Tag Archives: mistakes

Acting “As If”

            Is it not true that a child learns best when one expects good in her?  Act “as if” a child will respond positively, treat her as you would want a good child to be treated, and the tantrums will fade away.  On the other hand, to focus on the tantrums is to make them stronger.  It is the same with our brother.  Expect the best, let him know that you are seeing the best, and his motivation will fall in line, making our brother a better person.  We must never show that we fear negatives from him; that would be a reinforcement of the possibility of those negatives.  Instead, accentuate the positive in all prayers and all interactions.  Let him know that we love the real Self, and that real Self will blossom before our eyes.  It is indeed very dangerous to act in any other way.  We are all potentially capable of great wrong, and it behooves to turn aside this potentiality, in ourselves and in our brothers, at every opportunity.

            Given this scenario, if we play our part right, our brother will cease so much to see “sin” in himself, and he will adopt our own attitude toward him.  He will begin to act out of the real Self, which is good, because his self-image has changed for the better.  And is this not what we would hope for all people?

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Forgive by Overlooking “Faults” in Our Brothers & Sisters

            Our brother sees “sin” in himself.  If we see sin in him also, we but reinforce an untruth, not only in him but in ourselves.  Surely it is that we see in others what we have first seen in ourselves; that is the law of projection, and, if we can believe the A Course in Miracles, projection makes perception.

            Does that mean we must deny the evidence of our eyes, and proclaim good where there seems to be only wrong?  No!  That would be a further deception, and it is the truth that we seek. We must acknowledge the wrong that we see, but recognize that, like all sights our physical eyes show us, we are seeing something unreal–a dream, if you will.  However badly our brother seems to treat us, this still is true.  It is our dream, showing us something that we don’t want to see, but only so that we can learn from it.  We are bade not to dwell on this unreality, thereby making it seem real to us, and making it harder simply to overlook and thereby forgive. (T-9.IV.4:4-5)

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Would We See Ourselves Whole & Complete?

“In the end of all seeking, you must look into the mirror and decide to be the one who heals yourself. You are the one who decides, from infinite freedom, how to use the power of your mind in each moment. Therefore, the only question that a seeker of truth really truly need ask him or her self is this:

“Would I know conflict or peace?

“Would I be right or happy?

“Would I see the complete neutrality of all events in this world as wisps of a dream being birthed and passing away?

“Would I see myself whole and complete?

“For as I look upon the world, I have judged myself.

“And as I look upon myself, I judge the world.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 10, Page 124)

If we listen to these wise words, we see that “flow” in daily life is required. We open up our minds and hearts to the influence of God, moment by moment, and the sometimes frantic outcome of our day transforms. We are happy when we let go and let God, and this is ultimately what flow is all about.

“Would I be right or happy?” This well-known quotation from A Course in Miracles says it all, and here Jesus is saying the very same in The Way of Mastery. (Jesus asked Jayem not to read A Course in Miracles before channeling this new work, and so there is no chance that Jayem was merely quoting ACIM.) The obviously correct Answer is just to fall into happiness. Why do we think we need to raise up conflict with our brothers and sisters so that we are more “right” than they are?

It is hard to imagine that all events in this difficult world are neutral, but they are. We write on these neutral events our own projections. And projection makes perception (another ACIM tenet). The world is doing nothing to us. We are projecting our lives into this world, often invoking the law of attraction to bring about what we experience.

We need to see ourselves a good people, innocent people, people who have only made forgivable mistakes. And these forgiven mistakes will not hold us back.

Choose peace today.

Be in the flow.

Wholly Correctable Mistakes – Not “Sin”

It is particularly hard for newcomers to the A Course in Course to believe it when they are told that they have never sinned: They have only made wholly correctable mistakes. People with background such as mine may think that this is the deception of which we are warned from a “devil.” So what are we to make of this?

It one can just entertain the notion that our minds are, to greater or lesser degrees, at one time or another, in one person or another, insane, then we are well on our way out. Even our society treats the insane criminal differently from the one judged sane, controversial though a given case may be. We recognize diminished responsibility, an inability to see clearly right from wrong. Is this not what we are faced with on a daily basis? We see so dimly without the Holy Spirit’s guidance; sometimes we hardly know which way to turn. Would a loving God condemn us for our lack of clear understanding? No! He would merely give us a Guide who would lead us out of the maze.

Does a loving God demand payment, sacrificial payment, because we have done something bad and need to be punished for it? Certain traditional Christian theology teaches this, in that Jesus “died for our sins” and is the “sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.” The Course reinterprets all of this into a much more benign concept. “I was not ‘punished’ because you were bad,” Jesus says. (T-3.I.2:10) He goes on to explain that this interpretation is an egoistic projection borne of the insanity of the ego. So we are back to the concept of insanity.

Surely no parent or loved one who sees his child or family member commit violent acts when diagnosed as mentally ill holds that person by the same standards as she holds a “sane” person. Let us entertain the notion that we only need to enlarge our definition of insanity to accommodate all people, to a greater or lesser degree. Jesus condemned no one. He recognized while on earth that most people did the best that they could with what they had. It behooves those of us who follow in the footsteps of Jesus, however blindly, to try to do the same.

Errors vs. Sin

A Course in Miracles affirms, “The ego’s whole continuance depends on its belief you cannot learn this course.” (T-22.III.2:1) Of course! The heart of the assertion is the distinction between “errors” and “sin.” Errors are made for correction, which we will learn to do by learning this Course. Sin can, in Christian theology, only be forgiven and, perhaps, imperfectly, as we humans are prone to do. The Course asserts that it is doubly hard to forgive sin that has been in our minds made “real.” The better way is not to focus on the “sin,” or mistake, from the beginning, but to overlook it as the illusion that it is.

Sin is likened to solid granite (T-22.III.3:4), which, when observed, is seen as an impenetrable barrier. But this is what only the body’s eyes see a form that is not reality at all. It takes the application of reason to truly see, to have vision. The body’s eyes, physically and metaphorically, can never see past illusory form.

It is necessary for us to realize that the ego is a false, illusory self, made by ourselves in insanity, and offering nothing that in our right minds we would really want. God had to protect His universe, and so He allowed our miscreations to live on in illusion only–not in reality. Only in reality can we share the Mind that is His, and thus know reality as it is really meant to be.

Do Not Crucify One’s Self

“Do not embark on foolish journeys, because they are indeed in vain. The ego may will them because the ego is both lean and foolish, but the spirit cannot embark on them because it is forever unwilling to depart from its foundation. The journey to the cross should be the last foolish journey for every mind. Do not dwell upon it, but dismiss it as accomplished. If you can accept that as your own last foolish journey, you are free also to join my resurrection.
. . .
“Do not make the pathetic human error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.’ The only message of the crucifixion is in respect to your ability to overcome the cross. Unless you do so, you are free to crucify yourself as often as you choose. But this was not the gospel I intended to offer you.” (ACIM, COA ed., T:4.I.7:1-5 and 8:4-7)

Jesus says repeatedly in A Course in Miracles that the real message of the Atonement is the resurrection, that life is eternal—not that he suffered and died as a sacrificial lamb for us in order to appease God because of our sins. He says that we have made mistakes only, mistakes that are correctable and forgivable, and that to categorize our mistakes as “sins” seems to make them beyond correction.

