Reach Out & Touch God

“The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is. He has no ego with which to accept such thanks and no perceptions with which to judge your offerings. But unless you take part in the creation, His joy is not complete because yours is incomplete. And this He does know. He knows it in His Own being and its experience of His Sons’ experience. The constant going out of His love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.X.8:1-7)

This quotation is a favorite of mine, for it acknowledges that the God we know may have very human emotions, though spiritualized and non-egoic. After all, it is even said in Genesis that God created us in His image. So why would the One Who created us not share some traits with us?

This may sound blasphemous, but it doesn’t to me. I like to think, even, of God as a new husband, keen on pleasing his new wife, eager to do things for her that make her happy. In this analogy (imperfect though it may be) God enjoys hearing our appreciation, wants our gratefulness, not because it is necessary for His joy, but because He knows that it is necessary for ours. If we aren’t grateful, we take this glorious life for granted, and we drop into the doldrums at the first instance of suffering/pain that comes our way.

Keep our minds and hearts elevated. That is the great secret of living life with a joyous spirit. If possible, make a list of those things that give happy moments, and so more of them. This is frequent advice in the self-help literature to increase one’s experience of happiness.

But elevating the mind and heart works. Even if circumstances surrounding us do not seem to warrant a positive outlook. Everything improves with positive emotions. Positive emotions are half the battle in any and all challenging situations.

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Prayer

“Prayer is a way of asking for something. When we said that prayer is the medium of miracles, we also said that the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything. Once forgiveness has been accepted, prayer in the usual sense becomes utterly without meaning. Essentially, a prayer for forgiveness is nothing more than a request that we may be able to recognize something we already have.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.VII.10:1-4)

What is the “usual” sense of prayer? It is supplication, and when we know, firmly, that we have everything, we are saved for a new kind of prayer: communion with God. This communion assumes that we have forgiven ourselves, for He doesn’t forgive, for He has never condemned.

We need desperately to forgive ourselves for real and imagined mistakes. We need desperately to love ourselves, for self-love allows the type of mental attitude that welcomes love of others as well. If we don’t love ourselves, we can’t very well take inner love and project it outward.

We already have forgiveness from the universe, all brothers and sisters everywhere. They wish us well, even though they may have a hard way of showing it in this world. And since God has not condemned, and therefore doesn’t need to offer forgiveness, we are home free there as well. God’s love wraps us up in a warm blanket, and we are safe. Safe and sound. Forgiven, including by ourselves.

Prayer as communion with God is immensely practical. Our guidance will give us the solutions to problems as soon as we have clearly articulated the problem. The solution is with the problem.

Know that forgiveness, when we have extended it to ourselves, is total. We don’t condemn another when we feel forgiven.

Praying with Jesus

“It may help if you say this prayer to me:

“I would like to pray that my will be united with thine, recognizing that thy perfect love will suffice (or correct) for my imperfect love.

“I pray that I may accept the Atonement with conviction, recognizing its inestimable worth, and my own divine worth as part of this identification with thine.

“I pray that my fear be replaced by an active sense of thy love, and they continual willingness to help me overcome the split or divided will which is responsible for my difficulty with this.

“I accept the divinity of the messages I have received, and affirm my will in both accepting and acting upon the Atonement principle.
“Here I am.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.IX.14:1-6)

We need to empty ourselves, as Marianne Williamson says. And when we pray a prayer of such dignity and grace as this one, here quoted, we are led to empty ourselves so that we might be filled with the power and single-minded purpose of Jesus. He guides us as we pray, and if we listen attentively, and pray intently, we will join our will with our heavenly Father, and join our will with the intent of the Atonement.

There is, in truth, little more we need to do. When we empty ourselves, we are overcome with a warmth that indicates that God Himself is right here with us, in us, around us, everywhere. He is living through us, for we are part of Him. His way will ultimately win out, but we have to join our will to his, for our will itself is free, and there is no coercion.

When we realize that our way of a separate path has not worked and can never work, we are more flexible in His hands. We know that the separation is a myth best left behind. We know that God means us well, as He lives through us, and we realize that our trial of a separate existence has failed miserably. We are then ripe for the Atonement, which is the merging of our will with His, and the acceptance of Jesus’s part in our salvation.

So: Let us empty ourselves so that we might be filled with the grace of God. There is no better way to live well, no way to live well apart from this at all.

Prayer & Miracles

“We said before that prayer is the medium of miracles. The miracle prayer is:

“If you will tell me what to do, I will do it.

“This prayer is the door that leads out of the desert forever.

“This however, is not a complete statement, because it does not include the negative. We have already told you to add the thought ‘and not to do those you would not have me do’ in connection with miracles.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.46.9:1-3 to 10:1-2)

Jesus gives very precise guidance in line with our acceptance of his terms. We both perform miracles that he has authorized, and we refrain from performing miracles to which he has not given the nod. We are held strictly to guidance when it comes to what we do in regard to miracles.

Surely this must be because miracles are of a higher order in reality. If we tried to perform them with our limited knowledge, we would disobey laws of the universe that God keeps under strict control. The law of love is one such law, for if the law of love did not exist, then the whole fabric of existence would fall apart. The universe(s) would self-destruct. So God knew what He was doing when Love was placed front and center.

Miracles as expressions of love are a movement into a deeper reality. They are what Love can wrought when other laws are suspended. So we have to have guidance; we can survive and thrive in no other way.

When we pray, we discover what to do as well as what to deny the doing. We get on God’s beam, and what better place is there for all of us to exist?

Prayer

“Prayer can be very specific in little matters. If you need a coat, for example, ask me where to find one. I know your taste well, and I also know where the coat is that you would eventually buy anyway. If you do not like the coat afterwards, that is what would have happened anyway.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.25.5:1-4)

Jesus is here encouraging Helen to get his help in all the little mundane matters of life. There are many helpers on the Other Side; we don’t all have to trouble Jesus with the little things. But the fact that help is available does indicate that we ought to avail ourselves of it.

We live in a larger world, this one and one that we can’t see and can only imagine. It is this larger world which stands ready to help at every junction.

Try it and see. Ask for help in all the parts of our lives. See if it isn’t possible to lead a charmed life this way.

And give thanks when the help arrives. This puts us on the wavelength of love, and love is the great solver of all questions/problems.

Prayer and Miracles

“11. Prayer is the medium of miracles. Prayer is the natural communication between the created and the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.11:1-3)

There is a direct parallel between this quotation for today, from A Course in Miracles, and words in A Course of Love, a treatise that many believe is a sequel to ACIM. In the chapter on the “art of thought” in ACOL, we are encouraged to believe that the art of thought is miracle-mindedness, miracle-readiness, miracles themselves, as well miracles that come through prayer.

This is not the usual supplication to God. This prayer is virtually a constant thing in our lives, a habit of thought that encourages expressions of love and thereby creates miracles. In its highest form, prayer is communion with God in which words disappear. Our mind and heart are turned to God, attuned to Him, and we dwell in a new relationship to our deepest being, where God Himself dwells.

Would we not want to express love always? Why do we so often trip ourselves up when we would be about our Father’s business? We love, and then we get angry or upset, and we withdraw love. So our lives become erratic. A constant sense of love received and given is the better way. And it is the way in which miracles come into full force.

Trust today that guidance will tell us what miracles to perform, what expressions of love to make plain to our brothers and sisters. When we pray thus, we are in God’s will in a manner that allows all good things to occur. We are in God’s will with our deepest nature.

Dear God,

I would pray deeply and without words, just a constant sense of being with You, in communion with all that is good. The way to do this is simple, but often overlooked. It is to retain a sense of peace and harmony in the midst of life’s trials, and then the tribulations really do disappear. Jesus has said in ACIM that we don’t have to have tribulations here, unlike how he was quoted in the Bible.

I would also welcome Jesus into my life. His hand enfolds mine, and when that happens, it is easy to be peaceful.

Amen.

Dialogue in the Silence with God

“The idea of your “potential” was a useful learning tool and one that served the purposes of the Holy Spirit as well as those of the ego. The idea of your “potential” and your ability to be “more” than what your limited view of yourself would have you be, was a necessary tool to call you to the learning that would return you to your true identity. But the time for such tools is over.” (ACOL, D:Day9.16)

I think the problem with continuing to think about our “potential” is that it calls us to think of an “ideal” persona, something that is a false idol. Why can’t we get it through our heads that we are alright just as we are? Why do we think that we have to improve, and improve constantly?

Of course, we want to be better people; that is what is going on here. But if we think that God will love us more when we improve, we think wrongly. God loves us deeply, far more deeply than we love ourselves. That is the bottom line. We can ask to be better people, but we don’t do ourselves any favors when we contort ourselves. We will improve in our personality traits as time goes by, and we stay on our pathway to salvation. But this change is a gift of God; nothing that we can do personally will alter our primary makeup at all. This is hard for us to believe, of course, for the ego has had us on a treadmill of constant “improvement.” The fact that it was a dead end to improvement has seemingly escaped us.

Ask for the improvement that we think we need. God will answer, and answer quickly. Just dialogue with Him, listening in His silence for what you think an all-knowing, loving Father would say.

We might not be far off base.

Dear God,

I think wrongly when I obsess over wanting healthy thinking processes. These will come by letting go, letting go to You. Telling myself that does seem to help a little. I am ready for my own little self-improvement campaigns to end.

Be with me on this beautiful, warm day. I wish for my quiet day to end with a healthy frame of mind. My heart will tell my mind how to accomplish this. I trust You to guide.

Amen.

Prayer Invites Fearlessness

“If you do not truly and wholeheartedly desire this choice, if you do not truly and wholeheartedly meet the condition of being fearless, you will know this, and you will pass through the time of coming to accep¬tance again and again until you are ready. You cannot fail but can only delay. For some the time of delay has passed. For those who linger in the time of acceptance, there is reason for this as well.” (ACOL, D:Day4.49)

How many of us can really say that we are fearless all the time, as Jesus says we need to be for this time of acceptance of anything and everything to lead to Christ-consciousness? So you see, this new state of being to which Jesus is leading us ever so gently is not a state of mind and heart to which all can ascribe. Many of us delay. In the light of day, when we are feeling well and at peace, we can say that we are fearless. But when we wake up in the middle of the night, nameless fears still descend upon us, and we know that we are not ready. We have not met the condition of fearlessness.

We need not be deterred, though. We can and must reach Christ-consciousness, this new state of being, sometime and someplace. Many of us ARE ready now, and for these fortunate few, the Forty Days and Forty Nights are a wonderful training ground. Any of us read and reread these few pages. We will discover more with each reading. We will come closer to accepting fearlessness as the way we truly want to be. And so it will come to pass.

We cannot fail, ultimately. Jesus has promised this much to us. And when we linger just this side of ultimate salvation, we can do much to help others in the same predicament. If we are to understand problems, sometimes we must pass through those same problems ourselves. If we are to help, we must have been there.

Prayer helps. I think the more often we reach fearlessness, the more likely our time at the threshold will be soon. And prayer, especially in the middle of the night, when fears assail us, is very effective. It is easy to drift off to sleep when we are praying to our Maker. It is easy to drift off to sleep, once again in a fearless state of being. And soon this fearless condition will wash over the whole of our lives, and we will have met Jesus’s condition—of fearlessness—for Christ-consciousness.

Dear God,

I am at a fortunate position right now. I do not feel afraid of anyone or anything. I am at peace, calm in the midst of a quiet day. Be with me, like this, from now on. Let no fears assail me. Let me walk in the shadow of Your peace.

Amen.

Prayer Will Cleanse the Subconscious

“To move from maintenance to sustenance is our goal, however. To sustain is to keep in existence. To recognize unity as sustenance is to recog¬nize it as that which sustains life. Sustaining unity or Christ-consciousness is being done with the need to maintain conditions that allow it to be present. Maintenance will lead to sustenance.” (ACOL, D:15.20)

Here we are hearing about the movement into Christ-consciousness, Awakening, enlightenment. There is no emphasis in A Course of Love in regard to maintaining Christ-consciousness, or maintenance is seen as a temporary state (in the best of circumstances) that will lead on into the sustainability, or sustenance of Christ-consciousness. Of course, we can imagine that not everybody will actually move to sustenance. But this would be a pity, for sustenance is exactly what Jesus is calling us to reach. If we don’t fall back into old egoic patterns, and if we don’t form a new ego (how sad!), then we will inevitably move on into sustaining Christ-consciousness.

Jesus needs us to spend time in reflection. Quiet time will ease the subconscious mind into the conscious, and when this happens, we can see what needs to be altered. We merely ask, and Jesus assures us that the deed is done; we are free of our impediments. To ask that wrong actions and wrong thoughts be corrected is what we are here for. This world is a training ground for a better world to come, and by that I don’t mean the afterlife, but life right here in this world. But a world of true reality, where we listen to our guidance, really listen, and the act upon what we hear. Jesus needs stewards of his new way of thought, his miracle, his miracle-readiness—granted to us, right here and now.

Prayer and contemplation will act to cleanse the subconscious mind. And in the cleansing we will be set free. The way is not hard. We just must care enough to give our own mind and heart the attention they deserve. And Jesus will do the rest.

Prayer

I will spend some time today in contemplation, certain that You will cleanse the less-desirable parts of my psyche when I do listen to You. Help me to have the patience to know that You can’t do the job in one fell swoop—though You might, of course. Most of us have to spend time, over days, to understand what You are asking of us. A miracle of immediate knowledge may happen in rare cases, but I ask for patience if in my case it does not happen that way.

Thank You for another good day. I will return to my quiet prayer to You.

Amen.

I Now Dwell in the Light

“I am no longer the personal self who was separate and alone.

“I am my Christ Self.
I dwell in unity.
My identity is certain.
This is the truth.
“I am not less than I once was, but more.
Where once I was empty, I now am full.
Where once I dwelt in darkness
I now dwell in the light.
Where once I had forgotten
Now I remember who I Am.
“Now I go forth
To live as who I Am within the world
To make cause and effect as one, and
Union with the Source of love and all creation the reality.” (D:1.14)

This prayer says it all, doesn’t it? We are no longer the personal or “little” self that was lost in an illusory separation from God. We are full of the Christ Self, a certain identity that emerges from within, where God dwells. We are going out into the world, now in union with God and all creation; we are creating a new world.

There is much hope in Jesus’s prayer, here beginning the Dialogues, the last part of A Course of Love. He puts faith into his dealings with us, sure that we will follow in the way that he has pointed out. He himself is simply the Atonement, and we are heading not only toward acceptance of the Atonement, but into the embodiment of Christhood, Christ-consciousness lived day by day in a newly created world. When we give Love, we will know the joy that is hidden in this prayer. It is not so much that we receive Love, as that we give it, for it is in the giving that we are created anew. Life has been chugging along at an abyssal pace, but soon what we do and say will pick up speed. We will be living a true reality, no longer lost in illusion at all.

Jesus carries us through this prayer, bit by bit, in the Dialogues. And he concludes his message with 40 days and 40 nights on a mountaintop that has come to us while we are still situated in “real life.” We don’t separate ourselves from anything or anybody, but we live on two levels at once—the mundane, daily one, and the elevated one that will predict the elevated Self of form.

