Tag Archives: ken wapnick

By Ivor Sowton: The Time Is Now! A Note on the Appreciation of Others

Jesus in A Course of Love (ACOL), as he does in A Course in Miracles (ACIM), and for that matter in the New Testament (“Love Thy neighbor as thyself”), is often working to convince us of the critical importance of appreciating our brothers and sisters in our lives just as they seem to be occurring to us.

In the New Testament (our reading of which is admittedly encumbered by the passage of two millennia and translations from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English, with numerous political influences on the translations by all accounts), Jesus still comes through with the same basic message: we are to recognize whom we perceive to be “others” as ourselves, and this will lead us into the Kingdom of Heaven. Moreover, we are to forgive “our transgressor” (that is, the one we thought had done us wrong!) 70X7 times–meaning all the time!

In ACIM, Jesus has many extremely beautiful and powerful Workbook Lessons devoted to “seeing our brother differently” as a way of letting go of our grievance against him, as our grievance can only hamper our own experience of the enveloping Peace of God. Original ACIM teacher Ken Wapnick put it in such an effective way by saying “No one but YOU can prevent your own direct experience of the Peace of God!” So when we really do the insight work asked of us in any of these great Dispensations from Jesus, we eventually see that we were judging “someone else” in order to remain separated and unrelated to them and a lot of others like them, making us vastly superior to “them” and effectively blocking access to Divine Love and Peace– FOR US! When we finally see this (!), then we undertake the undoing of “the old thought system” that both ACIM and ACOL refer to so often.

In A Course of Love, Jesus is in my opinion gives a current re-tuning of that eternal message of love, by which I mean he uses terminology and insight into our present time realities in a way that can be extremely helpful to us. In the wonderful Third Treatise, Jesus leads us into an understanding of our own unique role in a world that has become over-populated with humans, many of whom seemed determined to operate by the old paradigm of “kill or be killed,” also known as “the survival of the fittest.” This is the old ego thought system that has literally run the show for us humans here on Earth for AT LEAST the full length of our recorded history (which is at least seven thousand years–a pretty good chunk of time!), and by extrapolation for long long before that.

Now, however, we are coming into a truly New Age, according to this Great Master in this great Work. In “The New,” children now being born into “The Time of Christ” will have now have no desire to form a separate and conflicted ego, and will only settle for its provisional establishment while they wait for something MUCH BETTER, which they seem to be “geared” to expect as natural and the way things should be. All this is to be found at the end of the Third Treatise of ACOL, which I cannot recommend more highly!

My job as a man in his 60s, as I now understand it from this Teaching, is to hold a space for these new ones coming into a Higher Age–an age much closer to the Gates of Heaven, as the end of the Text of ACIM would say. My generation can and should mentor the young, of course (we just had our first grandchild, and it makes me appreciate just how helpless and dependent we are on our adult relatives when we “pop in” as 7-9 pound infants!) But as we help raise the young we can also be trying to cultivate an attitude of sincere appreciation for who they are in their True Natures.

Perhaps we could look at it this way. A highly advanced, highly empathic and very compassionate Alien first coming into contact with Earth and its dominant species right now would most probably be VERY CONCERNED for our continued existence, and any potential ability to thrive in harmony with all might well appear to be an almost impossibly remote chance! Overpopulation, extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a privileged few while the masses languish, huge ongoing wars causing massive loss of life, impoverishment and starvation, huge stockpiles of armed nuclear warheads just waiting for “parts of the Sonship” crazy enough to set them off, easily preventable environmental degradation including the now exponential global warming—all with the powers that be seemingly having no desire to do anything different from what got us into this mess in the first place!

So it is actually a daunting scenario. The thing that can turn it around, according to Jesus in the ACOL, is a whole new state of consciousness, which he calls the Elevated Self of Form. This is our sense of ourselves becoming hugely expanded through receiving the Christ Consciousness of Unity in Relationship with ALL our brothers and sisters. He entreats us very directly and personally here in the Fourth Treatise:

“What you are called to do is to, through your multitude, sustain Christ-consciousness, and thus create the union of the human and the divine as new state of being.” (4.18)

May we all be empowered to do this, whatever the apparent age of our bodies! We are coming into a very auspicious time, according to our Great Master. Time to jump on the bandwagon!

