Tag Archives: proselytizing

The Prayer of the Heart

1 – Herein Lies Heaven or Hell

“It is impossible that the prayer of the heart remain unanswered in the perception of the one who asks. If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lies hell and Heaven. (M53)”

2 – Protected

Few of us know our hearts well. We sometimes ask for things that we really don’t want, and yet in our hearts, we do, and then these prayers are answered. Elsewhere Jesus assures us that God will protect us from danger in prayers that are really bad for us. So even in the prayer of the heart we are protected.

3 – Projection Makes Perception

We may not realize that we are protected, though. We may, since projection makes perception (a Course tenet), find that erroneously we are in a situation that we didn’t think we asked for. Yet, we did, on some level. This is a particularly difficult concept when we are dealing with painful issues in our lives or in the world.

4 – Not Punished

Elsewhere the Course says that we can believe what nobody else believes to be true, because in our perception, we have made it true for ourselves. Particularly do we find this in emotional matters, but it is true in the physical as well. This is not a “blame the victim” mentality, because we are not being punished, however much it may appear that we are. God does not punish, however much we may think punishment is warranted. Our own decisions give us hell or Heaven. That puts us in the driver’s seat, a very good place to be if we are attuned to God’s power and His way.

5 – Words in Teaching

“Is the teacher of God, then, to avoid the use of words in his teaching? No, indeed! There are many who must be reached through words, being as yet unable to hear in silence. (M53)”

6 – Smiles

Actually, the only time that the Manual encourages us not to use words is when other people are not ready, when they don’t want to hear what we have to say. Jesus never counsels reaching out to someone is he/she is not ready, not open to what we say. Some are ready only for a smile, he says elsewhere.

7 – Words

But, when we teach, when others are ready to hear what we say, we are led to speak in words—even though words are just symbols, twice removed from reality.

8 – Proselytizing

Proselytizing doesn’t usually work, unless the person is very open to change, to a realization that he/she has not yet had. Proselytizing to the uninterested will turn that individual even further off. By what analysis would it work in the reverse? We aren’t open to what we don’t want to hear, and this is especially true in matters of faith, where doubt may make a closed mind.

9 – Share

So, share, but share carefully, when asked—or when we recognize that the other would like to hear what we have to say. A too-holy attitude will always be a turnoff. And religious people may not always represent their faith well. I have noticed that the ego gets a strong toehold in many very religious people. In fact, three of the most religious individuals I have ever known have also had the biggest egos, as I have evaluated them.

10 – Ego

This is not the way of A Course in Miracles. We need to, and indeed must, stop when we see that our ego is getting in the way of our witnessing. We need to just let the ego calm down as we don’t reinforce it. We need to pray that the ego will just dissipate, just wither away.

11 – Definition of the Ego

Note that this ego is not the same as what Freud and other psychologists are talking about. Psychologists recognize the importance of a strong sense of self in growing up to adulthood. When we are strong, then our boundaries can melt safely. This is an attitude recommended by acclaimed Course teacher Marianne Williamson in her book on prayer entitled Illuminata.

12 – Ego = Part of Our Belief about Ourselves

The ego that A Course in Miracles decries is a persona that is not only egotistical, but also a false way of seeing ourselves. It is, as defined by ACIM, a part of our belief about ourselves. But it is false, through and through. And it is constantly being undone. What good thing pursued by the ego doesn’t become ashes and dust over time? So what we pursued was not really a good thing at all.

13 – Holy Spirit

The ego always brings us to this impasse. But there is a way beyond. It is found in the simple, daily walk with the Holy Spirit, listening to His guidance (in the many ways that He shows guidance to us). Often we sense guidance by intuition. Sometimes it is just an inner knowing. Sometimes it is a chance word or phrase uttered by another. Don’t get superstitious about what you see or hear in the outer world, but test out guidance and see if you don’t thrive in a way that you have never known before.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that You protect me always, even when I ask for things that would not be good for me. Jesus assures me of this. Yet my own perception can seem to give me bad things. May my perception of my world be cleansed.

Thank You for helping through the confusions of this world. I know that You love me always, and in that I will be protected.

Amen.

The World Is Very Tired. . .Our Task: the Joyous One of Waking It to the Call for God

1 – Weariness

“The world is very tired, because it is the idea of weariness. Our task is the joyous one of waking it to the Call for God. (T77)”

Have we not often awakened in the morning with a sense of weariness, thinking, ungratefully, “another day.” Our lack of gratitude for the day is what is keeping us from a great day. And our lack of gratitude is making our world weary.

