Tag Archives: personal experience

Finally Ready for A Course in Miracles, by Elena Capitanul-Conea

Note: First in the series “Saturday Features,” written by viewers of this blog.

On my spiritual journey I came across many techniques, mentors, systems, books on “how to become more…” or the “X steps to achieve that…” type of readings.

Nothing stuck until this year, when we all know is a “no more excuses, just do it” type of energy. No buts and maybes, just go for it! If you are wavering, of course the Universe will quickly put you on your fast track towards awakening. It’s time!

So this year for me it was one with profound spiritual shifts, integrating yoga and meditation in my daily spiritual practice. All the knowledge I joyfully and very curiously read about was pushing me to bring them into manifestation, put them into practice. And while looking for guidance I came across Gabrielle Bernstein’s Miracles Now book which references in many occasions the ACIM. So I thought, hey! This sounds familiar! I’ve heard about it before…couldn’t remember when or how, but I knew that book and I crossed paths before. So one night while reading Gabrielle’s book I just felt the urge to go online and buy a copy. The calling was very strong and I even found it on sale?! Now it’s stored in my Kindle app waiting patiently to begin our journey together.

While I gave myself the time to embrace the teachings that resonated with me, I considered it was also a good time to do some de-cluttering in all aspects of life. While in some, the Universe has a big saying, I pretty much need to take care of my own email. So, while browsing and deleting all unnecessary old emails, I found a label called ACIM with numerous excerpts from the Course dated more than two years ago. Smiling, I told myself “I know you have patience, but I think your patience ran out!”.

So here I am now! I just finished Gabrielle’s book, which planted the seeds and steered me towards ACIM (again). I don’t know if I am ready for it! Do we have to be? Is there a proper time? I think in my case it needed some preparation…or maybe I didn’t have my heart opened enough to acknowledge it the first time I hold the book in my hands. Yep, I did that too! And I put it back on the shelf thinking “oh, this is too big, too heavy, too much for me”.

But I am not scared anymore! Ok, maybe I am…just a little! But this time I am not backing out! So no more excuses for me! I am ready! I have the Course, my notebook is ready! Here we go!

P.S. For whosoever is reading this and thinking that by missing an opportunity they lost precious time and that life could have been significantly different if they hadn’t, please STOP. Nothing is lost, nothing is wasted. All comes to us in proper due time.

But I have to say it, God has the best sense of humor!

Are “Psychic” Powers Desirable?

1 – No “Unnatural” Powers

“There are, of course, no ‘unnatural’ powers, and it is obviously merely an appeal to magic to make up a power that does not exist. It is equally obvious, however, that each individual has many abilities of which he is unaware. (M62)”

2 – Inner Knowledge

When we walk along the pathway to Awakening, we will find ourselves surprised by the inner knowledge that comes to us. We must be careful, lest the weakened ego use this newfound knowledge to trip us up. There are no unnatural powers; we are simply becoming more natural.

3 – Right Here and Now

Be glad of knowing in advance what might transpire on any given day. Normally the psychic flash is not for some far-distant vision, but right here and now. We will also know when we are saying and doing things that are not quite on the beam, when we are leading people astray. These intuitions matter.

4 – Psychic Flashes

Of course, we may get psychic flashes for events that are important to us and that are far in the future. I knew when I was about 30 that I would marry at 39. And I did. I had not met my husband-to-be, but I realized that I had seen, however briefly, the future. Of course, getting married was an important event, personally, for me. Marriage gave me my “brother,” as A Course in Miracles says, and he has been my greatest earthly teacher.

5 – Ordinary People

So the psychic does intrude on ordinary people. The psychic who receives pay for services rendered needs to be above board at all times, and it is sometimes hard to predict psychic flashes. And so dishonesty is rampant in the psychic-for-pay field. What a pity! This is the turning of a gift into a weapon of the ego. And Jesus would never have us do this.

6 – Magic

We do not want to appeal to magic, in the sense that Jesus uses the word. He uses magic to mean the irrational faculties that psychology has identified.

7 – Communication

“Certainly there are many ‘psychic’ powers that are clearly in line with this course. Communication is not limited to the small range of channels the world recognizes. If it were, there would be little point in trying to teach salvation. It would be impossible to do so. (M62)”

8 – ACIM

The Course is never specific about these “psychic” powers, but it may be interpreted that the usual kinds of psychic powers are meant, all a form of ESP. Certainly we sometimes seem to know what those closest to us are thinking. This is a universal experience.

9 – Guidance

Guidance from the Holy Spirit is often received in a psychic manner. We get an intuitive sense of what to say or do next, and we follow, and we discover that what we said or did by this prompting was, oh, ever so right. Living by following guidance is the most joyous way to live.

10 – Flexible

We must be flexible, be able to turn on a dime, if we wish to take advantage of psychic powers that are in line with the Course. The Holy Spirit does, indeed, sometimes guide us months and years in advance, but this is not the most common way. The most common way is to intuit the next thing that we should do or say. Otherwise, we would, in our egoic state, be susceptible to planning against contingencies to come, which the Course specifically says is not a desired characteristic. We need to do the next right thing, and then the next, and the next. Then life flows smoothly, and we know the blessings that A Course in Miracles holds out to us.

11 – Limits

“Who transcends these limits in any way is merely become more natural. He is doing nothing special, and there is no magic in his accomplishments. (M62)”

12 – Ego

We cannot see ourselves as special in any way and avoid an identification with the ego. We are not doing anything special when we are being psychic. We have just, at least for now, transcended the boundaries of what formerly kept us captive.

13 – Psychic Powers

“Even those who no longer value the material things of the world may still be deceived by ‘psychic’ powers. As investment has been withdrawn from the world’s material gifts, the ego has been seriously threatened. It may still be strong enough to rally under this new temptation to win back strength by guile. Many have not seen through the ego’s defenses here, although they are not particularly subtle. (M63)”

14 – Warning

This passage includes a stern warning, and it is one that I have taken to heart as I have experienced more psychic gifts as time has passed. I want the ego to wither away, and to do so I cannot reinforce it by my own faulty thinking. The ego, as a part of our belief about ourselves, will do anything to keep us “safe” as the ego defines safety. If we don’t put much store by the physical things of the world, we still may be beguiled by psychic powers that seem special. And “special” is of the ego. Always.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be led to the psychic powers that can benefit my world.

May I not seek for what would be harmful. May the Holy Spirit guide me. May I always be willing to accept His guidance.

Be with me today as I explore my psychic nature. Thank you for being a part of my life always.

Amen.

How Is God’s Peace Recognized?

1 – Everlasting Quiet

“First, how can the peace of God be recognized? God’s peace is recognized at first by just one thing; in every way it is totally unlike all previous experiences. It calls to mind nothing that went before. . .The past just slips away, and in its place is everlasting quiet. Only that. The contrast first perceived has merely gone. Quiet has reached to cover everything. (M51)”

2 – Personal Experience

This morning, a Sunday morning, I am experiencing some of that peace of God told us in this passage. There is no preparation that is for certain; the peace comes out of the blue; prayer doesn’t necessarily precede it.

3 – Personal Experience II

I am sitting on my screen porch while the rain pelts down. The ambiance may have created some of the mood necessary to feel God’s peace.

4 – Surreal Peace

The quiet comes unbidden, but then it stays and stays, if we are lucky. The peace is almost surreal. It truly does feel like nothing experienced before, as the passage says.

5 – Presence of God

I know that this mood of mine, this Presence of God, felt, will not last. But while it is lasting, it is blessing me. And I hope that knowing it comes to anybody else can encourage a hope in you that the peace will descend upon you just as unexpectedly.

6 – Satisfy the Conditions

“How is this quiet found? No one can fail to find it who but seeks out its conditions. God’s peace can never come where anger is, for anger must deny that peace exists. (M51)”

7 – Avoid Anger

I am not angry at all this morning. Perhaps that is one key, as this passage suggests. If we seek out the conditions of this peace, what will we seek? We will strive to stay on an even keel with our moods (though sometimes this may seem impossible). We may pray without ceasing, and this too is calming to the mind and negates the ego’s striving to “get.”

8 – War

“How is the peace of God retained, once it is found? Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again. And the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return. War is again accepted as the one reality. (M51)”

9 – What to Avoid

The stress in these passages is to avoid anger, but I think that this does not mean that we suppress anger. We use our minds to get us out of the anger. We know that whatever we are experiencing is coming about because we don’t recognize another’s attack as the call for love and the call for help that it truly is. When we answer a call, we are no longer bound by the negative feelings that will come up if we don’t answer, if we just try to suppress.

10 – Mindfulness

Our own mindfulness, really noticing each thing that we do, will create conditions welcoming to the relief of anger. Mindful breathing and mindful walking are two techniques recommended by the well-known Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. Perhaps today we all need to take a cue from his teachings.

11 – Justified Anger?

“Who sees anger as justified in any way or any circumstance proclaims that peace is meaningless, and must believe that it cannot exist. (M51)”

12 – Call for Help

Anger, it is said elsewhere in the Course, is actually a call for help. It may also be viewed as a call for love. Our task is to run to our brother or sister’s side, and to offer solace–that help or love that is really wanted. We may not do this overtly if the other person is not receptive. We may only pray for our brother or sister, or smile at them, or even just make small talk. Ask for guidance in the thought or action that is needed. We must be sensitive to the plight of our brother or sister, and overt action may not be desirable.

13 – Take Peace to Heart

So we see that anger is never justified. Peace is not meaningless. God’s way is right, and peace can exist. These are wonderful concepts to take to heart.

14 – Retaliation

As long as the ego is in charge, we will be tempted to return attack for attack, but responding in this way is always wrong. Attacks is what Jesus calls a “magic thought,” and anger is thus not justified. We need to the inner quiet and calm that ensures that we will respond to magic thoughts of others (and ourselves) with compassion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I immediately recognize anger on my own part and that of others to be a call for help, meriting compassion rather than anger. May I offer the help and love that is needed. May I be gentle to myself, and may I be gentle to others.

Peace is what I want above all else. I do not want to do anything that renders peace meaningless. Please help me in this.

Amen.

Peace Is Impossible to Those Who Look on War. Peace Is Inevitable to Those Who Offer Peace.

1 – The World We See

“The world you see cannot be the world God loves, and yet His Word assures us that He loves the world. God’s word has promised that peace is possible here, and what He promises can hardly be impossible. But it is true that the world must be looked at differently, if His promises are to be accepted. (M29)”

2 – Two Worlds

Is it possible to live in two worlds simultaneously? I think that it is, and, though this passage does not specifically counsel this living in two worlds, I think that this is implied. How to do that? Know that one’s head may be in the clouds even as one’s feet are on the ground. We can live in the spiritual realm while possessing a physical body on earth, and this physical body is the elevated Self of form (as described in A Course of Love).