HEALING IN A COURSE IN MIRACLES: A Review of Ken Wapnick’s Healing the Unhealed Mind

Published in Miracles magazine, March – April 2015

Review by Celia Hales

Ken Wapnick considers in Healing the Unhealed Mind the one chapter of A Course in Miracles that is unlike ACIM’s usual focus on forgiveness. He considers Chapter 9 in the Text, the theme of mind and body, basing this book on his 2009 seminar entitled “The Unhealed Healer.” He makes the point that this chapter in the Text goes to the heart of the entire Course.

Repeatedly throughout Healing the Unhealed Mind, Ken asserts that A Course in Miracles is about the mind, not the body. He contrasts this focus with the New Testament, which he says is about the body. He asserts that what has to be healed is the mind’s belief in the ego, not the ego per se.

In Healing the Unhealed Healer, Ken asserts as a main focus that we need to feel peace as we seek to help others. If we feel anything but peace, we have made a bodily identification, and we are just as sick as the person we are seeking to help. We must simply let healing be, and learning to do that is how we are healed. Here is a cogent summary of what Ken’s book emphasizes:

“The process of healing our minds consists of asking for help to choose to undo the ego: our belief in anger, guilt, anxiety, depression, loss, triumph; the belief that using other people to satisfy our own needs is good.” (Page 89)
Those of us who have read Ken know that he writes on two levels when he interprets A Course in Miracles, a level of taking literally what Jesus said (believing him to be the one who channeled the Course); and a level in which he views what Jesus says metaphorically (meaning not taking literally the specific words).

Ken does not make the mistake of fundamentalism, but we must read him carefully in deciding if we agree with his interpretations of what is metaphor and what is literal. He is the most recognized scholar for the Course (though there are other scholars, too, to whom we listen, especially now that Ken has made his transition from this world). Ken writes as one who has a great familiarity with Jesus. This humanizes this particular book and at the same time lets us know that he did enjoy a distinct relationship to Jesus, especially when he and Helen were working together on editing the Course, that is unique. This fact in itself gives great authority to what Ken says.

There is a course for every teacher of God, as the Manual of ACIM says (M-1.3:1), and in Healing the Unhealed Mind, we find one excellent example of Ken’s course. His extensive body of work is a truly one-of-a-kind contribution to our own study of A Course in Miracles.

Dealing with Our Resistance, by Ivor Sowton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Have Arrived! The Long Journey Is Over.

“You have arrived! The long journey that brought you here is over. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 12.15)”

1 – Jesus

What a marvelous statement from Jesus! And yet it is the highest way of viewing his words. We can still lapse. We can still have moments when we are not the sustained, elevated Self of form. Indeed, the Dialogues themselves are written so that we can travel farther along the journey. There are two levels to A Course of Love, just as there are two levels of A Course in Miracles (the former my interpretation, the latter the interpretation of scholar/writer Kenneth Wapnick).

2 – Struggle

But we do not have to struggle as we have. We can have Heaven on earth. Jesus promises this elsewhere. And may we take him at his word.

3 – Journey without Distance

Remember, from ACIM, that this has been a “journey without distance.” We have always had the potential to be realized, to realize ourselves as Awakened beings. It is only now that this potential is being actualized in more and more of our brothers and sisters, and in ourselves.

4 – An End Point

“This is a necessary end point of your review of your experience here so that you do not continue to advance learned wisdom. Learned wisdom will tell you to work hard. Learned wisdom will tell you that the strong survive, the mighty prevail, the weak shall perish. I attempted to dislodge much of this learned wisdom during my time on Earth and man is still puzzling over the meaning of my words. The time for puzzlement is over. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the New, 12.17)”

5 – Ease Off

We do not have to work so hard any longer! Isn’t this a wonderful reassurance?

6 – Suffering No Longer

“Think and speak no more of the suffering of the past. Spread the joyous news! Tell only joyous stories. Advance the idea of joyous challenges that allow for all the creativity you have put into challenges of the past but without the struggle. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the New, 12.18)”

7 – Joy

If we share only joyous stories, we will live a much happier life, for we will be creating in the real world, leaving illusions behind. We are co-creators of this new world, and Jesus has said that even he does not know what the future will bring. But we can imagine that the future will be bright.

