Tag Archives: pain

Be Fully Ourselves to Avoid Pain/Suffering

Note:  After today’s post, I’m going to take a break from posting for a little while.  Thank you for your views.  Love, Celia

“All pain comes from not being fully yourself.  Whenever you suffer, you suffer because somehow you are not being fully you.”  Choose Only Love bk.3, 4:II

This is a novel idea, that not being ourselves can cause suffering/pain.  If this is true, we have some control over suffering and pain.  If we sense these things, we can simply ask in what way we are not being true to ourselves.  Not being fully ourselves is not being true to ourselves.

Perhaps we aren’t certain how to be fully ourselves.  This is a common problem, but a problem easily solved if only we remember to go within for our Answers.  Going within solves so much that has troubled us.  It is the way we reach God.  It is the way that we go home for a while, even while in the midst of this sometimes troubling world.

Pain is not the same as suffering.  In this world, we will sometimes have pain, but we can avoid the emotional context that leads to suffering, because suffering nearly always has an emotional component.  Jesus seems to be saying here that if we are fully ourselves, we won’t even have pain.  This is an ideal situation, and not all of us can reach to Jesus’ ideal.  But we can try.

Go within, in prayer, in contemplation—especially when something is troubling us.  If we nip the trouble in the bud by having as a goal being true to ourselves, then we will eclipse much that has been a problem in the past.

Remember that God sustains us.  When we turn to Him, we are much more likely to be successful in our desire to eliminate pain/suffering from what we experience, because it is not He Who brings bad things to us.  True, He allows it, but these mysteries of pain and suffering are not anything that we can fully understand with finite minds.  We need to practice acquiescence, as God does.  Then and only then, in our acceptance, will we have taken the first step toward getting rid of the things in our lives that we don’t want—principally, pain/suffering.

Mysteries

“Pain is a mystery, as is life.  The path to peace requires it.  It is not helpful to try to understand what cannot be understood.”  COL bk.2, 20:II

This assertion, attributed to Mary in Choose Only Love, is an appeal to relax in God’s care.  We know that He is always with us, and that He wants us peaceful.  We also know that pain is something that many of us experience, at times, and for some, always, in our lives.  Mary says that the path to peace requires pain, but this is not something that can be understood.

Jesus differed from Mary in A Course in Miracles.  He said there that it is not necessary to learn through pain, that learning through rewards is more lasting.

This is the first instance that I have run across in which Mary and Jesus have different concepts.

I do agree with Mary, that pain cannot be understood, at least not in this world.  There are some things that we just have to accept, that this is the way that life shows up for us at times.

We don’t need to get ourselves hung up over this difference in advice.  Regardless of what Jesus told us in ACIM, many of us still endure pain—even when we think that we are following the new revelations.  So Mary’s advice may just be an acknowledgment that pain does dog our footsteps, and we can best live well when we don’t struggle for answers to the problem of suffering.

I do know that love heals suffering, this from A Course of Love.  So when we love enough, we are healed.  Not all of us can reach this pinnacle in every day.  It is quite possible that Jesus in ACIM was speaking on an ideal level.  Ken Wapnick talks a great deal in his works about the two levels of speaking that Jesus uses in A Course in Miracles.

There very well may be something that we don’t understand in this conflicting interpretation of pain.  Ask to understand; see if God moves to bring us to a better sense of what Mary and Jesus meant.

Crystallize Our Love in the World

“If what you think you perceive is uncontrolled anger, tell it also, just as you would with a very angry girl, ‘I love you, you are part of me, you are very beautiful.  I love you as you are, because you are a part of me.’ 

“This exercise is not a banal.  It is the exercise that will crystallize your ability to bring love to the world.”  Choose Only Love:  Let Yourself Be Loved (COL bk.2, 14:III)

All of us have expressed anger and hostility on some occasions, often when we are feeling very hurt.  I read this quotation as the reaction of a girl in pain.  She is being told that she is actually a part of the one who speaks to her.  Yes, all of us are One.  We may also have counterparts in the world, soulmates who speak to us in ways that resonate through and through.

We write a contract before we enter this world, and we may write rejection and pain into it.  Why?  We won’t know the “why” of suffering while in this world.  These ultimate questions cannot have an Answer here that we would accept.  But it is in the overcoming of anger and hostility, even when we are in pain, that strengthens us in ways we cannot comprehend.  It is in the overcoming that we grow into our own.

When we overcome our anger, we are primed for the love that has actually enfolded us without our knowing, but only with our acquiescence. 

This love will save us now.  This love will save us each and every day.

Cling to Love, Harmony, Peace in This World

“Clinging to the transient as if it were eternal is painful. . . .If you cling to what sooner or later will no longer be. . .you will fear its loss.”  Choose Only Love:  Let Yourself Be Loved (COL bk.2, 12:II)

Love is eternal, and even though we know that the lives of those we love do end on earth, they continue in another plane.  So here we are not talking about love, for love is not transient.

There are many things that are, though, and we adore them to our peril.  This truth helps us to see why we have such fears, fears that keep us from enjoying life to the full.  We fear the loss of what we have valued, when what we have valued is not going to last.  The material blessings of our lives fall into this category, a place where loss might certainly happen.

We have to put our faith in what does last, and these are all intangibles.  The intangibles are love (as we have said), harmony, peace, joy, contentment, happiness.  It is true that some of these things wane from time to time, but we are much better off putting our trust in their continuance, lest we create a self-fulfilling prophecy of loss.

Avoid the pain of clinging to the transient.  Ask to put our faith in the intangible, and our lives will blossom evermore into something beautiful.

Love Has Worked Its Magic

“Here, beloved friends, is the way to the Truth that sets you free. You must absolutely become wholly committed to being awake for no other reason than that you have realized you have no other choice. You have already made them all and they have only led to pain.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 10, Page 128)

We know that we have had pain in our lives; nobody has escaped it. It is particularly our choices that have led to pain that gives us the most cause for regret. We think, “If only I had not done that, then things would have been different!” We think if we had done something else, our pain would never have arisen.

But pain is a part of the human condition. Until there comes a time that we surrender, totally, to God, and in that surrender choose Love with all its ramifications. When we choose Love, we have made the only legitimate choice open to us. And this one choice is all that is required to heal our minds all the way to their depths. Over time, in the awakening process, the bad reactions that need healing come to the surface, and we surrender them, forgiving ourselves and others, including God, who come to mind. In this process, we are open to true Love.

And then the great Awakening comes, in God’s timing, not ours. But our Self, being a part of God, has had something to do with that timing. If we carry out the exercises that Jesus gives us in The Way of Mastery, we will speed along our healing. Then we become enlightened, Christ-conscious, individuals.

Is there much change? Not to others. We appear as we always have, and indeed, with no ego to protect, we may appear even more “ordinary.” Our humility masks what a great transformation we have undergone.

Our pain is gone. Oh, there may be a few physical twinges, but the emotional pain (which has been the most damaging to us) has been healed. Our minds are right with God. We know it, if nobody else does, for there comes a particular moment in time that we realize that all has changed.

Love has worked its magic. We are home in God.

There Is NO Need to Crucify One’s Self

“You already know what crucifixion is all about. You have done it to yourself a million times in ways far worse than a mere nail driven through the hand that creates a little twinge of pain. Hell is nothing more than the state of being rutted, or stuck, in the process of crucifying one’s Self, which is the attempt to murder and destroy what God has created out of Love.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 7, Page 89)

We truly are our own worst enemy. What we have done to ourselves, when we feel besieged with problems, in angst over minor matters, obsessing about trivialities.

Of course, some problems are acute and more severe than others.

But there is an Answer to that as well. We need not crucify ourselves, as Jesus is saying we do. We can turn to the Holy Spirit or the inner Christ-Self to rectify our difficulties. Any difficulty will lighten when we know that there is a Higher Power—God Himself—who is right there with us, helping us always. And God is always with us, helping us. We need never to forget this. We don’t externalize God anymore, for He is in our depths. We are a part of Him. This certainty is enough to take us through the worst turmoil.

Just remember: We are doing this to ourselves. We can have joy instead of suffering and pain. We don’t have to endure, in agony, all alone.

Let the difficulty rest lightly on one’s mind and heart. Rise above it. Know that we are doing this unto ourselves, when we wallow in pain, turning it into suffering.

What a waste!

There is an Answer. Turn to God, always and forever.

Let God Act in Gentleness in Our Very Souls

I and I alone am the source of what I experience and perceive. I am not a victim of the world I see. Everything I experience, I have called to myself, plain and simple—no excuses, no ifs, ands, or buts. That is the way it is.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 5, Page 64)

We are one with Jesus, as we are one with all other beings in our world. We are responsible for this “pebble” (Jesus’ word) called “earth.” There is one Self only, and this Self is a manifestation of God, insane though we have been in manifesting Him. He is not insane, and so we could not fully experience God in our illusory separation from Him. But we have never been victims. We did just what we wanted. We thought it smart to develop a worldview that left God out, and in the doing of it, we suffered mightily. Our suffering was chosen by our souls to lead us back to knowledge that what we were about would never work.

God was not punitive. He just had to have universes that were based in Love in order to keep that Creation from self-destructing. We didn’t know this, for our finite minds could not contain the ramifications of this in our delusions. We projected the ego as the Devil, and we imagined a cosmic war going on. This has never been, but we didn’t have, in separation, a certain way of knowing the truth.

Now we do. We live in the time of Christ, and certain things that have been hidden until are now, now are out in the open. Our way back is seen as the smooth path that it is. We need fret, worry, suffer, be in pain, no more. Our Self, seen as individuated entities apart from each other, will gradually return to the fold, knowing that suffering is unnecessary. We will let God have His way with us, learning through rewards, a way that is vastly superior to pain.

Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that it is not necessary to learn through pain. Believe him, and watch the agonies of this world recede.

Let God act in gentleness in our very souls, and our way will be smoothed for all time.

Our Healing

It is part of the worldview of A Course in Miracles that we are all One, and this One is God. Ideas (and we are all at base an idea) leave not their Source, and so we are created creatures, extensions of God Himself. Our mistake in wanting to be apart and separate can never satisfy, because we are meant both to have and to be everything. Our egos would want a little separate treasure, apart from what our brother has, but all this false belief can ever give us is isolation, loneliness, and fear. And God has protected Himself and us by seeing that this separation happens only in illusion, in dreams. And thus it does not happen in Reality at all.

This explanation can only be understood metaphorically in this world, because we are not yet back Home in God. But miracles can and do happen without a fuller understanding. We can be healed of our guilt over separation (and the illusory effects that it has brought) without sacrifice and without pain. All we need are open hands to accept the miracle.

Specifically, what we have to give up to be free of pain is fear. Jesus sums up how in one concise sentence, “Being wholly without attack, it [love] cannot be afraid.” (T-19.IV.A.10:7) Without attack, there is no fuel with the pain that it brings. The pain may, and frequently does, visit ourselves or others in the form of sickness. This, Jesus explains, is the faulty problem solving mechanism meant to illustrate the frailty of the ego’s home, the body.

In these few sentences is a summation of what Jesus tells us about the origin of pain. Is it understandable? Not at its introduction, because once ego defenses immediately activate to suggest a thousand reasons why this simple answer cannot be the whole of it. Give the ideas a while to prove their validity.

We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

What has the ego-tainted world really exemplified? Only one truth: that the Son (and Daughter) of God is at war with God. If we understood God more, we would know that this is a condition too ridiculous to be believed. The Course says, “The Son of God at war with his Creator is a condition as ridiculous as nature roaring at the wind in anger, proclaiming it is part of itself no more.” (T-23.I.4:7) In our creation, God shared His Mind with us. That is why there can never be a conflict between His Will and our real will. It is only in an illusory world that we believe that to follow God’s will is to lose our freedom. Actually the reverse is the truth: to follow the ego’s madness is to head into chaos that always, in the end, leads to pain. A harmonious universe is impossible under these conditions. Pain begets more pain, assuring that at some point we will turn and say, “Enough!”

The awful pathway is, of course, so unnecessary. Jesus says that we do not have to learn through pain. We can recognize a better way, and in our moments of greater sanity, walk that pathway a few steps closer to Awakening.

Be Willing to Have It So

“You have a saying in your world, ‘It is what it is.’ That is the beginning of wisdom. You will discover that what is, is what you have chosen to make of it. Be, therefore, where you are now, and deliberately decide—deliberately decide—to accept wholly that what you are experiencing in this very moment has no cause whatsoever, except your choice to experience it. Rest assured, whatever the mind may try to say, if you did not wholly want to be right where you are, you would not be there. If you are in a body in the field of space and time, rest assured, you desired it, you chose it, and it is here.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 2, Page 18)

We become what we have desired, and right now everyone reading this has a body in a physical world. This is the “create your own reality” maxim of the New Age thought. Now, we might not like what we have desired, but that is another question entirely. Our souls wanted this experience for us, not necessarily the personality or persona, the “I” of daily experience.