3 – The Physical

The physical is not denigrated; it is exalted. And, being physical creatures, we welcome this exaltation. We look differently upon the world that God loves, and we in our physical bodies are part of that world.

4 – Happy

He will never leave us nor forsake us. He wants us happy. We cannot be happy if we regret the bodies that we occupy.

5 – Illusions

It is true that A Course in Miracles emphasizes the illusory nature of this world, and it is just because it is illusion that we can look upon it so differently. We can change the illusion, the dream, to something better, with the help of the Holy Spirit, who brings us happy dreams.

6 – What the World Is

“What the world is, is but a fact. You cannot choose what this should be. But you can choose how you would see it. Indeed, you must choose this. (M29)”

7 – Interpretation

This passage explains that what we see is an interpretation. We can choose to interpret through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, or we can look upon devastation and feel badly.

8 – Change Ourselves First

The Course consistently asks that we look at ourselves first, making changes in ourselves rather than trying to change our brothers and sisters to fit the image that we have made of them. If they have made mistakes (not “sinned”), then we forgive. That is the way of the Course. We remember that, regardless of how bad the situation looks, the wrongdoing has been perpetrated by someone who was doing the best that he could, given his view of the world.

9 – Choose

So we choose how we see the world. We do not judge its wrongs; we let the Holy Spirit do that. We choose to look upon sinlessness, and in so doing, we are in the state of grace. None of us could hope for more.

10 – Holy Spirit

“The text explains that the Holy Spirit is the Answer to all problems you have made. These problems are not real, but that is meaningless to those who believe in them. And everyone believes in what he made, for it was made by his believing it. (M29)”

11 – No Problems

Would you like to live as though you have no problems? This is indeed possible and even desirable.

12 – Personal Experience

I remember when I once had several problems, chief among them being to find a new job. But I was enthralled by what I had read in A Course in Miracles, and I calmly told my mother, “I have no problems.” This assertion helped to make it so, and a few short months later, I was happily ensconced in a new work position. The fact is that in that moment of telling her that I had no problems, I set the stage for the solving of my “problem” of no job. My faith was strong at that moment.

13 – Faith

Were my faith always so strong, my life would have been much smoother. Resolve today to have a smooth life, depending on your faith to make it so.

14 – Judgment

“Gently His [the Holy Spirit] Judgment substitutes for yours. And through this substitution is the un-understandable made understandable. (M29)”

15 – Guidance

This passage refers to the guidance that we have been studying recently in this blog. The guidance, according to A Course in Miracles, comes from the Holy Spirit or Universal Inspiration. He is “in” us in a very real sense. He is our link to God, and God is deep within us, covered over by a layer of forgetfulness.

16 – God

Let us resolve today to remove some of the layers of illusion that separate us from our God. This action is completely possible, and to make this illusion disappear we need only to believe that it is possible.

17 – The Un-Understandable

We understand the un-understandable now. We see through things that have been mysteries to us. Awakening certainly brings new insights, for the unconscious is suddenly conscious. This can be a time of great turmoil, but it does not have to be, for ACIM is preparing us for the great blessing of enlightenment. The means are being carefully explained to us. When we give up judging, we will awaken—that is the promise given us in A Course in Miracles. And in the passage above, we are encouraged to give up judgment. Let the Holy Spirit tell us what to think, say, and do. There is no better way to proceed.

18 – Peace

“Peace is impossible to those who look on war. Peace is inevitable to those who offer peace. (M29)”

19 – Personal Experience

I was once in a very difficult work environment. And I posted these two sentences on the bulletin board in back of my desk at work. They had a good effect. They gave me peace, just to read the words.

I was faced with a human “enemy” who wanted to see me undone. Her attacks had come out of the blue, for I had thought, for a year, that we were friends. That betrayal was the worst part, and I often asked myself, “How could I have seen her so differently?”

She needed a scapegoat to bolster her own shaky ego. A colleague once described my “enemy” as being encased in armor to protect herself. Indeed she needed to feel that she was protected from receiving the same barbs that she was giving out. Of course, this was impossible. The armor, borne of the ego, only made things worse.

I remained on good terms with her, despite a certain wariness in me. And within two years of her vicious attack, my life changed and I moved from that difficult job.

She went on to find another scapegoat, for I heard what happened after I left that job.

Do we really want to live this way? Certainly not! She was a mirror for my own ego, and as I escaped from the world that I saw, giving up attack thoughts, I did indeed escape, at least partially, from the ego. My new colleagues at my new work were much more congenial people. I had moved into a place of good karma.

My “enemy” had her own demons, pursuing her relentlessly. It was not, as I found, up to me to enlighten her of the best way to live. But it is certain that her ego constantly was being undermined. That is what happens to an egoic attitude toward life.

20 – Offer Peace

So let us offer peace to all we encounter. We will know a joy that is unbounded. Our days will flow in new peace. And we will encounter far fewer “enemies” among our fellow men and women.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to leave the past behind, especially the bad memories. I do not have to relive that past. With Your help, I have escaped, and I thank You for that.

Thank You for the many years of work in a congenial environment. I knew how to appreciate congeniality when I found it. Most of the time I didn’t look back. May I look forward today.

Amen.

When We See that Sickness Has No Value: One Need but Say, “There Is No Gain at all to Me in This” and He/She Is Healed.

1 – Valuelessness of Sickness

“Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. One need but say, ‘There is no gain at all to me in this’ and he is healed. (M17)”

2 – Belief

Do we really believe this? If we can believe it, then it will become true for us. “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (from the Bible).

3 – Not Everyone

Of course, not everyone does recognize the valuelessness of sickness. Some are learning lessons through sickness. Some are healed physically, some emotionally. And some do die, for most develop an illness as a way to make the transition to the Other Side.

4 – Healing Difficult to Understand

Healing is a part of the Manual that may be especially difficult to understand. We look all around us, and we see some brothers and sisters who are sick, even unto death, and we just do not believe A Course in Miracles when it says that healing will occur when the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. If sickness has a value to us (which it often does), then according to ACIM, we won’t know healing.

5 – Pain

Yet we can feel better. We may know pain, but we don’t have to know suffering. To my mind, attitude makes a great difference.

6 – 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. (M18)”

The body does not become ill all by itself. The mind controls. Always the mind. If we change our mind about sickness, very often we get well—emotionally, even if not physically. And this is wellness as well.

7 – The Body

We need to recognize that the body is not autonomous, though the ego would have us imagine that it is. Sickness is a powerful ego device that keeps us in bondage to that ego. We become weak, and we identify with the body in that weakness, and then the ego is, once again, in the ascendancy.

8 – The Mind

This need not be. We can recognize that it is the mind that makes these decisions, and we can turn aside from the decisions that we don’t want.

9 – Physician

“Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses them in order to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. (M18)”

This passage states that any illness or medical condition is chosen by the individual. Having the “right” physician to cure one is a wrong concept. If cure is desired, then the right physician will be present, for the physician is the mind of the patient himself.

10 – Dying

We do not often understand this concept, but it can be very helpful if a loved one is dying. We can realize that, on some level, he or she has chosen this time to make an exit, and the best medical care in the world will not save that individual if he or she has determined that the time to die is now.

11 – Cure

On a more optimistic note, we can see that the mind of the individual can also cure. The illness may have been chosen for some reason other than final exit. There may be things that the individual wishes to learn from the illness. Elsewhere Jesus says that illness is some form of external searching. We do not have to search externally, but often we do choose to do so. This then becomes the reason for illness. A change in mind can effect a seeming miracle, but it is a natural law, in many cases, rather than a miracle. Of course, it is clear that our world does not yet accept this natural law or even know of its existence.

12 – Personal Experience

I turned to this passage more than 20 years ago when it appeared that my father, in intensive care, was dying. The words are very comforting. I could realize that he had chosen this time to make his exit. And I was at peace.

13 – The World Does Nothing

“The world does nothing to him. He only thought it did. Nor does he do anything to the world, because he was mistaken about what it is. Herein 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.

14 – An Illusion

The implied message of this passage is that the world is an illusion, and hence it does “nothing to him,” “Nor does he do anything to the world. If we can really see that we live a dream, we will be released from our guilt about what we have said and done, and sickness will disappear as well. The body is also part of that illusion, for it is part of the world. Only the mind and spirit are real, and we project the perception that we see outside of us.

15 – The Body

Consequently, the body is seen as insignificant in A Course in Miracles. There is a slightly different focus in A Course of Love, in which we are said to occupy, once Awakening has occurred, an “elevated Self of form.” The body is not so insignificant when elevated to the real world. And the real world is a place of harmony, peace, joy—the intangibles of God.

16 – Pain

“With this idea is pain forever gone. (M18)”

We may see the bad things that happen, still, to be learning experiences more than an example of pain. So much is a matter of attitude, and pain is an egoic notion that elevates the ego so that we think that we can’t be free.

17 – Holy Spirit

We can be free, when we follow the Holy Spirit, for our will is no longer imprisoned, and His Way for us points out the good, the true, and the desirable.

18 – Remembrance of God

“The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God. What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. (M18)”

When we remember God, we are at home in His love. We have awakened. Any bad thing that might still happen will not touch our hearts. We feel no guilt, we deemphasize sickness.

19 – Heaven on Earth

The way is cleared to Heaven on earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to choose rightly in regard to my health. May I realize that the power of my decision, of my Self, makes the conditions in which I find myself.

Thank you for this insight. I know that the little self does not understand, but my larger Self does.

Amen.

The Gentle Have No Pain. Why Would They Not Be Joyous?

1 – Beloved

“The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. (M13)”

Gentleness works. On the days that I am most gentle, I walk a smooth pathway. Nothing fazes me. Life is good. Part of this blessing is that I know that I am safe in this world, regardless of what the world throws at me.

2 – Safety

You are safe also. All of us are equal children of God, receiving equal blessings when we come to ourselves enough to ask for those blessings. But we must ask. The Bible is filled with examples of blessings that can be ours, but for which we must ask (ACIM tenet).

3 – Greedy?

We are not being greedy when we ask for what God wants for us anyway. He wants all good for us. Never is He guilty of bringing to us pain; we do this to ourselves.

4 – Personal Experience

When I was growing up, I did not want to be greedy in any sense at all. My mother told me that she and my father had a hard time knowing what Santa should bring, because I would not name what I wanted.

5 – Personal Experience II

Later on, when I was 25, I saw a vision (hallucination) of my bad karma, and it was the fact that I wanted to “get mine.” This is technically called “rapaciousness,” and William Faulkner, Nobel Prize laureate, has a great deal to say about this character trait. It is wanting for self, a reaching forth in a negative fashion. Loosely understood, it is greed.

