Tag Archives: magical thinking

Anger Leads to Fear

“Anger in response to perceived magic thoughts is a basic cause of fear. . . . A magic thought, by its mere presence acknowledges a separation from God.  (M-17.5)”

Affirmation:  “I choose harmony over anger.”

Reflections:

1 – Anger and Fear

Anger and fear are closely related.  Somewhere in our deepest mind we know that we are seeing amiss, that we are not recognizing that the anger that we feel toward ourselves or others is a misperception.  We feel guilty, and fear is not far beyond.  We are caught in the ego.

2 – Magic Thoughts

The “magic thoughts” are never defined in A Course in Miracles.  But we know that magical thoughts, as defined by secular psychology, is a thought brought on by some form (major or minor) of mental illness.  It seems plausible that Jesus is using the term “magic” in the same sense.  We do not want to encourage our own insanity.  We are all insane, to one degree or another, in this world.  And it is when the insanity is particularly predominant that the magic thoughts appear in our psyche.

3 – Love

May we come to see that love is the answer to fear brought on my magic thoughts.  Love is always the answer, although we are not always in a mind slant that can see this.

4 – Superstition

I would surmise that magical thoughts are particularly prevalent when superstition reigns in our mind.  And it does, for some of us, a good bit.  It is particularly prevalent in sports, when we believe that wearing a particular shirt, for example, will enhance our team’s chance of winning.  There are similar ideas out there.  If we look further within, we know that this is, in fact, superstition.  If one is close to an athlete, perhaps knowing that we are pulling for him/her is sufficient to make the superstition seem warranted.  And the superstition may make a difference in the play on any given day.  But not always.  And that is the downfall of superstition.

5 – Harmony

May we choose to live in harmony today, not in anger of any kind.  And may we drop any and all magical thoughts, which we recognize, from our minds.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Although anxiety has dogged my steps all of my life, I would sooner rather than later let this trait drop from my psyche.  Anxiety and fear are closely aligned.  And any tendency still in me in regard to anger will accentuate the anxiety and fear.  Let me drop these negative emotions immediately.

Thank You for leading me ever closer to You on this day.  Thank You for the glorious day that is occurring.  May I not forget this blessing on days that are less good.  But You want my happiness, and so You would lead me to follow Your pathway all the time.  And that is my desire as well.

If anger intrudes today, help me to calm down.  I have found, over the years, that I never get angry unless I am stressed.  And so I would look to the removal of stress by You as a blessing to be sought.  Be with me as I seek to reduce the negative stress in my life.  The positive stress is actually good, and sometimes I forget this.  Positive stress does not lead to anger in my experience.  Thank You for being there as I seek to improve my reactions to my brothers and sisters, and also to myself.

Amen

How to Avoid Pain

“No risk is possible throughout the day except to put your trust in magic, for it is only this that leads to pain.  ‘There is no will but God’s.’  His teachers know that this is so, and have learned that everything but this is magic.  (M-16.11)”

Affirmation:  “I would avoid pain today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definitions of “Magic”

Magic is sometimes used in quite a different way, with quite a different definition.  Jesus means “magical thinking,” which is an attempt to turn error to truth, and this is always a doomed prospect.  Magic, for us, sometimes means good things.  These are simply two different dictionary definitions.

2 – Error

We would not try to turn error, falsehood, into truth.  We would not turn from our dependence on God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus (and his helpers) to a dubious solution to our problems that is doomed form the start.  We will be free of risk if we depend upon the true and that which has value.  And our way is A Course in Miracles, which will prove its value to us if tested.  (And we are not discouraged from testing, though this is an interpretation not stated in ACIM.)

3 – Give Our Way over to God’s Way

We would avoid pain today.  And to do so we must not attempt to get our way to be God’s.  He may think very differently from what our sometimes ego-oriented mind may direct.  We are not beyond the temptations of the ego.  The ego will not be destroyed; it will just cease to matter to us.  And we must not make the mistake of “resisting” the ego, for in resistance the ego is made strong.  In conflict the ego is made strong as well (an ACIM tenet).  We just quietly turn inward, and all will be well.

4 – Attraction

I worry sometimes that relatively new ideas circulating in our world, the manner of “attraction” as a way to get what one wants.  Is this really wise?  Perhaps we ought to be certain, through much inward consultation, if what we are trying to attract is actually in our best interests.  And only God and the Holy Spirit (His Communicator) can tell us that..

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I avoid pain today, by seeking Your way exclusively.   I will try to be patient as You lead me to attract those things that are in my best interests.  Thank You for Jesus’s wise words, his healing of disease and illness, and his calm presence.  We may have Jesus with us when we don’t even realize this.  He has said that he would come in response to one “unequivocal call.”  I make that call now.

