Nitty – Gritty of Money

“And yet you continue to think that if you had money or abundance, you would accept and receive it, express it and share it.

“This if is all that stands between you and abundance.

“You do not believe this, however, and the functions of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression are to lead you to this belief and, finally, to this acceptance. Acceptance first that you do not believe. And then accep¬tance itself.” (ACOL, D:Day3.54 – Day 3.56)

This quotation requires careful reading and rereading, and then the conundrum of abundance will become clear. Jesus is very aware that the discrepancy among people in regard to wealth is a problem for many. He does not countenance any attempt to have us believe he is championing poverty as a better spiritual state than wealth. He is making us see, in this part of A Course of Love, that having money is not a bad thing. The overwhelming love of that money may lead us wrong, of course, but the fact of having our monetary needs made without our having to worry is not lamented. All of us want to live securely. And we can.

We accept the existence or non-existence of financial solvency in our lives, and then we move through a process with God of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. Finally we reach acceptance of our state of financial well-being or lack thereof, and then the miracle happens. We are open to receive now. We are no longer fighting God. We trust Him to supply, and, lo, He does. He has wanted our trust all along. He has wanted us to realize that He can and will meet our needs. The storehouse is opened, and we are invited to take what we need. Not always what we want, but what we need.

Acceptance of these words means a great deal to a resolving the problem in the first place. God is Lord of life as well as money, and His care for us is not at issue. Accept that we don’t fully understand, don’t fully believe, but then fall on His mercy. He will not fail us.

Dear God,

When monetary supply is low, we tend to doubt that You care about us when it comes to paying our bills. Maybe, we say, this is not a spiritual concern. Or maybe You just don’t care regardless.

How wrong we are! If something concerns us, then it concerns You, for You want us happy and satisfied. I thank You for Your bountiful gifts to me today. May I trust that Your supply is never ending, that when I have a need, when I have a problem, the solution is always right there with it.

And I thank You that this is so.

Amen.

Think Outside the Box

“Let us return for a minute to the base idea behind the issue of money or abundance: the way you have learned. The mind would tell you that nothing is “given,” and that all must be either learned or earned, most times both, for you have learned in order to earn, learned in order to advance yourself in the world in one way or another. Since money or abundance is not a “given” for all, but only for a few, you think of it much like the “given” of natural gifts or talents, the “givens” of fresh and inspired ideas. You do not, however, see that these are in truth linked as givens, for you do not see that all are gifted.” (ACOL, D:Day3.11)

Jesus goes to great lengths to knock us out of our preconceived ideas about money. When he is speaking here of gifts, he is not speaking of inheritance from our parents or other individuals. He is speaking of gifts from God, and we are all similarly gifted with talents and inspired ideas (though we often don’t realize this). Our talents do differ on this earth, but there are many and varied talents, and there is always something that we can do better than anyone else whom we know. Think a bit of this, and see if it isn’t true. Our talents may be something that nobody else values, but there it is. And it is valuable in the sight of God. Our ideas, similarly, are different from many others, but they are OURS, and we value them. The same with abundance, or money. We accept our right to it, we believe, and then we find that we have enough for security. And security is not measured in mass.

We can only be secure in God’s grace. No amount of money will suffice, for the very rich are quite aware that the stock market can crash, or other ways may be found that separate the very rich from their money. So if we can never be rich from our money, we can only be rich in God, and He grants the security and safety that we have been craving.

Many things are “given” by God. And it is this that we ought to rely upon. We don’t have to learn or earn everything that comes to us. Think a moment of what we have that we did not gain through learning or earning. Many of these things are without monetary value, but they will enrich our soul tremendously. And it is the soul who we ought to nourish, for life then becomes worth living.

If we can believe strongly enough that we will be made secure in our financial lives, then we will find that our belief will become justified. It is a focus on lack that trips us up. Focus on abundance, and see what great ideas do come that will lead to abundance. Think outside the box. God gives great ideas that grant the abundance that we have been desiring.

