Tag Archives: relationships

Your Uniqueness

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“It is in the different relationship of one aspect of creation with all the rest that the difference you so prize as your uniqueness exists.  And only there.  Only in relationship are you uniquely you.  Only relationship exists.  For Love is relationship.  (A Course of Love, 32.1)”

Affirmation:  “Only in relationship do I come into my own.”

Reflections:

1 – Relationships

We exist and live in a world of relationship, not only with our deepest Self but with all others.  And “others” includes nature as well.  We are not alone in any sense of the word.

2 – Why Isolate?

Why do we so often want to isolate ourselves?  This is actually the sheerest folly, even for introverts.  All of us need to reach o ut in some fashion, and when we do reach out, we come into the full expanse of our powers.  We give and we receive.  We are part of the whole, the All, part of God.

3 – Ego

We prize our uniqueness, but if this uniqueness is an ego-mind aspect, we are led astray.  The persona that we show is an ego-oriented self, and it remains the personal self, not the Self.

4 – Abide in Love

We are meant to abide in Love, and Love is of God.  Only this much will satisfy us.  We deserve better than what an egoic notion of our self could provide.  God would wish more for us.

5 – More

Let us find that more today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would focus only on my uniqueness as a function of what God has given me.  I would not seek a self-image, a persona, that is informed by the ego.  And this will mean that I cast aside egotistical ideas about my physical appearance.

So many of us focus on the external.  Help us today to focus on the internal, the uniqueness that only God can give.

Amen.

Choose Once Again

“The choice to change your belief is before you.  Are you ready to make it?  As you once pissarro_stage-coachchose separation you can now choose unity.  Not knowing that unity was a choice prevented you from making this choice before now.  Now I tell you clearly, the choice is yours.  Choose once again.  (A Course of Love, 29.18)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose unity today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Way to Christ-Consciousness

We need to change our beliefs, to believe no longer in the separation that never was, and to embrace the unity that always has been–which we are now ready to accept.  There is no other way to Christ-consciousness.  We must be aware that we are “as” relationship to all, “as” as well as “in.”  And it is in the “as” that we come to see that we cannot get along without communion with God, with our deepest Christ Self, and with other people, our brothers and sisters.

2 – Unity Our Greatest Need

When we recognize that unity with the All is our greatest need, we will be willing to cease this desire for meaningless independence, the isolation that so many of us feel deep in our minds and, perhaps, even, we think, in our hearts.  Our hearts do not really feel thus, though, for they do not have the intellectual doubts about God that stop or, at least, impede, so many of us.  Let us ask for the intellectual understanding that will quell our restless minds, but let us not get hung up about it.  We know in our hearts that God is real, and that He is the only real thing in a real world.  Everything else is illusion, for we ourselves, and everything, is a part of God.  Our brothers and sisters are, likewise, one with God and one with ourselves.

3 – God’s Blessing

It is time to choose again, to choose the blessing that God would bestow upon us.  Fear can fade away when we say the affirmations that come us to from A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, as well as the Bible.  These affirmations proclaim a truth that is above doubt, a truth that all is really well with us–regardless of outside circumstances.  Even pain is alleviated and kept from escalating into suffering when we live close to the deepest within ourselves, the deepest which is God.

4 – Join in Unity

May we join forces with all whom we see today, to join in unity with our brothers and sisters, and to pray for the Christ-consciousness which will mean that we will live in unity without any time constraints, permanently.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We need to get very clear about what we need–and that is a unity with all, You and All that exists.  May I reach the clarity that will tell me this in my deepest heart of hearts.  May I depend on You for the answers to my needs, knowing that needs are always answered.  My wants may not be realized, and that is as it should be.  I may want what would hurt me.

Thank You for helping me to realize that I must keep my mind clear to avoid attracting the wrong things.  I have some say in this, though You will guide me–always–when I let myself be open to guidance.  May I follow Your will and Your way today, all through the day.

Amen.

Typical Fears No More Arise

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“Living in relationship provides a constant knowing of this sort, a simple knowing of a way things are meant to be.  It is a knowing felt within the heart for which there still will be no proof, but for which there will be the certainty you heretofore have lacked.  The typical fears you have experienced in the past will not arise within this knowing.  (A Course of Love, 27.19)”

Affirmation:  “May no fears arise in me today.”

Reflections:

1 – Knowing

When we live in relationship to God and ourselves, our deepest Selves, plus with others, we are living as Jesus recommends in this passage for today.  We will feel a “knowing” in our heart that we are on the right pathway.