2 – Don’t Rue the Day

We have better things to do with our time than to rue the day. We have a joyous function—to wake up this weary world to the Call for God. This is the sense that we are to save the world, that the salvation of the world is in our hands.

3 – A Smile

We do not proselytize those individuals who are not ready, though. Many are not, needing only a smile from us to make their day. The way of A Course in Miracles is not everybody’s way. Far from it. And there are many thousands of other courses that point the way. Indeed, even for ACIM students, each teaches a different version of the course.

4 – Joyousness

So affirm the day with an invitation to joyousness. It will make all the difference, not only for ourselves but also for others.

5 – Tired?

Do we feel tired when we wake up in the morning? That common feeling is what we see discussed in this passage. Elsewhere Jesus assures us that we are not really capable of being tired, but we are very capable of wearying ourselves. When we feel joy, we most often drop weariness.

6 – Waking the World

Our function in the world is variously described in A Course in Miracles. Here it is defined as the task of waking the world to the call for God. (Elsewhere, our function is defined as forgiveness, or even just happiness.)

7 – Helen Schucman

ACIM, according to Helen Schucman (the scribe) was sent at this time because the world is in a very bad situation. All are called to help to create better conditions. May this be our function today: to make those we meet or even think about have a better experience of their day.

8 – All Power

“My mind will always be like yours, because we were created as equals. It was only my decision that gave me all power in Heaven and earth. My only gift to you is to help you make the same decision. (T77)”

This is Jesus speaking. It is a welcome idea that Jesus is there for us, and that we are equals, or are meant to be equals. He has walked the whole pathway, and he stands at the end to rectify any mistakes that we could not alter (ACIM tenets).

9 – Heaven and Earth

The “same decision” would be the intent to have all power in Heaven and earth. Jesus is still our leader, though, for we do not usurp his power. But we have our own power to walk into. We have very big shoes to fill. And, when we do fill those shoes, we will know a joy that is unbounded. We will be home.

10 – The Mind

“I have assured you that the Mind that decided for me is also in you, and that you can let it change you just as it changed me. This Mind is unequivocal, because it hears only one Voice and answers in only one way. (T77)”

The “One Voice” is the Holy Spirit:

“The Holy Spirit is the call to awaken and be glad. (T77)”

We are to respond to this call to awaken. We must realize, though, that we cannot effect the Awakening by our own volition. God takes that step, but we will be ever more ready when we have mastered the means that Jesus is describing to us in A Course in Miracles. He says elsewhere that revelation may occasionally show the end to us, but to reach the end, we must have the means. And the means are being carefully explained to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I drop weariness from my list of troubles. May I substitute joy as the feeling that I would experience.

May we come this day to a new understanding of our task in this world. May we take the part that God has given to us–waking the world to the Call for God.

Amen.

Don’t Proselytize

landscape - pennsylvania impressionism“It has been said from the beginning that your role will not be to evangelize or to be convincing. You cannot argue the case of truth in the courtroom of illusion.

“While this would seem to leave some without hope, it will leave no one without choice. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.15 – 19.16)”

Affirmation: “I would speak my truth today, but without pressure on another.”

Reflections:

1 – What about Others?

If we aren’t to lead others to our way by convincing of “our” truth, what does that leave for them? Will they have no way out? Will they find another way out?

2 – Skeptics

There is a fine line between telling one’s truth, or the truth as one sees it, and trying to convince a skeptic of the truth of one’s statements and one’s point of view. Anyone who has ever spent time with a skeptic knows that the surest way to turn him/her off is to try to preach to that person.

3 – Jesus

And Jesus knows this, which is exactly why we are bade not to try to convince others of a truth that perhaps those other individuals are not yet ready to see. Not only that, but their way may ultimately be quite different from the form of the curriculum presented in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

4 – What Is It Left for Us to Do?

So what do we do if someone in our inner circle is a skeptic, and is suffering in his/her unbelief? Prayer is very powerful. So is living our message, walking our talk (and, in this case, we are bade not even to talk). Eventually the significant other will see that we are somehow different and will make inquiries. This is what we hope for. It may not always happen.

