisdom in this, I think. Go for the B+ day every day. A+ days will happen, but we’re setting ourselves up for failure if we demand this of ourselves every day. It’s like the Zen Buddhist credo: “Just sit zazen (Zen meditation). Good day, just sit zazen. Bad day, just sit zazen.” Thus we maintain our steady forward momentum, not always romantically rosy, but long-term solid and dependable. It’s choosing the New, just as Jesus is saying here, by not over-reacting to the seemingly negative whatever of the present. Just trying to trust God and keep on keeping on.

The ACIM/ACOL community recently physically lost a real luminary in Ken Wapnik, PhD, who was the close confidant of Helen Schucman, PhD, scribe of A Course in Miracles. Ken has been an amazingly dynamic teacher of this path ever since then until his transition at Christmas time last year. Luckily his tremendous wisdom lives on in a large body of publications and recordings, and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM) that he and his wife Gloria set up remains strong and vibrant (check it out online). Ken often said that psychology can really help us by instilling a healthy respect for the devious craftiness of our egos! He asks us to be really honest in asking ourselves– do we REALLY want to be done with separative ego consciousness forever? Or were we actually angling for better “position” as a more sophisticated, spiritual, “superior” ego? Touche!

Ken counseled a lot of self-forgiveness as we come to discover just how into self-sabotaging our egos can be!

It’s like we are cruising along fair to middling and then we suddenly and apparently deliberately “shoot ourselves in the foot”, saying or doing something outlandish that can really upset us and those around us! Why on earth would we do such a thing!? Simply because the ego needs suffering to maintain separateness–that’s why! Eckhart Tolle calls this our “pain body,” and we all have one, or we wouldn’t be here!

Jesus in ACOL states that our misguided choice for suffering is what went wrong with our experiment in physicality. In and of itself, to choose a physical self as an expression of our Divine Self “would be perfectly within the Laws of God, or Love”. But we got scared, it seems, and made up a lot of “laws of man” or “laws of survival” in our attempt to maintain an adolescent kind of individuality, which we thought we wanted. Now, though, as the prodigal sons and daughters returning to our eternal Home, we can start to let all those lesser laws go in favor of God’s, which alone can offer all the peace and joy that we really want.
So we needn’t be surprised when our ego acts up. We might even think of it as a little child, in need of our reassurance that everything will be all right.
Resistance, then, is actually part of our path. Part of our letting go. Part of our deliberately turning to the New.

“This is not such a frightening task. Let fear go and walk with me now.” (Jesus speaking to you and me personally in the Second Treatise of ACOL, 13.6)

The Curriculum to Guide Us to the Fulfillment of Our Purpose

“Learning to see anew is the precursor of learning to create anew. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 2:33)”

1 – A New Way

We are deep into an attempt to learn in a new way, through observation of what is rather than through traditional learning through teachers, reading, and study. But for this change to occur, we need to have a new vision, and seeing anew is that new vision.

2 – A New Vision

The new vision emphasizes God’s love, harmony, peace, joy—not material possessions. Material possessions are the bailiwick of the ego, and until we learn anew to leave the ego behind, we won’t ever set foot in the new world that is coming. We will remain in a previous era, struggling along through effortful ways to accomplish dubious goals.

3 – Shared Vision

“Remember, only from a shared vision of what is can you begin to produce unity and relationship through unity and relationship. This is your purpose now, and this the curriculum to guide you to the fulfillment of your purpose. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 2.33)”

4 – Only Way?

Jesus never says that his way is the only way; he just says that his readers of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love have chosen him as their guide, and it would be unwise to confuse our minds with ways meant for others (a tenet of ACIM).

5 – Jesus’s Approach

He has an almost “hands-off” approach to whether or not we accept his teachings. He does not force anyone to believe him. I think that he has enough faith in his teachings and in his relationship to the Father to know that those who read with any open mind and heart will accept what he says. There is an authority here that is found only when one interacts with Jesus. It is akin to the experience portrayed in the New Testament, when it is said that Jesus spoke with authority.

6 – ACOL

In this passage, he is speaking of A Course of Love as the curriculum to guide us. Certainly, in my reading, A Course of Love is the logical, practical next step to A Course in Miracles. A Course of Love works. It is not as complicated a reading as is ACIM, but it is no less authoritative. Jesus partakes of his channel, Mari Perron, to the extent that she has lent her mind and heart to the process. He writes very beautifully through her. Mari did not use the blank verse that is a hallmark of A Course in Miracles. The co-scribe to A Course in Miracles, Helen Schucman, was a Shakespearian scholar, and so perhaps it is natural that transcribed in iambic pentameter. A Course of Love is also part of the curriculum, as Mari heard internally–”another Course in Miracles.”

7 – Practical Works

Both works, A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, are eminently practical to the daily life. Jesus said in ACIM that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. This experience I believe he continues to give to us, through Mari, in ACOL.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we join with our brothers and sisters today for a shared vision. May we build upon A Course in Miracles by reading A Course of Love. May both works bring us ever closer to Awakening and to Christ-consciousness.

Thank You for the knowledge God brings to us through these readings.

Be with me as I seek, once again today, to walk Your way. Your way is always the effortless way, but my own anger and attack sometimes rear their ugly heads. I would be done with that way of reacting, as would many other people as well. I am through with the ego; it is only vestiges of old ways of reacting that trip me up still. Help me, I beg of You. I know that the help You will give is in Your will. You know what I need. You know how to need to react.

May this day be a new walk in the sunlight with You.

Amen.

Attempts to Supplant God’s Will May Indeed Seem Frightening, but They Are Merely Pathetic.

1 – Avoidance of Magic = Avoidance of Temptation

“The avoidance of magic is the avoidance of temptation. For all temptation is nothing more than the attempt to substitute another will for God’s. (M42)”

2 – God’s Will = Our Real Will

Elsewhere in the Course we learn that God’s will is actually the same as ours. It is the same as ours if we only knew ourselves better. Studying the Course will open up ways to know ourselves better. And much study will convince us that we are not like Job of the Old Testament, unwilling recipients of guidance, but instead willing recipients of guidance because we know that what we “hear” is legitimate and will bring us closer Home.

3 – Ego

“Magic” thoughts are those inspired by the ego (an interpretation of the Course, but not stated directly therein). Often magic ideas are superstitious ideas that have become a part of us through long years of following the ego.

4 – God’s Way

If we set our will each morning to following God’s way, we will be well on our way to avoiding temptation. We will know that what God wants for us is what we too desire. Anything less is magic.

5 – Pathetic

“These attempts may indeed seem frightening, but they are merely pathetic. (M42)”

6 – Heaven Restored

“Rooted in sacrifice and separation, two aspects of one error and no more, he merely chooses to give up all that he never had. And for this ‘sacrifice’ is Heaven restored to his awareness. (M42)”

7 – Irrationality

Magic, as defined by Jesus, is irrationality (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM). And the magic, the irrationality, is rooted in the belief in sacrifice and in the separation from God. Sacrifice and the separation are both the “detour into fear” (from ACIM) which happened when the ego arose in our thought processes. But we don’t really have anything worth having when we have the ego.

8 – Heaven

When we give up the error that is the ego, Heaven is restored to our awareness. Can we believe this? Can we willingly give up egoic and egoistical strivings? If we can assess carefully, we will acknowledge that the puffed-up ego does not mean much in the final analysis. When we are on our death bed, we won’t put much store in anything that the ego had us striving to do; we will know that it was all vanity. Why not reach that conclusion while most of us have many years left of life? Why not enjoy Heaven on earth, the promise that is here held out to us by Jesus himself?

9 – Helen and Bill

The truth of these statements is found in the living out of them—nothing more. Reflect on where you have been and where you hope to go. See if ego is still managing your pathway. And just wonder, just wonder, if there might not (and Helen and Bill found, co-scribes of ACIM) be another way?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am still not flexible enough to turn aside from my own self’s wishes to follow the guidance that I am perceiving from the Holy Spirit–at least not always. Please help me toward this willingness. I know that it is the very best thing for me.

Please be with me throughout this day, as I perceive, through my intuition, the will of the Holy Spirit. This may be my greatest need. Please help me to perfect following guidance as I go about my normal life.

Amen.

Sickness Is a Shadow on the Holy Face of Christ

“The body’s cause is unforgiveness of the Son of God. It has not left its source, and in its pain and the mark of death upon it this is clearly shown. (Song of Prayer, S-3.I.2)”

1 – Song of Prayer

Now we return to the Song of Prayer, a tract scribed by Helen later than A Course in Miracles, also channeled by Jesus. This passage emphasizes the pivotal important of unforgiveness, in that it is seen to be the cause of the body. The body’s source is seen to be unforgiveness, and we experience pain and death as a result.

2 – A Course of Love

This emphasis is different from the later-channeled A Course of Love, in which we are bade to embody an elevated Self of form and the physical is not denigrated nearly so much.

3 – The Difference?

What is the difference here? I think that the first emphasis, that the body is to be lamented, is an ideal. This is one level of A Course in Miracles. But we are not living that ideal; we occupy a physical reality in which we all have bodies that do hurt when probed or struck, and which do die.

4 – Unforgiveness

We need a way to look at the unforgiveness, once unforgiveness has been replaced with forgiveness. This is when the elevated Self of form makes sense. We are living in a forgiven world at that point, and we are seeing the real world—the world of peace, harmony, joy, etc. We no longer hold the mistakes of our brothers and sisters against them. And we have forgiven ourselves as well. We are at home in God.

5 – Body

Then we can enjoy the body, when inside is the Self, the Christ Self that had only been covered up by the part of our belief about ourselves that is called the ego. We have elevated the physical, and we no longer need to lament that we have a physical body. We can merge the ideal with the practical, and we can live a good life, even though encased in matter.

6 – Healing as an Effect of Forgiveness

“The body can be healed as an effect of true forgiveness. Only that can give remembrance of immortality, which is the gift of holiness and love. Forgiveness must be given by a mind which understands that it must overlook all shadows on the holy face of Christ, among which sickness should be seen as one. (S-3.I.3)

7 – Healing

This passage, also from the Song of Prayer, emphasizes the central place of healing in Jesus’s message. If we truly forgive, we are placing ourselves under a higher law, one that embraces healing from sickness as an integral part of this world. Remember, though, that it is the mind that is healed always. This may or may not include the healing of the body. Physical symptoms of sickness may continue, even though the mind has been healed. (These tenets are from the Manual of ACIM.)

8 – The Mind

Note the emphasis in this passage on the mind: “a mind which understands that it must overlook all shadows.” Sickness is seen as one of these shadows, and we overlook that sickness. This is akin to the fact that we are encouraged, even taught, to overlook our brother’s mistakes, his attacks and anger directed at ourselves.

9 – Overlooking

This process of overlooking is crucial to living a peaceful life. We do not set ourselves up for more grief by overlooking. Indeed, we set ourselves up for more grief by refusing to overlook. We are encouraged to remember the good deeds of our brother, not to focus in our thoughts on his misdeeds. If we focus on his misdeeds, we have made them real to ourselves, and then how can we overlook what we have made real?

10 – The Secret

We cannot. That is the secret. Overlook and move on. Only if one’s own self is in danger should we consider some other course of action, for God’s way does in no way demand sacrifice of our own best interests.

11 – Judgment

“Nothing but that; the sign of judgment made by brother upon brother, and the Son of God upon himself. For he has damned his body as his prison, and forgot that it is he who gave this role to it. (S-3.I.3)

12 – Do Not Judge!