If we are suffering, we can open our minds and hearts to something better, but the caveat is that first we have to move into acceptance of what “is.” This just may be enough to move us through and beyond bad feelings, even bad experiences. It helps to look for the nugget of gold in the midst of the pain. This pain, after all, is part of our learning experience in the classroom that is this world, and this pain holds a blessing for us. Nobody, we must believe, escapes all pain in this world. Nobody.

The most well-adapted people on earth are the ones that let things be as they are. Another way to say this is “be willing to have it so.” This is abject acceptance, and the adoption of this attitude will take us far.

It is the first step on our way home.

Pain

“The misuse of will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Pain thresholds can be high, but they are not limitless. Eventually, everybody begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition is more firmly established, it becomes a perceptual turning point. This ultimately reawakens the spiritual eye simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. The alternating investment in the two types or levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict for a long time, and can become very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.VI.8:1-7)

When we misuse our will, it becomes imprisoned. This seems to me to a check on our miscreation. God knew that His universes needed to survive, and His children needed to thrive in them, and so He sets limits. When we make poor, bad decisions, we experience pain. And this pain, when it becomes acute enough, signals to us that we have to change our ways.

It is not necessary to learn through pain; Jesus tells us this in A Course in Miracles, in another section of the book. It is much more lasting to learn through rewards, but sometimes we become extremely stubborn, and the only thing—the only thing—that will get our attention is an understanding that there must be a better way, a way without all this pain (and suffering). When we reach this point (and everybody will reach it eventually), we are primed to choose again, and this new choice is what will save us.

Miracles can shorten this period of discomfort immensely. So it is miracles that we ought to pray for, miracles as expressions of love. The only thing stronger than fear (and fear brings pain) is love. And love sets us on the flower-strewn pathway back to God, the pathway of healing the illusory separation in which we have all believed.

Suffering

“It is all right to remember the past, provided you also remember that anything you suffer is because of your own errors. As an analogy, imagine a very young child who falls down the stairs when an adult has her arms open in welcome at the bottom of the stairs, and who then develops a totally unwarranted fear of that adult. The misstep which causes the child’s fall has nothing at all to do with the adult, just as your own missteps have nothing at all to do with me.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.III.9:1-3)

There is a very pertinent point in this quotation from Jesus. He says that we suffer because of our own errors! Nothing more. There is nobody to blame, including him. And, of course, no truth in blaming God either.
Elsewhere he has said that we do not need to learn through pain. Yet the fact remains that many of us do choose to learn through pain, and sometimes this pain escalates into emotional and physical suffering. Jesus says (elsewhere) that it is better to learn through rewards. Would that we could all take to heart what he is saying!

Our suffering has no basis. Trials are but lessons presented again, so that we make a better choice where before we made a faulty one. This idea from A Course in Miracles is also pertinent, for what are “trials” but suffering?

Jesus does not ever give a full explanation for the meaning of suffering, though in A Course of Love he indicates that Love is the answer. If we love enough, he says, we are free of pain and suffering. But it is, nevertheless, wrong to “blame the victim.” No human personality is to “blame” for the ills that he/she experiences. These errors are on another level entirely.

In The Way of Mastery, Jesus indicates that believing in karma as a way to explain the negative is a faulty world view. So it seems that we can’t place the blame on past lives.

Another channeled writing, from Pat Rodegast, has her source, Emmanuel, saying that there is no way, here on earth, for us ever to understand suffering. That is something that will be resolved for us only in the afterlife.

That makes sense to me, for even Jesus does not answer the riddle of suffering so that we cease having questions.

Wondrous Outcome / Joy and Pain / No Suffering

““I” did not suffer, for I knew who I was and chose no suffering. This is what is meant by the idea that has been repeated as “I died for your sins.” My death was meant to demonstrate that the end of suffering had come, and with it, eternal life.

“Here, then, is where you need to make the choice that those in my time could not make, the choice to end suffering. This is the choice I made “for all.” This is a choice you make for all as well.

“Willingness is now upon humankind. What my life demonstrated but needs to be demonstrated anew. But this will not happen if you cling to suffering. If you do not accept your Self, all of yourself, you cling to suffering.” (ACOL, D:Day2.24 – Day 2.26)

If we accept our Self, all of ourselves, Jesus is bluntly telling us that we will see an end to suffering. This means that any pain that we encounter will not escalate into suffering, because suffering nearly always is the emotional component of pain—the “why me,” “Why I this happening to me?” And we lapse into great rejection of what we are going through, the opposite of the acceptance that Jesus is calling us to have.

When we accept our Self, we accept the joy as well as the pain, and we don’t allow the pain to escalate into suffering. Surely Jesus felt pain on the cross, but he didn’t focus on a query to God of why—most of the time. Some of the words spoken from the cross do indicate a wavering of his intent upon knowing who he was (“My God, my God, why hath Thou forsaken me?”). So acceptance of all they we come upon is necessary, and the most necessary of all is that we accept our Self, the Self of union, the larger Self, the God within. Our little selves will fall in line, then, with not escalating pain into suffering.

Willingness was not upon humankind 2,000 years ago. But things are different now. We can accept in this time of Christ, in this time of the second coming of Christ (though in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, Jesus never tells us that this will be a physical embodiment of himself). The times are different now, though, and we will be able, with God, to effect change that has eluded this world until now. We will change the world; we will create a new world. Everything is in place for this. If we see parts of the world that make us say, “I doubt that,” then we need but turn to Jesus’s channeled words to get back on track. Remember that eternity is not the same as time, and what seems long to us may be only a fraction of a second in eternity. So we don’t know how long it will take to actually create a new world.

Jesus is very keen on this new world, and so I don’t think that the outcome will be long. If we accept ourselves, accept him, follow intuitive guidance, and ask to be shown what to say and do, the result will be wondrous—far beyond anything we can now comprehend.

Give ourselves over to God. He knows how to reform the world; we don’t. Let us listen to the whispers that come from our Oversoul, our Self, and fall in line with our part in this great endeavor.

Dear God,

Thank You for turning this day to joy for me. I awoke and spent most of the morning in a lower state of mind and heart, but You would not have this recur. I would not have pain escalate into suffering, however small that suffering might be. I would fall in line with Your expressed words to me, whispers that tell that everything will turn out alright, that I need have no fear.

Thank You for guiding me so precisely. This day, may it be a joyous hymn to You. A joyous hymn that ensures that I will listen to the words.

Amen.

Love Is the Answer to Pain & Suffering

“You will see it as quite difficult at first to respond to such situations in a new way, but all situations within the house of illusion call for the same response, the response of love to love. Why think you it is loving to believe in suffering? Do you not begin to see that in so doing you but reinforce it? What you might even call the “fact” of it? Can you not instead ask yourself what harm could be done by offering a new kind of observance?” (ACOL, T3:20.8)

If we don’t focus on suffering, it lessens—and this is true for our own suffering as well as the suffering of others. What we emphasize does grow in breadth and depth. What we focus on, expands. While we don’t want to close our eyes to the suffering of others, we are encouraged to believe that we will look on pain differently as time passes and our Christ-consciousness is in place. We will see with new eyes. We won’t commiserate in quite the same way, a way that heretofore has only reinforced suffering. What we will feel, as these blog posts recently have emphasized, is a compassion for those who seem to suffering. The suffering is not real, but it is real for those so involved. Illusion is very real to those caught in the house of illusion.

Our way is to provide an alternative from the House of Truth, or God’s Kingdom. We are not to try to reenter illusion in an attempt to save those caught within. Those there have their saviors. Our way is to provide the difference by living differently ourselves. If we don’t ever let our pain escalate into suffering, we will provide a very real example of a new way of being, a new truth. We will love with all the will that we are capable of mustering, but we won’t reinforce illusions by seeming to believe in it.

Suffering and pain are evidence of illusion. Heaven on earth, true reality, doesn’t contain these negatives. This does not mean that we cannot see suffering and pain from true reality. We often don’t see, though, and that in itself is a blessing. When we have moved beyond, we have moved beyond. And our vision sees a glorious new world that is pain-free. We will never know the “why” of suffering while still on this plane, in this world. But we can learn to view life differently, and in the new viewing, pain and suffering are eclipsed by the love that the Christ-Self has for all human beings. Love truly is the answer.

Prayer

May I live differently today, leaving aside, through my vision, any evidence of pain or suffering. There is a way in which these lamentables disappear. And I would like to find it, and find it today.

Your way suggests that if I focus on love, a new way of being will emerge, and I will leave pain and suffering in the dust behind me. Help me to do just this today.

Thank You for the glorious day that I see when I look outside. Nature seems to speak from You, and that is abundant comfort indeed.

Amen.

Compassion for the Sick

“These lessons could not be taught while blame remained within your thought system. No victim is to blame for the violence done to them. No sick person is to blame for the illness within them. But you must be able to look at and see reality for what it is. Just as we are telling you that new beliefs and ideas will lead to a new reality, old beliefs and ideas led to the old reality, a reality that will still exist for some even after it changes completely for you.” (ACOL, T3.19.12)

This is the well-known section of A Course of Love that tells us not to blame the victim. Victims of suffering and pain deserve our compassion and our love, not our condemnation. Sincere followers of New Age thought have misunderstood this dictum, because they have believed that, because we create our own reality, we have brought emotional and physical problems on ourselves. This is why we have been prone, even within our own minds, to blame ourselves when we get sick, and to blame others when they do.

There is much here that is too deep to comprehend with our limited understanding. But it takes very little understanding to know that compassion is called for, and that blaming does no good. When confronted with pain and suffering, we only need to find a way out—for us or for other people. And there are hints in ACOL that suffering and pain will lessen, even to disappear, when we have walked farther along the pathway home to God.

Let us be accepting of our pain, but not of our suffering—for suffering is and will always remain a choice. Pain does not have to escalate into a “poor me” stance.

And pain will never escalate into a “poor me” when we realize that God is for health all the way. We just need to get out of our way to allow health to return. The pain may be teaching us something, and when we have learned that lesson, the path may very well leave of its own accord.

These reflections do not in any way diminish the real problems of real people. There is much that we do not know, but avoiding turning pain into suffering IS within our power, and we would do well to try to heed that.

Prayer

I long for good health all the time. I don’t want the mildest headache. Of course, when I think this, I am thinking along with people everywhere. And many of those people have something that causes them pain. May Your goodness reach each of us in our Self so that we don’t create illness as a learning tool. I think that many of us are not at that point yet—but, with your help, we will become that.

I would learn through painless and benign ways, lessons that come my way through good times rather than bad. May I have compassion for those with a Self Who feels differently. After all, they may get to You before I do. The Self makes this decision of how to learn. I would hope for the Self that we all are would choose a happy way of learning.

Amen.

Choose the Joy of Heaven Every Day

“You can label joy heaven and pain hell and seek the middle ground for your reality thinking there are more than these two choices. A life of little joy and little pain is seen as a successful life, for a life of joy is seen as nothing more than a daydream, a life of pain a nightmare.” (ACOL, 2.7)

This quotation is only a partial quotation, but the entire passage indicates that Jesus here is not advocating a middle ground. We don’t want to be halfway between heaven and hell. We want to be entirely in heaven, and this is not something that has to wait for the afterlife, the Other Side.

We can know joy here, joy to a substantial extent that blesses us with each and every day. We may not always have positive things happen to us, but although we may know some pain, we don’t have to see this escalate into suffering. Our attitude is everything. We can see the joy in the midst of any adverse life circumstances that come our way. We don’t have to choose the middle way of little joy and little pain.

There is some magical thinking going on in our minds when we select the middle way. We think that if we don’t reach too high, the gods won’t strike us down. But we don’t believe in plural gods. And God Himself doesn’t punish, though we probably were brought up to believe that He punished us if we did “bad” things.

Get this egoic thinking out of the way. Choose joy today. Pray for a more positive outlook for whatever circumstances surround you in your life.

The way to see life as heaven is mapped out for us in A Course of Love. We need look no farther for the newest revelations in our spiritual lives.

Pain is Illusion – Sleep – Deception / Joy Is Reality – Awakening – Truth

“Here will you understand there is no pain. This is the day when it is given you to realize the lesson that contains all of salvation’s power. It is this: Pain is illusion; joy, reality. Pain is but sleep; joy is awakening. Pain is deception; joy alone is truth.” (ACIM, W-190)

This Workbook lesson from A Course in Miracles emphasizes the central place of joy in our lives when we are following the pathway back to God. It makes clear that true reality is joy. When we are feeling pain for any reason, it is assurance that we are still trapped in illusion. Of course, all of us are trapped in illusion to one extent or another, even those who have Awakened. The gifted in Awakening do accept what is rather than try to rail against it. And they are peaceful and contented, regardless of what surrounds them. But as long as we live on the earth plane, we are subject to emotions other than joy. And pain may be experienced, though we can understand that pain does not have to escalate into suffering.