8 – Begin Again

“What could be more invigorating, more challenging, more stimulating to your enrichment, than throwing out the old and beginning again? (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the New, 12.18)”

9 – The New

This is a call to the New, as Jesus has been calling us for all of this treatise. Let us join together in sharing the good news to which we have been exposed. Let us leave behind bewailing forever.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I hope that, in some sense, I have arrived. I recognize the long journey, but the way has sometimes been hard, and I do immediately know what joy lies all around me. Help me to see and feel the joy today.

I ask for Your help as I assimilate the fact of arrival. Help me even to know what “arrival” means. Be with me throughout the day, and help me always to acknowledge Your loving presence.

Amen.

In Childhood We Bought into Fear through No Fault of Our Own

“Even the most loving parent, like unto your most loving image of God, having brought a child into a fearful world, became subject to the tests of time. Thus did the world become a world of effort with all things in it and beyond it, including God, weighed and balanced against the idea of fear. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 3.6)”

1 – Childhood

This passage recalls to mind our childhoods, which were often tainted with the image of a fearful world, because that is what our parents believed. Even religious parents carried this image to a great degree, believing, if they were particularly protective, that we, their offspring, must turn to them to be “saved” from a world that would do us harm.

2 – Jesus

Jesus would have us lay all this conditioning behind. We are in an unsafe world only if our perceptions show us such a world. And even in harsh conditions, we can rise above. We, of course, do not always do so, because war and natural disasters test us to the limit. But, as Eckhart Tolle says, we can avoid turning pain into suffering. This statement is not made specifically in either ACIM or ACOL, but Jesus does say in ACIM that we do not have to learn through pain. There is a better way.

3 – Ken Wapnick

We must be realistic about what Jesus is saying, because, as Kenneth Wapnick (a writer and scholar of A Course in Miracles) has said, there are two levels to A Course in Miracles. One I would view as an ideal, sometimes not achieved; the other, the more practical, day-to-day world in which we find ourselves. We can find this Ideal more often than not through our communion with the Holy Spirit (as in ACIM) or our assumption of Christ-consciousness (as in ACOL). We are not alone, and we do not have to walk our pathway alone. There is a spiritual world that impacts our own, and it would be well for us to turn to spiritual guidance more often than not.

4 – Judgment

“All judgment is the cause of fear and this effort to weigh love’s strength against fear’s veracity. While you chose to believe and live in a world the nature of which was fear, you could not know God. You could not know God because you judged God from within the nature of fear, believing it to be your natural state. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 3.7)”

5 – Fear

As long as we are lost in fear, we can approach God only as though we were in a foxhole. We cry out to Him in desperation, asking for His help.

6 – When?

But when else do we commune with God? Do we seek Him when the day is going well? Do we thank Him for the blessings which so surround us? This type of communal prayer is, to my mind, what God really wants from us. A Course in Miracles, in an anthropomorphic sense, says that God is lonely when the minds He created do not commune with Him. He then says, in effect, “My children sleep, and they must be awakened.”

7 – Awakening

We need to awaken, and we need to realize, first of all, that this prayer for Awakening is strictly in line with God’s wishes for us. When we give up sleep, we will be in communion with God virtually all the time, whether or not we realize it. This is the goal that awaits us all. And it is a goal that all, sooner or later, will reach.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we forgive our parents for the conditioning that they, in their innocence, gave us about living in a “fearful world.” Let us realize today that this world is fearful only in our perceptions of it, and these perceptions, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can be changed.

May we walk into the sunlight today. May we take Jesus’s hand and walk without fear. Mighty companions walk beside us along the way.

Amen.

Atonement = Correction of Perception

1 – Terminology?

“This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception. (C77)”

2 – Atonement

Some of the most viewed postings in this blog concern Atonement. We all want to know what it means. And here we find out: the correction of perception.

3 – Resurrection

That, of course, is not the whole answer. Jesus has paved the way for us, but it is not the crucifixion to which we look for Atonement, but the resurrection. The crucifixion is a benign lesson that shows Jesus not fighting back, as he would have us not fight back. He did not defend himself, because defense makes what it would defend against (ACIM tenet).

