Tag Archives: past

Walk into the Present Moment for the Best Living

“[Y]ou need not heal the hurts of the past, nor project or plan a golden future of revenge for a baleful past.”  COL bk.2, 19:II

This quotation flies in the face of psychotherapy, which focuses very often on an attempt to heal the past by bringing it up for consideration.  But this does mean that we tend to live in the past, and that is a dead end.  We are often in low moods when we decide to consider the past, and this just makes our current predicament seem insurmountable. 

There is a better way.  Consider the past only in lifted moods, and then what we experienced is more likely to stay in the past, where it belongs.  We do not have to dwell in the past at all.  It was what it was.  “Healing” the past all too often keeps us tied to it, and we want to walk into the sunlight with Jesus holding our hand.

We certainly don’t want to plot revenge, which is the opposite of forgiveness.  Largely the reason that we don’t need to heal the past is that it only needs our forgiveness.  If we offer that, the past ceases to bother us.  And we are on the road to a happier life.

Let the past remain in the past.  Don’t try to relive it; don’t try to reform it.  Just realize that the secret to good living is remaining in the moment.  This moment. 

Our past doesn’t have to drag us down unless we make a decision for it to do so.  Let the past drop from us like chains that have bound us.  And the chains will miraculously fall from our body.

Illusory Past Is Gone

“If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible, and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centered on this. Everything God wills is not only possible, but has already happened. And that is why the past is gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your mind, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.” (ACIM, T-18.IV.8)

We do not prepare ourselves for the holy instant. The holy instant comes to us as a gift, free, of the Holy Spirit. And the bestowal is a miracle which we do not seek to “deserve.” We cannot deserve a miracle; miracles are shifts from horizontal to vertical perception that allows us access to God Himself. Jesus decides when these miracles come to us, and he, in turn, alerts us as to what miracles are ripe for us to perform. We think, in our ignorance, that there are orders of difficulty in miracles—but illusions aren’t hard to change, once the perceiver is recognized. And we are the perceiver.

The past was made up of illusions, and we don’t have to cling to illusions. We can give them up as easily as we made them up.

Let’s give up illusions of a frightful past today, knowing that we have this action in our power. Ask for help, if need be, and you will find help surround you. True reality then will follow on the heels of the victory of giving up illusions.

Atonement Saves the Past in Purified Form Only

“The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. (T-5.V.7)”

We all have things that we regret. We all have fallen short of our ideal for good behavior, good thoughts, and, all in all, good living. Jesus offers a remedy for us in this sentence: the Atonement.

Studying the mistake does not lead us to the good. We need to remember those times in the past, the “purified form” of the past, when we thought, said, and did the right things. These are what we can really assimilate; these will lead us home.

When we have met correction in the form of the Atonement, we move forward into a new day, keeping with us only what we admire about our past. If we are still trapped in the ego, our admiration will not be a good directing force; we will need to call on the Holy Spirit to call to mind what there really was in our past that has been worthy of admiration. And He will respond. He wants us home as much as we want to go.

So this is a worthy purpose of the Atonement, to bring to mind for the forever future just what has been purified from the past.

We don’t need to regret the past. We can step away from it by focusing on how we do want to act in the future. And the Holy Spirit will offer us the guidance to know what to do and when. His guidance is sure, far better than our own feeble attempts to master our lives. We look to the resurrection to know that Jesus has done his part. Now we are to follow his lead, and learn how to walk where he leads by dwelling in our thoughts on what we have done right.

Remember: Studying the mistakes does not work. Listening to the good, right things does.

The Future Can Be Different from the Past

Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_015 - cafe terrace at night“You must now birth the idea that human beings do indeed change. While you have known instinctively that there is a core, a center to each that is unchangeable, you must now give up the idea that this core or center has been represented by the past. You must forget the idea that the future cannot be different than the past. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 15.7)”

Affirmation: “The future can be different from the past.”

Reflections:

1 – The Past

The past carries a lot of baggage. Just prior to the passage for today, Jesus gives examples of apprehensions about the future for certain people being any different from their past. He catalogs a student who has done poorly in school in the past (and hopes to change), an alcoholic who is on the wagon (and hopes to stay there), the loved ones of an alcoholic (who hope for the best), and criminals in our penal system who are not really expected to be rehabilitated. In all of these cases, the past can be changed, even though expectations are sometimes low. In today’s passage, Jesus affirms for us that the past does not have to hold us captive. We can change, and so can our circumstances.