Do not judge! That is the idea behind this brief two-sentence passage. When we do not judge, we will awaken (from the ACIM Text). We do not have to damn the body as a prison. We can rejoice instead that we have been given a serviceable instrument in which to do God’s bidding, for His bidding is what we really, in our heart of hearts, want to do. The Holy Spirit will guide us very specifically. We will be told all that we need to know, all that we need to say and do.

13 – Body

We can give the role of prison to our bodies, but it does not have to be so. Even the weakest and sickest bodies in the world can find some meaning in living. The most infirm people, upon occasion, have done more for this world than those with robust health and robust bodies. Think of Stephen Hawking, the most famous physicist in the world, who suffers from disabilities that are in the extreme. Yet he accomplishes much. Think of Helen Keller, robbed of her hearing and sight at the age of two, who went on to be an inspiration to millions. With examples like this, how can we lament our small illnesses? They can be overcome, if we do not let our minds succumb to the illness as well as our bodies.

14 – Help in the Voice

“What he has done now must God’s Son undo. But not alone. For he has thrown away the prison’s key; his holy sinlessnes and the remembrance of his Father’s Love. Yet help is given to him in the Voice his Father placed in him. (S-3.I.4)”

15 – Holy Spirit

This passage emphasizes, once again, the powerful place of the Holy Spirit in taking us back home to God. We cannot heal ourselves; we have thrown away the prison’s key, the key to our bodies, and, indeed, our minds. The Holy Spirit is God’s Voice, placed in us to lead us home to Him. Listen today. Follow today. See if the day does not improve.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a good day in Your love. I would remember that guidance will take me from any ruined day at any moment that I turn to the Holy Spirit within. He guides, he teaches me to love, he teaches me to forgive. The way is clear to a sunny day with such a Helper as this.

Be with my brothers and sisters as I seek to forgive them any mistakes that have included their actions toward me. May I love with a love greater today than anything I have known in the past. May I love with Your love, shown to me by Your Holy Spirit, my Guide, Your Voice.

Amen.

Certain Pupils Have Been Assigned to Each of God’s Teachers, and They Will Begin to Look for Him as Soon as He Has Answered the Call.

1 – Answering the Call

“Certain pupils have been assigned to each of God’s teachers, and they will begin to look for him as soon as he has answered the Call. They were chosen for him because the form of the universal curriculum that he will teach is best for them in view of their level of understanding. His pupils have been waiting for him, for his coming is certain. (M5)”

This is a reassuring passage. There are people out there who are only waiting for us to respond to God’s call, reiterated by Jesus. When we have responded to that call, we will find these new people showing up in our lives.

2 – Maybe Old Friends/Family

And not always are they “new” people. Some may have been in our lives for years, but because we were not ready, we did not teach properly. We may have even led these long-time brothers and sisters into greater mistakes, because we ourselves knew no better. Let us let this insanity end today.

3 – Distinct Teaching

All of us have a certain way of teaching salvation. There are no two ways identical, just as there are no two fingerprints identical. The fact that these pupils have been waiting is a Course concept that we may not fully understand. The fact that our coming was “certain” is also a Course concept that may be difficult to understand. Again we must take Jesus at his word, and know that these understandings, once accepted, will speed us, as well as others, on the way to total joy and fulfillment.

4 – Separation from God

“The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God’s Son, in that same instant was God’s Answer given. In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all. (M5)”

God’s Answer is the Holy Spirit, an Idea Who is the Universal Inspiration. The Holy Spirit is in our minds in a very real sense. Traditional Christianity recognizes the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and we know of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given to the new church.

5 – Tiny, Mad Idea

This passage gives additional, very interesting information. It affirms that the Holy Spirit has been with God’s children since the idea, the tiny, mad idea, entered into their minds. But in time, we are told, this happened a very long time. Since time is an illusion, it actually never happened at all.

6 – Moving Backwards in Time

We are moving backwards in time to that instant of the tiny, mad idea. Time is like a carpet that rolls up, going backward. (These are ACIM tenets.) So we are hearing theological underpinnings to A Course in Miracles. We do not have to believe theology, because Jesus is concerned only that together we have a universal experience. A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. (ACIM tenets.) This is fascinating read from ACIM, but we don’t need to get lost in the mystery of it all. We need to focus on the experience of forgiving our brother, returning to our love for him/her.

7 – World of Illusion

“The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. (M5)”

More theological underpinnings that build on the previous passage. We cannot understand these assertions. They just stand in ACIM, for us to accept, believe, and build upon, or to reject as too strange. Let us not reject anything in ACIM because, at first reading and even subsequent readings, it seems strange.

8 – A Dream

We are caught in illusion, in a dream. And time is part of that illusion. Einstein taught this. And so our physics is keeping pace.

9 – The Curriculum

“As the course emphasizes, you are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you learn it. You are free however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned. (M5)”

We have free will. We can choose when we want to learn. The fact that this passage seems to indicate that we do not have free will in everything is not to be lamented. I do not fully understand that we seem not to have free will in all particulars. I assume that some of us, years ago, chose certain a certain curriculum, including the form in which we would learn. And for many of us, that curriculum is A Course in Miracles, and the form becomes the particular way, individual to all of us, in which we learn ACIM.

10 – No Struggle

We need struggle not to learn. As we accept ACIM with a full and grateful heart, it is already learned. Indeed, ACIM is very easy to memorize. Many students have memorized large chunks of the work. But we don’t need to be fundamentalists about its words. The Second Edition underwent extensive editing by both Helen Schucman and Ken Wapnick, working together. I personally believe that that editorial work was informed by Jesus, but I have no proof. A first draft is rarely as good as a carefully edited version, and even Jesus’s words might be, and probably are, no exception. So I have seen no need to revert to an “original version.” The Second Edition is a polished document and is well-accepted by the course community.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my pupils find me. May I speak Your Word to them in such a way that they can come to greater love and understanding.

It is reassuring that I have a place in salvation. Thank you for making this clear to me.

Amen.

The World Is Very Tired. . .Our Task: the Joyous One of Waking It to the Call for God

1 – Weariness

“The world is very tired, because it is the idea of weariness. Our task is the joyous one of waking it to the Call for God. (T77)”

Have we not often awakened in the morning with a sense of weariness, thinking, ungratefully, “another day.” Our lack of gratitude for the day is what is keeping us from a great day. And our lack of gratitude is making our world weary.

2 – Don’t Rue the Day

We have better things to do with our time than to rue the day. We have a joyous function—to wake up this weary world to the Call for God. This is the sense that we are to save the world, that the salvation of the world is in our hands.

3 – A Smile

We do not proselytize those individuals who are not ready, though. Many are not, needing only a smile from us to make their day. The way of A Course in Miracles is not everybody’s way. Far from it. And there are many thousands of other courses that point the way. Indeed, even for ACIM students, each teaches a different version of the course.

4 – Joyousness

So affirm the day with an invitation to joyousness. It will make all the difference, not only for ourselves but also for others.

5 – Tired?

Do we feel tired when we wake up in the morning? That common feeling is what we see discussed in this passage. Elsewhere Jesus assures us that we are not really capable of being tired, but we are very capable of wearying ourselves. When we feel joy, we most often drop weariness.

6 – Waking the World

Our function in the world is variously described in A Course in Miracles. Here it is defined as the task of waking the world to the call for God. (Elsewhere, our function is defined as forgiveness, or even just happiness.)

7 – Helen Schucman

ACIM, according to Helen Schucman (the scribe) was sent at this time because the world is in a very bad situation. All are called to help to create better conditions. May this be our function today: to make those we meet or even think about have a better experience of their day.

8 – All Power

“My mind will always be like yours, because we were created as equals. It was only my decision that gave me all power in Heaven and earth. My only gift to you is to help you make the same decision. (T77)”

This is Jesus speaking. It is a welcome idea that Jesus is there for us, and that we are equals, or are meant to be equals. He has walked the whole pathway, and he stands at the end to rectify any mistakes that we could not alter (ACIM tenets).

9 – Heaven and Earth

The “same decision” would be the intent to have all power in Heaven and earth. Jesus is still our leader, though, for we do not usurp his power. But we have our own power to walk into. We have very big shoes to fill. And, when we do fill those shoes, we will know a joy that is unbounded. We will be home.

10 – The Mind

“I have assured you that the Mind that decided for me is also in you, and that you can let it change you just as it changed me. This Mind is unequivocal, because it hears only one Voice and answers in only one way. (T77)”

The “One Voice” is the Holy Spirit:

“The Holy Spirit is the call to awaken and be glad. (T77)”

We are to respond to this call to awaken. We must realize, though, that we cannot effect the Awakening by our own volition. God takes that step, but we will be ever more ready when we have mastered the means that Jesus is describing to us in A Course in Miracles. He says elsewhere that revelation may occasionally show the end to us, but to reach the end, we must have the means. And the means are being carefully explained to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I drop weariness from my list of troubles. May I substitute joy as the feeling that I would experience.

May we come this day to a new understanding of our task in this world. May we take the part that God has given to us–waking the world to the Call for God.

Amen.

Song of Prayer: Prayer Is the Greatest Gift with Which God Blessed His Son

A beautiful passage follows from A Song of Prayer:

“Faith in your goal will grow and hold you up as you ascend the shining stairway to the laws of Heaven and the gate of peace. (S-1.in.2)”

1 – Laws of Heaven

Note that we are to abide by the “laws” of Heaven. That means that the laws of this world are superseded. We do not have to follow the ego’s ways any longer; we are free, because our will has been set free. And we are at peace. We have inner peace. This blessing is one that we should not push away from ourselves, but welcome. The first obstacle that peace must flow across is our desire to get rid of it (from the Text of A Course in Miracles).

2 – Another Way

We are so restless in this world, in these days. We need to know that there is another way, the other way that Bill and Helen (co-scribes of ACIM) were led to discover. Bill reached that peace, though Helen never did—despite the truth that she understood A Course in Miracles very, very well. We need to give up our own restlessness.

3 – Restlessness

Giving up our restlessness is easy when we understand what blessings await us, even while still in this world. We need to get quiet within, to become perfectly calm and quiet. And often, to do so, we need to commune with God, to pray. He will not let us down.

4 – Our Need

“To you who are in time a little while, prayer takes the form that best will suit your need. S-1.in.2)”

We are the ones who are in time now. And we can even “use” prayer, in a practical sense, to get us where we want and need to go along God’s pathway home. It is not against grace to see the practicality of prayer. It is an exceedingly fruitful way to sense God’s presence in everyday life. And to see His blessings come raining down upon us.

5 – Don’t (Always) Ask

“The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need. To ask for the specific is much the same as to look on sin and then forgive it. Also in the same way, in prayer you overlook your specific needs as you see them, and let them go into God’s hands. (S-1.I.4)”

This is a step beyond “asking.” We know that our needs will be met; it is only our wants that are at issue. And our wants are frequently things that do not serve us.

6 – Are You Ready?

Not everybody is ready for this next stage of prayer. I frequently am not, and I do not feel that this is a shortcoming. When my faith is strong (and strong faith vacillates among all of us), then I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that my practical needs will be satisfied without my asking. But when I am in anxiety, I am not so sure. This is when I have feet of clay. And I am convinced that God hears my prayers for the tiny things that I think I need. He answers me in tangibles, when they are called for—and in intangibles, when his comfort is all that I really need.

7 – Not Supplication

“Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. (S-1.I.5)”

This is the highest form of prayer: to reach toward God, as in The Cloud of Unknowing (a medieval, anonymous treatise) with a dart of longing. We do not supplicate when in this frame of mind, for all that we want is God. He alone satisfies our every need.

