Tag Archives: prayer

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.

The Prayer of the Heart

“What Is the role of words in healing?  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.  (M-21.1)”

Affirmation:  “Guide my prayers today.”

Reflections:

1 – Healing

If we are trying to heal ourselves or a brother or sister, we must be sure that the prayer of our heart is to truly heal.  If we say words about healing, and do not believe that the person will live, we may be negating our prayer.  Or we may be correctly intuiting.  There will always be a healing, but some illnesses do end in death, and we do not know what happens after death (though there are psychic books on the market, which purport to tell us).

2 – Unbelief in the Heart

If we do not, in our heart, believe that a healing will happen, then we need to get quiet and ask for guidance.  Is it true that this individual will not be healed?  No, for elsewhere in the Manual, we are told that healing is always certain.  We cannot understand this, for there are many illnesses that do not get “healed,” as we define the word.  But I believe Jesus, and I believe that there is something going on here that I do not understand.  Let us all ask for the healing that Jesus says will come, and then may we accept what does happen.  There may be a greater definition of “healing” that we have ever known.

3 – Words May Be Meaningless

So know that to say words is virtually meaningless.  It is the prayer of the heart that gives us the desires of our heart.  And it is this that heals, this and only this.

4 – Prayer Is Asking

Prayer at its most elemental is asking.  And God does not turn His back on those of us who are His children, especially when we are in need.  It may sometimes seem that we have been abandoned, but this may only be a dark night of the soul (from St. John of the Cross, a medieval mystic), and the light will shine on us again.  Keep hope in your mind and heart and spirit, and see what miracles take place.  We will not have to wait long.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I pray for your comfort today, and I hope that this is the “prayer of the heart.”  I ask for a healing of anything that is wrong for my brothers and sisters, as well as myself.

Handle my heart with gentleness, and give me the understanding, in my heart, that I need.  I would follow Your guidance today, but I would not “force” myself if my form, my human body, is not ready.  Jesus says this to us in A Course in Miracles, in slightly different words.

Thank You again for the blessing of ACIM.

Amen

A Guide Who Will Not Fail

“He has a Guide Who will not fail.  He need make no distinctions among the problems he perceives for He to Whom he turns with all of them recognizes no order of difficulty in resolving them.  He is as safe in the present as he was before illusions were accepted into his mind, and as he will be when he has let them go.  (M-16.7)”

Affirmation:  “I follow my Guide.”

Reflections:

1 – A Loving Guide

I am constantly amazed at how loving our Guide actually is.  Our Guide, the Holy Spirit, is the Universal Inspiration, and the Communicator for God.  If God is Love, and most of us believe that He is, then would not His Communicator be a fount of Love as well?  It all makes perfect sense, in my way of viewing life.  But I am still surprised by the attention to detail, and to my own sense of drama (when my Guide responds even though I have brought some of my agony onto myself).

2 – Quiet in the Early AM

These early morning hours, when I am writing today, are helpful in the extreme.  Richard Carlson, a bestselling author, from time to time told in his books of his writing from 3 to 6 a.m.  He found the quiet then to be helpful in his creativity.

3 – Holy Spirit Closer at Night?

Is it not also possible that the Holy Spirit seems closest to us when the rest of the world is quiet?  Even the birds are not yet singing, and their chorus will eventually herald the dawn and make us glad that we have lived to experience yet another day.  Our Guide is here for us to consult at these times.  Let us not waste these moments.

4 – Solace

We are safe in this world, even when tragedy strikes.  The Holy Spirit, as God’s Communication Link with us, is ever with us.  And He provides the solace that we sometimes need when our hopes have been dashed, and also when we have reached in extremis, or the end of our dreams.  Other dreams will be given us; we need not fear.  We will not be left bereft.  Time, ever an illusion, is still our friend at such times.  And we need to turn to God in prayer, knowing that He is here for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Last night, once again, I awoke after three hours of sleep.  And prayer did not, this time, seem to calm me.  I turned to Your secular gift, music.  And all was well.

Thank You that You do not distinguish between spiritual and secular remedies.  All is Yours.  And I am Yours.  

I often am amazed at the calm that descends in the middle of the night, when I have offered my prayers to you and then turned to music to soothe.  And the music doesn’t have to be particularly calming, but just music that I like and that speaks to my spirit.

Be with me today as I seek You amid a busy world, with not quite enough sleep.  May You and I together have a good day.