What if we don’t believe in abundance, or money coming our way? Our doubt is a great hinderer to God as He seeks to bless us. Try, just for a short time, giving up the doubt and see if something better doesn’t occur. We can and will feel safe in God’s arms when we recognize that having abundance is not meant for a chosen few.

Dear God,

Help me to realize the abundance that You offer so freely. Never let fears intrude, for they are deadly. May I enjoy the blessings that You have rained down upon me. And may I enjoy them every day.

Be with me as I seek to have a good day. Your bountiful storehouses are open to me today; help me to believe.

Amen.

A Spiritual Context for Living

“It is through your mind that these new ideas will change your actions and your life, your mind that, through increased stillness, will give you more peace, your mind that will accept comfort of a certain type, even extending to a new comfortableness of being. You believe having a spiritual context for your life can, in other words, change your inner life, but are more skep¬tical in regard to its ability to affect your outer life; and nowhere are you more skeptical than in regard to money or abundance. The area of money, or abundance, is where learning fooled you and failed you the most.” (ACOL, D:Day3.7)

Having a spiritual center for our lives does do much for us, and here Jesus is making the allegation that it can even bring us more money—or “abundance,” as he calls it. Aside from the fact that money appears to be materialism, something that Jesus has rejected, how might we understand these thoughts of his?

We are led to “accept” in these early days of the Forty Days and Forty Nights. But we are not being led down a garden path to accept those things that we don’t like! We are being led into a new way of viewing the world, one in which we have the money that we need, primarily because we become certain that we will be taken care of. Our certainty that all will be well is enough to make it so. Doubt that this is true will unhinge the emotional tenor of our thoughts, and it is with emotion that we need to work. When we fervently (i.e., emotionally) believe, then we get what we are saying. We accept that belief in abundance can indeed make it ours. We don’t think that we will believe if we first get the money; that is putting the cart before the horse. We can imagine a world in which abundance is ours, and then we can see that it is so. That is all.

So, acceptance is key. Our new state of being, a way of being that has us feeling comfortable in our own skin, will pave the way for the blessings that will unfold. When we are peaceful, we realize that no amount of money could give us security, for our security does not rest in the fact of money. Our security rests in God, and it is through divine guidance that we discover how to live. This discovery, of how to live, will lead us into abundance in every facet of living—not just green paper bills. But even green paper bills can and will come, once we are clear that materialism does not give us the certainty of being taken care of. Our certainty rests in God alone. Then, regardless of how many green paper bills we have, we know that we are safe. Our security is affirmed.

Dear God,

I feel safe and secure today. I have had my moments of fear, but today those moments of fear do not assail me. Thank You.

Be with me as I seek to extend Your safety to every part of my life. Your way points out the way to abundance in every facet of my life. May this assurance never leave me.

Amen.

Relationships = All that Are Real Here

“God is known to you within relationships, as this is all that is real here.  God cannot be seen in illusion nor known to those who fear him.  (A Course of Love, 5.30)”

Affirmation:  “Thank You for my relationships.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Way Home

Here we confront the idea of relationship and its pivotal place in our lives when we follow both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  It is our brother (or sister) from whom we learn the way back to God, when we follow ACIM and ACOL.  Relationships are our way home.

2 – Contemplation Not Required

We do not have to spend long hours in contemplation, for this is tedious (from the Manual of ACIM).  Others who do follow contemplation will find their way back also, but why would we seek a pathway that is different from the way that we are following?  Why seek and seek and seek, only to be led in circles?

3 – Unity and Relationship

Our way, if we choose ACIM and ACOL as our lodestone, is the unity and relationship that we know in this world.  ACIM stresses relationship, and ACOL adds unity to this equation.

4 – What “Fearing” God Means in ACOL

And we do not “fear” God, if we wish to come home.  The word “fear,” in this context, is different from the “fear of God” that is described so often in the Bible.  The definitions are different.  Here we are talking about having an anxiety about God, a sense that maybe He doesn’t wish us well.