We have much to look forward to as we consider this final part of ACOL.

Prayer

Be with me today as I seek to live fully in Your grace. I would long for a genuine giving of Love to others and to You, but also to myself—for if I hate myself, it is impossible to love anybody else, You included. Let me have a good, genuine love for the Self, nevermore egoic. May I be reassured that the ego is dead in me (though my best instincts are that it is still looming within me, ready to strike). May I walk humbly with You. May you teach me how to turn aside from the ego at every turn.

Thank You for offering me a good day, a day of peace and happiness, gentle joy. I offer to you my Love, as deep from my heart as I can create it.

Be with me as this day unfolds, and help me to be of assistance to my brothers and sisters. And to You, for you do need my hands and feet.

Amen.

Prayer Is Communion

“You will be prone to calling upon the Christ as your higher self to defend you against the ego-self. This is highly akin to your former notion of prayer and assumes that there is something real that you need defense against or saving from. This is how the notion of Christ as savior arose. This is the belief in a good self and a bad self with Christ acting as conscience and defender of good and the ego acting as devil and defender of evil. This is nonsense, or but a form of the insanity that is prevalent still, even in your thinking. You do not realize that this source of conflict is the source of all conflict that seems real to you within your world. This battle of good and evil, while you believe in it still, will be demonstrated before you just as it has been from time immemorial. Is this what you would have continue? Does this not but reveal to you a fraction of the power of your thinking and its ability to shape the world you see?” (ACOL, T2:11.15)

Those of us reared in the Christian tradition have long battled good vs. evil, God vs. the devil. But we learn now that the ego is the real devil, and the way get out of egoic thinking is to gently turn aside from it, not to resist, for resisting strengths the ego because resisting makes us think that there is something real there.

There is nothing real about the ego at all. It is but an illusion. If we are to know true reality, we need to get the place there true reality stands—wholeheartedness, a heart and mind united in Self, and holy relationships with our brothers and sisters. The Christ-Self in us is relationship, for we are in relationship to God Himself, and this Self is One with all of our brothers and sisters. We could not actually experience anything as One, undivided. It takes relationship to be able to experience at all, for Wholeness without division would not be experiential. Yet each part, divided, does contain the whole, though finite minds do not comprehend the whole. Our true reality is in the unity that we share as One, and in the dichotomy of differential expressions of that unity—expressions of the One, entities, brothers and sisters, with whom we enjoy holy relationships.

Our former notion of prayer was to an external God Who would, maybe, listen to us, and, maybe, answer our prayers. Our new understanding of prayer is of a communion with the deepest part of Self, the Self Who is in union with the God within. And He always answers our prayers. Naturally, this part of Self always listens. We do ourselves an injustice if we turn aside from such communion. We are meant to remain in communication with God constantly.

Do we really think that we contain both a good and a bad self? Do we still hold to the idea that the “devil” can tempt us into wrongdoing? The ego surely can tempt us, until it is gone for good, and the ego is the closest, false aspect of self that is close to the concept of the devil. Our self is innocent, and therefore good. Of course, we may make a myriad of mistakes, but the Self will save us. And we can rectify many of these mistakes. If such does not seem possible, let us know in the marrow of our bones that we are still forgiven for these mistakes. But we have to forgive ourselves, and this may be the hardest part.

Put to rest the concept of an evil entity called the “devil.” Know that when we have turned aside from the idea of doing battle with evil, we will have made a giant step forward in our progress toward enlightenment. Our ego will wither away from non-attention. We will no longer be interested in competing stridently with one another. Our new way of sharing, one with the other, is all that remains as we turn aside from this illusory battle of good and evil.

Prayer

Thank You for this good day and for the tool kit of meditation, prayer, and affirmations that You recommend to me. This tool kit does much to stabilize my days. It is a godsend indeed.

Be with me as I seek to avoid a conflict-ridden day. This day is not meant to be lived in conflict—not day is. And today, so far, has been all harmony. I would have this peace continue. I would know You, and in the knowing I would come to keep myself in good control—living peaceably with all my brothers and sisters.

Thank You for sharing Yourself with me. Thank You for being You. Your warmth surrounds me today. It gives me hope for a good day and also hope for an even better future. The sense of Your Presence is calming, always good. Be with me in this way all through the day today. Please.

Amen.

Prayer

“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.” (ACOL, T1:6.3)

Prayer is one of the most, if not the most, solver of problems in our difficult world. When we reach deep within ourselves, to the God within, we see the solution that is always right there with the problem. It takes “getting tiny” to effect change in prayer. We have to realize that it is the Self in union with God Who can answer our needs. When we try to “get bigger” than our difficulties, and forge ahead, we virtually always get into more trouble.

So: How might life become a prayer? We ask in the depths for a solution to our worries. We are answered, immediately, but sometimes our conscious mind can’t hear the answer right away. God responds, our deeper Self responds. And it is because the deeper Self is God Himself, Who loves us, we walk a green earth again.

We are in union with the divine. When we forget that connection, we make mistakes. And from these mistakes, we need to emerge on the other side with feelings of forgiveness and feelings of love. The two go together, for until we forgive ourselves for our mistakes, we cannot understand what prompted the ill will, and we don’t love fully—for we have been hurt.

Life seems a bundle of neuroses until we decide to give up those neuroses to the One Who can heal us. And heal us He does, and immediately, though we don’t feel anything for a while. We are still nursing our wounds, and this leads to an ennui, a weakness, that paralyzes us. This won’t do. We deserve better than this, and God gives it to us, in the solution of problems brought to Him for the mending.

Prayer works. Often it is the only thing that does, for we can try distractions in the world, but they soon fail us. God, the deep Self, will mellow us out, give us a new lease on life. And in this new lease, our sorrows dissipate. We indeed walk a green earth again.

Dear Father/Mother,

Prayer works. And I pray to You today to heal my hurt and angry feelings. I know that I set a poor example when I am hurt and angry. So I would recognize my union with You, and I would gently try again.

Be with all of us today. We all do need You. I need You very much. And life improves when I an conscious of my union with You.

Thank You for the conscious contact.

Amen.

Miracles = Prayer = New Art of Thought

“A Course of Love began with an injunction to pray. A Course in Miracles began with a definition of miracles. Both are the same. Prayer and the art of thought are the same. This should serve to make it clear that the request I have made of you is once again far more broad and generalizable than your old habit of thought has led you to see.” (ACOL, T1:4.3)

Here we see that prayer = miracles =art of thought, and we see that Jesus’s request to us to choose a miracle is a broad-based request that has applicability in every facet of our lives. We had thought, and he let us think for a while, that his injunction to choose a miracle was for something specific. He then led us through a labyrinth of the reasons that we were not acting on his request (for he knew that we would not act, being too fearful of his request). He wants us to drop those fears, fears that have their roots in the specific nature of our egoic thinking, the only thinking that we have known. Now he has finally, after several pages, explained to us, in this passage, that what he is wanting from us is an entirely new way of life, a life that is miracle-based, prayer-based, and based in a new way of thought.

We can pray without ceasing, though if we have never tried, we will naturally doubt that we would ever succeed. As Jesus said in A Course in Miracles, we are much too tolerant of mind wandering. And wander our ego-mind will do; it is only when the ego has been abandoned that we begin thinking in a new way, the prayerful way that invites miracles moment by moment through the new way of thought that we are using.

It is not easy to understand, even now, what Jesus means by the art of thought. This is because we can’t really practice it until we practice wholeheartedly, with mind and heart united as one—and our Self guiding us along the way. We need to let our Self, united with God, come out to play. We have not known about this Self for eons, caught as we have been in a false viewing of thinking through a false self trapped by ego. But all of this is changing for us now, and we are already the better for it. We will soon know a joy that has been eluding us for as long as the ego has reigned, and this goes backward in time to a point that we can only dimly imagine.

Reach for the joy of miracles, the joy that is found in a prayerful and reverent attitude toward life and our living a life. When we glimpse, ever so slightly what this change will bring about in us, we will be impatient to walk the whole pathway toward Christ-consciousness. Indeed, wholeheartedness demands this of us. And God makes the decision, but our fervent desire to live differently is fully in accord with divine will, and so when we pray for Christ-consciousness sooner rather than later, we are in league with God Himself.

Dear Father/Mother,

I would enjoy this day, a day that can be filled with miracles. I spent time in journaling this morning that gave me a new lease on life. And this was prayer, written out in my own handwriting. This is the way that You would have us live, and I now know first hand what a difference it has made in this one day. Thank You.

Be with my brothers and sisters as they seek to understand the art of thought, a difficult concept. Be with me as I seek to expand my own knowledge of what is meant. Help me to avoid a wandering mind, but keep me on task.

Thank You.

Amen.

Prayer Warms the Heart

“Accept a new authority, even if only for the little while that it will take you to read these words. Start with this idea: You will allow for the possibility of a new truth to be revealed to your waiting heart. Hold in your heart the idea that as you read these words—and when you finish reading these words—their truth will be revealed to you. Let your heart be open to a new kind of evidence of what constitutes the truth.” (ACOL, C:7.23)

When we are feeling down and also confused, it helps to find a friend who can advise us. This is what Jesus is doing in this passage for today. He is offering to be our new authority. And because he is Jesus, we can accept his authority with grace.

We can open the heart to allow new truth to come in. We can live better than we ever have before; A Course of Love welcomes just such an opportunity. The idea that we turn to our heart instead of our mind is helpful in the extreme. All of us know immediately what is meant by turning to the heart. This in itself emphasizes the brilliance of Jesus’s idea. He knows that we will understand. And this understanding of the pivotal place of the heart in our future decision making is necessary for success in the new endeavor in which we find ourselves.

When we turn to the Christ Self, Who is a part of God, we learn anew what it is to trust the heart. We need to let our Christ Self totally consume our mind. Then when the mind, the new mind, is joined to the heart, we have the wholeheartedness about which Jesus speaks so eloquently.

In prayer we can open to this Christ Self in a way that we never have before. Our prayers have previously dwelt upon the idea that God was external to us, and thus we prayed, in the darkness, to an Entity Who would decide whether or not to give us what we were asking. This is not the logic of prayer as presented in A Course of Love. We turn inward, to our heart, and then we listen for the guidance of the (inner) Christ Self. It is not clear from A Course of Love if this guidance is coming directly from God, though I would be inclined to say that it is (an interpretation). I don’t think that God turned us out in the illusion, knowing nothing of our activities. (This again is an interpretation, not shared by all students/teachers of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.) I see God as omniscient, and this includes knowing what His beloved creations are doing once they (we) lost themselves (ourselves) in illusion.

So open the heart and mind to wholeheartedness. Know that the truth can and will be revealed to a listening Self. This Self does not know illusion. This Self knows the truth that we hope to have revealed.

The way is not hard. Jesus has walked this way before us, and why not learn from his pioneering effort?

A World of Joy

“Remember now one lovely day, for each of you has had at least one that was a shining light in a world of darkness. A day in which the sun shone on your world and you felt part of everything. Every tree and every flower welcomed you. Every drop of water seemed to refresh your soul, every breeze to carry you to heaven. Every smile seemed meant for you, and your feet hardly seemed to touch the soft ground on which you walked. This is what awaits you as you join with what you see. This awaits you as you place no judgment on the world, and in so doing join with everything and extend your holiness across a world of grief, causing it to become a world of joy.” (C:5:32)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wish such a day often, even everyday? Is such a blessing possible? Probable?

I think that it is, but I do think that it is rare in our world. I have read of people who never met a person they didn’t like, people who feel happy every day. But I would be the first to tell you that this is not I. Oh, I hope for better days, and I do have many good days—but constant and unremitting joy has not been my lot in life.

I doubt that it has been yours either. But we can move ever close to such a blessed state by doing certain things daily.

It is well to start the day right, as A Course in Miracles points out. And, of course, Jesus also tells us in ACIM that the day can be begun again if it starts out less than the best. How to start the day right?

We need a time of quietness. And not all of us can squeeze this in first thing in the morning. It means getting up earlier, before our family rouses It means that we give a part of each day to God, right off the bat. And we are the better for it.

I do not always do this, but when I have, the rewards have been great. I go out on our sun/screen porch, where the early sounds of the morning, and my reading and prayer, grant me peace. Having this peace first thing in the morning is the best way to ensure that the day will unfold well. If the day turns frantic, we can then go within, in memory, for that moment when everything seemed right with the world—when God was in His heaven, and we were visiting Him, so to speak.

If you can’t carve out the first part of the day to spend with God, spend time with Him as soon as possible as the day unfolds. We will never regret these moments of quiet. We will flourish in a world that seems at time to have gone mad. As it has.

Return in memory to happy times. Recall a pristine day, as the passage for today encourages us. And remember that prayer is God’s way to talk to us. Prayer is sometimes silence, for God is heard in silence.

The world today does not live by these rules. And they are my rules, my interpretation, based on A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. When you have time, develop your own rules.

You will live far happier days. And you will the God Whom you may have forgotten somewhere along the way.

Bringing Love to Us and Us to Love

“You do not yet believe nor understand that the urges that you feel are real, and neither good nor bad. Your feelings in truth come from love, your response to them is what is guided by fear. Even feelings of destruction and violence come from love. You are not bad, and you have no feelings that can be labeled so. Yet you are misguided concerning what your feelings mean and how they would bring love to you and you to love.” (ACOL, C:5.11)

We are told in this passage that we are not “bad.” But so often we think that we are. This is the ego finding fault with us once again. We live in fear when we response to our feelings with trepidation. This is so unnecessary, so unnecessary: “Your feelings in truth come from love, your response to them is what is guided by fear.”

Jesus makes the startling assertion here also that even our feelings of destruction and violence come from love. We cannot understand this; there is no point in trying. Just open our minds to the concept. We don’t need to act on feelings of destruction and violence, of course, and we would be very wise not to do so. We are misguided, in that we don’t know how to transmute these destructive and violent feelings. For this transmuting we need guidance. And guidance is always forthcoming when we ask.

The best thing that we can do is to accept all of our feelings, even the so-called “bad” ones. Just accept. That does not mean to condone, because we would all be better off if we could quickly and easily get rid of the negative emotions. Praying them away works. It may be practically the only thing that works.

Prayer works in so many ways, but not to a God Whom we perceive as outside ourselves. For He is we, we are a part of Him. Until we take this truth and assimilate it, we will be lost in miseries and tragedies, the tragedy of the human condition.

The human condition does not have to be tragic. We will ultimately inhabit an elevated Self of form, which is the enlightened Self Who is now deep within, layered over by illusions that seem to have no end of trouble for us. We do not have to lament the physical body, for the physical body can be elevated to a good thing. Let us do so today.

If you would awaken, then mellow out. The genius of enlightenment is that it is so calm, so tranquil. It is true that some who go through Awakening do so from a very chaotic point of departure—depression and the like. And these transitions to enlightenment can be, but do not have to be, traumatic. The best way to ease into enlightenment is to welcome it with mellowness. The glimpses of Awakening show us an invulnerable self, even the personal self, that is transmuted into something that blesses every part of us and our days.