2 – Relationships

This is the pathway recommended initially in A Course of Miracles, but then the emphasis was on relationships, holy relationships with others, especially our most significant brother (or sister).  In A Course of Love, Jesus expands the concept of relationship to mean a relationship not only to God, but to the Self/Christ within.  When we reach deep, deep, inwardly, we are reassured, in a way that nothing else can, that all is well.

3 – Home

This is the certainty of which Jesus speaks in this passage.  This is the assurance that we are on the way home, and not to the Other Side, but the heaven on earth that we can actually know here.

4 – Listen

Be with Jesus’s words today.  See if they don’t make a huge difference.

5 – Certainty

The certainty that we are on the right pathway comes when we lift ourselves up mentally and in a heartfelt way, and we do the best that we know how.  We don’t allow ourselves to get downhearted, if there is any way that we can avoid it.  We are cheery, we are upbeat.  We are not discouraged, for Jesus is with us always.

6 – A Promise

He has promised this.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know certainty of true knowledge today.  I would not press to know, but I would rest in the certainty that this is what You want for me.  I would not fall into a too-strong desire for Christ-consciousness, for You make that decision.  You are always with me, inside of me, for I am part of You.  Thank You for this knowledge.

Be with all of my brothers and sisters today.  May we let typical fears that arise with just living to fall away.  We need be fearful no more.  Thank You.

Amen.

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When in Conflict

The-Ballet-Dancer-by-Edgar-Degas-large“To live in relationship is to live in harmony even with conflict.  It is an understanding that if conflict arises in your present there is something to be learned from your relationship with conflict.  (A Course of Love, 27.14)”

Affirmation:  “I would live in harmony today.”

Reflections:

1 – Learn from Conflict

We do learn from conflict, though we might not like to do so.  When we remain in harmony within ourselves, though, extending this outward to displaying no anger nor attack with others, we can view the conflict dispassionately.  We can remain harmonious, even though those around us are not.

2 – Retain Harmony

What are we learning?  We are learning the benefits of retaining harmony in any situation, even though that push our buttons.  We are learning that anger and attack have no foundation in truth (from A Course in Miracles), and that they are not justified in us as children of God (and all of  us are children of God).  We can make the best of a bad situation, though, when others misbehave.  We do not have to assume a “holier than thou” attitude, either (and this attitude would be most inappropriate).

4 – Conflict in This World

Today’s passage indicates that wherever there is conflict in this world (and that place is almost universal), we can stay true to our understandings, gleaned from ACIM and A Course of Love, and yet still learn from the conflict.  We did not create the conflict, but we can learn from it.  And we choose not to exacerbate the conflict.  We remain in harmony with all.

5 = When Baited

Others may try to bait us.  But we do not have to rise to the bait.  This may be easier said than done.  Some ways to react:  Take a timeout.  Simply excuse yourself from the room.  Listen quietly and tolerantly.  Ask internally what to say or do in response.  Remain calm and collected.  Above all, do not become emotionally heated.  Chill out.

6 – Personal Interpretations

None of these suggestions are found in ACIM or ACOL, but are personal interpretations, based on my own living experiences.  You will have other solutions, and, if so, I would welcome your comments to this posting.  Thank you.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I recognize that I am my own worst enemy, making conflict within my own personal self when I would do well to turn to You.  I make the conflict all too often, second guessing myself and doubting the intuitions that rise to the surface.  I would end this reaction today.  I would live in harmony whenever possible.  Whenever it is not possible to live in harmony in my relationships with others, I would learn from the experience.  Then I can leave the conflict behind, knowing that I have gleaned all that can be gleaned from what has happened.

Be with us today.  Thank You for the beginning of a good day.  Whatever happens, may I be prepared, with Your help, to handle it.  Life is not always easy, but it can always be good when I am enfolded by Your love.

Amen.

Relationships of the Self/Christ

“Is it such a huge leap to go from saying you only exist in relationship to you only exist as Avenue-de-lOpera-Rain-Effect-artist-Camille-Pissarrorelationship?  You think it is, and feel your self further diminished and lacking in identity just by contemplating such an idea.  And so you must be reassured of the Self you are.  (A Course of Love, 27.10)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to understand that I exist as relationship.”

Reflections:

1 – Definitions

What is the difference between existing “in” relationship and existing “as” relationship?  “In” relationships we are still two entities (extended to many) that are in concert one to the other.  “As” relationship means that we are not unique in any way, but that the one Self that we are is simultaneously everywhere.