This Workbook lesson indicates that at Day 190, one can come into the fullness of knowledge. One can walk away from pain in the form of illusion, sleep, deception. And we can replace that pain with joy, awakening, truth, reality. Let us hope that this change will come to all of us, though this assertion from Jesus for this day is on the ideal level of studying ACIM. (There are both ideal and practical levels in ACIM, with the ideal something that not all of us can reach on a daily basis, though we can have glimpses of this level.)

We do not want illusion. And Mari Perron, scribe of A Course of Love, believes that we move from illusion into reality as we walk this pathway. (She was videotaped in a presentation that indicated this.) But we must be patient with the concepts to which we are being exposed. Not all of us are ready for Awakening. God alone makes that decision. Frequently, we do catch glimpses before Awakening is sustained, and in the glimpses do we see what is held out to us for the future. We know what joy there will be in Awakening.

Atonement Is for You. But Learn This Course and It Is Yours.

1 – No Regret

“God’s teachers can have no regret on giving up the pleasures of the world. Is it a sacrifice to give up pain? Does an adult resent the giving up of children’s toys? Does one whose vision has already glimpsed the face of Christ look back with longing on a slaughter house? (M33)”

2 – No Lasting Pleasures

There are no lasting pleasures in this world. The pleasures that are lasting are intangible, and by definition not of this world. That is why using the law of attraction to get physical things will not be satisfying over the long haul. But using the law of attraction to get love, joy, peace, harmony—these will be lasting.

3 – Pain

We all too often do know pain when we are caught in the ego’s throes. We think that we are happy, and we are—for a time. But the ego is constantly being undone, because it is a part of belief about ourselves, a false part. And so God leads us ever so gently to a better way. A Course in Miracles points out that other way.

4 – Seek

“’Seek but do not find’ remains this world’s stern decree, and no one who pursues the world’s goals can do otherwise. (M34)”

5 – Ego

The ego will always seek but not find. Any pleasure will almost immediately be balanced by a sense of pain, however minor it may be.

6 – The Physical Toys

Do you want to seek and find? Then we must turn aside from the physical toys of this world, though in themselves they are not wrong. Just not lasting in pleasure. We will always want something more. Always something more. For the ego is insatiable.

7 – What Do You Want?

“And what, O teacher of God, is it that you want? You have been called by God, and you have answered. Would you now sacrifice that Call? Few have heard it as yet, and they can but turn to you. There is no other hope in all the world that they can trust. (M34)”

8 – Teachers of God

We are talked to here as teachers of God, and only time separates the teacher from the student, and time does not really exist. We need to answer the plaintive call of others who are lost in ignorance, pain, and suffering—but not in an overt way of proselytizing. Some are ready, as the Manual says, only for a smile.

9 – Proselytizing

The quickest way to turn someone off from God and the Holy Spirit is to lean on them, to proselytize. We will know when someone is ready to hear us. We will know. Then we speak. But only then.

10 – Holiness

“It is its [the Word of God] holiness that makes you safe. It is denied if you attack any brother for anything. For it is here the split with God occurs. A split that is impossible. A split that cannot happen. Yet a split in which you surely will believe, because you have set up a situation that is impossible. (M34)”

11 – Attack

We need to give up attack, even attack that occurs only in our minds. Even if we don’t say anything, the attack has hurt us. And there is a Oneness to the Mind so that others will sense what we are thinking (not an ACIM tenet).

12 – Holy Spirit

How do we give up attack? The quickest way is to immediately commune with God when tempted to think less of another. Sometimes we need to distance ourselves from the scene of the “crime.” Sometime we are not strong enough to avoid attack thoughts. And it is then that we need help. We need to ask help of the Holy Spirit, and that help is always forthcoming.

13 – Atonement

“Atonement is for you. Your learning claims it and your learning gives it. The world contains it not. But learn this course and it is yours. (M35)”

14 – At – One – Ment

Atonement is illustrated by some teachers of the Course as “at-one-ment.” This is not the full meaning, but it does lead in the direction that we want to go. Jesus is in charge of the Atonement, and he fulfilled his part in it in his life and resurrection on earth. Now he would help us to fulfill ours. Our way is not the way that he walked, and it can be decidedly pain-free.

15 – Motivation

This passage gives a strong motivation to learn the Course. Surely we want Atonement, the salvation that we all so desperately need. The Course does not have to be seen as difficult if we keep to the basics that Jesus explains, often repeatedly. Everything is either love or a call for love (or help); anything else if a misrepresentation of what is actually going on. We need not attack or feel anger when we recognize that our brothers and sisters are innocent of wrongdoing. Their real Self has not sinned. Their little self has made mistakes. These concepts embrace the fundamentals that the Course would have us to understand.

16 – For Us?

Do we believe Atonement is for us? If not, then we are acting against Jesus’s word to us. He has promised us that Atonement is for us, and nothing else that we might add to that fundamental is true.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize the truth that Jesus speaks in the Course. May I have the Atonement that is promised in the Course, and may I have it soon.

You know that I long for many things, but Atonement is at the top of the list. Be with me now as I seek for Your blessing and ask for the gift of Atonement.

Amen.

You Do Not Have to Learn through Pain!

1 – Awaken in Pain?

Many New Age writings emphasize the coming of Awakening, or enlightenment as a coming of pain first. Eckhart Tolle, the most obvious example of enlightenment in the modern world, endures great depression with accompanying anxiety for upwards of 30 years, before in one significant night, he fell into an abyss and awoke to find himself entranced by the ordinary objects in his bedroom. He now embodied enlightenment, and this all happened some 30 years ago. Likewise, I have a friend in my town who experienced three days of crisis that were filled with pain, and then she emerged into enlightenment. She has written a manuscript which details this experience. Her experience has also been sustained for more than 30 years.

2 – Our Way Will Be Different

Our way, when we follow A Course in Miracles, will be different. Jesus asserts that we are being prepared, the means are being given to us, to awaken without pain. It will be as if a light is turned on when we are dreaming, but instead of awakening with a mortal scream of terror, the means are being given to awaken gently and without fear. (These are all paraphrases from ACIM.) What a blessing this benign way would be for us!

3 – Learning through Rewards

Listen to this significant passage:

“No one who learned from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs additional convincing. Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain, because pain is an ego illusion, and can never induce more than a temporary effect. (T68)”

So we want to encourage learning through rewards, because learning through pain may be temporary. As we have seen with Eckhart and with my friend, the Awakening still may be sustained. But what a pity to let pain be the means! We do not have to let pain be the means, for Jesus assures us that we can have a joyous awakening, a freedom from pain. Both individuals whom I have cited knew joy as soon as enlightenment descended. But they knew pain just previously. Yet neither had been a student of A Course in Miracles.

4 – Revelation

Jesus says in ACIM that revelation may occasionally reveal the end to us, but to get there the means are needed. And these means are being carefully explained to us in A Course in Miracles. I myself have known two glimpses of Awakening, and, though not sustained, I remember details of the experience, the satori, and I expect that when Awakening descends, I will immediately recognize what has happened.

5 – Important Passage

The above passage is very important. It assures us (as Jesus also does elsewhere in ACIM) that we do not have to learn through pain. Here he even tells us that learning through pain will be a temporary learning at best. We long for a breakthrough to the joy that is ours to claim, and then the learning can commence in earnest.

6 – Peace and Joy from ACIM

Anyone who has studied the ACIM sincerely over years will have experienced the increased peace and joy that come with this study. Of course, if there were no peace and joy, the effort would probably have been given up fairly early upon discovery of the teaching. Not everyone, of course, finds his or her “home” in A Course in Miracles. But many do, and if you are reading this, it is likely that you are one of those who will benefit greatly from your study of ACIM.

7 – Happiness

Jesus would have us learn through rewards, because he would have us happy. Elsewhere he defines happiness as our function. This may be hard to believe for individuals who think that some sort of higher goal would not mean true happiness for the self. But the Self does not know this logic. Happiness is intended for us, even here in this world. May we go forth to let our light shine in the joy that the Course ;promises.

8 – Temporary Effect

“Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain, because pain is an ego illusion, and can never induce more than a temporary effect. The rewards of God, however, are immediately recognized as eternal. (T68)”

So Eckhart and my friend were experiencing, we can imagine, an ego illusion when they walked through pain to enlightenment. But ACIM aims at relinquishing the ego as the means to attain Awakening, and A Course of Love shows us what lies beyond the ego—the Christ Self, who will direct our every move into joy beyond description.

9 – Ego

“[Y]ou and your ego cannot be identical. You may believe that you have already accepted this difference, but you are by no means convinced as yet. The fact that you believe you must escape from the ego shows this; but you cannot escape from the ego by humbling it or controlling it or punishing it. (T68)”

This is a bit of a confusing passage, for elsewhere we deduce that we do need to escape from the ego. But if the ego is a part of our belief about ourselves (and it is just this), then there is another Self that has continued unabated during this time of separation from God (or presumed separation, a separation that has not been real). We need not try valiantly to cause the ego to wither away; this would only strengthen it, for this type of mental activity affirms the importance of the ego. And resistance makes what it seeks to eliminate. The correct method is simply to turn away from the ego gently. Try to avoid acting egotistically toward one’s brother or sister. We throw away our indebtedness to him/her when we act egotistically toward him/her. And this will never do.

10 – Head in the Clouds / Feet on Earth

Live with your head above the clouds but your feet on the ground. “Love and do as you will” is another statement that may be helpful to us. If we love sufficiently, we draw all good things to us, and we are less inclined to allow fear a toehold in our lives. The best way to live is to recognize that our purpose here is to live in love.

11 – Magic

And then all good things will come to us—magically, we might say (though this use of the term “magic” is different from the definition that Jesus uses in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that pain is an unnecessary way to learn. I ask that I learn through rewards, which is the only lasting learning.

What a grand promise this is! Thank you. That You want my happiness is a great blessing for me to realize. May I know that any so-called higher goals do not entail my sacrifice or my unhappiness.

May I live today in love. Love and do as I will. I won’t make mistakes with this mind slant, at least not when I am fully in the mind slant. Only the ego is capable of the type of mistakes that will separate us from God and the Holy Spirit. I would not resist the ego today, but would turn aside from it gently.

Thank You for Your many blessings. And I do know many, and I have known many. This encourages me to believe that the future is bright indeed. May my brothers and sisters see this brightness for themselves as well.

And may we thank You with heartfelt gratitude.

Amen.

Illness Is Some Form of External Searching. Health Is Inner Peace.

“Illness is some form of external searching. Health is inner peace. It enables you to remain unshaken by lack of love from without and capable, through your acceptance of miracles, of correcting the conditions proceeding from lack of love in others. (T18)”

Affirmation: “Illness is external searching. Health is inner peace.”

Reflections:

1 – Unclear?

Perhaps this passage will remain unclear for some time as we study A Course in Miracles. We may not fully understand for what we are searching when we become ill. But surely we have recognized, over our lifetimes, that we are peaceful when we are in good health. Good health can be either emotional or physical; it makes no difference. This passage holds the implication that it is ourselves that make us sick or ill. And that when we are at peace, we enjoy health. How rational does this appear to us? Perhaps not rational at all, because we know that we do not want to blame the victim. We do not want to feel that an ill person drew to himself/herself the sickness. How can we fail to blame the victim if we think that we are in control of our bodies, through our minds?

2 – Role of the Self

The answer is completely that it is the inner Self that makes these decisions, and the inner Self is not controlled by the “little” or personal self, the one that we carry with us as we walk through our days. Nobody, however holy, is immune to illness. Enlightened beings have died of cancer. Most people die in some suffering. This does not mean that if they were more holy, they would suffer less. It is true that the more we walk the pathway, the less mental suffering we will sustain. The emotional suffering is more in our control, at least sometimes, than the physical.

3 – Something in You

So don’t be afraid to recognize that something in you did make the illness. It is some form of external searching. Ultimately, when we identify what that external searching is seeking to tell us, the illness itself may be cured. God does not look with favor on sickness; He is “for health” all the way. Certainly Jesus’s miracles of healing in the New Testament are evidence that a holy one can see the need for healing, once the mind of the believer believes strongly enough in the power of God’s grace.

4 – Emotional Health

The emotional health can be seen in that many of us have no problem with the ACIM concept of refraining from attack when we are at peace. When stress happens, though, we may find it all too easy to succumb to attack and also the accompanying anger. This is not good emotional health. And we know that we have it under our power to change. We can release our angers, overcome our tendency to attack, and we will be emotionally well again–at least from those tendencies. Emotional health itself is much more complicated than this, though. There are illnesses that do not cure themselves without medication, at least for most people.

5 – Medication

Jesus in A Course in Miracles recognizes that pills are a form of magic, but that the medications can reduce fear, and this is good. So Jesus develops in ACIM a compromise approach in that he recommends pills, a magic potion, when the fear has sufficiently strong power over our minds that we cannot rise above the fear and heal.