Moreover, God never condemns, and so He has no need to forgive us of anything. This is a new interpretation, contrary to traditional Christianity, but to us it ought to come as welcome news, a new interpretation that lets us off the hook. So many over the years have condemned themselves because of errors that they called sins, and suffered accordingly.

Now we can let this type of interpretation fall by the wayside. Correctable mistakes call for correction, not denunciation. All of us make mistakes, because this is unavoidable, given the limited viewpoints that we have. We are finite, with finite minds, and with a finite mind, we cannot see all the ramifications of the least thing that we do. So mistakes happen.

Jesus stands at the end of the long pathway to correct mistakes that we could not otherwise correct; he tells us this in ACIM. Be grateful to him for walking the pathway first, all the way back to God. Why would we seek to invent new ways to walk the pathway, when his path is there for us to emulate?

Mistakes

“Yet there may still be one more thing: your fear of punishment for what is done now. Everybody makes mistakes. These errors are completely trivial. When the past has been forgiven, these minor infractions are very easily altered.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.13.2:1-4)

There is no hell. Or, more exactly, we make our own hell. We are not going to be punished for “sins.” Sins seem unforgiveable, but mistakes are easily forgiven and forgotten. We are fine. The mistakes, errors, are “trivial.”

What a reassurance this truly is! Jesus has reframed “sins” to be simply mistakes. And in the reframing, we are not tempted to repeat the “sin.” We know that we want mistakes corrected. The fact that this can be done so easily is a tremendous blessing, part of God’s blessings upon us.

Our egos have driven us mad, or, more exactly, the rise of the ego was a symptom of insane thinking. And then the false thinking of the ego only exacerbated the problem.
Enough! We know that we are safe in God’s Arms. He cares for His own, and we are His own. Let us drop the fear that we are outside God’s Kingdom. When we talk to Him in prayer, we come to understand that nothing we have done needs to be forgiven, by Him, for He has never condemned.

Let us rest in that sure knowledge today.

Dear God,

I do make mistakes, often. And I regret them, and, with Your help, seek to make restitution. Call to my mind the mistakes that I have forgotten; let me get to the restitution, if such is needed.

Thank You for guiding me so precisely. I know that my early childhood fear of hell was a mirage. I would be finished with mirages now.

Amen.

Salvation Will Expand from the Few to the Many

“Few truly believe in atonement or undoing. Few truly believe there is no sin. Few truly believe that they are not the sum of their behaviors.” (ACOL, C:31.18)

What we do wrong does not define us. I think this is what Jesus is saying. We have made many mistakes, and may continue to make them, but correction is afoot in atonement. We do not have to continue to believe in sin, which would be uncorrectable if it were a real thought and not a fantasy of wrongdoing that, for perverse reasons, invites repetition.

Let us today be one of the few who do believe in atonement or undoing, do believe there is no sin, do believe that we are not the sum of our behaviors. There may be few today, but that number will increase exponentially if we do our part in being ministers of salvation. We will not proselytize, but we will share when we sense that others are ready to hear. And because they are ready to hear, they will be eager learners, until such time as they can put aside learning and move into observation as a way to grow.

Let’s be sure, first, that we are within the “few,” and then let’s expand the “few” to more and more individuals. This is what salvation is all about. It is not a selfish state, of course, but one that we share with all the fervor that we can muster.

Start Walking the Right Pathway, Led by the Holy Spirit

“Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. (WB-101)”

At this point we need to take a look at the contents of our minds. Do we still believe that we are failures,that we don’t measure up, that we are not “good” enough? These beliefs will drag us down like nothing else.

We are not devils at all. We are good people, children of God, who have only made mistakes. And in many cases, these mistakes are correctable. Even when not correctable, the mistakes are, and always will be, forgivable.

We have nothing to fear. God is on our side. The only thing that we have to do is to accept the Atonement, the correction, so that we start walking the right pathway. We choose to do things aright, and in that choice we find our way home again. The Holy Spirit guides us when we are willing to listen. And that is the secret: Listening to guidance.

A Part of Heaven Is Laid in Our Relationships

“Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, ‘This was a mistake.’ And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error, and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given!” (T-22.VI.5)

We can easily accept Atonement when we accept it through our special relationships turned holy. A holy relationship, we are told, is a means of saving time. And when we turn to our brother, overlooking his mistakes as just mistakes (not sins), then we see Heaven itself in our relationship. We have walked further toward the grace that is always held out to us.

We have been confused when we fail to overlook mistakes in our brother. Of course, overlooking is hard when we believe ourselves to have really been attacked, and to have suffered from this attack. But to think in such a way is to compound the error, the mistake.

Our brother had only attacked us because his mind is lost in illusion, and we ourselves are attached to that illusion as well. Our real Self has not been harmed in any way. We are intact. And being intact, we can show our brother an innocent face, a face that has not been hurt, and in the showing of this unhurt face, our brother will receive (as do we) a part of Heaven itself.

The Sole Responsibility of God’s Teacher Is to Accept the Atonement for Himself.

“The sole responsibility of God’s teacher is to accept the Atonement for himself. Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors. (M48)”

1 – Atonement Means Correction

This tenet of the Course is not always understood. Many people want to describe the Atonement as “at – one – ment,” and this may be a reasonable conclusion. Jesus’s answer, though, is that Atonement means the correction, or undoing of errors. Certainly we are not perfect here, or we would not be in this world. Jesus says elsewhere that it is our purpose to become perfect, and when this happens, we will not return to this world at all. We can reasonably conclude that we will have help from the Other Side, because he also says elsewhere that the Teachers of Teachers are not seen by people who live in this world.

2 – Undo Errors

May we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit so completely that we do see the undoing of errors in ourselves. The only way that this undoing can happen is to follow this guidance. We are not strong or brave enough to bring about our own perfection. It takes divine intervention.

3 – Be a Healed Healer

This passage implied that our first responsibility is to ourselves. We will make mistakes in trying to extend salvation to others if we are “unhealed healers” who wish to do good, but don’t really know how. Once we have accepted Atonement for ourselves, we will be in a position to extend salvation to others. Our times of making mistakes will fall away, leaving Jesus in a position to work through us in a way that he has never been able to do so before.

4 – Miracle Worker

“When this has been accomplished, the teacher of God becomes a miracle worker by definition. (M48)”

Would you like to be a miracle worker? This passage says that when we have accepted the atonement, the undoing of errors in ourselves, then we become a miracle worker by definition.

5 – Not Perfect

Now I do not think that this means that we have become perfect. This would be the ego speaking. In A Course of Love, Jesus indicates that we just turn aside from those character traits that make us less than we would like to be. If we have anger, and we don’t want anger, we just turn aside from it; it will be there or not, as we will it. And, in the case of anger, we would will it away.

6 – Jesus

The idea that we have to be perfect before God can accept us is not true. Jesus says that he stands at the end of the pathway to correct those errors that we ourselves cannot correct. He corrects our unresolved mistakes.

7 – Ideal

It is an unnecessary burden on us to try to be perfect, though the New Testament does indicate that we ought to be perfect, even as our Heavenly Father is perfect. This is an ideal, and we will know many ideals in this life when we sign on with Jesus. He will hold us by the hand and gently lead us forward.