Amen

Give God a Chance

“Decide for God, and everything is given you at no cost at all.  Decide against Him, and you choose nothing, at the expense of the awareness of everything.  (M-13.8)”

Affirmation:  “I choose the awareness of everything.”

Reflections:

1 – Decide for God?

How does one decide for God?  Perhaps we are skeptics.  Perhaps we have a guilty conscience.  Perhaps we have intellectual doubts about God.  Then what?

2 – A Chance

Give God a chance.

3 – Try a Little

That is all that is required.  Try a little prayer.  Ask for something that you think is in line with God’s Will, but be sure that you are not “testing” Him.

4 – God

You may not succeed.  But God may.

5 – What Do We Have to Lose?

What do we have to lose by trying to believe, even just a little?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

This is starting out as a hard day, because I asked for guidance in a particular situation, and I am unsure if my ego intruded.  I am unsure if the guidance that I received is from You.  I asked for further indication, and that was forthcoming, and the Answer from You was the same.  Is my ego just trying to foment struggle?

I would calm down, following Your guidance.  I am not alone in this decision facing me.  My husband is with me, and I believe in help from the Other Side.  Be with me today; help me to drop the issue for the weekend, so that next Monday, when I can actually do something, I will be in a state of mind that will allow the calm carrying out of what guidance has already shown me.

Thank You.

Amen.

Hope of Heaven / Remembrance of God’s Love

“Yet he must rejoice that he is free of all the sacrifice its values would demand of him.  To them he sacrifices all his peace.  To them he sacrifices all his freedom.  And to possess them must be sacrificed his hope of Heaven and remembrance of his Father’s Love.  Who in his sane mind chooses nothing as a substitute for everything?  (M-13.4)”

Affirmation:  “I would value the valuable only.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego

This passage is about the ego and its supposed benefits in following it.  What a mistake we make when we try to follow the ego.  We are cast down as often as we experience ecstasy, and the ecstasy is always short-lived.  This is the way that we are, ever so gently, taught that the ego is not “the way.”  We, in harmony with the Holy Spirit, have found a new way that will benefit in far greater dimensions.

2 – This World = A Dream

We do not see that this world is a dream, and, while it may be a pleasant dream at times, it is still a dream.  The Holy Spirit beings us happy dreams (from the Workbook), so that when we are finally ready for Awakening, we will not be scared of it.

3 – Sacrifice

Sacrifice is a notion totally rejected by A Course in Miracles.  And well it should be.  Our
world has been a place where most people thought that sacrifice for others was a virtue.  Not so, according to A Course in Miracles.  We do not have to give up anything to do right by our brothers and sisters.  We will all be cared for.

4 – Don’t Make This World Important

When we make this world too important to us, we do sacrifice, though.  We sacrifice our happiness and hope for ever-increasing joy to a dubious, impossible dream.  We do this injustice to ourselves when we follow the ego instead of the Holy Spirit.

5 – Follow Our Guide

May we follow the right Guide today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do rejoice that I am getting the madness out, the madness that all of us, to one extent or another, have while in this world.  I would not choose the insanity of the ego anymore.  Help me to be true to this declaration.

Be good to me today.  It will be a busy day, and I want to promise to You that I will not forget my prayers to You.  Be with me as I seek to follow my Guide.

Amen.

Commune with God = Immediately Feel Better

“Who can escape this self-condemnation?  Only through God’s Word could this be possible.  For self-condemnation is a decision about identity, and no one doubts what he believes he is.  He can doubt all things, but never this.  (M-13.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would foster self-acceptance.”

Reflections:

1 – Acceptance

We condemn ourselves when we fail to understand that God’s Word would give us freedom.  It is perhaps a paradox that we don’t understand, and it is born of the separation that only apparently happened.  The separation never actually happened in fact, but only in illusion, in the dreams in which we are caught.  And we condemn ourselves for supposedly rejecting God.  We recognize, however dimly, that it is our acceptance of God and His blessings that we are ever truly at peace and happy, joyous.

2 – Reject God?