Our feelings are to be accepted, even the so-called bad ones. But we don’t act on the bad ones, and sooner or later they fall away—when we catch enough glimpses of the Christ-consciousness toward which we are all moving.

Ask for help today in lengthening the glimpses that come to us, the glimpses of Christ-consciousness. This is a prayer fully in line with God’s desires for us. There is no better prayer, no better way to spend our prayer time.

Prayer Says Good-Bye to Fear

“To use prayer only as a means of reaching out to a god seen as separate is to attempt to use what cannot be used. . .Prayers such as these emanate from either heart or mind and have not the power of the wholehearted. Prayers such as these emanate from the state of fear that is the reality of the separated self.” (ACOL, 6.5)

All of us have prayed as though we were in a foxhole. These are the desperate prayers, when we are very vulnerable, for whatever reason. And all of us grew up seeing God as an all-powerful Eye Who could see anything that we were doing, and Who would mostly punish us if we did something that was “wrong.”

It is impossible to avoid these concepts of God. But the time has come for a more mature concept of the Deity. We believe, if we follow A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, that God is within, that we are all “God-stuff,” and that when we turn inward, we connect with Something both very deep and very high. We see this illusory world as a product of projection from within, yet we sense also that there is a Higher Reality, a reality that we long to experience.

When we turn inward and pray real prayers, our prayers are heard, but by a God Who does not feel inspired by our illusory fear. He will still listen, of course, but we are in a compromised state of mind and heart when we pray out of fear, and we often feel that our prayers have not reached the ceiling, that we have not been heard. This is because fear is a barrier to touching the Divine. It keeps us from what we most want.

There is a way around this. First, calm the mind and heart in whatever ways you have discovered work for you. For some, this is meditation. For some, it is reading the Workbook lessons that are a part of A Course in Miracles. For some, it is as mundane as deep breathing. But unless the mind and heart are somewhat calm, our prayers convict us of things that we think we have done wrong. And this isn’t a fruitful state in which we touch God.

We aren’t reaching to a God beyond the stars. It is nearer than our breath. And always there. He does not punish, however much we think that we deserve punishment. He is always present to listen. But from deep within us. Not outside.

“While your mind did not accept the truth of your identity or the reality of love without fear, it existed in a reality of fear and judgment, and bound heart and body to this reality.” (ACOL, Treatise on the New, 7.5)

This is the old way of thinking, a way that ACIM and ACOL sought to dismantle. We used to fear mightily, and we may still have flights of fear, but there ought to be some lessening by now. Our egoic mind is falling apart, finally, and we are living in a better personal world than we have ever known before. We may still have painful elements to our world, but the suffering (you may have observed) has lessened. This is because the ego has smelled defeat, and while the throes of the death process may be acute, they are not unending.

Leave behind fear and judgment as a decision of the mind and heart. Walk into the sunlight of a new world created by a loving God Whom we are coming to recognize, often for the first time.

Final Learning Needed Turning Inward in Self-centeredness

“Realize that the self-centeredness of the final stage of your learning has been necessary. (Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 9.7)”

1 – Reassuring

This passage, in talking about our self-centeredness, is reassuring. We probably realize that our search has sometimes removed us from our surroundings, including our brothers and sisters. We need to be ready to return to them, but we are not to discount our self-centeredness as a lamentable aspect of our search. Jesus says that it was necessary.

2 – Understanding

If we had not turned inward, we probably would understand far less than we actually do now. And turning inward naturally turns one to the self. Jesus would have us to reach outward again once the elevated Self of form has been sustained.

3 – Prayer

We do not reach outward always, though, as Jesus himself spent hours in prayer, all alone, when on earth. We will always need a certain degree of inwardness, and sometimes this does become self-centeredness.

4 – To Stay within Ourselves

May we not stay within ourselves if it is at all possible to spend quality time with our loved ones. This is a day to rejoice and be glad that Jesus indeed did come to earth as a physical being.

5 – Leave Learning Behind

“You who have gained so much through your learning and your study and your sharing of the same may find it difficult to leave it behind. A choice made by you to stay with learning rather than to move beyond it would be an understandable choice, but you are needed now. (Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 9.9)”

6 – Learning

We are all used to learning, and many of us have spent years and years in fairly pleasant surroundings as we learned. We may look back on college or high school as one of the best times of our lives. So, if we think that we want to keep learning, maybe because it is so familiar, Jesus says here that we would make an understandable choice.

7 – Seeking

He wants us, though, to leave learning in the old style behind. That means that we really don’t need to keep seeking and seeking for our religious bearings. We have become, according to Jesus, The Accomplished. We have made progress through taking unto ourselves the tenets of A Course of Love, and now we need to move into creating a new world—not learning about creating, but genuine creating.

8 – The Accomplished

We won’t feel ready for this right away. We won’t feel that we are The Accomplished. We will fear that this is egotism rearing its ugly head once again.

9 – Jesus

Jesus believes that these are false ideas, that we are ready for creating a new world. And he is eager to have us do so.

10 – Guidance

What will we do? How will we create a new world? That will depend upon what our guidance tells us to do. Jesus is not predictive in A Course of Love, says that he won’t be. The new world has yet to be created, and he himself does not have those answers of what we will create. But the elevated Self of form in all of us will usher in a new era, and with that new era, we will be creating a new world.

11 – Bright Future

The future looks bright. We don’t need to hang back out of fear any longer. We don’t have to fear that the ego will come back, as long as we avoid attack, avoid judgment, and cease planning against contingencies to come. Leave fears behind. These are the criteria that we need to sustain the elevated Self of form.

12 – Sooner

May we all do so, sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for reassuring me that my own, recognized, self-centeredness is not a thing to be lamented and for which to beg forgiveness. We need inwardness, which self-centeredness really is, and we need it to make progress toward the time when we will be free and easy with our brothers and sisters, reaching outward.

If our life situation allows it, today is a time for reaching out to those who have been closest to us. May we forget ourselves today, at least part of the time.

Amen.

Envisioning a Return to the Natural State

“A shared vision of unity and a return of all to the state natural to all, is that I ask you to imagine, envision, and desire. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 6.4)”

1 – Prayer

This passage gives us what our prayer is to be for. We are to share ourselves with our brothers and sisters, and to ask that they too return to the state that is natural to all–the state of communicating with our Creator, with God (an ACIM concept). A Course in Miracles says that we taught ourselves not to communicate with our Creator, and that this is not a natural way of living. Let us return to the natural today.

2 – Imagine, Envision, Desire

The terms, “imagine, envision, and desire,” are hallmarks of ACOL in which we believe that the new Christ-consciousness to which we are all called will embody this essence. It will not be learning anymore, the curriculum ofACIM. We will understand through direct revelation from God, and this will not be a perceptual truth, but a knowledge. And knowledge that is true comes only from God.

3 – Natural

The word “natural” in the passage is particularly appealing to me. We all desire the natural in our little individual worlds. We do not find that we are attracted to that which is strange and peculiar. And the natural is whatACOL is to bring about. If a thesis lacks the test of naturalness, it is best left aside. But this is not to allow intolerance in our lives. What is natural to one individual is frequently not so natural to another, and we must be tolerant of these differences.

4 – Those Who Do Not Choose the Natural

“Your brothers and sisters who do not choose their natural state still are who they are and holy as yourself. Your brothers and sisters who choose alternative visions are still who they are and holy as yourself. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 6.5)”

5 – Special?

There is nothing special about those of us who are taking to heart A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. Sure, we may reach enlightenment sooner than other brothers and sisters, but that does not mean that we are “better” than they. We are all holy Sons and Daughters of God.

6 – Specialness

We can look at the idea of “specialness” in two ways: either all of us are “special” or none of us are. This is all the word means, to us now as we verge into taking our place as Sons and Daughters of God. When the ego reigned in us, specialness became very important indeed. And we suffered accordingly, for never did we experience a “high” without a resulting “low.” This is all that specialness ever did for us.

7 – Vision

But now we are seeing anew, with a new vision, the vision of the inner Christ. We are seeing that specialness is a red herring, something that we don’t want in any shape or form. And we are the better for realizing this, though we are still, most particularly, not better than anybody else.

8 – Slow Down & Invite Enlightenment

Come unto our own today. Let us slow down, go through the motions of our day with mindfulness, and invite enlightenment. Glimpses of Awakening, called satori, will come before there is a sustained state of the elevated Self of form. Enlightenment is God’s Will for us, the only way that we can be happy consistently. And happiness is His Will for us as well. He is not evil. He didn’t cause the suffering that we and others have endured. We brought this on ourselves, from an imprisoned will that saw not how to free ourselves.

9 – Guidance

Now we are learning how to free ourselves, but it is the guidance that we get that points out the Way. Be reassured today that enlightenment is God’s Will for us, and He will bestow that blessing as soon as we clear the cobwebs from our minds, let our hearts rule, and follow along salvation’s way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I return today to unity with all my brothers and sisters, as I pray for them. May we return, together, to the state of co-creation with You, the state that is natural to us. May this blessing happen sooner rather than later.

Thank You for guiding me gently along the correct pathway. My pathway is strewn with blessings when I am wise enough to recognize these blessings.

Amen.

Vision in a New World Is Shared with the All, the One

“You have lived with the vision of the separated self for so long that you cannot imagine what shared vision will mean, and do not yet recognize it when you experience it. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 2.29)”

1 – Shared Vision

This quotation speaks of a shared vision which our separated self never knows. But the time is ripe for this separation to end for many of us, as many as can believe in the One.

2 – One with the All

Shared vision will be one with All, including God as well as our brothers and sisters. Vision is more an attribute of God than is observation, a concept that refers to the physical manifestation of what vision has first shown. But, as this passage says, we have long become accustomed to a separated self. And now we are being asked to move into a shared Self of form, the elevated Self of form.

3 – Christ-consciousness

The elevated Self of form is a manifestation of Christ-consciousness in the physical world. We do not leave this world by death to experience this revelation, and it is revelation from God to us (never the reverse, as A Course in Miracles makes clear). We do not achieve immortality in the physical form that we inhabit, though; this ACOL makes clear elsewhere. This idea of immortality in the physical form that we have now is a frequent misinterpretation of A Course in Miracles. Perhaps it is merely wish fulfillment for those of us who still fear death. But some have said that death itself is like walking through an open door, and who could fear that?

4 – Elevated Self of Form
We do not fully recognize, always, when we are in fact experiencing the elevated Self of form, the revelation of Christ-consciousness. We think that we are not worthy, and so we do not open ourselves to the truth that these altered states of mind and heart are indeed something new and different for us. We need to leave behind the feelings that we experienced when separation was all that we knew. With Jesus as our guide, there is now something more out there, just waiting for us.
5 – Peace

We cannot understand what peace will truly be ours when we have experienced the vision that we share with the All, the One, our brothers and sisters and God. We need to understand, for it is only in the understanding that we fully experience the God Who is within. The Christ Self will guide us, if we let Him. And if we are still caught in the way of A Course in Miracles, the Holy Spirit will guide us. May we look to a Guide today to lead us where we cannot go alone.

6 – I feel conflict when I think that God is a remote Figure, far away from me, not knowing anything about what I do in my illusion. And this conflicted feeling is bound to be of the ego, which I would not reinforce in any way. I have come to recognize that an overwrought feeling is evidence that I am contemplating the wrong pathway. This from long experience. When I prayed, to God, this morning, I felt peace. I would like to give my Goddess a good day, for I am a part of God. How can God not know me when I am a part of God? How can I not recognize this, when Jesus tells me that the final parts of A Course in Miracles are a more direct approach to God, a direct approach that will be traumatic rather than beatific if I approach God without preparation?

7 – Separated Self

We often speak from a separated self, and we rejoice that God does not know about all that we do in this separated self. We would be chagrined if He knew all about us. But He walks with us as a part of us; how can He not know? We need to realize that the All is God-stuff, that we are part of a differentiated Mass, and that God indeed does know all about us. If this makes us uncomfortable, so be it.

8 – A Different Course for Everyone

There is a course for everyone who seeks to spread salvation. Our interpretations differ, and it is up to each of us to decide what to believe. To take another’s word in interpretation is a dangerous concept, one that we best avoid. We need desperately to develop our own interpretations of exactly what is entailed in salvation.

9 – Controversy

Be with me to avoid controversy today. I would avoid controversy, because this is such a dividing tactic on the part of the ego to drive us apart. May we each respect the differing opinions about God, for surely He is beyond our finite minds. We see what we want to see, all too often. We look to Jesus in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love to set us straight. And even then we still differ. May the ego fail to prevail. May our diversity be a strength and not a weakness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I believe that the unitive state, the one no longer felt as separation, is my way Home. You are waiting eagerly for me to return. The way has been long and hard. May I find my way Home today.

May any conflict that I have had about You subside in the glow of Your Presence. I feel calm when I pray, and that much is beyond me. May I walk in Your way, today and always.

Amen.

Become a Being of Love without Fear, Joy without Sorrow

1 – Day 23

“As we spoke earlier of being a channel, today we speak of being a carrier. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 23)”

2 – Carrying the Truth

We are carrying the truth of what Jesus is telling us. We carry this truth as a pregnant woman carries a child. We are frequently conscious of the “child,” but there are also times when we forget that we carry a “child.” We have a life in the outside world, and Jesus would have us live in both the inner and outer worlds of our experience. We have been externally directed, but now he would has us been internally directed.

3 – Easy or Hard?

It is not easy, but also it is not hard. We will become accustomed to the two levels of being. We will know union, not separation. We will know God. And we will carry these new ideas within us, as a pregnant woman carries her child.

4 – The Three Parts of ACOL

“Forget not that who you are is what you are here to make known and that thus, you must be a being who knows love without fear, joy without sorrow, and life everlasting. You must be this. A Course of Love gave you the understanding you needed in order to realize that you are this. The treatises gave you a way to apply this understanding. This dialogue is meant to give you the means to carry what you have been given. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 190)”

5 – Carrying

“Carrying” within the knowledge that we have experienced is our way Home. When we carry within what we have experienced on the mountain top, we will be ready to take our place on level ground once again, with our brothers and sisters who have not yet made the trek to the mountain top.

6 – Surrender

Jesus reminds us that surrendering within is actually surrendering to our own will. As we learned in A Course in Miracles, God’s will is actually our own. We are never coerced.

7 – Never Alone

Carrying these truths within will ready us to reach outward to this world. The new will be birthed through us. But we are never alone. We do not have to feel burdened by a responsibility to carry the good news to our brothers and sisters. Our life in the future will be a joy that is the truth of Christ-consciousness.

8 – Illusion

“The clouds of illusion, even those that have gently surrounded our time together on the mountain top must now be surrendered, much as a woman surrenders her body to the growth of a child within. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 23)”

9 – This World

We need to give up our illusions in this world. We need to realize that there is a reality beyond what we have been previously experiencing. The illusory reality will give way to the real, the real world. We will not have long to wait.

10 – The Real

We surrender to the real. We don’t try to force it, though, for God does not kowtow to our demands. He is not affected by such stridency at all. He wants surrender to His Way. And we have had much practice in this. Now we must make of surrender an hourly, even minute-by-minute fact of our living.