5 – One Unequivocal Call

Do we really believe such, given all that we truly know?  I think not.  We know not to blame God for the condition of our world.  We have made these conditions, and He stands ready to save us from ourselves at any moment.  Jesus is also ready to assist, always.  He says that he will come at “one unequivocal call” (from ACIM).

6 – Mists Evaporate

When we are lost in illusions, in dreams, we do not really see God, and we are likely to be afraid of Him, afraid that we will be found out for misdeeds that seem unforgivable.  But all of this foolishness.  We need to commune with God to the extent that our needs dictate.  And then the mists will evaporate, and we will see the real world–a dream (illusion) no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know no fear or anxiety, because I would find my way Home to You in my relationships.  Thank You for my nighttime dreams as well as my daytime ones.  All are good and welcome in helping me to find my way back to You.

We need our relationships to live well in this world.  We are never meant to live in too isolated a fashion.  Thank You for the friends and family whom I have.  We are One with you, in union with each other and in relationship that blesses all of us.

Amen.

Power, Fame, Money, Physical Pleasure = Meaningful to Body

“It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give.  What can the sacrifice of nothing mean?  It cannot mean that you have less because of it.  There is no sacrifice in the world’s terms that does not involve the body.  Think a while about what the world calls sacrifice.  Power, fame, money, physical pleasure; who is the ‘hero’ to whom all these things belong?  Could they mean anything except to a body?  (M-13.2)”

 

Affirmation:  “I need sacrifice nothing.”

Reflections:

1 – The World Has Nothing to Offer

Most of us do not really yet believe that the world has nothing to offer.  We are still that much caught up in the ego.  As long as we are egocentric, we will seek for power, fame, physical pleasure.  But when the ego has withered, at least a little, we will instead seek the intangibles of God–the love, joy, peace, tranquility, calm, quiet.  And we can be happy in this world, so long as we are not chasing rainbows of materialism.  God wants our material needs satisfied also, but if we devote ourselves only to the material, we lose out on so much more.

2 – Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

And we do find in this world the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).  The reason for the happy dreams is that we would be too terrified by the sudden appearance of Awakening.  A gentler dream needs to precede Awakening.  And so we are prepared carefully for the great blessing of Awakening.

3 – Patience

It does take great learning to accept these ideas.  And it takes patience to assimilate them.  Teachers must repeat their lessons until they are learned, and Jesus himself has set the precedent for this in the Text, when he said that nothing that we do or make, etc., creates our worth.  Our worth is given us by God.

4 – Heaven on Earth

So do we write off the world and escape into some otherworldly heaven?  I think not.  We can experience heaven on earth, but we have to meet the conditions, which involve an egoless experience.  So long as we are fueled by the ego, we will know vicissitudes of joy and sorrow in an alternating fashion.  And the guilt that the ego would drive us to would be hell indeed.  (Elsewhere the Text affirms that guilt is hell.)

5 – Values Will Change

We seek to enjoy God’s intangibles and to love our brothers and sisters (as well as ourselves, which is necessary for all love to proceed from us).  We do not need to sacrifice anything that is truly good.  Our values will change as we walk farther along the pathway to God.  And we will not seek the inferior values that all too often are present in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am extremely grateful that, after studying A Course in Miracles for a long time, I can honestly say to You that the pleasures of this world do not mean as much to me as they once did.  I am not above wanting pleasures of this world, but it is more important to me to know Your peace, joy, harmony, and calm.  Thank You for walking with me far enough along the pathway to You that I have made this shift in my values.

May I be understanding if others do not share this concept.  It takes a long while to understand that this world does not really offer anything that is lasting, and only the lasting is the eternity that we all seek, whether we know it or not.  May my walk into eternity today include my brothers and sisters, and may I not make demands upon them that they are not yet ready to accommodate.

Amen.