We think that we have rejected our Maker, and to prove this rejection, we don’t communicate with Him.  We pray only when in dire straits, the foxhole prayers.  This is, as Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, a most unnatural habit that we have taught ourselves.  We are meant to commune with our Maker, and it is God who made us, not we ourselves.  We tend to forget this when we are being especially egotistical, and therefore especially caught by the ego.  But we can learn a better means of living.  We can return to frequent communion with God and His Voice, the Holy Spirit, and as soon as we make the choice for this return, we will immediately, sooner rather than later, feel better.  Our lives will immediately smooth out, and we will feel love again.  We will reach out easily to our brothers and sisters, and we will accept ourselves as having made mistakes, but none that cannot be forgiven.  Note that God does not forgive (an ACIM tenet), because he has never condemned.  It is only with self-condemnation that we are concerned in today’s passage.

3 – Gentleness

Be kind to yourself today.  We need the strength of gentleness, for it is only with gentleness that ACIM becomes easy to accept, salvation become easy to experience.  Be rid of the insanity of self-condemnation, and all will be well again in our little worlds.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would stay close to You today.  I am certain that when days go awry, it is because I have not been close enough to You.  Perhaps my sense of guilt, because of the ego, has come alive, and so I think that I am not worthy.  But I am Your child, and You do love me.  I have ample evidence of this love in the blessings of my life.  And even if those blessings were withheld, I would know that You are there for me, carrying me.  Thank You for this parable of the way things really are, retold by Hugh Prather.

I would commune today with You, even when my mind is on other things.  You do not expect conscious constant contact.  You know that we have busy minds  (perhaps too busy), and that we have many things that we have to do in this world.  May we think of You just a little more often, and in the thinking may we understand that it is You Who created us, not we ourselves.

I know that I will feel better today if I follow these goals.  Be with me when I forget.  I may forget You, but please, don’t You forget me.

Amen.

You Need Not Have Tribulation

“In this world you need not have tribulation because I have overcome the world.  This is why you should be of good cheer.  (T56)”

Affirmation:  “be of good cheer”

 

Reflections:

1 – Differs from the New Testament

This passage from Jesus is a paraphrase of what he is quoted to have said in the New Testament.  But in the New Testament, we are led to believe that we will have tribulation.  His resurrection is meant to counter all of that; the resurrection happened after his teaching that said the reverse.  And the Course stands by the resurrection as truth.  The Course does not say if the resurrection was revelation or a miracle, but, given the definitions found therein, it seems to be a miracle.

2 – Tribulation Is Pain

Tribulation is pain that we would want to avoid at all costs.  Remembering that Jesus overcame the world, and harkening to good cheer are mental actions that we can take at any time.

3 – Recite the Passage on a Bad Day.

When we are feeling down, it is wise to recall such passages.  We can conjure up good cheer, even when the day seems drab.  It takes only a moment to recall us to ourselves.

4 – We Cannot Be Hurt

We need to know that Jesus did not blame his accusers.  He knew that he could not be hurt.  He knew also that he could not be abandoned, though his disciplines slept in Gethsemane–while Jesus prayed.  May we take a moment now to pray, as Jesus taught.  He will restore our good spirits, for he has told us that we are never without his counsel; we need only to ask, and he is there.  (This may not be a concept that we all can readily accept at this moment, but walk as far along this pathway as possible, and let the Holy Spirit guide ever further.)

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you that in this world we do not have to have tribulation.  We can be of good cheer, because Jesus has overcome the world.

It takes only a moment of reflection or of prayer to recall us to ourselves.  We can know peace as well as good cheer, even in this world that too often seems filled with woe.

Amen.

Prayer

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

Affirmation:  “the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness”

Reflections:

1 – Prayer Is Assumed

Prayer is not discussed a great deal in the Course, and this passage hints at why.  The Course recommends forgiveness of ourselves and our brother as the only basis for a good life.  If we forgive, we “have everything.”  Does this mean that all of our needs are automatically taken care of?  Not precisely.  But we move in that direction, and we do so as a whole.

2 – We Make Our Choices

It is hard to understand what this “everything” really is, but basically it is the recognition that we are not deprived in this life except by our own choice.  This is part of the theoretical construct of the Course.

3 – Pray for Forgiveness

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Perfect Love

“Know first that this is fear.
Fear arises from lack of love.
The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.
Perfect love is the Atonement.  (T30)”

Affirmation:  “The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.”

Reflections:

1 – A Poem

This is another beautiful blank verse poem from the Course.  It is also a syllogism, which Jesus seems to appreciate a great deal, for there are several in the Course.

2 – Fear and Love

It is unlikely that we will understand this poem completely without reading our way through the entire Course.  Basically, the poem refers to the fact that the only two emotions are fear and love, and that only lack of love makes fear.

3 – Do We Still Cling to Fears?

