Tag Archives: maya

God’s Teachers Choose to Look on Dreams a While. All Choices Are Made Consciously, with Full Awareness of Their Consequences.

1 – Conscious Choice

Do we really believe the title of this posting? Do we believe that all of our choices are made consciously?

2 – Doubt

I think not. We think that the subconscious mind undoes us, more often than not. Yet Jesus asserts that we are making conscious choices. I think that this choice is made by the inner Self, which knows no unconsciousness. When we avoid guidance, we often make bad situations for ourselves, and in this avoidance, we learn that we are making a conscious choice to make our own judgments, judgments that are always wrong.

3 – Central Lesson

“The central lesson is always this; that what you use the body for it will become to you. Use it for sin or for attack, which is the same as sin, and you will see it as sinful. (M32)”

4 – Avoid Sin and Attack

We need to avoid “sin” and attack. Of course, we know this, but the flesh is weak, and we do often retaliate when faced with attack. We will then see the body as sinful, a truly lamentable self-image.

5 – Not Troubled

When we use the body rightly, we are not troubled by attack that reaches us from without. We go blithely along, untroubled by anything. Let us resolve today to so live. One does not have to be unhinged by attack or anger presented to us. We can realize that we are seeing distress that is based on error (from the ACIM Text). And we can gently turn aside, giving the poor attitudes no support from without.

6 – The Holy Body

“Use it [the body] to bring the Word of God to those who have it not, and the body becomes holy. Because it is holy it cannot be sick, nor can it die. When its usefulness is done it is laid by, and that is all. (M32)”

7 – When We Die

The body is laid by when we die. Most choose some sickness to effect a release from this world, but actually we don’t have to engage sickness to get release.

8 – Self-Preservation

Death is not a popular subject. We still cringe, wanting to live longer on this earth. Self-preservation is hard-wired into our psyches, and that is not bad.

9 – Word of God

Let us bring the Word of God to others in thought, word, and deed. Then we will see our bodies as holy, and we will not lament that we are still in this world. We will be glad of the opportunity. Thoughts of relinquishing our troubles will no longer trouble us. Our self-preservation instincts will carry us through.

10 – The Mind

“The mind makes this decision [the decision to lay the body aside], as it makes all decisions that are responsible for the body’s condition. Yet the teacher of God does not make this decision alone. To do that would be to give the body another purpose from the one that keeps it holy. (M32)”

11 – Decisions

The mind makes the decisions; the body does not. We tend to forget this when we are sick. Sickness is faulty decision-making, an ACIM tenet. We think that it gets us something that we want.

12 – Sickness

But the “something” that we want is never the sickness that has laid us low.

13 – Holy Spirit

If we do not make the decision for death alone, with Whom do we make it? The Holy Spirit guides us in the final days of our lives, just as He has guided us throughout, as long as we have allowed Him to do so.

14 – God’s Voice

“God’s Voice will tell him when he has fulfilled his role, just as It tells him what his function is. He does not suffer either in going or remaining. Sickness is now impossible for him. (M32)”

15 – The Ideal

More difficult passages about sickness. This is the ideal in A Course in Miracles, and not all of us can be ready for this ideal. But we can take steps in the direction of the ideal.

16 – Sickness

And when we do, our sicknesses are lessened incrementally.

17 – Oneness

“Oneness and sickness cannot coexist. God’s teachers choose to look on dreams a while. It is a conscious choice. For they have learned that all choices are made consciously, with full awareness of their consequences. (M32)”

18 – Illusion

What we are seeing in this world is illusion (a Course concept). The Course also calls what we see “dreams.” And we have chosen to look upon dreams, knowing on some level what will transpire for us. We may suffer, but we do not have to do so. Pain does not have to bring suffering, if our minds and hearts are in agreement with the Holy Spirit, who makes only one judgment: “God’s Son is guiltless.”

19 – External Searching

We can also be free of sickness, which is some form of external searching. The external searching may teach us something, of course, which is its purpose. But the Course would not have us learn in this way.

20 – One

We are One with our brothers and sisters. We know, on some level, what will happen in our lives. And we have chosen it–not consciously, of course, but on a deeper level. This is different from a “blame the victim” mentality, and it would be wise that we keep to ourselves this concept if voicing it would be hurtful to another. Not everyone is ready to see that choices made to experience illusion are not ultimately hurtful, however horrendous they may appear in our insane world.