Be with us as we seek to attract only what is in our best interests.  We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit or the Christ within.  Otherwise, what we attract will turn to ashes and dust in our hands.  

Be with us.  I can think of no more needful prayer for today than this.

Thank You for answering me.

Amen.

Heaven Restored

“Yet each temptation to accept magic as true must be abandoned through his recognition, not that it is fearful, not that it is sinful, not that it is dangerous, but merely that it is meaningless.  Rooted in sacrifice and separation, two aspects of one error and no more, he merely chooses to give up all that he never had.  And for this ‘sacrifice’ is Heaven restored to his awareness.  (M-16.10)”

Affirmation:  “Heaven is restored.”

Reflections:

1 – Errors

We need to avoid making errors in our daily life.  We are so used to sacrificing for ourselves and others, and so used to believing that we are somehow separated from God, that we do not recognize that this is magical thinking.  When we cease to follow magical, erroneous, thinking, Heaven is restored to us.  We are aware of the presence of Heaven once again, and perhaps for the first time indeed, since our fall from grace.

2 – Awareness of Heaven

We may not sustain this awareness of Heaven.  Before Awakening is sustained, I know from personal experience that there are times of experienced Awakening that do not last.  Many of us know this.  Perhaps the moments were fleeting, and perhaps they extended over months.  It does not matter.  These are forerunners of the happiness that lies ahead.  We have the promise of a sustained Awakening, though A Course of Love indicates that nobody has sustained Christ-consciousness (it is unclear if this includes Jesus’s experience).  But the closer we live to God, the more likely that our gratitude for what we are experiencing will follow us “all the days of our lives” (quotation from the Lord’s Prayer).

3 – Magical Thinking

Magical thinking does extend even to “religious” practices.  We must earnestly seek to know if we are following God’s Will for us at any given time.  If we have any doubts, any straining to effect a specific outcome, we need to stop a moment, and ask ourselves if what we are wanting is really in our best interests.  It may not be.  God will protect us from ourselves, but we are given free will, and we can sometimes bring about outcomes that turn to ashes and dust in our hands, because those outcomes were not dedicated to God.

4 – Heaven

May Heaven be restored to us many times in our lives, including today.  May we avoid the temptations that so beset us from time to time.  May we turn to whatever practices help the most to avoid the temptation, with perhaps our communing with God at the top of the list.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for a glorious beginning to what I hope will be a good day.  There is so much that You hold out to us, to experience in this world–so much that is good.  We mislead ourselves when we think that You want sacrifice from us.  You want us to care for ourselves, and our brothers and sisters, but these are loving gestures, and if done with the right attitude, will not entail sacrifice of anything that our Self values.

This Self is the Christ who is in all of us, waiting for recognition.  I would so recognize today.  I would not delay any longer.  I know that I am asking in Your Will, for You want us to be happy.  And happiness is a lofty goal, not inferior as I once thought years ago.

Be with us today.  Help us to walk Your way.  And may I find joy in the daily activities of this day.  Most days are generous in their joy, when we have turned out hearts, minds, and spirits over to You.  May I do so today, all day long.

Amen

How to Avoid Temptation

“The avoidance of magic is the avoidance of temptation.  For all temptation is nothing more than the attempt to substitute another will for God’s  (M-16.9)”

Affirmation:  “avoid temptation”

Reflections:

1 – How to Avoid Temptation?

How might one avoid temptation?  There will be temptations along the pathway that we walk, and there is no getting around this.  We are not perfect, even, perhaps, when we have awakened.  (A Course in Miracles is not definitive about this, but A Course of Love
indicates that we will still not be perfect.)  The best way to avoid temptation, or, more precisely, not to accept the tempting thing that is offered, is to ask for help at the “point of contact.”  When we are tempted, we are seeking something of the ego, the part of ourselves that thinks that it has separated from God.  We think that another will (our imperfect will) will get us something that we want, something more than the everything that we are promised.  (Yes, we are promised “everything” in ACIM.)  Jesus says that it is as though we would say that we want this one (little) thing, and it will be as everything to us.  But this one little thing would not satisfy for long, and in so doing we are making a pact with our ego–and the ego always fails us.

2 – ACIM‘s Definition of “Magic”

What does “magic” mean in this context?  It is akin to mental illness, the “magical thinking” that secular psychology describes so precisely.  We are thinking things that are not true, and never can we make the true out of the false.  The false will remain false, and it will take us down with it.  We do not want this.

