Tag Archives: Norman Vincent Peale

Nothing to Fear in Guided Desire

You have learned, therefore, to fear desire because that fear is the effect of fearing yourself, and that is what cripples you. (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 4, Page 46)

Our fears have done us in, mostly just fearing ourselves.

Now is the time to change, to alter trajectory to a new and glorious word. There is nothing to fear in desire, IF it is informed by following guidance. If we think we are not looking to guidance, then we are just falling back on asking the ego what to do. And the ego will always lead us wrongly.

We are right in loving ourselves. The lack of self-love also means that we don’t love God in the way that we ought, for if we cannot love ourselves, then we also think (wrongly) that our love for God is something too elusive to join in faith.

If love of God does seem elusive, then look to what in our lives we do love. One woman, in a story told my Norman Vincent Peale, said that she knew that she loved her little nephew. And Norman said to her that this was where her mission lay. In loving the nephew, she would come to see from whence all Love comes, the very Godhead Itself.

We have not trusted ourselves to know where to turn and what to do, and this psychological disturbance has caused much inner turmoil.

Make the decision today to reach that which is higher and more all-encompassing than our little egoic self; make the decision for God.

Jesus: “I Am with You”

“Realize this without fear, for I am with you. This is akin to being stranded in a foreign land with none of the ways you learned how to adapt in the past being of service to you. That is how new this is—and more. But the differ¬ence is that you are not alone and that you are not in a foreign land but returned to your home of origin. What you cannot learn you can remember. What you cannot learn will simply be known through sharing.” (ACOL, T4:12.26)

“I am with you,” Jesus says. Traditional Christianity has said the same. An inspirational writer of the last century, Norman Vincent Peale, told many stories of sensing that Jesus was with an ill person, or one who was upset or conflicted. He recommended, even, that one pull up a chair to one’s bed, imagining that Jesus was sitting by the bed all the night through. His parishioners, some of them, tried it, and they became true believers that there was something going on with this advice. Jesus seemed really to be present.

A Course in Miracles also says the same thing, in other words. Jesus says to imagine that he is holding our hand as we walk along, and he continues by saying that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

I have sensed Jesus’s presence on two occasions in the past two days. Or so I imagined. There is power in these statements of his. Apparently he can clone himself to be with anyone, anytime. And the warmth that emanates from his personality is heartwarming, indeed.

We are creating the new, now. We are heading into Christ-consciousness, if we are not there already. And we are not stranded in a foreign land (though Jesus would be there for us as well). We are finally at home.

And all is well.

Prayer

Thank You for giving me the sense of Jesus’s presence in recent days. This gesture is much appreciated. I long for a calm and relaxed demeanor that can handle any occurrence. And by imagining Jesus at my side, I come close to that desire.

Be with me today, as always. Help me to have good energy, to be ready and willing to do all that I can to relieve the burdens of my brothers and sisters. May they sense your Presence, as well as the presence of Jesus. This is not false thinking. And my future will bear it out.

Amen.

Forgiveness Offers Wings to Prayer, to Make Its Rising Easy and Its Progress Swift

“Forgiveness offers wings to prayer, to make its rising easy and its progress swift. (S-1.in.1)”

1 – Justified Forgiveness

I return repeatedly to the truth that forgiveness is perfectly justified for our brothers and sisters. The bottom line is that none of them has ever done anything that has hurt us in our essence, because we live an illusion, a dream. But that does not mean that they could just do anything that they wanted, because it is a dream. They are held accountable for actions taken in the dream. But we forgive any negative actions, because we recognize that these actions are just mistakes, easily correctable.

2 – Sights Soaring

When we forgive, we set our sights soaring. Forgiveness helps US, for we are set free. Who has really been the jailor and the prisoner when we have held things against our brothers and sisters? A jailor must stay in jail to watch his prisoner. So too have we been in jail when we have watched over others whom we perceive as mistreating us. (These are paraphrases from A Course in Miracles.)

3 – Wings of Prayer

The “wings to prayer” that forgiveness offers are great blessings. It means that our prayers reach farther than the ceiling, metaphorically. I have an old family story that told of an individual who bent on his knees before the bed, to say nighttime prayers, and rose to anger and attack, continuing an argument that had begun earlier. My mother used to say that his prayers had not reached the ceiling.

4 – Conflicted Prayers

Be that as it may, the prayers were probably very conflicted and therefore lacked the wings that a forgiving prayer would have offered. So we are helping ourselves when we forgive; we keep our rights from being sacrificed (from ACIM Text).