This passage can be very demoralizing if we are not patient with ourselves.  We know that we are not experiencing “perfect love,” because we still cling to fears.  And these fears, remnants of the ego, can have a strong foothold in our minds.

3 – To Ease Anxieties, Commune with God

We need to commune with God to allow our anxieties to ease.  I speak from personal experience.  Often if I awake deep in the night, I start to pray, and I quite literally feel such peace that the prayer itself puts me at ease enough to drift off into sleep again, without realizing what has happened until the next morning.  God does not mind that we pray to Him and then drift off to sleep.  The apostles slept at Gethsemane.  So there is a long history of slumber overcoming those who would watch and wait for God.

4 – Falling Asleep While Praying

I also do not think that falling asleep by praying shows a lack of love or even respect for God.  He is inside us, and we project the world outside.  When we commune with our depths, we are actually being true to our Self.

4 – Atonement = Shift in Perception

The Atonement is a shift in perception that allows us to see that we are actually innocent children of God.  Heretofore we have believed that we were guilty of black sins that will require retribution.  Through the Course, we learn that reaching perfect love is the ultimate end of our journey here.  Knowing only love, we will fear no longer.  This too is the Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I find the day hard-going, may I realize that my love is imperfect.  Imperfect love makes for a bad day.  May my day today, the part that remains, be perfect in Your sight.  This does not mean that I am above making mistakes, but it does mean that staying on Your pathway is my aim and my goal.  I would not allow useless and foolish fears to counterbalance the good day that You would send.  I would not allow minor lassitude to turn me from Your course.  Be with me as I seek to live am emotionally and physically healthy life.  I know that You are “for health” all the way, and I would not let any sense of vulnerability turn me from You.  I am not vulnerable, but in Your love, I am strong.  Be with me to give me enjoyment in this beautiful day that You have offered to me, free and clear, constant in the guidance that You send to me via the Holy Spirit.

I would have good energy today as I seek to feel perfect love.  I would disregard any fears that seem to arise, knowing that they are illusions, for only love is real.  May I live in the real world today, even if only in glimpses of reality–Your reality.

May I find the perfect love that You have promised all of your children.  May I leave fear behind as I find this perfect love.

Amen.

A Fearful Script

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

 

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

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety

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

2 – Prayer

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

3 – Fear Is Never Justified

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

4 – God Will Help Us

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

5 – Be Patient

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Complete Dependence on God

“‘Except ye become as little children’ means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. (T12)”

Affirmation:  “May I become today a pliable child in God’s Hands.”

Reflections:

1 – Surrendering to God

Surrendering to God is a wondrous possibility that gives us everything.  We are dependent upon Him, but it is not a dependence that is wrong.  We are meant to depend on God, and our lack of communicating to Him is most unnatural (as A Course in Miracles says).  God knows when we are not communicating with Him, and He “thinks” that His children are asleep and must be wakened.  Everyone who follows ACIM agrees on this premise, even those who believe that God does not know about our daily lives, because we are caught in illusion and He is not so caught.  And those of us who do believe that God does know about us and the myriad details of our lives also recognize, when we study ACIM, that we are asleep and need the Awakening.  It could be argued that the whole purpose of A Course in Miracles is to lead us to Awakening through forgiveness of ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

2 – A Statement by Jesus

This passage explains a statement attributed to Jesus in the New Testament.  Little children are dependent upon their parents, as we see God as our Father (and Mother).  It is natural and right that we turn to Him in our daily pathway.  It is unnatural not to do so.  Those who believe that God does not know us do, nevertheless, believe that His Guide, the Holy Spirit, is the Universal Inspiration that tells us, in direct ways, how to negotiate through our world.  When we fail to listen, we are virtually certain, sometimes immediately, of getting into trouble.  When we do listen, our pathway smoothes out, and we are at peace once again.  May we walk an untroubled pathway today.

3 – Life Will Smooth Out

When we talk to God or we talk to the Holy Spirit, we are getting the answers for our lives that we are meant to know.  And, indeed, life smooths out, and we are at peace.

4 – Listen to the Holy Spirit’s Voice

Isn’t this what we have wanted all along?  God would have it so, and so it is.  When we listen to the Voice that speaks to us of God’s all-encompassing love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the comfort that I know from You.  I do not wish to get caught up in theology, about whether or not You do enter our dreams, our illusions.  I only know that from the universe I receive comfort.  And then all is well in my world.  Thank You for that.  You are my rock in this sometimes troubled environment of this world.