2 – Hard Point

This may be a hard point to grasp.  The subtleties are great.

3 – Selves/Christ in Union

To accept that we are “as” relationship, we must recognize the One that is everywhere and everything.  This is another way of speaking of God.  And we have already grasped that our one personal self is a part of Him.  Is it such a giant leap to see that our Self is actually Selves–Christ in union with all?

4 – Theology

This is part of the theology of A Course of Love.  It is not necessary to take this understanding unto yourself if it seems obtuse.  Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that theology may only delay us, for a universal theology is impossible; a universal experience, though, is indeed possible and is to be sought out.

5 – Be Patient

Let the concept in today’s passage rest lightly on your mind.  As time passes, think of “in” and “as” again, and see if this distinction is beginning to be more acceptable to you.  But do not fret if it is one of the last concepts in ACOL to find your nod.  We are learning much by observation, and as we progress, in the future, through the other two volumes of ACOL, we will find much that will support the distinction of “in” and “as.”  Then the difference, though great, will not seem so forbidding.  (Note:  Two earlier portions of this blog covered parts of the Volumes 2 and 3.  These were the “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” covered from April 1 – May 14, 2010, and “Treatise on the New,” covered from May 22 – December 31, 2010.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to understand today that my Self is part of the One, the Whole, and that all Selves are One.  Thus to say that we all exist “as” relationship makes sense.  Help me to comprehend today.

May this day good well.  Thank You for the good beginning.  May all of us answer each other’s needs, and may our wants that truly are needs be answered as well.  The solution is with the problem.  And may obsessions drift away.

Amen.

Tenderness

camille-pissarro-harvest“And each learning experience will be a learning experience because it will touch your heart. . . .You may feel as if everything makes you want to cry because everything will touch you, each lesson will feel tender.  Unlearning has no harshness about it.  If you simply allow it to come, it will reward you constantly with what can best be described as tenderness.  (A Course of Love, 24.1)”

Affirmation:  “I invite tender thoughts to my day.”

Reflections:

1 – Being Vulnerable

The tenderness that Jesus speaks of in the passage for today is not, perhaps, a wholly welcome feeling.  We feel too vulnerable when we are feeling tenderness.  But our heart is softening, and we are sometimes close to tears as we contemplate the gentleness with which God treats us.

2 – More Desired Emotion

Yet tenderness is a much more desired emotion than is harshness.  Tenderness is of love, and harshness is of fear.  And love will crowd out fear.  The more tender we are, the more open our hearts are to the blessings of God.  And we ourselves help in the process of gaining a better life, for like attracts like, and we find ourselves without the will to condemn, a will that ruined things for us as well as the others whom we sometimes condemned.

3 – Allow Tenderness to Envelop

We need to allow this tenderness to envelop us.  We need to welcome the vulnerable part of our hearts, the part that makes us want to cry–for it is indeed a tragedy that we have walked this earth for so long in such a bad fix.  We felt separated from God, and we blamed ourselves for this sense of separation.  But what is part of God (we ourselves) can never actually have been separate.  God has been waiting patiently, while we had our adolescent rebellion against him.  As His communication channels with us open once again, after eons of being asleep to the knowledge of Him, we are welcomed back with just this tenderness that we are experiencing.

4 – A Softened Heart

There is no mystery here.  We know, if we think about it, that we like a softened heart.  We feel love that way.  And it feels good to feel love.  May our days go better as we let this knowledge–for it is knowledge, not perception–become an intimate part of our assessment of our lives.  When we are happier, we will be in a better position to reach out to others in our lives, to make their lives go better as well.  We do not reach out, if our advances are unwelcome.  But we stand ready to help when others express an interest in our lives and in what we believe.

5 – Charmed Lives

It may seem sometimes, in this process, that we ourselves are living charmed lives.  But those who do not know why will wonder what gives us the joy.  If they ask, we can respond, in as kindly a way as possible.  Our lives are no more charmed than the lives of others who have seen the same light that we have.  And that light is within us all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I live more mindfully, I will react from a tender spot in my heart.  This is You softening my harshness, and I do only welcome this change.  If I cry, You will cry with me.  You will soften my heart to gentleness and lovingness, and all will be well.  I will live a charmed life, as will all who listen carefully to You.  Thank You.