21 – Awareness of Dreaming

“Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God’s teachers. They watch the dream figures come and go, shift and change, suffer and die. Yet they are not deceived by what they see. They recognize that to behold a dream figure as sick and separate is no more real than to regard it as healthy and beautiful. (M32)”

22 – Unity

“Unity alone is not a thing of dreams. And it is this God’s teachers acknowledge as behind the dream, beyond all seeming and yet surely theirs. (M32)”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be aware that my dreams–my illusions–are chosen consciously. I realize that my little self is not aware of this, but my larger Self is. And I do not blame myself or others for this state of affairs; it is simply a law of this world.

Be with me today if I seem to feel pain. May I not turn this pain into suffering by my own inner turmoil. You have promised to be with me always, and I thank you for Your blessing.

Amen.

Definition of the Holy Spirit

monet - bouquet of sunflowers
“But again let me remind you that the Holy Spirit is not other than who you are but an aspect of who you are and Who God Is. Let me remind you also that names, such as Holy Spirit, are but word symbols that represent what is. So think now of whatever stories you know of the Holy Spirit, stories that symbolize what is. In these stories, the Holy Spirit is always called upon to return the true Self to the self of illusion. The holy spirit is called to return to your mind and heart. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 17.6)”

Affirmation: “The Holy Spirit is part of God and part of me.”

Reflections:

1 – The Holy Spirit Is Still Present

This is another theological concept of A Course of Love. The passage helps to explain and to codify why the Holy Spirit is not really absent in any real sense in this time of Christ. The concept revealed is illustrative of the fact that All is One. The Holy Spirit does not disappear when the Christ Self who is within begins giving us guidance. We listen to the Self within because we hope that we have walked farther along the pathway home. And by “home,” I mean the salvation, the ultimate salvation, that we all seek. Christ-consciousness, or Awakening, finally manifesting as the elevated Self of form.

2 – Self of Illusion

We are trying to leave behind the self of illusion, or maya (an Eastern concept). We are trying to welcome the true Self, the Christ who dwells within and who has been layered over for eons by a false self, the ego that we made and that has trapped us in illusion and in pain (frequently).

3 – Does God Know about Us?

We need to recognize the Presence of God in our lives. It is true that some students/teachers of A Course in Miracles teach that God does not know about us and our activities, because we dwell in illusion and He does not. I feel that we have to commune with our inner Self to determine how we feel about God’s Presence in our lives. My experience is that God is very much present, though it cannot be said that he enters into illusion with us. But the House of Illusion, as depicted by A Course of Love, is located within—yes, within—the House of Truth. And we exit the House of Illusion to come to our own. We do not reenter illusion to save our loved ones. From the outside of illusion, in the House of Truth, we beckon others to join us.

4 – Larger Perspective on the Holy Spirit

May we think a bit today about the Holy Spirit and what today’s passage says, especially if we are still students of A Course in Miracles (which most of us are). We do not deny the Holy Spirit, because today’s passage indicates a larger perspective than perhaps we have held.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize that the Holy Spirit has not been destroyed in me, though I have sought to walk into the time of Christ, leaving behind the time of the Holy Spirit. All are a part of You, and the Holy Spirit is still present. This is very reassuring. Thank You.

May I not let theology delay my brothers and sisters nor myself. If my thoughts are not easily assimilated, let me walk around them, because I do not want to believe something that will only be a hindrance to You. We do not have to understand with our minds. Our hearts already know that You are therein.

Amen.

No Reason to Be Afraid

monet - japanese bridge2“The Christ in you has no need to plan. A need to come to know. . .yes. But a need to plan. . .no. The Christ in you needs not for you to choose a lesson plan, but to let life itself be your chosen way of learning. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 10.19)”

Affirmation: “May I do no planning today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Need to Plan

Jesus warns against planning, first, in A Course in Miracles. In a little-known section of ACIM, he indicates that the way to lose one’s way to salvation is to attack, to judge, and to plan against contingencies to come (unless planning has been informed by the Holy Spirit). We can recognize that all three of these–attack, judging, and planning–are defenses against an uncertain future, a future that we don’t want to be uncertain. We are scared.

2 – Fear the Future?

But do we really have to fear the future? If we are dreaming the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings, we will walk a smooth path. And, in A Course of Love, the dreams give way to (at least) glimpses of reality. Mari Perron, who channeled ACOL, believes that in the time of Christ we are no longer living dreams. She believes that we thrust into the real world, as indicated by ACIM as well as the “reality” of ACOL. If so, we really do not need to choose the defense of planning. We do not need to make a lesson plan out of our lives. We just need to live our lives and therein to learn from our lives.

