Tag Archives: joy

What Has Caused Unhappiness?

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Forgiveness of Self

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

2 – Projection

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

3 – Vengeful Self

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

4 – Self-Blame

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

5 – Better Way to View

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

6 – End Result

And such can be our experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

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

Amen.

Joy without Sorrow

Dance Rehearsal in theStudio of the Opera

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

Affirmation:  “I would choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Relax

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

2 – Peace of God

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

3 – Simple Guidelines

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

4 – Key

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

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

Amen.

Joy that Knows No Bounds

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Enlightenment

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

2 – Don’t Be Frightened by Awakening

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

3 – God within Us

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

4 – Joy in Union

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

5 – All Will Be Well

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Soothe Your Worries Away

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“If you do not think you are yet prepared, if you think you are not yet ready, cease to think.  Read again these words of love and let the sound of love soothe your worries away. Give to me the thoughts that remain to trouble you and I will return them to you transformed by Love.  (A Course of Love, 32.5)”

Affirmation:  “May I give my inferior thoughts to Jesus to transform.”

Reflections:

1 – Comfort from ACOL

This passage for today is very comforting.  Let us read again from A Course of Love when we are upset, for these are the words of Love.  These are words that can lead us back to God.  The very sound of words of love will ease troubles away, and in this we have help.  We are never alone, though we may imagine ourselves to be.

2 – Jesus as Primary

Jesus takes his place as a primary factor in our lives with this passage for today.  “Give to me the thoughts that remain to trouble you. . . .”  What comfort!  We cannot understand how he will transform these troubled thoughts, but we can give Jesus a chance.  And he will not fail us; that is my conviction.

3 – Troubled Words Transformed

For troubled words to be transformed by Love is to let those troubled words be transformed by God, Who is Love (with a capital “L”).

4 – A Heartfelt Appeal

We are bade to cease to think, if we think that we are not yet ready for all that Jesus holds out to us.  He is appealing to the heart, which does not need to think.  And that heartfelt appeal will draw us in.

5 – A Conclusion

This is the final passage from the main part of the original volume of A Course of Love.  It is indeed enough, for we know that Jesus walks with us, to soothe and comfort us, to lead us Home.  And that is surely what we have wished all along.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be soothed today.  I would join with Jesus as my companion, my friend, and I would listen to the internal promptings that may come from him.  He promises to be with us upon one unequivocal call.  I make that call today.  I leave with him the things that trouble me, for he is able to transform them so that they trouble not me nor anybody else.  What a blessing this is!

May I know the soothing presence of Jesus.  May I recognize that there are other teachers, but, for me, Jesus is the most important one.  I have chosen to follow the way that he has pointed out, and though I read from other individuals, my heart belongs to him.

Amen.

The Embrace II

degas - dancing class2

“The embrace can now be likened to the starting point of a shared language, a language shared by mind and heart and by all people.  It is a language of images and concepts that touch the one heart and serve the one mind.  (A Course of Love, 21.6)”

Affirmation:  “May I sense the embrace of Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Beautiful Passage

The passage about the embrace of Jesus with us is in my opinion the most beautiful portion of all three volumes of A Course of Love.  We are bade to lay our head on Jesus’s shoulder, and we are comforted completely.  We know no fear in the embrace, and we are at peace and perfectly tranquil.  Jesus is not exclusive to any of us, but embraces us all.  And there is nothing untoward in this embrace.  It is a chaste embrace, something that is perhaps not entirely clear upon first reading in ACOL.

2 – Jesus, Our Companion

Jesus is not our lover, but he is our companion.  And ultimately in ACOL he will cease to be our teacher, but become our equal.  This may be a welcome change for him, so long praised by the world and so long set apart.  Here he rejoins us, and we are, like him, both human and divine.  Our elevated Self of form has reached beyond the ego in the mind to the place of the heart in our exalted body.  We trust in him, and we walk a new and infinitely better path.

3 – No Fear of Jesus

Be with me as we seek to comprehend the ramifications of the embrace of Jesus.  May we not fear him at all.  And fear has been an accompaniment of the long years of egoic rule.  We were afraid of Jesus.  And now we know that we need not to have this uncertainty about him ever again.  He is our friend extraordinaire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest in the embrace of Jesus, my companion, as he is the companion of all who so choose.  May I know no fear, because Jesus is with me.  May I be comforted, as Jesus intends.  The joy of the moment may surround me with a certainty that all will be well, all manner of things will be well.

Thank You.

Amen.

