Tag Archives: Holy Relationships

Depression, Pain, Fear, Disaster Avoided

“If a magic thought arouses anger in any form, God’s teacher can be sure that he is strengthening his own belief in sin and has condemned himself.  He can be sure as well that he has asked for depression, pain, fear and disaster to come to him.  Let him remember, then, it is not this that he would teach, because it is not this that he would learn.  (M-17-1)”

Affirmation:  “no magic thoughts”

Reflections:

1 – Avoid Depression by Avoiding Anger

I would not know depression today.  If I am to avoid depression, I must avoid anger, because the two are linked in my mind.  Also pain, fear, and disaster come as a result of anger aroused by magic thoughts.  I would not place my faith in superstition, a form of magic thought.  I know that much that A Course in Miracles says would be seen by someone else, a non-student, as superstition.  But help me to know the difference.  My curriculum is A Course in Miracles.

2 – Peace and Harmony

May we gather together today in peace and harmony.  May we know that our true cure for all the ills of this world is found in relationships, holy relationships, with our brothers and sisters.  There is no other way, if we are to find our home in ACIM.  These holy relationships, salvaged from special relationships, will give us the peace and harmony that we seek.

3 – Special vs. Holy Relationships

How we do turn a special relationship into a holy one?  Intention has a lot to do with it (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We must realize that our seeking for superficial qualities in a relationship is very, very likely to be our ego speaking to us.  God does not dwell in superficial qualities.  Beauty is fine, if the beauty is also internal.  The world itself, with its green and blue predominant, is beautiful in the extreme.  So God, we must believe, loves beauty.  But we must know that we will not even notice this beauty is our eyes are set on superficial qualities.  The material plane has much to tempt us.

4 – Magic in ACIM

I would set aside magic thoughts today, and by this I mean the magical thoughts that secular psychology also sets aside as being part of mental illness.  I do not mean the airy, attractive qualities of the definition of “magic” that is sometimes used.  There are these two different definitions, and the more benign one, the one that children believe in, is not to be deprecated.

5 – Keep God Central

Help me to have a good day.  I know that depression and pain will not be a part of this day if I keep God central to this day.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today I have written my blog in a personal way, more personal than usual.  But I am actually also speaking to You.  I ask for You to assist me today to live a good day in Your sunshine.  I know that this kind of joyous living is strictly in line with Your will.

I would avoid depression and anger, and all the other negative adjectives that I have used in this blog posting.  Help me to choose again how I will react, knowing that the choice is within my power, with You helping me.  Help me to know that I can always choose the benign response and the loving response.  I don’t have to fly off the handle with rage.  I don’t often react that way, but my rage sometimes comes upon me suddenly and loudly, and I would cease this reaction entirely.  Help me to do so.

Be with all of my brothers and sisters today.  We are One, and it is to our good that You call us.

Amen

What You Feel Within = What You See Without

ACIM Workbook Lesson 189 – for Sunday, July 8, 2012

Affirmation:  “I feel the Love of God within me now.”

 

“What would you see?  The choice is given you.  But learn and do not let your mind forget this law of seeing:  You will look upon that which you feel within.  If hatred finds a place within your heart, you will perceive a fearful world, held cruelly in death’s sharp-pointed, bony fingers.  If you feel the Love of God within you, you will look out on a world of mercy and of love.  (WB359)”

Reflections:

1 – A Lovely Passage

What a lovely passage from the Workbook!  And the images are so profound.

2 – Fear = Hatred

If we have ever lived in fear, perhaps we have not realized that hatred has found a place within our heart.  Perhaps this seems too harsh.  But Jesus frequently equates attack with hate (in other places in ACIM); he goes the whole distance in categorizing our emotions.  Jesus does not see lukewarm emotions, indicating to us elsewhere that a hint of irritation is the same as intense fury (separated from us only by a veil).

3 – Not Always Fearful

We do not always see a fearful world.  So we are not always caught by the hatred (and attack) that the ego would foster.

4 – The Love of God Within

We see a world of mercy and of love, perhaps increasingly so as our study of A Course in Miracles proceeds.  According to the passage for today, this sight means that we are feeling the Love of God within.  What a blessing this is!