3 – Learn through Life

So we are to learn through life itself. Actually, has not this always been the case? Many spiritual writings, though not all, believe that we are in a school room on earth. Psychic writers have said this as well. (Notably, Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God does not see the earth as a school room.) Whether or not we are actually in school is not a question with which we need to preoccupy ourselves. We do not need to let theology delay us, for all of us will never agree on theological points.

4 – Next Step

We do need the universal experience, though, and that is life itself. We do not give up planning entirely, if we have to catch a plane, for example (as detailed by Eckhart Tolle in a CD entitled “Even the Sun Will Die”). But we do not make sweeping generalizations about our life’s course. The next step is really what we need to know. And that next step will enter our minds unfailingly when we ask for guidance, either from the Holy Spirit (if one is following A Course in Miracles) or the Self/Christ (if one is following A Course of Love).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would realize today that my fears have always been ungrounded. What I need to know comes to me in the moment, not from extensive defensive planning. I do not have to be afraid of anything. Even if the worst that I contemplate comes to pass, You are here for me. And that is all that I really need to know.

Be with me today as I seek to leave social anxieties behind. And all other anxieties as well.

There is no reason to be afraid. May I never lose sight of this truth.

Amen

Choice to End Suffering

4_Boating_Realism_Impressionism_Edouard_Manet“While I can tell you suffering is illusion, you cannot still your fear of it nor tear your eyes away from it or remove from it the feelings of your heart.  While I came to reveal the choice of Love to you, the choice that you each must make to end such suffering, the illusion of suffering has continued and in its continuation made the choice of Love seem all but impossible.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 5.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would end any personal suffering today.”

Reflections:

1 – Maya

It is not enough to say that we live in a world of maya, illusion, or dreams.  As long as we suffer, we will find it impossible to be satisfied that we do not blame God because all except the real world is illusion.  This attitude, expressed by Jesus in this passage, is electrifying and very practical.  He knows our limitations.  And he knows that we will continue to see God as less than loving when we have not yet given up suffering.

2 – Eckhart Tolle

Pain does not have to turn into suffering!  That is the secret.  Eckhart Tolle says much about this in The Power of Now and A New Earth.  His understanding of the “pain body” is described in great detail in both books, but especially in A New Earth.

3 – Pain into Suffering

How do we accomplish feeling pain that does not lead to suffering?  Ah, that is the rub.  And the truth may be that we cannot overcome the tendency to turn pain into suffering without divine help.  But we do need to end suffering in order to experience all the blessings that the elevated Self of form has been promised (from the Dialogues of A Course of Love).  We do need to pray for help, to commune with God, when challenged by pain.  He will find a way to get through to us when we are at our lowest point.  Indeed, individuals often turn to God at their lowest when they do not do so at any other time.  When human resources are exhausted, we relinquish our own attempts to solve our problems, and we turn them over for divine solutions.

4 – Prayer of Relinquishment

Catherine Marshall, an inspirational writer of the last century, said much about the “prayer of relinquishment.”  We would do well to pray that prayer often.  We do not give up, but we do surrender the problem to a higher solution, that of God’s solution.  We wait to be told what to do to make things better, and we do not have to wait long, because A Course in Miracles promises that the solution is with the problem.

5 – Jesus

Let us turn today to consideration of how to end suffering in our lives.  This may seem a pipe dream, but I trust that if Jesus channeled A Course of Love (and I think he did), and he says that giving up suffering, seeing an end to suffering, is possible for us, I believe that it is.  Let us seek within for the guidance that will tell us what and how to proceed.  Everyone’s answer will be different, but the end is sure, and the end is the same for all of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would release suffering today.  Any little aspect of suffering needs to be gone.  And with Your help it will be.  Pain does not have to turn to suffering.  There are remedies.  May my brothers and sisters know freedom from suffering today.

Guide me to any and all remedies that I need to feel totally well in all respects.  I sense that You will do this today for me.  Thank You for that intuition.

Help others whom I encounter in any way.  We need to be there for each other in this sometimes difficult world.  Help us to have good days in Your care.

Amen.