5 – Misunderstood Forgiveness

“No gift of Heaven has been more misunderstood than has forgiveness. It has, in fact, become a scourge; a curse where it was meant to bless, a cruel mockery of grace, a parody upon the holy peace of God. (S-2.I.1)”

We, including myself, have in the past believed that a given action on the part of another did not “deserve forgiveness.” This was a very great mistake. All actions deserve forgiveness. We do not have to stay around, though, if the actions continue in the attack mode. We have to make a decision about whether we are better off with or without our significant other. (This is perennial advice of Ann Landers, the columnist.) But whether we stay or leave, we can still forgive. We can pray out our animosity. Norman Vincent Peale indicates that the prayer may need to be ongoing for a considerable length of time. But pray out animosity we can indeed.

6 – Disturbing Passage

This disturbing passage from Song of Prayer mentions a “scourge,” a “curse,” a “cruel mockery,” a “parody upon the holy peace of God. These are strong words indeed. We are in for trouble if we fail to heed. God would not have us fail to give full forgiveness to our equal. He would also have us will to forget the misdeed once we have genuinely forgiven (an interpretation, not stated in Song of Prayer). The only way, in my opinion, that we can be sure that we have forgiven is the litmus test of forgetting. This may come immediately or may lag behind the forgiveness, but prayer will always bring that day closer.

7 – Forgiveness-to-Destroy

“Forgiveness-to-destroy will overlook no sin, no crime, no guilt that it can seek and find and ‘love.’ Dear to its heart is error, and mistakes loom large and grow and swell within its sight. (S-2.I.2)”

Forgiveness-to-destroy is the ego’s interpretation of forgiveness. We still hold the “sins” against the other. We may say that we forgive, but we do not see ourselves as equals with the other. We see ourselves as better than the other, able to bestow forgiveness where forgiveness is not actually justified. Or we can withhold forgiveness. It matters not which we do, for when we have determined to remember the misdeed, not to seek to forget it, we have not really forgiven. We have bestowed “forgiveness” on an inferior brother, not as “advanced” as we are in spirituality.

8 – Foolishness

This is foolishness. All of us are equals, and ultimately all talents and gifts will be shared. Only time separates us, and time does not really exist (from ACIM).

9 – Not Worthy

So let us seek to eliminate vestiges of forgiveness-to-destroy. It is not worthy of ourselves, and it will not give us the peace that we seek. It is an example of the ego taking real solutions from God and then reinterpreting these solutions in way that will not work. We are duped into blaming the other, and when we blame we cannot forgive. We are as much victims in this scenario as anybody else.

10 – Holy Minds

We need to think of our own minds, holy minds given us by God. And we need allow no black non-forgiveness to mar the content of our minds. Let us seek today to be rid of the ego’s machinations. This part of our belief about ourselves—the ego—can be discounted, and discounted for all time. Awakening will ultimately free us of the scourge of the ego.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would forgive my brothers and sisters their foolishness, their insanity, now and forever. Everyone does the best that he/she can at any given moment. There are no exceptions to this rule. And when I forgive, totally and without reservations, I am free to offer gratitude to others. This frees the way to happiness, great joy. I love more completely, and the one who benefits the most is not my brother/sister, but myself. Of course, the other benefits as well, for we are in this world together.

Help me to live a good day today. This day is a gift, for another day is always a gift. May I not forget to thank You for this gift.

Gratitude is a great releaser. It frees my mind to enjoy the day. It frees my mind to love. Thank You for these truths, brought home so readily by Rhonda Byrne.

Amen.

True Prayer Must Avoid the Pitfall of Asking to Entreat

“True prayer must avoid the pitfall of asking to entreat. Ask, rather, to receive what is already given; to accept what is already there. (S-1.I.1)”

1 – Advanced Stage of Prayer

Prayer is at a very advanced stage when we DON’T ask to entreat, because most of our prayers, in truth, are requests to God that he fulfill something that we perceive as a need. And this is not lamentable in the early stages of our pathway to salvation. But when we have become certain that God wishes us well, that He is answering our needs (and that He wants to do so), we can instead thank Him for His blessings in a benediction.

2 – Ask, Receive, Thank

Even rudimentary prayer, as outlined by Norman Vincent Peale, a writer/minister in the last century, is to be seen as asking, and then immediately conceiving of receiving, and then showing gratitude by thanking God. If more of our prayers were of the thanksgiving type, we would sooner know that God wishes us well, because when we are thanking Him, we are expressing our faith that He has already answered our prayer. And He does answer all prayers, in my belief, but just sometimes the answer is to wait, and sometimes the answer is no. He has our best interests at heart, and we often don’t perceive our own best interests—hence we ask amiss.