Determining the Distinction between Pleasure and Pain

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Awaking of Christ-Consciousness

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

2 – Separation

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

3 – Pleasure

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

4 – Body = Learning Device

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Nothing but Love Can Be Cause of Joy

“For at least one brief moment, this was true love, for nothing but love can be the cause of joy, nor offer a haven of safety in an insane world.  (A Course of Love, 14.13)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love today.”vangogh_sunflowers1888

Reflections:

1 – Love Deeply

If we wish to be free of fear in all its forms, we need to love deeply.  Experiencing the peace that only love gives can prove this fact for us.  We can sense the love first as a feeling, a glorious feeling of joy and limitlessness, and then we will notice that we are free of the anxiety that has dogged our steps.  This is a true miracle, and its presence shows the place that revelation also has in our lives.  For this is a message from God to us; we could not effect this change from anxiety to non-anxiety on our own.  We could not leave fear behind, except that we love–and love deeply.

2 – Uncontrolled Anger

When we slip and let attack enter because of our uncontrolled anger, the peace that we were feeling will be abandoned.  We will know anxiety once again, and recovering our peace of mind may be slow.  Let us not slip today.  Let us invite the love that will banish fear, banish anxiety.

3 – Worry

Worry too is a form of fear, and we all have had many worries over the course of our lifetimes.  We do not have to keep the habit of worry; it too can be abandoned.

4 – How to Abandon Worry

And the way to abandon the spirit of worry is to substitute love of others, keeping in mind that we too must have a humble love of self.  The best way to eliminate worry is to substitute the feeling of love of God.  And in loving God, we are also loving the Self who is in our brothers and sisters, and well as ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would move ever closer today to the cessation of anxiety.  And in the passage for today, Jesus gives me the key:  love, ever-deeper love.  May I hold fast to this idea today.

Be with us as we eliminate the “what if’s” from our lives.  This is a foolishness that cannot be denied unless we welcome love.  We would leave behind worry with its “what if’s” today.  Be with me as I do so.

Help me to realize that the guidance that I need is given at the point of need, not usually ahead of time.  If the guidance were given ahead of time, we would always be out of the present, and being in the present is the way to live a heartfelt life.  We would live in the present today, practicing for all our tomorrows.

Thank You for always being there for me.

Amen.

Where Is Heaven?

“Think about this now–for how could heaven be a separate place?  A piece of geography distinct from all the rest?  How could it not encompass everything and still be what it is:  home to God’s beloved son and dwelling place of God Himself?  It is because God is not separate from anything that you cannot be.  It is because God is not separate from anything that heaven is where you are.  It is because God is love that all your relationships are holy, and from them you can find the way to Him and to your holy Self.  (A Course of Love, 6.19)”

Affirmation:  “Heaven is here, when I choose for it to be.”

Reflections:

1 – Heaven = Here / Now = Choose God’s Peace

Heaven is not a piece of real estate off somewhere in the skies.  Heaven is here and now, when we choose God’s peace.  A Course in Miracles says that here in this world we will not be without limitations, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will rise above misfortune and know heaven on earth.  A Course of Love makes the same point here, except that in back of the statement is the idea that Christ-consciousness will grant us knowledge of the right way to go to create heaven.  God is here with us, and we would do well to remember this throughout the day.  How can one fume and fret, when he/she knows that God is within, righting all the wrong that we look upon?  And we know also that that wrong will be created anew when we seek Christ in the faces of all of our brothers and sisters.  This Christ is the unifying Self, the one that can see both human and divine (an ACOL tenet).

2 – Relationships

As with ACIM, A Course of Love indicates, declares, that our relationships are meant to be holy, and it is through our relationships that we will find our way home.  Pray today for the grace to belief this reassurance.

3 – Holy Day

And see if the day does not turn holy indeed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I do what You would have me do to create heaven on earth today.  May I love my brothers and sisters with an ever-deeper love, and may I not forget that I too must love myself, to have anything to give to others.  May my sense of self-esteem partake not of the ego, but of the spirit.  And when self-esteem is of the spirit, all is well.

Be with me today as I walk through this day in peace and joy.  If there are challenges to my day, let me realize that there are no challenges when we are trying to be teachers of God.  And all of us are teachers as well as students of God.

May today be good.  May I do for others what they need, especially those who are my significant others.  And may Your peace fill my heart with joy.

Amen.