5 – A World of Mercy and of Love

We would not view “death’s sharp-pointed, bony fingers.”  We would see a world of mercy and of love.  Let us go forth today to see Love wherever we are, and if someone else seems to attack us, let us remember that he or she is really calling for help (an ACIM tenet), and may we give help accordingly.  This is the way that Love works.  And it is our holy relationships that will carry us home to God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see a world today of mercy and of love.  I would feel within the love that You wish for me to feel.  And I know that when I feel that inward love, then the world that is externally is very different, very much better.  Thank You for helping me to reach this understanding.

This workbook lesson teaches me what is repeatedly said in A Course in Miracles:  projection makes perceptions.  May I project from a mind and heart that is rooted in love, and by so doing to see a world that is beautiful.  I know that the suffering in this world is actually illusory, but let this understanding in no way detract from the compassion that I would feel for others.

Be wtih me today as I walk through my world.  May my words be sweet, my demeanor graceful.  I would be the person today that You wish for me to be.  May I reach out to my brothers and sisters with the help that You know that I am suited to give.  But may I never try to overreach, to help when I am being an unhealed healer.

Amen.

No Place for Sacrifice nor Suffering

ACIM Workbook Lesson 187 – for Friday, July 6. 2012

Affirmation:  “I bless the world because I bless myself.”

“Never believe that you can sacrifice.  There is no place for sacrifice in what has any value.  If the thought occurs, its very presence proves that error has arisen and correction must be made.  Your blessing will correct it.  Given first to you, it now is yours to give as well.  No form of sacrifice and suffering can long endure before the face of one who has forgiven and has blessed himself.  (WB355)”

Reflections:

1 – Doing for Others

We have long believed that when we sacrifice for our loved ones, we are doing the right thing.  This passage for today assures us that, even when we are doing for our loved ones, God does not demand sacrifice.  We may do the same things, but when we are in God’s flow, we will not see our actions as sacrifice.  A change of attitude is all that is needed.

2 – Change of Attitude

“If the thought occurs” is the pivotal point, the indication that we need to change our attitude.  We need to entertain the thought of correction.  Correction is the definition of Atonement (an ACIM tenet).  When we have accepted Atonement for ourselves, we will know correction in our daily lives.  And our daily lives will take a substantial and lasting turn for the better.

3 – Blessings and Thankfulness

Blessings and thankfulness are often linked in my own mind.  If we wish to bless someone, we are being thankful for their place in our lives.  And then we have opened the door to more blessings for ourselves as well.  We will not sacrifice and suffer in our holy relationships, because we will know love

4 – Forgiveness

If we have not forgiven ourselves for our past misdeeds, we will carry a heavy load of guilt, and guilt is hell (an ACIM tenet).  Let us reject such foolishness by simple forgiveness.  We need only ask, and the blessing of forgiveness is ours.  There can be no better way to have a good day.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for this glorious day.  I had a moment of an anxiety attack this morning, and, with distraction and prayer out loud to You, the moment left me–and quickly.  Help me to remember always that You are nearer to me than my breath, that I am a part of You.

No sacrifice seems too good to be true!  We will be caregivers for our significant others, but if I view this as a sacrifice, I need to change my attitude.  There is much to be gained from taking care of our loved ones–for them as well as ourselves.  May I never forget that this caregiving is a two-way street.

Be with me as I seek to leave all suffering behind.  The last three days have been glorious ones for me, and a tiny change in my routine created some of that difference.  Be with me as I seek to attract Your blessings, and many of these are the intangibles of love, peace, joy, tranquility, and serenity.  No need for drama in a life that is calm and quiet.

Amen.

Misery (Ego) vs. Joy (Spirit)

“I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit.  You have taught yourself the opposite.  You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?  (T68)”

Affirmation:  “joy comes with spirit”

Reflections:

1 – The Egotistical Fails to Satisfy

We are used to the ego; we do not think its dictates strange.  But we can realize, if we reflect a little, that egotistical longings have not brought the happiness that we sought through fulfilling those longings.  There must be a better way.

2 – Ordinary Daily Life Satisfying

At this juncture we can see where Jesus is heading.  The ordinariness of everyday life is where the real satisfactions lie.  This, almost paradoxically, is where the joy of the spirit lies.  When we experience this joy, we will be much more inclined to give up the ego in favor of something better.