8 – At Peace

And we are at peace. But we cannot always reach this height. Sometimes we do not reach this height at all:

9 – Can You Reach This Level of Prayer?

“This is not a level of prayer that everyone can attain as yet. (s-1.I.6)”

Do not be chagrined if you find that you still needs prayers of supplication. God hears all types of prayers. I think that his major wish is that we feel Him near, that we commune with Him, that we are friends. After all, ACIM says that God is lonely when His children do not communicate with Him. He recognizes that channels are closed, and He thinks that His children sleep and need to be awakened. (These are paraphrases from the Text of A Course in Miracles.)

10 – Sleep

May we seek today to rouse ourselves from sleep. In the highest sense, the words that I paraphrased were meant to be a precursor to Awakening, a step that God takes for us. But in another sense, we can rouse ourselves from the deepest sleep to feel the quiver of our eyelashes as we come into consciousness. We do this every morning, and then we see another dream, for this world is a dream, an illusion, maya.

11 – Prayer of Thanksgiving

We need to realize that God is with us, however we pray. We can recognize that our needs are already met, and then we will move easily to the prayer of thanksgiving. This is a higher form of prayer than supplication. It is the prayer of gratitude, which puts us on God’s wavelength immediately. When we are thankful, God moves to answer more and more of our needs and even some of our wants. Always He is a loving God who would not leave His children to drift apart in a world without escape.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me today. I seek to express my gratitude to You for the manifold blessings that You have bestowed on me, even when I did not take time for gratitude. Now I do take that time. From the bottom of my heart, thank You for my good life. And may I do what I can to lead my brothers and sisters to a good life. We are all in this together. And we will sink together or we will swim together in the waters of the unconscious, You.

May this day go well. May I be tolerant of everyone with whom I come in contact. May I be forgiving, always forgiving of those who have distress that rests on error. Help me to have the healing of my anxious emotions that I need, and this is a need. I can serve better when I am calm and relaxed. Help me to be easy and relaxed today.

Thank You for being there for me. Thank You for staying close to me so that I can feel You.

Amen.

A Course in Miracles – How It Came

A Course in Miraclea began with the sudden decision of two people to join in a common goal. Their names were Helen Schucman and William Thetford, Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

1 – Sudden Decision with Far-Ranging Consequences

This sudden decision was to have far-ranging implications for the world of spirituality. The two individuals chosen were not eager for the assignment. They had much investment in their academic careers, and they were afraid that their work on what would become A Course in Miracles would jeopardize those careers. In addition, Helen’s husband objected, so much so that when she died a number of years later, absolutely nothing was said in her eulogy about her scribing of ACIM. There is controversy about such omissions in the ACIM community.

2 – Helen’s Personal Description of Herself

Helen describes herself:

“Psychologist, educator, conservative in theory and atheistic in belief, I was working in a prestigious and highly academic setting. And then something happened that triggered a chain of events I could never have predicted. The head of my department unexpectedly announced that he was tired of the angry and aggressive feelings our attitudes reflected, and concluded that ‘there must be another way.’ As if on cue, I agreed to help him find it. Apparently this Course is the other way.”

What Helen describes here is typical for academia, not all setting, but many. I have seen first hand such acrimony. But I have also worked in a setting that was very congenial. Be that as it may, the setting for Helen and Bill was very dysfunctional. Bill, as department chair, was in the thick of political battles. He would eventually seem to become an Awakened individual who gave up his academic career and talked about ACIM publically, though he tried to maintain some secrecy in the beginning, using only his first name and not telling Helen’s name.

3 – An Unlikely Choice?

Helen, as an atheist, would seem an unlikely choice by Jesus. But she recognized that somewhere she had signed on for this assignment. And, despite a few faltering steps, she remained true to the assignment. On some level she understood ACIM very, very well and could expound on it easily. But A Course in Miracles never gave her the peace that it gave so many others. She remained a tortured soul. Unlike Bill, who came into his own in his final years.

4 – This Is A Course in Miracles

Helen continues:

“Although I had grown more accustomed to the unexpected by that time, I was still very surprised when I wrote, This is a course in miracles.’ That was my introduction to the Voice. It made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook.”

5 – Phone Call Interruptions

Helen said elsewhere that she could answer a phone call in mid-sentence and yet return to have the internal Voice pick up right where he left off. She used a homemade shorthand, and it is from that that Bill typed the message of the day, each morning, with the shade pulled down over his office door window.

“The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made me very uncomfortable, but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete It represented a truly collaborative venture between Bill and myself, and much of its significant, I am sure, lies in that. I would take down what the Voice ‘said’ and read it to him the next day, and he typed it from my dictation.”

6 – Helen’s Death

Helen was at peace at the time of death. She said that Jesus had promised her that he would come for her. And the expression of peace on her face said it all: Jesus had come.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for A Course in Miracles. I find the background to its scribing fascinating, but remain sorry that Helen did not enjoy the peace from her channeling that so many others who followed, have.

Thank You for this good day. May each of us find a contribution to You that will be personally meaningful.

Amen.

Is It Not Clear that While You Still Insist on Leading or on Following, You Think You Walk Alone, with No One by Your Side?

1 – Afraid to Walk Beside

“He [your brother] is afraid to walk with you, and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back, and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey’s goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you. (T-31.II.9)”

This passage capsules the essence of how A Course in Miracles is saving us time: We are focusing on our relationship to our brother (or sister). We are forgiving that significant other, because his distress is based on error, and calls for help—not retribution or retaliation. We live in an illusion, a dream, maya, and so nothing bad has actually ever happened to us. Forgiveness has a sound basis. We seek to forget the trespasses that our brother has made against us (or so we thought he has made against us). And this is an echo of the Lord’s Prayer from the New Testament: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” So here we see, in essence, how much ACIM builds on previous Scripture.

2 – Cooperation

We often think that we want our brother to be the leader. But then, just as often, we think that we want to lead. Here Jesus is saying that neither is the way to get home. We walk together, with neither leading or following. We cooperate. We have a meeting of true minds (from Shakespeare’s Sonnet #116).

3 – Don’t Walk Alone

“Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. (T-31.II.11)”

Our light is given when we are with our significant others. It is not stated in ACIM, but we do not have to have a single significant other to follow ACIM’s way. Many of us walk through life as a single person. But we do know, if this logic is carried out, that we function best when we are not in competition with each other, but instead cooperate, making decisions jointly with others.

4 – Confusion

“And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. (T-31.II.11)”

This is our fate is we don’t walk with others: to stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Who would want that? There is another way, as Helen and Bill found out. They were the co-scribes of A Course in Miracles, with Helen taking dictation from Jesus, and each morning, at work, going to Bill to have him type up the notes. Their rancorous academic environment smoothed out, at least somewhat, though they themselves never reached a smooth relationship in its totality.

5 – Blindfolded?

“Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light. (T-31.II.11)”

This is the Holy Spirit, the guidance of Universal Inspiration. This is the part of the Trinity Who speaks to us of the way to walk. Many have had the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but many do not yet know all that this blessing holds out. Learn today. There are a variety of ways that guidance speaks to us. (Please read “The Gift of Guidance” in this blog. See “Articles and Book Reviews,” an icon at the top of the blog.)

6 – Personal Experience

Lately I have observed that, more and more, words come into my mind which are instructive and just a bit beyond me. They seem inspired, though I do not want my ego to have a field day with this interpretation. I have also learned that I can write a dialogue with my Inner Wisdom (as a friend calls the Holy Spirit, or the inner Christ Self), and come to better insight than my mind, working alone, can discover. The ways of receiving God’s guidance are manifold. Experiment today. Just be careful that the guidance that you think you get is not harmful to anybody at all, lest of all yourself. That would be the ego’s confiscation of mind, and the end of true guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to walk with my significant others today. Help me to stay serene and relaxed so that I am flexible in my interactions. Help me not to be overbearing and rigid. This day can and will be good to the extent that I do not plan ahead. You have told me that. Thank You.

Be with my brothers and sisters also. We are all in this together, and we will get out of it together or not at all.

Amen.

Salvation Does Not Lie in Being Asked to Make Unnatural Responses which Are Inappropriate to What Is Real

1 – Forgiveness

Many of us who are long-time students of A Course in Miracles carry around a very earthbound idea about forgiveness. We forgive, maybe for years, our significant others, and then we think that they are not changing enough to suit us. We think that we have been setting a good example, and still they show anger and attack us verbally when we don’t perceive a good cause. Then we are stuck, because we think that we have forgiven them for anything and everything, but this lack of what is perceived to be little meaningful change for the better draws us up, and we begin to blame them. This is the “forgiveness to destroy” that the pamphlet on psychotherapy channeled by Helen makes so clear. And all of us have a little of the tendency to “forgive to destroy.”

2 – The Answer

What can we do? How can we see differently? Note the following:

“Salvation does not lie in being asked to make unnatural responses which are inappropriate to what is real. . .[Y]ou are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. (T-30.VI.2)”

If we can see that someone else’s progress or lack of it is not our concern, that it is only up to us to live with them peaceably, then we can say, over and over if need be, “distress that rests on error.” Most of us live with individuals who are not ACIM students. Very few of our significant others are. And we get weary of forgiving, don’t we? We think that others ought to think as we do.

3 – Anger and Attack

But have we actually made as much progress as we think? How many times do we “lose it,” falling into attack and anger when things do not go our way? The brother, the significant other, may not have our frame of reference, and yet we see in him or her the tendency to forgive us for these lapses. We see this because we are not where we are in life by accident. We are placed with the ones who can be the best mirrors for ourselves.

4 – Responses

But we do not have to make unnatural responses. We are living an illusion, and as such the anger and attack do not really matter. They are transient. Of course, anger and attack do matter on some level for the one who is so emoting; karma takes its toll (not an ACIM tenet). But we can see that we are living a dream, and that it is our dream; we are not figures in somebody else’s dream (ACIM tenets). So regardless of how hateful or vicious someone might be, we can still realize that there is a reason that we are seeing this. We do not have to remain with this person if the drama is too negative for us. We can ask, “Am I better with or without this person?,” and let our answer dictate what we do. And we can know that regardless of how alone we might feel in this world, we do have guidance about what to say and do.

5 – The World’s Forgiveness

“Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardons ‘sinners’ sometimes, but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives. (T-30.VI.3)”

This four-sentence explanation is “forgiveness to destroy” in a capsule form. We think, in our lowest moments, that others do not deserve the forgiveness that ACIM seems bound to make us offer, if we are to live our salvation.

6 – Healing

“Look on your brother with this hope in you, and you will understand he could not make an error that could change the truth in him. It is not difficult to overlook mistakes that have been given no effects. But what you see as having power to make an idol of the Son of God you will not pardon. For he has become to you a graven image and a sign of death. Is this your savior? Is his Father wrong about His Son? Or have you been deceived in him who has been given you to heal, for your salvation and deliverance? (T-30.VI.10)”

Our brother has been given us to love and to heal. Our most significant other is a gift. While not all of us will live a lifetime with one person, there are many who do. And forgiveness makes that road much easier. He/she is the one who has been given us to heal, and we are well-advised to take this command as a command.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I wish to be very certain today that I don’t “forgive to destroy.” Help me to know in the depth of my being that all is well. That the one given me to love is the one given me to heal. That one also must forgive me, even if lacking the understanding that ACIM gives. I realize that this may make forgiveness harder.

Help me to live a good life, a relaxed life in Your presence. I take life too seriously sometimes, and I would be done with that attitude.