6 – Physical Health

Physical health is frequently a challenge that either brings us closer to God or seems to drive Him away. We can respond either way, but the obviously better way is to seek God in our suffering. He will be there. And we will not have to wait long. Many miracles revolve around physical ailments. There is no damaging illness that has not been cured in somebody, and so there is always grounds for hope. Yet the disease may be present for a reason that only the Self recognizes, and we do not have access to the unconscious at every point. One aspect of prayer that may help is a dialogue with a Higher Power that asks what we might do to heal ourselves. Use pen and pencil, or type on a computer. Write nothing down that does not impress itself on your mind. Many cures have come about through just this method. And if living with one’s ailment is the only answer, we will also be given the grace to do so.

7 – Summary

So we see that we are seeking something external to ourselves when we become ill. But there is, according to ACIM, nothing outside ourselves. There is no world! So the secret to good health is an inner communion that transforms one’s mind to peace. Inner peace is healing. Any doctor will attest to this.

8 – Healing?

May the illnesses of my readers be assuaged today. The answer to healing may be, from God, a “no,” but if this is the case, we will be given the means to live well in spite of limitations. We are not without limitations in this world (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Surely you are with us in good health and bad. When we are in good health, may we experience gratefulness. When we are ill, may we experience the grace to be accepting of that which we do not understand.

May we move closer to You in health and in illness. May our emotional and physical condition make no difference in the zeal with which we seek You.

Amen.


True Denial. . .You Can and Should Deny Any Belief that Error Can Hurt You

cezanne - bowls of fruit
“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 – The Self

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 – A Course of Love

This Self is the inner Christ that A Course of Love discusses, and some view A Course of Love as a sequel to A Course in Miracles. We become much more aware of this Christ Self, who guides our actions, the farther along on the pathway to Awakening (Christ-consciousness) we have walked.

3 – We Live a Dream

We have been told that we live a dream, our dream. And that as long as we recognize that it is our dream, that dream figures can be as hateful and vicious as they may, but it can have no effect upon us unless we fail to recognize that it is our dream. Can we always do that, can we always recognize the dream and therefore feel no hurt? This way of perceiving is an ideal, and most of us cannot live an ideal all the time. But we can make progress. We can remind ourselves that we live a dream, and that what other dream figures do need have no effect upon us.

4 – Error

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. (ACIM usually uses the word “spirit.”)

5 – Pain

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.

6 – Unhurt

We aren’t hurt in our essence. But pain can soften our hearts and bring us closer to God. It is better, though, to learn through rewards, because the effect of pain is only temporary (ACIM tenets). We do not have to learn through pain! (ACIM tenet.)

7 – Hearts Full and Heads High

Let us go forward today with hearts full and heads high. We don’t have to cringe when another treats us badly. It is their problem. We can pray for them, and send them along to a better attitude. This better attitude will come when we use forbearance not to retaliate with anger or attack.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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.

Tolerance for Pain May Be High, but It Is Not without Limit

caillebotte - paris street“An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. (T21-22)”

Affirmation: “Tolerance for pain is not without limit.”

Reflections:

1 – Imprisoned Will

This “imprisoned will” is a philosophical tenet of A Course in Miracles. When we are in the throes of the ego, we have an imprisoned will. Only when we are in our right minds, loving and renouncing fear, are we on the right track, are we working with a will that has been freed.

2 – Ego’s Interpretation

This theological construct can seem malicious in the ego’s eyes. It may sound as though God is tricking us into salvation, that we have to do it His way or the highway. After all, an imprisoned will becomes intolerable, according to the passage for today. It is just the way that the universe works. It was set up for loving individuals, and we introduced a “tiny, mad idea” that changed everything.

3 – Is God “Tricking” Us?

Is it appropriate to think that God is “tricking” us into Heaven? Not in the least. We are dealing with cause and effect here, an immutable law of the universe. When we let the ego rule, we invite fear and fear gives us the imprisonment of the will (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles). The only way that the ego can work is through our fear. We think that we will not be protected in this uncertain and troubled world unless we remain independent of God, for we fear God most of all when in the egoic frame of mind. This means that we are not open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and not being open to His judgment is surely evidence of an imprisoned will. Pain soon follows.

4 – The Separation

When the separation seemed to arise, we were caught in a situation that seemed to make God’s will and our will at odds with one another. Actually the two are inseparable, and only our dim understanding makes this aspect of faith difficult. When we think that God’s will is something that we wouldn’t want, we do in fact invite fear, for His will is actually what, in our heart of hearts, we DO want!

5 – Holy Spirit

When we reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are caught in the bonds of an imprisoned will, which engenders pain–sometimes extreme pain. Although ACIM affirms the releasing truth that we do not have to learn through pain, the truth is that many of us do learn through pain. We can suffer in this pain greatly, but our tolerance for pain, as this passage says, is “not without limit.” Sooner or later we will come to see that there must be another way, a better way, to live, and this is when we turn to God and His Voice, the Holy Spirit.

6 – Helen and Bill

Helen Schucman and William Thetford, the two individuals responsible for bringing us A Course in Miracles, agreed together to seek another way. At the time they and their department at Columbia University were embroiled in competition and attack, and camaraderie was largely missing. Helen and Bill embarked on a seven-year project, with Helen channeling from Jesus, and Bill, typing what had come through the day before. Tolerance for pain in these two had become intolerable.

7 – Tolerance for Pain

May this tolerance soon become intolerable for us as well, and then we will be ready to listen, perhaps for the first time, to innermost guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I choose to eliminate pain from my experience. I know that pain is not Your will, and may it not be mine either.

If I have learned through pain, may this learning come to an end. Your will for me is total happiness.

Amen.

Observe the Laws of Love

Ballet-Rehearsal,-1873 - degas
“Will those you love still suffer? Many may. But not with your help. Will many more, with your help, see an end to suffering? Many will. Will an end to suffering be what you work toward? No. This is not your work. This is not about your effort. This is about your observance. Your observance of the laws of love. Your observance is to remain with cause rather than to stray to effect, the manner of living practiced by those who have birthed the idea that cause and effect are one in truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 20.13)”

Affirmation: “I will observe the laws of love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Suffering Is an Effect

We are not, as our work, to seek to end suffering, because suffering is an effect, and we are not to stray to effect. But we are to live love, and in that pursuit of love will our mission be effected. We will seek the “observance” of love, and in that we will find peace and happiness. We will not reinforce the suffering of others, or of ourselves, by focusing on suffering. We will turn aside from the suffering, not in rejection, but in knowing that there is a better way, a way to learn through rewards. This does not mean that we will be blind to the tears of others, or of ourselves, but we seek to create the reality that we want, and we do not want suffering. To focus on suffering is to create that reality.

2 – Remain with Cause

We are to remain with cause, and the observance of love is a cause. The effect of failing to observe love may well be suffering, though this is in an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love.

3 – Cause and Effect

It is easy to get lost in discussions of cause and effect, but let us not do so today. Let us realize that love is the great cause of all good, and the absence of love brings an effect that is often suffering. We would not focus on this, for it not this that we want.

4 – Do Not Resist

Be there for each other. May all of us do this. May we be gentle with ourselves when we stray from our path and fall into suffering. May we be accepting of ourselves in such an instance, and then may we gently (also) turn aside from the suffering—not rejecting it, for this is resistance, and resistance creates that which it would resist. The best way is to turn to God (or the Holy Spirit, if following ACIM), and to commune with Him for a surcease of the suffering. He did not cause it, but He will help us to overcome. And then pain, perhaps, will remain, but the pain will have lost its sting.

5 – Observe Love

So observe love, and see what good comes of this. The benefits are great, and blessings, abundant.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

All will be well when I am consistently focused on love. What a traditional idea this is! But still of the essence of spirituality. Thank You for guiding me to this realization.

May I avoid reinforcing suffering, either in myself or in others. May I gently turn aside from suffering, though I do not turn aside from those who are suffering. It is not my purpose to try to end the suffering, but it is my purpose to offer solace without focusing on the suffering. Focus on living, and living in love, and the suffering is very likely to dissipate or to diminish markedly.

Be with those whom I love today. And may I turn some of that love on myself, for what I receive I am in a better position to give—for giving and receiving are one.

Amen.

No Need to Learn through Pain

pennsylvania impressionists3
“The thought system of the truth sees no value in suffering and so sees it not in truth. The thought system of the truth is a thought system that is not split by varying goals and desires. It is a thought system of unity. It is a thought system of one thought, one goal. That goal is the original thought that began the experience in physical form, the thought of expressing the Self in observable form. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.9)”

Affirmation: “I would follow the thought system of the truth today.”

Reflections:

1 – When Captured

How do we escape from suffering when captured by it? Is there a way out? If we don’t get out of suffering, are we thinking wrongly? What about people who grow in faith through their suffering? What do we say to saintly people who fall victim to illness or misfortune?

2 – Illness

The questions above all come to mind swiftly as I read, “The thought system of the truth sees no value in suffering.” And truth sees not suffering at all. What can we make of these assertions? Are they just for the very advanced? What if the very advanced soul gets cancer, or heart disease, or diabetes? What do we say to them?

3 – An Ideal

I think that here, in this passage for today, we are dealing with an ideal, and this world does not always support ideals. Even the most advanced teacher of God makes mistakes here, and would all others be bereft of help if that teacher of God falls down? No, Jesus assures us in A Course in Miracles. All of us here fall victim to temptation, but there is a way out.

4 – No Need to Learn through Pain

What is that way out? We can recognize, however dimly, that we don’t have to learn through pain (from the Text of A Course in Miracles). And, as Eckhart Tolle has said so eloquently, we don’t have to turn pain into suffering. We have that much available to us. Even here we will not always succeed, but the way is clear, once we are calm enough to call on God’s help and turn to Him for the way out that we need. He is always there.

5 – Choose Once Again

So we can choose again. We can choose once again (also from ACIM). The disease may not abate, but we are no longer trapped by it, even if it is a sickness unto death. After all, death comes to all, and normally there is a physical cause, either identified or not. We can cry out to God, in our infirmity, and he will lessen the burden of this physical life. He will see to it that our truth does not see pain, or suffering, or death, for He always chooses for life—which equates to health, abundance, peace, and happiness.

6 – Change in Circumstances

This is not pie-in-the-sky thinking. The mind and heart, working in conjunction with each other, are very powerful, and a change of mind moves to a change in circumstances. We don’t have to wallow in our misery. We can, through a change of mind, effect an acceptance that sees the truth that God does not bring suffering upon us. However bad the situation, always is this true. We have chosen the events through which we live. And though those events can get very bad, they are not the master of our lives. We can affirm for the truth in the creation of the life that we live, and we can recognize that if bad things have come upon us, we had a hand in creating those bad things. We may never know the “why,” but our heart knows. And our heart and the Christ Self within can offer, in alignment with God, the answer to our most fervent prayer for release. We may not know an end to this “thorn in the flesh” (from St. Paul in the New Testament), but we will live peacefully in this world until our time comes to leave it.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept suffering, first of all, if it comes to me. I recognize this acceptance as the first step to overcoming suffering. If the ego is dislodged from my mind, then this step becomes easier.

Thank You for the insight that suffering need only to be accepted, and then it is oft likely to dissipate. Let me never blame another if this dynamic fails to happen in his/her life. But let me help the other to a newer life, free of those impediments to happiness and peace.

May this day go well, as I give myself up to flow and ease in that flow. If I follow my intuition, then the day will turn out well, regardless of what pain it may hold. I ask for no pain, of course, but I accept the pain if it comes. Then and only then can I transcend the pain, and especially transcend the suffering into which the pain may turn.

Amen.

You Are Doing This unto Yourself

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“The suffering that has been chosen has been mighty. The choice now is not a choice to explore the why behind it or to look for remedies for the past. The choice now is whether you want suffering to continue or want to abolish it for all time. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.11)”

Affirmation: “I would choose to abolish suffering today and every day.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

I have often quoted Eckhart Tolle in this blog, to the effect that pain does not have to turn into suffering. (Eckhart wrote The Power of Now and A New Earth, and he is an international spiritual teacher not limited to any particular religious tradition.) Now we are bade by Jesus to leave suffering behind forever. Jesus says that we can do this. It is a choice.

2 – Choice

How might we make that choice? It is easy. Just make the decision that you will recognize that you are doing this unto yourself (from A Course in Miracles). And choose not to do it any longer (a recommendation from Dr. Phil). We have this much choice. We can stop suffering in its tracks by recognizing that we can exert our power to overcome it. We can and will still experience pain in this physical and emotional body on earth, but, as Eckhart says, we don’t have to turn that pain into suffering.

3 – Blame and Bitterness

The two principal reasons that we hold onto suffering are blame and bitterness borne of guilt (from A Course of Love). We may think that we do not deserve a happy life, for we have done so many things wrong.