3 – Read ACIM Frequently

How do we do that?  Reading the Course, really studying it, will take us a very long way.  It is the means that lead to the ultimate revelation of the Awakening.  We can truthfully rarely find anything better to do.  But this does not mean withdrawing from the world.  Our salvation rests in our relationship to our brothers and sisters in the world.  That is, in fact, the means that the Course is using to bring us Home.

4 – Holy Relationships

We are in joy and in Heaven when we are at peace with our brothers and sisters in this world.  We are in joy and in Heaven when we have holy relationships that have brought us home.  May we always remember that the joys of the spirit are much superior to the egotistical “joy” that comes to us from egotistical motives.  We need to drop the competition that the ego fosters and walk home to God through the love that we hold for others in our world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you for the joys of everyday life.  I do not seek the thrills associated with the ego, because they are not lasting, and ultimately they bring unhappiness.

May I turn to the Course more and more often, knowing that, as I do, I will meet You there.  May I drop the miseries of the ego and walk into the joys of the spirit.

Amen.

Love Will Enter Immediately

Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly.  This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s ‘drive to get.’  (T61)”

Affirmation:  “wholly without the ego’s ‘drive to get'”

 

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Limit Your Love

We sometimes limit the love that we can receive by specifying that this love must come from a particular source.  Such thinking usually signals that one is dealing with a special relationship, not a holy one.  But the Course would purify our special relationships, rather than remove them from us by force.  All special relationships are meant to become holy eventually.

2 – Love Comes in Many Ways

We would do better if we did not specify the desired source of the love that we invite to come to us.  Then the real world can deliver our desired love in any number of ways.  Love is not always found in a special relationship, even in the beginning.  The love of nature, for example, is a great healer in times of stress.  The love we desire does not have to be always from another person.

3 – Love Is Always There

When we truly want love in our lives, it is there already.  There are no exceptions to this rule, though the ego would often make us think so.  God answers our prayer for love by sending into our lives the love that is ours for the asking.  We do not have to plead or to
struggle.  We simply need to ask.  And this is truly without the ego’s “drive to get.”

4 – The Ego and Special Relationships

The times when we strive so hard for the elusive goal of “love” is a time that our love is the “special” love relationship that the ego always leads us toward.  While the Holy Spirit will not remove our special relationships from us, He would purify them, turning them into holy relationships.  We know that we do not feel great stress at such a change, though the change may disrupt the relationship for awhile (a Text tenet).  With holiness as our new goal, we are led to drop egoistic thinking from our minds and to walk into the sunlight with God and our brother.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

I do want love.  I want love to enter my life immediately and unconditionally.  I don’t want my ego to interfere.

May I drop all desires to have something that my ego dictates.  May I have, instead, the love that You have promised me.

Amen.

Are You Afraid?

“It is because you have made him a stranger that you are afraid of him.  (T41)”

Affirmation:  “made him a stranger”

Reflections:

1 – See the Self in Our Brothers/Sisters

When you sense fear of your brother, you have made of him (or her) a stranger.  You do not really know the Self that is loving.

2 – No Sacrifice Is Asked

Of course, there are times in our world when we need to take precautions against harm from another.  The Course is always practical, and it does not sanction sacrifice of any kind.  No sacrifice is ever asked of a child of God.

3 – Anger or Attack

In everyday events, though, we usually feel afraid of our brother when we have reacted in anger or verbal attack.  Then we may even wonder if our holy relationship is irreparable.  Certainly these thoughts make of our brother a stranger, and make us afraid of what he (or she) may do, even if he may sever the relationship.  In extreme cases, this may happen.  We must realize another Course tenet, though, that no relationship is ever lost to us.  Those who have once formed a relationship will meet again, to make of what may have been only a special relationship into a holy one.  The Course does not specify when this meeting will happen, but seems to imply that it may be beyond the veil of death.  Eternity is stressed repeatedly in the Course.