I welcome this time of tenderness.  Having met Mari, who scribed A Course of Love, I know that she lives tenderness, and she is a good role model for what Jesus was trying to tell us in this remarkable trilogy.  Be with us as we would all seek to be more like Mari, who heard the words first.  She lives a quiet life, and it is in quietness that You are heard most consistently.

Be with me today as I seek to be attentive, ever more attentive, to the significant others in my circle.  Thank You for the camaraderie that I know in everyday life.  The camaraderie and the love.  You are blessing me tremendously, and for that I thank You.  I ask You to bless, in a similar way, all of my brothers and sisters in this world.  May what I say in this blog touch their hearts, and it will be You touching their hearts.

Amen.

Overcoming Bitterness and Uncertainty

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“Bitterness and uncertainty are replaced by hope.  Hope is the condition of the initiate, new to the realization of having a home within the embrace.  It is the response that says to all you have just read, ‘Ah, if only it were true.  If only it could be true.’  (A Course of Love, 20.36)”

Affirmation:  “hope”

Reflections:

1 – Three Thoughts

There are three distinct trains of thought in the passage for today.  Let’s take them in order.

2 – Bitterness and Uncertainty Left Behind

First, we see that, as progress in reading A Course of Love, we leave bitterness and uncertainty behind.  Bitterness is a state of mind that was not a focus of A Course in Miracles, but is important to ACOL.  We are seen to be bitter about many of the things that have happened to us on our pathway through life.  And we hold this feeling of bitterness, this grievance against God, close to ourselves.  We cannot live this way in peace.  We must and will choose a better way.  And hope is the answer.  Even when life seems to go against us, because we have, like a mirror, attracted bad things to ourselves, we can recognize that this state of affairs does not have to be permanent.  We can choose again, and in the next choice, we can reach the tipping point of above 50 percent, which changes everything–if we hold firm to this concept of what we wish to see in our lives.  (Ideas are adapted from Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret trilogy.)

3 – Hope

We enjoy hope when we accept the embrace of Jesus as what we want, as we realize that he is serious about offering us the total, unconditional love that we crave.  And he soothes us, for we are much in need of comforting.  This the embrace does for us.  We imagine that Jesus is enfolding us in his arms, and we instantly feel justified.  We feel accepted by God as well as by Jesus.  And we accept ourselves, knowing that regardless of how many mistakes we have made, we are loved.

4 – The Embrace

The final sentence in the passage for today is the central hope of the embrace.  If only it could be true that I am forgiven!  If only it could be so simple to feel the peace that I want to feel!  This is the promise that hope brings to us.  And if we accept the indications of our heart, we will know peace, serenity, and we will also know happiness.  Jesus’s embrace can and will do all of this for us.

5 – Forgive Self

So let us drop our own unforgiveness toward ourselves.  We will even continue to make mistakes, for we are human (as well as divine), and we are living in this world, where there are many temptations.  But we need not feel that all is lost, that there is no hope.

6 – Hope Will Take Us Home

This passage tells us that there is hope.  And this hope will take us home to God, while we continue to walk this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The solution is always with the problem, and when we have articulated precisely the problem, and just as precisely turn that problem over to You, the solution appears–and quickly.  Your time is not ours, but more often than not the time is soon, even within our timeframe.  This gives us hope, which we are studying today.  And of course any lingering bitterness about what life has dealt us, or any uncertainty about what to do in the future, dissipate.  We always know the next right step, when we have taken the time to ask with sincerity.  Thank You.

Be with me today as I seek to solve the pesky problems that have married my mornings recently.  I feel anxious in the morning, and You would not have it so.  I feel on the verge of a breakthrough, and I have hope that this is a certainty.  I do ask for help with sincerity.

Thank You for listening to my prayer.

Amen.

How to Find Happiness

“God’s will for you is happiness, and of this you can be certain.  To align your will with God’s is but to make this certain state your home.  This is but a wish come true, and when it is all you wish for it will come to be.  And in the granting of this wish will come your rest and the laying down of every heavy burden you have carried.  (A Course of Love, 12.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am grateful for the happiness that I have today.”

Reflections:

1 – Is Happiness a Laudable Goal?renoir-auguste-die-kleine-irene-cahen-danvers-9701659

I have mentioned previously in this blog that I have not always believed that “happiness” was a laudable goal.  I remember encountering a college freshman in my early teaching days who proclaimed without hesitation that “happiness” was her goal.  I did not challenge her, but I did, inwardly, cringe.  I felt that she was missing the mark.  At that time I felt that the only worthy goal was a contribution to society.