8 – Limitations

He knows our limitations, and in this world we are not free of limitations. Making mistakes is one of those limitations, and he is, as I said, here to correct what we are not wise or strong or keen enough to correct.

9 – Ego

I worry that some will allow the ego to intrude and call us “miracle workers” when we actually have far to go, still, on the pathway. We can effect change, it is true, but we still will fall down. The Holy Spirit will take charge in our lives to lead us to be true miracle workers, but the credit goes to him, not us.

10 – “Sins”

“His sins have been forgiven him, and he no longer condemns himself. How can he then condemn anyone? And who is there whom his forgiveness can fail to heal? (M48)”

“Sins” are a misnomer, as we have learned. We make mistakes, and mistakes don’t have the attracting value that sins do. We will repeat mistakes when we call them “sins,” because of this attracting feature. It is a perversity, in my opinion.

11 – Mistakes

But all the wrong thinking and the wrongdoing a “mistake,” and we just want to correct it. We don’t condemn ourselves for our mistakes, and it is certain that when we forgive ourselves, we are setting ourselves up to forgive others. I think we cannot really forgive others until we have first forgiven ourselves.

12 – God

God does not forgive, we are told in A Course in Miracles, because He has never condemned. If we ourselves never condemn our mistakes, and never condemn the mistakes of others, we will recognize the highest—that there is really nothing to forgive in the misthoughts and misdeeds of others.

13 – Healing

We do want to heal, to heal personally and to reach out to others to heal them as well. Ask today what you can do to effect this great miracle. Ask what miracles you are to perform. Jesus will guide us, for the Atonement principle is in his power.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please assist me to understand Atonement. May I accept it fully for myself, and then may I reach out to others from a state that approaches error-free circumstances.

I know that Your guidance will help me to reach Your will for me. Atonement for myself is my first directive from You, and I know that You will help me to reach this glorious state.

Amen.

The Ego Will Not Be Destroyed

“The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will reinterpreted to release you from fear. (T87)”

Affirmation: “The ego is uncreative and unsharing.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego’s Misinterpretations

“There are many examples of how the ego’s interpretations are misleading, but a few will suffice to show how the Holy Spirit can reinterpret them in His Own Light. (T87)”

This section from the early pages of the Text of A Course in Miracles gives abundant quotations from the New Testament which point out how we have misinterpreted Scripture, out of our ignorance and while in the thrall of the ego.

2 – Sow and Reap

“‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’ He interprets to mean what you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgment of what is worthy makes it worthy for you” (T87)”

This passage is often seen as evidence in the New Testament that the Eastern view of karma is accurate. Here Jesus does not say this, but gives a more benign interpretation. Jesus does not scare little children, which is what we all are.

3 – Vengeance

“‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord’ is easily reinterpreted if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared. The statement emphasizes that vengeance cannot be shared. Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God. (T87)”

Ideas do increase when they are shared, unlike material goods. Jerry Jampolsky made much use of this truth in his bestseller from years ago, Love Is Letting Go of Guilt. And it is the immaterial that gives us greatest comfort, despite the view that we think, in this world, we have to have lots of material toys.

We would not allow negative ideas, such as vengeance, to remain in our minds. To do so will invite those ideas to turn back on ourselves. And they will do so.

4 – Generations

“‘I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation,’ as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious. It becomes merely an attempt to guarantee the ego’s own survival. To the Holy Spirit, the statement means that in later generations He can still reinterpret what former generations had misunderstood, and thus release the thoughts from the ability to produce fear. (T87)”

Here Jesus hints at his reinterpretation of “sin” to “mistake.” We will no longer view sin as attractive when we drop it from our vocabulary. A mistake does not hold the repetitive nature of sin; we just want to correct a mistake. And we will do so.
5 – Wicked Shall Perish

5 – Wicked

“‘The wicked shall perish’ becomes a statement of Atonement, if the word ‘perish’ is understood as ‘be undone.’ Every loveless thought must be undone, a word the ego cannot even understand. To the ego, to be undone means to be destroyed. (T87)”

To be “undone” is not the same as death. And that is a good thing. Here the Atonement is emphasized. The Atonement, Jesus’s contribution 2,000 years ago, has undone our propensity to imagine that we are guilty creatures who require damnation for our sins. He has undone that representation.

6 – Ego

The ego represents a false self, the little self–not the Self. We are asked to live as though we were not an ego. We can realize that the ego will just wither away when our false thinking is eliminated and we are living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

7 – Ego = Uncreative and Unsharing

What does it mean to say that the ego is uncreative and unsharing? We isolate ourselves when we feel oncoming the hard, tough shell of the ego. It is an unloving stance, and one that we would be wise to recognize when it rears its head. Pray to leave this uncreative and unsharing aspect of ourselves behind. Soften the heart, and lean unto its counsel. Then we will feel more a part of our brothers and sisters. We will love.

8 – Self

The ego is “uncreative.” Surely this makes sense! The ego has only “made” things (an ACIM concept). Creativity is of the Self, not of the little self, which is egoistic in the extreme. May we live so that we are the real Self, insofar as we can ascertain. Then we will let the ego and its unproductive part of ourselves collapse.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I realize that the ego will not be destroyed because I need it, but because I do not. It is uncreative and unsharing. This is the opposite of the way that I want to be.

May my creativity blossom as I let the ego wither away. May I share more with my brothers and sisters. These two blessings will enable me to realize that the ego is unneeded and undesired.

Amen.

revised

A Course in Miracles – What It Says, Part 1

1 – The Real vs. the Unreal

“Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God”

This is how A Course in Miracles begins. It makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal; between knowledge and perception. Knowledge is truth, under one law, the law of love or God. . . .The world of perception, on the other hand, is the world of time, of change, of beginnings and endings. It is based on interpretation, not on facts.

To read the epigraph is awe-inspiring, a proper approach to God Himself. The epigraph makes a sharp contrast between illusion and reality, between illusion as perceived, and the real world as a result of the coming knowledge. And what we know in this world is illusion.

2 – Jerry Jampolsky and Hugh Prather

Shortly after his death, Hugh Prather spoke to a friend, Jerry Jampolsky, in which he declared that A Course in Miracles is absolutely true. We live in illusion. Hugh said that we need not to worry so much. His message suggested that he himself regretted the worry that he had given some of the events and happenings of his just-lived life.

3 – Worry

We all need to cast worry aside. Worry dissipate when fear has been rejected in favor of love. And A Course in Miracles counsels forgiveness of our brother, and through our relationship to him, we come prepared for Awakening.

4 – Dream

“When you have been caught in the world of perception you are caught in a dream.”

ACIM uses the term “dream” more than “illusion.” There are some very beautiful passages in which we learn that Awakening is as though a light has come on in our dream. But we will not awaken with fear and a scream of mortal terror, because A Course in Miracles has given us the means to awaken without fear (from ACIM).

5 – Perception

We are perceiving with our minds. And perception always partakes of ourselves.

“’Projection makes perception.’ (ACIM Text) We look inside first, decide the kind of world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it. We make it true by our interpretations of what it is we are seeing.”

This oft-quoted statement, “Projection makes perception,” means further that we not only project the world, but that it is therefore not really there! There is no world, we are told, though we are also told that not everybody is ready to accept this startling statement by Jesus.