4 – Make No Brother/Sister a Stranger

Make no brother a stranger, then, if we would know peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My I retain my holy relationships, and let not even one fall into a “special” relationship.  In so doing, I will make no brother or sister a stranger to myself.  And I will not be afraid of any person.  If I feel fear, may I understand that I have made a stranger of one who is actually a brother or sister.  May I encourage friendly relationships with all.  May I not depend on special relationships to save me, because this is a dead end.  May I turn to You to transform the special relationships that I do have to a better place–a holy relationship.  This holy relationship will give us the assurance of Your grace that heretofore we have all lacked.

May I know that all who meet are destined to meet again, to make their relationship a holy one.  Thank you for this reassurance.

Amen.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses. . .

“Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes.  Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave.  Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave.  And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams.  He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T585)”

Affirmation:  “dream of your brother’s kindnesses”

 

Reflections:

1 – How We See God

The final sentence in the above passage is pivotal.  As long as we are caught in the ego, we will see our brother as offering both life and death to us, because we see God the same way.  This idea is startling when we are new to A Course in Miracles.  Do we really see God as offering both life and death to us?  We probably never thought this way before reading ACIM.

2 – We See God in Our Brother

We see God in our brother, though we are not usually aware of this.  When we progress, we gradually realize that God offers only life, and then our brother’s significance to us becomes clearer and more benign.  This helps, I hope, to explain the meaning of the “life and death” statement about God (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

3 – Our Intimate Relationships

The earlier portions of this passage help a good deal in our intimate relationships.  We can choose what to fantasize, what to think, about our loved ones.  We can think of the times that we have been disappointed or hurt, or we can dwell on those times of happiness, when our brother has been all that we might wish in a loved one.  The obvious choice, for happiness, is to choose to focus on the good aspects of our relationships.  And certainly this is valuable.  Jesus does not negate happiness; it is one of several functions that he says in ACIM are important for us.  (Other functions are salvation and forgiveness.)

4 – Our Brother Has Only Made Mistakes

Note that the more negative times with our brother have signified his mistakes, not his real self.  We may also see that we contributed to the situation by our own mistakes.  But the Course stresses that mistakes, once recognized, will be corrected, because we will desire to correct them.  We will dream of happiness rather than sadness.

5 – Dreams of Happiness

And when we dream of happiness, in the dreams brought to us by the Holy Spirit, we are happy.  And is this not a powerful motivator?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would think of my beloved ones only in a good light.  I would not dwell on the times that I have been disappointed in the way that they treated me.  I would dwell on kindnesses only.

Help me to think of this passage when the day seems long, I am stressed, and my significant others say things that upset me, leading me to feel angry.   Anger is not justified, as I know.  We live in an insane world, and we are part of that insanity until we change our minds.  Help me to change my mind today, and help the others in my intimate circle change their minds when they are prepared to do so by You.

I would think only of kindnesses today.  I would not fly off the handle at a perceived slight.  There is always a reason for a perceived slight, and it is always forgivable.  I would forgive today, as You have indicated I ought to do.  Help me to lead a calm and tranquil life today, and then I know that all will be well.

Thank You for always being there for me.

Amen.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses

“Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes.  Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave.  Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave.  And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams.  He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T585)”

Affirmation:  “I dream of kindnesses.”

Reflections:

1 – How We See God

The final sentence in the above passage is pivotal; we see God as offering both life and death to us, and we think that it is our brother (or sister).   In other words, as long as we are caught in the ego, we will see our brother as offering both life and death to us, because we see God the same way.  We see God in our brother, though we are not usually aware of this.  When we progress, we gradually realize that God offers only life, and then our brother’s significance to us becomes clearer and more benign.

2 – Intimate Relationships

The earlier portions of this passage help a good deal in our intimate relationships.  We can choose what to fantasize, what to think, about our loved ones.  We can think of the times that we have been disappointed or hurt, or we can dwell on those times of happiness, when our brother has been all that we might wish in a loved one.  The obvious choice, for happiness, is to choose to focus on the good aspects of our relationships.

3 – Overlook Mistakes

Note that the more negative times with our brother have signified his mistakes, not his real self.  We may also see that we contributed to the situation by our own mistakes.  But the Course stresses that mistakes, once recognized, will be corrected, because we will desire to correct them.  We will dream of happiness rather than sadness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I forgive totally all that I have not yet forgiven of my brothers and sisters who, I think in my weaker moments, have mistreated me.  I realize that there is no other way to You.  And there is not value in clinging to grievances.  I will know that I am safe when I have given up all grievances.  I would know that I am safe today.