4 – Forgiveness

“The means of the Atonement is forgiveness. The structure of ‘individual consciousness’ is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the ‘original error’ or the ‘original sin.’ To study the error itself does not lead to correction if you are indeed to succeed in overlooking the error. And it is just this process of overlooking at which the course aims. (C77)”

5 – Universal Experience

“A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed. Here alone consistency becomes possible because here alone uncertainty ends. (C77)”

6 – Simple Course

“The course in simple. It has one function and one goal. Only in that does it remain wholly consistent because only that can be consistent. (C77)”

7 – Ken Wapnick

Ken Wapnick said that A Course in Miracles was simple, but it was not easy. He was the primary scholar for ACIM in his lifetime, though there were others who also took up the banner for ACIM (notably Robert Perry, as a scholar).

8 – Awakening

The function is forgiveness, and the goal is Awakening (though we are not in charge of when that goal will be reached, for God alone decides).

9 – Consistency

Consistency is important.

10 – One Goal

The fact that there is one goal in A Course in Miracles keeps the Course simple. We bring our own ego’s complexity to what we read, and that is why we make what is simple very complicated. It is not easy, as Ken said, because our minds are too ravaged by blind ego to take the easy words and apply them. We always want to make something easy into something hard. We are so prone to such foolishness in daily life that it is no question that we bring this trait into our spiritual seeking.

11 – Ego

“The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you. (M77)”

12 – Beginning of Time

This passage refers to the beginnings of time as we know it. How did we separate from God? What tiny, mad idea did we entertain? The ego wants to know, and maybe we do also.

13 – Practical Course

The Course is always practical, and elsewhere tells us that it is concerned with only the practical. It says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary. The Course does not waste much, if any, time debating theological issues, and recommends that we not do so either. It suggests that theology is heavily influenced by the ego, which is our false concept of ourselves.

14 – Ego-less

We need to seek the experience that the Course holds out to us–an ego-less form of living that marches us straightway toward Awakening. We get there, as we have said repeatedly, by following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would not have us delayed on this “journey without distance,” and so bids us to seek the experience and not to let theology delay us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Theology is the preoccupation of so much religion. Please let my religion, my spirituality, be different. May I seek an experience of spirituality, one that You lead me to discover.

Thank you for Your guidance always. May I better follow Your guidance this day.

Amen.

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

1 – Answering the Call

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

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

2 – Maybe Old Friends/Family

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

3 – Distinct Teaching

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

4 – Separation from God

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

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

5 – Tiny, Mad Idea

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

6 – Moving Backwards in Time

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

7 – World of Illusion

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

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

8 – A Dream

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

9 – The Curriculum

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

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

10 – No Struggle

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

If You Attack Error in Another, You Will Hurt Yourself. You Cannot Know Your Brother when You Attack Him.

“If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself. You cannot know your brother when you attack him. Attack is always made upon a stranger. (T41)”

Affirmation: “Attack is always made upon a stranger.”

Reflections:

1 – Very Little Rightmindedness

It takes very little rightmindedness to see the truth of the quoted passage. How often have we responded in anger to another’s words, felt a surge of self-righteousness, and then sunk into a depressed spirit? Why did you fall into a depressed spirit? Why did the moment of “triumph” not last? We thought that we had gotten the guilt out (an interpretation by Ken Wapnick). But the guilt resurges, because even when in the ego, we are misled, and we know it, somewhere in our minds. The ego, in fact, always oscillates between triumph and depressed spirit, because the ego is constantly being undone. That is the way of salvation, so that we will eventually see that the boons that the ego holds out to us are mirages.

2 – Seeing the Unholy

When we attack, we are not seeing the holy in our brother. We are not seeing his (or her) innocence. So we are not seeing truly. We have made of him (or her) a stranger. But do we want our nearest and dearest to be a stranger to us? Of course not. So we must reevaluate, and in the reevaluation, we come to see that making a stranger of our brother or sister is not going to lead us to salvation. It is our joining in relationship to our brother or sister that we know God, that we walk the pathway to Awakening–for this is the way of A Course in Miracles. Once one has known even once the joy of a heartfelt kinship, in a holy relationship one to another, we will never be satisfied with less than this best. We are ruined for any other kind of unholy alliance.

3 – Feeling

When we attack, we may feel momentarily better, but then the insanity of guilt will overcome us. We will feel worse than before, and this comes from knowing that we have betrayed both our brother and ourselves. Attack is rarely physical, but often verbal. And it is in response to anger borne of stress. The world we live in is a very stressful place, and so anger and attack dog our steps.