Body = Learning Device Given by Loving Creator

monet - pond with lily pads

“While you have been taught that you are not your body, it is impossible for you to deny the body here.  Yet you can change the function you have ascribed to it, and so its way of functioning.  If you do not see it as the result of a fall, as a curse, as a punishment from God, or as your home, a dwelling place that keeps you separate, then you can begin to see it as what it is, a learning device given you by a loving creator.  (A Course of Love, 18.6)”

Affirmation:   “I would choose a body today that functions perfectly.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Deny the Body

A Course in Miracles indicates that to deny the body, even though it is illusion, is a particularly unfortunate way to react.  Here we feel its physicality, and we know when we feel well or ill, when we feel euphoria or pain.  But we can change the function that we see that it has, to catch another fish as bait (also said by the poet John Donne), and see instead that it is a tool of communication when we are in relationship one to another.  Without seeing a body, individuals would perhaps not respond so well to the help that can be given by another who is also in physical form.

2 – Elevated Self of Form

There are many negative ways that we can view the body, and some are spelled out in the passage for today.  But the best way is to see it, now, as a learning device.  As A Course of Love continues, we will see that the time of learning is said by Jesus to have ceased, and we will see that the elevated Self of form is the definition of our body.

3 – The Body Is Real in the Illusion

We need to be conscious of what we recognize as needs exemplified by the body.  When we push too hard, the body becomes overtired.  And if we keep pushing, ignoring the warning sign of pain, we will usually suffer some illness.  So, while we are here, the body is very real, even in dreams, in illusions.

4 – Temporary Dwelling Place

And we would do well not to deny that which is our temporary dwelling place.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take care of my physical body today, knowing that, even though illusion, it hurts when illness invades.  And if I strike my hand against an obstacle, the physical pain is real.  So I do not deny that the physical is important to me.  Help me to treat my dwelling place gently and with respect.

Be with me today as I go out into the world and meet my brothers and sisters.  They, at least some of them, will respond only to another physical body, and they will not be frightened by me, seen in a form that is familiar.  Perhaps a vision might provide insight that I cannot provide, but visions are sometimes frightening to their recipients.  I can do much, with Your help, by just being in physicality.

Help me to know that beyond this physical body is one that is truly real, but I will not go there today.  I will be contented with living in the physical, and I will hope for the sustainability of the elevated Self of form, when You are ready for me to have that blessing.

Amen.

Beyond Our Deepest Imaginings

“To truly see is to begin to see the formless.  To begin to see the formless is to begin to understand what you are.

“All that you now see are but symbols of what is really there before you, in glory beyond your deepest imaginings.  (A Course of Love, 3.3 – 3.4)”

Affirmation:  “a glory beyond my deepest imaginings”

Reflections:

1 – See the Formless

May we see the formless, beginning today.  This is a real function for ourselves, though it is not herein described as a function.  We need, though, truly to see.  This is real vision.  This is the real world.  Here we are living forgiveness, and we are living love.  A Course in Miracles sought to have us experience “vision,” and A Course of Love does the same (in this respect).  May we move into this greater vision, for with it will come greater understanding.

2 – From Forgiveness to Understanding

We are often told to forgive, and then we will come to understand (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM and ACOL).  I have found this sequence–from forgiveness to understanding–to be a true manifestation of the way reality works.  We get it backwards when we hold grievances, but yet try to understand–for we are trying to do what will never work; we are trying to do the impossible.

3 – Forgiveness Clears Our Minds

But forgiveness clears our minds of negatives, and we are then prepared to have the vision that God would have us see.  This is one of the greatest blessings of both ACIM and ACOL.

4 – Home

I would see what is really before me today.  I would see the glory that is beyond my deepest imaginings.  And then I would know that I am truly home.  And I will rejoice that it is so, for home is where I long to be.  And I do not have to die to experience this home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would truly see today, and to see I need to forgive, for then I will come to understand.  It always seems to work in this direction–forgiveness to understanding, never the reverse.  And may I truly realize this distinction today.

I do know that even this world can hold glory beyond our deepest imaginings.  I would pray to see some of that glory today.  

Be with me as I seek to forgive myself and others today.  May this be a good day in all respects for not only myself, but also all others whom I encounter in any way.

Thank You for listening to my prayer.

Amen.

Yearning for Love

“This is what you have made this world for:  To prove your separate existence in a world apart from your creator.  This world does not exist.  And you do not exist apart from your creator.  Your yearning for love is what tells you this is so.  It is the proof you do not recognize.  (A Course of Love, 1.15)”

Affirmation:  “I am a part of my Creator.”