3 – Expert Askers / Inexpert Receivers

We ask to receive. So many of us, as Norman said, are expert askers but inexpert receivers. And we would reverse this. We already know how to entreat God, and so Jesus does not need to give us lessons in this. But receiving is another matter entirely, and we often don’t contemplate the receipt of that for which we have asked.

4 – Contemplation

“Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and love. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. Why should holiness entreat, being fully entitled to everything Love has to offer? (S-1.I.5)”

The above passage explains further why entreaties somehow miss the mark. The definition of prayer given here is closer to contemplation, or even meditation, than we usually recognize. But we cannot get through to our innermost Being, the God/Christ within, if we are overwrought. Our emotions are stirring up the ego in us, and we flounder in not being able to perceive or to know guidance. So Jesus asks us to get quiet, to let go and let God. And we listen for the guidance that will be forthcoming, either (as described) from the Holy Spirit or the Christ Self within.

5 – Holiness

When we have remembered our holiness, we are not in the throes of the ego, unless we feel guilty about so praying. The ego believes that we cannot see ourselves as holy, that we are sinful creatures who have thrust off God. This means that it would seem to be arrogance to believe ourselves holy, or even to see our brothers and sisters—others in this world—as holy.

6 – Arrogance?

It is not arrogance. The Christ Self within knows of no arrogance. The altar within is very still, and the still point of our contemplation will assure us that we are innocent, guilty only of making easily correctable mistakes.

7 – One Problem / One Answer

“You have been told to ask the Holy Spirit for the answer to any specific problem, and that you will receive a specific answer if such is your need. You have also been told that there is only one problem and one answer. In prayer this is not contradictory. (S-1.I.2)”

This passage allows supplication, but it points out that there is really one problem—separation, or presumed separation from God. And when this is healed, we do not have to focus on supplication to the extent that we have previously. We will know inwardly what to say and do; we will be heirs of the Kingdom, and we will know ourselves as beloved of God.

8 – Supplication

Yet supplication is not denigrated as long as there is a need, as long as we perceive ourselves as having needs that have gone unfulfilled. Asking, according to Catherine Marshall (an inspirational writer of the last century) is the most elemental form of prayer. And God listens to this form as well. Just remember to thank Him for what we are about to receive. He does not need our gratitude, but we need a soft heart, a full heart filled with thankfulness.

9 – Song

“The form of the answer, if given by God, will suit your need as you see it. This is merely an echo of the reply of His Voice. The real sound is always a song of thanksgiving and of Love. (S-1.I.2)”

This passage sums up the benevolence of God in prayer. Our needs will be supplied, as we perceive them. Our needs never go unfulfilled. It is just our desires that sometimes are answered with a no, and there is a blessing in this, for God knows the context, and He does not give us hurtful things. Often we ask for that which would hurt us, and He would protect normally protect us in this prayer. Only when we are still pursuing a separate pathway, in separation, presumed, from God, does He let us continue along. This is the hard way, the way of turmoil and more problems. And pain. But sometimes we are not ready to learn the easy way, though that is God’s first choice for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me as I seek to pray prayers that are in line with Your highest wish for me. I know that You hear my prayers, regardless of how raw they are. You take me as I am. I can always go to You. There is no separation between us. Guide my thoughts to pray prayers that enhance my relationship to You. Be with me throughout the day when I am not actively praying. And thank You so much for the presence that I feel when my prayer seems heard.

I know that my prayers are always heard. Thank You for giving me that reassurance. If life seems good, it is because I have prayed. Thank You for engaging me in mental dialogue. May this form of prayer continue to take me farther along my pathway.

Amen.

Jesus: “It Is Possible to Reach a State in which You Bring Your Mind under My Guidance without Conscious Effort.”

“It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance without conscious effort, but this implies a willingness that you have not developed as yet. (T30)”

Affirmation: “reach a state in which you bring your mind under Jesus’s guidance”

Reflections:

1 – Contradiction?

This passage occurs at the beginning of A Course in Miracles. It suggests that following our guidance must be a willful thing, and that we choose to follow guidance by conscious effort. Yet we are also told that much of the learning of the Course can be effortless. Is this a contradiction?

2 – Progression in ACIM

No, because there is a progression here that we would be wise to understand. In the beginning of our study, we cannot just turn our wills over to Jesus without choosing to do so. It is noteworthy that in these beginning passages, Jesus says that it is “my guidance,” and later on in ACIM, he stresses following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are not yet, at this point early on, ready for the more theoretical aspects of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Later on we are ready. Then we can truly move effortlessly to make decisions with our minds and our spirits.