Help me to come to You for rest and renewal, when the burdens of life seem too great. And may I never forget to thank You for my brothers and sisters, who challenge me even as they love me.

Amen.

Tolerance for Pain May Be High, but It Is Not without Limit

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Imprisoned Will

This “imprisoned will” is a philosophical tenet of A Course in Miracles. When we are in the throes of the ego, we have an imprisoned will. Only when we are in our right minds, loving and renouncing fear, are we on the right track, are we working with a will that has been freed.

2 – Ego’s Interpretation

This theological construct can seem malicious in the ego’s eyes. It may sound as though God is tricking us into salvation, that we have to do it His way or the highway. After all, an imprisoned will becomes intolerable, according to the passage for today. It is just the way that the universe works. It was set up for loving individuals, and we introduced a “tiny, mad idea” that changed everything.

3 – Is God “Tricking” Us?

Is it appropriate to think that God is “tricking” us into Heaven? Not in the least. We are dealing with cause and effect here, an immutable law of the universe. When we let the ego rule, we invite fear and fear gives us the imprisonment of the will (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles). The only way that the ego can work is through our fear. We think that we will not be protected in this uncertain and troubled world unless we remain independent of God, for we fear God most of all when in the egoic frame of mind. This means that we are not open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and not being open to His judgment is surely evidence of an imprisoned will. Pain soon follows.

4 – The Separation

When the separation seemed to arise, we were caught in a situation that seemed to make God’s will and our will at odds with one another. Actually the two are inseparable, and only our dim understanding makes this aspect of faith difficult. When we think that God’s will is something that we wouldn’t want, we do in fact invite fear, for His will is actually what, in our heart of hearts, we DO want!

5 – Holy Spirit

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

6 – Helen and Bill

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

7 – Tolerance for Pain

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Give Up Difficulty for Ease

P1050504 - impressionism

“Let me be clear.  The seeming lack of difficulty in this course is where its difficulty lies.  To give up difficulty for ease is more than some egos are willing to accept.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “May I know ease today.”

Reflections:

1 – Ease

Reading A Course of Love should be a task full of ease.  The difficulty arises when we try to study it as we study other courses of study, including A Course in MiraclesA Course of Love is more abstract, which is the means by which our hearts are engaged.  We do not have to study, and, if we try, we will go astray.  We will also be greatly frustrated if we try to study it as a textbook.  This is not the right approach at all.  Just let the words drift into your mind, stopping for nothing, taking deep thought for nothing.  Repeated readings will get the gist of it into your heart, actually by bypassing the mind (which wants to analyze).

2 – Beauty of the Language

The beauty of the language is enthralling.  When we let the words flow over us, we are captivated by the content as well, though we may not recognize this at first.  We may think, and rightly so, that we are missing a lot, or that we are reading things that we do not fully understand.  As we move closer to Awakening, the words will begin to make more sense to us, and without any strain at all.

3 – The Ego

Our egos continue to get us into trouble.  The ego wants to make everything hard that is actually meant to be easy, because its rule is to seek but not to find (an ACIM tenet).  Try to loosen the ego’s hold on our minds, but not by overtly resisting it, for resistance makes the ego strong.  The ego is strong in strife (another ACIM tenet).

4 – Easy Reading

A Course of Love is actually easy reading, much easier than A Course in Miracles.  Mari, the scribe, listens with her heart perhaps more than her mind, and Helen (ACIM scribe) listened to her mind.  This approach is exactly what Jesus needed in channeling to the two individuals, for ACOL is to the heart what ACIM was to the mind.

5 – ACIM and ACOL

We will do well when we realize that, after ACIM and now as we consider A Course of Love, we are ready to listen to our hearts.  They know without demanding proof of everything.  They lead us aright.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose ease today, especially in reading A Course of Love.  I wish no more to be frustrated by the fact that my mind cannot study ACOL as it did A Course in Miracles.  

May this day morph into one of ease.  May my heart inform my mind that egoic influences are dead in me.  And may that deadness be true.

Amen.

Living a Life of Love

1217335673_paul-cezanne-wallpaper-the-sea-at“You are ready now, and all that will prevent you from living a life of love is unwillingness to do so.  There is only one remaining source of such unwillingness.  Your willingness will now depend on whether or not you trust.  Do you trust these words?  Do you trust in God?  Can you trust in your Self?  (A Course of Love, 27.21)

Affirmation:  “I am willing to live a life of love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Trust

Trust is the bedrock of the Teacher of God’s life (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).  Nothing else good, on a permanent basis, can really come to us until we trust, in God and in our Self.

2 – Better Living

We are reassured that we are ready now for that better living.  This is akin to Helen (co-scribe of ACIM) and her remark to Bill (co-scribe) that she would help him find another way.  And in A Course of Love, the work that was begun in ACIM comes to fruition.  We see Jesus not any longer as just our teacher, but as our heartfelt companion.  This is not so different from traditional Christianity.

3 – Life of Love

We are willing to live a life of love.  Only doubt that it can be so would prevent us from so living.  And we can banish doubt from our minds by a concentrated will to do so.  If pursued by doubt, turn to your heart, which does not seek for proof.  Ask internally what your heart really knows.

4 – The Heart Will Answer

And you will be answered.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live that life of love that is indicated herein.  May I trust enough to do so.  I feel ready, sometimes, for a continual life of love, and I thank You for those times that I feel so blessed.  Extend those times to be a continuous thread throughout my life.  May today be the beginning of the rest of a life of love.

I wish to be able to express love in a way that can be accepted.  Guard my tongue if I am saying the wrong thing, based on thinking the wrong kinds of thoughts.  Help me to be of assistance to those in my circle.  May I listen to what my heart is telling me, and with that heartfelt messages will arrive, guiding my thinking, my words, and my actions.  I fully believe this, and I thank You for the assurances that You give me constantly.  May I always be ready to accept Your assurances of love and peace and hope and tranquility.

Amen.

Overcoming Frustration

“It is only through union with me [Jesus] that you learn because it is only in union with me that you are your Self.  All your effort is based on disbelief of this truth, and on your attempts to prove that this truth is not the truth.  All that this effort brings you is frustration.  (A Course of Love, 1.10)”

Affirmation:  “union with Jesus”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

It is my interpretation, based on A Course in Miracles, and assuming that A Course of Love is a sequel channeled by Jesus, that Jesus is saying here that those who choose him must go “through” him to Christ-consciousness.  He is our chosen leader.  But A Course in Miracles mentions other teachers who will speak for God also.

2 – Edgar Cayce

This can be confusing, because A Course of Love seems to say that Jesus is the only way.  This is a belief held by many traditional Christian faiths as well.  And, continuing with the New Age theme, it is also a position taken by Edgar Cayce, the psychic from Virginia Beach, whose foundation is now the Association for Research and Enlightenment.

3 – Reject Controversy

But let us reject controversy, though it is important we be aware of differences of opinion about Jesus.  I choose him as my leader, my elder brother, and so I listen when I think that he is speaking to me through scribes such as Helen Schucman/Bill Thetford and Mari Perron.  I also entertain the idea that he may speak more directly to me, though I do not dwell on this thought, because I could easily be mistaken.

4 – Christ/Self

When we unite with the Christ in Jesus, we unite with the Christ in our Self.  That is what is being said in this passage for today.  And this is where we are heading, though it may take longer than we hoped.  We do not know how long it will take, because time is an illusion, and time to God means something very different from time to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I reach out to Jesus today, having made the choice of him as my leader in matters of faith.  Others choose differently, and that is, of course, perfectly acceptable before You (though many do not hold to this idea).  I would accept Jesus as my elder brother, who walked the pathway ahead of me, and thus can lead me through the brambles and thicket.

May all of us choose today the leader that we would have.  If we are not ready to make that choice, You will be with us nevertheless.  I do believe that You know what is happening in our illusion, for that is my experience (though others believe that You do not enter the illusion that is our dream).  

May we step aside from any controversy or theological stance that divides.  May we pray as One today, to You as our Creator.

Amen.

Jesus Is Speaking in A Course of Love

“But if your joining with Christ is the accomplishment and completion oif all lessons, who is he who provides the lessons?  This is Jesus.  (A Course of Love, P.38)”

Affirmation:  “May I listen to Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus Speaking to Mari

I feel more certain than not that the one who sent A Course of Love to Mari Perron was indeed Jesus.  Perhaps Jesus will not be disappointed that I do not affirm with certainty that he is speaking, for there have been many scribes since Helen Schucman who believed themselves to be channeling Jesus.

2 – The Language of ACOL

The proof is in how the words, the material of A Course in Love, reacts on me.  I do not find questionable passages.  Like A Course in Miracles, the words ring true.  And certainly I trust Mari Perron in her belief that the channeler was Jesus.  I have interviewed her and found her credible and overwhelmingly sincere, and she is a mystic (in my opinion) with a humble attitude that shows no arrogance.

3 – A Channeled Work

These words were indeed channeled, and the individual coming through to Mari said that he was Jesus.  At this point (and this has been true for a long time), this is enough for me.  I feel drawn to A Course of Love as to no work since A Course in Miracles.  And so I will do what I can to introduce A Course of Love to individuals who may find in the work the next logical step after ACIM.  Perhaps Jesus has unfinished business with us, and wants to carry us beyond what A Course in Miracles, channeled in the sixties, could do.  I would like to think that.  And I pray that I would mislead nobody.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When Jesus speaks, may we listen.  This has been true for multitudes of people in the last 2,000 years.  And I believe that he is speaking in A Course of Love.

Be with us as we seek to learn together what he would tell us.  And may nothing that we say or do ever reflect poorly on his message.

Amen.

Pure Joy / Limitless Release

“There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day.  It is a thought of pure joy; a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release, limitless because all things are freed within it.  (M-16.6)”

Affirmation:  “pure joy. . .limitless release”

Reflections:

1 – All Things Freed

This passage is one of my favorites, for it tells us exactly what attitude to bring to this world–even in the midst of this world’s sorrows.  The very words are uplifting–pure joy, limitless release.  And we learn that all things are freed within this attitude.  All things.

2 – Personal Experience

Is this a viable option for us in our daily lives?  I sometimes wonder, but mostly  I remember taking this passage to heart years ago, and returning to these glorious words–pure joy, limitless release–over and over.

3 – Imprisoned Will

We have lived with an imprisoned will (ACIM tenets), because we have given the ego the right to lord over us.  As soon as we get our priorities in order, and we turn our lives, mind and heart, over to the Holy Spirit, His guidance takes the place of the very dubious places that the ego has led us.  And the ego has led us to unhappiness, for that is what an egoistic attitude does.  We have flights of “joy,” but we are then plunged into despair.  We think, in an egotistical way, that we have done better than our brothers and sisters, and then along comes something that lets us realize that we are pretty lowly, miserable, and a failure.  This is the way of the world.  And sometimes, until we are brought very low, we do not question the validity of any of this.

4 – Helen and Bill

When we are brought very low, whether physically or emotionally, we are in most cases led to the same place that Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford (co-scribes of A Course in Miracles) were in the early sixties.  Bill said that there must be another way, rather than to be embroiled in political fights in an academic world.  And Helen spontaneously offered to help Bill find another way.  Shortly thereafter, she began having mystical experiences that frightened her very badly.  Then she heard, “This is a course in miracles.  Please take notes.”  And she did.

5 – Vahle

The story has been told and retold, but it bears repeating, for to my mind it is a place to which we are all drawn before we begin to live differently.  We do not have to take A Course in Miracles as our Way, for there are countless ways.  But to those of us who are drawn to ACIM, it is “our” way, and we would do well to listen to its tenets.  Students/teachers of ACIM have had their lives transformed, but not everybody does have this experience.  Bill did, Helen did not.  (See Vahle’s book review in this blog; look under “Articles and Book Reviews” at the top of the blog.)