11 – God

We surrender to God. We live well under such conditions. We know that we are blessed, and we are grateful. And in the gratitude comes even greater experiences of the real world.

12 – Our Own Will

“Surrendering to the forces that move inside of you is surrendering to your own will. . .This will is divine will, your will, Christ-consciousness. It is alive within you. All that is required is that you carry it with awareness, honor, willingness. From this will the new be birthed. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 23)”

13 – God = Self

God is within the self, the Self is God. So when we surrender to our real will, we are surrendering to the God within.

14 – Insulting?

This is not hard, but it may be personally insulting, for God may send us on errands that cause us to be embarrassed in our perceptions. This shabby self-perception needs to end (from A Course in Miracles).

15 – New World

We are trying to birth a new reality, a new world. And we will do so when totally surrendered to that which is within us. We will know what to think, say, and do. We will be in conflict no longer. This will, at first, not be a constant state. We will have to get used to the new. We will know glimpses of Awakening, of Christ-consciousness, in all likelihood, before we sustain Christ-consciousness. We need to ask what in our experience needs to be eliminated before we are ready for Christ-consciousness. We need to be very careful in our thinking about this matter. Ask honestly, dialogue with the inner Self, and the Answer will come.

16 – Conflicted

We have allowed ourselves to be tied up in knots to no good purpose. Now Jesus is offering us a new way, a way of harmony and peace, a way in which we see a new reality. Let us not let him down today. Let us carry the new within us as a pregnant woman carries a child.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I come to understand all that Jesus has been saying to me. Thank You for the guidance that I am finding in what I am reading. May I not be burdened or frustrated by my progress or lack of progress. Once begun, the end of the journey is certain. May I rest easy in that knowledge.

May I be certain today that I have really let the ego go, wither away inside of me. May I think, do, or say nothing that reinforces the ego that I have left behind. This is a principal step that I need to take to be ready for You to reach down and lift me up. May I succeed today, with Your help.

May I know the joy that You hold out to me. I so want to feel this joy continually. May I not feel what I have learned, and what I have come to understand without learning, as a burden. May I know that You are always near to help me take up my responsibilities in this world.

Amen.

We Are Never Alone

1 – Day 22

“You are life, and you are also surrounded by living forces channeling to you constantly. (A Course of Love: Dialogues)”

2 – The Other Side

We are not alone, ever. Not only is God with us constantly, but we have channeled help from what many call the “Other Side.” The next time you are in need, think on this. And the day will brighten.

3 – Channels

Day Twenty Two makes clear that all of us are channels to the unknown. We choose that which we express. The channeling goes on all the time. What each person expresses is unique to that individual. Each person can bring forth only that which is expressly his or hers to bring forth.

4 – Choices

Every choice is a mean of channeling. This makes clear the closeness of our world to other worlds beyond us. We are not, however, simply intermediaries between our world and other worlds. The channeling which we express would come into being only by our own choice, our own means of expression.

5 – God

We can know God better in this unique way. We can, through channeling, through expression of the unknown as we come to see it, make known the love of God to individuals in this world. When we do this, we are making known love in its purest form.

6 – Union

“It is clear, when looked at in terms of process, that there is no intermediary function involved in channeling, but a function of union. This is the very function that you have waited to have revealed to you, the function you have known you are here to fulfill, the function of direct union with God. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 22)”

7 – Innermost Being

This quotation lets us know that God channels directly to us from our innermost being, our Being. He is One with us at all times. And we can call on this inner help when outer troubles threaten to overcome us. Do so now. Let the warmth of God’s love envelope you with a softness and a gentleness that maybe you have forgotten in the harshness of this world. Know that God cares, the innermost Being of yourself. You are never, never alone.

8 – Darkest Hours

So when we are in union with God, we channel His messages just all the time. We have to listen, though, for otherwise the personal self will engulf us and let us feel that we are all alone. Don’t let this egoic self rise again. The egoic self is over. But we can seem to flounder if we don’t turn within for assistance in our darkest hours.

9 – World

And these hours will come to us, still. We may mostly know happiness, but the world is still with us, and the world is a place of meanness and hostility, if we let it be that to us. The world can also be a place of loving care, especially when we reach out for help that is needed.

10 – Turn Within and Without

So: we turn within and we turn without. We know that there is no “other” self, that all of us are joined. Sometimes the Word of God comes to us in the message of another. Sometimes in a song heard on the radio. Sometimes in a song heard in our heads. It matters not from what Source we get God; but get Him we must, if we are to be happy.

11 – Let God Reach Us

We must be channels for God to reach us.

12 – Union

“You will feel as if you will burst if you cannot share the union that you touch when you fulfill your function of direct union with God. How do you let it pass through you to the world?

13 – Live Love

“The most simple, direct, and uncomplicated answer is that of living love. The simple answer is that you must express the unknown that you have touched, experienced, sensed, or felt with such intimacy that it is known to you because the knowing becomes real in the making known. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 22)”

14 – Happiness

This shows us that living love is the only way to have happiness in this world. Even when all the world seems bent against us—for that is a fallacy. The world will only seem as hostile as our own minds are seeming at the time. If we soften, the world will soften. And birds will sing again in our little world.

15 – Alexandra Stoddard

Alexandria Stoddard, the interior decorator, has a series of books that intimate how loving has been the relationship that she has shared with her husband Peter. The books are a great inspiration, for if one keeps mind and heart in the right place, the relationships with which one is blessed will also remain in the right place.

16 – God’s Presence

If we wish to be in direct union with God, we have only to invite His Presence into our minds and hearts. We will feel alienated when hurt or angry, and His Word will be impossible to hear.

17 – Attune to God

Let your minds and hearts attune now to God. Let Him speak to you in great simplicity. He is there, waiting to be asked. He will bring you home, in salvation to remain. He would have us sustain the elevated Self of form.

18 – Love

“You realize that you have known a place where nothing but love exists, where there is no suffering, no death, no pain nor sorrow, no separation or alienation. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 22)”

19 – Heaven

The quotation is apt. We do realize, however dimly, that there is a Heaven where there is no suffering, no death, no pain nor sorrow, no separation or alienation. And we can indeed have this Heaven on earth. It takes attentiveness to others, the direct manifestation of love in action. And when we have been inattentive, we know it and we suffer. But we can turn things aright by just the awesome power of our minds, which is God’s Source. We need to be in union with God to have a good life, to be separated (even in illusion) from Him no longer

20 – Heaven on Earth

We can create this Heaven on earth. We can use the power of our minds, in league with God, to do so. And prayers such as these are completely within His Will, and completely within His power to create.

21 – Time

Pay attention to the following quotation: “It is time to be a channel for the awareness of union with God that exists in every living thing. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 22)”

22 – Christ-consciousness

“The awareness is what we have been calling Christ-consciousness, but what you call it now matters not. All the words that have been expressed here, that say so many similar things in so many different ways, are words that are simply calling you to realization of your union with God and to the new world you can create once you accept and make real this union. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 22)”

23 – New World

Would we not want to create a new world? Would we all want Christ-consciousness, Awakening, enlightenment? Yes, of course. All of us.

24 – Awareness of Union

We need to realize that we are already one with God, and we need now to be aware of this union. That is the only thing standing between us and Christ-consciousness. Awareness of union.

24 – We Try

We try so hard. And we fall on our faces. But God sees our feeble attempts and our frantic attempts as well. And He smiles at us, and says, “Take it easy. There is nothing here that I can’t handle. All is well.” And if we relax in the goodness of His love, we feel a peace that is not of this world. We know joy in the midst of pain. And our moments of pain shrink as we stand watching them.

24 – Union

Union. Awareness of union. Keep that in the forefront of your mind. And you will create a new world, despite yourself.

25 – Feeling

“Remember only the feeling that a place of union exists in which you know God, in which you know love, in which you know of joy without sorrow, and life everlasting. This is the great unknown that you can make known. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 22)”

26 – Bliss

We can know such bliss when we are intimately connected to God. We don’t have to struggle anymore to “understand.” We just rest in awareness that He is present, and that He is handling everything that we don’t know how to handle.

27 – Cease Struggling

Cease struggling. Come into God’s Arms with certainty that there alone is where He would have you be.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be aware, constantly, of the impact of an unseen world on my own personal surroundings as well as this world in general. Thank You for the clear statement of this great boon. We are never alone. Forces from beyond reach out to us and comfort us.

Thank You.

May I discern wisely the channeling that comes to me. A Course of Love does not say that we have to discern spirits, but through the years I have believed that. Be with me as I assimilate the new insight of ACOL, and if I must discern spirits, please guide me rightly in this endeavor.

Amen.

All Living Hearts Are Tranquil with a Stir of Deep Anticipation

1 – Everlasting Things

“All living hearts are tranquil with a stir of deep anticipation, for the time of everlasting things is now at hand. There is no death. The Son of God is free. And in his freedom is the end of fear. (M68)”

2 – Fear

Would that we could welcome the end of fear on a daily basis! But somehow we all fall back on anxieties and fears, falling short of accepting God’s grace in our daily lives. When fear comes, we must go within and contemplate what it would mean to end the fear. Get still. Commune with God. Simply ask Him for the blessing of His peace.

3 – God

In all likelihood, when we have done our part to quiet our troubled minds, He will step in and finish the work. We will know the peace of God.

4 – Medication

Sometimes He uses pills to effect this transformation. Jesus asserts that pills, medication, are not to be avoided, though pill are a form of magical solution. But, being in a fear-ridden state, if we tried to live without pills we might be worse off.

5 – Ask

Ask God what solution He would hand out to you. He will find a way to get through to you. He will show you a solution, and this solution may come swiftly. The main thing is to recognize the answer to prayer when it comes. Be alert. Be aware. And thank God when that solution comes.

6 – Song of Heaven

“And we, God’s children, rise up from the dust and look upon our perfect sinlessness. The song of Heaven sounds around the world, as it is lifted up and brought to truth. (M69)”

7 – Beautiful

These are very beautiful words that calm my soul as I write. We have not sinned, however much we think that we have. It is true that we have made mistakes, but these will be relinquished for resolution when we are sorry for them and make restitution. They will not be attracting again to us; we just want a solution, a remedy.

8 – “Sin”

Sin, on the other hand, when a thing is so labeled, has an attracting feature. I don’t know why this is, but Jesus recognizes this about our egos. We will want to do that sinful thing again, and then the ego has a field day.

9 – Holiness

“And we accept His holiness as ours; as it is. As God created us so will we be forever and forever, and we wish for nothing but His Will to be our own. Illusions of another will are lost, for unity of purpose has been found. (M69)”

10 – God’s Will = Our Will

God’s Will is our will; this we must recognize. The Holy Spirit chooses for us, only for us in every instance. It is the ego which has a separate will, and this will always leads us astray. There is no peace in the ego’s eyes. When we choose to effect God’s Will in our daily lives, we lose illusions that there is another will. We no longer think, like Jonah, that we know better. We know that God knows what will really make us happy, and we fall in line with that Will of His.

11 – Joy

“These things await us all, but we are not prepared as yet to welcome them with joy. As long as any mind remains possessed of evil dreams, the thought of hell is real. God’s teachers have the goal of wakening the minds of those asleep, and seeing there the vision of Christ’s face to take the place of what they dream. (M69)”

12 – Vision of Christ’s Face

This passage says some very important things to us. The passage equates evil dreams with the thought of hell. And the passage spells out what we are to do about that: waken the minds of those asleep. When we do so, the vision of Christ’s face takes the place of the evil dreams.

13 – Toward Awakening

This says that we have work to do, to bring Awakening to all minds. We can move toward Awakening for ourselves by studying the Course diligently. We will then not be unhealed healers, but those ready to take our part in the plan of salvation, the part that God has prepared just for us. Until we respond affirmatively to the call for salvation, our part is missing. Nor can it be taken by anybody else. We are unique in that sense.

14 – Christ in Our Brothers and Sisters

The vision of Christ’s face is mentioned several times in the Course. We will see Christ in our brothers and sisters when we are prepared. In large measure, that is what we are meant to see. In dreams, which are what we are caught in before we waken, we will not see Christ’s face, because our brothers and sisters sometimes elicit anger and attack in us. When we have let anger and attack fall away, we will be on our way to the salvation that we are bring to others, as well as accepting salvation for ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave aside thoughts of anger and attack, and take my place in Your plan for salvation. May I awaken the minds of those asleep. Until I have accepted the Awakening of my own mind, I will not be a completely healed healer.

Thank you for Your help. I need You more than ever today.

Amen.

Can God Be Reached Directly?

1 – God in Our Prayers

“Can God be reached directly? God indeed can be reached directly, for there is no distance between Him and His Son. His awareness is in everyone’s memory, and His Word is written on everyone’s heart. (M64)”

2 – Bible

This passage recalls to mind the biblical quotation, “The kingdom of God is within.” Certainly many passages in the Course suggest that God is within, that there is no division between God and ourselves. We see here that there is no distance between God and His Son (or Daughter). This is the Self that is the larger part of ourselves, the part that has never left God.

3 – Memory

How reassuring to know that the awareness of God is in everyone’s memory! And that we can indeed, as the Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive,” because His Word is written on everyone’s heart. The sentence from the passage that says this is particularly beautifully written, and it encourages peace and inner quiet by its reassurance.

4 – Be Quiet

We can receive God’s Word directly in the midst of our busiest activities, but more often we hear His word when we are quiet and therefore more receptive to the still, small Voice within. May we turn to Him when perplexed, and may we know that our prayers are heard, and, better still, our prayers are answered.

5 – Barriers

“Yet this awareness and this memory can arise across the threshold of recognition only where all barriers to truth have been removed. In how many is this the case? (M64)”

6 – Projection Makes Perception

God can be reached directly when barriers to His coming have been removed. If God is within, if projection makes perception, then we are projecting an illusory world. But God is akin to a hologram, and Each is present in the One, the All, the every bit. So we turn inward, seeking to diminish the ego’s static that would prevent us from knowing the inner Christ Self.

7 – Awakening

All barriers to truth have not been eliminated in the vast majority of us. These barriers are eliminated only in Awakening, or enlightenment. And in how many is this manifested? Eckhart Tolle indicates that more and more of us are experiencing enlightenment, but the phenomenon is not yet widespread in society.

8 – Soon

May we move into this new day sooner rather than later.

9 – Teachers

“Here, then, the role of God’s teachers. They, too, have not attained the necessary understanding as yet, but they have joined with others. This is what sets them apart from the world. And it is this that enables others to leave the world with them. Alone they are nothing. But in their joining is the Power of God. (M64)”

10 – Join with Others

We must join with others to have enough power to effect change. This does not mean that we try to change the world from an unhealed perspective. The inefficacy of the unhealed healer is a phenomenon described in A Course in Miracles. And we don’t want to be unhealed healers.

11 – How Do We Join?

So, in whatever way we can, we join with others. This may be only a telepathic joining, or it may take other forms. We may choose to join a study group of A Course in Miracles, we may join other prayer groups, we may attend traditional church services. All of these practices have a place in salvation, in spreading the word.

12 – Proselytize?