6 – Restlessness

But gentleness quells all this restlessness to “have.” It is quite true that God wants us to have everything good, and we will not be satisfied until we do have everything. The ego tells us that sometimes we separate out something very desirable (from the ego’s standpoint) as if to say that having this one thing, we will forego all other (ACIM paraphrase). Yet this fails to satisfy, if we succeed in getting this desired goal. For we want everything, and everything does belong to us in truth.

7 – Joy

“Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. (M13)”

We will be happy if we can remain gentle; this is joy. We will certainly feel remorse, at least later on, if we succumb to attack; this is the tragedy of grief experienced.

8 – Attack

It is true that momentarily after attack, we may feel better, not worse. This is because we think, erroneously, that we have gotten rid of the guilt that has otherwise dogged us on our paths. But we haven’t really gotten rid of the guilt. It has, instead, become enhanced through our giving in to attack. This is the folly that we don’t see when suddenly we “see red.”

9 – Find the Gentleness

To find the joy, we must find the gentleness. To remove the grief, we must disavow attack. This formula works in daily life. Why don’t we all give it a try?

“God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. (M13)”

Yet another passage affirming the validity of guidance by the Holy Spirit, Who is identified here as God’s Voice, we know that this is true—if we have studied A Course in Miracles to any extent at all. The Holy Spirit, to Whom we give up our own puny judgment, gives us our real will. And we are made happy in this exchange.

10 – No Harm!

No harm! Yes! Even bad things lose their sting. We know that our real Self, the Christ within, cannot be harmed in any way. Let the world do what it will, we are safe.

11 – Song of Thanks

“Joy is their song of thanks. . . .How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation! (M13)”

Would it not be a wonderful thing to be joyous all the time! That is indeed the very blessing that is held out to us in Awakening. I have a friend who experienced Awakening some 30 years ago, and she is a prime example of happiness in life. The negative does not hurt her at all. She sees the bigger picture.

12 – Awakening

And so can we all, even before we experience enlightenment. Enlightenment is increasing in numbers, according to Eckhart Tolle, but is still comparatively rare. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (from the Bible), knowing what the glorious end will be.

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack in all my dealings with my brothers and sisters. This one step will give me joy. Gentleness will also accompany this change in me.

Thank you for the courage to give up attack. Help me to realize that it offers nothing that I want, and everything that I do not want. Lead me along Your pathway to joy, led by the gentleness that You will help me to acquire.

Amen.

“Seek and Ye Shall Find” Does Not Mean that You Should Seek Blindly and Desperately for Something You Would Not Recognize.

1 – Where Can I Go for Protection?

“This is the question that must be asked: ‘Where can I go for protection?’ ‘Seek and ye shall find’ does not mean that you should seek blindly and desperately for something you would not recognize. Meaningful seeking is consciously undertaken, consciously organized and consciously directed. (T66)”

We ought not to beseech Heaven for a miracle that we would not recognize at high noon. This is a paraphrase from a favorite book of mine by Michael Drury. If we seek haphazardly, we seek amiss. And we will not find. But meaningful seeking, that is seeking that is directed by the Holy Spirit, always ends happily. We find. And we are blessed by what we find.

2 – Seek and Ye Shall Find

When I was in high school, the quotation from the New Testament given here (“Seek and ye shall find”) meant a great deal to me. With science and evolution, I was no longer a fundamentalist. And I needed something to cling to. I somehow realized that if I sought from God, He would answer.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Matthew 7:7)”

This was my lodestone, in high school and beyond.

3 – Learning

“You learn best when you believe what you are trying to learn is of value to you. However, not everything you may want to learn has lasting value. Indeed, many of the things you want to learn may be chosen because their value will not last. (M66)”

Why would we choose to learn something that is not of sting value to ourselves? This seems to be a paradox, and perhaps it is. But when we realize that we may have chosen whole careers that were not chosen for the right reasons, we may realize that the ego has been involved.

4 – Careers

But we probably had problems in those careers that were chosen for less-than-the-best reasons. More than just careers have been involved, though. Our choices in relationships may have been flawed as well. Our insanity covers a great deal of our lives.

5 – Value

We can learn best when we turn to learn those things that are of value. And those things are always lasting. Surely we can do this as we learn from A Course in Miracles to choose aright.

6 – What For?

“In all these diversionary tactics, however, the one question that is never asked by those who pursue them is, ‘What for?’ This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically. (T67)”

We need to choose aright, obviously. “What for?” can put us on the right pathway. Elsewhere ACIM says that we sometimes want to learn something because its value will not last. I think that this is a diversionary tactic by the nefarious ego, always with the intent to waylay us. The ego acts as though it were autonomous, and sometimes it does seem to be, but we remain in control. Our minds can turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance just as easily (more easily, actually) as the ego.

7 – Egotistical

Turn from the egotistical. Don’t let such notions occupy our holy minds a moment longer. The “egotistical” is not all that the ego means, but it is a start. The ego is our false persona, the one that strives for triumph at our brother’s expense, the one that longs to achieve when cooperation works best in our world, the one that puts the self in a very self-centered light. Don’t follow these dictates any longer. They will not get us what we want. Oh, they may seem to do so. But after the short-lived joy of getting something we want, we are once more in despair because our wants have not been satisfied. When we place our faith in the intangibles of God, the peace, hope, joy, harmony, music of the spheres, we are led along a rose-strewn pathway that always leads to what we truly want.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May we choose only those things that have lasting value. May we turn aside from those things that do not have lasting value. May we not be tempted to learn those non-lasting things because they do not have value.

I know that the ego is involved when I reach for something that cannot be sustained. Help me always to choose aright, and this means that it is time to leave the ego behind.

Amen.

Pray. . .and True Humility Will Come at Last to Grace the Mind that Thought It Was Alone and Stood Against the World.

1 – True Humility

True humility means that we no longer act egotistically. A friend of mine whom I think has reached enlightenment seems ego-less. She is calm and easy in her demeanor, and she seems very much at peace—regardless of what swirls around her. She is a results-oriented person who works hard but is not compulsive about work. And she engages in written dialogues with what she calls her Inner Wisdom, which we can understand is the inner Self.
We know that prayer helps us to reach this new state of mind and heart. Here is the relevant passage:

“Prayer is a way to true humility. And here again it rises slowly up, and grows in strength and love and holiness. Let it but leave the ground where it begins to rise to God, and true humility will come at last to grace the mind that thought it was alone and stood against the world. (S-1.V.1)”

2 – Personal Experience

Prayer is very important to me personally. When I am anxious, I can pray and immediately feel God’s presence, soothing me. And this is a very practical way of viewing prayer. But the Presence is enough to allow communion with the Divine. It is enough to set a day on the right pathway. There is no end, it seems, to be blessings that prayer can wrought.

3 – Prayer

“Now prayer is lifted from the world of things, of bodies, and of gods of every kind, and you can rest in holiness at last. Humility has come to teach you how to understand your glory as God’s son, and recognize the arrogance of sin. A dream has veiled the face of Christ from you. Now can you look upon His sinlessness. (S-1.V.3)”

4 – Beyond the Illusion

We seem in this passage to have reached beyond the dream, the illusion in which we live. But here we can see that there has been a dream that “veiled the face of Christ from you.” Now we look upon His sinlessness.

5 – Personal Experience

I once met an individual who told me that we were eventually to see Christ in all people whom we meet. And at that time, I was in a satori that allowed me to do just that. It was a challenging time, because who can see the face of Christ in all her brothers and sisters, and remain calm? The change in venue was startling. It was heartwarming, though, very heartwarming. I could even see pictures in the newspaper and sense the realness of the people depicted there. The satori ended soon enough (too soon), but the memories dwell on. And I hope for a return, a safe return, to such perception.

6 – No Blame

When we see Christ in all people, we do not blame them for anything. We are completely forgiving, though this does not mean that we allow ourselves to be abused. We absence ourselves from the scene if abuse is taking place. Abuse is less likely, though, because we are no longer doing anything to bait it. We are benign creatures, living solely for Christ. We are calm and at peace; anger and attack do not touch us. And so the individuals with whom we come in contact are influenced by our attitude.

7 – Sinlessness

We truly see sinlessness for what it is. We know that our brothers and sisters have only “missed the mark,” as the word “sin” actually means. And this missing of the mark is the way that a mistake can be defined. Our brothers and sisters are innocent. And well it is for us to view them that way. It preserves our rights (from ACIM Text).

8 – Ladder Ends

“The ladder ends with this, for learning is no longer needed. Now you stand before the gate of Heaven, and your brother stands beside you there. The lawns are deep and still, for here the place appointed for the time when you should come has waited long for you. Here will time end forever. At this gate eternity itself will join with you. Prayer has become what it was meant to be, for you have recognized the Christ in you. (S-1.V.4)”

9 – Awakening

This passage represents a beautiful rendition of the state of Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, enlightenment. When we have recognized the Christ within, we are home in God. “The lawns are deep and still,” for nature means much to us in this state of mind and heart.

10 – Jesus

The ladder ends with this, for Jesus has come to cancel out all mistakes that we ourselves could not cancel out by our own efforts. And God has reached down and taken us up into Christ-consciousness. This truly is the end of the ladder, when the ladder can be withdrawn, because the “climb” is complete.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live in an ego-less state of mind. May I eliminate judgment from my repertoire of emotions. I know that when I have eliminated all judgment, then I will awaken. Jesus has promised this. Thank You. May I be patient in the meantime. May nothing mar my wondrous peace in this ever more beautiful world of yours.

Be with me today so that I don’t lapse into judgment and therefore into anger and attack. These fearful emotions are just that—emotions of fear. And we would leave all anxiety behind as we walk into the sunlight with You.

Thank You for the blessing of another good day.

Amen.

Healing is of God. Revelation May Occasionally Reveal the End to You, but to Reach It the Means Are Needed.

“Healing is of God in the end. The means are being carefully explained to you. Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you, but to reach it the means are needed. (T16)”

Affirmation: “Revelation may occasionally reveal the end”

Reflections:

1 – Revelation

We may know revelation, the revelation of Awakening, several times before it is permanent. These are but glimpses of what will await us when the elevated Self of form (from A Course of Love) is sustained, something that has not reached our world very often yet. Revelation does show us the end, though, and these glimpses happen to many of us. They are called, in Eastern terminology, “satori.” We can see glimpses of Awakening in our brothers and sisters, for this is far more common than is the sustaining of Awakening, or the elevated Self of form. To have known Awakening, even briefly, is a very wonderful blessing; it shows us what is possible. We really do live in the present, and we live without anxiety in the present. It is a time of great joy and freedom from fear.