Reflections:

1 – Maya

This passage harkens back to A Course in Miracles and it familiar refrain, “projection makes perception.”  ACIM also said that this world does not exist.  So what are we seeing?  We are seeing an illusion, maya (in Eastern terms).  What we see inwardly, without physical eyes, is then projected outward to what appears to be a wholly concrete reality that cannot be denied.  But deny it we must, if we are to have peace.  Yet first we must change the nature of our inward look.

2 – Calm Oasis in Our Hearts

If we look inwardly and see rancor in our mind, we cannot be at peace outwardly.  And we will perceive rancor outwardly.  Our hearts are always at peace (whether we recognize it or not), always a part of God and a calm oasis, regardless of the emotions that seem to besiege the mind.  We, in A Course of Love, are told to make a distinct difference in  understanding the thoughts of our minds, and the feelings of our hearts.  ACOL seeks to bypass the mind, because the mind is what is so important to the ego, which we would see end in our experience.  In bypassing the mind, ACOL‘s words of Jesus influence the heart to see (inwardly) more clearly.  These are not physical eyes that see; this is true vision (and vision is discussed in A Course in Miracles as well).

3 – Solitary?

We do yearn for love, the love of our Creator and the love of our brothers and sisters.  We are not meant to be solitary creatures, though some of us are more introverted than others (and this is just an aspect of personality not to be denied or denigrated).  Jesus tells us here that it is our yearning for love that will prove to us that we are a part of God (though he uses other words in the quoted passage).

4 – Talk to God

We do not recognize that this yearning for love is proof that we are meant to communicate with our Creator.  A Course in Miracles said that we have taught ourselves the most unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator.  But we can open our hearts to the love of our Creator, and the love of our brothers and sisters in union and relationship to ourselves, and then we will be at home in God, at last.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask You to listen to me today when I talk to You, even when my thoughts are peevish and irrational.  I am not always living the life that You would wish for me.  I know that You listen, and respond–especially, perhaps, when I am least likely to comprehend a response.  I need You today.  I need to know that the yearning in my heart is my wish for You.

Thank You for the words of Jesus, communicated to Mari, that we would wish to be close to You.  All of us have always known this in our hearts, but we have for eons allowed our egos to rule our minds, and so we have felt very lost.  I know that we have never been lost, but to think has made the illusion so real as to seem insurmountable.

Let us take down all barriers today that separate us from You.  You are within, waiting for us to talk to You.  Gently remind me today, when I forget.

Amen.

Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

“God’s teachers choose to look on dreams a while.  It is a conscious choice.  For they have learned that all choices are made consciously, with full awareness of their consequences.  The dream says otherwise, but who would put his faith in dreams once they are recognized for what they are?  Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God’s teachers.  (M-12.6)”

Affirmation:  “awareness of dreaming”

Reflections:

1 – The Degree of Insanity

We dream, but our progress back to God is either pleasant or unpleasant, depending on our degree of insanity in the dream.

2 – We Dream

To say “we dream” is to mean that are in an illusion, not the real world.  We live with an imprisoned will when we are caught by the ego, and all of us have experienced the bad times of the ego.  When we follow its guidance, we know pain and suffering.  We may know heights of joy, but these are eclipsed by an equal number of low points (a paraphrase from ACIM).  We would not choose to live a labile life, when we know better how to live.

3 – “Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings”

The better way is to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who changes the kind of thinking that we do.  We start attracting a better life, the “dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).  And we know a quiet peace that heretofore may have been unwelcome to ourselves.  In fact, in ACIM we learn that being “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time is to be expected as we reach home.

3 – The Real World = A Condition of Mind

The real world is not easily identified, but it is the condition of mind that we enjoy when we are almost ready gor Awakening, when God Himself metaphorically reaches down and lifts us up.  We know happiness, which ACIM says is our function.

4 – Insane World

When we know that we are dreaming in an insane world, we will not be upset by what we see.  We will know that it is all illusion.  We will empathize with our brothers and sisters who are caught in pain, but we will  not overdo our sympathy, lest we contribute to making pain part of their self-image (a paraphrase from ACIM).

5 – Have a Better Day

Let us be aware of dreaming today.  And, with that, a better day is set before us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a better day today, ever better, day by day.  Thank You for the many blessings conferred upon me so recently.  When I am unsure of what to do, I just need to listen to guidance.  And the Answer will come, unfailingly, into my mind.  A Course in Miracles promises this; You promise this.  The Holy Spirit fulfills His role splendidly.

Be with me today in my dream of what life can offer.  May I know the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.  And may I move ever closer to Awakening, an Awakening that will be sustained.