May I dream, in my illusory world, of all that my brothers and sisters have done that is right.  May I recall to mind the good times, the times when we were very close and all was well.  May I never dip into negative thoughts that I do not immediately forgive myself for this irrationality.  There is no better way to approach You than through my holy relationships to my brothers and sisters.  It is the way to You, the salvation that A Course in Miracles counsels.  May I never forget this.

I am not so advanced that I am free of dipping into negative thoughts about my loved ones, my closest relationships.  But help me to realize that this is my most important task, to let go the negativity and turn to You for the guidance of what to do next.  And You will always counsel forgiveness, because nothing has gone wrong in the real world.  It has all been illusion, my dream.

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.

Walk into the Garden

“You have reached the end of an ancient journey, not realizing yet that it is over.  You are still worn and tired, and the desert’s dust still seems to cloud your eyes and keep you sightless. . . .Only a little wall of dust still stands between you and your brother.  Blow on it lightly and with happy laughter, and it will fall away.  And walk into the garden love has prepared for both of you.  (T393)”

Affirmation:  “I would walk in the garden today.”

Reflections:

1 – Succinct ACIM

A beautiful passage, this paragraph incorporates the whole of A Course in Miracles in succinct form.  We are meant to learn through our relationship to our brother (and sister), and through this relationship to be brought to Awakening.  Long periods of contemplation are not “our” way, though many ACIM students incorporate meditation as part of the workbook exercises.  (Indeed, the workbook exercises seem to encourage meditation, especially at the close of the year.)

2 – Special Relationships Turned Holy

This passage encourages the way of salvation for ACIM students/teachers.  This way lies in our transition from special relationships to holy relationships with our brothers and sisters.  We are “still worn and tired,” and it is in our forgiveness of others that our safety lies.  When we have let our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (from the Workbook).  We may become somewhat disjoined in our relationships as they move from specialness to holiness.  The purpose is different, when the holy relationship is seen as part of our salvation.  We are reassured that the Holy Spirit will not thrust our special relationships apart from us, but will be there for us as we transform them to what is truly beatific.  And when we are surrounded by holy relationships, what is this but Heaven on earth?

2 – Heaven on Earth

Jesus is very gentle with us, understanding that our way in this world is frequently hard, and indicating that he understands our pain.  The image of the “garden” perhaps indicates that Heaven on earth can yet be ours.  Certainly that is a hope in line with the teachings of ACIM.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this beautiful passage, so comforting and encouraging so much peace in me.  I am drawn to its beauty over and over, and the promises that it makes are profound.  May I spend part of this day in repeating these profound words over and over to myself, as affirmations.

May all of my special relationships, one-by-one, turn holy.  I realize that this is why we are here in this world.  May I say and do my part in making this come about.  But may I lean on You in making the decisions that I need to make to effect these changes in my relationships.

Be with us today as we seek to live peaceably with one another.  It is not right to try to isolate ourselves behind a computer or a print book.  Help me to reach out to others when You lead me to extend a helping hand.  But never let me overreach to those who are not ready or who are uninterested in what I might say or do.

Amen.

The Role of Relationships in Salvation

ACIM Workbook Lesson 343 – for Friday, December 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not asked to make a sacrifice
        To find the mercy and the peace of God.”

“The mercy and the peace of God are free.  Salvation has no cost.  It is a gift that must be freely given and received.  And it is this that we would learn today.  (WB475)”

Reflections:

1 – No Sacrifices Asked of Us

A Course in Miracles never asks sacrifices of us.  This truth would go a long way toward reassuring us that our God is a loving God, never a punishing one.  God’s goals for us are free gifts; we do not have to earn His mercy and His peace.  These free gifts are freely give, without any cost to anyone.

2 – ACIM Salvation in Relationships

The history of many religions, including Christianity, are based on the idea of sacrifices.  We would be led to understand by ACIM that this is not the way for us.  Our way is found in the forgiveness that transforms our special relationships into holy ones.  Our salvation is found in relationship, in the relationship to our brother/sister.