Be with us as we walk through the world.  Let us not let theology about You divide us.  May we learn of You however we best can.  May we feel Your presence in our minds and spirits and hearts.  May joy accompany us, as You would have.

I thank You specifically today for the lessening of stress in my immediate environment just now.  You have given me some tools to handle stress, intuitively, and they are working.  Thank You.

Amen.

The Undoing of Fear

“Miracles represent freedom from fear.  ‘Atoning’ means ‘undoing.’  The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome the undoing of fear.”

Reflections:

1 – The ACIM Definition of “Atoning”

This passage gives a definition for atoning that is at variance, perhaps, with traditional Christianity.  Jesus gives “atoning” a very benign meaning:  “undoing.”  It says little about the crucifixion, a happening meant to describe that Jesus did not blame his tormentors for anything that they did in illusion.  He remained defenseless.

2 – The Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Traditional Christianity frequently teaches that the crucifixion is some way “bought” our atonement with God.  A Course in Miracles would have us look to the resurrection, which it never denies actually happened, as the way in which our eyes should travel.  If we find trouble with accepting the resurrection, believing that it disobeys all known physical laws, perhaps we need to realize that science has not yet caught up with many concepts in religion.  But Jesus would not have us to accept concepts for which we are not ready.  In an interpretation (not stated in ACIM), I would say that if we have to see the resurrection as metaphorical, we are not to be find ourselves at fault and chastise ourselves.  Take time, and accept all that does not cause conflict within ourselves.  Jesus always in ACIM counsels against theological concepts that are divisive.  He says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary.

3 – Atonement

With miracles an essential part of our lives, we will live fearlessly.  Because love and fear are the only two emotions, we know that to love while experiencing miracles will free us for the Atonement.  Some students/teachers of ACIM says that Atonement does not mean “At – one – ment.”  And there are differences of opinion, but I have personally found this interpretation to be helpful.  But nowhere in ACIM is Atonement spelled out in this way.

4 – Anxiety

“Freedom from fear” is a boon enjoyed by so few of us.  But we have Jesus’s promise that it is only waiting for us to receive.  We do not have to be in bondage to fear or, indeed, to any of its component negative emotions.  Fear is frequently manifested as anxiety, and most of us cannot turn meaningfully to our brothers and sisters if we are paralyzed by anxiety.  We become very self-absorbed, which any psychologist of today would say is not to be desired.  It is just good psychology to turn outward to others, as much as we turn inward.  And anxiety is a definite hindrance to this healthy living.

5 – Defenses Make What They Would Defend Against

So we would be wise, at this early point in A Course in Miracles, to come to terms with fear.  We do not have to devise defenses against fear, because we are told in ACIM that defenses make what they would define against.  We need only to allow love to touch our hearts, and fear will wither away.  We become not so interested in our physical safety, because we know that the real Self is safe.  Once we have let all our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (a Workbook tenet).  This may mean that the Self is safe, because the little (the personal) self may still know trouble.  We are, after all, living in an illusory world where bad things do happen to good people (a concept from Harold Kushner).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would today make a resolution that I plan to keep.  I would turn aside from fear in all its manifestations, and turn to You when anxious thoughts crowd into my mind.   I certainly know that praying in the middle of an anxious night will soothe me, and allow me to turn the night over to You to handle until the morning.  I pray myself back to sleep, and I don’t think that this is an affront to You.  You would have us enjoy restful restoration through sleep, while You stay awake and handle all the details of my tiny life.

Be with all of us who need You to quell anxiety in our hearts and minds.  We do not wish to be fearful.  We know that this is evidence that this world is too much with us.  Tonight as I write this prayer to You, I would know that it is one of the final deeds of the day.  And I will go to sleep with Your blessing on my life, for I have asked Your blessing upon me.  And You never fail to answer that prayer in the affirmative.

Thank You.

Amen.

God Will Listen

ACIM Workbook Lesson 358 – for Saturday, December 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “No call to God can be unheard nor left
        Unanswered.  And of this I can be sure;
        His answer is the one I really want.”

“Let me not forget myself is no thing, but my Self is all.  (WB483)”

 

Reflections:

1 – The Christ Self

My Self is all, and that Self is the Christ Self.  Here we are coming into our own, the Self Whom God always intended us to be.  This is His answer to us in these final moments of the year.  We can come home to him as the Self we really are.