3 – Jesus as an Accompanying Friend

It is very possible to see Jesus as our friend who accompanies throughout our day and all of our rounds in it. Norman Vincent Peale also recommends that we adopt this attitude. Is it a fallacy? Actually I draw on my faith when I believe that Jesus can clone himself, and be anywhere at once. His mission is to save our souls, and he does so by being on call when we place “one unequivocal call” (from the Text of ACIM) to him. This assurance is much desired on a personal note by me. I like the fact that the Beloved of God is willing to spend time with me–and with all of us, upon the asking. I like the fact that he guides our decision making. He does not want to make our decisions for us, though, as he pointed out, in interior monologue to Mari Perron (scribe of A Course of Love). We make our decisions in consultation with the Holy Spirit (when following ACIM) and in consultation with the inner Christ Self (when following A Course of Love). We are never left bereft of guidance. And I personally have needed to know what to do and say in my life. I have wanted that guidance, though sometimes (in my weakest moments) I have chafed against it. I have sometimes felt, when sensing intuition, that I was in a straitjacket, that I had to do what the guidance indicated. I don’t have to do so, but long experience has shown me that I am happiest when I follow guidance. And the fact that that guidance comes with Jesus’s hand in mine is a very loving attitude that improves my day.

4 – Personal Experience

I have sensed, as time has gone on, that I do not struggle so much to know what guidance is telling me. Words come into my mind, but from a place a bit beyond me, giving me guidance. I test out this form of guidance, for if anything is harmful to anybody, it is of the ego and best left alone. But, by and large, the guidance that I get through unconscious turning over my mind to God is sure. It is benevolent. And kind. This progression is much sought after by me, but it was a long time coming. Surely all of us can can await the time that we bring our minds under guidance without conscious effort. In the meantime, we can use our intuition, which is a form of guidance, to know what and how to respond in our world.

5 – Jesus as Helper

We need to realize that Jesus in all likelihood gets a great deal out pleasure out of helping us. I don’t see it as a burden to him, but the fulfillment of his mission–begun years ago, and if we read Edgar Cayce, honed through many reincarnations before he became the man Jesus. (I neither encourage not reject reincarnation. Let your guidance tell you what you believe.) If I felt that I were burdening Jesus by encouraging the sense that he is near, I would be loathe to do it. But his fellowship is one of the great blessings of my life, and I welcome his help in the decisions that I am called upon to make.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I bring my mind under the guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. May this form of intuition be something that will bless others in my world as well as myself.

I realize that this need not be hard. Indeed, surrendering to guidance can be effortless. Help it to be effortless in me today.

I would lead a good life today, though I know that good intentions are not enough. Give me governance over my temper. May I be good to the people whom I encounter today. May I feel Your Presence, and may Your Presence inform me about what and how to think, say, and do. Thank You.

Amen.

Prayer Is a Way of Asking for Something. It Is the Medium of Miracles.

manet - roses
“Prayer is a way of asking for something. It is the medium of miracles. But the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything. (T45)”

Affirmation: “the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness”

Reflections:

1 – A Way of Asking

Prayer is not discussed a great deal in ACIM, and this passage hints at why. A Course in Miracles recommends forgiveness of ourselves and our brother as the only basis for a good life. If we forgive, we “have everything.” This passage indicates that prayer is a “way” of asking, but it does not mean that asking is the whole of it. We will find, when we consider Song of Prayer, that prayer is not really about asking at all. But this is for advanced seekers. In the meantime, most of us need to ask for things of the world and things of the spirit, and God, I believe, does not think less of us for so doing.

2 – What is “Everything”?

It is hard to understand what this “everything” really is, but basically it is the recognition that we are not deprived in this life except by our own choice. This is part of the theoretical construct of ACIM. It is part of the secret outlined by Rhonda Byrne (in The Secret), which elucidates the power of attraction, through our emotional and vibratory resonance with the universe. The Self that deprives us of things is following our persona’s lead, the personal self (as described in A Course of Love, though this is an interpretation not stated therein). We create our own reality. I cannot stress this enough.

3 – Jane Roberts’s Seth

Creating our own reality is a credo of Jane Roberts’s Seth, and this is the means that I first learned of this law. I have followed this law, at least subconsciously, for most of my life since–since the age of 30. And I do consider that my life has been charmed in many ways. The law of attraction works. My low points were not necessarily bad as I look back upon them. Time of crisis leads to a greater realization later on. And this has happened repeatedly.

4 – Personal Experience

I think that prayer is one of the most important aspects of our life here on earth. I pray often at night, when I am trying to sleep. I presume that God does not decry my tendency to drift back off at some point in my praying. I am driving the thought deep into my subconscious; I am seeing God as my Protector, and He comes through this way for me. What is better for a persona that is trying to let go of the ego? To lead toward Awakening? In my thinking, there is no better way to walk toward enlightenment than to have a rich and full prayer life.