3 – We All Have Many Relationships

We may think that we have no single significant other, and thus the way of ACIM is closed to us.  But this would be a misreading.  We have relationships of various duration with everyone who peoples our world–from the stranger that we meet in the elevator, to the child who accidentally runs into our pathway.  There are no accidents in salvation, according to ACIM.  All who are intended to meet, will meet; and when the ending seems premature, we can know that we will meet again.  It is the goal of every special relationship to become holy, especially those relationships that are most problematic to us.  The lesson can be learned when we recognize the same degree of readiness in ourselves and our closest associates.  We may not recognize that the balance is perfect, but if it is and we learn the lesson, we can help to transform others (from the Manual).

4 – Salvation Is A Gift

So let us learn the lesson for today, that salvation is a gift to be freely given and received.  And then let us thank God that this is so.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take some moments today to reaffirm the primacy of my relationships in my religion.  A Course in Miracles teaches that this is the way home, this forgiveness of each other.  When we focus on those closest to us, we are speeding up our way back to You.  I would ask for a celestial speed-up today.

Be with me as I seek to be loving and kind, forgiving and peaceful.  Today is not a day to lose my temper and to attack.  Your way is different, and as long as I keep the stress in my day low, it is likely that I will walk the way that You choose for me.  I never get angry unless I am stressed.  And I would ask that this personal characteristic not interfere with my pathway and my relationships today.  Help me to remain at ease in Your world.  And may I extend my peace and Your peace to all whom I meet.

Amen.

My Goal Is God, and My Brother Brings Me to Him

ACIM Workbook Lesson 288 – for Saturday, October 15, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let me forget my brother’s past today.”

“This is the thought that leads the way to You, and brings me to my goal.  I cannot come to You without my brother.  And to know my Source, I first must recognize what You created one with me.  My brother’s is the hand that leads me on the way to You.  His sins are in the past along with mine, and I am saved because the past is gone.  Let me not cherish it within my heart, or I will lose the way to walk to You.  My brother is my savior.  Let me not attack the savior You have given me.  But let me honor him who bears Your Name, and so remember that It is my own.  

“Forgive me, then, today.  And you will know you have forgiven me if you behold your brother in the light of holiness.  He cannot be less holy than can I, and you can not be holier than he.  (WB441)”

Reflections:

1 – Special Relationships / Holy Relationships

This lesson reflects one of the most central tenets of A Course in Miracles:  We find our way home through the special-relationship-turned holy that we have with our brother (or sister), and we find the way by forgiveness of that individual.  This interpretation assumes the love that we have for our brother and sister is genuine and, as much as the Holy Spirit can guide us, free of the egoic notions that have made our relationships “special.”

2 – We Are One with Our Brother/Sister

We are one with that brother and sister.  This can be extended to all brothers and sisters in this world and beyond (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We have the gifts that we offer to our holy brothers and sisters.  There is no difference.  And if we failed to offer forgiveness of the illusions in which we (and they) find ourselves, we will not know salvation, salvation in the sense that ACIM means it.

3 – We Make This Journey with Our Brother/Sister

We must make this journey with our brother and sister.  ACIM has a well-known passage in which Jesus asks us if we can make progress if we take a step forward, ahead of our brother, and then, when he catches up, take a step backward.  Can there be any progress in such a scenario?  We must walk hand-in-hand, and then we will not only know peace in this world, but we will be walking together on a happy road to Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Guide me today as I see my brothers and sisters.  Keep me aware that we are one, and that unless I walk with them to You, I cannot walk to You.  You are my goal, and I would choose to find You in the company of all those who surround me.

May today be a blessed day, knowing that we are all in this together.  Help me to enjoy the company of the significant people in my life.  May there be no conflict, no attack, no anger.  Help us to feel the love that is Yours to give.  Help me to love You  in the midst of the time that I spend with my companions in this world.

Thank You for giving me another good day.  May the day that is ahead be just as fruitful in the awareness of Your felt Presence.  Thank You for not hiding from me.  Thank You for being there when I pray.  Help me to pray in Your will, which is mine as well.

Amen.

I Will Not Be Afraid of Love Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson 282 – for Sunday, October 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not be afraid of love today.”

“Father, Your Name is Love and so is mine.  Such is the truth.  And can the truth be changed by merely giving it another name?  The name of fear is simply a mistake.  Let me not be afraid of truth today.  (WB438)”

Reflections:

1 – No Fear / Only Love

May we fear nothing today.  And may we not be afraid of love.