An Ecstasy of Unspeakable Joy

“To continue to identify love incorrectly is to continue to live in hell.  As much as highs and lows of intense feeling are sought by some to be avoided, it is in the in between of passionless living that hell is solidified and becomes quite real.  You can label joy heaven and pain hell and seek the middle ground for your reality thinking there are more than these two choices.  A life of little joy and little pain is seen as a successful life, for a life of joy is seen as nothing more than a daydream, a life of pain a nightmare.  (A Course of Love, 2.7)”

Affirmation:  “I choose a life of joy.”

Reflections:

1 – Give Up the Drama of Hell

This passage discusses the drama that all of us, to one extent or another, need to give up.  We do not need a middle way, a way of muted feelings.  But we do need to give up the drama of hell.  We do not need a passionless living, because this is the real hell.  But we need to choose, again and again, the high ecstasy of joy in daily life.  That is the only way that we can be happy.

2 – Life without the Ego

A life of joy is not a daydream, though here (in this passage) we hear that we think a life of joy is a daydream.  We can truly know lasting joy, when our attitudes are straightened out and we are on the pathway home.  We need to let the ego wither away, and in A Course of Love, we find that we are well on the way to reaching that epitome.  Life without the ego (as defined by Jesus) is a glorious gift.  And it is builds upon the “happy dreams the Holy Sprit brings,” as defined in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles.  Now we are living more fully from our depths, or, if you will, our higher Self, the Christ in us.  This is Christ-consciousness, and this blessing will be present intermittently until it is made a sustainable state.  Nobody, according to ACOL, has sustained Christ-consciousness as a steady state always–yet.

3 – What is “Success”?

We would not have a life of little joy and little pain, and call this a “successful life.”  This will never do.  We are meant for better than this, we as children of God.  Let us ask Him today what He would have us do to live the best life that He can envision for us.  And let us trust that, in the silence, He will speak to us of unspeakable joys that await.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When we live a day of contentment, we know joy.  But when we live a day of ecstasy, we touch heaven.  We would not choose a passionless life, and a passionless life is not the same as a life devoid of drama.  The two may sound similar, but they differ, and we would eliminate the meaningless drama without dropping passion from our lives.

Be with me as I seek to do this, to drop the drama but to keep the passion.  I would know the ecstasy of a life led according to Your dictates.  There is no better way to live, and I ask You to help me find this blessing today.

Thank You.

Amen.

Joy = Avoid Attack

“Attack can enter only if perception of separate goals has entered.  And this must indeed have been the case if the result is anything but joy.  (M-17.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would know joy today.”

Reflections:

1 – We All Want Love

Our brothers and sisters, and you and I, truly have no separate goals.  We may want different things, but we really, at the base, want only love in all its manifestations.  If we think that we want something else, we are deluding ourselves.  And this is always a form of insanity.

2 – Insanity in ACIM

A Course in Miracles says that virtually all of us are insane to one degree or another.  Only when we have experienced Awakening can we feel surely that we are at least partially sane.  And the experience of Awakening can come and go, not being sustained because our ego has not yet withered away.  We are very human in this world, and we make many mistakes.  The Holy Spirit can eliminate these repeated mistakes, if we will only give him a “little willingness” (quotations from ACIM).

3 – No Attack / Only Joy

I would not entertain attack in any form today, because I would know joy.  This is ample motivation!  If I am tempted to want to attack, then I will take a timeout, exit the room, and quiet myself down.  Sometimes the only thing that works in anger is a sudden removal from the temptation to attack.  Counting to ten in the same room as the one with whom we are angry will not always work.  Walking to another room, and stilling the emotions, is far more effective.  Many of us only get angry when we are stressed.  We need to get quiet, and the stress will dissipate.  (These ideas are not discussed in ACIM.)

4 – Joy = Our Inheritance

Joy is our inheritance.  We would do well to accommodate ourselves to this lofty blessing, and to do so we must relinquish anger and attack in all its forms.  Anger and attack have no foundation in truth (a paraphrase from the Text).  We are always angry at nothing, at an illusion.  If we recognize that our brother or sister is actually part of our illusion, we will not get angry regardless of what happens in the dream (i.e., the illusion).  We would not get angry at someone who was certifiably insane.  We might regret their behavior, but we would know that these individuals have reduced accountability.  And when they are once again in a sane mind, they will act more responsibly.  It is the same for all of us, because we all have insanity (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May all of us leave insanity behind today.  When our egos are in charge, we insane to one degree or another.  We would not let our egos drive us around today.

May we know the joy of find You in all our dealings.  May we stay calm and serene, at peace with whatever happens.  May we just let the ego disappear, wither away faster rather than slower, embrace the love that is our inheritance.