2 – Being Unhappy

I still feel that contributions to society are important, but I have also recognized that one who is unhappy in a personal sense will find outward manifestations to caring to be limited at best, ineffectual at worse.  We don’t do so well when we are not joyous, and other people certainly do recognize when we are not joyous.  How can we win over others to a point of view that is negative?  Who wants negative interpretations to rule the day?

3 – Inner Contentment

A Course in Miracles gave several answers to the questions of our function–salvation, happiness, forgiveness.  A closer look at these three, and the interpretations that are given them in ACIM will let us see that these are all one function.  To be believed by others, we can’t espouse one without the others.  Now A Course of Love makes the point that God’s will for us is happiness.  What a joy it is to hear this assertion!  What can we not accomplish when we are happy?  Certainly we can do much more for others when we are contented within ourselves.

4 – The One that All of Us Are

And we are meant to be in a body that includes all others–the One.  We are meant to be in unity and relationship with the All.  And the All most assuredly includes our relationships with any brothers and sisters whom we encounter.

5 – Love of Our Heart

Let us today let the free-flowing thought of our minds touch base with the love of our hearts, and then we will be contented.  And in this contentment is found the germ of happiness that we seek.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a blessed day indeed when we can live it in a contented, happy fashion.  This does not mean that nothing will go wrong.  Some things may go awry, but we will be able to handle all problems with assurance that they are handled correctly when we live in the light of God’s will.  He wishes for us only the best, and we must reocgnize that He has our best interests in mind always.

May I listen with my heart today.  There is no reason to let the ego rule any longer.  We ought to be getting past this, as far along in A Course of Love as we have come.  May the egoic rule of our mind end, and the more serene message of our heart take over instead.  May today go well.  You would have it so.

Amen.

Love Cannot Be Taught

“What love is cannot be taught.  Remember that your task here is to remove the barriers that keep you from realizing what love is.  That is the learning goal of this course–your awareness of what love is–and no earthy course can take you beyond this goal.  It is only your willingness that is required.  (A Course of Love, 11.5)”

renoir - womanAffirmation:  “May I love today.”

Reflections:

1 – From ACIM to ACOL

There is a movement in these words of A Course of Love that goes beyond A Course in Miracles, which had as its goal the bestowing of forgiveness of ourselves and others.  While love was certainly not absent from ACIM, the focus was on the mind and the ego, while A Course of Love looks to the heart, and, ultimately, the mind and heart in conjunction with each other.

2 – Intuitive Knowledge

We know intuitively that love cannot be taught.  We experience love, and we experience love most often as a function of the heart, without the involvement of the mind and the intellect.  We love someone, and we don’t know why–we just do.  Our emotions are involved, and the emotions, in our understanding, are heart-sent into our lives.

3 – Heart Is Central

This is why we cannot be taught love, because if we could, the mind would be the central player (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  And the mind is not.  We sometimes love in spite of ourselves, though often this is in special relationships.  After they turn, with our help and God’s, into holy relationships, then we come closer to the wholeheartedness that Jesus extols in A Course of Love.

4 – Love at the Center

Do not despair that love cannot be taught, because it can be learned, though perhaps not of the mind.  When we ease up, we are in a better position to allow love to overcome us, to grab us.  And then we have placed love at the center of our being, where love belongs.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I offer love its central place today, in my heart, where love belongs.  I can intellectually choose to love somebody; it doesn’t work that way.  We cannot will love into being, and sometimes we love almost against our will.  

But love we will, for it is crucial to our being, the center of our being.  We may not express that love well, but even the most despised of human beings on our earth have loved, in the limited way that they knew.  Love is like a light that will not be extinguished.  And it is the way that joy comes into our lives.

May we all express love today to those closest to us.  May we receive the love that is offered to us.  And may we express and receive in totality.  You are with us always, and, today, when we need You most, You will be there for us, in love.

Amen.

Banishing Fear

“Can you not see that when you chose to make yourself separate and alone you also made the choice for fear?  Fear is nothing but a choice, and it can be replaced by choice of another kind.  (A Course of Love, 9.18)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love.”

Reflections:

1 – Separate and Alone

This may not at first glance appear to be one of those most important and most reassuring passages from A Course of Love, but indeed the passage can be so read.  If being “separate and alone” is the choice for fear, then can we not reach out to others and find therein our choice against fear?  Everyone has some way of reaching out, some way of finding another who will prove to be a solace from pain.  And be assured that fear is pain of a very acute kind, and a kind that all too often becomes chronic unless we take steps to involve our brothers and sisters in our everyday life.