2 – Means to Awakening

The “means,” in this passage, are found in A Course in Miracles. When we follow the way pointed out in its lovely writing, we will ultimately know the end of the Awakening that does not leave us. Jesus, as the one doing the channeling, is carefully pointing out, in ACIM, what needs to happen for Awakening to occur. For God to reach down and lift us up.

3 – Personal Experience

I have known two glimpses of Awakening–both long ago. One was for three months, a summer; and the other, right after I discovered A Course in Miracles, lasted six months. I did not sustain these satori, these glimpses. Now I have moments of sensing a Oneness with God, and I have hope that these will be sustained. I do know that the understanding that came to me in the glimpses of long ago have stayed with me. I was filled with joy, totally without worry and anxiety, and enjoyed living in the moment. I was very satisfied with life in general, and though my circumstances were mostly favorable, it was my attitude that colored everything. Glimpses of Awakening are gifts to be treasured. I can only believe that a sustaining of Awakening would bring a continual happiness, but I would be conscious, I think, of making a contribution to this world at the same time that I was reveling in my joy.

4 – Individual Who Is Awakened

I know one individual who has sustained Awakening, or enlightenment, or Christ-consciousness for more than 30 years. She is a modest individual who has many friends, thinks well of others, but does not push herself forward in any way. She speaks softly to others of her experience, which was begun as three crisis days of pain when she was 42; she is 75 now, and is seeking to publish a 350-page book of her experience and the sources in history that have explained to her what happened so long ago.

5 – Preconditions

My friend is certain that everybody can have what she has. She believes that people have aborted their own transformation by putting preconditions on God, something that she admits that she did not do. She opened herself up to God in total surrender. And as a result the world was restored to her in glory.

6 – From God to Us

It is comforting to know that we are, at any time, subject to revelation. This is not quite the same as miracles, which are perceptual and therefore do not last (from ACIM). We cannot easily explain revelation, as it sounds truthful only to ourselves, being intensely personal–from God to us, always. He knows us as nobody in this world can. An inner awareness of God will go a long way toward recognizing that He and we are not separate at all.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you for the times in my life that revelation has revealed Awakening to me. It was not sustained, but that it happened at all is grounds for hope that one day Awakening will be permanent.

May all of us know this great joy of experiencing Awakening. A Course in Miracles explains the healing that leads us to it.

Be with all of us today. Help us to have respect for others, respect and compassion. May we recognize when our brothers and sisters are in distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Most walk a difficult pathway in this world, but this does not have to be. Through love and gratitude, we can effect a better life for ourselves. May all of us do so today.

Amen.

Is It Not Clear that While You Still Insist on Leading or on Following, You Think You Walk Alone, with No One by Your Side?

1 – Afraid to Walk Beside

“He [your brother] is afraid to walk with you, and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back, and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey’s goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you. (T-31.II.9)”

This passage capsules the essence of how A Course in Miracles is saving us time: We are focusing on our relationship to our brother (or sister). We are forgiving that significant other, because his distress is based on error, and calls for help—not retribution or retaliation. We live in an illusion, a dream, maya, and so nothing bad has actually ever happened to us. Forgiveness has a sound basis. We seek to forget the trespasses that our brother has made against us (or so we thought he has made against us). And this is an echo of the Lord’s Prayer from the New Testament: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” So here we see, in essence, how much ACIM builds on previous Scripture.

2 – Cooperation

We often think that we want our brother to be the leader. But then, just as often, we think that we want to lead. Here Jesus is saying that neither is the way to get home. We walk together, with neither leading or following. We cooperate. We have a meeting of true minds (from Shakespeare’s Sonnet #116).

3 – Don’t Walk Alone

“Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. (T-31.II.11)”

Our light is given when we are with our significant others. It is not stated in ACIM, but we do not have to have a single significant other to follow ACIM’s way. Many of us walk through life as a single person. But we do know, if this logic is carried out, that we function best when we are not in competition with each other, but instead cooperate, making decisions jointly with others.

4 – Confusion

“And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. (T-31.II.11)”

This is our fate is we don’t walk with others: to stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Who would want that? There is another way, as Helen and Bill found out. They were the co-scribes of A Course in Miracles, with Helen taking dictation from Jesus, and each morning, at work, going to Bill to have him type up the notes. Their rancorous academic environment smoothed out, at least somewhat, though they themselves never reached a smooth relationship in its totality.

5 – Blindfolded?

“Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light. (T-31.II.11)”

This is the Holy Spirit, the guidance of Universal Inspiration. This is the part of the Trinity Who speaks to us of the way to walk. Many have had the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but many do not yet know all that this blessing holds out. Learn today. There are a variety of ways that guidance speaks to us. (Please read “The Gift of Guidance” in this blog. See “Articles and Book Reviews,” an icon at the top of the blog.)

6 – Personal Experience

Lately I have observed that, more and more, words come into my mind which are instructive and just a bit beyond me. They seem inspired, though I do not want my ego to have a field day with this interpretation. I have also learned that I can write a dialogue with my Inner Wisdom (as a friend calls the Holy Spirit, or the inner Christ Self), and come to better insight than my mind, working alone, can discover. The ways of receiving God’s guidance are manifold. Experiment today. Just be careful that the guidance that you think you get is not harmful to anybody at all, lest of all yourself. That would be the ego’s confiscation of mind, and the end of true guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to walk with my significant others today. Help me to stay serene and relaxed so that I am flexible in my interactions. Help me not to be overbearing and rigid. This day can and will be good to the extent that I do not plan ahead. You have told me that. Thank You.

Be with my brothers and sisters also. We are all in this together, and we will get out of it together or not at all.

Amen.

You Are the Dreamer of the World of Dreams. No Other Cause It Has, nor Ever Will.

1 – Idle Dream

“You are the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause it has, nor ever will. Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. (T-27.VII.13)”

We are caught in an idle dream, nothing more. And we can escape. We can have the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles). That idle dreams have consequences is superbly obvious now. Elsewhere Jesus says that the concept of “idle thoughts” is untrue, that every thought produces form at some level. Now, we cannot understand this, but we know that the forms that our nighttime dreams produce do seem real at the time of nighttime dreaming. Now we are told that idle thoughts are not really idle, that they too produce form. We may soon come to realize that this is how we make our reality, create our reality. We envision what we want (or don’t want), and it becomes our reality.

2 – Cause and Effect / Law of Attraction

This is the concept of cause and effect. This is the concept of the law of attraction. We must begin to guard our thoughts more carefully, lest we fall into the doldrums and see our world fall apart. But there is a way out, and A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love point out that way out. We turn from judging what to do next, or what to think, and we let inner guidance point out the way. There is no better way to proceed than to listen to intuition.

3 – Personal Experience

I remember recognizing intuition first when I was 21 and in the throes of an emotional crisis. My first precognition was intuiting that I ought to take a look at a specific monologue in Shakespeare just before the final exam, while I was in college. I did so, and in a few moments I found myself sitting in a classroom with that monologue staring back at me on the test. I had to identify not only the speaker, but also the context. And if I hadn’t intuited just moments before walking to class that I ought to take a look at the monologue, I would have been up a creek.

4 – Intuition

All of us have had these experiences. As time wore on, I felt such intuitive experiences more and more. There have been times when I have listened to little else. This can lead to some foolish choices.

As Jesus says, “The partial innocent are apt to be quite foolish at times” (from A Course in Miracles).

My best moments have been, though, when I listened to the intuition bubbling up from my interior, even when that intuition bade me say or do something that seemed embarrassing at the time. (Jesus also warns that this will happen, in the Manual.)

5 – Fearful Dream

“So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless gentle dream preceded his awaking, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice That calls with love to waken him; a gentle dream, in which his suffering was healed and where his brother was his friend. (T-27.VII.13)”

What a beautiful passage! Can we not imagine a God who welcomes us gently and with love to Awakening? Can we not all look forward to this experience, however far in the future it may seem to be?

6 – Awakening

Our suffering is healed when we experience Awakening. Even if the body is sick. Our suffering is healed because we know mental clarity, and mental clarity is much to be preferred over bodily health. Many medieval mystics would be considered certifiably mentally ill if alive in our culture today. One need only scan Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism to recognize the truth of this statement. But their culture was different. There is, as Joseph Campbell (The Hero with a Thousand Faces; Mythology to Live By) has pointed out, a fine line between swimming in the waters of the unconscious and being drowned in them. The mystic swims; the mentally ill (all too often) drown. But the waters of the unconscious are the same in both cases. And many people in psychosis are extremely religious.

7 – Change the Dream

“Accept the dream He gave instead of yours. It is not difficult to change a dream when once the dreamer has been recognized. (T-28.VII.14)”

Here is an indication that we play a part in determining just when our Awakening will be. If the dream is changed, if we determine to change it, we will be ready to awaken gently and without terror. Is it really so difficult to change a dream? There are those who can experience lucid nighttime dreaming, in which they determine the course of nighttime dreams. We are in a better position in daytime dreams, the illusion in which we are caught, for we are able to act more freely, are not so buffeted about by the dream.

Affirmation: “I would dream happy dreams today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my day go well, with dreams that I do not rue. May I follow guidance consistently and therefore have a great flow to my day.

Our desires sometimes get us into trouble. May we wash our desires in the unconscious that You inform, so that life is good and we are contented and happy.

Amen.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses Instead of Dwelling in Your Dreams on His Mistakes

impressionist paintings“Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T-27.VII.15)”

1 – What We Dwell Upon

We can choose what we dwell upon. We don’t have to replay the bad things in our minds. We can remember the good times, and the good things that our brother has done for us—and said to us.

2 – Safety

If we drop from our studied concentration the things that we resent, we will have walked a long way toward recognizing that we are safe.
“Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe. (W-68)”

3 – Viewing Our Brother/Sister

A Course in Miracles asked us to view our brother as he appears to us. We are to see his form, his physical body, and contemplate what about that form so attracts us. This emphasis on the physical is characteristic of A Course of Love, the channeled writing that follows ACIM. We are not to denigrate the physical, something that we have often been led to do in the past in order to advance spiritually. We are here on this earth in form, and it behooves us to turn toward, rather than away, from that which we see all around us. If we let go of our grievances toward these forms, these physical embodiments of our brothers and sisters, then we will feel perfectly safe on earth. We will know that nobody harms us except with the permission of our greater Self, the Christ within.

4 – Our Brother’s Gifts

We are not to brush aside our brother’s gifts because he does not appear perfect to us. We are to dwell on his kindnesses, all of the many things in our relationship that has brought great meaning to us and great joy. The passage, above, ends with a curious rejoinder to reflect on the fact that our brothers represents our Father—God—to us, whom we see as offering both life and death. Of course, we know that such an interpretation lacks something. God does not, after all, offer death but a lifetime in eternity. Death is another of the many illusions in which we are caught in this world and the one beyond. But if our brother represents God to us, then we can see why our special relationships need to transform into holy. We can see why our relationship to our brother is the means that A Course in Miracles uses to bring us to Awakening. We are seeing God in our brother, but not in an idolatrous way. We are seeing God in a form that we can recognize.