5 – Atheist turned Believer

I have a friend who moved her husband from atheism (as avowed when they dated) to agnostic to a confirmed believer in the Other Side. All without doing any preaching at all, or at least so she told me. What a way to go! Certainly in living out one’s faith there are moments of teaching that come unbidden. And that is exactly what my friend took advantage of. And, slowly but surely, over the course of more than 25 years, her husband developed a settled good will toward those things that are beyond full knowledge.

6 – Live the Faith

So do not be tempted to share the happy newfound knowledge too soon. Others will not yet be ready. Live the faith, and see if in that living out the proselytizing doesn’t come about without a word from you. The convincing will come, but of a Higher Power than we are.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that others who are disbelievers and are preached to by well-meaning friends and family are actually pushed to be stronger in their disbelief. We turn them off. May I avoid doing so today. May the slow but sure way of convincing come unbidden, except by prayer. And may those who seek to know be convinced by the words that are spoken when they are sought.

I wish for a good day. I wish to avoid taking on too much, because I am calm and at peace now, and that is a danger sign that I am prone to take on too much and will become overwhelmed. Be with me as I seek to reduce stress in my life by doing less. You don’t want “do-ers,” in that we are constantly trying merit heaven. You want a still, calm peace that will envelop the others around in the peace that is Yours to give, to them and to me.

Amen.

A Warning about Righteousness

paris street - rainy day
“This first lesson on the temptation of the human experience comes in truth as a warning against righteousness. It comes to remind you, as you replace the thought system of illusion with the thought system of the truth, that having remembered the truth of who you are, you are called to forget the personal self who would find this cause for righteousness. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.17)”

Affirmation: “I would avoid self-righteousness today and every day.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego

The passage for today gives a stern warning about how the ego can entrap us again. The ego is very wily, and though only a part of our belief about ourselves, it does seem to act out of our control. But it is simply madness, but madness that can wreck great havoc. We are moving from illusions to truth, and when we recognize this, the ego can rear its head through a sense of self-righteousness, that we are somehow “better” for this difference. We are “better” to the ego, which sees this change as a chance for self-aggrandizement. And then we are trapped in illusion again. The journey from the house of illusion to the House of Truth has been aborted.

2 – Only Time Separates

The temptations of the human experience are great, and it is up to us to bypass these temptations. Only time separates the Son/Daughter of God, the Christ Self, from those these trapped in an egoic sense of the personal self. All will find the way back eventually, and we are needed to bring that time closer, because the world is weary, and all things in it are weary (from A Course in Miracles). The world is very tired, and it winds on in a wearying fashion, causing us to weary ourselves (also from ACIM). Do our brothers and sisters not need as greatly? And to save them from themselves, we ourselves must be “saved,” heading through salvation to Christ-consciousness.

3 – Journey

The journey has been long, though it has all been an illusion, and we are actually on a “journey without distance” (from ACIM). Let us not become self-righteous on this illusory journey, negating all the good that we could do for ourselves as well as others. Self-righteousness is such a pitiable state, and those who are on a spiritual pathway are the main ones who are afflicted with this trait. So it behooves us to watch ourselves carefully. We can still backslide, in my opinion. We can still lose our way. And certainly knowing the contents of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, if we lack the lack and fall into self-righteousness, is a prescription for disaster.

4 – Pray

Let’s pray today that we may be spared from the temptation to think ourselves better than others who have not read all that we have read, studied all that we have studied. We are not better. We are equals. And in heaven we share all talents equally. The only advantage today in having “more” than another is the chance to be happy, and the chance to share that happiness with others. This is all that salvation holds out for us. We are perfectly calm and quiet, without drama, and so enlightenment is really “nothing special” (a Zen thought). But it can be everything for us when we walk the narrow pathway that keeps us from temptations and draws us ever closer to God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would avoid righteousness today. If I succumb to it, I will be like the Pharisee of the New Testament, who thanked God that he was not like other men, and he left his prayer unjustified. I would recognize that the ego can still entrap me with such thoughts. I would avoid this maladjusted thinking today.

Help all of us to realize that we are here to assist each other in our path toward salvation. I do not seek to proselytize, only to share with others who are ready to hear what I might be able to say. And in this endeavor there is a minefield for the ego. I would avoid that minefield today. Help me to recognize that You are there for all of us, and that only time separates any bit of knowledge that any of us have come to recognize.

Amen.

Have You Heard a Call?

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Definition

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

2 – Refusing the Call

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

3 – Personal Experience

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

4 – Proselytize?

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

5 – Jesus’s Words

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.