5 – Norman Vincent Peale and the Dalai Lama

Norman Vincent Peale says that most people, in his experience, admit to praying about five minutes a day. This, he says, in equivalent to one-half of one percent of waking hours–not nearly enough. He counsels more and more prayer time. Likewise, none other than the Dalai Lama meditates for four hours every morning, regardless of what the rest of his busy day anticipates. Prayer and meditation are much linked, though not the same. The final lessons in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles are, to my mind, a call for meditation, for prayerful reflection–a sort of Westernized version of meditation.

6 – Not a Call for Materialism

Why would we choose to deprive ourselves of anything? Maybe we are looking for the wrong things in life. ACIM is practical, but nowhere is materialism sanctioned. We are simply asked in this passage to pray for forgiveness, and then the miracles that will transform our lives will be forthcoming. This is the prayer of faith. This is the way that our lives will be fact be transformed.

7 – Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the theme of A Course in Miracles. And when we forgive, we are living in flow, for we will sense that we are on the beam with God. Nowhere else can this blessing be found. Only in prayer can we know that we have forgiven ourselves and that we have forgiven others. And we are pardoning illusions–never let us forget that. The world that we see is illusion, and the misdeeds perpetrated against ourselves (or so we interpret) have not really accomplished anything in reality. So let us forgive freely, not out of compulsion. The way home will open up; the pathway will become clear, when forgiveness is intimately in our minds and spirits.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I ask forgiveness for all the ways in which I have failed. May I ask that forgiveness be in my heart for those whom I feel have hurt me. I realize that actually I cannot be hurt, but I can feel the pain of believing that I have been hurt.

May I forgive, as I have asked to be forgiven. May all that I encounter feel the results of my prayer today.

May the blessings of this day reach me. Will you assist me to walk in Your light of forgiveness?

Amen.

Can Jesus Be Anywhere, Anytime?

Jardin Mirbeau aux Damps - pissarro
“Forget not who you truly are, but forget not also to be in joy in your experience here. Remember that the seriousness with which you once looked at life is of the ego. Drape your persona in a mantle of peace and joy. Let who you are shine through the personal self who continues to walk this world a while longer. Listen for my voice as I guide you to your purpose here and linger with you in this time to end all time. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 13.6)”

Affirmation: “May I listen for the voice of Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

Only fairly recently have I taken Jesus at his word that he is here with us, given “one unequivocal call” (from A Course in Miracles).

2 – Norman Vincent Peale

Previously I was much influenced by the many books by Norman Vincent Peale in the last century. He told many stories of sensing the presence of Jesus in times of great need, stories that included himself as well as recounted tales from other people. I was especially impressed by one story of a secular business leader who was coming to the end of his life and had little faith, finding himself out of control and fearful. His minister (not Dr. Peale) recommended that he talk to Jesus as though he were a business partner, drawing up a chair by his sick bed, and surmising what Jesus’s responses might have been. Later on, it became clear that Jesus became for this former tycoon much more than a business partner, but a tender and gentle healer. When he died, one hand was outstretched from his bed to the chair that was always drawn up beside the bed. And his face was peaceful.

3 – Law of Physics?

Can we not see that there must be some law of physics not yet discovered that allows Jesus to be just anywhere, at any time? He has walked further back to God than any of us, and, according to such psychics as Edgar Cayce, he is our leader here. Not all individuals choose him as a leader, but we are among those who do, as evidenced by the reading that we seek out.

4 – Insomnia

I have found it a great comfort in the middle of the night, when awake (for sometimes I have insomnia), to realize that there is nothing to fear, though the night is dark, the hours before dawn stretching a long way. I know that everything will look better in the morning. But when I imagine that I am not alone, for I have asked for divine companionship, the anxieties that used to plague just disappear in the mists of the night air outside my window.

5 – Carry Life Lightly

We do not need to live this life in a serious vein. Jesus himself could be serious, but according to biblical accounts, he also relaxed in the company of his disciples and enjoyed social interaction as well, even with those who were despised by the authorities of the day. Life is carried more easily if it is not carried with an air of seriousness. The lighthearted touch is the benign touch. And the healing touch. The seriousness that we have all known, at least from time to time, has been of the ego. So let’s resolve to let that part of our persona dissipate now.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need the hand of Jesus today. I need this hand very much. I have much new to be grateful about, and I thank You for those new aspects to my life. That these blessings come after prayer, or asking, is obvious. May I always remember that prayer brings about miracles in a way that nothing else can or does.

May Jesus walk with me today, in lightheartedness and no seriousness that is unnecessary. Thank You for Your reassurances that all is well, that there is nothing here that You can’t handle.

Amen.