5 – Personal Experience

Other people can lead us to God, and not by proselytizing us. (We would not be open to that; it would drive us farther away.) We can see the example that they set, and we can rejoice. I myself was brought to a mystical understanding of what prayer can mean by a college professor of mine. He had changed in the two years since I had seen him, a calmer man, a more self-assured man who did not vacillate in moving toward and away from life.

When I exclaimed, “You’re solid as a rock! How did you get that way?,” he replied with one word, “Prayer.”

Oh, what a difference that one-word sermon has made in my life! I knew that I wanted what I saw he had developed in his personality. I wanted the peace that gives a solidarity to the human personality.

6 – Joy

So dwell in your thinking on that which gives you joy about your brother. If you have had disagreements with him, let those drop from your mind. The disagreements will fuel resentment, surely the least loveable of characteristics. Think instead of the good that has come between you. And in this thinking is even the most dysfunctional relationship moved to healing.

Affirmation: “I will see the good things that my brother does today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to remember today the good things that people have done to me. Let me drop from my mind any resentments or antagonisms or hates that have occurred to me over the years. Help me to know that I find safety in this world, I know that I am safe, when I have dropped entirely any and all grievances.

Be with us today. Help us to be grateful for the many right things that have happened to us over the years.

Help me to reach out to others when they are open to it. Don’t let me to make decisions about them that rightfully are not mine to make. Help me to be tolerant.

Amen.

The Time of Christ

monet's garden“While this has been called the time of Christ, it is obviously no longer the time of Jesus Christ. My time came and my time ended. The time when a single baby born of a virgin mother could change the world has passed. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 21.21)”

Affirmation: “I meditate on Jesus’s place in this world today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus Clarifies

Jesus clarifies for us today: He says that this is the time of Christ, but not the time of Jesus Christ. He is saying that the example that he set a couple of thousand years ago is for an earlier time, though we can still learn from this era. One person, even such as he, cannot change this world any longer. He anticipates that many of us will move to make changes that we are led to make by our own internal Christ Self.

2 – Christ Does Not Just Mean Jesus

Also intuited in this brief quotation is the fact that “Christ” does not just mean Jesus. Of course, we have known this, because repeatedly I have referred to the Self/Christ or the Christ Self, and many other current day writers have done the same. “Christ” is an umbrella term for the individual manifestations of God in human beings who are living salvation, living Awakening or Christ-consciousness. And we do not have to sustain the elevated Self of form to live, intermittently, this Christ Self. Indeed, in the beginning, most people see only glimpses of the Self, glimpses that are carefully contained for a while, perhaps a long while.

3 – Personal Experience

I myself have had two extended periods of such glimpses: one when I was 23, for ten weeks over a relaxed summer; and the other when I was 34 to 35, for six months in an altered state of consciousness. I did not sustain either time, and both were many years ago. The second period was while I was first reading A Course in Miracles, and I suspect that I was one of those who was asked to change life experience almost immediately. I moved to another state in the US, and there lived and worked for that six-month period. Later, I returned to home grounds, and proceeded with my life—but a life that would not be the same after this experience.

4 – Continued. . .

Why have I not sustained Awakening? I try not to ask this question, for it suggests that I have somehow failed. I know that such an interpretation is not the whole answer, and so I focus on what I learned in those two altered states of being. In the first and in the second, I was anxiety-free, and so I had left fear behind. Would that this were still possible! But I try to be patient, and to recognize that the elevated Self of form is not often sustained, and I may do more good by detailing my experience of “glimpses” than if I had actually experienced all that Jesus holds out to us as promise.

5 – Listen

So we listen to the Christ Self within. I can imagine that many times we are free of stress and free of fear/anxiety. At such times the ego withers away from our perception. And each such time can be sustained for a while. The fact that we don’t sustain this wonderful state keeps us humble. We realize that we cannot merit this form of heaven, of home. God takes the initiative of reaching down to lift us up when He deems that we are ready. And that first step, we must remember, is His and His alone.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this day, this day of joy. May tomorrow be a harbinger of good times ahead as well. I ask for patience as I run the race that I am set upon. Help me to fulfill Your way in my daily life. Help me to be tolerant and kind. May I be ever more loving.

Guide me each moment, even when I forget. Thank You for Your Presence which fills my life from time to time. Daily life would not be same if You withdrew. Thank You for staying near.

Amen.

Those Who Will Be Visited by Great Change Are Those Who Desire It

RenoirDanceatBougival“As you begin to dwell in the house of truth and see with the eyes of love, you will see far less about the life you lead that you would change than you would imagine. You fear where all your new ideas might take you, and for some great changes may surely await, but those who will be visited by great change are but those who desire it. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.5)”

Affirmation: “I will contemplate whether or not I want great change.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

I know first hand the truth of this passage. I recognize that at this moment I do not wish for great change in my life. There is some struggle, but largely my life is going well (contrary to some periods in the past), and perhaps this passage means that ought to credit my study of A Course of Love with this general good in my life. We do create what we dwell upon, and when we have dwelled upon the good message of ACOL, we are less likely to want great change.

2 – Solution Is Always with the Problem

For those of you who are going through a rough patch of time, yes, of course, choose anew for change. It is very likely that this change for the better will ensue quickly, for the solution is always with the problem, and when we ask for the solution, it presents itself. It is important to note that great change will not be thrust upon us if we are unwilling to experience great change. We will “desire it” and see the change come to pass. We have nothing to fear, for we are perfectly safe.

3 – Gratefulness

The best way to ensure good times as a continuation into the future is to be grateful for what we already have (an interpretation, not emphasized in either A Course in Miracles or ACOL). The function of gratitude is to get us ready for even better things in the future. Even if the present seems dire, we do indeed have many things for which to be grateful, even though our eyes may be blind to those things. Talk to someone who has a fresh eye, who can see the advantages that you do actually enjoy. This is a better pathway than cursing what seems to be darkness.

4 – Change May Come Gradually

Change will come to all of us, but an implication of today’s passage is that the change will not come overwhelmingly or in great quantity if we are living a life that we like. We have become ready to accept what we have.

5 – Acceptance

Accepting what we have is the first step toward increased blessings. And gratitude for what we have is the means. Again, this is an interpretation, and it is based on the law of attraction.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am intensely grateful today for what I have. It is easy, of course, to be grateful when things are going well. But some individuals develop great faith when things are going badly. And they have learned through pain to do so.

Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain, that learning through rewards is lasting, and learning through pain is not. Let us seek today to learn through rewards. And may those rewards gradually lead us to the changes in our lives that we wish.

If we see much wrong with our lives, let us move forthrightly to change. May we welcome this change, never fearing it. Fear is of the ego, of course, and we are leaving the ego behind—indeed, we have done so, though lapses may still occur. Evolution is not a straight line.

May all of us have a good day. May we rest in the contentment that allows us to be truly productive, but without strain or struggle. We do not have to struggle to be good; we merely have to rest in Your promises. You will take us home, and You will reach down and lift us up to Awakening when the time is right. I rest in that promise today. Thank You.

Amen.

All that Is Real Is Shared

woman with a cat - renoir“[O]nly with your understanding that all that is real is shared does the ego lose its power. The ego was made from the belief in separation and all that followed from it. Thus your true identity must be re-created from the belief in unity that is inherent in the acceptance that you are a being who exists in relationship. Separation is all that opposes relationship, and the ego is all that opposes your true identity. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 11.7)”

Affirmation: “I will share today, that the ego might die.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM

These ideas in the passage for today are logical extensions of much in A Course in Miracles. We share with others in relationship, and this creates a unity, for all of us are actually One, with ourselves, with our brothers and sisters, and with God. When we are ready to be in relationship as our foremost endeavor, we are truly ready to give up the ego. In secular terms, this means that we choose cooperation, which is a benign concept, over competition, which is often egoic in nature.

2 – Protective Defense

We try to choose separation from others when we are being particularly protective of ourselves, trying to save ourselves from hurt. This in itself is not bad, but the ramifications are, for to separate from others is to be all alone with the ego. Only the ego wants this separation, and with the separation comes strife, and the ego is strong in strife (from ACIM).

3 – Personal Experience

I was quite retiring and shy as a teenager. And some of this carried over throughout my college years. Finally, finding reference librarianship did much to bring me out of my shell–but discovering A Course in Miracles did even more. We do not need to fear others, to turn inward in a withdrawn way. We do not have to fear others at all, for they have no power over us that we do not give them. We choose what happens to us on some level, though this choosing is not conscious, and we have to be careful that we don’t blame the victim when something bad ensues. The Self/Christ makes these decisions, and that world view is much bigger than anything that the personal self can see.

4 – True Identity

So the ego is all that opposes our true identity. Of course! What more could it be? And when we turn aside from egoic thinking, listening to our heart, we will find our way home. The “journey without distance” (from the Text of ACIM) is completed sooner rather than later. Do not, however, lament if the way still seems long. Brighter days are here as we learn to give up the ego in every way that we perceive. And the knowledge that comes to us from God will ensure that our walk is smooth and our way is well-marked.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I walk a calm way today. I have been overpressing lately, trying to do too much, being on the go all the time. This is no way to live a life. Help me to regroup and to lead a more placid existence.

I would share with others, but not so as to make any others jealous of each other. Especially my significant other needs to know that I am there for him. May I make this clear today, clear to him in a way that is unmistakable.

I would choose to avoid egotistic doings today. May my choices reflect the truth that I try to follow Your guidance. Thank You for the guidance that You have already given me today.

Amen

When Plans Went Awry

“Unless life goes the way you have intended for it to go, you do not feel gifted or blessed even when you may have looked back often on situations that did not go as you had planned and nevertheless gifted you with experiences or opportunities that would not have arisen had your chosen plan come to fruition. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 10.18)”

Affirmation: “I am blessed even when my plans go awry.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Testimony

I do know that the way that my life has evolved has been the best for me. Before I learned from A Course in Miracles that plans are discouraged unless the Holy Spirit prompts planning, I made lots of plans–many of which did not come to fruition. But it has been better this way.

2 – Personal Experience

I wanted to return to graduate school and get more prepared to teach English. But jobs were scarce, and my ultimate choice to go to library school proved advantageous, not only because the job market was better, but also because of a personal need to increase extroversion. I needed to learn to cooperate with others in a better and more consistent way, and because library work demands teamwork, I did eventually get better at working with others in a smooth way. If my ambition of English teaching had panned out, frequently I would have worked alone with my students. And besides being emotionally draining for me, this choice would have left little chance for teamwork.