2 – Our “Center”

The core or center of a person has not really been represented by the personal self in league with the ego. There is an unchangeable core or center, but for most people we have never seen it. But it is this core or center that is the Self/Christ toward which we are marching. And when this Self/Christ comes forth, the future will be very unlike the past. People will seem to change and to change greatly.

3 – Christ Self

Let us have hope that the individuals in this world will come more and more to rely on the Christ Self that is within. Jesus has said that we are now living in the time of Christ, that the time of the Holy Spirit (represented by A Course in Miracles) is over. By this, I understand him to be saying that those of us who read and take to heart A Course of Love are living in the time of Christ. (This is personal interpretation.) For those still depending upon the Holy Spirit, ACIM is appropriate, but there is a step beyond, in ACOL, that we are seeking. And we can know the Awakening that ACIM holds out to us, and we can know the Christ-consciousness that ACOL discusses, and these two descriptions of enlightenment are different terms for the same phenomenon. Not everybody will reach enlightenment, but many of us will see glimpses of enlightenment in our daily lives. And the extent to which we give over our egoic self-will is the extent to which God (or the Holy Spirit, in ACIM) can work with us. We can change. Let us take steps today that will look inward to that core or center that does not change. Let us realize that the egoic personal self can transform into the holy personal self (an interpretation, not stated as such in either ACIM or ACOL).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

This is a time of great change for me, and not only in external factors. I hope to change on the inside, so that my central core becomes One with You. Help me to make this transition, a transition that is in line with Your wishes for all of us.

Be with me in the days that follow. May the external changes that I face be gentle and easy. May the internal changes that I hope for come without hassle and upset.

I wish for my brothers and sisters, as well as myself, a good day. I know that if all of us stay attuned to You, the day will go well—regardless of what we face.

Amen.

To Live the Life Dreamed Of

Manet-Portrait_Berthe_Morisot_with_Violets
“The only difference between the life you are living and the life you want lies in your willingness to express who you are. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 3.1)”

Affirmation: “I would seek to know who I really am today.”

Reflections:

1 – Self-Expressive

We need a certain freedom to be self-expressive in this world. We will live the life that we have dreamed of when we let ourselves go and not try so hard to conform to dictates from others that find no place in our heart.

2 – Our Childhood

Many of us grew up trying to conform to the wishes of our elders, usually our parents. Others rebelled against their intentions, but still this was a reaction of “no,” and doing the exact opposite was still an influence from elders.

3 – Guidance

How exactly do we live the life that we want? We follow guidance from God. The inner Self/Christ will know, just know, what to say and do. Our will and that of our God are identical. He speaks for us (a tenet of A Course in Miracles, speaking of the Holy Spirit). God would have us express who we really are, but we are such confused beings on this issue. We wonder, “Who am I?” And we ask this question in a thousand ways and more. Yet inside we know the answer. Only the ego prevents our emergence into the Self/Christ that will blossom one day.

4 – The Past

We need to stop living the constricted life that is based on the past. We need to start afresh each day, turning to God each morning for the marching orders for the day. He will not be harsh or stern with us; He will love us. And we will benefit greatly from our times of communion with Him. Living the life that expresses who we are is not hard at all. It is going against the truth of who we are that is contrary to God’s will and our own will.

5 – Starting Over?

Now, many of us can get some rather crazy notions in our heads, in an impulsive way, about throwing over the life that we have so carefully built and starting all over. Lest this direction be your bent, think again. Impulsively throwing overboard our loved ones for a life of “freedom” is not what being who we are is really about. We need each other, and God has given each of us significant others for whom we are chosen people. Impulsivity is not living who you are. Insufficient thought before change is made is a detriment to the right change. So think carefully, with the heart, before chucking it all to be “free.” There is not greater freedom than the joy that we get from attending to the needs of our loved ones.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for Your guidance today. It is easy to want to be independent and free, freed of ties. But I would not live thus. My significant others are given to me for a purpose. And I am given to them. The blessings that we enjoy together come from You. I know that independence is best lived when it is actually interdependence.

May we leave behind the chains from our past, our childhood. We need to forgive our families, for they did the best that they could. Even if it was imperfect.
I too am imperfect. And I thank You that Jesus can heal those imperfections of mine if I will give him half a chance.

I would give him a chance today.

Amen.