The only thing that we are forbidden to do is to proselytize, of to attempt to do so, when the individual(s) in front of us are not yet ready. This would be a sure turnoff.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I turn to You often during the day. I know that I can reach You directly. Help me to reach into my memory and into my heart to find You.

Only if I turn to You will have a truly good day. I know this. Help me to live it.

Amen.

Is Jesus Still Available for Help?

1 – Temptation

“God’s gifts can rarely be received directly. Even the most advanced of God’s teachers will give way to temptation in this world. (M58)”

2 – Fallibility

Even the most advanced of God’s teachers is still fallible. We won’t get it right all the time. We will succumb to temptations in this world, and that includes especially the tendency to feel anger and then to attack. In addition, we will judge ourselves and others. And we will make contingency plans against uncertainties to come. These three actions are all ways in which temptations take us away from God. And we will fall on our face in our dealings with our brothers and sisters.

3 – Holy Spirit

Leaving temptation behind is an ongoing pathway. We will never, perhaps, be free of temptations in this world, but the times that they intrude upon our lives will lessen as we live closer to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

4 – Miracles

God gives us gifts, though we may not recognize them when they come. One might not recognize a miracle at high noon, if our thoughts are solely on our own desires and wishes. We may study the Course, and as we do, we will do better in this world. Our power will come to us as we let guidance lead the Way.

5 – Name of Jesus

“The Bible says, ‘Ask in the Name of Jesus Christ.’ Is this merely an appeal to magic. . . What does calling on his Name confer? Why is the appeal to him part of healing? (M58)”

6 – Faith

This invocation is not an appeal to magic; it is a statement of faith, a truly undivided appeal. We know that Jesus performed miracles in his life, and we think therefore that the miracles that we ask to be performed for ourselves now will have a welcome ear in him.

7 – Jesus

And so it is. Jesus hears still, though nobody on earth can figure out how this may be. There are laws of the physical and spiritual world of which we know nothing. Calling on the name of Jesus is one such appeal to laws of which we know nothing.

8 – Still Available?

“Is he [Jesus] still available for help? What did he say about this? Remember his promises, and ask yourself honestly whether it is likely that he will fail to keep them. . .Would the greatest teacher be unavailable to those who follow him? (M58)”

9 – Yes, Jesus Is Available

This passage proclaims, without question, that Jesus is available to us. Other passages suggest that we ought to visualize holding his hand, and we are told that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

10 – Traditional Christianity

Many traditional Christian teachings, inspirational writing, give accounts of time when individuals felt that Jesus, with the healing touch, was present and performed miracles—especially a relaxed calm in the heart. An inner peace. May we all experience this when we ask. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that he will come with one “unequivocal call.”

11 – Cloning

How is this possible? We don’t know, but we can surmise, that Jesus can clone himself, appearing to many people simultaneously and in different settings. Nothing is said in ACIM about this, but we can speculate. How else would his presence to any and all of us be possible?

12 – Greatest Teacher

In this passage he is proclaimed the “greatest teacher.” Edgar Cayce, a psychic of the last century, said, in trance, that Jesus was the leader of a group of souls that came here to save people who had become enmeshed in matter. This does not mean that there are not other leaders. Christianity, fundamental Christianity, has long believed that people must accept Jesus as the Son of God, the only Redeemer. ACIM does not say this. ACIM says that there are other teachers for other people, for nobody is left bereft of counsel and help.

13 – Take a Chance

We need to take a chance today and ask for Jesus’s help. We should not feel presumptuous in so doing. He has welcomed that advance in ACIM. And it is not arrogant to believe that he will come when called. He will not intrude, but he is there when we need him: one unequivocal call.

14 – Comforting Passage

May this word be a blessing for us today. The passage is comforting in the extreme. And we know that we all need help.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I not give way to temptation, though You say that I will be likely to do so from time to time. May I not give way to temptation today.

Thank You for your support always. May I avoid anger and attack today. May I be good to my brothers and sisters. When I hear guidance, let me be steadfast to hold it close to me.

Amen.

Prayer

1 – Prayer of the Heart

“Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing. The motivating factor is prayer, or asking. What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying. (M53)”

2 – ACIM

The Course does not say a tremendous amount about prayer, though, we might realize, much is implied (an interpretation of the Course). Here we see the “asking” prayer, and we receive a warning: What you ask for you receive, if it is the prayer of the heart. Elsewhere we learn that if we pray for something, and are actually afraid of it, we will not receive it, because our fear contradicts our asking. Being afraid is a certainty that what we are asking is not a prayer of the heart.

3 – Unanswered Prayer?

All of us have prayed for healing and have seemingly not had some of those prayers answered. Jesus says that we have chosen various symptoms of pain, and if we remain unhealed truly, we may just replace one chosen symptom with another. We do not know, usually, what the Self truly wants–even unto death. We may pray for our healing, and to remain alive, when the Self has decided that this body is best laid aside. We are assured that there is no true death, that we are creatures of eternity.

4 – What Does the Self Want?

So keep in mind that turning to the Holy Spirit for guidance about what the Self wants may be the best choice.

5 – Symbols of Symbols

“Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality. (M53)”

6 – Prayer of Silence

So I surmise here that the prayer of the heart that works best—if efficacy is what we want—is a prayer of silence, a darting, longing toward what we view as God, however we view Him. I am thinking of the anonymous medieval treatise on mysticism, entitled The Cloud of Unknowing. This writer emphasizes just a wordless longing that we feel when we are in our best moments in prayer. We reach out to God as we conceive Him (and A Course in Miracles says that God is the All, the One), with a heartfelt longing that is close to our heart. In so doing, we will experience the Presence of God—unless we are caught in the throes of suffering a dark night of the soul (when God seems absent, but only absent in illusion, for He never departs).

7 – Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is said to have mostly, throughout her long life, failed to find the sweet tenderness of God’s love in her prayers. Her letters have testified to this. She did not waver in her faith, though she missed the sweetness. Atheists have brought this unusual aspect in Mother Teresa to try to claim evidence that God does not exist, for would He withhold Himself from so faithful a servant as Mother Teresa?

8 – Barrenness in Prayer

No one knows why absence was Mother Teresa’s experience of God. But knowing this can give us solace when we go through a period of barrenness in prayer. We are not to seek the sweetness as an end in itself. We are to seek God for Himself alone.

9 – Experience

“The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience in the opinion of the asker. (M53)”

10 – Asking

So here we are encouraged not to spend all of our time, at least, asking for specifics. We are actually wanting to experience something, and our heartfelt words, often rendered silently, are believed to bring about this experience in our daily life.

11 – The Heart

The prayer of the heart, we are told elsewhere, is always answered. If our words deny the heart, then our words are not answered. The heart always knows what it wants, and this is what is answered. If the heart contradicts something that we say, in prayer, that we want, we will not receive that something. If we are afraid of having something that we ask for, we will not receive it, either, for the fear means that the heart has not spoken.

12 – May Not Recognize

The heart always is quiet and peaceful in its asking for a specific experience. And the prayer is answered, though we may not always recognize the answer when it comes. This latter point is important, for all too often, in our limited way, we rail against God for not answering our prayers.

13 – Folk Wisdom

It has been said that God always answers: Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes, wait. This is not repeated in A Course in Miracles, but in my reading there is nothing in ACIM that contradicts this folk wisdom.

14 – Words

“The words, then, are symbols for the things asked for, but the things themselves but stand for the experiences that are hoped for. (M53)”

15 – Real World

So we use words, often, in prayer, and they are symbols that are actually removed from the real world. The real world is God’s gift to us when we have fulfilled the conditions of salvation. And it is not really physical. It is an experience that immediately precedes our Awakening, a step that only God can take for us. He metaphorically reaches down and lifts us up, against all reasoning. We cannot achieve Awakening, and the striving for it will mean that the ego has created a problem that will not be dissolved until we get ourselves out of the way.

15 – Be Careful

We can ask for any experience, but the most stern warning is also folk wisdom: Be very careful what you set your heart upon, for you will surely receive it.

16 – Overwrought

With that in mind, it behooves us to ask God what is really best for us before we engage in prayer. He will answer in the quiet of our heart, when our mind is stilled and our emotions have settled down to peace. We cannot “hear” when we are overwrought.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please bring my prayers into my heart, asking for what the Self truly wants, and only for what is good in Your sight. May I receive the assurance that prayers of the heart are always answered.

Thank you for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I pray. Thank You for being there for me.

Amen.

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

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

1 – Justified Forgiveness

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

2 – Sights Soaring

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

3 – Wings of Prayer

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

4 – Conflicted Prayers

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

5 – Misunderstood Forgiveness

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

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

6 – Disturbing Passage

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

7 – Forgiveness-to-Destroy

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

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

8 – Foolishness

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

9 – Not Worthy

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

10 – Holy Minds

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

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.

Praying for Others Lifts Projections of Guilt

water-lilies - monet

“Praying for others, if rightly understood, becomes a means for lifting your projections of guilt from your brother, and enabling you to recognize it is not he who is hurting you. (S-1.III.1)”

When we pray for our brothers and sisters, we are enabled to feel more positively toward them. We begin to feel compassion much more readily, and, if all goes well, we recognize that others deserve the forgiveness that we try to offer.

2 – Projecting Guilt

This passage indicates that what we are doing when we fail to forgive is to project guilt upon our brother. The reason for this projection is that we never hold anything against our brother that we do not first think we ourselves are guilty of (from the ACIM Text). We first denounce and reject ourselves, and then we project that denunciation upon our brother, who is actually as innocent as are we. We ourselves, though, while we can see ourselves as innocent (and normally do see ourselves as innocent), do not automatically, without some guidance from the Holy Spirit or the Self, see our brothers and sisters as innocent. On the contrary, we are wont to blame them for all manner of our troubles. This is projection from our own inner personal self (or “little” self) to others. And it is insane.

3 – Hurt Ourselves?

Our brother is not really hurting us. We are hurting ourselves. Our brother has done nothing to hurt our Self, though he may verbally or physically abuse our minds/bodies. Our Self remains above the fray.

4 – Special to Holy Relationships

We always hurt ourselves by this dynamic of projecting guilt onto our brothers and sisters. We would not have it so. And we must not have it so if we are to see our special relationships turn to holy. Turning to holy relationships prepares us for the Awakening.

5 – Praying in Error

“It is not easy to realize that prayers for things, for status, for human love, for external ‘gifts’ of any kind, are always made to set up jailers and to hide from guilt. These things are used for goals that substitute for God, and therefore distort the purpose of prayer. (S-1.III.6)”

This can be a difficult passage. When we pray for tangible goods, we often mislead our inner personal selves, our little selves. Our Self is not mislead, but this inner Self can become inaccessible to us in our rapaciousness to gather the physical to ourselves.

6 – Intangibles

We need to focus on the intangibles. We need to rise above a constant desire for more material goods, because this is an endless road. We will get one “toy,” only to want another, and then another. There is no end to the desire of the ego for material things.

7 – God as Our Friend

It is hard to realize sometimes that having God as our Friend will ensure that we stay on the right pathway, the pathway to complete and total happiness—even in the absence of material goods. We know that God also wants our material needs satisfied; He is not blind to our creature comforts. But the communion of our spirit with God is the greatest blessing that human beings have on this earth. And this communion, in prayer, assures that more and more good will flow to us. It is an example of the law of attraction, like attracts like. Our desires are in the right place, and God answer us, therefore.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me today to life guilt from my significant others. May I realize that I am always blaming myself when I see guilt in others; it is my own presumed guilt that I see.

Be with me today as I seek to get my projections ended. I would not push onto others my own sense of guilt. And my own sense of guilt is misplaced. To know this is such a blessing!

Help me to have a good day. I haven’t asked for this recently, but this day promises some stress, and I would not buy into that emotion. Help me to offer gratitude to You for the day that has been given. And may I reap the reward of another day in this world, the intangible rewards of communion with You while still on earth.

Amen.

Forgiveness-for-Salvation

“Forgiveness-for-Salvation has one form, and only one. It does not ask for proof of innocence, nor pay of any kind. It does not argue, nor evaluate the errors that it wants to overlook. (S-2.III.1)”

1 – Attack / Anger

The most important thing to remember when faced with the attack and/or anger of another person is to remember just to overlook the error. If we dwell upon the error, we will make it real to us, and thus much harder to forgive. Jesus knows that we tend to retaliate, and he would not have it so.

2 – Innocence

In this passage, Jesus indicates that we are not to spend any time looking for “proof” of innocence. We just know that, in his inner Self, our brother/sister is innocent of wrongdoing. Our brother/sister has merely made mistakes, which cry for correction, but not punishment. As Richard Carlson (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff) says, nobody (except very disturbed people) get up in the morning with the express purpose of making our life miserable. If an individual knew how to have perfect love for us, that is what we would get. It is only ignorance of how to bring this about that brings on the problem. And the problem doesn’t really exist, being in illusion or dream.

3 – Payback

We do not ask for payback when we love our brother/sister. We do not just return love where we find it, and only there. We return love, in the form of forgiveness and pardon, even when we superficially think that another person does not “deserve” forgiveness. We especially return love at such times. And then we know the bliss that comes from going with the flow in our love. We do not retaliate; it is the worst thing that we could do.

4 – Forgiveness

Jesus indicates elsewhere that forgiveness preserves our rights, that it is the only sane response. We would be sane in an insane world.

5 – Comfort

“He will not leave you comfortless, nor fail to send His angels down to answer you in His Own Name. He stands beside the door to which forgiveness is the only key. Give it to Him to use instead of you, and you will see the door swing silently open upon the shining face of Christ. Behold your brother there beyond the door; the Son of God as He created him. (S-2.III.7)”

The “He” in this passage is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not leave us comfortless, even when all the world seems against us. There is no conspiracy of attack on us. We are in fact seeing the attack because we do not want to see it. But we have attracted it to ourselves. Our brother is showing us a tableau of our secret wishes—what we would do to him. And we would change our brother only when we ourselves have changed.

6 – Key

Forgiveness is the only key, as given in this passage. We can, in following A Course in Miracles, only reach Awakening by our relationship to our brother, and that relationship must be transformed from the special to the holy, and this transformation happens only when we have forgiven. If only one person forgives totally, all the world is saved—a statement made in the Manual of ACIM that is not easily understood. But it may be understood by the fact that we all are One, and therefore there is actually only one person in this world—all of us in the One.

7 – Christ in Our Brother

When we see Christ in our brother, we will forgive. And Christ is in our brother’s heart. The Christ Self, according to A Course of Love, is deep within us all. It is the real person, not the persona, or little self, or personal self. This real person wants our forgiveness, and this real person does not wish to harm us in any way. Indeed, we cannot be harmed, though we can think that we are. For we live in illusion—a truth to which we return over and over.

Affirmation: “I would seek comfort in my brother today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please give me patience today. Especially patience with my significant others. I cannot get inside their minds to understand the motives of what they do. I can only forgive them their distress. I can go with the flow, and let their decisions in some measure dictate what our life together will be. This is as it should be. We are walking alongside each other, with neither ahead or behind.