5 – Affirm

So, just for today, experiment with saying the affirmation for the day over and over.  If we are lucky, and if we are faithful to the intent of the words, we will have a very good day indeed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do believe that today’s title for my posting is my favorite quotation from A Course in Miracles.  Certainly I have returned to these words countless times:  “pure joy. . .limitless release.”  They promise a freer life than sometimes I lead.  Give me that freer life today, please, I ask of You.

Be with all of my brothers and sisters as I go about my little world today.  May I spread some sunshine in my rounds.  And may I know that it is You Who is guiding me.

Thank You for the guidance of Your Universal Inspiration, the Holy Spirit.

Amen

All God Would Have You Do You Can Do

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

Affirmation:  “I would turn hell into Heaven.”

Reflections:

1 – Students/Teachers

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

2 – Plan of the Teachers

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

3 – Bill and Helen

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

4 – Let’s Do Our Part Today

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Overcoming Weariness

“The world is very tired, because it is the idea of weariness.  Our task is the joyous one of waking it to the Call for God.  (T77)”

Affirmation:  “our task is a joyous one”

Reflections:

1 – How Do You Feel in the Morning?

Do we feel tired when we wake up in the morning?  That common feeling is what we see discussed in this passage.  Elsewhere Jesus assures us that we are not really capable of being tired, but we are very capable of wearying ourselves.  When we feel joy, we most often drop weariness.

2 – Hearing from the Holy Spirit

We may feel tired emotionally, not in our muscles.  We may be fretting internally about some matter that has not yet been wholly given over to the Holy Spirit.  We may not know exactly what is disturbing our equilibrium.  But we can always know that there is One who does know.  We can ask, and my experience has been that I am told–and quickly.  I do not hear a voice, but the idea appears in my mind, full-blown.  It seems a bit beyond me, as something that I could not have reasoned out, because my mind alone has been too close to the situation.  There is a freeing that comes when we turn a problem over to the Holy Spirit for rectifying.  This frees up the mind and soon the answer to what to do next appears, almost without prompting.  (These ideas are personal experience only, not stated directly in ACIM.)

3 – The Call for God

Our function in the world is variously described in the Course.  Here it is defined as the task of waking the world to the call for God.  (Elsewhere, our function is defined as forgiveness, or even just happiness.)

4 – Walk through This Day in Peace

The Course, according to Helen Schucman (the scribe) was sent at this time because the world is in a very bad situation.  All are called to help to create better conditions.  May this be our function today:  to make those we meet or even think about have a better experience of their day.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I drop weariness from my list of troubles.  May I substitute joy as the feeling that I would experience.

May we come this day to a new understanding of our task in this world.  May we take the part that God has given to us–waking the world to the Call for God.

Amen.

Do Not Isolate Yourself

“Salvation is a collaborative venture.  It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me.  (T69)”

Affirmation:  “Salvation is collaborative”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Isolate Yourself

We are not meant to isolate ourselves in this world–even to study the Course.  We are meant to stay in the world ,and to minister to our brothers and sisters.  Our brothers and sisters are the Sonship.  (Note:  Scribed in the sixties, A Course in Miracles uses the same masculine terminology that the Bible does, but in the sixties, the masculine gender was recognized by everyone as including both genders, male and female.)

2 – Let Jesus In

Jesus, in this passage, indicates how important it is that he be a part of our lives.  This is his wish, but it is not mandatory.  Indeed, Helen and Bill were reluctant, when introducing the Course, to tell their listeners that their considered opinion was that the speaker was Jesus.  They knew how foreign this would sound to some hearers of the new message.

3 – Jesus as Elder Brother

Jesus can do more for us if we consider him a friend, an elder brother.  He speaks at one point of how we can imagine him holding our hand as we walk along, and he indicates that this will be no “idle fantasy.”  We cannot understand how this is possible, but we can take him at his word and see if it does not appear that he is with everyone who gives an insistent call.  He will come at the first “unequivocal” call (from the Text).

4 – The Consequences of Withdrawal

When we withdraw for too long, we also withdraw from Jesus.  And we cannot do that, because he and the Holy Spirit are our guides to better living.  He is the elder brother who catches us when we fall, and the Holy Spirit is the inner guide that leads us every step of the way–guidance.

5 – Salvation for Ourselves AND Others

Surely we do not want to disengage from Jesus.  So this passage has a warning for those of us who would seek our own salvation and not frequently enough think of the Sonship.  The two go hand-in-hand.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I am tempted to withdraw, help to remember my contribution to my brothers and sisters.  They need me, as I need them.  Salvation lies in our relationship.

May I learn from the Course with careful study, and then may I take that learning into the world.  This is the solution that will work for the world and for me.

Amen.

If Pain and Suffering Visit

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

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

Reflections:

1 – An Imprisoned Will

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

2 – Rejecting the Holy Spirit’s Guidance

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

3 – Another Way

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

4 – No Tolerance for Pain

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Trials

“Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you.  In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, ‘My brother, choose again.’  (T666)”

 

Affirmation:  “Trials are but lessons, presented once again.”

Reflections:

1 – A Passage for Times of Pain

This passage, beginning “Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again,” is to be remembered in times of pain, times of suffering (if the pain lead to that).  All of us will know weaker times as well as stronger, and if we recognize that we are bearing a trial that is meant to allow us, this time, a better choice, we will realize that we are learning through our pathway in this world.

2 – All Have Trials

All of us have trials.  Nobody escapes.  And there is a reason for this.

3 – Choose Again

We need the opportunity to choose again.  Somewhere, somehow, we made a faulty decision, and it brought pain to us.  Now we choose again, much as Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford walked another way when A Course in Miracles came to them.

4 – Class Reunions

I have often thought of the happy face that we put on at high school and college reunions.  And we know that it is a facade.  All of us have had pain, and most have had suffering.  We do not always have to hide these truths.  We are more human by having experienced the human condition, and we are more real when we, if the time is right, share this truth with our companions.

5 – Christ Is Present

And Christ is there to heal us.  We have the option to “choose again,” and we can seek the guidance that will allow us to know how to choose again.  We will come to know where we erred in the past, when a similar situation arose, and we will be led to make the better choice now.

6 – Walk in Greater Light

No greater blessing can we have than to go ahead in greater light along the pathway that this lifetime would lead us upon.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am at this moment in a small “trial.”  Help me to relinquish the upset in the right way, and to go on to have a good day.  Previously I have held onto my upset for the major part of a day, but now, after an hour, I would drop the upset, assuring my inner Self that the personal self has learned the lesson, and that I am choosing again.

May today be bright and cheery.  May I walk ahead with patience and forebearance, sure that my trials will melt away in the sun.

Thank You.  I will choose again.  And now.

Amen.

Seeking Heaven’s Gate

“Think not the way to Heaven’s gate is difficult at all.  Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping step to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do.  (T550)”

Affirmation:  “I walk to Heaven’s gate with my brother.”

Reflections:

1 – Optimism

What an optimistic passage!  So reassuring!

2 – A Passage for Affirmation

This is one of those passages that can be held in memory and recounted when the way gets tough on any given day.  It shows the tone of the A Course in Miracles, reassuring in the extreme.  When studied throughout, page by page, fear need not arise.  “Nothing you undertake” is “difficult to do” when studying ACIM.

3 – Co-Scribes Helen and Bill

Jesus says that the A Course in Miracles is simple, but that does not mean that it is easy.  Yet, when we study diligently, we find life going better.  This is the “another way (Preface, vii)” that its scribe, Helen Schucman, and her associate, William (Bill) Thetford, asked for, and this other way, set down in the Course, came about through their endeavors in cooperation with Jesus.  Helen took her version of shorthand, as she listened to an interior impression of words, and Bill typed up each day’s dictation in his office the next morning.  All was kept very secretive, for both Helen and Bill had great investment in their academic careers.

4 – Learn through Relationships

We need to realize that we are here with our brothers and sisters for mutual support.  We never have to feel alone, as we turn our special relationships into holy ones.  This fact of relationship to our brother (and sister) is a cornerstone of ACIM.  We learn through relationship, and thereby we enter Heaven’s gate.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this beautiful passage!  May I recall it to mind whenever the way gets even the least bit difficult.  I know that there is no challenge when I am following guidance, when I perceive clearly without the interference of my ego.  I would take the hand of my brother and sister, and walk to You.  Guide me so that the direct way is actually the shortest route to You.

May I carry a smile on my face and a song in my heart.  May I enjoy the blessing of the day that You have given me.  May I enjoy a little bit of Heaven presaged on earth today.

There is no reason to be downhearted, even when problems persist.  I know that You have placed the solution to a problem with that problem.  I know that the solution and the problem are not separated in time, though it is eternal time that I am trying to comprehend.  You do not leave me guessing about how to solve any issue that confronts me.  Your Answer will come into my mind, and Your love will warm my heart–and then, the glorious solution will appear.  Thank You for this Heavenly way to a better life while still living in this world.

Amen.

A Quiet Future Filled with Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 314 – for Thursday, November 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “I seek a future different from the past.”

“Who can grieve or suffer when the present has been freed, extending its security and peace into a quiet future filled with joy?  (WB457)”

Reflections:

1 – Helen and Bill’s Agreement

What does it mean to have a present that has been “freed”?  According to ACIM, it means that we no longer have an imprisoned will, and it is an imprisoned will that is causing our misery.  We see pain because we have not yet come around completely to a new perception, a perception cleansed by our following of the Holy Spirit.  We must know that there is another way, just as Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford came to recognize.  In the midst of harsh academic politics, Bill exclaimed one day, “There must be another way!”  And Helen immediately promised to help him to find it.  That was the turning point for them, and the scribing of ACIM began soon afterwards by Helen, leading to the turning point for the several million people since who have purchased ACIM, some in languages other than English.

2 – A Freed Present = the Real World?

If we are living in a freed present, what would it look like?  This passage gives indications:  security, peace, a quiet future filled with joy.  Is this not the real world?  Is this not what we have been wanting all along?  (This is an interpretation of my own.)

3 – Heaven on Earth

We will not grieve or suffer when the present has been freed for everyone, for Heaven on earth will have arrived as the comprehensive Awakening of all has finally come.  Jesus says that just as the separation took millions of years, the return may extend over a similar period of time, and perhaps still longer.  This seems a pessimistic statement, but it probably best viewed as realistic–and we will have no trouble comprehending as we look at the conflicted and troubled world in which we live.  Our own little worlds will improve, though, as our projections become cleansed by a mind freed of egoism, and we perceive the good in this world.  No longer dwelling on the wrongs that we may also perceive, we just categorize these wrongs as “insanity,” as illusions (or maya), and while we do what we can to free our brothers and sisters, we do not join them any longer in insanity. Thus our future becomes quiet and joyful, even though we continue to live and work in a world where many things are amiss.  Our attitude changes when we are living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (an interpretation, not stated as such in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would make the same decision that Helen and Bill did, to find “another way” to live in this world.  ACIM points out that glorious way, a movement beyond the separation into salvation that eventually becomes a comprehensive Awakening for all individuals.  We must “be there” for our brothers and sisters, even as we intensively study A Course in Miracles, “our” way.  And some of us may feel led to consider A Course of Love, viewed by some as a sequel to ACIM, also believed by some to be channeled from Jesus.