4 – God Has Never Condemned Us

This is false reasoning. God has never condemned us, and therefore He has no reason to forgive (from ACIM). But we ourselves must forgive ourselves, and this we can do. We would wish others to forgive themselves; would we withhold this blessing from ourselves?

5 – Madness and Forgiveness

I think not, when we reason it out. There is much madness still in us, though the madness is diminishing. We can make others as well as ourselves happier when we have forgiven. And forgiveness is the principal message of ACIM. That we have moved beyond forgiveness is perhaps not true. We will ebb and flow as we move toward Christ-consciousness.

6 – Guilt

So let us choose today to give up our guilt, and with it our blame and bitterness. With this choice, we make the decision to give up suffering, even though pain may still be present. And when we turn to happy dreams, we will even find that often we are free of the pain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When the day goes badly, I must realize that I am doing this unto myself. I will get clues when I need to slow down and be careful, if I am open to listening to an inner Voice. May I be so open today.

Let us choose to have good days. Let us be patient with ourselves when we falter. And may the times of faltering lessen.

Amen.

An End to Suffering?

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“Could suffering really gone on for countless ages simply due to your inability to birth the idea of an end to suffering?

“Has not a part of you always known that suffering does not have to be even while you have accepted that it is? Let us now put an end to this acceptance through the birth of a new idea. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.12 – 8.13)”

Affirmation: “I may have pain, but I will not suffer today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

The passage for today develops an idea that Eckhart Tolle has propounded at length (The Power of Now; A New Earth). Eckhart is a modern-day spiritual teacher who is not affiliated with a particular religious tradition, but has quoted from A Course in Miracles, and is noted especially for the radical transformation he underwent around age 30, a number of years ago.

2 – Pain-Body

Eckhart notes that the “pain-body” emerges from time to time (different for each person), and that when this pain is sought, we all too often turn that pain into suffering. He says that this does not have to be the case. In physical bodies, we will experience pain, but we do not have to turn this pain into suffering.

3 – Jesus

Jesus and Eckhart agree in this regard. A Course of Love, in this passage, indicates that suffering might have been discontinued in our world if we had only realized that this was a possibility.

4 – A New Day

And we are now ready for a new idea: The end of suffering as we have known it. We will still have pain from time to time, but we do not have to activate the pain-body (given divine help), and we do not have to turn pain into suffering.

5 – Divine Help

What a blessing these ideas are! The ideas seem too good to be true, yet if Jesus has said it, then I personally find the ideas to be true. We need help, obviously, and divine help will be on the way.

6 – What Can We Do?

Practically, what can we do to eliminate the suffering? We can pause a moment and ask for help when we realize that a situation is getting out of hand, especially if someone, someone close to us, is baiting us. We can say a prayer. And we will be answered, for we are asking in God’s will. He would not have us suffer, and he would not have us activate Eckhart’s clarification of the pain-body. We do not have to invite pain.

7 – New Idea

A new idea is dawning on our world. We are living in the time of Christ now, and the blessings that will be ours are manifold. Let us set aside our doubts, and realize that we can live in a world that is better than has been previously. But for the better to emerge, we need to commune with God. And, in line with A Course of Love, we need to hold Jesus’s hand as we walk through this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would hold Jesus’s hand today as I walk through my world communing with You. I am happier when I commune with You. This ought to tell me something. You want us happy, and our struggles are to be overcome so that we can experience happiness. I would not suffer today. I would rise above any pain.

Help me to keep a rational head. I know that confusion can be generated by too much analysis, because I have long be guilty of too much analysis—and analysis is of the ego nearly always. The ego approves of our analysis of it, for this reaffirms the ego’s importance. I would see the insignificance of the ego today.

And I would walk through my world in peace.

Amen.

Negate the Choice to Suffer

pennsylvania impressionists“What happens when you believe the choice to suffer, as well as the choice to leave suffering behind, has always been found within? Who then are you to be angry with for all that has occurred? Do you blame yourself and your ancestors for the history, both ancient and recent, that you think you would have given anything to change?. . .And do you not thus attempt to see it [suffering] not and then blame yourself for looking the other way? (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.6)”

Affirmation: “I would leave suffering behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

We do not have to suffer. Such a current spiritual advisor as Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now and A New Earth) says the same as Jesus, and he was influenced by A Course in Miracles. Certainly as long we embody the physical, we will know pain, but we do not have to turn that pain into suffering, for suffering is mental. Do you believe that? Note that emotional pain is always suffering, but physical pain is just that—pain. And we would feel pain when we must, but suffering, never.

2 – Blame

We do not need to blame our parents and our upbringing for the lacks in our lives. And we do not need to blame ancestors from farther back in regard to our genetic disposition. We have chosen this life, and we have chosen its lacks. Now Jesus would have these lacks removed, very easily and with virtually no effort on our part.

3 – Choose Once Again

The reason that we suffer is found within, not in any ancestral reason. And we can just as easily choose again. Indeed, we must choose once again (from A Course in Miracles).

4 – Mental Turmoil

Know that a quiet contemplation of suffering will ease the suffering, as well, very often, as the pain. Know that mental turmoil is aggravated by our own choices. Know that there is a way out.

5 – Commune Inwardly

And find that way today in communion with that which is within, the Christ Self informed by God Himself.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would begin the day again if I think that I suffer over anything. I do not have to suffer, though in this physical world I will, from time to time, experience pain. I do not have to turn pain into suffering. And I vow not to do so today.

May I commune with You when the way seems hard. And thank You for giving me a smooth pathway most recently. May I not chaff under restrictions if that pathway turns harsh again. I have the secret—praying to You. Your smile lights my life and calms my turbulent emotions. And then, with no overwrought emotions, I don’t exacerbate the pain, turning it into suffering.

Help me to walk Your pathway, my prayer always.

Amen.

Does God See Suffering?

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“This is what has been meant by the many references that have been made to God not seeing suffering. God exists with you in peace. When you feel peace, you feel the Peace of God. There is no other peace. There is no other God. Whether you believe it now or not, I assure you, within the Peace of God is all the joy of what you have known as the human experience and none of the sorrow. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.8)”

Affirmation: “God is with me in peace.”

Reflections

1 – Personal Interpretation

My interpretation to the assertion that God does not see suffering is that, to Him, what He sees he reinterprets, seeing the pain not as suffering, but as a call for help. I think that he always recognizes a call for help. There is a difference of opinion among students/teachers of A Course in Miracles in whether or not God is outside the illusion in which we are immersed, and thus does not know about us. This idea would say that God has sent us out to play, as children, and He does not care what games we play, because He knows that all our the games that we play are dreams, maya, or illusions.

2 – God

I feel, based on what I have experienced, that God is right here, knowing about every part of our experience. He does not become perturbed (for that is a perception) about our trials; he just acts to give us comfort in the midst of them. I have felt such peace, in my better moments of prayer, that I have no doubt that I have touched the edge of God’s garment (a metaphor). To live without thinking that God counts the very hairs of our head would be a demoralizing way for me, personally, to live. And we are promised in the New Testament that the very hairs of our head are numbered.

3 – Part of God

Of course, A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are non-dualistic systems of thought, and so we are recognized as a part of God. He is within all of creation, but all is One, and so this is not really a pantheistic belief, one in which there are gods in everything. The fact of the One, and the belief that the One is totally in each part, is to my mind best exemplified by a hologram. From within, we project the world without. There is nothing outside of us (from the Text of ACIM).

4 – Theology

These are mostly theological studies, and I hasten to add that Jesus fears that theology will divide us. He says in ACIM that there can never be a universal theology, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. Take nothing unto yourself in these ideas, the ideas not specified in ACIM and ACOL, unless they find a place in your heart.

5 – A Comfort

Let however you view God be a comfort to you.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for Your reassurance to me that You are right here with us. This is my personal belief, and I realize that others may view You differently. But I feel Your presence as an almost constant, and so I do not have, ever, to feel alone.

Be with me for me to turn aside from attack and anger always. I do not need to make my significant others pained by my reactions. May I live the peaceful life that leaves out stress, for I never become angry unless I am stressed.

May I live with You in harmony today. And may I make this resolution for each day in my future.

Amen.

Practicing Mindfulness

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“The art of thought invites the experience of the new thought system by being willing to replace the old with the new.  While this will at first be a learned activity, and as such have its moments of seeming difficulty, it is learned only in the sense of your practicing the mindfulness that will allow the memory of it to return to you.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 5.13)”

Affirmation:  “May I understand the art of thought today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Longer Struggle

When we practice the art of thought, we do not furrow our brow and study hard.  We read almost as though we were reading a story, for the pleasure.  We learn, therefore, effortlessly.  We no longer struggle to gain concepts.  We let the meaning be shown to us by gentle means.  We do not negate the idea that maybe revelation is showing us the way.  Revelation is not always recognized for what it is.  And A Course of Love indicates that it is with us more and more as we walk further along the pathway to Christ-consciousness.

2 – Gestures of Love

We respond to our outer environment when we practice the art of thought.  We do not take responsibility for others, but we do try to alleviate their needs.  Again, this is not a struggle, but simply gestures of love.

3 – Observation

And we learn by observation of ourselves and others.  Observation is the new way of learning in this new world we are on the verge of entering.  We observe, we reflect, and we come to understand.  Again, this is all effortless.

4 – Gain a Whole New World

Can so much be had for so little?  Can we gain a whole new world in such effortless ways?  Indeed, we can, for the pathway is not one of struggle any longer.  We walk into the sunlight, prompted by intuition, feelings, insight–any means of guidance that comes to us.  We are not alone.  That is a primary message.  We never have to do all of this work of salvation unaided.  Indeed, salvation is not work at all, but the most glorious child’s play possible (paraphrased from A Course in Miracles, which says that salvation is a game that happy children play).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would spend today in a relaxed mind and heart, listening for Your guidance and knowing that it will come when I have stilled myself so that I can hear.  Thank You for being here for me.  May I observe this world in a new way of thinking, by observation rather than intense study.  May I no longer be tempted to struggle through my days.  You do not mean this for me.

Help all of my brothers and sisters to have a good day.  You mean for all of our days to be good, even the ones that have some pain in them.  Pain in the present moment simply doesn’t occur; we are always seeing the past in our pain.  May pain never been turned by our minds into suffering.  You would choose for all of Your children to rest in Your blessings, to receive Your ease, and to solve any and all problems, with Your help, that have presented themselves and may be causing pain.  Guide us to know what to do when faced with less-than-desirable life circumstances.  May our stress remain low and our spirits high.

Thank You for Your presence, always, in our lives.

Amen.

Choice to End Suffering

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Maya

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

2 – Eckhart Tolle

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

3 – Pain into Suffering

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

4 – Prayer of Relinquishment

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

5 – Jesus

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

How to Dispel Pain

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“Think not that you react to pain of any kind with the love from your real Self that would dispel it.  The Self you have taken out of the learning loop is the Self of love.  (A Course of Love, 18.24)”

Affirmation:  “May I respond to my loving Self, dispelling pain.”

Reflections:

1 – Love

Is this passage really telling us that if we respond to the Self/Christ who is within, we will be free of pain, for this Self is loving?  Love is the answer, according to what Jesus is saying here.

2 – Are We All Able to Dispel All Pain?

A pessimistic response to Jesus’s words would express doubt, and indeed I do not believe that all of us are strong enough to dispel all pain.  And not all of us are really in contact with the true inner Self.  This is the Self that we know when we are living Christ-consciousness.

3 – Emotional Pain

Personally, I can understand how emotional pain would be more easily dispelled.  The emotional pain can more easily be controlled by one’s thoughts, and we are at least in some control of these.  We may need to calm down, though.

4 – Physical Pain

But what about physical pain?  Can we really dispel this?  Perhaps we can lighten and eventually eliminate our sense of pain.  Certainly our secular biofeedback methods have done much to lessen severe pain for those who have sought such help.  Most do not seek such help, though, and this passage does say that if we listen to the love that is within us, we will find that the pain is dispelled.

5 – Jesus

Jesus says many things that sound difficult for us to understand.  He is speaking on an ideal level, and he is hoping that we will be close enough to love to have this freeing response.  Certainly the truth that love will dispel pain is welcomed.  To the degree that we can open our minds and believe, we will have the faith that will make this assertion correct in our own experience.  We are not, though, all of us ready for this ideal solution, and while this is a more negative reaction, it seems close to the truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me not to be overly pessimistic about Jesus’s statements.  If he says that love from the real Self will dispel pain, then let me open my mind to that real possibility.

Today is a day that many will suffer pain.  May some few read the passage for today, and feel their pain lessen.

Amen.

Determining the Distinction between Pleasure and Pain

“Determination of pleasure and pain is made with the judgment of the separated self who not only believes it is the body, but that it is at the body’s mercy.  The body has no mercy to offer the separated self.  It is only a learning device.  (A Course of Love, 18.23)”

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Affirmation:  “May I avoid judging pleasure and pain today.”