2 – Commune with God

Let us spend the rest of this reflection time in praying, in communing, with God for the glory that He means for us to have.  May we not say that we are unworthy, for this is the ego being arrogant.  God has prepared us.  It is only the ego that would say otherwise.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would pray sincerely and with strong intent to know that You hear me.  I thank You for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but when I am deep in trouble, I want You.  And You are there.  You are within, and the Self that is part of You projects the world that I see outside myself.  This gets into mysteries that I do not pretend to understand, but I have hints from You.  My mind is too small to comprehend all of Your magnificence.

Be with me today.  I need to pray by writing, or by saying words aloud.  Sometimes when I speak internally, I regret that my mind wanders.  Be with me today, and with my thoughts, to keep my thoughts on track.  I would not neglect You by my own shortcomings in concentration.

Thank You for this year spent with the Workbook.  Thank You for what You and the Holy Spirit, not to mention Jesus, have taught me.  I would choose to put into effect in the New Year all that You have taught me.  I realize that I will not always succeed with my resolutions, but I trust that You will be there to keep me walking along the pathway to You.

Thank You for your comfort today.

Amen.

May Miracles Bless This World

ACIM Workbook Lesson 353 – for Monday, December 19, 2011

Affirmation:  “My eyes, my tongue, my hands, my feet today
Have but one purpose; to be given Christ
To use to bless the world with miracles.”

“Father, I give all that is mine today to Christ, to use in any way that best will serve the purpose that I share with Him.  Nothing is mine alone, for He and I have joined in purpose.  (WB481)”

Reflections:

1 – Rededicating to God

Today’s lesson is a dedication, or rededication, of our lives to God.  We share with Jesus our true Selfhood, the Christ that we really are.  And so we give our personal selves–our tongue, hands, feet–to the service of Christ, meaning more than just our elder brother, Jesus, but the Self that we all share.

2 – Sharing with Our World

We do not selfishly hold on to what we think “belongs” to us.  We share with Christ, and we use our gifts to save the world.  We do not cling to what we imagine to be “mine,” but we notice that we have joined with a larger purpose.

3 – We Do Not Need Many Words

As these final lessons come to us, we realize that we do not need many words to understand what is being said in A Course in Miracles.  We are finding our way home, and the best way to do that is to commune with God, in quietness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be quiet today, communing with You.  Thank You for this year of Workbook lessons.  Of course, they are invaluable to our growth in Your Spirit.  May I remain stress free during this holiday season, with so much activity in my daily life.  May I know what Christmas really means.  This is a prayer that we all pray, but may I make it my true prayer today.

Thank You for comforting me in times of stress.  Help me to know that You are the only cure.

Amen.

Today the Peace of God Envelops Me

ACIM Workbook Lesson 346 – for Monday, December 12, 2011

Affirmation:  “Today the peace of God envelops me,
        And I forget all things except His Love.”

“. . .I would find the peace which You created for Your Son, forgetting all the foolish toys I made as I behold Your glory and my own.  (WB476)”

Reflections:

1 – A Reality Check

This passage is a reality check.  What is really important to us?  If we say the “peace of God,” then we will forget those “foolish toys” that the ego inspired us to cherish (and probably to spend our hard-earned cash on, if they are material things).

2 – The Felt Presence of God

We are at peace when we are feeling the presence of God.   When we are still and quiet, that peace envelops us.  And we do not hanker for things beyond our sphere.

3 – Commune with God

Spend time today in communion with God.  He will not fail us.  And that communion will bring happier days, beginning immediately and going full force into the future.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today I would see as a quiet day.  I would not make waves.  I would know peace.  And this will be the day that You give me if I commune with You on a continual basis.  I would pray often today.  Guide me throughout this day.

May this quietness enfold me and give me peace without anxiety.  I would not ask for a solace that I would not extend to others.  May my peace enfold the brothers and sisters whom I meet along my walk today.

Amen.

May the Holy Spirit Speak through Me Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson 296 – for Sunday, October 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit speaks through me today.”

“I would be savior to the world I made.  For having damned it I would be set free, that I may find escape, and hear the Word Your holy Voice will speak to me today.  (WB446)”

Reflections:

1 – We “Made” the World that We See

Here we find once again that we “made” the world that we see.  We project from within, outward, and there we find the illusions that we perceive.  There is nothing outside of us, part of the worldview of A Course in Miracles.