3 – Joseph Campbell

So chosen plans went awry, and, looking back, I see how that is best. Joseph Campbell is quoted in A Companion to Joseph Campbell as saying that now, life was coming up very sweet for him. I feel the same way. There is an advantage to attaining maturity. It stills some of the fruitless ambitions of the young adult years, and it gives a peace that was not attainable at an earlier age.

4 – When Young
manet - lady with parasolBut if you are still quite young, you may think that if only a given pathway, a given plan, works out as you wish will you be happy. This is a fallacy, but only time will teach you that. Nothing that I say will really make any difference. So Jesus has it right in A Course of Love. We don’t appreciate our plans going awry.

5 – Time

But the benign passage of time will show us that what is transpiring is truly for our own good.

6 – Learning

And, as we proceed through our lives, we will come to know that learning is continuous and ongoing (from ACOL). We do not reach a static state, remaining there, even though the turmoil of the ego would have us long for such a state. When we let the Christ Self rule, we will be free of turmoil, and we will know that there is no end to learning and evolution in that learning (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL). And we will be glad that there is no end to learning. We will continue to evolve, and we will evolve through quietness and peace–“perfectly calm and quiet all the time” (from ACIM). This may not be our goal right now, but time will let us see that what Jesus has recommended is best.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the course of my life. I know that the life that I lead now is good and true, and that I would have walked a harder pathway, for me personally, if I had chosen another vocation. So You knew best all along, and You closed doors that would have opened that other vocation. But there was an open doorway farther down the path, and I took it and never looked back. Thank You.

May I learn today, as I will continue to learn through time. But the learning will be easy and effortless, and the outcome what You wish, if I follow Your guidance. Thank You for granting me the will to follow You, for there is no better way to live.

I would learn through observation of my life and my living. I would learn through my holy relationships, turning all special ones into holy. May the day go by peacefully as I turn on a dime to follow You at all times.

Amen

Rest

degas - dancer“There is no such thing as a static level in unity where creation is continuous and ongoing. You should have no desire to reach such a state and the awareness that you are in such a state can alert you, or serve as a sign, that the ego-mind and its fear-based thinking has momentarily returned. This does not, however, mean that you will never be at rest or that you will be constantly seeking to arrive. As has already been said, you have arrived and rest exists only in the state of unity. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 9.14)”

Affirmation: “I will remember to rest today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Wish to Rest

We often wish to rest. There is a favorite passage in A Course of Love about the “embrace” with Jesus, in which he encourages us to rest in his arms. A very personal passage, this indicates that he too knows of our weariness and seeks to assuage it. We will be able to rest when we have “arrived” and are not burdened by the ego mind. But creation is not static; there will still be things that we are called to do. The joy of doing those things will be palpable, though. We will not struggle anymore.

2 – No Struggle

Not to struggle seems to good to be true. But in the state of unity with our Self and others we are not called to struggle. We rest in God’s peace, and we still find rest as we go about any busy doing that He calls us to. These moments of peace sustain us throughout the day.

3 – Personal Experience

I find that a quick restorative is all that is needed when the day starts off wrong. Sometimes we need just to sit down and talk to God, being certain that we allow Him time to talk to us as well. Just this morning I started rushing around (always a mistake), but I stopped in time, and just sat in meditation for a few moments. That was enough to get me back on track.

4 – Ego-Mind

The ego-mind can return. We are not home free yet. And when the ego-mind returns, we struggle. Let us recall this equation, and know that when the struggle arises, we are once again caught by ego. And we would not have it so.

5 – No Seeking

What does it mean to “have arrived”? It means that we can stop seeking incessantly. We have long, most of us, been on a search for God. But He never left us, and He will show us so if we will get still enough, often enough, to listen.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I wish for peace and rest today, as every day. I long for Your comfort, Your blessing that the ego-mind will depart, and I will be at home in You. Be with me as I find this state of being.

May today be the first day of a string of pearl-like days, filled with the assurances that only You can give me. May the day be well-spent, not selfishly seeking what could only benefit me, but what will benefit others with whom I come in contact.

Amen

Have You Heard a Call?

manet - a day in paris“Why would we begin a Treatise on Unity by talking of treasure? To pave the way for talking of calling. What is it in you that recognizes talents that lie fully realized within? The practical mind is not the source of such imagination. The practical mind makes of imagination a fantasy. It is the heart that sees with true imagination and the heart speaks to you in terms that are consistent with the idea you currently hold of hearing a call or having a calling. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 2.1)”

Affirmation: “May I listen to my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition

A calling in the religious/spiritual sense is normally thought of as God placing His hand on one’s heart, and asking one to devote a lifetime to spreading the Gospel. Many individuals feel themselves called to the ministry, and they feel that they themselves have no choice in the matter. God has asked, and He is not to be refused.

2 – Refusing the Call

The Old Testament story of Jonah is the story of a man who tried to refuse a calling. And with dire consequences. He gets swallowed up in a sea monster and there spends, strangely, three days before the monster spits him out on dry land. Then and only then does Jonah go preach in Ninevah. Most callings are not so severe, but this story is meant to illustrate that there is no going against God’s will once He has placed a hand upon one.

3 – Personal Experience

I once heard a missionary lecture to young people (myself being one of them) about the call that she had felt to be a missionary. I sat there in wonder, drinking it all in, and I said to myself, “I hope God doesn’t call me!” I think that God’s call is normally something that is akin to the individual’s personal talents and personal bent. He would not ask for the impossible. And later on, at age 22, I did feel a calling that was much more to my liking, though not something that, over the 14 years that I followed that “call,” always well-received by me. Yet I was not asked to go abroad and be a missionary, something that would not, in all likelihood, have been suited for the personality that God had implanted in my being.

4 – Proselytize?

Jesus does not ask us to proselytize with A Course of Love. He does not ask us to try to convert others to our way of thinking. This is an important point to be noted, for it is concept that might easily be misconstrued. Jesus just makes the teaching available, to be shared with those who find a welcome place in their hearts. He says, similarly, in A Course in Miracles, that some may be ready for only a smile. So there is no license to devote one’s life to converting others to our way.

5 – Jesus’s Words

If another is interested in what Jesus says, though, that is another matter, and we would do well to share, letting guidance choose our words for us. Then and only then we do carry our a calling to the very best of our abilities. And we are certain not to run ahead and try to direct the course of our sharing. We speak softly and let God’s holy guidance do the remainder.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the concept of a calling, but may we never make the mistake of believing in a call that is actually non-existent. So often the ego turns wily, and we think that we are to passionately “save” another, but Jesus has better ways to work. Often the one sure way to turn a person off is to try to save his/her soul in an aggressive way.

May I listen for guidance in the matter of a call. Always the call is something that would be fitted to the personality that You gave me and that I developed. It is never an appeal to the ego, and I would not have the ego mislead me today.

May I follow any legitimate call that comes into my heart and mind.

Amen.

Peak Experiences

“Let us separate experiences you might call peak experiences from experiences of extremes that served as learning devices. Peak experiences often follow occasions of happiness or trauma, but they do not happen within them. Peak experiences are what you can look forward to rather than back upon if you but choose the Peace of God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.11)”

Affirmation: “I look forward to peak experiences.”

Reflections:

1 – Better Future Ahead

We can look forward to peak experiences because A Course of Love makes many promises that presage a better future for us, better experiences ahead. We ought to consider well the assertion in this passage for today that peak experiences follow occasions of happiness or trauma, but they do not happen within them. So perhaps we are bringing something of our contemplation of the event that prompted the peak experience that follows the event. We experience the emotion, and then we, in our minds, carry the emotion into an assessment that constitutes a peak experience.

2 – Personal Experience

I do know that only in retrospect have I frequently called an event a peak experience. There has to be some time delay. But many of us, perhaps, have not realized that peak experiences follow the emotion. Peak experiences are a great blessing, and I have known several in my lifetime, but they were spaced out in time and relatively infrequent. I would like to recognize more as time passes, and I think that this will be possible, now that I am more attuned to the concept of peak experiences.

3 – Drop Extremes

We do need to drop the extremes that have been used as learning devices. The time for such learning devices is passing, as we read through A Course of Love. Extremes are of the ego, and we have left extremes behind, with the ego. Remnants of the ego may still prevail, of course, but by now in our study the ego has been weakened considerably. We best serve when we are perfectly calm and quiet all the time (from A Course in Miracles). Right now we may not recognize what blessings are ours when we let go of extremes, let go of drama, but we will come to know–first in glimpses, and then as a steady state of mind and heart.

4 – Mists before the Sun

We need to choose the Peace of God. When we do, in earnest, many of our problems will dissipate as mists before the sun. We have peak experiences ahead of us, because we have chosen the Peace of God. We no longer want drama, extremes of emotion, as these only take us away from that ineffable Peace. May we follow the pathway to an enlightenment, a Christ-consciousness, that will engulf us sooner rather than later. And when we leave anger and attack behind, I believe that Awakening will follow quickly. These words that I am using–enlightenment, Christ-consciousness, Awakening–all mean the same thing. May all of us walk together in the sunlight, blessed by the presence of God, Who (metaphorically) lifts us up when He knows that we are ready for the blessing of Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I ask for and receive a peak experience today. I realize that part of the experience comes from my personal self, part from my Self. I would know You, and peak experiences, I believe, are one way that we better communicate. Thank You for the several experiences in my life that I have, in retrospect, called “peak.” I have also called several of these “holy instants.” And so they have been.

Thank You for the holy instant that I knew when I first realized that prayer was the answer for me, because of the witness from another that I received. May prayer answer all things, not some, but all. Communing with You is a great blessing, and feeling Your presence sets right my day.

May all whom I touch today know Your presence as well as Your saving grace. Thank You for being with me today, and I ask that You be with my brothers and sisters as well.

Amen.

The Definition of Prayer

pissarro003

“Thus prayer must be redefined as the act of consciously choosing union.  With this definition, you can see how your life can become a prayer.  This does not negate the fact that a prayer is also a constant dialogue of asking, being answered, and responding.  This is the aspect of prayer that makes of it an act of creation.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.3)”

Affirmation:  “I will choose union through prayer today.”

Reflections:

1 – Union

This passage for today emphasizes once again how important prayer is to our well-being in this life.  We are said to make of our whole life a prayer, when we follow what Jesus is saying in A Course of Love.  We consciously choose union with our Self/Christ and God within, with our brothers and sisters in this world and all worlds (even unseen), and we choose to embrace the universe(s).  Union is all-inclusive, and it is a big part of our way home.