Thank You.

Amen.

Be Still

“You are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego but within easy reach of spirit.  When you are afraid, be still and know that God is real, and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased.  (T55)”

Affirmation:  “When you are afraid, be still”

Reflections:

1 – Comforting Passage

This is a comforting passage to recall in times of fear, and, especially, if we feel that we have wronged a brother.  God loves us still, and all mistakes are correctable.

2 – Guilt as a Barrier

A personal issue is often that we feel such remorse that we do not forgive ourselves.  Indeed, I sometimes wonder if that is the great need of our time.  We are instructed in A Course in Miracles to forgive our brother, but often we cannot do that because of the guilt that we still feel, the guilt that is keeping us mad and unable to forgive ourselves.  Then we need to realize that Jesus would not have us react this way.  He always forgave, in part because his understanding was greater, and he knew that his brothers were, at heart, innocent of wrongdoing.  Do we know the same?  It is true, and knowing this and taking it to heart will go a long way toward smoothing our own pathway through this sometimes troubled and insane world in which we find ourselves.

3 – Real World / Dream or Illusions

There is a theoretical aspect to this passage as well:  the image of “reality,” as opposed to the world that we made, which is actually, as seen by the Course, an illusion.  The ego lives in this world of illusion, and so naturally if we are listening to the ego, we will believe that we have wronged a brother, and we will be afraid accordingly.  The ego feeds upon such imaginings.

4 – In Reality, No Harm

Actually we cannot truly wrong a brother in his (or her) reality, and when we move beyond the ego to the spirit, we know this.   Note that reality is within “easy” reach of spirit.  This reminder we may need often, as we go about in an insane world.  God never leaves us alone, though; we are always shadowed by His inner essence in ourselves, and we always have the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I am afraid, help me to realize that You are there for me.  I do not have to retain the emotion of fear; I only need to realize that You will lead me out of that emotion.

I am within easy reach of spirit.  Let me always remember this.  And thank You.

Amen.

Awakening from the Illusion that Is This World

“Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his spirit into the Hands of his Father.  By doing this the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator.  (T39)”

Affirmation:  “the mind awakens from its sleep.”

Reflections:

1 – Our “Dream”

This statement by Jesus is a paraphrase of one of the cries made from the cross.  Here we are asked to also commend our spirit into the Hands of the Father.  What happens is the greatest miracles the Course holds out to us:  Awakening.  “. . .[T]he mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator.”

2 – Catherine of Siena

The medieval saint, Catherine of Siena, said a paraphrase of this passage as she died, in her early thirties, while cuddled on her mother’s lap.  She had believed herself to be the bride of Christ, and many others clustered about her in her few years.  An order of sisters was established, and she did much to try to bring the Pope back to Rome.

3 – Commend Thy Spirit unto the Father

But anyone, anywhere, can say and mean these words, commending one’s spirit into the hands of the Father, and by so doing know solace.  Indeed, this is a way to know the greatest solace.

4 – To Awaken from Sleep and to Remember

We will awaken from sleep and remember our Creator.  What a glorious promise!  Here the way is pointed out to us in a very few words:  commend our spirit to God and all will be well.  We will be at home with God, even while in this world.  We will inhabit the real world, where projections are cleansed, and thus perceptions are seen afresh.  We may know pain still, but we will not know suffering.

5 – Do Not Fret or Worry

“Nothing can prevail against. . .” is a powerful introduction to this idea.  We do not have to fret that the world of special relationships, not yet holy, will impede our progress.  “Nothing” can prevail against us once we have made the decision to surrender completely to God and to His guidance through the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know what it is to commend my spirit into Your hands.  By so doing may I awaken from my sleep in this world.

May I be my real Self today; may I not fulfill a persona anymore than is necessary to live in this world.  As I see friends, may I just know that they will accept me, just as I am.  You accepts me just as I am and love me for it.  May all people that I encounter today do not less.  That does not mean that we are equal to You, but simply that we try.  And we try not to fret when we fall short.

I would be grateful for this day, this day of promise.  May my significant others get from me all that I can give by way of the right kind of love and no attack.  Be with me as I seek to fulfill the promises that You hope for me, in being the kind of person that You have already accepted.

May I draw inspiration from the example of St. Catherine of Siena.  She knew a great deal in her short life.  May my longer life serve Your Spirit, and may my life also serve the others in my world, the ones entrusted to me.