6 – Sins vs. Mistakes

“Sin is defined as ‘lack of love’ (from ACIM Text). Since love is all there is, sin in the sight of the Holy Spirit is a mistake to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished.”

Sin is described in ACIM as an attracting concept, one that will be repeated because of an attraction. Mistakes, a simple change of word, in our language simply denote something that we want to change, to correct. There is no attracting characteristic to mistakes. And sin suggests something that is unforgivable, whereas mistakes are always forgivable. We need to see all that our brothers says to us or does to us as forgivable, though we will not always stay in his vicinity if the situation becomes untenable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the calm that these messages of A Course in Miracles induce in me. I have learned much. My only regret is that I sometimes forget when stress is present in my life. And that is when I need to remember most.

Help me to be a non-controversial, congenial writer about ACIM. I would focus on the ways that we are similar, not the ways that we differ in our attitudes and beliefs. Help me to stay true in my interpretations to what ACIM really says. May I interpret what ACIM says in a way that is open to all individuals who study the volumes.

Please be with me.

Amen.

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions

van gogh - wheatfield with crows“While you continue to see the call of this course as a call to goodness, you will surely fail. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.10)”

Affirmation: “Being good is not my ‘goal’ today.”

Reflections:

1 – Good Intentions

Jesus makes it easy on us. We don’t have to make extravagant attempts to be “good” to fulfill his requirements in this course. Why? We would surely fail. Good intentions, we have always been told, are not enough. And it is good intentions that prompt us to be “good” (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).

2 – Failure

Jesus makes the comparison between a failure to stick to a diet and the failure to be consistently good. We always fail to live up to our ideal.

3 – Change

Later on, Jesus says in the Dialogues that we will simply make a decision to change some trait about ourselves, because it is a mistake, and then we will simply see that trait disappear. Thus he does not feel a call to have us seek goodness in and of itself. He is not even calling us to be perfect, which seemed to be a biblical injunction. In ACIM, Jesus points out that he stands at the end of the pathway to correct all mistakes that we could not correct. Let this be enough for us. Jesus will stand by us. He will do for goodness what we cannot do.

4 – No Lament

The certainty of failure as we seek to be “good” is not a cause for lament. It is a statement of fact. And hidden in the assertion is the truth that we do not have to try to be good. This goodness will come about naturally as we walk further along the pathway. Of course, if the ego gets involved, we will fall away from the correct walk. But Jesus also says, further along in this chapter, that the ego is gone now. What a delightful thing to hear!

5 – Reread ACOL

If the ego is indeed gone, we are following Jesus’s way in A Course of Love. Don’t be sure, though. The ego is wily, and sometimes we have to read and reread ACOL to get its message. But get its message we will, and then we are assured a happier walk through the earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I was not so good yesterday, and so the message for today speaks to me as well as to my readers. Thank You for the timing of this message. It is true, so true, that my good intentions are not enough, for surely that is of the ego, and I will surely fail. May I start each day over when I get on the wrong path. Help the events of my day to stay on an even keel, with nothing going awry.

Thank You for Jesus’s help, even though I struggle with the assertion that he can be anywhere, anytime—just by my call, my unequivocal call.

Be with me so that this day goes better than the one yesterday. And may I learn from my mistakes, never to repeat the same ones. I appreciate that you call my misdeeds just “mistakes,” and not “sins.” I would see nothing attracting in a mistake, and I might be tempted to repeat a sin.

Thank You for the insights that A Course of Love gives to me.

Amen.

Based on Level of Understanding, Everyone Does His/Her Best

“Your real Self is the Christ in you.  How could it be anything but love, or see with eyes other than those of love?  Would you expect any decent human being to look on a loveless world, on misery and despair, and not be moved?  Think not that those who seem to add to the world’s misery are any exception.  (A Course of Love, 2.10)”

Affirmation:  “My real Self is the Christ in me.”

Reflections:

1 – “Evil” Brothers and Sisters

This passage indicates that those whom we see as “evil” or even “sinful” are still moved by the despair in our world.  Can we believe that everybody is doing the best that he or she can, given his/her level of understanding?

2 – Mistakes = Not “Sins”

And there is no “sin,” only mistakes that can be corrected.  We can set aside sin’s attractiveness when we embrace “mistakes” as the errors that we make.  We will not wish to repeat the error (from A Course in Miracles).

3 – Renegades

We know from the writing of individuals who have been dammed by this world for their “sins” that they themselves did not think that they were doing anything wrong.  Even the blackest of “sinners” think well of themselves.  And individuals in prison think that there was something special about their wrongdoing, something that would make it all alright.  Are we any different, we who may go to church on Sundays, may pray, and may seek to follow what we perceive as God’s Way?

4 – Humility

We too make mistakes, and sometimes we hurt the ones that we love more than any others.  We may be filled with a righteousness that Jesus turned against, according to the New Testament.  Let us not have it so.  Let us ask for the humility to know that we do not know how to live.  We need God’s help in this, for only He can set us straight.  And then we will give up our sense of rightness, knowing that only God is truly good.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that others who struggle are nevertheless doing the best that they can, given their current level of understanding.  The same holds true for me, especially when I struggle.  May no dark nights of the soul darken my pathway.  But if a dark night comes, may I immediately turn that dark night over to You, knowing that therein lies the peace and the blessing that I seek.

May I forgive those whom I think should know better.  May I judge no man nor woman, child, nor elder.  This is meant to be a forgiving world, and there are answers in this world for all who seek them.  Let us seek today until we find our needs met.  I know that the solution lies with the problem, and I know that my perception of that solution will come quickly, once I have surrendered, once again, to You.

Amen.

A Miracle Worker? How Possible?

“Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors.  When this has been accomplished, the teacher of God becomes a miracle worker by definition.  (M-18.4)”

Affirmation:  “Correct me today.”

Reflections:

1 – Atonement

This is what we need, all of us:  Atonement.  We need to have our errors undone, all corrected.  If this seems a long way off, then let us be patient.  Jesus says that for everyone to return to God, to undo the separation (believed in but an illusion), it may take millions of years (from the Text).  But we do not have to be disheartened by this analysis.

2 – Do Not Be Disheartened

Why not disheartened?  We are not alone.  God and His Communicator, the Holy Spirit, are with us constantly.  Indeed, we are a part of God.  We do not normally realize this, because we focus too much on the errors that our own “creation,” the ego, leads us to ake.  And Jesus will be with us when we have made one “unequivocal call” to him (a quotation from ACIM).

3 – Intuition Brings Our Help

Do we believe all this?  Perhaps not yet.  But give yourself time.  The truth will become manifest as we see our help come to us, intuitively, just as we need it.  Don’t second guess this truth.  Don’t be so quick to put up roadblocks.  If the intuition is honed by love, then it is likely to be genuine.

4 – Ego Makes Power Plays

“Intuitions” of the ego are usually power plays, and we do not want or need that.  Is the ego puffed up by this indication of what to do next?  Walk slowly, and think again about the best course of action.

5 – We Will Find Out Way Home

We will all learn eventually.  We will all find our way home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would, in my own small circle of friends and acquaintances, become a miracle worker.  But I would listen for Jesus’s nod of what to do or say.  Only his guidance is necessary or desirable.  Anything else is misguided, because the ego gets involved, very involved.

