Tag Archives: misery

Remaining in the Flow

“We give ourselves the luxury and the freedom to feel and think whatever we feel or think.  We allow whatever comes; and release whatever goes.”  COL bk.2, 19:II

Here we are hearing another way of saying that we remain “in the flow.”  We don’t hang on to our thoughts and feelings; we let them drift in and out of our mind and heart.  This is the best way to live, because it gives us immediacy, the ability to live in the present.

Letting thoughts and feelings go and come is a luxury.  If we can discover how to do it, we will live far better, constantly.

All too often we dam up our thoughts and feelings; we obsess; and we make ourselves miserable.  This misery does not have to be.  Instead, we can be aware of God’s presence, living through us.  We can know that He is able to handle anything that comes up, anything that arises in our daily round. 

With this assurance, we walk a green earth.

Misery with the Ego / Joy with the Spirit

“I am conditioning you to associate misery with the ego and joy with your spirit. You have conditioned yourself the other way around. But a far greater reward will break through any conditioning if that reward is repeatedly offered when the old habit is broken. You are still free to choose. But can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.23:1-5)

The ego has never brought real joy; at best, we have had flights of fancy that were high enough in tone that we felt an exhilaration. Then, invariably, we were dashed downward to a sense of depression—mild or severe. These dramas were endless, and so unnecessary now that our knowing has expanded.

Jesus speaks of conditioning in this complete edition of A Course in Miracles, from the Circle of Atonement. The use of the word “conditioning” would make eminent sense to Helen and Bill. And we have enough general knowledge of psychology from everyday life to comprehend as well. What does Jesus mean by this conditioning?

We thought that the dramatic highs that the ego gave us were all that we could expect on earth. We were mistaken. A joyous spirit offers far more. This joy does not become inverted, to dash us downward into depression. This joy extends, more and more, as we are receptive to it.

This joy is often calm, and in the mild manner of it, we may not recognize what we have. Calm is sometimes a factor in depression, and we may even think that, when we are calm, we are depressed. We have much to discover. We are meant, according to A Course in Miracles, to remain “perfectly calm and quiet.” This new demeanor may not even seem desirable. We will see its value as we do quieten ourselves down and invite the Holy Spirit to inform our minds. We will see value when we let ourselves see value.

“Joy with the spirit”! Yes! Our new lives will mean much to us when we have given joy a welcome in our hearts. The ego will fall away, and, if we are careful and do nothing to reinforce it, the ego will never rear its ugly head again. It is not the same ego that Freud championed, a persona that we needed to live adult life. In Jesus’ use of the term ego, he means a false persona.

Let us ask for joy with the spirit today—and every day!

Misery and Despair Are Madness

“If you believe even the tiniest fraction of what is true, if you but believe you are a small part of God no bigger than a pinprick of light in a daunting sun, you still cannot believe in the reality of misery and despair. If you do, you believe this is the state of God as well.” (ACOL, 2.12)

We are one with God, and so in this context the quotation makes sense. We need to realize that the misery and despair that we wallow in is insanity, nothing more. But insanity is very hard to overcome, and the solution does not always come easily. The solution is Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, and not many people have currently reached this state. I, for one, have not, though I long for this place of “carry water, chop wood” that the Eastern religions extol.

We must realize that our misery and despair are insanity, and when we do believe this, we are on the road home.

Nothing bad has happened to us except that we dreamed a bad dream, and we continue to sleep in bad dreams. Happy dreams will come before enlightenment, and it is these that will save us now.

We are part of God, and so with communion with our depths, our way out is assured. Cling to this in the hard times. God is a very present Force in our lives, and the nearer we get to enlightenment, the more real He becomes. A Course in Miracles recommends the Holy Spirit as a Mediator, but A Course of Love indicates that, no longer afraid of God, we can approach Him more directly.

And this direct approach will take us out of any and all misery and despair. Approach God and see if this is not your truth as well.

What Has Caused Unhappiness?

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Forgiveness of Self

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

2 – Projection

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

3 – Vengeful Self

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

4 – Self-Blame

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

5 – Better Way to View

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

6 – End Result

And such can be our experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

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

Amen.

Avoid Assuming Guilt and Misery

“Now you look for one upon whom you can unload your burdens, hoping you can pass your grievances en mass to someone else.  If you succeed through anger, spite, or meanness, you simply take on guilt and withdraw still further into your own misery.  (A Course of Love, 7.12)”

Affirmation:  “May I avoid misery today.”

Reflections:

1 – Unloading Burdens

Sometimes others unload their burdens on us.  This is what happened to me two days ago.  And I could not take it.  I became even more stressed than I already was, from a stressful day.

2 – A Recollection

May I not make this mistake.  I know that for years I did unload my burdens over breakfast, which we enjoyed at a diner.  But that was a mistake, and I know better now.  A Course of Love tells me so.

3 – Turn Inward

So how do we handle burdens?  We turn inward, to the Christ within.  We know that God is within as well, the All, the One of which we are a part.

4 – Sometimes Share Your Problems

This does not mean that we can never share our problems with other people.  This would be taking the passage for today out of context from A Course of Love.  We are in relationship to all others, and it is good that we share.  But not to blame, and not through ill will.  We need to recognize that these negative emotions are not worthy of a child of God.  And such we are.

5 – Alternatives to Dumping on Another

So, share if we must–but not in misery and not in ill will.  If we feel badly, it would be wiser to settle down and read inspirational literature, meditate, or pray.  These are not new ideas, and we know that these ideas work.  All of us know this, for we have followed religious ideas for a long time now.  May we turn aside from the ego.  May we just turn aside from stresses.  We live in a sometimes difficult world, but this world does not have to be difficult when we attract the best to ourselves, and our gratitude for a good life is paramount.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As my life lengthens, I become ever more conscious of the need to surrender anew to You each day.  When I do this, my day goes smoothly.  And that is because I feel Your partnership.  It is not because the day is any less stressful.  The things that troubled me before just do not have the power to touch me now.