If we fall on our faces today in any way, may this anger/attack leave us as suddenly as it arrived.  We do want to stay peaceful, in the extreme.  No other way is Your way, and we would follow Your way always.  Help us to stay true to this determination.

Thank You.

Amen.

World Ends in Joy, Peace, Laughter

“The world will end  in joy, because it is a place of sorrow.  When joy has come, the purpose of the world has gone.  The world will end in peace, because it is a place of war.  When peace has come, what is the purpose of the world?  The world will end in laughter, because it is a place of tears.  where there is laughter, who can longer weep?  And only complete forgiveness brings all this to bless the world.  In blessing it departs, for it will not end as it began.  (M-14.5)”

Affirmation:  “The world will end in joy.”

Reflections:

1 – Belief in a Fiery End

A very reassuring passage, this assertion by Jesus will be well-received by those who are ready to relinquish the ego, and no longer believe in a fiery hell.  So much of our preoccupation has been with a world that would end in fiery destruction.  And we can now realize that all of this was projection of the ego.  We made a world of opposites, and we thought that the worst thing that we could comprehend, hell, was there waiting for us if we did not measure up.  What a joy to know that this dualism has never been accurate!  We live in a non-dualistic world, where when we have dropped illusions, we can be happy in a Heaven on earth.

2 – Ask for a Happy Dream

Of course, we still see much misery before us.  And we are not encouraged to deny our eyesight.  But we are encouraged to realize that what we are seeing is maya (an Eastern term), illusion, a dream.  And much that we see is not a happy dream.  But we can ask for a happy dream, and the more we focus on following the guidance that we receive, the happier our daily life will become.  We will not longer sit down in the dust and bemoan our fate of a joyless life, full of struggle and woe.

3 – Be with God

Be with God today, as much of the time as possible.  The world will ultimately end in joy, but this ending may be a long time off.  Jesus says elsewhere that it may take millions of years for the separation to be healed, as it took millions of years to happen.  Of course, the separation from God is not real, could never be real, for we live as though in a hologram, and what is within (God) is projected without.  Not all that is within is God, though, and so sometimes we project hideous images.  But God would not have it so.  He asks only for a “little willingness” (quotation from ACIM) to follow His Way.  And his medium of communication is our Guide, the Holy Spirit.  Ask for His help today.

4 – Presence

He will not be long in making His presence felt.  The day will brighten.  And with this comes hope for a better tomorrow.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the reassurance in A Course in Miracles that the world will end in peace.  Our ego has said so much about ending in a fiery destruction, and we have been (most of us) very influenced by this.  Help us all to realize that there is nothing to fear.

Be with me as I seek to know Your Presence today.  Give me free-flowing thought, that I don’t dam up my thoughts and have thought attacks.  Obsessions are fearful things, and I would acknowledge Your rule in this world, even though we all have free will and can walk astray.

Amen

How the World Will End

“The world will end with the benediction of holiness upon it.  When not one thought of sin remains, the world is over.  It will not be destroyed nor attacked nor even touched.  It will merely cease to seem to be.  (M-14.2)”

Affirmation:  “The world will not be destroyed.”

Reflections:

1 – Cease to Be

Many of the prophecies of our world has attempted to predict the end of the world.  But here Jesus discusses a very benign way for the world to end:  It will just cease to be.

2 – Illusions

Certainly very few individuals in our world can understand this pronouncement.  It is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles.  In my interpretation (not stated in ACIM), the world, as an illusion, will cease to be when the time for illusions is past.  And this miracles will happen when all of us have returned home to God–not necessarily through death, but through a return to the real world, and then an Awakening in God.  We will not be dreaming when this miracles occurs; we will be awake for the first time ever.

3 – Millions of Years

When will this miracle take place?  The Text says that the return of the “separated” ones (those who think that they have separated from God) may take millions of years, just as the separation itself took place over millions of years.

4 – Regret?

Is this cause for regret?  Do we see the length of time as a reason for despondency?

5 – The World Will Get Better

I think not.  For as time goes by, and more and more of ourselves and our brothers and sisters awaken, we will see a world resplendent with beauty and joy.  We will have no reason to be despondent then.  Our mission is simply to bring that time closer, and Jesus is our leader in this, for time and space are under his control.  Can we believe this?  He would deal gently with us if we have an intellectual problem with such affirmations (from ACIM).  But we may find ourselves and home and in God much quickly if we can suspend judgment of that which we cannot, now, understand.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with us today, as we live in a world that is far from perfect.  Guide our physical eyesight, as well as our vision (non-physical eyesight) to experience a benign world.  May we have a good day, living in this world.