3 – Following the Will of God

If we have love for God (and all of us do, or we would not have read this far), then we will want to follow the Will that grants us everything that we really want.  We really want the intangibles, the promises that God gives; but we also want the material, and we should not think, wrongly, that God Himself cares little for the material.  Jesus recalls to our minds the lilies of the field, and their beauty, and the lilies do not toil.  Yet they cannot compare even to Solomon’s glory.

4 – May We Avoid Temptation

May we not fall prey to temptation today.  May we know that the idea that there is something out there that is better than what God would give is an anomaly.  We will always get the best when we attract it through our gratitude and love for God and our brothers/sisters.  And we must always love ourselves as well, even when we have disappointed ourselves.  We cannot measure up, ever, because we are trying to be perfect, and that is essentially a disheartening message.  The Bible does quote Jesus as saying that we should be perfect, even as the Father in Heaven is perfect.  But I think that there are mysteries here that we cannot understand until we have walked the whole pathway back to God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would stop, consider, and not go forward when I sense that I am trying to somehow get around Your will for me.  Please help me in this endeavor, today.  I would not seek to walk a different pathway, an egoic pathway that will take me far from You.  You want Awakening for me; I know that this is Your will.  But I need help.  And You are there for me.  This I know.

May I say the right things to reach my brothers and sisters, especially those in my immediate circle and those who read this blog.  I would help and not hinder in any way.  

Be with me through this glorious day, this harbinger of better days ahead.

Amen

How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

“How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?  To the advanced teacher of God this question is meaningless.  There is no program, for the lessons change each day.  Yet the teacher of God is sure of but one thing; they do not change at random.  Seeing this and understanding that it is true, he rests content.  He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day.  And those who share that role with him will find him, so they can learn the lessons for the day together.  (M-16)”

Affirmation:  “My lessons do not change at random.”

Reflections:

1 – Assurance of Guidance

This passage once more assures us of guidance.  And that guidance is described as being from the Holy Spirit, or Universal Inspiration.  We need to consider very carefully the ways in which guidance can come to us.  In reality the ways are numberless, but it is also possible to categorize some of the more obvious ways in which guidance comes to us.

2 – Intuition

The primary quality for many of us is an internal feeling, which may be described as intuition.  We just have an inner knowing of the right next step to take.  We do not often see a whole pathway stretch out before us; normally we are given the route in a step-by-step fashion.  And we are given that route at the moment that we need to take it.  By what way could it happen otherwise, without confusion?  If the Holy Spirit showed us an end far in the future, would we not fret that we are unable to fulfill the often grand ideas that He has for us?

3 – Reading

Sometimes the guidance comes through reading, especially inspirational reading.  A Course in Miracles is an obvious choice, but I do not counsel opening the book at random and seeking for magical answers.  Jesus warns us about magical thinking, and we can be led very much astray by techniques that partake of randomness.  I believe that it is far better to read bits of ACIM meditatively, and to wait for the guidance to emerge full in one’s thoughts.  Of course, we are human and we do make mistakes.  So we must ask ourselves if anyone would be hurt by the thought or action that we contemplate.  Love is the central theme, along with forgiveness, and nothing borne of love or forgiveness is likely to lead us astray.  This is not romantic love, though, but a settled good feeling toward our brothers and sisters.  Romantic love often speaks to the emotions, and emotional reactions can easily be of the ego.

4 – Period of Quiet

A period of quiet at the beginning and end of the day is almost mandatory.  If we do not subscribe to this idea, there are other ways that the Holy Spirit can reach us.  But sometimes we can avert suffering by listening to Him ahead of time.  When we have been quiet, taking in His counsel, we are less masochistic.  And masochism is at the heart of many of the things that go wrong in our lives.  Not for all of us, but for some.

5 – Devote the Day to God

So, let us devote this day to God.  Let us follow His way with a dedication that we ask Him to give us.  And, at the close of the day, be sure to thank Him for guiding throughout the day.  If the day was not optimal, ask for a better tomorrow.  And seek to spend a few minutes in contemplation over what went wrong and why.  Over time, more days will go right than wrong.  This is my experience, though not stated directly in ACIM.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Guidance has been much on my mind today, and perhaps that is not a coincidence.  Indeed, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that there are no accidents in salvation.  That is reassuring, even as it prompts me to be careful what I think and pray about.

Help me to follow my intuition today.  I am posting this blog late in the day, because I got an inkling of feeling that I ought to wait, to post later in the day today.  Why?  I do not know.  But I do think that maybe I will come to know.

Help my brothers and sisters who need help with their little as well as their large problems.  Give them (and me) the assurance of what to do to live a sane and joyous life.  I know that joy is the hallmark of my contact with You.  And I thank You for that.

Amen.