Thank You for the many blessings that I can see, as well as the many that I can’t see. All comes to me from Your hand. I appreciate the love that You send down upon my head. May blessing reign upon my loved ones as well.

Amen.

Prayer Is a Ladder Reaching Up to Heaven

1 – Spiritual Transformation

We seek transformation as in Awakening, a spiritual transformation but one that allows us to function even better in the secular than we did before. Secularism is not to be discounted. Many are ready to be reached only through the secular. Here is the full quotation:

“Prayer is a ladder reaching up to Heaven. At the top there is a transformation much like your own, for prayer is part of you. (S-1.II.7)”

2 – Reach Heaven

We see in this passage that prayer will allow us to reach Heaven, and nothing is said but that this is a Heaven on earth as well as beyond death. We do not have to wait for death; indeed, in A Course of Love, we are bade to allow the elevated Self of form to function unheeded in the world of form—this world. If prayer will get us to Heaven, why do we not pray more often? Is it because we didn’t know about the goal before? We didn’t know that prayer would get us to Heaven?

3 – Efficacy in Prayer

Perhaps. But maybe we don’t see evidence of efficacy in prayer, though prayer is its own reward. We shouldn’t be trying to “get” things in prayer. We simply ought to relaxed and be easy with God, our Source. He wants us to commune with Him; He is lonely without us (from ACIM Text).

4 – Forgiveness

Prayer guides us toward forgiveness:

“Prayer in its earlier forms is an illusion, because there is no need for a ladder to reach what one has never left. Yet prayer is part of forgiveness as long as forgiveness, itself an illusion, remains unattained. (S-1.II.8)”

We don’t attain forgiveness for ourselves and others because we don’t recognize that all is an illusion, and we don’t recognize that the things—attack and anger—that we hold against our brothers and sisters are “distress that rests on error” (from ACIM Text), and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is fully justified, because our brother is innocent in his heart of hearts. It is only in illusion that he has sought to harm us by word or deed. And we try to forget the misthought or misdeed, not holding it against him as undeserving of pardon. This continued “holding” is the way that the world forgives, thinking that the one pardoned is not worthy of being forgiven, that he does not deserve forgiveness.

5 – Deserve Forgiveness?

We doom ourselves when we think that one does not deserve forgiveness. This is the “forgiveness to destroy” that Jesus talks about in the supplement to A Course in Miracles on psychotherapy. What we offer another, we receive. Like attracts like in the law of attraction. What we give, we receive.

6 – Wholly Justified

Let us give forgiveness as wholly justified, for it is wholly justified. In actuality, our brother has only called for help by his misthought, bad word, or bad deed. And when one is calling for help, we are to respond where we see that need.

7 – Anger and Attack

It is not easy to see the wholly justified way of forgiveness when we are confronted with anger and attack. We want to retaliate. This is a very human response, and Jesus indicates that people will respond in kind when attacked. But we need to make a different choice, a better choice, another way. We need to recognize that all want love just as do we, and it is only ignorance of how to attain love that leads us down the wrong pathway (a concept addressed by Hugh Prather in The Little Book of Letting Go). Only very disturbed people would get up in the morning making plans to hurt us. Only ignorance of how to live can mean that the choice of attack is made. And would we denounce another for his/her ignorance? We too have been ignorant of the way, but now, at last, we are learning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go well. May I use the law of attraction, like attracts like, to offer to all my brothers and sisters the best of which I am capable. I would be calm and relaxed today, for it is only under stress that I lose my temper. I would remain tolerant and, above all, forgiving today.

Be with me throughout the day. Be with others. May I do what I can to give everyone that I see a good day. This is especially true for my significant others, for they are the most impacted by any moods that I might drop into.

Keep me settled in a generous good will to my fellow men and women. And thank You for being there last night, when I slept in Your peace.

Amen.

Song of Prayer: Prayer Is the Greatest Gift with Which God Blessed His Son

A beautiful passage follows from A Song of Prayer:

“Faith in your goal will grow and hold you up as you ascend the shining stairway to the laws of Heaven and the gate of peace. (S-1.in.2)”

1 – Laws of Heaven

Note that we are to abide by the “laws” of Heaven. That means that the laws of this world are superseded. We do not have to follow the ego’s ways any longer; we are free, because our will has been set free. And we are at peace. We have inner peace. This blessing is one that we should not push away from ourselves, but welcome. The first obstacle that peace must flow across is our desire to get rid of it (from the Text of A Course in Miracles).

2 – Another Way

We are so restless in this world, in these days. We need to know that there is another way, the other way that Bill and Helen (co-scribes of ACIM) were led to discover. Bill reached that peace, though Helen never did—despite the truth that she understood A Course in Miracles very, very well. We need to give up our own restlessness.

3 – Restlessness

Giving up our restlessness is easy when we understand what blessings await us, even while still in this world. We need to get quiet within, to become perfectly calm and quiet. And often, to do so, we need to commune with God, to pray. He will not let us down.

4 – Our Need

“To you who are in time a little while, prayer takes the form that best will suit your need. S-1.in.2)”

We are the ones who are in time now. And we can even “use” prayer, in a practical sense, to get us where we want and need to go along God’s pathway home. It is not against grace to see the practicality of prayer. It is an exceedingly fruitful way to sense God’s presence in everyday life. And to see His blessings come raining down upon us.

5 – Don’t (Always) Ask

“The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need. To ask for the specific is much the same as to look on sin and then forgive it. Also in the same way, in prayer you overlook your specific needs as you see them, and let them go into God’s hands. (S-1.I.4)”

This is a step beyond “asking.” We know that our needs will be met; it is only our wants that are at issue. And our wants are frequently things that do not serve us.

6 – Are You Ready?

Not everybody is ready for this next stage of prayer. I frequently am not, and I do not feel that this is a shortcoming. When my faith is strong (and strong faith vacillates among all of us), then I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that my practical needs will be satisfied without my asking. But when I am in anxiety, I am not so sure. This is when I have feet of clay. And I am convinced that God hears my prayers for the tiny things that I think I need. He answers me in tangibles, when they are called for—and in intangibles, when his comfort is all that I really need.

7 – Not Supplication

“Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. (S-1.I.5)”

This is the highest form of prayer: to reach toward God, as in The Cloud of Unknowing (a medieval, anonymous treatise) with a dart of longing. We do not supplicate when in this frame of mind, for all that we want is God. He alone satisfies our every need.

8 – At Peace

And we are at peace. But we cannot always reach this height. Sometimes we do not reach this height at all:

9 – Can You Reach This Level of Prayer?

“This is not a level of prayer that everyone can attain as yet. (s-1.I.6)”

Do not be chagrined if you find that you still needs prayers of supplication. God hears all types of prayers. I think that his major wish is that we feel Him near, that we commune with Him, that we are friends. After all, ACIM says that God is lonely when His children do not communicate with Him. He recognizes that channels are closed, and He thinks that His children sleep and need to be awakened. (These are paraphrases from the Text of A Course in Miracles.)

10 – Sleep

May we seek today to rouse ourselves from sleep. In the highest sense, the words that I paraphrased were meant to be a precursor to Awakening, a step that God takes for us. But in another sense, we can rouse ourselves from the deepest sleep to feel the quiver of our eyelashes as we come into consciousness. We do this every morning, and then we see another dream, for this world is a dream, an illusion, maya.

11 – Prayer of Thanksgiving

We need to realize that God is with us, however we pray. We can recognize that our needs are already met, and then we will move easily to the prayer of thanksgiving. This is a higher form of prayer than supplication. It is the prayer of gratitude, which puts us on God’s wavelength immediately. When we are thankful, God moves to answer more and more of our needs and even some of our wants. Always He is a loving God who would not leave His children to drift apart in a world without escape.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me today. I seek to express my gratitude to You for the manifold blessings that You have bestowed on me, even when I did not take time for gratitude. Now I do take that time. From the bottom of my heart, thank You for my good life. And may I do what I can to lead my brothers and sisters to a good life. We are all in this together. And we will sink together or we will swim together in the waters of the unconscious, You.

May this day go well. May I be tolerant of everyone with whom I come in contact. May I be forgiving, always forgiving of those who have distress that rests on error. Help me to have the healing of my anxious emotions that I need, and this is a need. I can serve better when I am calm and relaxed. Help me to be easy and relaxed today.

Thank You for being there for me. Thank You for staying close to me so that I can feel You.

Amen.

True Prayer Must Avoid the Pitfall of Asking to Entreat

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

1 – Advanced Stage of Prayer

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

2 – Ask, Receive, Thank

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

3 – Expert Askers / Inexpert Receivers

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

4 – Contemplation

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

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

5 – Holiness

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

6 – Arrogance?

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

7 – One Problem / One Answer

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

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

8 – Supplication

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

9 – Song

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

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.

Uncertainty Is Now an Echo from the Past

sotter - pennsylvania impressionists“Uncertainty will not now come to teach you lessons you have already learned but will only visit you as an echo from the past. It is a habit, a pattern of the old thought system. All you must do is not listen to it. Its voice will not be gentle or full of love. Its voice will hold the unmistakable edge of fear. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.11)”

Affirmation: “I will avoid listening to any echoes from the past.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear

When we feel the unmistakable edge of fear, we know that we are thinking amiss, not listening to our heart. And uncertainly, Jesus seems to say here, is a symptom of fear. To be sure! That is what we want now. And that is what we can have.

2 – Personal Interpretation

We are leaving the old thought system behind. How can we do that? There are indications, though the ones that I mention now are not all spelled out in A Course of Love nor even in A Course in Miracles. First and foremost, we can learn to live with ourselves better. We no longer chastise ourselves for our mistakes, but we acknowledge those mistakes and seek to correct them, promptly. We pray a great deal, though this prayer may take the form of fragmentary prayers for others and ourselves. And we thank God for His many blessings, for gratefulness keeps His abundance flowing to us. We use affirmations, scriptural passages from the Bible, ACIM, or ACOL—words that help us to keep on the right path.

3 – Warm Hearts

With regimens like these in place, we walk a surer path. We are uncertain no longer, for our hearts are warmed by the experiences which we encounter. If we remember, from ACIM, that the solution is always with the problem, we will know that whatever uncertainty emerges is easily rectified. We do not have to wait for an answer most of the time, but we wait patiently when the answer does appear to be slow in coming. Probably our own mind is interfering with receiving God’s Answer.

4 – We Just Know

Listen to your heart. We do not need the proofs of God’s favor that the mind would ask to have. We do not need proof of God at all when we are listening to our heart. We just know, and we know in a way that is unmistakable.

5 – Uncertainty

Continuing to live in uncertainty is thus an echo from the past, an echo lodged in fear. And we would be free of fear. We need to walk into the future with confidence, and we can do so. The farther along we walk, the more confident, and the more certain, we become. Thank God for these blessings.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I stay close to You during the day, I walk a certain pathway. Things work out well. But when I let You drop from my mind, I walk a turbulent path. I would walk a smooth path today.

Help me to avoid uncertainty. Uncertainty brings on insomnia, and I would be free of that. May I take the steps toward living with myself well. And when I live with myself well, I am living with You well.

There is no better to spend a day than to spend it in fellowship with You. Let me remember this if anything goes awry today.

Amen.

Pray from Fear into Inner Peace

cezanne.jas-buffan-pool“To pray out of fear is not to pray at all, because such prayer chooses not the union that is the prerequisite.  To pray out of fear is to ask from an unreal state of lack for what is seen as missing or desired.  In contrast, true prayer, formed in union, is a means of creating, recollecting, or recalling a divine memory and transforming that divine memory into a present moment experience.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.6)”

Affirmation:  “I will choose to avoid fearful prayers.”

Reflections:

1 – Fearful Turmoil

When we are in fearful turmoil, our emotions are so engaged that it is hard to sense God’s presence.  We are not in union with God, because we cannot feel His presence.  This is the so-called foxhole prayer, i.e., “There are no atheists in foxholes” (a reminder of World War I).  We need in some way to alleviate the fear, and I have found that prayer, in fact, does alleviate fear.  I can pray myself to sleep when I am anxious.  Is there a problem with my experience vs. the words of Jesus in this passage?

2 – Personal Experience

I think not, because I am calmed by the prayer, a calming that precedes receiving an answer (an answer that is sometimes just blissful sleep).  I do not go to sleep fearful, and I do not remain fearful as I pray.  The fear just drops away, and I pray from a relaxed state of mind and heart.

3 – Divine Memory

The latter half of this passage is difficult to understand.  What exactly is a “divine memory”?  I think that Jesus is calling on our Self/Christ at this point.  When we experience the Self/Christ, we are healed from a divine perspective, for the Self/Christ is our part of the God within (an interpretation, not stated precisely in A Course of Love).

4 – When to Pray

We need to begin praying when we are afraid or fearful, but–and this is the important point–we will not remain afraid or fearful.  We will, in nearly all cases, immediately begin calming down, for we will be recalled to trust in God.  We need never cease to pray because we think that we are too overwrought.  God will create the holy instant that will bring us peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me to know that praying to You in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep, is a very practical way to induce a return to sleep.  I think that You welcome this communion, for our private times together heal and calm me.  Thank You for letting me adopt practical use of prayer for a very human need of sleep.

Thank You for leading me to realize that the best prayer is not one of fear.  The prayer may begin with anxieties, but the prayer will take me out of the anxieties into peace.  Thank You for this blessing.

If I can reach divine healing today, it will be because You have led me every step of the way.  Fort this leading, I am very grateful.

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.

Prayer

female impressionistA Course of Love began with an injunction to pray.  A Course in Miracles began with a definition of miracles.  Both are the same.  Prayer and the art of thought are the same.  This should serve to make it clear that the request I have made of you is once again far more broad and generalizable than your old habit of thought has led you to see.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I pray often and deeply today.”

Reflections:

1 – Speaking Abstractly

These frequent statements by Jesus in A Course of Love that two phrases mean the same can be confusing.  He is speaking from an abstract basis.  We are still thinking concretely, specifically.  We need to change that, so that the egoic mind does not gain a toehold again.

2 – Choose a Miracle

The request that Jesus refers to is his injunction to choose a miracle.  He is encouraging us to see the broader implications of miracles, the miracles that are present all the time in everyday life.  When we pray, we receive miracles as a matter of course.  When we employ the “art of thought,” then we are praying by definition.  The art of thought is the abstract, generalizable way of thinking and speaking.  It is not something foreign to us any longer.

3 – Drop the Ego

Our old habit of thought was informed by the ego.  And we would not have our new habit of thought unless we drop the ego.  Let us all choose to fail to reinforce anything that smacks of egotism.  We will know disaster unless we drop the ego, and we will know peace when we have done so.  Any pleasure is short-lived when it involved the ego.  And we pay for that pleasure with tears of despair.

4 – Pray without Ceasing

May we remember to pray as we go about our day.  It is the most satisfying way to live.  The Bible enjoins us to “pray without ceasing,” and many of us find this injunction beyond us.  But we don’t have to be foxhold pray-ers either.  We can pray often and deeply, and the blessings that will be ours will surprise even ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You that prayer has meant so much to me throughout my life.  It is the way that I go to sleep at night.  It is the way that I calm anxieties.  And it the way that my entreaties reach Your ears.