Help me to contain myself today when the world is too much with me.  We cannot know joy, true joy, unless we have the peace of God.  I ask You to grant me Your peace today.

Be with me, I pray.  And thank You.

Amen.

Overcome Misery / Find Lasting Happiness

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

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

Reflections:

1 – We Find Only to Lose

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

2 – Peace, Joy, Harmony, Tranquility

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

3 – Egotism Leads to Misery

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Thank You.

Amen.

How Do I Discover Happiness?

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Ego

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

2 – Happiness

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

3 – Ego = Leads to Strife and Fury

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

4 – Our Better Way

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

5 – The Ego Is Constantly Being Undone

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Power, Fame, Money, Physical Pleasure = Meaningful to Body

“It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give.  What can the sacrifice of nothing mean?  It cannot mean that you have less because of it.  There is no sacrifice in the world’s terms that does not involve the body.  Think a while about what the world calls sacrifice.  Power, fame, money, physical pleasure; who is the ‘hero’ to whom all these things belong?  Could they mean anything except to a body?  (M-13.2)”

 

Affirmation:  “I need sacrifice nothing.”

Reflections:

1 – The World Has Nothing to Offer

Most of us do not really yet believe that the world has nothing to offer.  We are still that much caught up in the ego.  As long as we are egocentric, we will seek for power, fame, physical pleasure.  But when the ego has withered, at least a little, we will instead seek the intangibles of God–the love, joy, peace, tranquility, calm, quiet.  And we can be happy in this world, so long as we are not chasing rainbows of materialism.  God wants our material needs satisfied also, but if we devote ourselves only to the material, we lose out on so much more.

2 – Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

And we do find in this world the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).  The reason for the happy dreams is that we would be too terrified by the sudden appearance of Awakening.  A gentler dream needs to precede Awakening.  And so we are prepared carefully for the great blessing of Awakening.

3 – Patience

It does take great learning to accept these ideas.  And it takes patience to assimilate them.  Teachers must repeat their lessons until they are learned, and Jesus himself has set the precedent for this in the Text, when he said that nothing that we do or make, etc., creates our worth.  Our worth is given us by God.

4 – Heaven on Earth

So do we write off the world and escape into some otherworldly heaven?  I think not.  We can experience heaven on earth, but we have to meet the conditions, which involve an egoless experience.  So long as we are fueled by the ego, we will know vicissitudes of joy and sorrow in an alternating fashion.  And the guilt that the ego would drive us to would be hell indeed.  (Elsewhere the Text affirms that guilt is hell.)

5 – Values Will Change

We seek to enjoy God’s intangibles and to love our brothers and sisters (as well as ourselves, which is necessary for all love to proceed from us).  We do not need to sacrifice anything that is truly good.  Our values will change as we walk farther along the pathway to God.  And we will not seek the inferior values that all too often are present in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am extremely grateful that, after studying A Course in Miracles for a long time, I can honestly say to You that the pleasures of this world do not mean as much to me as they once did.  I am not above wanting pleasures of this world, but it is more important to me to know Your peace, joy, harmony, and calm.  Thank You for walking with me far enough along the pathway to You that I have made this shift in my values.

May I be understanding if others do not share this concept.  It takes a long while to understand that this world does not really offer anything that is lasting, and only the lasting is the eternity that we all seek, whether we know it or not.  May my walk into eternity today include my brothers and sisters, and may I not make demands upon them that they are not yet ready to accommodate.

Amen.

I Choose the Joy of God Instead of Pain

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – When in Anger or Attack

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

2 – Do Not Judge

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

3 – Help in Dropping Judgment

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

4 – We Are Never Alone

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

5 – No More Judging

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

Amen.

Happily Lay Judgment Down

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

 

Affirmation:  “I would relinquish judgment today.”

Reflections:

1 – Pain = Caused by Judgment

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

2 – Review Today’s Passage Frequently

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

3 – Judgment vs. Evaluation

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Not Joyous? Study Your Lack of Love

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

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

Reflections:

1 – When Feeling Low

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

2 – Love Brings Joy

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

3 – Drop the Unloving Attitude

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

4 – Being Happy

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

5 – We Are Meant to Be Joyous!

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Call to Joy Dissolves the Ego

“The principle of Atonement and the separation began at the same time.  When the ego was made, God placed in the mind the call to joy.  This call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at its sound.  (T75)”

Affirmation:  “the strong call for joy”

Reflections:

1 – Overcome with Joy

This passage identified why joy is the preferred way to come to salvation and on to Awakening.  The ego dissolves when we are overcome with joy.  Indeed, we could not feel such joy if we held onto the ego, for the ego does not mean us well.