2 – Brothers and Sisters

Perhaps we don’t feel kindly toward the others we encounter.  Maybe these others don’t seem like “brothers and sisters.”  If we choose to interpret this way, we are sealing our own  fate, for indeed these others are our brothers and sisters.  While it is not true that we can “get along” with everyone we encounter, we can always choose to send along a kindly and loving thought as they hover on the edge of our life, or even exit from it.  God would not have us constantly harassed by individuals who do not mean us well, but we ourselves must always ask what our part has been in this interpretation of actions, words, and thoughts exchanged between us.  For we are interpreting.  It is always an interpretation that leads to ill feelings, never a fact.  One does not get angry at a fact.  (There are tenets of A Course in Miracles.)

3 – Banishing Fear

If we choose not to be alone and separate, the passage for today indicates that we will have come a long way toward banishing fear from our lives.  Such a simple thing!  But how many of us feel misunderstood by others, and how many of us are rejecting when that dynamic occurs?  The love we feel toward others will be returned, if not by the one loved, then by others sent into our lives by God.   I have never known an individual so introverted and shy to not need somebody else in life.  We are not meant to go it alone.

4 – Independence

We often think that independence is a better state.  But this is the choice of the ego, and what good has the ego and egoic ideas ever brought to us?  We have learned through pain when we have learned of the ego.  And this type of learning is always temporary, and we await the next pain.  Learning through rewards, the rewards, perhaps, of having others return our overtures, is a much improved concept.  Even this is not the whole truth, but it is something.  God Himself is always there, and He will be our companionship when brothers and sisters fail us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would feel kindly, in love, for the people whom I encounter today.  If my mood is low, I am likely to feel less inclined to be generous with those I encounter.  If my mood is high, all is right with the world and everyone in it.

I would be right with the world and everyone in it today.  Help me to overlook any feelings of lassitude as well as thoughts of worry.  You can take our worries from us, because we willingly give them over when we feel assured that You are handling any perplexity.  I would leave my obsessions with You today, and walk into the sunlight with You.

Be with us as we seek to follow Your pathway.  Help me to know with surety what that pathway is.  This is such a repeated prayer, but very important to me.  Let me not abdicate all responsibility in seeking for guidance, but help me to walk easily and effortlessly with You taking me by the hand.

Amen.

True Meaning of Love

“Your faulty memory has caused you to believe love can be used to keep you safe, to make you happy and bind to you those you choose to love.  This is not the case, for love cannot be used.  (A Course of Love, 9.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I come closer to understanding love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Bind Closest?

Many of us subscribe to a definition of love that is not unlike what Jesus has said in this passage, by implication, as incorrect.  But when we look at the conclusion of the passage, that “love cannot be used,” then we more readily agree.  We know that sometimes, even when we have studied the Bible, A Course in Miracles, and A Course of Love, we still would try to bind closest to us those whom we love the greatest.  Is this really wrong?

2 – Two Solitudes Turned Inward

In the manner in which we do so, yes.  When we bind closely to us those whom we most love, we are all too likely to force those individuals to give up some of their freedom as they “care” for us.  We become greedy, wanting all their time.  And even in this world, two solitudes turned inward, only toward each other, are recognized as being disfunctional.

3 – Free Those Closest to Us

If we remembered correctly, not with a “faulty memory,” we would know that to turn loose our nearest and dearest is the easiest way to bind them to us.  This is not a play on words.  It works.  Only in freedom is love at its finest and best.  Only in freedom do we know what love is at all.

4 – Do Not “Use” Love

We do not actually want to “use” love.  We would not try to do so, if we knew what we were really doing.  And if we try, what we do is counterproductive.

5 – No Coercion

May we turn our nearest and dearest loose into God’s love today, and then when they turn to us, we will know that they turn with full hearts and minds–ready to give love and to accept our love, totally without coercion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to free my nearest and dearest today, not to find anyone to me by any means that is wrong.  All of us crave freedom, myself among them, and I would not want to be “bound.”  Let us recognize how best to love by giving up all false conceptions.

May our love be true and honorable.  May we leave nobody out of this love.  May we turn to You when in perplexity about love’s rejection.  May You tell us what to do.  I know that You do tell us, for You have told me.  

Thank You.

Amen.