Be with me today to find the Atonement anew.  Thank You for the times in my life when You have felt especially close to me, giving me Your advice.  Let me reach deep within me today to find You.  And let my manmade ego not intrude with unwelcome advice.

Help us to follow You today.  Help us to know how to help, how to heal.  If we need healing, may we find healing today.  And the same for all of our brothers and sisters.  May we attract that which You desire for us, knowing inwardly that health is Your choice for us.  Let us not intrude with ideas of illness.

Amen

A Mistake Is Not a Sin

“You but mistake interpretation for the truth.  And you are wrong.  But a mistake is not a sin, nor has reality been taken from its throne by your mistakes.  God reigns forever, and His laws alone prevail upon you and upon the world.  His Love remains the only thing there is.  Fear is illusion, for you are like Him.  (M-18.3)”

Affirmation:  “Love is the only thing there is.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Condemn Yourself

This is a reassuring passage, one that leads us to understand that God truly is Love, and that we have only made mistakes–nothing to condemn ourselves.

2 – When Afraid

When we are afraid, when fear has moved into our conscious minds, we need a remedy, and we need it now, not later.  The best remedy is to fill our minds with these reassurances that Jesus gives to us in A Course in Miracles.  The fear may make our heart beat rapidly, pounding in our chest, but we can still say to ourselves, “This is illusion.  I have no reason to fear.”

3 – Moving Away from the Abyss of Fear

And then we can distract ourselves from the abyss of fear in which we have fallen.  A Course in Miracles does not give specific practices, beyond affirmations in the Workbook, that can be called upon.  But most of us know that prayer, communion with God, helps tremendously.  And communion with God is emphasized in the opening pages of the Text.  We can also do something as mundane as listen to quiet, soothing music–praying as we listen.  We can talk to a significant other, if we have not called upon him or her so often that we have worn out our welcome.  And, of course, when fear comes, it is frequently in the middle of the night, when we do not want to awaken anyone.  Writing in a journal can help.  Some have found meditative yoga to be helpful.  I have found it useful to pray aloud, away from others in a quiet room.  Praying aloud seems to keep me on track.  If one is agitated, the best thing that we can do is simply to rest in that agitation, watching it subside gradually.  We will actually all get the amount of sleep that we need.  We need not fear insomnia, thereby making it worse.

4 – Is It Guilt?

If guilt is a major reason for our fear, then we can pray for forgiveness.  Remember that God does not forgive, because He has never condemned (an ACIM tenet).  But we need to forgive ourselves, and this we can do.  The ego may object, but then the ego does not wish us well.  We need to be gentle with ourselves; we need to wish ourselves well.

5 – Sin vs. Mistakes

Remember that the concept of “sin” and the concept of “mistakes” are very different.  Sin has an attracting nature, one that would have us repeat the same thought or action.  Mistakes, on the other hand, simply call for correction, something that we can do when our motivation is strong.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be fearful today.  There is no reason that the daily activities need to make us afraid.  We can get excited, but better not to get fearful.  

You know that our emotions are often vacillating.  We feel one way one moment, and something entirely different just a moment away.  I would stop this merry-go-round of fear in its tracks by denying the ego its field day with my mind.

May You help me to turn to You repeatedly, anytime that the ego threatens to engulf me with fear.  Thank You.

Amen.

Forsake Anger / Guilt Forgiven = Overlooked Completely

“And now is guilt forgiven, overlooked completely in His sight and in God’s Word.

“Anger but screeches, ‘Guilt is real!’ Reality is blotted out as this insane belief is taken as replacement for God’s Word.  (M-18.2 – M-18.3)”

Affirmation:  “guilt forgiven”

Reflections:

1 – Varying Definitions of the Ego

Anger is empowered by the ego when it screeches at us, “Guilt is real!”  This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles which differs from traditional Christianity.  But then the ego was not known about, in the sense that we know about it now.  Freud changed all that, though Freud’s definition of the ego is not the same as that of Jesus.  Freud thought that we all needed a strong ego to mediate between the superego and the id.  Jesus’s definition of the ego as a part of our belief about ourselves, but not a necessary thing to secure a central place in our psyche.  Jesus would have the ego wither away (though he does not use the term “wither”).

2 – The Ego Becomes Strong in Strife

We cannot let the ego wither by trying to overcome it with drastic measures.  We cannot launch a frontal assault.  The ego becomes strong in strife (a Text tenet).  That is why anger is so real when the ego is in the ascendancy.

3 – Jesus Corrects Errors that Are Beyond Us

But we have only made correctable mistakes.  And Jesus stands at the end to correct all errors that we ourselves cannot correct (an ACIM tenet).  This suggests that he is our friend, as traditional Christianity tells us.  He is always there for us, taking our hand, if we wish to so imagine.  He says that this is no “idle fantasy” (a quotation from ACIM).

4 – Mistakes / Not Sins

Because our mistakes are correctable, they are not “sins,” which would seem to be forever uncorrectable without a sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross.  And Jesus in A Course in Miracles asks us to look beyond the cross to the resurrection.  He says that we make a mistake when we “cling to the old rugged cross.”

5 – Theology May Delay Us

These ideas are definitely a step beyond the New Testament, and Christianity as taught in most of our churches.  If we are not yet ready to entertain these concepts, do cling to the practical nature of A Course in Miracles.  Theology will only delay us, and we do not need to be controversial.

6 – Guilt Recedes when Anger Recedes

See if the idea of guilt does not recede when anger recedes.  That is really all that we need to test.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would let the ego wither; I would not accentuate the ego through anger, for the ego is strong in strife.  I would feel no strike today.  And that becomes easy when I am having a good day.  Thank You for this good day today.  And may the same occur tomorrow.  We need Your help to be happy, for many of us have not always thought that happiness is a laudable goal.  But it is one of our functions, along with salvation and forgiveness, and I believe that when we reach for salvation and forgiveness, we find ourselves, unaccountably, happy.  We grow from the days spent in pain, but we do not have to learn through pain, as Jesus says in A Course in Miracles.  We can learn through rewards, which give us a lasting learning experience.

Be with me as the day closes.  And help me to remember to express gratitude to You tomorrow morning, first thing, for another day in which to enjoy this world.  We are not meant to yearn only for a hereafter.  We are meant to be happy with this world as well, and the Holy Spirit will see that we have happy dreams in this illusory world.  Healing may occur for us, emotional and/or physical, and we would do well to remember that we are making the illusion that we live in.

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

Quiet Listening

“Learn to be quiet, for His Voice is heard in stillness.  And His Judgment comes to all who stand aside in quiet listening, and wait for Him.  (M-15.2)”

Affirmation:  “Let me be quiet awhile today.”

Reflections:

1 – Benign Judgment

“His Judgment” is not bad; we only make mistakes, and these can be corrected.  If we cannot make amends with the person whom we have wronged, we can still ask forgiveness in quietness, and on some level we will be heard.  The Judgment of which this passage speaks is coming from the Holy Spirit, God’s Communicator with us.  It is always a benign judgment.

2 – Quiet

We cannot live well unless we live, at least from time to time, in quiet.  My quiet time used to be three times a day, which I spent in meditation.  This went on for ten years, and then six years ago I began to pray more, and I was quiet in that way.  Prayer works for me when I pray aloud, and frequently I do so when driving the car.  I do concentrate on the road, of course, but I am carrying on, also, a conversation with God.  Despite the noise of the car and the road,  I know this time as a particularly effective quiet time.