2 – Blessing!

A call for joy that is so strong!  This is a great blessing.

3 – Like the Lilies of the Field

Certainly we will willingly give up our egotistical ways when we realize that avoiding that avenue is the very best way to happiness.  Our joy is not of this world.  Our joy comes from God, and He leads us down that pathway by guidance.  When we have heard this call for joy, we will react as many of Jesus’s early followers did.  We will leave behind much of our investment in the material things of this world, and we will seek the intangibles of God.  This does not mean that God does not care about our material needs being met.  He does care, for He knows that these things are important to us (though sometimes too important).  The lilies mentioned in the Text of A Course in Miracles are reminiscent of words in the New Testament.  And we are meant to be just as unfettered by living in this world as are those lilies that cover our world with beauty.

4 – Tiny, Mad Idea

What did the separation accomplish?  Nothing!  That is what the Course teaches.  We have actually never changed in our Selves as we really are.  The separation was a tiny, mad idea that is now no longer in the mind that thought it (a Course concept).

5 – A Calm Mind

May we react to the joy that God would have us feel, and thereby leave the ego and separation behind.  We will then know the peace that a calm mind induces.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I have a calm mind, because I have known joy that dissolves the ego.  May I remember these moments of peak experience, so that I can call on them when the going gets rough.

May I realize that the separation accomplished nothing–that my real Self has continued in peace and joy with You.

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.

Gladden Yourself!

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

Affirmation:  “I will gladden myself today.”

Reflections:

1 – We Can Be Happier!

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

2 – Personal Experience

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

3 – When to Seek Help

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

4 – Make a List

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

5 – Pure Joy and Limitless Release

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

6 – Remember Today’s Passage

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

When Not Joyous

“When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be.  (T63)”

Affirmation:  “if not joyous, know this need not be”

Reflections:

1 – Mood Falls

Our mood falls when we try to make decisions without first asking for guidance.  Then we get that sinking feeling that we have made the wrong decision.  That sinking feeling is frequently correct.

2 – Personal Experience

I was once led away from a prospective job because I had a tremendous sinking feeling every time I entered that section of a library.  A friend told me that I ought to listen to that feeling.  And I did.  A later time I chose to accept a private office in my workplace, but one in a back corner, away from my friends.  I had that same sinking feeling as I was moving my office supplies into the space.  This time I did not listen to the sinking feeling, and I remained in that private office for about six months, increasingly unhappy.  The mood and my job improved considerably when I accepted another open space near my friends.  A private office was not the prize that I wanted or needed.

3 -Holy Spirit

So we do get indications when we have started on a false pathway.  The Holy Spirit does guide.  A Course in Miracles promises this, and our lives bear it out.

4 – Not at Every Turn

Of course, we cannot practically ask for guidance at every turn, but Jesus says elsewhere that if we set the proper tone for the day, asking for guidance at its beginning, and then again at the best opportunities, we will be well on our way to good days always.   He says that the Course is always practical, and asking for guidance in every moment would not be practical.

5 – How to Stay Joyous

All of us want to be joyous.  Staying close to the Holy Spirit is the secret to just that.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

I am not joyous when I try to live by my own lights, leaving out the Holy Spirit.  Let me turn to Him for guidance.

I can be joyous.  Let me accept this as a lodestone.  And I thank you for letting me know that joy is my right as a child of God.

Amen.

Joy

“The ego is afraid of the spirit’s joy, because once you have experienced it you will withdraw all protection from the ego, and become totally without investment in fear.  (T55)”

Affirmation:  “the spirit’s joy”

Reflections:

1 – A Comparison to the Ego

We have all experienced the spirit’s joy, because we are not totally insane.  The ego is only a part of our belief about ourselves.  The more we can coax the spirit’s joy to come forth, the more progress we will make.  How do we do this?  It can only come from turning inward asking for assistance.  God always responds, even when we don’t readily see His response.  Be on the lookout for the next meaningful comment, be it an interior word from the Holy Spirit, a sentence in a book, or a comment made by a brother.  God comes to us in all these ways, and more.

2 – Withdraw Protection from the Ego

Perhaps it seems fearful to withdraw protection from the ego.  Our world has put much store in developing a strong ego, one that is meant to protect us in an often hostile world.  But a strong ego is not the way of the Course.  The ego, in fact, is always being undone, and we will know humiliation and much fear as long as we try to depend upon it.  It may not always be easy to relinquish the ego, but to do so is our way home.