Avoid Assuming Guilt and Misery

“Now you look for one upon whom you can unload your burdens, hoping you can pass your grievances en mass to someone else.  If you succeed through anger, spite, or meanness, you simply take on guilt and withdraw still further into your own misery.  (A Course of Love, 7.12)”

Affirmation:  “May I avoid misery today.”

Reflections:

1 – Unloading Burdens

Sometimes others unload their burdens on us.  This is what happened to me two days ago.  And I could not take it.  I became even more stressed than I already was, from a stressful day.

2 – A Recollection

May I not make this mistake.  I know that for years I did unload my burdens over breakfast, which we enjoyed at a diner.  But that was a mistake, and I know better now.  A Course of Love tells me so.

3 – Turn Inward

So how do we handle burdens?  We turn inward, to the Christ within.  We know that God is within as well, the All, the One of which we are a part.

4 – Sometimes Share Your Problems

This does not mean that we can never share our problems with other people.  This would be taking the passage for today out of context from A Course of Love.  We are in relationship to all others, and it is good that we share.  But not to blame, and not through ill will.  We need to recognize that these negative emotions are not worthy of a child of God.  And such we are.

5 – Alternatives to Dumping on Another

So, share if we must–but not in misery and not in ill will.  If we feel badly, it would be wiser to settle down and read inspirational literature, meditate, or pray.  These are not new ideas, and we know that these ideas work.  All of us know this, for we have followed religious ideas for a long time now.  May we turn aside from the ego.  May we just turn aside from stresses.  We live in a sometimes difficult world, but this world does not have to be difficult when we attract the best to ourselves, and our gratitude for a good life is paramount.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As my life lengthens, I become ever more conscious of the need to surrender anew to You each day.  When I do this, my day goes smoothly.  And that is because I feel Your partnership.  It is not because the day is any less stressful.  The things that troubled me before just do not have the power to touch me now.

Be with me on this day.  May I reach out to others to lessen their burdens.  May we join together in trusting the universe to care for us.  You are with us constantly; You are in us.  May this knowledge keep us in the faith today.

Amen.

Relationships = All that Are Real Here

“God is known to you within relationships, as this is all that is real here.  God cannot be seen in illusion nor known to those who fear him.  (A Course of Love, 5.30)”

Affirmation:  “Thank You for my relationships.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Way Home

Here we confront the idea of relationship and its pivotal place in our lives when we follow both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  It is our brother (or sister) from whom we learn the way back to God, when we follow ACIM and ACOL.  Relationships are our way home.

2 – Contemplation Not Required

We do not have to spend long hours in contemplation, for this is tedious (from the Manual of ACIM).  Others who do follow contemplation will find their way back also, but why would we seek a pathway that is different from the way that we are following?  Why seek and seek and seek, only to be led in circles?

3 – Unity and Relationship

Our way, if we choose ACIM and ACOL as our lodestone, is the unity and relationship that we know in this world.  ACIM stresses relationship, and ACOL adds unity to this equation.

4 – What “Fearing” God Means in ACOL

And we do not “fear” God, if we wish to come home.  The word “fear,” in this context, is different from the “fear of God” that is described so often in the Bible.  The definitions are different.  Here we are talking about having an anxiety about God, a sense that maybe He doesn’t wish us well.

5 – One Unequivocal Call

Do we really believe such, given all that we truly know?  I think not.  We know not to blame God for the condition of our world.  We have made these conditions, and He stands ready to save us from ourselves at any moment.  Jesus is also ready to assist, always.  He says that he will come at “one unequivocal call” (from ACIM).

6 – Mists Evaporate

When we are lost in illusions, in dreams, we do not really see God, and we are likely to be afraid of Him, afraid that we will be found out for misdeeds that seem unforgivable.  But all of this foolishness.  We need to commune with God to the extent that our needs dictate.  And then the mists will evaporate, and we will see the real world–a dream (illusion) no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know no fear or anxiety, because I would find my way Home to You in my relationships.  Thank You for my nighttime dreams as well as my daytime ones.  All are good and welcome in helping me to find my way back to You.

We need our relationships to live well in this world.  We are never meant to live in too isolated a fashion.  Thank You for the friends and family whom I have.  We are One with you, in union with each other and in relationship that blesses all of us.

Amen.

Inner Life Becomes Fuller

“The world is but a reflection of your inner life, the reality unseen and unprepared for by all your strategy and defenses.  You prepare for everything that goes on outside yourself and nothing that occurs within.  Yet it is a joining that occurs within that brings about the joining of all the world for all the world to see.  This joining of the world within is but your recognition of what love is, safe and secure within you and your brother, as you join together in truth.  (A Course of Love, 4.26)”

Affirmation:  “Love is safe and secure within my brother/sister and me.”