Help me today to live in the present, and to accept this world even as I reach the conclusion that much that I view is simply insanity.  All of us are aware of the conflict inn which this world is caught.  Not all of us would view this trouble as sourced by the ego, turning our minds to madness.  But ACIM makes this pronouncement, and I would seek to understand this concept through the words that I read daily.  

May we first change ourselves into beings who wish to love without the ego, and then may we reach out to others who are ready for the message we long to give them.  Help me to know that changing myself is the first responsibility, and never are we bade to involve others who are not themselves already seeking.  May I share what is needed by my brothers and sisters today.  May I walk in love, with Jesus as my elder brother, holding me by the hand.  He promises to be with all who ask for him.  Thank You for this comforting thought.

Amen.

In Love Was I Created / What Can Frighten Me?

ACIM Workbook Lesson  268 – for Sunday, September 25, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let all things be exactly as they are.”

“Let me not be Your critic, Lord, today, and judge against You.  Let me not attempt to interfere with Your creation, and distort it into sickly forms.  Let me be willing to withdraw my wishes from its unity, and thus to let it be as You created it.  For thus will I be able, too, to recognize my Self as You created me.  In Love was I created, and in Love will I remain forever.  What can frighten me, when I let all things be exactly as they are?  

“Let not our sight be blasphemous today, nor let our ears attend to lying tongues.  Only reality is free of pain.  Only reality is free of loss.  Only reality is wholly safe.  And it is only this we seek today.  (WB429)”

Reflections:

1 – God Is Not to Blame for Suffering

We often blame God when we see suffering in our world.  Jesus says in the Text that nobody has failed to believe at one time or another that God is cruel (a paraphrase).  But God did not “do this” to us!  We did it to ourselves.  This is one of the theological concepts in ACIM that may be hard to wrap our minds around.  But, as Jesus also says, do not let theology delay us; we are here to heal the perceived separation from God, and to do that we have to forgive Him for what He never did.

2 – Considering Our Ambivalent Feelings toward Jesus

We are also likely to have ambivalent thoughts toward Jesus.  Helen Schucman, the co-scribe of ACIM, did so.  Would we be very likely to have it better than she?  Her suffering was very real, but the book that she brought forth has given comfort to many, comfort that she was not usually able to feel.  May we be the lucky ones who benefit from the joy found in studying A Course in Miracles.  May we be healed by our study and the contemplation that the Workbook encourages.  But, most of all, may we be healed in our special-relationships-turned holy.  This latter is our way.  We do not need to spend long hours in contemplation, which Jesus describes as “tedious.”  But a few moments at the beginning and end of the day would be time well spent as we seek to walk a closer pathway with God.

3 – How Long Will We Live in the Real World?

We would have reality, not illusions.  I think that the “reality” meant here is the “real world” also spoken of in ACIM.  Reality is not fearful.  Only our illusions scare us.  If we can come to understand this, we will not be so likely to let the vicissitudes of our daily life upset us.  We will move into reality, perhaps only in snatches, but more and more as time passes.  These are the “glimpses” that revelation gives us; the means to reach the end (Awakening) is given in ACIM ACIM says something that appears confusing at the outset.  At one point the Text indicates that the time of experiencing the real world will be brief, and that then God will recognize that we are ready for Awakening, and He will reach down for us (metaphorically).  I speculate in an interpretation that the “briefness” is a way of looking at time that is not ours in normal, day-to-day living.  Eternity is the eternal Now, but we see time in segments.  When viewed against the backdrop of eternity, we may find that many years are considered “brief.”  I offer this interpretation for prayerful consideration, because ACIM does not elaborate in this way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be frightened today, because I would let You and Your Love lead the Way.  How should I doubt that I am safe, even in this world where suffering sometimes seems so ever-present?

May my perceived “suffering” be recognized for the illusion that it is.  May I recognize that I am the recipient of many blessings from You.  And may I here express my gratitude for those blessings.  I need only ask, and I do receive.  The solution is found with the problem.  May I realize that only when I am not flexible enough to follow Your Guide consistently do I get into trouble.  When I remain flexible, I walk a straight line to You.  Thank You for  pointing out the Way.

Amen.

Our Memory of God through ACIM

ACIM Workbook Lesson 234 – for Monday, August 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “Father, today I am Your Son again.”

“We thank You, Father, that we cannot lose the memory of You and of Your Love.  We recognize our safety, and give thanks for all the gifts You have bestowed on us, for all the loving help we have received, for Your eternal patience, and the Word which You have given us that we are saved.  (WB409)”

Reflections:

We tried in the separation to lose the memory of God and His love.  But we cannot actually be separated from God; we can only forget.  And with His help and the help of masters of spiritual traditions, we will find our way to remembrance again.  Indeed God must be patient, for we are like children who do not know when to go to sleep (an idea lifted from the Text).  We flounder about, losing our way, finding pain that leads all too often to suffering, and then, ultimately to the realization that there is “another way.’  This realization is what led Helen and Bill to co-scribe ACIM.  Their pathways brought them together to a miraculous conclusion.  Helen did the writing, listening to an interior voice that she believed was Jesus; and Bill, each morning at work, closed the door, pulled down the shade, locked the door, and typed the dictation that Helen voiced.  It was a secretive endeavor.

Years later, A Course in Miracles is anything but a secret.  More than two million copies of ACIM have been sold, and many translations into languages other than English are available or currently being written.  It has been an amazing journey of more than 30 years.

ACIM is one Word to which we can refer.  It is impossible to refer to these volumes without receiving a blessing, unless we are so distracted as to be unable to follow the beautiful iambic pentameter (a poetic device).

ACIM is our Way.  As Jesus says in the Text, why choose other ways, when our way is through the special-turned-holy relationships that we have with our brother (and sister)?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for A Course in Miracles.  I have benefited greatly from the blessing of reading this work.  Thank You for Your children, Helen and Bill, who were instrumental in bringing ACIM to the world.

Be with me today as I seek to gain ever greater meaning from Your work.  May ACIM lead me, through my holy relationships, to come home to You, even though I may remain on earth.

Amen.

I Do Love God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 225 – for Saturday, August 13, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is my Father, and His Son loves Him.”

“Father, I must return Your Love for me, for giving and receiving are the same, and You have given all Your Love to me.  I must return it, for I want it mine in full awareness, blazing in my mind and keeping it within its kindly light, inviolate, beloved, with fear behind and only peace ahead.  How still the way Your loving Son is led along to You!  (WB404)”

Reflections:

These prayers, in this section of the Workbook, are all meant to lead us gently to a God of love rather than judgment.  The prayers are comforting in the extreme.  The God of A Course in Miracles is like the God of the New Testament, rather than the sometimes vengeful God of the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible).  Jesus’s message is therefore consistent from the New Testament to A Course in Miracles, and even onto A Course of Love (which some view as a sequel to ACIM).

We have nothing to fear from God.  If we are not at first inclined to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to follow His way as the great Communicator from God to us, the Holy Spirit will be patient with us.  We will gradually come to know, as did Helen and Bill, that there is another way, and we will be led to discover, if we are true students of ACIM, that this another way is being abundantly laid out for us in its pages.  We are seeing the means to Awakening, or, as A Course of Love says, Christ-consciousness.

The only way that we can have consistent peace is if we turn to God consistently.  This means moments at the beginning and end of each day, as a minimum, in turning to God through contemplation and communing (prayer).  We are led by this stillness, this time when we are not stressed from the many activities of the day.  In quiet and stillness do we find our way home.  If we do not take the time to devote these moments to God, we will continue to walk the old pathway, led by egoistic thinking.  And we will not be happy, not on any consistent basis.  The “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (a Workbook quotation) will elude us.  We will indeed lead charmed lives when we turn to the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration, as our mentor through life’s tortuous turns.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I wish to have the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings,” knowing that they are the harbinger of consistently viewing the real world, which leads on to Awakening.  The means are spelled out in A Course in Miracles.  Help the revelation to come.  That is entirely up to You, and I know that when I am ready, revelation will come–showing the end, Awakening, to me.

May I consistently spend moments at the beginning and the end of the day with you, in contemplation.  This does not mean that my holy relationship will mean less to me; I will be more likely to fulfill my half of the relationship in a good manner if I have devoted time to You.  Be with me today, again I ask.  Thank You for walking along beside me daily, and carrying me when times get tough.

Amen.

We Are Not Bodies

ACIM Workbook Lesson 219 – for Sunday, August 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”

“I am not a body.  I am free.  (WB397)”

Reflections:

1 – We Are Spiritual Creatures

We are, first, spiritual creatures inhabiting a body temporarily.  The fact that this affirmation is given repeatedly is, in all likelihood, meant to impress upon us this fact.

2 – To Be Free

What does it mean to be free, not being a body, but inhabiting a body?  It means that we do not have to look to our various ailments a defining our identify.  We do not have to look to our weight or our height as indicative of the real person.  We are free of all such attachments, if we wish to be so.  Marianne Williamson’s book, A Course in Weight Loss, makes clear this assertion.  We are spirit first and always.

3 – No Imprisoned Will

What does it mean just to be free?  We are no longer bound by a “imprisoned will” (a quotation from ACIM).  When the ego is in ascendancy, we are in fact bound by an imprisoned will, and we suffer as a result.  Sooner or later, we reach the point that co-scribes of ACIM, Bill Thetford and Helen Schucman, reached, and we decide, as they did, that there must be “another way” (from the introduction to ACIM).  Helen agreed, with Bill, to try to find this other way, and A Course in Miracles was the answer.  And these volumes (Text, Workbook, Manual) have been helping several million people since.

4 – Our Real Will vs. Our Imprisoned Will

It is important to note that an “imprisoned will” is not following our real will, the will that is shown to us by the Holy Spirit.  An imprisoned will is not a punishment from God; it is simply the cause-and-effect relationship of following a way in this world that will not work.  The threshold for pain, Jesus says in the Text, may be high, but it will not remain so forever.  We will turn, and the sooner we do, the more smoothly our lives will flow.  This is the practical result of turning to the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this good day.  May I not rue it with meaningless fears and anxieties, pain and suffering.  You are with me, and regardless of how bad things get, objectively, You will be there with me, ready to lift me above the fray.  May I learn more today about what it means to be free, to be a spirit–not a body.  May I walk lightly in my spirit.

Help us all to be there for one another.  We need each other in this world, as I am sure we need each other on the Other Side.  May we take the better way that A Course in Miracles point out, and adapt its tenets wholly to our lifestyle.

Amen.

The Name of God = My Inheritance

ACIM Workbook Lesson 184 – for Sunday, July 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “The Name of God is my inheritance.”

“Father, our Name is Yours.  In It we are united with all living things, and You Who are their one Creator.  What we made and call by many different names is but a shadow we have tried to cast across Your Own Reality.  And we are glad and thankful we were wrong.  All our mistakes we give to You, that we may be absolved from all effects our errors seemed to have.  And we accept the truth You give, in place of every one of them.  Your Name is our salvation and escape from what we made.  Your Name unites us in the oneness which is our inheritance and peace.  Amen.  (WB347)”

Reflections:

Some teachers of A Course in Miracles believe that this is ACIM‘s version of the Lord’s Prayer from the New Testament.  Helen Schucman, the co-scribe, herself thought this.  Certainly it is a prayer that has much in common with the Lord’s Prayer.  God’s “Name” is seen as the unifying Force, keeping us all as One.

The Name of God has always been seen as a mystery.  It earlier was not said, but merely alluded to.  Yahweh was an early rendition, from the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible).  And this was a spelling that only rendered letters easier to pronounce.