3 – Still on the Pathway

Perhaps all of our days will not be filled with joy, for we are still on the pathway home.  But the more that we adjust our attitude to Jesus’s recommendations, the better days we will have.  If we are hurt, we will know that we are experiencing an egoistic attack, for actually we, our Self, cannot be hurt.  Only the ego can experience hurt, and if we relinquish our investment in the ego’s way of looking at the world, we will be the wiser for it.  If we come in anger, whether acknowledged or under the surface, we are strengthening the ego.  We do not want o strengthen the ego.  We want to open our hearts to the spirit’s joy, the innermost part of ourselves that has never been either hurt or angry.  We need to return home to God.  We may not know how to do this now, but if we learn of the spiritual truths that confront, we will know more, and, not incidentally, have more faith that God is in His Heaven, and all is right with the world (Robert Browning, though he wrote this in a poem that was satirical; we do not want to see it as satirical).

4 – Joy of the Spirit / Fear of the Ego

When we recognize that joy is of the spirit, and fear of the ego, we will not lack for motivation.  Jesus is teaching us to equate joy with the spirit.  Once we have done this a few times, we will doubt no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I experience the spirit’s joy, and thereby be led to withdraw all protection from the ego.  The ego was always insane, and when I followed it, I was following blindly down a dark alley.

It is great news that when experiencing the spirit’s joy, I will want to withdraw all protection from the ego.  May this happen now and always.

Amen.

Vicious Dream Figures

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

Affirmation:  “I am living a dream.”

Reflections:

1 – An Insane World

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

2 – An Illusion

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

3 – Patience

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

4 – Resist Attack

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

5 – It Is Our Own Dream

We are in a dream that we ourselves made up.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

There Is No End to All the Peace and Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 355 – for Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “There is no end to all the peace and joy,
And all the miracles that I will give,
When I accept God’s Word.  Why not today?”

“I need not wait an instant more to be at peace forever.  It is You I choose, and my Identity along with You.  Your Son would be Himself, and know You as his Father and Creator, and his Love.  (WB482)”

Reflections:

1 – Recommitment

This is yet another dedication of ourselves to God.  We need to realize that just accepting God once, or even myriad of times, is not enough.  Our acceptance of God and His Will has to be ongoing, a recommitment daily, and even moment by moment.

2 – “Create”

When we rededicate ourselves to God, we know peace and joy.  This is the great blessing.  We are at the point of “creating” rather than “making” our world.  We have accepted the Self/Christ Whom we are meant to be, and we are at peace.  What more could we really want?

3 – Perfectly Calm and Quiet

In the Text, we are told that we will ultimately want to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  Perhaps this did not seem a worthy goal at the time we first read it, but do we not see it now?  Have we not changed this much over the course of this year?

4 – An Ongoing Commitment

Let us accept God’s Word today, ultimately.  And then let us do the same tomorrow, and the day after.  There is no end to the joy and peace that we can know when we have accepted God’s Word as our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know peace and joy, in quietness and calm, today.  I would not rush through this harried world at all.  Your way is perfectly calm and quiet, and that is what You intend for us to emulate.  Help me to emulate You today.

I would recommit to You today.  I know that You need me never to forget You, as I walk through my days.  Help me to remember Your presence.  Help me to feel Your presence in my heart.  With that felt presence, I know that all will be well with me.  Thank You.

Amen.

Solace for a Bewildered Mind and Frightened Heart

ACIM Workbook Lesson 334 – for Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Affirmation:  “Today I claim the gifts forgiveness gives.”

“I seek but the eternal.  For Your Son can be content with nothing less than this.  What, then, can be his solace but what You are offering to his bewildered mind and frightened heart, to give him certainty and bring him peace?  Today I would behold my brother sinless.  This Your Will for me, for so will I behold my sinlessness.  (WB469)”

Reflections:

1 – Is “Sinlessness” Valid?

We need to recognize the sinlessness of our brothers and sisters, and of ourselves.  This is why we seek only the eternal.  While the concept of sinlessness is often one of the stumbling blocks in A Course in Miracles, it is a completely benign concept.  It says that the impossible has never occurred.  We have not really separated from God, despite the appearances of this illusory world.  We are caught in unreality, and we blame each other, as well as ourselves, for the “sins” that we believe brought this state of affairs upon us.