Be with me today so that I do not deep into worries.  Prayer heals that tendency in me.  And I thank You for it.  Fear and worry are of the ego, and, as I have said to You many times, I would quit the ego immediately.

Help me to reach out to others today, to answer whatever needs are mine to answer.  Be with all other whom I touch in any way today.  And may the day go well.  Thank You.

Amen.

Living from Love

renoir - girls putting flowers in their hair“You begin to live from love when the personal self gets out of the way.  And when the personal self gets out of the way in any instance, it is the turning point.  It is the signal that you are ready to live from love.  This is what the Course is about.  Living from love.  Living from love is what will reverse the lessons of the past.  Reversing the lessons of the past is what will allow one to live in love in every instance.  (A Course of Love, 25.16)”

Affirmation:  “I would live from love all day today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of Personal Self

The personal self has historically been the egoic self, and we are fast moving away from that egoic self.  When we are loving, we are welcoming the Self/Christ that is the real Self that is within.  This Self will begin showing itself the more that we live from love.  And in living from love, we leave fear behind–strong motivation indeed.

2 – The Ego

Our lessons of the past have partaken of the ego, and, as a result, the lessons learned have not always been true.  We have misled ourselves.  We need never make the mistake that it is God who is to blame, for this is insanity.  He gave us free will, and He would not, under any circumstances, renege on that great gift.  But, because of free will, we often see horrific happenings in our world.  And we wonder why God does not intervene.  And that is only one step away from blaming God for the tragedies in which we become embroiled.

3 – Free Will

God would grant free will to all, and there are many who misuse this great gift.  To deny to those who misuse this gift, the gift itself, is to turn aside from the evolution of the universe.  God waits patiently.  He has waited patiently, knowing the ultimate outcome will be good.  That does not justify the means that some of us have used in a nefarious way.  But it does help to explain why evil exists in our world.

4 – Bad Things Lessened

When we live from love, even the bad things seem somehow to be lessened.  Sure of the final outcome, we offer solace where needed, but we do not add our own uncertainties to that solace.  We do not intone, “Perhaps it was God’s will.”  Bad things are never the will of God.  If we can open the door ever so slightly to this interpretation, we will be ever more ready to live a tolerant life.

5 – Reverse the Incorrect

Let us spend some time today in communion with God, asking Him how we might reverse the incorrect lessons that have marred our past.  He will respond, for reversing that false learning is what A Course of Love is all about.  Be grateful that we do indeed have an answer to “Seek and ye shall find” (from the Bible).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live from a loving heart today.  Thank You for the specific answer to one of my prayers yesterday, with understanding of what to do coming immediately after the prayer.  The solution really is with the problem.  Thank You.  

Today has started well, in large part because I have sought to carry out what I received from You immediately after prayer yesterday.  What a blessing You have given me.  I sensed at the conclusion of my prayer, which I had typed out, that there would be a quick answer.  And indeed there was.  Thank You for these glimpses of the psychic.

Be with me as I seek to show love today to my significant others, most especially, but to all others that I might touch in some way.  You know best how that might come about.  Thank You for Your guidance, and may I be strong enough and courageous enough to follow Your guidance consistently, to turn on a dime if necessary.

Amen.

You Would Not Be Other than Who You Are

rusart - van gogh

“You would not be other than who you are.  You may know that this is true or you may dwell in fantasies, desiring what another has or some success, fame, or riches that seem impossible for you to attain.  And yet, whether you know it is true or not, it is true:  You would not be other than who you are.  (A Course of Love, 20.42)”

Affirmation:  “I would not be other than who I am.”

Reflections:

1 – Jealousy / Envy

When jealousy or envy rears its ugly head, we are likely to think, momentarily, that we would be so much better off to have or to be what the source of our jealousy or envy has.  This is illusion.  Worse still, it is a very demoralizing illusion.

2 – All Gifts Are Shared

Actually, all gifts are shared by everyone equally (a tenet of A Course in Miracles).  Not necessarily right now, but ultimately.  And knowing that we will one day share and share alike has to be comforting.  In the meantime, God answers our prayers by satisfying our needs.  Not necessarily our wants, but our needs.  No one goes without, however unlikely this statement may be in the face of the suffering that we see throughout our world.

3 – Closeness to God

We know that this is true, for there is little relationship between those who are in dire straits and those who have abundance.  Actually those in dire straits may be closer to God through their prayers than those of us who are better off.  And the closeness to God is everything.  When we wander away, we suffer.  When we come back home, we are reconciled in the best way possible–accepted by a loving Father who supplies our every need.

4 – Role Models

We would not choose to be another.  True, we can see role models in another, and seek to be like him or her.  But we would not change places with that other individual.

5 – We Want to Be Ourselves

The bottom line is that we want to be just ourselves.  And any thought other than this is illusory.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today I am contented with who I am.  I recognize the truth of the main quotation in the passage for today.  Thank You that I am contented.  Help not envy or jealousy lead me to want what another has.  This would be a mistake.  We only do well when we accept ourselves, as we are, and seek only to compete with ourselves.  We can want self-improvement, but still basically we have to accept that we are OK as we are.  That does not mean that we won’t correct what imperfections we can.  It simply means that we have a decent self-image.

Thank You for drawing close to me in prayer.  I appreciate the knowledge of Your felt presence.  There is no better way to spend the day than to walk in close contact with You.  Thank You for staying close and not withdrawing, for me, in a dark night of the soul.  I realize that this could change tomorrow, and I accept that, but for now, all is good with our communion.  

Thank You.

Amen.

Prayer Works!

“A mind that can conceive of a creator combined with a heart that yearns for knowledge of, and union with, that creator, can bypass the need for the separate thoughts of the separated one’s thought system.  But you must be trained to do this.  Thus your training begins.  And begins with prayer.

“As was said in the beginning, praying is asking.  (A Course of Love, 19.17 – 19.18)”

Affirmation:  “May I remember to pray often today.”

Reflections:

1 – Creator/God

The passage for today is packed with meaning, very dense with meaning.  When we can understand that we did not create ourselves, we then realize that believing in a Creator is not intellectually dishonest.  Then when we allow our heart to speak, and we know what our heart wants most is union with that Creator, we are well on the way home.  We do not have to “think” with “separate thoughts of the separated one’s thought system”–in other words, with the mind and its egoic tendencies.

2 – Need Help

We cannot effect this change ourselves, though.  We need help, and so our help begins with prayer.  Prayer is actually emphasized more in A Course of Love than in A Course in Miracles.  In the latter, prayer is simply assumed (and is often called “communion with God”).  We first ask for the miracle to reach us.  Prayer at its most elemental is asking, a point made by Catherine Marshall, an inspirational writer of the last century.

3 – Personal Experience

I know from personal experience that prayer brings results, and brings results quickly.  We are not left dangling.  We are led home, step-by-step.

4 – We Are Not Alone

And we are the better for recognizing that we are not all alone in the universe.  God is both within and we project the world without.  God is in all of us, and we and the world, even in illusion, is a part of Him.  But do not be delayed by this theology.  If this reasoning does not find a place in your heart, bypass the reasoning entirely.

5 – The Heart

And listen to your heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would follow guidance consistently today.  A puzzling situation just arose, and against my “judgment,” I followed guidance, and all is well!  This type of experience does reinforce what we have been studying in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

Thank You.

Amen.

Safe Embrace

“You are the prodigal sons and daughters welcomed constantly to return home to your Father’s safe embrace.  (A Course of Love, 9.29)”

Affirmation:  “I am in my Father’s safe embrace.”

vincent-van-gogh-paintings-from-arles-1Reflections:

1 – In Trouble

The prodigal son or daughter is an image of an individual in trouble, an image with which we can all identify at one time or another.  We may not know “trouble” that is like that of our brother or sister, but we all know difficulties of one type or another.  And we need the prayers of ourselves and others to help us out of the mire.

2 – We Are Safe

We are told in today’s passage that God Himself offers a safe embrace to us, an embrace that, because it is “safe,” is also comforting and protective.  May we reach inward today for that embrace.  May we know that God, the Divine within, wishes us well.  We only need to turn inward to know that we are safe, that we do not have to fear anything that this world can do to us.  Regardless, there will be a happy ending–if not in this world, then in the next.  Normally, though, there is no need to spend our days on earth longing for the better world that is beyond this one.  That is a very demoralizing stance to take.  God wishes us well here, and He is always here to help.  May we take Him at his word and enjoy the safe embrace that awaits us when we stop trying to do it all alone.

3 – We Are Not Alone

We are not alone.  A nightmare in sleep is inconsequential, and we have nightmares in the sleep that we have for eight hours at night, and in the illusions that we have during the day.  When we awake in the morning, we simply go from one form of sleep to another (an ACIM tenet).  Knowing this, cannot we feel some comfort?  Our nightmares are not real, whether they come in the night or the day.

4 – The Promise

We long for God’s safe embrace today, and we can have it–even today.  That is the overwhelming promise of the passage for today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept Your safe embrace today, ever mindful that when I turn to You, You are always there for me.  And You are there for me even when I am too upset and distracted to feel anything at all.  Your felt presence is a blessing that takes us out of our despair and gives a helping hand to the affairs of the day.  I would thank You for the felt presence, when it comes.  It is indeed blessed.

Be with me again today.  So often I ask for that.  And You always respond.  Thank You for the answers to recent prayers.  I see Your answers working out in my life.  And I pray that You will walk with me until the culmination of my prayers happen.  Be with me in the day and in the night, especially if the night does not bring sleep.  You are always awake, and I can use time awake to commune with You.  Help me to remember that just maybe You want some time with me that I don’t allow You during the day.

Be with me.  Help me.  Thank You for the many blessings that I have known throughout my life.  And thank You for learning at a young age that prayer is the secret to a good life.

Amen.

Fear and Love = the Two Emotions

“Fear, like all the rest of your emotions, comes in many guises and is given many names, but there are really only two emotions:  one is fear, the other love.  Fear is thus the source of all illusion, love the source of truth.  (A Course of Love, 9.16)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love today.”

Reflections:

1 – From A Course in Miracles

This passage is a direct replay of ideas from A Course in Miracles.  Indeed, the idea that there are only two emotions, love and fear, is one of the most frequently recognized statements from ACIM.

2 – Eliminate Fear

If we would leave illusion behind, and walk into the sunlight with God and our Self, we must find a way to eliminate fear.  This is not always easy, for there are a multitude of disguises, even though at base all of these disguises are of fear.  Jesus indicates in A Course in Miracles that we cannot ask him to remove fear from our lives, for we have made it, and if he acted to remove fear, he would be coming between cause and effect, a most important law.  But we can ask that we get help in alleviating the conditions that have led to the fear (from the Text of ACIM).  This is always a helpful prayer, and like all real prayers, when this prayer is truly meant, it is answered quickly.

3 – Personal Experience

The next night of insomnia you experience would be a good time to test out this idea.  First, commune/pray with/to God, relax, and then decide that maybe God has a reason for your sleeplessness.  What conditions have brought about the fear/sleeplessness?  What do you want to have help on?  Be specific, and it may help to write out on paper or computer the conditions as you view them.  Be certain that answers will come, if not immediately, when you have calmed down enough to let intuitive thoughts rise to the surface.  Then let the prayer sink to your depths.  You have done all you can for one night.  Know that the answers will arrive.  Make this a primary belief.

4 – Anxiety

Anxiety has dogged me all my life, and so I have had sleepless nights.  This, in spite of more than 30 years of making A Course in Miracles my primary study.  But, as time has gone by, the anxiety over a sleepless night has abated, and, as this abatement has happened, the blessing of God’s love has overcome me more and more frequently.  I have also learned secular techniques for dealing with anxiety.  And, of course, I have prayed, long and deeply, for help in the conditions that have brought my fear to the forefront at any given time.

5 – Love

But Jesus also says in this passage that love is the source of truth.  We know this intellectually, and now, through  A Course of Love, we have reached the time to know this through our hearts.  Unlike our minds, which raise unanswerable questions, our hearts do not question.  We feel, and from the feeling, we know.  That is the blessing of this passage from Jesus in A Course of Love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Another night of an hour and a half of no sleeping, but thank You that I can devote awhile today to a nap.  Help all of us to deal with those things that are less than the best.  We would choose to walk Your way, and this way is always one of peace.  Help me to remember that the next time I awaken in the middle of the night.

Be with us as we seek to choose love and eliminate fear.  This is our major task, along with the forgiveness that we have come to recognize.  We too must forgive ourselves, once we have asked of You the forgiveness that we all need.

Be with me throughout the day today.  May my mood is high, and my actions and thoughts be congenial.  Be with my significant others, and all others who are touched by my words and actions.

Amen.

THE GIFT CALLED GUIDANCE

Published in Miracles for November/December 2012 (publisher Jon Mundy).

by Celia Hales

A Course in Miracles would have us defer to the Holy Spirit in our decisions.  This guidance is true, and it does not always have to be constant in our lives.  But it can be.  Let me explain.

“Does this mean that you cannot say anything without consulting Him?  No, indeed!  That would hardly be practical, and it is the practical with which this course in most concerned.  (M71)”

Jesus goes on in this passage to recommend consulting with the Holy Spirit in the morning, asking for the His guidance when it is feasible to do so, and then thanking Him at night.  In other passages throughout the Manual, though, Jesus goes further in recommending that we turn over our decisions increasingly to the Holy Spirit.  He speaks of this need particularly in regard to judgmental thinking, which he indicates that accuracy is impossible for us, because we do not know all the facts–past, present, and future–that impinge on a given decision.  If Jesus really means this (and I feel certain that his words are very intentional), how might we turn our decisions, especially our judgments, increasingly over to the Holy Spirit?  How do we know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us?

My own reflections over the years of studying ACIM have evolved from a primary dependence upon feelings, or intuition, to a broader recognition that the aspects of life that we cannot get out of our minds may be the Holy Spirit speaking to us.  Here is a 10-point list with some commentary of the ways that I have discovered guidance acting in my life.  Do not take anything unto yourself unless it finds a place in your heart.

1 – Listening in Prayer.  The “listening” time of prayer is the best way that I believe that I receive guidance.  I am careful, though, not to forget that my own desires may interfere with what I “hear,” and that I may make a mistake.  Many have said that God speaks in the silence, and I think this is an appropriate way to seek His Will.

2 – Keep a Prayer Log.  In the early eighties the spiritual writer Catherine Marshall recommended keeping a prayer log, very specifically, with prayers listed succinctly and then the answer, when it was received, recorded and dated.  I followed this recommendation for the remainder of the eighties and into the nineties, and I found it very, very useful.  (Probably I should return to this practice.)

3 – Intuitive Advice.  In daily life I receive guidance through a feeling that I ought to take a given course of action.  “Feeling” is akin to intuition, but that is not the whole of it, I think.  I believe that our minds, our intellects, frequently interfere with receiving the Holy Spirit’s messages, and that the Holy Spirit finds it easier to reach us through our emotions, our feelings.