Reflections:

1 – Awaking of Christ-Consciousness

The ideas in today’s passage are echoes of A Course in Miracles.  All in all, A Course of Love is more forgiving of the body, seeing, ultimately, that an elevated Self of form is a legitimate way to live.  We can enjoy this way of living on this earth, and this is when the Christ/Self has been actualized in us.  This is the Awakening or the Christ-consciousness embodied.

2 – Separation

But in the passage above, we are still recognizing a delusional separation from God.  We did not, as we have said repeatedly, actually separate from God, for we are part of Him and thus can only fantasize that we have separated.  In this fantasy our whole world evolved.  And we lost the felt presence of God.

3 – Pleasure

But let us rise to the occasion, recognizing that we want something better (re ACIM).  We want to know God’s happiness, not the pleasures of this world.  We will have pleasure, but it will be more than pleasure, because pleasure is fleeting and never satisfies very long.

4 – Body = Learning Device

The body as a learning device is best used to communicate with others, with out brothers and sisters.  To use it as a way to get out way is a misuse, if our way would be detrimental to another.  So let us be gracious in our understanding of the body, and not try so hard to decorate it with jewelry and fancy clothes.  We may want to be presentable, but the real beauty comes from within.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the difference between pleasure and pain today, but I would seek joy–God’s joy–rather than simple pleasure, which is fleeting.

Be with me as I see Your will for my life today.  May my decisions be sound, based on guidance and common sense.

Amen.

Overcome Misery / Find Lasting Happiness

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

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

Reflections:

1 – We Find Only to Lose

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

2 – Peace, Joy, Harmony, Tranquility

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

3 – Egotism Leads to Misery

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Thank You.

Amen.

Stab of Anger

ACIM Workbook Lesson 192 – for Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Affirmation:  “I have a function God would have me fill.”

 

“Therefore, hold no one prisoner.  Release instead of bind, for thus are you made free.  The way is simple.  Every time you feel a stab of anger, realize you hold a sword above your head.  And it will fall or be averted as you choose to be condemned or free.  Thus does each one who seems to tempt you to be angry represent your savior from the prison house of death.  And so you owe him thanks instead of pain.  (WB366)”

Reflections:

1 – See the Sword Averted

A very important passage, this lesson for today is telling us what we must do when we feel a stab of anger.  And who among us does not still feel anger, even if one believes himself/herself to be enlightened?

2 – Stress and the “Pain Body”

We are likely to be stressed at the time that we seem most out of control.  As Eckhart Tolle would say, our “pain body” is in the ascendancy, and we want pain at any and all costs.  We are not in our right mind; we are even more insane than the usual.

3 – The Ego = Strong in Conflict

If we can realize that averting the sword above one’s head actually makes us free, we might be more inclined to follow this passage when the daily pathway turns grim.  We want to be free, but we cannot be free if we are caught by anger and attack, for the ego is strong in conflict (paraphrase from ACIM).

4 – Temptations to Anger

Our brothers and sisters who tempt us to anger are actually doing us a favor, for without their input, we would not be inclined to choose the good more often than the bad.  They, in turn, are merely asking for help at such times.  A brother or sister who attacks is calling for help, and the only sane response is to rush to his/her side with that help.  We must be reasonable, and ACIM does not counsel doing anything that will escalate the conflict.  If we are in danger, bodily or mentally, it would be wise to act later on, when the heat is out of the moment.  (These are interpretations, not stated in ACIM.)

5 – Venting and Our Anger

Do we really owe our brother or sister thanks for the stab of anger that his/her venting has elicited?  According to ACIM, we do.  We can recognize that we will not likely ever be free of moments of being tempted into anger, but we can fly into a great calm rather than into a great fury.

6 – This Lesson for Today

Making that choice is what today’s Workbook lesson is all about.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose today to be free of stabs of anger.  If my brother or sister tempts me to anger, help me to turn aside from attacking verbally.  Help me to realize that in all likelihood, this brother or sister is stressed, and I have been there, throughout my lifetime, many times.  I would want someone to forgive me when I am letting Eckhart’s “pain body” rise to ascendancy.  May we all pray today that our pain bodies will be released, and that we will enjoy the peace and harmony that You want for us above all else.

Be with me as I walk the pathway to You today.

May I take a timeout, leaving the room temporarily, if my temper is threatening to get the best of me.  It is actually the “worst” of me.  And I would not indulge my ego today by venting when I am stressed.  And I don’t get angry unless I am stressed.

May my brothers and sisters adopt what coping mechanisms they find most useful in avoiding anger and attack.

Thank You.

Amen.

I Choose the Joy of God Instead of Pain

ACIM Workbook Lesson 190 – for Monday, July 9, 2012

Affirmation:  “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.”

“Lay down your arms, and come without defense into the quiet place where Heaven’s peace holds all things still at last.  Lay down all thoughts of danger and of fear.  Let no attack enter with you.  Lay down the cruel sword of judgment that you hold against your throat, and put aside the withering assaults with which you seek to hide your holiness.  (WB362)”

Reflections:

1 – When in Anger or Attack

Today’s passage will comfort in times of distress, especially when we are in anger or attack mode.  We are to get quiet, feel the peace of Heaven, and let the discouraging emotions die an easy death.  We will then feel better, and the effect will be extreme relaxation and serenity.

2 – Do Not Judge

If we judge on an ongoing basis, we will never know Awakening.  We are told elsewhere that judging precludes Awakening.  We are also told that if we seem to slip from grace, we have in all likelihood dipped into attack, judgment, or have started making plans against contingencies that are not supported by the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Text tenets).

3 – Help in Dropping Judgment

If dropping judging can do so much for us, how do we effect this?  We must remember that we have lots of help.  There are Teachers of teachers, watching from the Other Side (from the Manual).  There is our internal Guide, the Holy Spirit.  And Jesus offers his help, help that he will bring to us upon hearing “one unequivocal call” (quotations from ACIM).  So we call on this help; we do not even attempt to drop judging as a personal crusade.  Personal crusades are one way that the ego hides from us, and the outcome is never good (personal interpretation, not stated directly in ACIM).  We are bad to commune with God (in the opening pages of the Text).

4 – We Are Never Alone

We never, in short, need to feel alone, because we never are alone.  But we have to relinquish the ego-oriented self-will that is not open to God’s direction.  As ACIM says many times, God’s Will and our will are identical, but we just don’t recognize this.  The Holy Spirit chooses for us.  He lets us know what will make us happy, for happiness is a function that ACIM ascribes to us.

5 – No More Judging

We pray that judging step aside from us.  We pray that the ego, a part of our belief about ourselves, cease to call the shots.  And when we have become pliable and flexible in God’s Hands, we will know the peace that today’s passage promises.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to get through this day.  It appears to be difficult, but this is only a mirage.  No day with You is difficult.  And I bring my own pain upon myself.  Help me to do no judging of my brothers and sisters.  All are doing as well as they can.  And help me to do as well as I can.

Amen.

Turn Hell to Heaven

“Peace now belongs here, because a Thought of God has entered.  What else but a Thought of God turns hell to Heaven merely by being what it is?. . .It is no longer, ‘Can peace be possible in this world?’ but instead, ‘Is it not impossible that peace be absent here?’  (M-11.4)”

 

Affirmation:  “May I see peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Heaven on Earth

We are well-informed in A Course in Miracles that we can know Heaven on earth.  We do not deny the reverse that our physical eyes show us, but we recognize what is real and what is not.  We know that the intangibles of God, the Thought of God, is real.  The peace, the joy, the patience, the contentment. . . .Everything that is not a synonym of peace is an illusion, because we are living a dream (ACIM tenets).

2 – Peace

When we experience a Thought of God, we know that peace is meant to follow our footsteps wherever we go.  We can be mistaken in thinking a given thought is actually a Thought of God, but mistakes can be corrected.  We do not arrogantly determine that we are understanding God’s Mind, for we are not ready for this.  We humbly take what we are given, and we give thanks for it.  Then we realize that peace is indeed home in our world.

3 – Pain and Suffering

What of the pain and suffering, the terrors and war, that engulf our world?  We can make a difference, and when we pray for guidance, we will be directed what difference it is that we are to make–what our particular part in the cosmic drama is meant to be.  Until we know that much, we walk a dimly lit path.

4 – Save This World

Ask today for your part in God’s plan to save the world.  The Holy Spirit will respond, and, we can imagine, in our anthropomorphic way, that He is glad that we asked.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do today what I can best do to help the individuals around live a good life.  I know that I do not experience Heaven on earth consistently, but this blessing happens more frequently than it did when I was in my early adult years.  I knew when to be contented with what I had, because I had gone “without” for so long.  I thank You now that I discovered ACIM so early, in my mid-thirties, and that its tenets have guided me to happiness many times over.

Be with all of us as we seek to learn A Course in Miracles.  When we fill our minds with ACIM‘s glorious words, we edge out defeatism, and we find ourselves attracting better and better things.  These things do not have to be materialistic only; they certainly can be emotional joys that provide us with a gentle happiness that no bad occurrence in our world can long overcome.  Thank You for leading me to this understanding.

If we attract Jesus’s blessings, we do so because we have accepted the non-dualism of his world.  We no longer seek for what will actually harm, seeking in ignorance precipitated by egoistic thinking.  I would let the ego wither even more today, leading me ever closer to Awakening on a consistent basis.

Be with me as I seek to do for the significant others in my life the things that they need me to do.  This has been a hard week, for personal reasons, but You know those personal reasons.  And I wish to continue to see improvement in the individuals with whom I share my life.

Amen.

The Unhealed Healer

“By accepting healing he can give it.  If he doubts this, let him remember Who gave the gift and Who received it.  Thus is his doubt corrected.  (M-7.3)”

Affirmation:  “I herewith accept healing for myself, and thus for others.”

Reflections:

1 – Warning for Teachers of God

The “unhealed healer” is a false notion that teachers of God who themselves know illness can still function without any additional help.  But it is not ourselves who are effecting the healing; it is the Holy Spirit, according to A Course in Miracles.  If we recognize that we are an unhealed healer, we must turn our uncertainties over to God.  He would not have us to witness falsely.

2 – Few Are Always Healthy

Few of us are healthy at all times and in all circumstances.  This is the very human fact of our life in this world.  But we can be healed, either physically, emotionally, or both, when we turn our predicament over to a Higher Power.  This is the way home for us.  This is the way that we can be of service to others.

3 – Symptoms = Seen in an Illusory World

When we accept our own healing, even if symptoms persist, we are well on our way to being channels for healing in others.  The symptoms, as we have said repeatedly, are not anything other than illusions, seen in an illusory world.  The Holy Spirit gives the gift of healing; we are only channels, a body that our brothers and sisters can see, a voice that they can hear.  And we do not understand all that is going on with others.  That is why we need to remember that the Holy Spirit does know all of the circumstances.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be healed myself, so that I might be a communication device for the Holy Spirit to heal others.  Being a device for communication is the only true use of the body.  And we are not to give the body undue importance in any way at all.

May I not be an “unhealed healer.”  That is a contradiction in terms; it is impossible.  May I not try to give to anybody else what only the Holy Spirit can deliver.  And may he heal my brothers and sisters today.

Amen.

Uncertainty in Healing = Fear and Hate

“Now [i.e., when the teacher of God doubts healing] the teacher of God has only one course to follow.  He must use his reason to tell himself that he has given the problem to One Who cannot fail, and must recognize that his own uncertainty is not love but fear, and therefore hate.  (M-7.2)”

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit cannot fail.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear Entertains Hate

This passage says something very solemn.  It says that when we are fearful, we are actually entertaining hate.  When stated so directly, nobody would want fear to intervene in his or her daily life.  We do not wish to hate.  What good could ever come from it?  Absolutely none.

2 – Uncertainty

Even so benign a concept as “uncertainty” leads down the path toward hate.  We who are seeking to be channels for healing of ourselves and others must believe absolutely in the Power upon which we are calling.  And the lingering appearance of symptoms of illness must not cause us to waver in our certainty that our prayer for healing has been heard, and acted upon.  The Self know more than the personal self.  The Holy Spirit does not fail to bring about anything upon which he focuses attention for the good.

3 – Holy Spirit

We use our reason for this understanding.  We believe solidly in the rightness of our belief in the Holy Spirit’s infallibility, and we do not waver in our certainty that healing will be received when it is wholly welcome.

4 – Suffering and Pain

To believe otherwise is to ask for suffering and pain to remain.

5 – Emotional Healing

I have come to accept an emotional healing as sometimes the best that we can know on this uncertain world.  But mental anguish is surely one of the worst parts of any illness.  When we turn ourselves, our bodies and minds, over to God, then do we know wellness.  The physical symptoms that may persist are not given ascendancy any longer by our minds, and we function much better.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know emotional healing today if physical is not in the cards.  I know that the healing, of some type, is there.  I thank You that my ailments over my lifetime, for the most part, and usually, have been minor.