All will be well with me when I do commend my spirit into Your hands.  Thank you for this great promise.

Amen.

How Do We Find Perfect Love?

“Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
But
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.  (T14)”

Affirmation:  “Perfect love casts out fear.”

Reflections:

1 – A Beautiful Passage

Jesus seems fond of syllogisms.  There are a number in the Course, but this is phrased in perhaps this most beautiful way of all of his syllogisms.

2 – Perfect Love vs. Fear

All of us wish to have perfect love and to show perfect love to others, especially our significant others.  Likewise, all of us would like to be free of fear, and we would like for others, the same.  According to this idealistic level of A Course in Miracles, we can have both.  We are in perfect love, but we do not recognize it.  And so, when we feel fear, it “produces a state that does not exist,” or, in other words, an illusion.

3 – We Live a Dream

We know from other parts of ACIM that its theology would say that we are living an illusion, living maya (an Eastern term).  But do we really believe this?  We are told (paraphrased from ACIM) that if others become vicious toward us, we will not be moved if we remember that this is our dream (or, in other words, our illusion).  So, when life seems difficult and we seem attacked on all sides, we can pray for a moment of calm in which we realize that we are dreaming.  And so none of it truly matters in eternity.  And in time, people have made mistakes (including ourselves), but these can be rectified by turning away from the mistakes.  Time does not matter, because time does not really exist.  Only eternity matters.

4 – Illusions

Here the Course goes to the heart of the unreality in which we live.  We live in illusions, not the real world, at all–at least most of us.  (The real world comes near the conclusion of our pathway back to God.)

5 – Incompatible States of Being

Perfect love and fear are completely incompatible.  This is what this passage is saying.  Because most of us still feel fear upon occasion, we are lost in dreams–and not the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit.  There is a danger that we will feel depressed upon reading these words.  But elsewhere Jesus cautions us not to lose heart.  If the way seems long, once begun the way back is always found in the end.  If the way seems long, we are to take heart and to know that we will find our way back, ultimately.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

In reality, only perfect love exists.  But we frequently feel fear, and so we are not experiencing the real world on a consistent basis.

May we experience the real world.  If this seems a long way off, may we in the interim experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.

Amen.

Anger Is Never Justified

“Anger is never justified.  Attack has no foundation.  It is here escape from fear begins, and will be made complete. (T638)”

Affirmation:  “no anger and no attack”

Reflections:

1 – Attack and Anger = Out of Bounds

Let’s just recognize the truth of these statements, even when the withered ego rebels.  Remembering that attack and anger are out of bounds is a great liberator.  It will help in the tough times that we go through with our loved ones.

2 – Never Getting Angry?

How do we accomplish never getting angry?  We may not, and I do not believe that A Course in Miracles is recommending stifling anger, suppressing or repressing it–a result that would, according to current thinking in psychology, invite disaster in our emotional bearings.  I think that the anger doesn’t arise as readily when we are at peace, secure in the love that we feel is available to us, and aware of ACIM‘s tenet that we live in illusion, in maya (an Eastern term not used in ACIM).  If all that we encounter in life is illusion, and we are doing this unto ourselves (another ACIM tenet), we can even come to laugh at our moments of rising ire.  We can realize that our ego is rearing its head.

2 – Anger Arises = Stress

I personally have found that anger does not arise in me unless I am stressed.  I do not actually how true this is for other people, or whether or not this might be true for you.  But give it some thought, if you are so inclined.  When anger arises, I know that I need to have a timeout.  I am not yet disciplined enough never to express anger by attack, and, of course, this admission flies in the face of the truth of the passage for today.  But that is my aim.  And I ask for help when I am overwrought.  Peace invites compassion and forgiveness.  Serenity is catching.  Other people will not negatively affect us nearly as much if we are not inwardly seeing something that needs “fixing” in ourselves (a paraphrase from the ACIM teacher Hugh Prather).

3 – Relinquishment of Fear

There is a great boon here as well:  Leaving behind anger and attack leads to the relinquishment of fear.  Fear has dogged our every step, even when we have not been aware of this.  As the Course teaches, there are only fear and love, and, of the two, only love is real.

4 – Innocence

The underlying idea here is that our brother is actually, in his essence, innocent.  He has, like we all, been guilty of mistakes, but these can be overlooked–if we don’t at first make them real by thinking too much about them.