Overcoming Worry, Planning, and Disappointment

cezanne.appg - still life“Can you let the worries of today leave your mind?  Can you let the disappointments of yesterday go and be no more?  Can you let the planning for the future cease?  Can you be still and know your Self?  (A Course of Love, 26.16)”

Affirmation:  “I will be still and know my Self.”

Reflections:

1 – We Need Peace of Mind

We need to recognize that living in any time other than the present, and living in the present with worry is devastating to our peace of mind.  We need to drop the past, similarly, and cease planning for contingencies to come.  We will be guided to make plans if those plans need to be made, and at the very point of need.  Otherwise, we can safely be stll and welcome the coming of our Self, the coming of the Christ within.

2 – Invite Christ-Consciousness

This technique is actually a manual for how to invite Christ-consciousness.  We only need to be still!  What a blessing!  Can we believe it?  It is in the receiving that we will know the truth of this promise.  We can ask for Christ-consciousness, but if we do not believe that this blessing will be given to us, we will not be in a position to receive.  We need to ask and then contemplate receiving.  As Norman Vincent Peale says, we are expert askers but inexpert receivers.

3 – Willing to Receive

This factor of being willing to receive, to thank God for the receipt, is pivotal.  Until we have become willing to receive, to believe with all our heart that we are ready, then the receiving will not happen.

4 – Do Not “Seek”

So long as we continue seeking, we will not receive.  There is always something more that we can read.  It is true that we need inspirational meditations for the long haul.  But we do not need to use such reading to “seek” what has already been given.

5 – Christ-Consciousness

When we are ready for Christ-consciousness, we need to know–really know, not perceive–that the blessing will be given.  Our faith, a concept not discussed very much in either A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love, will stand us in good stead.  Faith is simply assumed.  And with that faith will come an assurance that all is well.  It is all alright.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would cease planning for the future.  You will prompt me when plans need to be carried out, at the point of need.  I would also cease worry and eliminate disappointment.  All of these things are necessary before Christ-consciousness can be mine.  Help me to begin to eliminate these distractions today, right now.

Be with me as I go through the day.  You know what needs to be planned, because planning has been something hard for me to overcome.  Likewise, worry has dogged my pathway.  I would cease such foolishness immediately.  You will guide me as to how to do that.  I do believe this.  And the New Testament says, “Fear not, only believe, and she shall be made whole.”

Thank You for the continuity of the Bible, A Course in Miracles, and A Course of Love.  Not everyone sees this continuity, but I choose to look for it, and I find it.  Thank You for these inspired readings.  Your way is mine, and I ask for the faith and diligence to walk to You, to walk that pathway.

May all of us have a good day.

Amen.

Overcoming Worry

“Let your worries come and let your worries go.  Remember always that they simply do not matter except in terms of time, and that you will save time by letting them go.  Remember that your worries affect nothing.  You think if your worries affect time this is an effect, but time is an illusion.  (A Course of Love, 1.6)”

Affirmation:  “May I save time by leaving worries behind.”

Reflections:

1 – Worries Are Illusory Also

Here we hear again that time is an illusion.  In A Course in Miracles we also learned that the world itself is an illusion that we project from within, making the perception that we “see.”  Here the emphasis is on our worries, a practical concept, for who among us does not have worries?

2 – Drop Defensiveness

If we could know that we need not hold our worries to ourselves in an effort to defend ourselves, we will make much progress.  With guidance from either the Holy Spirit (ACIM) or Christ-consciousness (ACOL), we will know what we ought to do; we will be alerted at the time that we need to do it (whatever “it” is).  If there are plans that need to be made, we will receive guidance for that as well.  There is no strain in following God’s Will.

3 – Effortless Living

Effortless living, without the burden of worry!  Norman Vincent Peale, who received quite a bit of acclaim as an inspirational writer/speaker in the latter half of the 1900s, says that we would be inclined to go and retrieve our bundle of worries, even if we left them at God’s altar in a church.  We are so comfortable with our worries!  We are at home with them.  But at what cost?

4 – Personal Experience

We do God a disservice by wasting our mental energy in worry.  I used to think that, like Shakespeare’s “pound of flesh,” I would be somehow protected from pain if I worried sufficiently.  Didn’t that worrying prove that I cared?  That I was doing all that I could?  But this was irrational thinking, as any counselor could have told me.  We don’t need worry as a good-luck talisman against worse troubles.

5 – Leave Your Worries at God’s Altar

So ask for help today in leaving your worries at God’s altar.  Leave them there, and don’t sheepishly go back to the altar and retrieve your little familiar bundle of worries.  Try to clear your mind today, and see if the worries don’t recede ever so little.  Practice with a clear, free-floating thought process will mean that we have a mind ready to receive guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I drop worries from my repertoire of emotions today, for worry is a form of fear–and I have long ago prayed to walk away from fear.  I would choose love, and one form of love is tolerance of myself and other people.  May worry disappear before the practice of tolerance.