Be with me on this day.  May I reach out to others to lessen their burdens.  May we join together in trusting the universe to care for us.  You are with us constantly; You are in us.  May this knowledge keep us in the faith today.

Amen.

Comfort for the Troubled Heart

“The Holy Spirit has brought what comfort you would accept to your troubled mind.  Now turn to me to comfort your troubled heart.  (A Course of Love, 2.15)”

Affirmation:  “Jesus, comfort my troubled heart.”

Reflections:

1 – The Time of Christ

This passage explains, in the initial pages of the first volume of A Course of Love, the difference between the time of the Holy Spirit and the time of Christ.  The Holy Spirit worked with our minds, to dislodge the ego.  Jesus, an ascended Master and Christ, works with our hearts to solidify the gains made thus far and to lead us farther along.  We do not need to feel that we need never read ACIM again.  We can still learn from both ACIM and ACOL.  But, as we have studied ACIM for years, the time is now ripe for us to encounter A Course of Love.  And to walk, with Jesus, into the time of Christ, and the wholeheartedness of mind, spirit, and heart to live as one (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).

2 – Misery and Despair = Illusory

We will know that misery and despair are not real when we have turned to our hearts, which sees not these illusory states at all.

3 – Wholeheartedness

A wholehearted attitude, which is where Jesus is taking us in ACOL, overlooks the attempt to explain everything in terms that we can intellectually understood.  Our hearts are not intellectual in the sense that we know our minds are.  We bypass the mind when we seek the heart.  And the heart is loving.  Our myths and our religions tell us this.

4 – Jesus

May we have peace today as we make the determination to follow Jesus through the first volume of A Course of Love.  He will ultimately resign as our teacher, because he will see us as his equal, but we still have some learning to do.  And what better teacher could we find?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please comfort my heart today.  May I turn to Jesus to have this effected.  I would be strong, healthy emotionally and physically, and calm, tranquil, at peace.  These are not unreachable states of mind and body.  We can have it all, if this is the all that we wish.

Thank You for the comfort that You gave me last night when I had trouble sleeping.  Many people have the same problem.  Please brings Your comfort to all of us.  Teach us how to handle insomnia, when it occurs, if it occurs.

Thank You.

Amen.

Eyes of Love See Not Misery nor Despair

“There is not a soul that walks this earth that does not weep at what it sees.  Yet the Christ in you does not weep, for the Christ in you sees with eyes of love.  The difference is the eyes of love see not the misery or despair.  They are not there!  This is the miracle.  The miracle is true seeing.  Think not that love can look on misery and see love there.  Love looks not on misery at all.  (A Course of Love, 2.10)”

Affirmation:  “The Christ in me does not weep.”

Reflections:

1 – The Illusory World

A Course of Love does not elaborate on the sometimes confusing statement made here, “They [misery and despair] are not there!”  Given the theology of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, I think that we are here to view the misery and despair that we observe as being illusory–not real.  ACIM is particularly keen on this interpretation.

2 – Need for Compassion

This conclusion does not mean that we lack compassion, nor that we fail to offer compassion to ourselves and to our brothers and sisters who are in need.  We know that bad things happen in our illusory world, and these bad things certainly can indeed bring pain and suffering.  The pain does not turn into suffering, though, if we acknowledge clearly enough to our beleaguered minds that what we are experiencing is not real.  We can be healed in many ways, and sometimes we are not “healed” physically, but emotionally.  Yet we are assured by Jesus that healing will always be accepted when the individual is ready for it.  (He does not state whether or not he is speaking of physical or emotional healing.)  I think it is best that we take Jesus at his word, even when we are incapable of fully understanding.  He has shown us much in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love that have brought us out of the forest of discontent.  Surely we can trust him to lead us rightly in the matter of healing.

3 – The Other Side

Of course, most of us make the transition to a better world in death through an illness of some type.  And so, in these cases, our healing is a graduation ceremony, for nobody believes that he/she takes his/her infirmities to the next world (the Other Side).

4 – See with the Heart

Still this passage may appear confusing.  How can love not look on misery at all?  We have physical eyes that see, but my interpretation is that Jesus would have us look with our hearts, and with our hearts we love.  We do not judge ailments as something real.  We know that the love that we feel in our hearts is the only truly real aspect of this sometimes difficult world in which we find ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see with my heart today, recognizing that the misery that I feel or that I see if illusory, because this whole world is illusory.  May we find the real world today, inwardly, so that our joy might be complete.

May my heart be soothed as I begin this day.  May Your blessings abound, and may I not forget to thank You for those blessings.

Be with me throughout this long day.  May I put aside my own contribution to any misery that I feel, knowing that to focus on it is to make it seem more real.  And the misery is not real.  Thank You for the knowledge of this truth.

Amen.

Overcome Misery / Find Lasting Happiness

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

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

Reflections:

1 – We Find Only to Lose

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

2 – Peace, Joy, Harmony, Tranquility

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

3 – Egotism Leads to Misery

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Thank You.

Amen.

Misery (Ego) vs. Joy (Spirit)

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

Affirmation:  “joy comes with spirit”

Reflections:

1 – The Egotistical Fails to Satisfy

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

2 – Ordinary Daily Life Satisfying

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

3 – Read ACIM Frequently

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

4 – Holy Relationships

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.