2 – May We Help Save the World

We must be savior to this world.  We have often thought of Jesus as the savior, but only time separates what he is to what we will be.  And he needs our cooperation in saving this world.  We grew up hearing such things as this in our churches, and we still hear the same thing, even in mainstream churches that have nothing to do with ACIM.

3 – Lead the World Away from Disaster

We have “damned” this world.  We have helped to make the chaos in which we find ourselves.  And we would rectify these mistakes now.  Let us wait not one second longer.  Reach out to the person closest to you (whether by touch, phone, e-mail, or texting), and begin the process of leading this world away from disaster and on to a Heaven on earth for all who live here.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a daunting idea that all of us are meant to save the world.  Many have thought this, and instead have made more chaos.  May we follow only what guidance, true guidance, gives to us to do, and may we not make mistakes that will hurt our brothers and sisters.  May we listen to the Holy Spirit as we seek to be saviors, along with Jesus, of the world that we “made.”  As projection makes perception, may we see the world change from a place of chaos to a place of peace.

Be with me as I make decisions today.  I still get irritated when my best intentions are rebuffed.  May I always remember that this world is an illusion, a dream, and that I am creating the dream in which I find myself.  I can forgive this dream, and not feel pain, when I am rebuffed.  There is madness afoot.  It is not for me to judge this madness, but to ask the Holy Spirit to offer His peace to everyone whom I encounter.  Help me to be an instrument of His peace.  Thank You for being there for me when times seem depressed.  I know that times do not have to remain depressed.  My prayer, my communing, with You can change my demeanor to one of joy.  Help me to receive joy of You now.

Amen.

Does God Know about Us?

ACIM Workbook Lesson 287 – for Friday, October 14, 2011

Affirmation:  “You are my goal, my Father.  Only You.”

“Where would I go but Heaven?  What could be a substitute for happiness?  What gift could I prefer before the peace of God?  What treasure would I seek and find and keep that can compare with my Identity?  And would I rather live with fear than love?

“You are my goal, my Father.  What but You could I desire to have?  What way but that which leads to You could I desire to walk?  And what except the memory of You could signify to me the end of dreams and futile substitutions for the truth?  You are my only goal.  Your Son would be as You created him.  What way but this could I expect to recognize my Self, and be at one with my identity?  (WB441)”

Reflections:

1 – Our Relationships to Our Higher Power

All of these lessons are meant to solidify our relationship with our Higher Power.  For me this is God, though there are some students/teachers of A Course in Miracles who believe that God does not know about us, that we made this world, and that His channels of communication are closed (which He does recognize).  In this understanding, God thinks that His children sleep and must be awakened.  And He is lonely without our communication with Him.

2 – Does God Know about Us?

I do not personally subscribe to this interpretation.  I wonder why the Workbook is filled with lessons that discuss God and prayers that are addressed to Him, if God is oblivious to us?  In addition, and importantly, a remote God is not part of my personal experience of Him.  I pray, and I receive answers to my prayers.  Often, what comes is an experience of the peace that passeth understanding (from the Bible), and this peace reminds me of the peace and strength that surely passed into Jesus during his earthly mission.  He retreated often for prayer, often in the night.  He prayed in Gethsemane, while his disciples slept.  ACIM says, of course, that Jesus did not hold their sleeping against them, He knew that he could not be abandoned.  And why not?  Is not this biblical testimony to a God who listens and responds to prayer?

3 – The Presence of the Holy Spirit

If you do read those passages alluded to above, and you feel that the Holy Spirit is the Universal Communication, the One who answers prayer, then all is well with you.  Neither you nor I are depending on self alone, which would only mean that the ego is in ascendancy.  We would turn to the greatest understanding that we have of the Higher Power to which we have access, and let that Higher Power guide us through our days.  I turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance also.  But I see Him as an instrument of our salvation, created by God for us as soon as we, the Sons and Daughters of God, had “forgotten to laugh at the tiny, mad idea.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for answering my prayers.  Thank You for being there for me.  Even in the past, when I went through dark nights of the soul, I knew that You were there, perhaps hiding from me for reasons that I did not fully understand, and still don’t.  But I trust You.  I trust you implicitly.  And I thank You that now I am feeling Your presence when I pray; I am not going through a dark night of the soul.

Be with all of us who reach for You.  If we find solace in knowing that the Holy Spirit is Your Communicator, let us be glad for one another.  We know that we are not alone.  And that is enough.

Amen.