4 – Anger and Attack

Yet would we have it so? Would we have anger and attack as our constant companions? I think not. We recognize, however dimly, the insanity of such a defense against the truth of the holiness of our brothers and sisters. We know that we have done them a disservice when we attack them or respond in anger. Their own anger may have sparked the lamentable exchange, but we need to recognize, then, that the anger was distress based on error (from the Text of ACIM). Many times our significant others will bait us when in a low mood. And always we can respond by remembering the distress that is at the heart of this response. Remembering this will pave the way for our forgiveness, for momentarily the “pain-body” (a concept of Eckhart Tolle) is in ascendancy. Our brother or sister wants to experience pain at such times, but we do not have to oblige. We can fill our bodies with presence, and the pain-body will dissipate, sooner rather than later.

5 – Innocence

Recognizing the innocence in our brother even if he (or she) has attacked us first, is to know the evidence of insanity in our world. A special relationship is usually filled with attack, once the bloom of infatuation is off the relationship. A holy relationship, however, has moved beyond the specialness (which was always a lie), and knows one’s brother as the loving Self that he (or she) truly is.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I make no brother or sister a stranger by attacking that person. May I realize that I have always made him or her a stranger when I have attacked.

May I see the innocence even in attack received from another. Attack is a form of insanity–nothing more. May I forgive and walk into the light.

Amen.

All God Would Have You Do You Can Do

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

Affirmation:  “I would turn hell into Heaven.”

Reflections:

1 – Students/Teachers

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

2 – Plan of the Teachers

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

3 – Bill and Helen

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

4 – Let’s Do Our Part Today

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

When Feeling Guilty

“When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not.   Leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to me.   That is what Atonement is for.  (T63)”

Affirmation:  “When you feel guilty, leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to Jesus.”

Reflections:

1 – Our True Reality = Innocence

A reassuring passage, we are here reminded that our true reality is innocence.  The ego is not our true reality.  It is only a part of our belief about ourselves, a part that Atonement can and does heal.

2 – Guilt, Anger, and Attack

Guilt is frequently a component of anger and attack, two ideas that the Course says have no justification.  It is true that immediately after an outburst, we are likely to feel better, but this does not last.  Feeling better happens immediately because, as Kenneth Wapnick says in a recorded presentation, we think that we have gotten rid of the guilt.  Have we?  No.  We have only vented.  Soon the guilt at the outburst will overtake us again.  Then the time has come for an apology to the one we have wronged.

3 – Greatest Regret

My greatest regret is that once I expressed verbal anger at someone whom I cared a great deal about, because that individual did not see life as I did.  But now, through the joy of studying A Course in Miracles, I know that I do not have to feel guilty about this lapse in good judgment.  I can always ask for forgiveness, and it will be granted.  And I can ask not to repeat the mistake (and I have so asked).  Knowing that stress elicits anger in me, I can avoid stressful situations insofar as possible.  A few quiet moments alone are usually enough to get my thinking and emotions straightened out.  Then the ego withdraws its temptation to verbally attack, and my calm attitude returns to me.  What a blessing this scenario then becomes!

4 – We Do Not Have to Feel Guilty

So we do not have to feel guilty.  There is a way out.  Remember that the ego is a false sense of self.  The real Self has been untouched by our guilt, and when we accept Atonement, we will know peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help me to remember that when I feel guilty, it is only the ego in me that has misbehaved.  The real Self is innocent.

May I seek forgiveness of myself, and may I ask forgiveness of others.  Then may I know that there is truly no reason to feel guilty.

Amen.

Lack of Love

“But remember the first principle in this course; there is no order of difficulty in miracles.  In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love.  These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you.  (T18)”

Affirmation:  “unaffected by lack of love”

 

Reflections:

1 – How Affected Are We by Love?

This passage is most illuminating.  We think that we are affected when others don’t love us as we wish, or when we recognize that we too don’t love as we ought.

2 – Verbal Attack

I think nobody gets through this world without both attacking and being attacked, usually only verbally.  The verbal attack can be ignored when we realize that the individual is caught in madness.  This must be true even if the individual is quite spiritually attuned.  For the moment, he/she is lost in insanity.  When the individual is blessed with sanity, however fleeting, there is a peace about that is unrivaled by any temptation to find fault.