3 – Listening

We must try to follow God’s Way for us.  And we learn this Way in quiet listening.  Sometimes the Answer will come in a quiet “knowing,” and sometimes in just the next quiet words that come into our minds.  Sometimes we experience a feeling that we attribute to intuition.  There is no limit to the ways that the Holy Spirit can and does speak with us.

4 – Personal Experience

My favorite quiet time is early in the morning, before my husband awakes.  I slip out of the bedroom, and find an easy chair in our study.  There I sit quietly, thinking, sometimes, of the day ahead.  This time alone, before the day begins, is a very effective way to get close to God in my thinking.  If I miss this time, I know it.  So I try not to miss being alone first thing in the morning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be still and quiet a bit today, to hear Your Voice.  I would relax, so that my body accommodates to my wish to hear You.  I would listen with a warm and soft heart.  Help me to do all of these things, for without Your help I am lost.

Be with me today.  I have already done a good bit of work this morning, and I am already tired.  If I could relax during my work, I could get along better and for longer periods of time.  Help me to do this tomorrow morning.  And today:  Help me to relax today even as I continue to work.

Be with all my loved ones.  I cannot control their destinies, but I do turn them over to You.  And I turn myself over to You also.  As always.

Amen

We Are Holy

“Holy are you, eternal, free and whole, at peace forever in the Heart of God.  Where is the world, and where is sorrow now?  (M-15.1)”

Affirmation:  “We are all holy.”

Reflections:

1 – Comfort

This passage is comforting, even when we do not find it (at first reading) to be believable.  We do want to be whole people, able to give and receive love.  And we do want to be free and at peace.

2 – Being Free

Before we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have an “imprisoned will” (from the Text).  Once we begin, ever so tentatively, to follow Him as our Guide, we learn, slowly at first (usually) what being free actually entails.   The Holy Spirit guides us to our real will, which is totally at One with God’s Will.  The Holy Spirit choose for us (from ACIM); he leads us to our heart’s desire.  But this is our real desire, not the frivolous and useless “pleasures” of the world that soon turn to ashes and dust in our hands.

3 – Heart of God

When we live in the Heart of God, we do not fret or worry.  Of course, and certainly in the beginning, we do not consistently feel God’s mercy.  The transition normally takes some time (though it can happen instantaneously).  We have glimpses of the real world, the world we see just before Awakening.  But we have to realize that these perceptual differences, while miracles, will not last, because miracles are perceptual and nothing perceptual is lasting.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)  So let us take one tiny step after another in the direction of God today.  Let us ask for His “felt presence” (a quotation from Eckhart Tolle).

4 – God’s Felt Presence

Sorrow is no more when we are experiencing God’s felt presence.  We know that we are beloved, and we do not agonize about the future (or even the present, and certainly not the past).  We are living in the present, as God would have us do.

5 – Peace

And we are at peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Most of us do not really believe that we are holy, and when we are consumed by the ego, being called “holy” seems to be not credible.  But we have not changed from our creation; we are as You created us, and we only made a detour into fear–an egoic mistake because of a “tiny, mad idea.”

Help me to leave all such foolishness behind today.  You know that we all try the best that we can at even given moment.  We make mistakes, but You and we together can correct those mistakes.  I would correct my mistakes today.

Help me to feel the gratitude for You that keeps me safe from all harm.

Amen

Psychic Ways to Hear God’s Voice

“Only very few can hear God’s Voice at all, and even they cannot communicate His messages directly through the Spirit which gave them.  They need a medium through which communication becomes possible to those who do not realize that they are spirit.  A body they can see.  A voice they understand and listen to, without the fear that truth would encounter in them.  (M-12.3)”

Affirmation:  “Only very few can hear God’s Voice at all.”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Voice

As time has gone by, I think that more and more of us can hear God’s Voice.  The Voice is that of the Holy Spirit, and following His guidance is seen by A Course in Miracles as the way out of the maze that we have made for ourselves.  His Voice shows us the way home, the way toward not only salvation but also Awakening.

2 – Bodies = for Communication

We are told elsewhere that we are to use our bodies only for communication, that we will learn that others can be reached through our words and our actions.  If we use our bodies to evoke jealousy, attack, anger, resentment, we are using our bodies amiss.

3 – The Voice of a Brother/Sister

We are not normally afraid of another’s body.  We do not fear what another says to us or does to us, in the normal sequence of events.  (We may fear another’s anger and attack, and this is entirely human.)  But if we suddenly heard interior voices, without preparation, we would be in the same situation that the scribe of ACIM, Helen Schucman, was in when she heard, “This is a course in miracles.  Please take notes.”  So often we do not hear internally, but through the medium of another human being’s voice.  And our fears are silenced.

4 – Internal Directives

As time goes by, we will “hear” internal directives.  These may come in a variety of ways, some that we recognize as “psychic” (as the world calls them).  We may receive guidance through what is commonly known as intuition; we may pick up easily on a friend’s casual comment, the one that seems just meant for ourselves and our present situation; we may run across what is to us a particularly significant passage in a book (especially A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love).

5 – Are We Insane?

Does this make us different, somehow, from those who have been categorized as mentally ill?  Perhaps.  ACIM declares that all of us are insane to a degree, because we live in a world that is impossible and also mad.  Those who are psychotic may hear voices, and so with our own situation, we need to be especially discerning.  If a “voice” ever counsels harm in any way, then this is definitely not Love speaking.  My personal interpretation is that we can ask, “Is this from Love?,” when we hear a locution, and if the answer is “no,” then we would be wise to refrain from any action.  And even if we think that we are acting from a message from Love, we may still be mistaken.  After all, we are human.

6 – Testing Locutions

So testing out our locutions (internally heard voices) and intuition does seem mandatory.  The world has suffered greatly from those who thought that they were following God’s Will, only to learn that their actions were perceived by others in this world as anything but loving.

7 – Will the End Be Loving?

Be careful of what you perceive through “psychic” means.  ACIM is quite comfortable with the psychic, as described in the Manual, but, as with anything that comes upon us that is new, we need to be careful the end will be loving.  And that the means are not detrimental to anyone.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the times in which my psychic messages have given me insight and kept me on Your pathway.  I would not make mistakes, listening to my ego and thinking that it is divine guidance.  Be with me as I test out my thoughts about what has come to me via a sixth sense.  Don’t let me get carried away.

Thank You for the knowledge, and I know that it is knowledge, that You have shown me throughout my life.  I also know that my perceptions have sometimes, perhaps frequently, been wrong.  Help me to know the difference between knowledge and perception.  Let me drop the ego’s perceptions from my list of accustomed actions.  I would let the ego wither away.  And I know that the ego can be very wily, even when I am trying to follow Your Way.  Perhaps particularly when I an trying to follow Your Way.

I do appreciate the psychic that has improved my mood, given me insight, and led me closer to You.  Let me not take pride in any messages that come to me by psychic means, for this is surely evidence that the ego has taken ascendancy again.  Be with me in discernment, so that I walk Your pathway and Yours alone.

Amen.