Be with my brothers and sisters who suffer greatly.  May their courage remain high, and may they be grounded in the certainty that You walk with them.

Thank You.

Amen.

Can You Be a Channel for Healing?

“For a teacher of God to remain concerned about the result of healing is to limit the healing.

“Whenever a teacher of God has tried to be a channel for healing he has succeeded.  (M-7.1-2).”

Affirmation:  “I wish to be a channel for healing.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Doubt the Outcome

When we remain concerned about the results of our petition for healing, we are doubting the outcome.  And Jesus assures us that healing has happened, even when our eyes show us that the situation is unchanged.  We cannot doubt.  The Self has gotten involved, and the personal self will know wellness when completely ready for it.

2 – Don’t Offer Continuing Concern

Continuing concern about healing, or recovery from illness or sickness, in our world appears to be compassionate.  But Jesus in the Manual indicates otherwise.  Continuing concern that the healing has actually happened does limit the healing in ways that surely none of us fully understand.  This is one time that we just have to take Jesus at his word.

3 – Channels for Healing

To know that we can be channels for healing, and that we can succeed, is enormously liberating.  We do not have to appeal to faith on the ground that the healing has not occurred.  If we take Jesus at his word, the healing, at least on some level, has occurred when we have asked for it.  We cannot doubt without limiting our asking.

4 – To Be Received Openheartedly

May we seek to heal ourselves and others with a joyous spirit, confident that the healing will happen when it will be received openheartedly.  We do not have to doubt; indeed, we cannot doubt if we wish the healing to be received in any way other than a limited way.  Full release comes from full confidence in Jesus.  We are not healers, but through us the Holy Spirit can handle the situation with grace and ease.

5 – Living an Illusion

If the ideal of healing does not appear ever to be received, we fall back on the surety that we are living an illusion.  The inner Self always knows healing, and it is the personal self that lives in this world that knows illness, suffering, and death.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would experience today what the Self experiences, which is peace and healing.  If my personal (little) self wants to see something else, may I be let to know that this is a request for illusion.

Be with me today as I seek to follow Your way.  Healing will always come, when it is asked for.  Help me to rest on this assurance.

Thank You.

Amen.

Turn the Pain Over to God

“Healing will always stand aside when it would be seen as threat.  The instant it is welcome it is there.  (M-6-2)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome healing today.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Retain the Pain

We take a lot of interest in our physical and emotional health, perhaps especially when either is compromised.  The more interest we devote to pain, the more likely we may be to retain the pain.  But Jesus would not have it this way.  Yet he stands aside when that is our choice.

2 – Levels of Our Mind

We do not have access to all levels of our minds.  And it is this that seems to be implied in the passage for today.  We think we want healing, but do we really?  Are we getting something, some benefit, from our compromised health?  This is a question that all of us would do well to ponder as each new ailment rises on the horizon.

3 – Emotional Healing

The healing that will be there immediately may not be viewed by the physical eyes.  But all of us have known miraculous emotional healing when one turned the matter over to God.  We have seen this in ourselves, and we have seen this in others.  There is probably no exception to this miracle.  We have made emotional healing a priority, and we have admitted that we do not know how to bring it about.  So we turn it over, and, there, in a place that we do not often see, is the healing that we have prayed to have.

4 – The Best

Could we wish for anything less today for ourselves and others?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have emotional and physical healing, beginning immediately.  I do not ask in arrogance, but in humility.  You want me well; you want me to learn through rewards, not pain.  Let me leave any and all discomfort aside today.

Thank You that my health has always, with a few exceptions, been good.  As I grow older, I ask for the same.

Be with me today as I seek to walk Your pathway of healing, physical and emotional.

Thank You.

Amen.

Medication May Be Necessary

“Healing is always certain.  It is impossible to let illusions be brought to truth and keep the illusions.  (M-6.1)”

Affirmation:  “Healing is always certain.”

Reflections:

1- Healing Is Always Certain

The passage for today is the culmination of the thoughts that we having been walking toward in previous days.  Healing is always certain, even when we do not see it happening, even though the illness may lead to death.  The real Self has not been hurt by any pain or suffering.  The real Self is always above and beyond such imperfect happenings in our world.

2 – Miracles

When we realize that healing is always certain, we introduce the idea that a miracle can occur.  This may not be physical healing.  It may not be emotional, but perhaps emotional healing happens far more often than physical.  Jesus takes us where we are and then leads us farther down the pathway to wellness.  He also, as in the New Testament, wants to be certain that we truly desire healing.  We have to make that choice.

3 – Illness as a Way of Life

If we have chosen illness as a way of life, the Manual tells us that perhaps healing will have to wait, for our own protection.  We could become so depressed from a spontaneous healing that we could become suicidal.  And this nobody would wish, least of all, Jesus.

4 – Medication (Pills)

Many of us have chosen sickness as a way of life, and in such cases, pills can become the magic solutions that even Jesus does not denounce.  If we are very fearful, we may need a compromise approach to healing, a way to know that we ourselves did not heal ourselves (the ego would love to believe this).  We do not want fear to increase, because the ego is always strong when fear has reared its ugly head.  So we wait, confident that healing will come when it is truly welcome.  And a compromise approach that allows pills may be just what we need.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May the sequence of postings for the last few days be a way for all of us to understand the words of A Course in Miracles about sickness and healing.  These passages are uncompromising, that we choose sickness, and we choose whether we get well or not, including when we die.  But it is the larger Self that does the choosing.

Thank You for the better insight that almost comes unbidden.  I personally need to know when I have chosen an illness.  And I would not so choose again.

Be with my brothers and sisters in their sicknesses.  Let them get well, if it is the choice of their larger Self.

Amen.

Guilt, Sickness, Pain, Disaster, Suffering: Begone!

“The final outcome of this lesson [i.e., the insignificance of the body] is the remembrance of God.  What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now?  Having no purpose, they are gone.  (M-5.II.4)”

Affirmation:  “My body is actually insignificant.”

Reflections:

1- The Ego’s View

A Course in Miracles notes that we all too often want things of the world that glorify the body.  These usually, though not always, are material things.  They may also be intangible, such as our bent toward wanting success in this world.  But do these things–beauty of the body, prestige, comfort, success–really mean anything to our Self, the part of us that is not a body at all?

2 – Negative Experiences

I think not.  We are inescapably in a body for the duration of our time on earth, although out-of-body experiences are sometimes reported.  When we put the body first in all things, we also invite negative experiences–the guilt, sickness, pain, disaster, suffering that are mentioned in the above passage from ACIM.

3 – Body = Communication

ACIM does not deny that the body exists, but ACIM does reconsider what it is best used for, and that greater reason is for communication from one individual to another.

4 – Jealousy

If we use the body for communication, we will not want to use it to create jealousy in others.  We will be benign in our use of the body, hurting nobody, including ourselves.  This is the real reason for physical expression at all.

5 – A Love/Hate Relationship

Most of us already have a love-hate relationship with our bodies.  We criticize their appearance, even when we are beautiful or handsome.  We are never satisfied.  Is not this primary evidence that the ego is in the ascendancy?  And would we have that?  Have not we come far enough along on the pathway to know that the ego will only wish disaster upon us?

6 – Health

Let us thank God for the health that we do enjoy, even when that health is impaired.  To the extent that we can still communicate with others, in some way, our bodies are important to our experience in this world.  And nothing more.  The body then becomes deemphasized in our own experience, and we look to the intangibles of God–the love, joy, peace, tranquility, strength–that are our birthright as children of God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would understand today that my body is my means of communication with my brothers and sisters.  I would not use it as a means to incite jealousy.  I would be gentle as I go about the world, realizing that my body is mine, but that there is more to me.  The body itself is illusion.

Thank You for these insights, which come from A Course in Miracles.  Thank You for the channeling of so wonderful a communication from Jesus to us.  May all find A Course in Miracles who are ready to appreciate what these books say.

Amen.

Does ACIM Blame the Victim?

“He [the teacher of God] has. . .a more specific function for those who do not understand what healing is.  These patients do not realize they have chosen sickness.  On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them.  (M-5.III.1)”

Affirmation:  “I alone choose sickness, and I would not do so.”

Reflections:

1 – Sickness = Learn through Pain

We need to open our minds a bit today.  We need to entertain the concept that we have invited any sickness that has invaded our world.  This does not mean that we “blame the victim.”  This is a paradoxical truth that many do not understand.  We do not consciously choose sickness, in most cases.  We may put ourselves in a position wherein sickness becomes inevitable, but even cases of this scenario are limited.  Sickness is chosen when we believe that it will teach us something.  And that we will learn through pain.

2 – Learning through Pain = Temporary

Jesus says that there is only a temporary learning component to pain.  In ACIM, he states conclusively that we do not have to learn through pain, that learning through rewards is the only lasting learning.

3 – Physical Illness

Once into sickness, though, sickness can become a way of life.  We may not know how to rid ourselves of apparently incurable illnesses.  And we may even die from them.  After all, everyone passes from this world in some way, and it is usually through physical illness–some organic illness, either quick or slow.

4 – Healing Accepted

May we pray today to be healed of our afflictions.  May we know that we will accept the healing when we are ready, and that the healing may be emotional rather than physical.  It may be an example of our choice to leave this world now.  It may be a lesson that we wanted to learn, and that this too shall pass.

5 – The Role of the (Larger) Self

When we know that we are in the driver’s seat, that our Self has chosen the sickness that afflicts us, then we are in a better position to choose again, to choose anew.  There is great celebration, we may believe, in Heaven, when a child of God chooses to give up his/her belief in the value of sickness.  There are other ways to learn.  Let us explore some of them, through our study of ACIM, today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I doubt that I will understand the role of the Self in my life while I am alive on earth.  But I trust what has been said, and I believe that this Self, of which my “little” or personal self is a part, does much to decide what transpire for me in my life.  Thank You for guiding the Self.  I would not allow inferior decisions by the personal self to influence my walk through this world.  May I choose guidance that allows me to learn through rewards rather than through pain.

Be with me as I walk through this day.  Be with me when I am having a bad day.  Help me to keep my thoughts on the positive side so that I do not attract the things in my life that I do not want.

Thank You for always being here for me.

Amen.

Release from Guilt = Release from Sickness

“Herein [he who has looked on the world and seen it as it is not] is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one.  Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

“With this idea is pain forever gone.  (M-5.II. 3-4)”

Affirmation:  “release from guilt and sickness”

Reflections:

1 – Guilt and Sickness

A very instructive passage from A Course in Miracles.  We may never have realized, heretofore, that guilt and sickness are one, and that when we are rid of the guilt, we will not know sickness.  Perhaps this seems too hard, for who can rid themselves of all guilt for all the mistakes that are recognized in a life?

2 – Turn Guilt over to the Holy Spirit

It can be done, and we do not have to be psychopaths or sociopaths to rid ourselves of guilt.  This, once again, is something that we turn over to the Holy Spirit.  He know that when we have expressed a desire for forgiveness, then we are in a position to be rid of the guilt that our misdeed or errant thought has caused in us.  It seems so little, just to ask forgiveness.  Our egoic mind cries out for punishment, even though on a conscious level we do not actually invite punishment.  When we are insane in the sense that ACIM means, we do ask to hold onto the guilt, and therefore receive the punishment.  If we can recognize that this is madness, we will be more ready to accept God’s glorious Answer, given us internally by the Holy Spirit.

3 – Sensitive Consciences

Those of us with particularly sensitive consciences will suffer the most, and, paradoxically, we can receive even more than perhaps another who does not suffer as we do.  We are still equal to each other, though.  We are not equal in time, but in eternity, and eternity is all there is; there is no time, which is an illusion.

4 – Removal of Guilt

May we pray today for forgiveness, for a removal of the guilt that clouds the minds that Jesus interprets so kindly.  He loves us, we are told in ACIM.  He holds nothing against us.  May we not hinder his love and kindness by refusing ourselves the forgiveness that we need to render unto ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be aware today that when I have recognized that forgiveness is mine, any guilt that I might feel over something I said or did will dissipate.  Thank You.  The fact that sickness may also subside is another blessing bestowed by the removal of guilt from my mind.  Thank You again.

Be with me today as I live a healthy life, unimpeded by guilt.  May I ask for forgiveness of my brothers and sisters, as well as of myself, and may I realize that You do not need to forgive me, because You have never condemned me.  What joy this should bring to me!

Thank You for this good day.  May my evening be peaceful and my joy, under You guidance, be complete.

Amen.

Sickness Is a Decision of the Mind

“The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing.  And this is so for healing in all forms.  A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers.  If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed.  (M-5.II.2)”

Affirmation:  “Sickness is a decision of the mind.”