Be with me today as I walk Your pathway.  Life is best begun again, for any given day that starts badly.  If I have gotten overwrought already today (and I have), may I follow the advice that I read in A Course in Miracles to start the day anew.  So the day will flow smoothly after all.  There is no need to rue our days.  Nearly everybody has problems that can be helped by less worry and more tolerance.

Thank You for leading me to this resolution, so early this morning.

Amen.

A Fearful Script

“Fear is a judgment never justified.  Its presence has no meaning but to show you wrote a fearful script, and are afraid accordingly.  But not because the thing you fear has fearful meaning in itself. (T641)”

 

Affirmation:  “I would not write a fearful script today.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety

Many of us are, almost by nature, anxious.  This is a manifestation of fear.  If we can remember that we are fearful only because of the “script” we wrote, we can often make some progress in talking ourselves out of this anxiety.

2 – Prayer

Prayer, or communion with God, is recommending relatively few times in A Course in Miracles, I think, because this practice is just assumed.  The opening pages of the Text do say more than the remainder about prayer and communion with God.  Spending time in this way, I have found, is enormously fear- and anxiety-reducing.  I can pray myself to sleep, even after a stressful day.  Surely many others do this as well.  Inspirational literature from the fifties recommended this practice (from Norman Vincent Peale’s anecdotes).

3 – Fear Is Never Justified

This passage says that fear is never justified.  To remember this, and to put it in practice, is not easy.  But it is possible.  And, the Course says that its tenets are simple.

4 – God Will Help Us

I think that we fear when we don’t trust God to get us out of a bind.  And it is certainly true that many, many distressing things happen in this illusory world.  But the faithful individual does not let the fear get inside him or her.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  But inspirational literature abounds with unfortunate people who have risen above their misfortune, emotionally, by trusting in God to help them cope with whatever might befall them.

5 – Be Patient

It takes a patient mind to learn how to live simply.  When we rush about and see the stress all around in our rushing, we ask for the anxiety that we would do well to live without.  Let us leave the fearful script behind!  We will still get to our goals, but with far less strain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not write a fearful script today.  You know that I have written many anxious scripts in my life, and I would be rid of that foolishness forever.  Perhaps my anxiety is like St. Paul’s “thorn in his side,” but I hope not.  I hope that I can, with Your ever-constant help, learn another way to live–just as did Bill and Helen.

Be with me as I walk through this day.  Thank you for the equanimity with which I have met most days recently.  I am finally finding, as spring approaches, that all is well.  The stress has lifted, and You are there.  Thank You.

Amen.

I Would Reach the Peace God Wills for Me

ACIM Workbook Lesson 257 – for Wednesday, September 14

Affirmation:  “Let me remember what my purpose is.”

“Father, forgiveness is Your chosen means for our salvation.  Let us not forget today that we can have no will but Yours.  And thus our purpose must be Yours as well, if we would reach the peace You will for us.  (WB423)”

Reflections:

Our function on earth is salvation’s pathway of forgiveness, according to A Course in Miracles.  Though we truly do not have anything to forgive, because the negative things that happen to us happen from the ego’s dream, we need the discipline of forgiveness because we are not saintly enough to recognize, like God, never to condemn.  It is said in ACIM that God doesn’t forgive because He has never condemned.  There is no need for God to forgive us; he knows that we are innocent, and that we are exactly, still, as He created us (an ACIM tenet).

We need to forgive for our own mental health and our own sense of felt Oneness with God.  If we carry around anger and attack thoughts, our peace of mind will be naught.  There is never any need for anger and attack, but as long as we are fallible (which we will be on earth), we are very, very likely to succumb to these emotions–perhaps even after Awakening.  The Dalai Lama has admitted to being angry at times, but he said this in a lecture with a kindly demeanor.  (He also denies being awakened.)

Forgiveness, then, will give us peace.  And peace of mind is our great need, and the great need of the world.  So we forgive almost more for ourselves than for our brothers and sisters, though their receipt of our forgiveness heals the holy relationships that we are meant to sustain.  We will not walk this world long without making mistakes.  We will get angry, and we will attack, feeling “justified” in our wrath when the ego is temporarily in control.  The best way to combat our tendency to drop into these emotions may have been identified by Norman Vincent Peale.  He tells an anecdote in which a man of 40, besieged by negative emotions, asked God to change him, and believed that He had.  His simple belief that a prayer in line with God’s blessing would be honored led him to “fly into a great calm” instead of expressing his temper.  His son reported, in this anecdote, that after this great prayer, he never saw his father in an angry outburst again.  Surely a miracle, and one that we might all ask to have in our own lives.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I asked about ten days ago to eliminate attack entirely from my cluster of ego-oriented misdeeds, and I have had a placid ten days.  Perhaps I have not been tested yet.  But perhaps also I am seeing my own small miracle.  After all, I live in close proximity with my most significant relationship to a “brother,” and we have lived normally for these ten days.