2 – A Dance

It is so often that, in our special relationships turned holy, we do a dance.  When intimacy comes too close, we move away by way of an attack or simply an episode of anger.  Then when distance has been established again, we are ready to move to intimacy.

3 – Our Closest, Holiest Relationships

Such is foolishness.  Let us ask God for help.  We crave the intimacy in our closest relationships, and it is only a holdover from egoic days that we fear this intimacy, this greater love.  There is nothing to fear in love.  There is only fear itself to fear in fear (a paraphrase from Franklin Delano Roosevelt).  We would be wiser today to spend a few moments in quiet, asking God how we might never be afraid of love, and never pick a fight as a way of allowing our fragile egos to reassert themselves.

4 – Reaching for the Truth

We would know truth.  Contrary to what we often think, everyone’s truth is not always different (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We do have differing personalities, and differing cultures, and so truth does become altered by the genes and the environment that we bring to it.  But let us ask for truth as A Course in Miracles defines it.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not do a dance today, fearing intimacy with those closest to me.  I would rejoice in the holy relationships that I do have, and I would not fear the lack of boundaries between us.  Help me to encourage closeness, not to be afraid of it.

Thank You for encouraging my special relationships to evolve into holy ones.  May my joy today be full in the midst of my holy relationships.

May You help me today never to be afraid of intimacy, never to turn to anger and attack out of fear of closeness.

Amen.

Christ’s Is the Vision I Will Use Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson  271 – for Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “Christ’s is the vision I will use today.”

“Father, Christ’s vision is the way to You.  What He beholds invites Your memory to be restored to me.  And this I choose to be what I would look upon today.  (WB432)”

Reflections:

1 – What Does “Christ” Mean?

We need to ask to see with Christ’s vision, and this, of course, does not refer only to Jesus.  Christ is our real Self, the unchanged Self which is still as God created us.  We are in this prayer asking for the memory of God to be restored to us.  We can believe that God wants this for us, the God within.  We need to have the layers of illusion in which we are mired removed from our consciousness and our unconscious.  Then the memory of God can flow into our conscious mind (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

2 – To Walk the Whole Pathway

We are asking for this blessing today, immediately.  We need to realize that the blessing is not meant to be a far-off thing, something for which we long all of our lives.  When we ask sincerely, we are expressing our willingness to set aright all parts of our lives.  We are asking to walk the whole pathway back home.

3 – “Journey without Distance”

Jesus says at one point in ACIM that the end is sure, once the “journey without distance” has begun.  If the way seems long, we are to remain contented, knowing the ultimate outcome.  We will all find our way home.  This is the promise we find in A Course in Miracles.  The discouraging part is that it may take millions of years for all of our brothers and sisters to find their way back to God.  Surely this underscores how important it is for us to get right with God sooner rather than later.  We are meant to lead others along the pathway of salvation.  But we do not offer more than they want at any given time.  A favorite passage of mine is the one in which Jesus says (in the Manual) that some are ready only for a smile.

4 – Our Special/Holy Relationships

We have different periods of time for our relationships.  A very few are lifelong, once they are begun.  We meet others, sometimes repeatedly over a lifetime, for a reencounter that is intense and for which learning can be profound.  We part when we have learned all that we can at a given time.  Others are far more casual–a child walking home with another child, a child running into an adult (but not being scolded by the adult), and the like.  May we ask today for the relationships in which we can be of real help.

5 – Right Place at the Right Time

We are told that students are waiting for us as teachers as soon as we have answered the call.  And the timing is impeccable.  We cannot but be at the right place at the right time.  (These are paraphrases from the Manual.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I come to realize the Self that I am, the one that might, amazingly, be called “Christ.”  This is something for all, something that we all will reach.  May we reach the Self sooner rather than later.

In my encounters today, may the relationships–brief or long–be holy ones.  I would like to see all of my special relationships transform into holy.  I know that this is Your desire for me.  Help me to carry out my part in what You desire for me.

This walk in this world is truly a walk through illusion, but it is the tangible world that we experience, in a practical sense.  May I experience the real world, the world of beauty and peace, in my walk today.

Amen.