Guilt Reinforces the Error

“If you allow yourself to become guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you.  (T90)”

Affirmation:  “If. . .feel guilty. . .allow it to be undone”

Reflections:

1 – Psychology in ACIM

This passage emphasizes an important psychological truth, but one that we may never have heard before reading the Course.  The passage also contains some Course teaching that would preclude full understanding without our reading ACIM itself.

2 – Guilt

One of the greatest problems that we face when engulfed by the ego is the problem of guilt.  We think that we have done horrendous things, and maybe we have, but only in illusion and only as mistakes–not sins.  Mistakes cry out for resolution, for remedying.  They do not have the attraction that a deed named a “sin” seems to have for our frail psyches.  Sins remain attractive, but mistakes call out for simple correction.  We probably do not realize the extent to which the ego depends on our sense of guilt when we believe that we have “sinned.”  Elsewhere we learn that guilt is hell.  And so we are getting into territory with this theology from ACIM that will be very, very threatening to us when we are identified with the ego.

3 – Error Undone

If we choose to eliminate guilt, we will help the error to be undone as well.  But “we” do not undo the error; that is the providence of the Holy Spirit.  He works in cooperation with our willingness to leave guilt behind.  And, with guilt behind, the error is easily overlooked.  We choose not to repeat the error as soon as we label it thusly–an error, or mistake, not a sin.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

If I make mistakes, I will feel guilty when I come to myself.  This feeling of guilt can be undone when we seek to be forgiven, of ourselves and of the other person whom we feel we have wronged.  May I find that forgiveness now, and leave guilt behind.

Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit when I am tempted to make mistakes that will induce guilt.  Thank you for being there for me.

Amen.

Error Cannot Hurt

“True denial is a powerful protective device.  You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you.  (T199)”

Affirmation:  “True denial is protective.”

 

Reflections:

1 – True Denial

True denial refers only to our real self–the Self that cannot be hurt.  We aren’t usually very aware of this Self, but this Self influences us constantly.  Whether or not we listen is our own decision, but this Self can and does influence what happens to us.

2 – The Self

Error can actually accomplish nothing that is ultimately hurtful, because the Self is beyond being hurt.  The Course does not use the word “soul,” but in common language this is what is meant.  (The Course usually uses the word “spirit.”)

3 – Pain Is Illusory

When we are caught in the midst of suffering, of feeling our pain, in our own lives, or when we see suffering in others (whether our significant others or the world at large), we can affirm that the pain is illusory.  Certainly it is felt; this is not what is meant by “illusory.”  The pain actually accomplishes nothing permanent except, upon occasion, bringing us closer to God and thus to ultimate release.  This understanding will eliminate any tendency to project the blame for our pain onto God, thus removing one of the main reasons that we reject faith as being beyond our comprehension.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I learn the power of true denial, and use it only rightly.  May I truly know in the depths of my being that error–error in myself or error in others–cannot hurt my real Self.

May I forgive error in myself and in others.  May the error that does occur be an occasion to practice forgiveness, and may I turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to forgive.

Amen.

Errors = Lacks of Love

“The miracle joins in the Atonement by placing the mind in the service of the Holy Spirit.  This establishes the proper function of the mind and corrects its errors, which are merely lacks of love.  (T11)”

Affirmation:  “May I love fully today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of Errors

Our errors are merely lacks of love, but lacks that are healed by the Holy Spirit.  Virtually all of us in this world have dark places that indicate lack of love.  But the good news is that we can ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit, and He will lead us into the right pathway to leave these errors behind.  Our mind can be healed by relinquishing errors that are merely “lacks of love.”  This is concept that is easy to understand, and, if we reflect a bit, anyone (not necessarily a student/teacher of ACIM) would see the truth in the equation:  “errors = lacks of love.”

2 – Miracles and the Atonement

Miracles and the Atonement are given an equal place in this passage for effecting this change in the mind.  And Jesus is in charge of both.  This is another place within ACIM that we are asked to see Jesus in a particular light as our leader.  We have chosen that he be our leader by reading and studying his words.  This is akin to choosing Jesus as our “personal Savior” (a tenet of traditional Christianity).

3 – Jesus’s Role

Remember that he is always there for us when we ask.  He will lead the way out, in the service of the Holy Spirit.  Surely all of us recognize that we would remedy these lacks of love.  When we do so, the errors that caused the lacks of love are gone forever.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for the help of Jesus today.  I do not understand how he can answer all of our calls, but I think he implies this in ACIM, and I would choose to believe, even in the face of the incomprehensible nature of this.  I know that there are physical laws that our scientists do not yet know, as there have always been.

Be with me as I seek to do the miracles that I seem guided to do.  May I not let my ego intrude and lead me astray.  And may I never seek to do something on my own volition.  Be with me to help be discern correctly.

Help this to be a good day, for others and myself.   May we follow Your pathway exclusively.  Thank You for Your felt presence.

Amen.

Temptation

“‘Lead us not into temptation’ means ‘Recognize your errors and choose to abandon them by following my guidance.’  (T9)”

Affirmation:  “I would abandon my errors today.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Jesus’s Words

This is Jesus’s interpretation, for students/teachers of A Course in Miracles, of a biblical statement attributed to him.  Perhaps the interpretation has always been in place, but now the world is ready to hear it through ACIM.  We may see herein that the temptation to go against the guidance of Jesus, or the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is a choice that will slow us down.  We need to be flexible, to find the affirmations that will keep us from rebelliously avoiding guidance because we are still so strong-willed.  My personal favorite, which is very secular, is simply, “Be flexible.”  This talks to my ego in a way that undoes it, and it uses secular language that will not cause temptation to overcome me.

2 – We Do Not Sin in Eternity / We Make Mistakes in Time

Elsewhere the Course makes clear that we do not sin in eternity (we are still innocent, because we are caught in illusions), but we do make mistakes.  And if we recognize mistakes, we will move quickly to correct them.  Calling a mistake a “sin,” though, is highly attracting, in a perverse sort of way.  We will sometimes choose to sin again and again; changing the concept to that of a “mistake” eliminates the attraction at its core.  Who would repeat mistakes that, with Jesus’s guidance, are very easily corrected?  At one point in ACIM, we are told that we have “sinned” in time, but that time does not really exist.  Eternity is on the valid concept that is close to time, but not the same.

3 – How Do We Recognize Our Errors?

We need to recognize when we have made errors, though.  This is not always easy, because our conscience may have damaged areas in it.  We may be led astray, having rationalized poor thinking and behavior in ourselves many times previously.  This is the time to return to A Course in Miracles, and to ask humbly for guidance to see anew.  This guidance will lead us along more positive lines, and we will leave behind the erroneous thoughts and misdeeds of the past.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Sometimes when my emotions are especially strong, I am sure that I have great difficulty in discerning Your guidance.  My emotions, sometimes ruled by my ego, interfere with my intuition, my discerning of Your way.

I would not have it thus today.  I would stop, calm myself, and then ask quietly and peacefully, “What would You have me do?”  I pray that this is enough.  Please guide me even when my thinking is muddled by overwrought emotions.  When stress is heavy, we often cannot discern in peace.  Be with me especially at such times.  I know that my good intentions are not enough, but I pray that when times are hard, You will always remember me–even when I forget You.

Thank You.

Amen.

Distress Rests on Error

“If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your rights when you return forgiveness for attack.  But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help.  Forgiveness is the only sane response.  It keeps your rights from being sacrificed. (T638)”

Affirmation:  “Distress rests on error.”