This prayer lets us understand that all our mistakes can be made as nothing in God’s sight.  We will be absolved of the effects that they have seemed to cause.  (In actuality, because they have been illusions, there have been no effects at all.)

If we dwell on the mystery of God’s Name, we will come farther along the pathway to understanding this lesson.  We will be at home when we have taken unto ourselves the Name of God, our inheritance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would like to understand more about what is meant by Your Name.  I am humbled that I share that Name with You.  Be with me today as I ponder these mysteries.

Thank You for giving me Your support through all the years of my life.  Even when times seemed difficult, I know that You were in my mind, comforting me.  I know that I was not always aware of that comfort, but I would be aware today.  May I give You a good day.

Amen.

Heaven Is Reached with Empty Hands and Open Minds

ACIM Workbook Lesson 133 – for Friday, May 13. 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not value what is valueless.”

Selected Passage:

“All things are valuable or valueless, worthy or not of being sought at all, entirely desirable or not worth the slightest effort to obtain.  Choosing is easy just because of this.  Complexity is nothing but a screen of smoke, which hides the very simple fact that no decision can be difficult.  What is the gain to you in learning this?  It is far more than merely letting you make choices easily and without pain.

“Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as their own.  (WB246-247)”

Reflections:

We must become aware that we do not want the complex.  The complex is of the ego.  The simple is the way that we find God, the way we find our way home.

Many of us doubt this idea, because A Course in Miracles, to our deluded minds, seems complex in the extreme.  The extent to which we let the ego wither away, though, will show us the ultimate simplicity of its messages.  We want the valuable, and a faithful study of ACIM will lead us to separate the valuable from the valueless.  We need not fear that this is too difficult.  In the Text, Jesus assures us that, caught by the ego, we learned very difficult things indeed, because we were motivated to do so.  We built up a world that we wanted.  And now this world has turned against us.  Now we are confronted by ACIM, which ultimately has a message of simplicity.  The more we study, we more we will become convinced of the fact that its way toward salvation, and then Awakening, is simple and easy.  Our struggles, if we will it, are over.

We choose the pathway that we will take.  If we are not through struggling, then struggle we will.  But we can choose a better way.  And Helen Schucman, the scribe of ACIM, promised Bill Thetford, her faculty partner, that she would help him find “another way.”  This new way was ACIM, a way without conflict and with great hope and peace for a world that was ready for its message.  If we hold our hands empty and we open our minds, we will make great progress today toward the Awakening that ACIM is showing us the means to find.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

I would choose Heaven today.  I would leave behind the complexity in which I think I think, and let the way be shown to me that is easy and simple.  May I know that guidance shows me the way, and the decisions with which I am faced are made easy with the guidance that the Holy Spirit offers freely to all who ask.

Let me have a good day today.  Let me give You a good day today, because if You are experiencing Yourself through me, I would not give You a bad experience.  

Amen.

Forgiveness = Key to Happiness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 121 – for Sunday, May 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness is the key to happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“Forgiveness is acquired.  It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin.  As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you.  Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear.  Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin.  (WB214-215)”

Reflections:

We need to return our minds to the Holy Spirit, relinquishing our judgment for His own.  The Manual asks us how many know all the surrounding factors influencing a situation.  We do no have such prescience.  This world teaches us to use our judgment, to hone it, and to ever make it better in order to improve our decisions.  But ACIM, in the Manual, assures us that this is impossible.  We cannot make good decisions, in which we decide for all the world and everything and everyone in it, because we do not have such knowledge.  But the Holy Spirit does, and when we turn to Him for guidance, our choices become right.  We are finally doing the right thing, but it is direct opposition to what the world has taught us.

We are told that we may resist this advice, because it seems to be personally insulting.  After all, why do not our judgments work?  If we will reflect honestly, though, we will realize that we never knew all the conditions surrounding any one of our decisions, decisions made without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and who would continue along a pathway that is so fraught with mistakes?

We must learn to forgive.  If we see the outer world, the world we perceive, as an illusion, and as madness (or insanity), we will soon come to realize that forgiveness is the only sane response (a Text tenet).  It keeps our rights from being compromised.  Forgiveness also makes us feel better.  We feel more justified in God’s sight (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  But it is not the “forgiveness to destroy,” which is described in A Song of Prayer (also scribed by Helen Schucman).  In forgiveness to destroy, we think that out of our magnanimity we have forgiven our brother or sister.  But they have, in their real Selves, done nothing wrong!  We only thought that we had been hurt.  In our real Self, we have not been hurt.  We are to teach nobody that he or she has wronged us (an ACIM tenet).  We have not been wronged; we have only misinterpreted.  May we fail to misinterpret today.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

May I put into practice the forgiveness that You encourage me to have–forgiveness of myself for my misdeeds, and forgiveness for my brothers and sisters.  We will in this illusory world, where much is insanity, and these understandings can help us to see the legitimacy of pardon.  May I see pardon as justified always.

Be with me today.  I long for Your guidance, and I long for the will to follow it always.  Make Your guidance clear to me, so that I do not let the ego lead me astray.  I would follow Your pathway.

Amen.

How to Hear God’s Voice

ACIM Workbook Lesson 49 – for Friday, February 18, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.”

Selected Passage:

“It is quite possible to listen to God’s Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way.  The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not.  It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world’s laws.  It is this part that is constantly distracted, disorganized and highly uncertain.

“The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain.  (WB78)”

Reflections:

These are very true statements in the passage above.  We need to listen to the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit.  When we do so, we are led more quickly to a better place.  Some call this Voice just “intuition.”  Perhaps God does not care what we call it, as long as we communicate with Him through it.  ACIM says that God is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate with Him.  And He says that we are asleep and must be wakened.  Then He moves to waken us, and this is through our contact with the  Comforter, Universal Inspiration, or the Holy Spirit (all of the preceding are different names for the same phenomenon).

When we listen for God’s Voice, we are at peace.  Nothing else will suffice.  How does God speak to us?  Many reports are that He speaks in the silence (though A Course in Miracles does not say this).  Many others say that God’s Voice is the still, small voice within that we know but sometimes choose to ignore.  Most of the time we do not hear anything internally (though the co-scribe of ACIM, Helen Schucman, did have the internal impression of a voice, which could be interrupted by everyday events, only to return precisely at the point needed).  Intuition is a legitimate way to think of hearing God’s Voice, though many people may feel that this is just a secular way of viewing a psychic phenomenon.  Dreams, visions (hallucinations), meditative “feelings”–all of these are forms of guidance.  The only caution (and it is a big one) is that we not let our feelings about a matter turn negative.  God never leads us to hurt another individual, and if we feel that He has, perhaps we had better stop and reflect where this voice might come from.  Most of us will conclude that it is an egoistic misrepresentation.  ACIM nearly always refers to the Voice as the Voice of the Holy Spirit, a continuation of New Testament references.

When we deliberately reject the advice that the Holy Spirit offers, we get out of sync with the universe.  As soon as we can, let us move back into sync.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would hear the guidance that You offer today through the Voice that You speak to me.  Help me not to get confused about Your guidance.  Don’t let my little self decide anything that would lead me astray personally, or lead me to do anything that would hurt another person.  Help me to learn more fully how Your guidance comes to me.  Help me to be flexible, to be ready to turn on a dime when Your Voice bids me make a move.

I pray that I am not so stubborn that I fail to follow the guidance that You are giving to me.   I pray also that I do not mislead myself into thinking that I hear Your guidance when, instead, it is my own twisted thinking.  My mind still has much insanity, much madness, in it, because the ego has not fully died in me.  May my day today lead me away from the ego and into Your arms.

Amen.

A TRIBUTE TO HUGH PRATHER

by Celia Hales

We of the Course community owe a lot to Hugh and his wife Gayle.  He died on November 15, 2010, from a presumed heart attack, but he had not been ill, and now he is not really gone.  Already he is making his presence known from the Other Side, as reported in The Holy Encounter, a publication of the Miracle Distribution Center (publisher Beverly Hutchinson MeNeff) in the January/February 2011 issue.

Gayle reports:   Hugh “made me pet Binkley [their cat] much longer than I wanted to.  Saturday he informed me that he was glad he didn’t have to clean the house.”   These are the lighthearted moments, which we so need right now, those of us still in this world.  But Gayle also recounts several other anecdotes designed to describe Hugh’s influence from the Other Side toward a gentle and communing spirit in daily life with his immediate family.

Jerry Jampolsky, in the same newsletter, reports hearing Hugh’s voice when Jerry awoke in the middle of the night, saying, “Jerry, Jerry, A Course in Miracles is absolutely correct.  It is all a dream world you are in.  It is all illusions.  It is time for you to not stop laughing at all the stuff we took so seriously.”

This second report underscores a passage from one of Hugh’s (and Gayle’s) early books, There Is a Place Where You Are Not Alone (Doubleday, 1980).  This is the first of the Prathers’ books that was directly inspired by ACIM, their very first attempt to put into words all that ACIM was coming to mean in their lives:

“Today, as every day, you have agreed to sit in a special movie theater and play a game.  The theater is very comfortable and is equipped with the ultimate in ‘sensurround’:  it simulates every sensory experience appropriate to the script.  On the screen is playing a story of your life which you never remember seeing.  Everything has been  made so real that you could easily forget that it is just a movie, but the point of the game is to not forget  Anytime you start to decide what you, the main character, should do next, special equipment will detect this, and a pleasant voice will say, ‘It is only a movie, and you cannot decide what the main character will do next because the script is already written.  So please sit back and enjoy it.’  If you add one more fact to this exercise, it will be true to life:  You wrote the script. (p. 196)”

Hugh wrote his last column for The Holy Encounter a couple of weeks before his death.  In it, he has these intimate revelations:

“There is indeed ‘a still small voice,’ but I need to have more faith in it, because it speaks as clearly to life decisions as to seemingly innocent conversational comments.  The voice is every present, but my faith in it is sporadic, and I am determined to change that. (p. 13)”

The same early book, There is a Place Where You Are Not Alone,  has this telling assertion:

“What I now see, and what anyone can discover for himself, is that this intuition, this quiet sense of direction, is always present and can be consulted directly. (p. 29)”

If Hugh, gentle and advanced teacher of A Course in Miracles that he is, still had trouble at the end in following guidance consistently, how much more can we forgive ourselves when we, too, don’t follow guidance?

On a personal note, I recall an encounter with the kind spirit of the Prathers, in this case, Gayle.

I wrote to the two of them some years back, asking the name of their editor.  I had written a book inspired by A Course in Miracles, and, as I told Hugh and Gayle, I thought that their editor might listen to what I had written with a “friendly ear.”  After a very long time, I arrived at work one morning to hear Gayle’s sparkling voice on my voice mail.  She apologized for the delay, which had happened because my letter had to be forwarded to a new publisher.  And she gave me the name of their editor.  Her voice sounded just like I would imagine an advanced teacher of God would sound–friendly, sweet, and, above all, willing to be helpful.

And her editor responded to my manuscript. She gave me several lengthy paragraphs of critique, much appreciated by me.

It is clear that Hugh has not really left us.  He is very much still interested in this world, though we don’t know everything about the Other Side, and he may go on to other interests.  I can imagine him talking to Bill and Helen (co-scribes of ACIM) right now.

May all of us ultimately leave this world the better place that Hugh made it by his presence and his love.

____

Note: Information about The Holy Encounter can be found at <www.miraclecenter.org>.

The manuscript about which I consulted with the Prathers’ editor is available on the web at <http://elainehill.wordpress.com&gt;.  Its title is Images in a Reflecting Pool.