Reflections:

1 – A Summary

This passage encapsulates much that I have tried to teach over the last few days of postings.  If we decide against recovery, we are not healed.  If we decide that we have to take medication for the rest of our lives, we have decided to use magic agents to accommodate our physical and emotional states of health.  Neither choice is to be lamented, though Jesus is the healer that encourages us to recognize that pain is not necessary, even in this world.

2 – The Self Chooses

We stay in the driver’s seat.  We make the decisions.  But it is the Self that does so, and we, as personal selves living in a fantasy, are not privy to all of the reasons for decisions made by the Higher Self.  So we suffer, sometimes needlessly, because we do not turn over our sickness to God.

3 – Healing

If we seek healing, it will be found.  The catch in all of this is that we may not recognize the healing when it is given.  We may still see the sickness and believe, by viewing the lingering symptoms, that all is not well.  Jesus in the Manual would have us understand that the appearance of lingering symptoms is evidence of a lack of trust.  We don’t believe that we can be healed, and so we are not.  But healing will come, in a form that we can accept, as soon as healing is welcomed.  Keep in mind that there are different types of healing, and that emotional healing is not the least of these.  We are not to continue to fear the continuing symptoms.  We are meant to recognize that healing has occurred, though our Self may leave symptoms for reasons that we cannot comprehend.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask for healing today, of any and all difficulties that I may have.  I would ask that I recognize Your healing when it occurs.  May no physical symptoms mask the emotional healing that You always give me.  Thank you for the emotional healing, for You know that I think that emotional healing is more important than physical.

Be with me throughout the day.  Help me to walk Your way.  May my study of sickness, and the choices that I have made throughout my life, mean something good.  May I turn now to learning through rewards, and leave pain in the distant past.  I believe that this is Your wish for me, for You want a lasting healing–not a temporary one that might come from experiencing pain.  You want for me to learn through rewards, and I share that desire.  Thank You for this understanding that comes in A Course in Miracles from Jesus.

Amen.

It Is Not Necessary to Learn through Pain

“The patient could merely rise up without their [i.e., special agents] aid and say, ‘I have no use for this.’  There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once.  (M-5.II.3)”

Affirmation:  “I have no use for sickness today.”

Reflections:

1 – View of Sickness in ACIM

This passage reflects the uncompromising view of sickness in A Course in Miracles.  It is always something that can be healed.  We do not often believe this, and perhaps, in our limited way, we are indeed unable to find the healing that, on some level, we still want.  The Self may have chosen this sickness as a way to learn through pain, though Jesus would have us learn through rewards, a more lasting choice (from the Text).  Pain brings only a temporary learning experience.

2 – Learning through Pain = Temporary Effect

Perhaps it is time that our world learns the truth that it is not necessary to learn through pain (a Text tenet).  Perhaps we need to understand that learning through pain brings only a temporary respite, and that learning through rewards (which we can invite) is lasting–the only lasting cure.  (These are paraphrases from the Text.)

3 – Jesus

Again we need to stress the uncompromising nature of the words that Jesus gives us in this passage.  He is for health all the way, but he does not interfere with our choices.  Perhaps we are not ready to be healed; perhaps we have even chosen this means of exiting from this world by death.  Our minds cannot wrap around the truth of this passage without recognizing that there are deeper truths than we have ever recognized before.  We choose special agents (medical staff and/or medication) to give flesh to our desires.  Perhaps we need to question some of this as a form of magic best left behind.
Jesus does not countenance unwise choices.  He sees medication as a compromise approach to illness, in that our fear is not increased when we seek relief through this magic means.  He does not want our fear increased.  And when we are sick, we are, at least temporarily,  not in our right minds (from ACIM).  Lacking rightmindedness, we can only increase this deplorable state by an increase in fear.  And Jesus would not have us, as we are stressing, any increase in fear.

4 – Seek Guidance

Seek guidance if and when sickness visits.  Try to discover the reason for its visit, for there are psychic communications that the world does not recognize as real channels of communication (from the Manual).  With the knowledge of why we have become sick, we may be in a better position to welcome healing as a real possibility.  May we do not less today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take a completely focused stand for health in all its manifestations today.  I would not know physical or emotional pain/sickness/ill health.  I would entertain this possibility.  I know that this affirmation is in line with Your wishes for me, and I ask You now to help me to carry out this decision to stay well and healthy.

May my Self recognize that my personal self has made a decision in line with Your wishes.  I do not need to learn through pain.  I would not learn what can be only temporary in its effect.  I would learn through rewards, which Jesus says in ACIM is the only lasting cure.

May my weakness be overcome by Your joy.  I know that when I am joyous, I do not dwell on temporary, minor difficulties of any kind.  I would ask today that You keep me on the straight and narrow, back to You.

Amen.

Sickness Is an Election

“. . .[S]ickness is an election; a decision.  It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength.  (M-5.I.1)”

Affirmation:  “I would not choose sickness today.”

Reflections:

1 – Sickness, Pain, and Suffering

Now we study a section of the Manual that deals, on a deep level, with sickness, pain, and suffering.  The ideas in this section are unequivocal; they represent an Ideal (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We are human, and we cannot accept all of these ideas at face value; we are too weak, not yet risen to the position that the Self occupies.

2 – Sickness = Our Decision

But the more that we can entertain ideas such as these, that sickness is a decision of our minds, and a decision that can be changed, the more we follow Jesus.  Is he not the great healer?

3 – Busy Lives and Sickness

Do we not sometimes recognize that we will not allow ourselves to stop from our busyness, our much too busy lives, unless we get sick?  Do we not realize that we sometimes entertain such ideas, just as a way to legitimately stay home from work?  I think that we all can identify with what Jesus is telling us in A Course in Miracles, at least on this level.  We do have some control that even we, not yet risen to his level, can see.

4 – We All Choose Sickness

In this section of the Manual, Jesus places sickness as a decision that we all make from time to time.  We think that sickness gives us something that we want, and therefore we think that it is strength rather than the weakness that he declares sickness to be.

5 – Tiny Bits of Time to Rest

May we take the tiny bits of time today that we have to rest, so that we are not tempted to allow sickness as a legitimate way to avoid work.  May we open our minds, ever so little, to the idea that it is ourselves who welcome sickness into our lives, by our own decision.  And may we make the opposite decision today, the decision to stay healthy, or to invite health back into our lives, if we have already chosen sickness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I not be tempted today to choose sickness, when actually I just need some time to rest.  We are all so busy much of the time.  We think that we cannot take a timeout without a plausible excuse, and we think that sickness is a plausible excuse.

May I realize that this kind of thinking is akin to the insanity that the ego always leads us into.  I would thank You today for knowing that sickness is a decision, made on some level which I cannot always comprehend.  My Self is beyond my little, personal self that gets into trouble with the ego.  I would ask for Your blessing today so that I might know the Self better.

Be with me in the tiny illnesses that sometimes come my way.  I ask for the patience to heal, the patience to get the recuperation going.  Your Way is always the way of peace, quiet, and calm.  And it is these very things that keep sickness from being a part of my life.  I know that sometimes there are exceptions to this view of sickness, but help me to realize that my decision is the primary factor.  This places me under Your Providence, and gives me the strength to stay well.

Amen.

When Not at Peace

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the
   consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.  (T90)”

Affirmation:  “I can decide for peace.”

Reflections:

1 – Choose Peace Moment by Moment

This passage is a lovely blank verse poem.  If we are not at peace, we have made one or more errors.  We are in charge in making the decisions that will bring us to peace.  We can decide otherwise, and thus choose peace, moment by moment.

2 – Do Not “Study” the Ego

If we have already chosen wrongly, we may feel an ennui that is hard to describe.  This appears to be a time that we need to be especially protective of ourselves, but actually it is a prime time that we need to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  We have seen or done something that has made for increased fatigue, either mental or physical, and until we get to the root of the problem, we will suffer.  We are not to study the ego, though!  Jesus specifically says in A Course in Miracles that the ego (this part of ourselves that has led us astray) approves our study of it, that this study seems to increase its importance to us (from the Text).  But if we find fatigue, an unnatural fatigue, steeling over us, perhaps we need to stop what we are doing and commune with the Holy Spirit.  He will respond with some quiet thoughts that will come automatically into the mind, when we have calmed down the agitation enough to listen.  (These are interpretations of ACIM, not stated therein.)

3 – Undoing Eliminates Guilt

We do not have to feel guilty, because of the power and glory of the Holy Spirit.  He can undo the consequences of our wrong action or thought–the error that made us lose our peace in the beginning.

4 – “Perfectly Calm and Quiet

Peace is a great blessing.  All of us would choose it, rather than drama, if we would give it more thought.  “Perfectly calm and quiet” is said elsewhere in the Course as the direction in which we are heading.  We may, actually, not welcome this now, because we are tied to our dramas, but as we choose more and more the peace that God grants, we will know the genius of this proscription.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to decide for peace, not drama.  I am in charge of this decision, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  If I am not at peace, I have decided wrongly.  I choose now to change this decision to one of peace.

Help me to know the value of being perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  May the Holy Spirit, day by day, lead me in this direction.

Amen.

Overcoming Masochism

“The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God.  (T84-85)”

Affirmation:  “The ego believes. . .mitigate the  punishment of God.”

Reflections:

1 – An Explanation

This passage seems to explain masochism.  We think that if we cause pain to ourselves first, then God’s punishment of us (in which we erroneously believe) will be lessened.

2 – Insane Thinking

This is insane thinking.  The ego is insane.  Let us not forget this Course concept.

3 – We Do Not Have to Punish Ourselves

We in our egoistic thinking do not have to punish ourselves at all.  To do so actually is the reverse of what we want, for any number of reasons, including the fact that punishing ourselves strengthens the ego.  We want to let the ego wither away.  In no way does God punish us.  This concept of the Course is in line with the New Testament, but opposed to the Old Testament.  May we accept Jesus’s teaching in both the Course and the New Testament, and know God as a loving and accepting God who wants only the best for us.  Anything else we have unconsciously chosen, and this can be changed with the right understanding, and the right reflection upon what we are actually doing to ourselves.

4 – Healing

It is true that we can seek guidance and often be told the way to proceed in any affliction.  This does not mean that we avoid other healers and depend only on our minds.  Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that pills are a form of “spell,” but that if we are not strong enough, we need to turn to medications as a compromise approach to healing.  To do without the medications might raise the fear level, which is the last thing that we want to do.  (These are Text tenets.)

5 – Jesus Is Near

So we seek for healing on whatever level we can, knowing that the healer who is Jesus is never very far from us.  He promises us that he will come in response to one unequivocal call (from the Text).

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know that there is no need for me to punish myself for anything that I have done.  I may know guilt, and this is a form of punishment.  God would never punish; it is always us that are doing this.

May my ego wither away.  I have prayed for this often, and so I have not accepted the truth of this promise that it can wither away.  May I accept this promise now and forevermore.

Amen.

Do Not Turn Pain into Suffering

“How can you who are so holy suffer?  All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing.  I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had.  (T83)”

Affirmation:  “I have saved all your kindnesses and love.”

Reflections:

1 – Suffer?

This is a hard passage to understand.  It is true that Awakened individuals acknowledge feeling pain, but not suffering.  Eckhart Tolle is one of these individuals.  But most of us have not yet known Awakening on a sustained basis, and what are we to do when bad things happen?

2 – Think Kindness

I think that the Answer is the one we so often find in the Course.  The Answer is turning to guidance from the Holy Spirit.  Jesus himself says in this passage that he has saved our kindnesses and loving thoughts.  We can, without self-satisfaction, realize that, almost despite ourselves, we have had moments of kindnesses and loving thoughts.  If these were ever a comfort to our brother, they can also be a comfort to us in our times of pain.  This recollection will help to ensure that suffering, even in the midst of  pain, will not arise.

3 – Pain but No Suffering

We can find in the pain a blessing.  The passage seems to say this.   The passage also notes that we ourselves are holy, a concept that we find difficult to accept, because we usually feel so unworthy.  May we take Jesus at his word, and believe that we do not have to suffer in this world.  As we study the Course, perhaps we will come to see this concept more clearly and to feel pain, when it comes, but no suffering.

4 – Difficulty in Avoiding Suffering

We need to realize that we transform pain into suffering by our own thought processes.  Certainly in physical pain, it is hard not to get the mind involved.  We feel so bad physically that our bodies temporarily seem to take over our minds.  Whatever we do, in this world there probably will never be one correct action to take–other than asking for the Holy Spirit to give us the guidance that we need to remedy the situation.  He will answer, though if we are agitated, we may not “hear” what He has to say.  Seek calm and quiet, not agitation, and see how much more readily the physical pain ceases to be an affliction that can only be called “suffering.”

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know in my innermost being that I do not need to suffer.  In the Course, Jesus says that we do not have to learn through pain.  May I feel the truth of this reassurance.

It is good that my loving thoughts have been saved.  This seems to mean that my unloving thoughts will fall away.  Thank you.

Amen.