2 – Prayer

The second sentence in this passage is important:  “This does not negate the fact that a prayer is also a constant dialogue of asking, being answered, and responding.”  Certainly!  This is the way that we have traditionally seen prayer at its most simple:  asking and being answered.  But here we also see that we are to respond.  And this is the new art of thought.  We learn through receiving and then responding, not only to God, Who has answered our prayer, but also to others who can benefit as well.

3 – Personal Experience

I have personally found that my answers to prayers have increased in very recent days.  What we believe does make a difference, and I have been expecting answers to come at the point of asking.  I have not had to wait long.  Recently I asked for a solution to a minor health problem, and immediately–yes, immediately–the answer to my problem came into my mind, not as a voice, but as an internal word that was my own thought, but yet a bit beyond me.  At first I thought that I had misheard, that another one-word answer was meant.  But as the afternoon wore on, I realized that the initial word had been accurate.  I acted on this precise directive, and my minor health problem cleared up.

4 –  Mind

The word that come into our minds are not always God speaking to us.  There is much left in our minds that alter His messages.  But as we walk further along the pathway to Awakening, the chaff tends to fall away, and our internal hearing does seem more on the beam with God.  We can ask silently, and receive an answer.  We can also journal our questions, and wait for an internal prompting of what to write by way of an answer.  This latter suggestion is championed by a writing expert, Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way).  And it works.  The fact that we capture on paper what is impressed upon our minds encourages us to reread and to respond in the future to what has been answered in our prayer.

5 – Listening in Prayer

So, pay attention to the internal, silent monologue of thoughts when asking in prayer.  I have been very, very pleasantly surprised that this type of listening increases as it is used.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the immediate answers to my prayers that I have been receiving.  I realize that this is the way that prayer is supposed to work, for our communion with You answers all problems.

May all of us have a good day.  May anxieties fall away, and may we walk into the sunlight with You.

Amen.

The Value of Prayer

pissarro-montmartre-night“Prayer is but reproducing and recollecting a divine memory and divine memory cannot help but produce a divine outcome.  Said in another way, prayer reproduces the truth and allows the truth to exist as it is.  Prayer does this because it is the act of consciously choosing union.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.2)”

Affirmation:  “I will pray often and sincerely today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

One of the most important points of the spiritual life, to me, is the matter of prayer.  A favorite professor of mine once, in effect, witnessed to me about prayer.  In answering a question as to how he had come to a given answer, he replied, quietly, “Prayer.”  In truth he was a changed man from what he had been like just a couple of years previously.  The witness of his truth about prayer was a defining moment in my own life.  The exchange constituted a peak experience.

2 – Practice Prayer

So, in my own way, in many years since, I have practiced prayer–deep prayers when I was upset about something, deep prayers in which I felt God’s touch of healing.  A Course in Miracles refers to this action as “communing” with God, and that is, in effect, what I have tried to do in times of crisis.  Prayer rights things.  There is absolutely no emotional charge that can remain, of an upsetting nature, that in my experience is not made better by deep prayer.  And by “deep” prayer, I mean the heartfelt reaching toward God that I imagine the author of The Cloud of Unknowing (an anonymous medieval treatise) had in mind.

3 – Tenderness

Now we find in A Course of Love that prayer is counseled.  Of course, this simply reinforces in my own mind something that I have believed since I was 24, when the encounter with my professor occurred.  The joy of communing with God is exceedingly tender, for He is a gentle God.  His way is not perceived, in prayer, to be a hard or difficult pathway to follow.  His is the way of supreme good sense.  His is the way that I know, in such moments, that I want to walk.

4 – Healing

We cannot all be healed of physical ailments, and there are emotional ones as well that are not healed.  But certainly the physical and emotional ones stand a much better chance of healing if prayer has taken place.  And, in my experience, the emotional difficulties are especially prone to healing by prayer.  There is a calm that settles over one who is in deep prayer.  Sleep comes gently in such a case, if one is saying nightly prayers.  We end the day aright, and we are preparing, in our own way, for a subsequent day that will be started aright.  There is no substitute for the comfort that prayer can and does give.  This I know from personal experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the myriad answers to pray that You have given me over the years.  Prayer works in a very practical sense, and I am not upset by “using” prayer in this way.  Of course, I do not want to use You, but to love You.  And to know that You love me.  Communing with You in deep prayer shows me that love flows in both directions.

Thank You for the experience that I lived through when I was 24, the experience of first learning how valuable prayer could really be.  Thank You that this occurrence happened so early in my life.  I am very grateful for the role that You have played in my life through the deep prayers that I have been led to have over the years.

Be with all of us today.  If hard times come, let us know that we always have You to whom to turn.  And the hard times melt away in the blessing of communing with You.  Thank You especially that healing of emotional issues comes with prayer.  I do not rule out healing of physical issues as well, but it is with the emotional that I am especially grateful today.  When our mind and heart are calm, we can live through any struggle, and we, with Your help, can turn that struggle into ease.

Amen.

Call to Respond

impressionist trees

“Your thoughts are released from their concentration on what exists outside of you as your responsibility is placed where it belongs, in the call to respond.  This response is only yours to give and is all you are asked to give.  This response comes from within the Self–the rightly identified and acknowledged Self.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.9)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond as my Self tells me.”

Reflections:

1 – Restatement

This passage for today is a restating of the same passage quoted yesterday.  Jesus repeats his ideas when the idea is especially important.  Maybe he wants to be sure that we have caught the meaning.  And the idea is very, very important to central themes in A Course of Love.

2 – Internal Looking

We need to look within to determine what response to the outer world is called for.  This internal “looking” is a bid for guidance from the Self/Christ, who is within all of us.  We could also see that God is within, and look to Him for guidance.  The distinction is not too important, in my estimation, for we are a part of God.  This is in line with the monistic nature of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

3 – Eternity

When we recognize the Self within, we are well on our way along the pathway to Awakening.  Only time delays us, and time does not really exist.  All time is simultaneous, but it appears spread out to allow us to experience all that is happening.  Eternity is timeless.

4 – Look Within

We are not to focus too much on externals, seeking external cues as to how to respond.  We are actually becoming more introverted in our movement toward Christ-consciousness.  We no longer look to others to tell us what to do.  We look within.  And there we find our peace.

5 – Personal Experience

I personally started out as an introvert, and then moved closer to extroversion (as tested on written tests) when I practiced reference librarianship.  All of those questions from the reference, all of that interaction with library users, turned me outward.  Now that I am no longer practicing reference librarianship, I find myself naturally turning inward more, to introversion–actually my most natural response.  And it is good to know that this change is in line with A Course of Love.  We need to seek our cues from within, because listening to our brothers and sisters does not mean that what they say is “our” truth.  We can easily be misled.  We need to take nothing external unto ourselves unless it finds a welcome place in our heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for being with me today, even when I was not conscious of Your presence.  I know that You were with me, because in spite of a hectic day, I am calm and at peace now that it is the evening.  Only You could effect such an experience.

May we be transformed as we live our lives day to day.  I belong to You, and that statement is one of the most important that I remember from my early years.  A woman friend, rich with faith, said, “I belong to God.”  And I have remembered that witness all the years since.  Now I too belong to You.  And knowing that this is true gives me a life beyond my wildest dreams.  Thank You.

Amen.

A New Way of Thinking

InspiringImpressionism_Morisot

“The experience of truth dispels illusion and thus the ego-mind.  The art of thought replaces the ego-mind with the wholehearted.  The wholehearted is but the heart and mind joined in unity.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.4)”

Affirmation:  “wholeheartedness today”

Reflections:

1 – Wholeheartedness

This passage for today is a summary statement of the importance of wholeheartedness.  We have deemphasized the ego-mind to the extent that we personally can.  It is up to God to do the rest.  And He will not fail us.

2 – New Art of Thinking

When we have truly experienced the truth of our world, we will perhaps not recognize it at first.  We need time to grow accustomed to a new way of thinking, the new art of thought.  But we will recognize that the illusions in which we have believed in the past seem to have fallen away.  We will see more clearly, but with an inner eye, not our physical sight.  This is all it takes:  To see with the inner eye.  This is the way in which the Christ/Self within experiences the world.  And when we identify most clearly with the Christ/Self within, we are well on our way home.

3 – Personal Experience

Christ-consciousness is not yet for everyone, and it particularly behooves us not to claim to have experienced it if we are not living it.  Others will take notice and realize that we have deluded ourselves.  We need to set a good example of absolute truthfulness in this regard.  Those who would claim Christ-consciousness may only be getting glimpses that will fade.  As I have mentioned, I have had two experiences of Awakening that did not last–one for three months, one for six.  These experiences were life-changing for me, and they led me to understand what would be in store for me when the change was permanent.  But a permanent change cannot be rushed.  We do our part by reading and studying, praying and communing with God, and then we wait in patience for Him to act.  He will reach down (metaphorically) and lift us up when the time is right.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go well.  May I appreciate what is before me, never crying after something that I don’t have.  May I be satisfied as long as I am pursuing Your way, to the best of my ability and may the set of my will be strong.  There is no way that I can be of use to others if I am not well-equipped personally and emotionally.  May I find Your peace today in everything that I say and do.  May the joy of the moment replace second-guesses and ruminations.

May I find Your way amid the myriad ways that this world points out to me.  This world is not what I would have until it has been transformed before my eyes by You.  May this happen today, if it be Your will as well as mine.  May I no longer be afraid of Awakening, for if I am afraid of it, it is not the prayer of the heart, and You cannot honor my request.  May all of my requests to You be from deep within me, and may nothing be asked that is superficial.

Thank You for putting the right book in my hands at the right time.  And this is repeated with many books over the course of years.  Thank You for giving to me the significant others who do all that they can to meet the needs that are theirs to meet.  May this day go smoothly for all whom I encounter in any way.

Amen.

Patience as We Await Christ-Consciousness

“If you acknowledge your impatience as a sign of readiness for change that does not necessarily monet - yellow water liliesrequire action on your part, you will feel some relief.  (A Course of Love, 25.22)”

Affirmation:  “I will acknowledge impatience but not be ruled by it.”

Reflections:

1 – Ever More Eager

This impatience in the passage for today is a referral to the fact that we will become ever more eager to reach Christ-consciousness.  But we must be patient, for we may not be ready.  We may not be ready for a long time.  We do not have to adopt an impatient attitude.  We do not have to do anything at all.  No action, as the passage says, is required.

2 – Personal Experience

I have longed for quite a while to reach the Awakening, or Christ-consciousness.  But I am not ready yet.  And I do accept that.  Most of us, indeed, are not ready. I am fortunate in having had glimpses of Christ-consciousness–for three months and, later, for six months–and other glimpses, briefly, during daily life.  I am assured that these glimpses will lengthen over time, if I stay true to the pathway.  God will provide, in His own time.  And who would I be to try to hasten God?