3 – Asking for Forgiveness

So we can ask forgiveness when we have been at fault (if this is still possible, with proximity of the individual affected).  If our asking for forgiveness would make the matter worse, I think that ACIM would counsel waiting.  And, likewise, we can forgive an attack from without.  The individual perpetrating the offense is quite likely out of control, at least for the moment, and in his/her better moments will regret the outburst.

4 – Rid of the Guilt?

Ken Wapnick notes in a lecture from long ago that we sometimes feel very good after an outburst of anger and attack.  We have gotten something off our chests, and, he says, we have momentarily gotten rid of the guilt.  So we feel good.  But the guilt returns, for who can be unkind to another without sensing the sting of rebuke from our better selves?  We calm down, and then we know that we have made a very, very serious error.

5 – The Real World Unaffected by Lack of Love

Jesus admonishes us to recognize that reality is actually unaffected by lacks of love.  Our real selves have never been damaged in any way.  This is reassuring, and this statement can help us to forgive ourselves of our momentary lapse into anger and attack.

6 – No Order of Difficulty in Miracles

The first principle in the Course, no order of difficulty in miracles, is a blessing that we do not understand.  How can this be?  But Jesus asserts that it is true, and we would be wise to take him at his word and ask for his blessing and his miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please forgive me, and help me to forgive myself and others, for the lacks of love that we show.  May we replace lack with the grace to live peacefully in all situations and events.

Jesus tells us that there is no order of difficulty in miracles.  So this need will be answered just as soon as we ask.  Thank You.

Amen.

A Prayer to Relinquish Attack

“You could not recognize your ‘evil’ thoughts as long as you see value in attack.  You will perceive them sometimes, but will not see them as meaningless.  And so they come in fearful form, with content still concealed, to shake your sorry concept of yourself and blacken it with still another ‘crime.’ (T622)”

Affirmation:  “‘Evil’ thoughts are meaningless.”

Reflections:

1 – Leave Attack Behind

A Course in Miracles would have us leave attack behind forever.  If we do attack, we may feel better momentarily, thinking that we have gotten the guilt out (an interpretation by Ken Wapnick), the anger vented, but we will accuse ourselves of “sin,” or, as the Course says, yet another mistake.  We will feel worse about ourselves, a “sorry concept,” that has been blackened by yet another crime.  This will not do.  We cannot live a rewarding life this way.  So what do we do?

2 – Turn Anger over to the Holy Spirit

The words of the passage are deep.  They suggest that the only way out of our illusions of sin are to leave attack alone.  Turn over our anger to the Holy Spirit.  Let him judge the severity of the deed against ourselves, done by another.  It is not for us to judge; let Him.  We are told in ACIM that attack and anger are never justified.  But this does not mean that we repress (or try to suppress) our anger.  Today’s psychology knows better, even as does ACIM.  Today’s psychology would have us vent this anger, but is this really the best way?  Don’t we likely hurt others in the process of venting?  And do we not feel guilty that we have hurt ourselves as well as others?  If we follow the way of A Course in Miracles, and turn our anger over to the Holy Spirit, He will relax us and stress will resolve (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  When we have given our hurt over to the inner Guide, we know that we are not alone.  And we will live, daily, on a much better footing.

3 – Attack Never Works

We think that attack gives us something that we want.  We are wrong.  The way of attack can never work.  ACIM embodies that premise.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

One of my greatest regrets is the verbal attack that I made to someone who was actually one of my greatest friends, though we have never seen each other much at all.  When someone is out of our life, it is too late to make amends.  We can only try to forgive ourselves for this lamentable behavior.  You have not ever condemned me for my foolishness, and so You do not need, actually, to “forgive.”  But I need to feel forgiveness in my own mind and spirit, and that is what I pray for specifically today.

Be with me as I seek to walk a fresh pathway, clear of the false ways of acting that impeded my life when I was much younger.  Thank You for A Course in Miracles, for the blessing of ACIM.  We live in an eternity, and in eternity we are innocent.  May I take this promise unto myself today.

Be with my brothers and sisters who read this blog posting.  May they know forgiveness for any regrets that they still harbor for deeds that cannot be undone from the past.

Amen.