4 – Intrusive Words.  Sometimes I am able to be in a spirit of inspiration, and, much as if I were writing without being sure what I would say next, words come into my mind from my unconscious that suggest a given pathway.  I do not actually hear a voice; it is my own thinking, but it also seems to be a bit beyond me.

5 – An Inner Knowing.  Quiet times may bring forth an inner knowing of how to proceed in a matter that is troubling us.  This is non-verbal, akin to hearing the Holy Spirit in our innermost hearts.  This “knowing” without being able to verbalize “how” we know is powerful stuff.  I think that it is certainly one of the most potent forms of guidance.

6 – Journaling.  Writing out our struggles in a journal is a way to invite the Holy Spirit’s input.  I try to let my conscious mind die down and to invite thoughts from my deepest spirit.

7 – Dreams.  In especially faithful times, we may have a dream that appears vivid and suggests the next step for us in our life.  Certainly dreams and visions are important ways in which God spoke to His people in the past, as recorded in Scripture.  I have had two significant “warning” dreams in my life that I still recall vividly.  The dreams came when I was contemplating a pathway that I now realize would not have been healthy for me.

8 – Agitation.  Occasionally in my life I have become severely agitated when I was walking along a given pathway.  I have come to see such agitation as evidence from the Holy Spirit that I am walking the wrong way.

9 – Visions.  Many years ago, when I was 25, I had a series of nighttime hallucinations, or visions, that became important to me in setting the pathway for my life.  Perhaps there was a reason that this gift came at an early age.  The visions have not recurred.

10 – Signs.  Signs are welcomed by many, but I would caution against too much an emphasis here, because it is very easy to twist signs around to mean anything that we want.  (Jesus says in ACIM that we can twist symbols around.)

I have not followed blindly.  Jesus would not have us check our minds and spirits at the door.  I have tested out my perceived guidance, and that is how I have found it true.  I invite you to do the same.  Intuition is a right-brain activity, and, as such, it does not respond well to our timetables.  We may need to present a question to the Holy Spirit, and then go about our day in full confidence that the answer will come when the matter has retreated from the forefront of our minds.  Present a problem or question, and then let go.  Trust the Holy Spirit to make His will known to us.  He will not fail.

In my twenties I heard a very dynamic preacher of the gospel speak on the topic of guidance.

He stressed, “I have known people at the end of their lives who said, ‘I knew that God was telling me to do that.  But I didn’t do it, and I regret it.'”

He went on, vehemently, “I have never known anyone to say, at the end of their lives,  ‘I knew that God was trying to get me to do that, and I did it, and I regret it.'”

Jesus may be commenting on the same guidance when he says the following in the Manual, in a passage that is comforting in the extreme:

“Do not, then, think that following the Holy Spirit’s guidance is necessary merely because of your own inadequacies.  It is the way out of hell for you.  (M70)”

By this statement, I think that ACIM is telling us that we make our own hells on earth.  Listening to the Holy Spirit with increasing frequency shows us the way out of our self-made hells.  I believe that in fact there is no limit to how the Holy Spirit speaks to us,  for our God is not a limited God in any way.  He will find a way to get through to us.  He asks only that we try to discern.  If we miss the first glimmering of guidance, God will bring the same message to us in yet other ways until we get the message.    Remain flexible.  Learn to turn on a dime.  Following the Holy Spirit in this way is joyous.  It is the enlightened way to live, even before we know the Awakening that the Course holds out to us.  As A Course in Miracles makes clear, there can be no better way to live, in the time of the Holy Spirit,  than in following the guidance of Universal Inspiration.

I once read, “Why beseech heaven for a miracle one would not recognize at high noon?”  After actively seeking guidance, we are perhaps in the right frame of mind, for the first time, to recognize miracles when they occur.

A Full Heart

“Your heart becomes full only through relationship or union.  A full heart can overshadow a full mind, leaving no room for senseless thoughts but only for what is truly real.  (A Course of Love, 5.19)”

Affirmation:  “May my full heart overshadow my mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Senseless Thoughts

Jesus lets us know, right in the beginning of A Course of Love, that we have let the mind run rampant.  We are overshadowed by the mind’s activities in many cases.  This needs to end.  The heart does not need the same “proof” as the mind, in concert with the ego, often seems to require.  The heart and the ego are antithetical to each other.  And so we can safely leave the ego aside, not in a rigid rejection (which would only make things worse, for the ego is strong in strife when resisted).

2 – Wholeheartedness

The heart, according to Jesus in ACOL, is where we come close to the fullness that we need, without interference from the mind.  Later on, we will see that Jesus is not denigrating the mind, because what he really wants is for us to join the mind and heart in “wholeheartedness,” a state of wholeness from which we are to live out our lives.

3 – The Mind Leads Astray

All to often we struggle, when the mind is in ascendancy.  The ego just does not wish us well, and the mind is its home.  When we come from the heart, we are better able to function well.  We don’t get so tangled up.

4 – Mixed-Up Thinking

So often we get lost in the senseless thoughts that this passage indicates.  We worry; we fret; we imagine “what it”–and all for naught.  For what purpose do we get ourselves all mixed up?  It is a waste of our talents, a waste of our lives.

5 – Pray

But we don’t have to remain “stuck” in this mire.  We can find a way out.  Pray from the depths of hearts, and we will know comfort.  We will know joy.  And peace will find a home in our lives once again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I spend another good day with You.  There is so much to be thankful for in this marvelous world, when we don’t let the ego rule, and we don’t dip into depression because the ego has, once again, misled us.

Be with my significant others today.  May I have the energy and wisdom to do for them what they need to have me do,

Amen.

End the Chaos

“You who have so filled your mind with senseless wanderings and thoughts that think of nothing that is real, rejoice that there is a way to end this chaos.  The world you see is chaos and nothing in it, including your thoughts, is trustworthy.  (A Course of Love, 5.2)”

Affirmation:  “I would turn aside from the chaos of this world.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t “Resist” Chaos

It would be wrong to “resist” the chaos of this world, for in the resistance, the chaos becomes strong.  The ego is strong in strife.  We need merely to turn aside, gently, to say to ourselves that we long for harmony in our live, and that we choose to avoid chaos.  Then love will work its blessing upon us.

2 – Ego

We cannot trust too much our own thoughts, for the ego has a toehold in us.  The ego is always wrong, for it is a part of ourselves that seeks to live as though God were not real.

3 – God’s Action

And God is very real.  We will know His love when we turn to Him in communion, and when He reaches down (metaphorically) and lifts us up in Awakening, we will be certain that the elevated Self of form has been our “journey without distance” (a quotation from ACIM).

4 – Awakening

This world is not trustworthy because this world is illusory.  This world is a dream that we have bought into.  And the best that we can hope, before Awakening comes, is to dream the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles).  These happy dreams will prepare us further for the Awakening, an Awakening that will come to all of us, though the all-inclusive nature may be a very long time in the future.  We are not to be disheartened by this wait, for God gives blessings to those of us who wait.  His blessings are not limited to any few who believe in Him.  His blessings are also for non-believers, for He would not leave anyone out.

5 – Commune with God

But there is great joy for those of us who commune with God, who communicate with Him.  We have taught ourselves the most unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator.  And A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love would change all of this unfortunate thinking.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for promising that You will finally reach down and lift me up to Awakening.  This is Your choice, and I would be patient while I wait.  May I do my part, in that I refuse to encourage egoic thinking just by turning aside from such thinking.  I would not resist anything, because resistance makes the ego strong.  The ego is strong in strife.

But the ego is powerless against me when I commune with You.  As I live in the present moment, looking to You for guidance through my intuition, I am assured that this is all that You ask of me.  Your guidance is all that I need, and if I stay true to it, then You will respond at the time You feel is best.

Amen.

Dark Night of the Soul

“Child of God, you are alien here but need not be alien to your Self.  In your knowledge of your Self, all threat of time and space and place dissolves.  You may still walk an alien land, but not in a fog of amnesia that obscures what would be a brief adventure and replaces it with dreams of terror and confusion so rampant that no toehold of security is possible, and day turns endlessly into night in a long march toward death.  (A Course of Love, 4.6)”

Affirmation:  “May I know my Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Self

The Self (capitalized) is meant in A Course of Love to be the Christ who is in each of us.  Christ, as we know, is not limited to Jesus.  He paved the way, and is still leading the way, but he does not believe that he has anything that we cannot attain.  Even this sentiment is expressed in the New Testament, and certainly this sentiment finds a welcome home in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

2 – Terror and Confusion Begone

The passage for today is particularly vivid in its metaphors.  We are told that we can see our lives here as a brief adventure, and we do not need to have dreams of terror and confusion.  But most of us do, and most of us still do–despite study of ACIM and ACOL.  We are all equals in the journey that we take, the “journey without distance” (quotation from ACIM).

3 – Clear Our Minds

When we are lost in the emotions of fear–terror and confusion, as herein described–we are not in a good frame of mind even to study ACIM and ACOL.  We need, perhaps, to clear our minds in whatever ways we have determined work for us.  Possible avenues are prayer (communion with God), meditation (if we are led to do so, but long hours of “contemplation” are specified citing by Jesus in ACIM as being “tedious”), conversation with significant others in our lives, counseling, even listening to music.  (These are personal recommendations, most not cited in ACIM nor ACOL.)  When we are lost in terror and confusion, it is hard for the Holy Spirit and Christ-consciousness to reach us.  We have temporarily lost our way, lost it to the ego that has not died within us.

4 – Dark Nights of the Soul

Seek calm and quiet and stillness in whatever ways work for you.  Stay relaxed, sure of your eventual emergence from this dark night of the soul.  Dark nights of the soul come to all of us on the way back to God, and they do not mean that we are the less for having them.  It is part of the journey, and it is also a time not to give up on our religion.  We will know comfort again.  In the meantime, we stay the course.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a good day today and every day.  Even when hard times come, I do not have to feel abandoned.  I know intellectually that You are here, even when I don’t feel anything.  And I pray to sense Your Presence in my daily walk about this world.

May the fearful emotions, the terror and confusion, not veil my eyes from the light of the sun.  May I know that anytime I experience fear, there is a dawn coming that will be better.  May I choose to be tolerant of myself when I am torn by conflicting emotions.  They are evidence of the human condition, not that I have lost my way–though it may feel that way.

Be with me today and always.  Help me to turn aside from terror and confusion without adding to the fear by my own thinking.  Let my heart, which knows of comfort, speak to me today and every day.  Be with me, be with us, as we seek Your pathway through this sometimes tragic world.

Amen.

The Solution Is with the Problem

“Ask all things of His [God’s] Teacher [Holy Spirit], and all things are given you.  Not in the future but immediately; now.  God does not wait, for waiting implies time and He is timeless.  (M-29.7)”

Affirmation:  “I would live in the Now today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Solution Is with the Problem

This is an example of the ideal in A Course in Miracles.  From my own experience, the closest example that I know, which I have found to be true, is that the solution is with the problem; that is to say, if we ask for help with a problem, I have found it very, very likely that the solution will come to me as guidance in a very, very short time.

2 – The Now

Time is an illusion, according to A Course in Miracles.  So eternity is the Now of which this passage speaks.  Certainly, in a limited way, we do not see answers to our prayers come, in the affirmative and quickly, all the time.  ACIM would not have us deny the sight of our physical eyes in this illusions in which we are caught (also called the “dream” of this world).

3 – Eternity

But in the Now, meaning eternity, we know that we are heading in the right direction.  There is, in this ideal, no past nor future, only the Now.  And God’s way is what gives us direction as we live from moment to moment.

4 – Ask

We are bade to ask for what we want and need, and our needs are always met (though some of our wants would not be in our best interests).  But ask we must.  We can seek to have our thoughts guided to the right circumstances that will show us the next step.

5 – Always Ask

But never be afraid to ask.  It is what we, as children of God, are meant to do.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am always amazed how quickly an answer comes when I have gotten clear on the question, and have asked for an answer.  Yes, the solution is with the problem.  Thank You for that.  You are always near.

I would not ask for frivolous things, but I would use my best thinking, my concentration, on that which I truly would like to have.  And my concentration will bring it to me.  I ask that I be kept from asking amiss.  You know the best pathway back to You, and that pathway is the one that I would stay upon.

Amen.

The Prayer of the Heart

“He [Holy Spirit] understands the requests of your heart, and answers them.  Does this mean that, while attack remains attractive to you, He will respond with evil?  Hardly!  For God has given Him the power to translate your prayers of the heart into His language.  He understands that an attack is a call for help.  And He responds with help accordingly.  God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own.  A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction.  He may ask for injury, but his father will protect him still.  And how much more than this does your Father love His Son?  (M-29.6)”

Affirmation:  “God will protect me.”

Reflections:

1 – Important Passage

Today’s passage is one of those most important ones, one that says in no uncertain terms that attack is a call for help.  Elsewhere we are given to understand that attack is also a call for love.  But, with the Holy Spirit, giving help and giving love are identical, would it not seem (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM)?

2 – An Impersonal God?

God will not give us bad things.  Not always is this understood, and there are current readings that reject this view–treating God as though He is impersonal and responds to our wishes without any rejection of the things that would hurt us.  I do not believe in an impersonal God, although some teachers/scholars of A Course in Miracles believe that God does not know about us, because we are caught in an illusion, and He does not enter illusion with us.

3 – Practical Help

But let us step aside from controversy, and look to our own experience of spirituality to make up our own minds about these questions.  This is not the time to engage in debate; this is the time to share one’s help and love, in a very practical sense that ACIM endorses, with ourselves and each other.

4 – A Loving Father

Let us take a look at two sentences once again:  “God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own.  A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction.”

5 – God “Let Go”

It is true, nevertheless that we can draw negative things to ourselves by our own thoughts and actions.  We cannot look to God to save us from ourselves.  Sometimes, as Neale Donald Walsch notes in his Conversations with God series, God has to “let go” so that we can experience what we are asking to see.  And the (possibly) ACIM sequel, A Course of Love, says the same thing.  God “let go,” because we were like adolescents who still had free will, and who still could hurt ourselves, but needed to learn that we had need of communication with Him.  As Jesus says, we have taught ourselves the unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator (from ACIM).

6 – A Paradox

So:  The bottom line is that there is a paradox here.  We, beings of free will, do sometimes experience pain.  But Jesus says that learning through pain is temporary, and it is better to learn through rewards (from ACIM).  We do not have to learn through pain (from the Text).  In the ideal, we can live free of pain when we cling to God.  And clinging to God is the very best way to walk His pathway back home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would concentrate today only on what is good and right in Your eyes.  I would not attract those things that You would have to move to protect me.  Your protection is assured, but I ask that You give me the wherewithal to walk in Your footsteps and not to let temptation invite me to reject You and Your blessings.  Pain may come, but I would choose (and I do have the choice) to learn through rewards.  Jesus himself has assured us that learning through rewards is a lasting learning.

Be with me today as I seek to give comfort to those who are hurting and under stress.  We do not walk through this world apart from our brothers and sisters, and pain is present.  Knowing that pain is an illusion sometimes seems theoretical, because we see tears and know that the illusory pain feels very real.  Be with us when life turns hard.  Your Way will see us through even the darkest night of the soul.  I trust in this.

Amen.