3 – Part of God

Of course, I am a part of God, as are all of us.  So we do have some influence on this deepest part of ourselves.  But the personal self does not know.  Only the Self/Christ within knows, and we must be aware that our knowledge of this part of ourselves is still limited.  But we can wait, and we can wait patiently.  There is no hurry.  There is much that we can teach, even though we have not reached the pinnacle.

4 – Learn through Observation

Be wtih us today.  May we carefully study, learn through observation, and reach out to others, if they are interested in what we do or say.

5 – Just for Today

This is enough for today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please remove those barriers in my mind and heart that keep me unready for Christ-consciousness on a sustained basis.  Help met to avoid attack and anger.  Help me to be patient as I wait for Your timing.  This is not a thing to rush, or to imagine that I have when I don’t.  I ask for sanity and good sense in the real world, a safe transition to Christ-consciousness.  No fear as I make the transition.

Be with all of us as we seek You.  You will know when we are ready.  And then, and only then, will we know fully why the wait has been so long.

Amen.

Glimpses of Awakening

pissarro- street scene - city“Living in love in every instance is what occurs when the whole Self is involved in the love of life.  There are no ‘parts’ of the Self fractioned off and holding resentments.  There are no ‘parts’ of Self living in the past or the future.  (A Course of Love, 25.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would live my Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Present

How can we fail to live, somewhat, in the past and the future?  It is always so hard to keep constantly focused in the present, though this is perennial advice which so many of us fail to follow.

2 – Live in Love and Be in the Present

When we live in love, living in the present becomes easy.  We love life.  We love our brothers and sisters.  And we, appropriately, love ourselves.  But most of all, we love God.

3 – Plans

We will be guided to know when to make plans for the future.  This guidance will occur at the time that thought or action is needed.  (These are paraphrases from A Course in Miracles.)  Otherwise, we are bade not to make plans against contingencies to come.  So simple, and yet so hard to live consistently.

4 – Forget Personal Self

If we love life, we will be so immersed in it that we will forget the personal self in favor of the Self/Christ.  This Self is the one that we really want to live within.  And we can do so, when God knows that we are ready for Christ-consciousness.  He will reach down and lift us up, and the change in us will be magnificent.

5 – Personal Experience

Twice I have had glimpses of this revelation; one lasted three months, the other, six months.  I was living in love both times, and so I do know that this admonition of Jesus’s is true.  Living in love makes such a difference.  I would live in love all the time, and this will, I think, hasten God’s action toward to lift me up to Christ-consciousness (i.e., Awakening).  I will eagerly seek, but I will not dictate to God what I want Him to do.  He knows already.

6 – Living in Love

This way of living in love is magical, but not in the sense that Jesus uses the term “magic” in A Course in Miracles.  It is an unbelievable immersion in joy and harmony.  All seems right with the world, and that is because we are, however, briefly, right with ourselves.

7 – Revelation

May we so live today that this revelation will come to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The fact that twice a long time ago I lived in love enough to experience glimpses of Awakening is motivating to me, hopeful that Awakening will come again.  But I try not to pester God with my request; He knows best.  It is enough to know that Awakening awaits all of us, when we are fully ready.

Be with me today for another good day.  If I stay active, I do have good days.  And when You make my agenda for the day, I have good days.  Open me to guidance today in all respects.  That is the only way that I want to live.

Help me to reach out to my brothers and sisters in need.  We all are in need at various times, and we are meant to help each other out.  When one is strong, the other is weak.  We take turns.  And this is as You intended us to live–in unity and relationship with ourselves, with You, and with others.

Amen.

How to Receive Constant Help

“What it [A Course in Miracles] says is that the unknown is benevolent.  What it says is that what you cannot anticipate can be anticipated for you.  What it says is that you could be receiving constant help if you would but let it come  What it says is that you are not alone.  (A Course of Love, 17.8)”
paintings-by-claude-monet- close-up water lilies
Affirmation:  “May I receive constant help today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

When I was little, I was not sure that the universe was benevolent.  This was when I had learned just enough science to be made confused with my religion.  (My religion was traditional Christianity.)  I used to lie in bed and ponder questions about the universe.  Was God just superstition?  Was hell real?  Was the center of the universe a terror?

2 – Scary Thoughts

These are scary thoughts for a 12-year-old to have.  But now we have A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love to reassure us that all is well, and we can proffer this knowledge to our children.  There is nothing to fear.  God is here, and God will help.

3 – Constant Help

Receiving constant help is a tremendous blessing, and all that we have to do to receive this constant help is to be open to it.  Actually, I think we do not even have to know that we are receiving the help from a benevolent universe to be blessed by good fortune.  The rain and sun are there for good and bad alike, and ACIM notes that we are all innocent of wrongdoing; we only have made mistakes.

4 – The Future

When we cannot anticipate the future, and we fear that it will be bad, then we can know that help is walking ahead of us to smooth the way.

5 – Reassuring Passage

These three facets of the passage–benevolent unknown, anticipation by helpers, and the fact that we are not alone–make this one of the most reassuring passages in A Course of Love.  And this is just the beginning of many such reassuring passages in ACOL.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You everyday that I no longer have to fear that I am all alone in the universe.  I thank You that I know that You are a constant help to me.  And Your offer of help is a free offer; I don’t have to do anything to deserve Your help.  A free offer!  Such a blessing!

May I drop into the past the scary thoughts that I had as a 12-year-old child.  Thankfully, I had only four years of the scary thoughts before You warmed my heart one night in a religious meeting.  Thank You for that happening, remembered now from my 16-year-old self.  Be with me today, in future warmth also.

Amen.

Finding Our Way to Peace

“Peace is impossible to those who look on war.  Peace is inevitable to those who offer peace.  (M-11.4)”

Affirmation:  “I choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – A Long Time Ago

Early on in my study of A Course in Miracles I selected this passage as an affirmation.  I typed it out and posted it at my office desk, just in front of my eyes on my bulletin board.  And such peace the passage gave me.  I was in a work environment that was not well-suited to me because there were political battles raging daily.  Perhaps you too have found yourself in such a place.  I determined that I would seek to carry out the advice in this passage at work, to my very best ability.  And, while the environment did not appreciably change, I found a way to find a more congenial environment.  The higher administration wrote to me, when I resigned, that I had been a “positive force” in the workplace.  This in itself seemed to be evidence that these two statements in the passage for the day really do work when worked.  We can effect change, even when we are not aware that anybody is noticing.

2 – A Summary

So the passage becomes as follows:

Look on war = peace impossible
Offer peace = peace inevitable

3 – Serene and Untroubled Mind

So this passage becomes motivation to live out our days with a serene and untroubled mind.  We are not so perfect, though, that we will never get upset.  But we will not entertain anger and attack.  We will entertain peace.  And the difference that this change of attitude will bring to our lives is incalculable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the ease with which this day has gone.  I do know that I want to offer peace to those I encounter.  And so conflict and “war” do not have to be my fate.  Help me to remain true to this determination, this will to follow Your dictates.

Thank You for being with me today.  The stress that all of us encounter has ended, for me, today, and for that I am especially grateful.

Amen.

Rejection

“Only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible.  (T48)”

Affirmation:  “give over all desire to reject”

Reflections:

1 – Give Up the Ego and Rejection – Both!

Rejection is of the ego, and once we relinquish the desire to reject our brother, we too know that our Self cannot be rejected by God.  Knowing this is a great release.  We cannot be rejected by God!  What a glorious incentive to give up the ego.

2 – Personal Experience

We sometimes see rejection when there has been none.  I think back over some of my actions, and I realize that the people involved may have read rejection when I was actually being shy.  Introversion can seem like rejection.  We cannot always see into our own motivations, and certainly others cannot see into our motivations either.  All of us need to realize that personalities differ, and what we thought that we meant may have been totally misunderstood.  We may have been calling for love in the only way that, at the moment, we knew.  And our own diffidence may have masked that call.

3 – All Have Known Rejection

All of us have known rejection.  We may remember these incidents as among the worst of our life.  But we do not have to be wounded irreparably.  There is a way out.  Once we have started to turn away from the ego, our perceptions are cleansed, and we at that time know less rejection from others.  This is a principal motivator of the Course.  And once motivation has been increased, we are well on our way to the Atonement.

4 – Rejection Always Starts with Ourselves

If we want Atonement, we must realize that nobody is actually rejecting us.  It always starts with ourselves.  We are projecting a perception of rejection, and so it becomes true for us.  This is the pain of living in an illusion.  We make what we see outside of ourselves; we are participating in the mass hallucination (an interpretation of ACIM, not stated therein).

5 – We Are Healed

Rejection from others, or our own personal rejection of self or others, can be one of the main disappointments in life.  Once we truly realize that it is ourselves who have initiated any rejection, even when it seems to come from others, we are healed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we realize that in rejection, we are in the driver’s seat.  We have made this situation, however much we may try to blame others.  Help us especially not to blame You.

May we cease to contemplate rejection in any form.  When this is accomplished, we will be well on our way to Atonement, a lasting Atonement.

Amen.

Why Am I Afraid?

“Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate and have not allowed me to guide it.  (T29)”

Affirmation:  “My I allow Jesus to guide my mind.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

Elsewhere the Course counsels against mind wandering.  This mind wandering is exactly the way in which miscreation happens.  We fantasize about horrors of the past, present, or future, and soon we find ourselves afraid–full of fear.  The exact opposite of love.

2 – Personal Experience

I have almost constantly to caution myself not to let my mind wander when I am praying.  I have learned that praying aloud, when possible, keeps me on track.  Jesus is especially negative about mind wandering, maybe because all thought creates form on some level (an ACIM tenet).  I would not make form that is a miscreation.  While some of these ideas are theology of ACIM, and thus perhaps a bit controversial, I think that all of us can probably see that keeping a mind that is obedient to our commands, and the commands of the Holy Spirit (however these commands are experienced), will give us a better life, a different life in which there is far more peace and far less rancor.  ACIM does not say this specifically, but much can be found therein that suggests this idea.

3 – Allow Jesus to Guide Our Thoughts

When we allow Jesus to guide our thoughts, we do not know fear.  This takes great deal of concentration in the beginning, an awareness of what our minds are doing.  This kind of concentration usually does not come easily to us.  But it can be done, when motivation is strong.

4 – Motivation to Change Our Lives

If the fear is strong, the motivation to change to a better way of living will be strong as well.  We need at first attend only to the motivation to change, and then the remainder will fall into place without effort.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I allow my miscreating mind to rest in Your power and strength.  May I allow the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts.

When my mind does not wander into fantasies, I am better off.  Thank you for the wisdom that would lead me to eliminate miscreations of my mind and eliminate fear.

Amen.