5 – Dream = Nothing Real Except Love

We are living a dream in which nothing except the love is real.   That is why anger and attack are never justified.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask You to help me to live peaceably this day, not allowing the normal stress of the day to impact my temperament.  I know that I never get angry and am then tempted to attack verbally, unless I am stressed.  I do not believe that stress is Your will.  I realize that some stress is even good, but all too often my stress escalates, and then I do not walk the pathway that You have laid out for me.

I would relinquish anger and attack with the assertion of my will, believing surely that it is Your will also.  Be with me in my weak moments.

Thank You.  You are always there; it is myself that chooses to look outward rather than within.

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.

An Idle Dream Has Terrified Me

“You are the dreamer of the world of dreams.  No other cause it has, not ever will.  Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself” (T584).

Affirmation:  “I am the dreamer of the world of dreams.”

Reflections:

1 – The Dreamer of the Dream

This is one the more comforting passages in A Course in Miracles.  It suggests not only that our world is maya, or illusion, which is a concept from another tradition, but it also says that our dream is “idle,” which suggests that the dream is easily modified.  We are, as the passage says, the dreamer of the dream.

2 – We Are Dreaming

If we believe that we are dreaming, we will probably be less hard on ourselves, judging ourselves less harshly.  We will be more forgiving of ourselves as well as others, knowing that we are dreaming and that the results of our dream have no real consequences that are permanent.  This does not mean that we can do anything that we like; this is a misconception that ACIM does not support.  In this world, we still can say and do things that will hurt our brothers and sisters, who are also caught in the dream.  And, as said elsewhere, we have “sinned” in time, but there is no time.  We have not “sinned” in eternity, where all is One.  We do need to forgive the mistakes (errors) we have made.  Perhaps we first forgive ourselves for perpetrating a wrong, and then we do what is feasible to right that wrong with our brothers and sisters.  Walk a gentle pathway, and all will be well.

3 – Awakening

There is a solution to our dilemma:  Awakening.  Then we live in the real world all the time.  But we cannot force this solution.  It is God Who reaches down to us, when we are finally ready.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize today that what I see in this world is all illusion, a dream that I am dream with most others,  Only the Awakened see clearly.  So my real prayer for today is for Awakening.  I know that I have had glimpses that You have given to me, but I would long for sustainability.  Help me to change in the ways that You would wish so that I am ready for You to reach down, metaphorically, and transform me.

Thank You for listening.  And may today be good not only for me, but especially for the others whom I reach in any way at all today.

Amen.

Safety and Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 14 – for Friday, January 14, 2011

Affirmation:  “God did not create a meaningless world.”

Selected Passage:

“Our direction is toward perfect safety and perfect peace.  (WB23)”

Reflections:

This lesson emphasizes that the world that we see is not really the creation of a benevolent God.  This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles, but with our little minds, we will not understand it.  The concept owes a great deal to Gnosticism, but most of us are not students of that philosophy.  Suffice it to accept, once and for all, that the maya of Eastern religions is accurate, that we are lost in illusions; ACIM calls this a “dream.”  Some of our dreams are group dreams, and some are individual, personal.  It does not matter.  However bad things seem, we do not need to blame God for this state of affairs.  It is all unreal.

When we move toward a cleansed perception, we will move toward the “perfect safety and perfect peace” that is the passage emphasized for today.  We will look at what surrounds us, and we will make one judgment (led by the Holy Spirit), “This is unreal.”  We might also call it insanity, or madness (which ACIM also calls it).

Personally, I have found over the years that calling the negative things of this world “insanity” to be a very freeing concept.  Then I am more ready to overlook the negativity, which A Course in Miracles counsels us to do.  If we dwell on the negativity, we will make it real to ourselves, and therefore harder to overlook.  We may be taken over by it, indeed.

When we let our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (an ACIM tenet from the Workbook).  And our world will lighten up as well.  Regardless of how bad things appear, we will know that we are seeing appearances only.  We may move to correct injustices, but we will do so from a peaceful heart that recognizes that the real Self of ourselves, and the real Self of our brothers and sisters, has not been hurt in the least.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do not wish to see a world of insanity, a meaningless world.  Let me look instead beyond the illusions that my ego, a part of my belief about myself, has perpetrated.  Let me see the real world.  Giving me that is something that only You can do, but I can offer a little willingness (all that is required) to the Holy Spirit, and then You will reach down to me.

Thank You for being with me through my day today.  Every day is good when I recall You frequently.  If I forget, then the day turns bad.  Help me, as I prepare for yet another day, to turn to You just as frequently as I remember.  And may I remember often.

Amen.