2 – The “Tiny, Mad Idea”

We have not sinned.  We are still as God created us (a frequent refrain in ACIM).  But we have made mistakes, and these mistakes began with a “tiny, mad idea” about which the Son/Daughter of God forgot to laugh, making what seemed to be real effects borne of this cause.  We thought in that tiny moment of time that we wanted something more than everything, something more than God.  We thought that separation would offer us something that we would like better.  And so the long descent, over millions of years, happened for all of us.  Jesus says that the return may take a similarly long time, over millions of years.  But, once begun, the end is certain.  We will return.  And in the meantime we do what we can to see that our brothers and sisters also return.

3 – Madness of This World

When we gain an intuitive inkling of what sinlessness really holds out to us, then we are well on our way to understanding how genuine we can make our forgiveness of our brothers and sisters, and of ourselves.  We will realize that the separation, though seemingly real enough to build up a whole world around us, is actually based on very flimsy grounds.  We should not underestimate the insanity, the madness, of this world.  But we can look at it, and simply say, “This is unreal.”

4 – Enter the Eternal

When we behold our brothers and sisters as sinless, we will be entering into the eternal.  And we will be immeasurably happier for not holding their “sins” against us as grievances any longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not spend any time today nursing grievances.  Holding them close to my heart is senseless and brings only despair.  We are not innocent in time, but we are innocent in eternity.  If this idea seems elusive, perhaps we need to realize that the eternal is the place where we want to spend our day.  The things of the eternal–the joyous, peaceful, tranquil, and serene emotions–are manifestations of the love that we are need to receive.  The fear that we sense is only in time, and thus it is as unreal as time itself is.  Illusions do not grab us, asking for verification, when we turn our day over to the guidance of the Guide that God gave.

May the Holy Spirit take me by the hand today and lead me along peaceful pathways.  May we not turn the inevitable pains of day-to-day living into suffering.  May we realize that even the experience of pain, as Jesus tells us, is unnecessary.  May I take to heart today the statement in A Course in Miracles that I do not have to learn through pain.  I would, as would anyone, choose to learn through rewards.  And may Jesus direct me along the way that will lead to this eventuality.  May learning through rewards be a part of my experience today.

Thank You for Your Guide, the Holy Spirit.  May I discern His guidance accurately, and may I not drop into ideas that partake of falsehood rather than truth.  May I follow Your will in all that transpires.

Amen.

May the Holy Spirit Speak through Me Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson 296 – for Sunday, October 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit speaks through me today.”

“I would be savior to the world I made.  For having damned it I would be set free, that I may find escape, and hear the Word Your holy Voice will speak to me today.  (WB446)”

Reflections:

1 – We “Made” the World that We See

Here we find once again that we “made” the world that we see.  We project from within, outward, and there we find the illusions that we perceive.  There is nothing outside of us, part of the worldview of A Course in Miracles.

2 – May We Help Save the World

We must be savior to this world.  We have often thought of Jesus as the savior, but only time separates what he is to what we will be.  And he needs our cooperation in saving this world.  We grew up hearing such things as this in our churches, and we still hear the same thing, even in mainstream churches that have nothing to do with ACIM.

3 – Lead the World Away from Disaster

We have “damned” this world.  We have helped to make the chaos in which we find ourselves.  And we would rectify these mistakes now.  Let us wait not one second longer.  Reach out to the person closest to you (whether by touch, phone, e-mail, or texting), and begin the process of leading this world away from disaster and on to a Heaven on earth for all who live here.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a daunting idea that all of us are meant to save the world.  Many have thought this, and instead have made more chaos.  May we follow only what guidance, true guidance, gives to us to do, and may we not make mistakes that will hurt our brothers and sisters.  May we listen to the Holy Spirit as we seek to be saviors, along with Jesus, of the world that we “made.”  As projection makes perception, may we see the world change from a place of chaos to a place of peace.

Be with me as I make decisions today.  I still get irritated when my best intentions are rebuffed.  May I always remember that this world is an illusion, a dream, and that I am creating the dream in which I find myself.  I can forgive this dream, and not feel pain, when I am rebuffed.  There is madness afoot.  It is not for me to judge this madness, but to ask the Holy Spirit to offer His peace to everyone whom I encounter.  Help me to be an instrument of His peace.  Thank You for being there for me when times seem depressed.  I know that times do not have to remain depressed.  My prayer, my communing, with You can change my demeanor to one of joy.  Help me to receive joy of You now.

Amen.

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

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

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Limitless Release and Pure Joy

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

2 – We Would Not Have an Imprisoned Will

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

3 – Creators of the Real World

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.