A GODSEND: DISCOVERING “A COURSE IN MIRACLES”

by Celia Hales

It was July of 1981.  I had finished a disappointing year as a lecturer in library science at a university in North Carolina.  I did not yet know the right direction for the rest of my life.  And I had not found in my readings a faith that could see me through.  Then my copy of A Course in Miracles arrived in the mail.  Once I read those volumes, nothing was ever the same again.

In the spring of 1981, Psychology Today carried a feature about A Course in Miracles.  William Thetford and Helen Schucman were still maintaining their privacy as the individuals chosen to bring forth the Course, but Bill was tentatively beginning to speak out.  After reading the article,  I immediately ordered the volumes.  They arrived very shortly, and then, inexplicably, so did a letter from a friend in another city.

“Be sure to order A Course in Miracles!” Mike insisted, and then told me how.

When I wrote back that I already had them in hand, he was astounded.  “How did you learn of them at the same time I did?” he asked in wonder.

“Celestial timing,” I thought.  Mike and I had been seekers for some time, reading Ruth Montgomery and Jane Roberts, early writers of what would become known as New Age.

I devoured A Course in Miracles, all three volumes,  in less than a week.  Repeatedly throughout the reading, I would have a question arise in my mind, only to have it answered in the next paragraph.  One sentence followed smoothly into the next, and then one paragraph just as smoothly into the one after it.  The writing was more fascinating and more real than anything I had ever found.

One pivotal day during the week I took a walk in the backyard.  The sun was blazing.  Very suddenly, I felt as though the sun’s rays were coming down directly on my head.  I was terrified, and I ran to the house and the phone to call an old friend who had once told me how much prayer meant to him.

I told Bob what had happened in the backyard.  He listened respectfully, but he did not know that I was experiencing those Great Rays about which the Course speaks so eloquently.  (T322)

Desperate for help, I called Bob several more times in the course of a day.

“This is the Awakening,” he concluded.  “I’m not sure you will know what that means.”

I did know what it meant.

As it turned out, I was one of those called upon to change my life situation almost immediately.  (M26)  I felt led to go to Texas, where I quickly secured a position in a public library.  For six months I walked around in a daze.  I was tuned into another reality, and, as the Course warns about the partially innocent, quite foolish at times.  (T38)  But in the midst of it all, I knew intimately  the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.”  (WB270)   Then this particular dream passed,  and I left Texas to return to North Carolina.

I was blessed to continue to know happy dreams,  as my study of the Course continued, but the Awakening did not last.  I have concluded that I was not saintly enough.  More charitably, the Course maintains that revelation may occasionally reveal the end to us, but to get there the means are needed.  (T16)

When I wed my husband Paul in 1986, the Course emerged as a tremendous asset to our new marriage.  From the Course:  Our minds hold only two orders of thought–  love and a call for love.  (T295)   Attack and anger are never justified.   (T638)  I have not always been able to live up to these lofty ideals,  but they have been the bedrock on which our marriage has rested.

“You are reading your ‘happiness’ book,” Paul observed one day early on.

I sat comfortably and contentedly reading the Course.

“Yes,” I replied.  “It is that.”

I have found it a lot easier to share my life when I have stayed close to my reading.

Five years ago Paul and I made the transition into an early retirement.  We partially remodeled our house in Minnesota, to ready it for the market, and we completely remodeled our new house in Mississippi.  There was a lot of stress, and in the midst of  this busy life, I did not stay close to the Course.  Finally I returned to it, clinging to its many reassurances as I had done before in happier times.  Life gradually returned to normal.  Now we live peacefully, the stress blissfully gone.

Before 1981, I knew something about guidance from the Holy Spirit, but the Course has taught me much more.  Most days, I follow the prompting that it describes so well.  When I do,  I know joy.  As time has passed, this joy has increasingly become a bedrock and beyond anything that I could imagine.  A Course in Miracles has been my lodestone, my godsend.

Meaningless Thoughts II

ACIM Workbook Lesson 11 – for Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.”

Selected Passage:

“Be glad indeed to practice the idea in its initial form, for in this idea is your release made sure.  The key to forgiveness lies in it.  (WB18)”

Reflections:

If we do not think aright, how can we perceive aright, and if this is not possible, how can what we perceive mean anything at all?  Surely we are doubting the validity of what we have seen in our lifetimes.  As Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford found out in their joint work to produce Jesus’s words, there is another way to do things in this world.  Our task is to find it.  And the underlying idea, meaningless in Heaven but meaningful on earth, is forgiveness of our brothers and sisters.

When we forgive, we are coming closer to recognizing that there is a better way to live.  Further Text, Workbook, and Manual passages explain that one’s brothers and sisters are actually innocent, that they have not done anything to our real Selves at all.  We do not pardon the real; we only pardon the illusion.  This truth is one of the hardest for the new student of A Course in Miracles to take in and to make his or her own.  But once we get past this hurdle, it is much smoother sailing afterwards.

May we move into forgiveness of the illusions that surround us, and welcome the real world, the world of knowledge rather than perception.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize the innocence of my brothers and sisters in this world that appears so meaningless.  Surely they, and I, have made mistakes, but we are still children of God, Sons and Daughters of God.  May I come ever closer to understanding this truth today.

Give me a good day.  In this wintertime, my days seem long, though they are actually shorter than the summer.  Help me to turn to You when any time today seems difficult.

Amen.

WRANGLING CREATES BEAUTY; A Review of Neal Vahle’s “A Course in Miracles: The Lives of Helen Schucman & Bill Thetford”

A Review of Neal Vahle’s A Course in Miracles:  The Lives of Helen Schucman & Bill Thetford

Review by Celia Hales; reprinted with new title from Miracles (publisher Jon Mundy)

Note:  A book by Neal Vahle, published by Open View Press (San Francisco), 2009.  Available from Miracle Distribution Center, 1-800-359-2246, miraclecenter.org; or Community Miracles Center, 1-888-621-2556, http://www.miracles-course.org; or elsewhere on the Internet.  The price is slightly less than $20 plus shipping and handling.

The cover of this book tells it all:  Helen and Bill, holding hands affectionately, with smiles that suggest a deep and abiding friendship.  This is true despite the wrangling between them that never was healed.  This despite the fact that Helen and Bill sought together to find another way–a better way–to live and work together as colleagues and friends.

In the beginning, Bill and Helen saw the inner dictation that Helen was beginning to scribe as a way to heal their own relationship, which was professional and personal, despite the fact that Bill was gay and Helen, a happily married woman.  Bill was the supporter during the seven years, from 1965 to 1972, that Helen scribed A Course in Miracles.  He typed the words that she dictated, often in great distress, from her combination of shorthand and abbreviations.  Everything was done in utmost secrecy, because both were faculty members at Columbia University, and their endeavors would probably have cost them their positions.  Both were extremely successful psychologists, with great investment in the things of this world.  A Course in Miracles would eventually transform Bill and make significant changes in Helen, not all for the better.  The Course is available to us at great personal cost to both of them.

Neal Vahle does a commendable piece of work in writing this joint biography of Bill and Helen.  He ranges widely over the territory, not only telling us of the lives of these two principal figures, but also the others who helped them bring the Course before the world.  I say, “helped them,” but actually others did much of that task, for neither Bill nor Helen were interested in being gurus or in speaking for the Course as experts.  If we don’t live it, they said, how can we teach it?  Neal writes of the early life of Bill and Helen, covers the basics in describing how the Course came to be and to be published, and then concludes with two lengthy chapters on the legacy of these remarkable individuals.

This book was needed.  Vahle agreed to write it at the suggestion of Judy Skutch Whitson of the Foundation for Inner Peace.  Not a Course student in the beginning, he undertook to write an independent scholarly work, and he succeeded.  In the meantime, he studied the Course and became grateful for the opportunity to tell Bill and Helen’s story.
Vahle drew extensively on Helen’s unpublished autobiography, written soon after the scribing of the Course ended.  He also quotes very extensively from individuals such as Judy Skutch Whitson and Kenneth Wapnick, important figures in the history of the Course.  Wapnick’s biography of Helen, Absence from Felicity, would also be of interest to readers of this biography.

Bill’s importance to the scribing is not often noted, though his name always appears with Helen’s.  Vahle points out, quoting others, that A Course in Miracles would likely not exist without Bill’s support of Helen.  She was terrified by what she was experiencing, and she did not welcome the work at all, though she believed that somewhere, sometime, she had agreed to do it, and she never seriously considered quitting.   Bill and Helen did not often mention Jesus’s name in conjunction with the Course.   Wapnick, in the early publicity, was asked to make the point for them in their presentations that both experienced the voice (that Helen was receiving as inner dictation) as coming from Jesus.

Vahle makes clear the strengths and the weaknesses of Bill and Helen.  His biography is extremely frank, and sometimes painful to read, as we learn that Bill and Helen were very human individuals with real psychological difficulties, despite their obvious stature as spiritually advanced people.  His frankness is the most significant aspect of this biography, and it is a blessing for those of us who love and know the Course.  I recommend this book without reservation.

Do We Have Free Will?

“Your finger does not act independently of the whole.  You might say that your finger does not, then, have free will. . . .The same is true of you!  You cannot express yourself independently of the whole! (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 5.8 – 5.9) ”

The concept of free will was long a challenge to me, until I read A Course in Miracles, and learned that God’s Will and my real will are one and the same!  What a glorious realization this is.

In A Course of Love, we see that, as in ACIM, we choose for the whole rather than our little self; we choose for all of our brothers and sisters when we make a God-inspired choice.  This helps to explain why “free will” doesn’t mean that we can miscreate and never reap the consequences.

We do have free will, but God has set the boundaries of our miscreations.  We cannot go outside these boundaries.  Pain becomes too great, and we learn, as Helen Schucman scribed in ACIM, that pain is not without limit.  Sooner or later we realize that there must be a better way.  This other way is what she and Bill Thetford sought to find, and Jesus gave them ACIM was the result.

Now we might say the same for Mari Perron and A Course of Love.  “Another Course in Miracles” was presented to her.  And she was willing to provide what many view as a sequel to A Course in Miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I look to You for a full explanation of what my free will really is and what it means.  A very important concept, I realize that it is one that must be understood and understood fully.

Thank You for the explanation given us today in this passage from A Course of Love.  Thank You for the peace of mind that this passage gives me.

Amen.

Special Relationships

“I have said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them.  (ACIM, T358)”

Affirmation:  “transform my special relationships”

Reflections:

A Course in Miracles makes much of our way toward Awakening:  forgiveness, expressed through the changing of our special relationships into holy relationships.  Many of us look to our significant others when we think of the many passages in ACIM which discuss special/holy relationships.

Many students of ACIM read the “I” as Jesus, and, indeed, this is what Bill Thetford and Helen Schucman, the co-scribes, believed (though they were hesitant to say so in public presentations, the few that they had).  The transformation of special relationships, we learn as we read farther on, is into holy relationships.  We have forgiven our brothers and sisters for the wrongs that we, and perhaps they, believe that they have done.  ACIM sees forgiveness as the way Home.

What is “Home”?  We can perhaps see that this is heaven on earth.  This theme runs through A Course of Love also.  We can experience a better world in this world; we do not have to wait for life after death.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I indeed experience the heaven on earth that I read about, as I forgive my brothers and sisters unconditionally.  May my special relationships transform into holy ones.  May You lead me to this transformation.

Thank You for listening to my prayers.  I want to keep my channel to You open at all times.  I want to feel You near me and within me.

Amen.

ACIM Workbook Lesson for Day 138:

Heaven is the decision I must make.