I would continue my prayer that attack be eliminated for me.  I never get angry unless I am stressed, and I never attack unless I am angry.  I thank You for these understandings.  Help me not to get cocky, for surely then the start of a new record of peaceful interactions will be disrupted.  

Be with me today, as always.  I cannot keep a resolution myself.  I am not strong nor saintly enough.  But You can walk the whole pathway with me, giving me (for me) the supernatural grace to walk as You would have me walk.  And You would not countenance attack, of that I am sure.  Be with me daily as I seek to walk Your way, only Your way.

Amen.

There Is No Cruelty in God nor in Me

ACIM Workbook Lesson 180 – for Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is but Love, and therefore so am I.”

“1.  By grace I live.  By grace I am released.

“2.  There is no cruelty in God and none in me.  (WB335)”

Reflections:

We continue the theme of grace today.  We are justified in the sight of God.  This is basically what grace means.  May we accept this great blessing today.

We are not actually cruel people, even when we make bad mistakes.  We can always ask for forgiveness of ourselves and other people, and we can be reconciled with God.  No one does things that at the moment he/she perceives to be wrong, though he/ she may see the imperfection later on, and feel great remorse.  Then we ask to have the mistakes corrected, and God will change us.  An anecdote told by Norman Vincent Peale made this plain.  An individual did not like his temper, which he had in extreme measure until he was 40 years old.  One day, in great faith, he just asked God to release him from his and from that day, instead of flying into a great fit, he flew into a great calm.  God had reached him; his faith had assured him that when he asked in line with God’s wishes, he would be answered.  And he was.

Let us leave the illusion of cruelty behind today.  We do not need to attack ourselves or our brothers and sisters.  We do not have to seem cruel.  The Higher Self is not cruel in the least.  And that is what this sentence (“There is no cruelty in God and none in me”) really means.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the assurance that the mistakes that I have made, and continue to make, do not mean that I am being cruel.  Teach me how to immediately rectify the mistakes that I make.  Help me not to harm myself nor any of my brothers and sisters.  Let me be aware of Your presence today so that I do not falter in my resolution to be tolerant and loving.

Be with me today.  May I have that “felt presence of Being” that I have read about.  Be with me to feel You today.

Amen.

Overcome Loneliness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 41 – for Thursday, February 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “God goes with me wherever I go.”

Selected Passage:

“Today’s idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment all the separated ones experience.  Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation.  So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering and intense fear of loss. . . .You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go.  (WB63-64)”

1 – Not to Feel Fear

If we can truly live this lesson, our lives will never be the same again.  If we know that God is beside us, and in us, and if we truly feel His presence, we will not feel fear of any kind.  Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now has much to say about the “felt presence of Being.”  (“Being” is his term for God, because he believes that the term “God” has been misused.)  We are to invite this felt presence.

2 – How Do We Invite the Presence of God?

How do we invite the felt presence?  Prayer is a mighty way, and prayer is mentioned early on in the Text, in the 50 principles of miracles.  Later on it seems to be simply assumed in ACIM that we will pray.  But do we really?  Norman Vincent Peale, in the fifties, believed that about five minutes of prayer a day was average, even for the true believer.  And he felt that this was not nearly enough prayer time.

3 – Prayer

So, let us increase our prayer time, and, if we feel drawn to the meditative aspects of the Workbook, let us use our practice time to draw closer to God.  (Meditation, as such, is not used as a word in ACIM, and contemplation is described as “tedious.”)

4 – Other Ways to Draw Closer to God

There are other ways that we can draw closer to God.  Mindfulness is not a tenet of ACIM, but watching carefully what we do as we go about our day is a powerful lesson in how to live closer to God.  Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit is perhaps the best way, and so let us be sure that we begin the day aright by asking that He walk beside us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to overcome loneliness and a feeling of abandonment by drawing close to me throughout the day.  I realize that actually a sense of Your presence is sometimes in my power, for You are always near, and only when I say or do things that make me feel separated from You do I feel lonely, abandoned, fearful, and so much more that is negative.

Help me to overcome this separation that I only think is real.  It is not real.  Help me to realize that You are always with me, and that I need only open my heart to Your reality to have my whole world change for the better.

Amen.