Reflections:

1 – Distress Rests on Error

The most memorable part of this passage is the phrase, “distress that rests on error.”  If this phrase is remembered, we will have a ready remark to call to mind if arguments happen in our environment.  We will then be more willing to take a timeout, and to begin the process of forgiving the lamentable encounter.

2 – Pardon Is Fully Justified

This passage notes that pardon is fully justified.  This, regardless of how many times we reread the Course, may still be a sticking point.  Yet the bottom line is the dream, the “maya.”  Our brother has merely made errors, mistakes, and he, like us, deserves forgiveness for the poorest choices.  We are said to have “sinned” in time, but we live in eternity, where we are innocent (ACIM tenets).  If this is not fully comprehended, it is our failure yet to adopt for ourselves the most basic of the tenets of A Course in Miracles.

3 – Forgive Insanity

“Forgiveness is the only sane response.”  Of course!  We need the sanity of the Course, because our brother’s poorest choices have come out of insanity.  No one will find insanity hard to forgive.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would rest in the thought that much that I observe that is negative is because my brother and sister are in distress.  And not only in distress, but actually living in an illusory world that is lost in insanity.  We who desire to share salvation need only to recognize that we and they are in pain.  A person who is insane is said to have diminished responsibility, and this characterization is true for the vast majority of our brothers and sisters in this world.  Nobody has to be locked up to be insane, in the interpretation of ACIM.

Be with me when I see insanity and fail to recognize the distress that prompted the poor behavior.  And may I forgive myself for my poor behavior over my lifetime.  May we all forgive not only our brothers and sisters, but also ourselves.

You have not condemned me when in eternity I have made mistakes.  Help me not to condemn myself.  May I just pick myself up and try to be a little kinder the next day.

Amen.

May I Understand My Sinlessness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 318 – for Monday, November 14, 2011

Affirmation:  “In me salvation’s means and end are one.”

“I am the means by which God’s Son is saved, because salvation’s purpose is to find the sinlessness that God has placed in me.  I was created as the thing I seek.  (WB459)”

Reflections:

1 – Mistakes – In Eternity, No “Sin”

Here is the answer for those of us who find it difficult to believe–given our many mistakes–that we are really innocent, sinless.  We were created sinless, and it is only in illusion that we have left that glorious state.  And to leave something in illusion–in dreams–is not really to leave sinlessness at all.  “I was created as the thing I seek”:  Yes!  We have spent eons chasing our tails to find the very thing that we are, deep within.  It is only up to us to access that deepest place, where God is, to realize that we are One with Him, and that all is well.  We do not have to atone for anything.

2 – Making Amends for Mistakes

We do have to make amends for the wrongs that we have perpetrated, if this is reasonably possible.  If reaching out to someone we have wronged would make the matter worse, then we would do well to commune with God, express our amends to the Holy Spirit, and simply walk a green earth again.  If reaching out to someone we have wronged would help to right the wrong, then we should definitely reach out.  Only our deep communion with God and our guidance from the Holy Spirit can tell us what is right to say and do.

3 – Salvation

We in our essence encompass the means and the end of salvation.  We will know this when we have forgiven ourselves for our misdeeds.  Forgiving ourselves is easier said than done, because the ego (still a force, though weakened, in many of us) would have us see ourselves as guilty.  The ego’s life depends upon the guilt that it can engender in us.  If we thrust aside the guilt, which is actually the only hell that there is, we would be a good position to live peacefully, without the turmoil and agitation that guilt always causes us to feel.

4 – Salvation’s Purpose

In this passage, we are told that salvation’s very “purpose” is to “find the sinlessness that God has placed in me.”  To carry this statement to its logical conclusion would mean, I think, that we will find that God is ready to awaken us when we, in our depths, have discovered the sinlessness with which we were created.  We cannot be even a little bit in hell to find this sinlessness.  We cannot feel even a little bit of guilt.  Of course, to say this is to invite the ego to have a field day, because the ego will assure us that without guilt, we will say and do all manner of despicable things.  But will we really?  Perhaps this possibility is just what keeps Awakening from us.  Perhaps here we are approaching some of the secrets of salvation.  If we are truly ready to accept our sinlessness and to relinquish any of our thoughts or actions that would normally cause guilt, perhaps God can awaken us.  Perhaps finally we are ready.  (This final paragraph is filled with my own interpretations and is not based, precisely, on ACIM tenets.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would always seek to make amends for the errors that I have perpetrated, but I would not lash myself, metaphorically, calling them “sins.”  I have sinned in time, but not in eternity, where I remain as You created me.  May I get some inkling of what this means today.

I would walk farther along the pathway to salvation today.  I know that Awakening stands at the end, and I ask for You to consider my petition for Awakening.  I am content, though, to wait on Your timing, knowing that it will be the perfect time when You choose it.

Help me to forgive my brothers and sisters for the mistakes that they have made in attacking me or in getting angry with my shortcomings and misunderstandings.  May all of us live, together, in peace today.  And may You allow me to feel Your presence as I walk throughout the day.

Amen.

I Am Eternally Innocent

ACIM Workbook Lesson 309 – for Saturday, November 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not fear to look within today.”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence, because it is God’s Will that It be there forever and forever.  His Son, whose will is limitless as is His Own, can will no change in this.  (WB454)”

Reflections:

1 – Looking Within

We sometimes fear to look within because we imagine that we are really despicable creatures.  We fear what we will see if we get a good look within.  But is this realistic?

2 – Mistakes – Not “Sins”

A Course in Miracles says that we are innocent.  We may have made mistakes, in illusion, but we have not “sinned.”  So we must be good on the inside.

3 – Ask for Forgiveness

When we know that we can ask forgiveness of the Universe (we do not have to ask forgiveness of God, because He has never condemned us–an ACIM tenet) and of ourselves, not to mention our brothers and sisters, then all is well.  We need the exercise of asking forgiveness.  It heals our minds.

4 – Avoid Stress = Avoid Anger and Attack

Asking forgiveness also calms us.  And it is normally in our stress that we get into trouble with attack and anger.  When we are at peace, these emotions do not often occur at all.  When we have avoided forgiveness and all that it holds out to us, and we attack or respond in anger, then we need to ask forgiveness of the individual against whom we have judged.  We have judged him or her, or we would not attack.  And our attack, we think, has brought us something that we want.  It has been a defense for ourselves (a Text tenet).  But we do not need defenses.  We are little and weak, in need of defense; we are actually quite strong as we follow the Holy Spirit.

5 – “Eternal Innocence”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence”:  This is a phrase that will mean much to us as we memorize it.  It will give us a day in which we feel justified in God’s Sight.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that You have led me to believe that I have sinned in time, but not in eternity.  And it is only eternity that counts.  I have made mistakes in eternity, but I can ask for correction, and it is mine as soon as I make the request.  Help me to remedy any wrongs that I have perpetrated on my brothers and sisters.  And help me to forgive myself, as well as any wrongs that I have imaged that others have done to me.

Be with me today as I seek to avoid mistakes.  I know that I will always make mistakes that need correction, but I ask to be shown where I am wrong, and I ask to be shown how to make amends immediately.  May I discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit accurately today and every day.

Amen.