Reflections:

1 – Inner Life

We might ask that our inner life become fuller, because so often we are outwardly focused.  Jesus would have us look within, to the heart, in A Course of Love (and, ultimately to a union of the mind and heart, which he calls “wholeheartedness”).

2 – The Psychic

If our inner life is well-developed, it is very likely (according to A Course in Miracles) that we will “know” things that we have no earthly way of knowing.  There are psychic powers that come to us, and as long as these new powers are not used for self-aggrandizement, all is well.  We need the support of this inner life as we try to navigate a sometimes difficult world.  Despite our best efforts, our minds intrude and attract poor choices, and then we feeling badly and thinking badly.  Jesus would not have this for us; God would not have this for us.  We need to learn to be quiet enough that the inner truths, deep inside, have an avenue for rising forth and touching ourselves consciously as well as others in our circle.  Indeed, we influence the very world itself when we turn to the inner Self for guidance.

3 – Love Is Within

Love is within us, safe and secure, as well as within our brothers and sisters.  We do not have to look far, for we ourselves are Love, in a word reminiscent of the “God is Love” emphasis of the Bible, A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, and other sacred works.

4 – Love Is a Force

We need to realize that love is a force, that it is not solely an emotion.  We think of romantic love when someone mentions love, but there are many kinds of love, and all are good, wherever the experiences of love are found–as long as we do not harm another person.  We need to be careful with ourselves about this, for we may make mistakes, and reach for love where we are not welcome.

5 – Attract Love

Be with us today as we seek to attract only the love that You countenance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

This joining that I would know today is the joining of the inner Self to the outer elevated Self of form.  And this joining also includes everyone, for we are One.  May I come to understand and to recognize the benefits of these understandings today.

Be with me as I seek to reach out to my brothers and sisters in love.  If they are resistant, help me to desist.  You would not have me go where I am not wanted.  Your love will reach to them, when mine cannot.

Amen.

Love in a Loveless World

“What could cause you to yearn for love in a loveless world?  By what means do you continue to recognize that love is at the heart of all things even while it is not valued here?. . .[L]ove is what you are as well as what you strive for.  Love is means and end.  (A Course of Love, 1.16)”

Affirmation:  “Love is means and end.”

Reflections:

1 – This World Has Nothing to Offer

This passage about a “loveless world” is well suited to a comparison to what A Course in Miracles says:  that the world has nothing to offer.  And if we recognize, as A Course of Love seems to say, that love is all that we really want, then the two works are in agreement with each other.

2 – Why Is Love Not Valued Here?

Why is love not valued here?  The reign of the ego, which borders, in part, on the egotistical.  And love can never be egotistical.  If we try to compete with each other, we will just make enemies, even though, in the short run, we may seem to get ahead of our brothers and sisters.  Cooperation is a much more efficacious way to live.  And cooperation is one of the attributes of love (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).

3 – We Remember God

We yearn for love in a loveless world because on some level we are remembering God and all that He brings to us.  This is the key to knowing that God exists, this remembering unconsciously and sometimes consciously.  We recognize, however dimly, that in the ancient past there was a place that we loved and where we were loved.  This before we allowed separation to enter our minds.  And we will know this place, this Heaven, again, once we and all of our brothers and sisters have been brought home again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Even in this world we can know love, but not when we fail to seek it out.  And we do fail to seek out love when we are trapped by the ego.  Let us know that this world of materialism does in fact offer nothing that we really want.  But may we live in the abundance of God’s blessings, which are intangibles of peace, harmony, tranquility, joy, stillness, quiet, etc.

We know that You want our material needs met as well as our spiritual needs.  You know that we pray for the same, but we often, foolishly, pray for the material when the spiritual is what our heart longs for.  Our heart knows better than our limited mind what will make us happy.  May we pray for that which will give us lasting joy, lasting peace, today.  May we go to sleep tonight knowing that our work is not in vain, that we are learning even as we seem to suffer or to be in pain.  We will be taken care of, though we need to pray for the right direction for our efforts.  May we thank You that You are guiding us every step of the way.  We need only listen, and Your guidance comes through to us.

Then we are ready for a new day’s dawning, a better day than the one previously spent.

Amen.

Are You Loveless and Alone?

“Those who are seen as loveless and alone in the world are those you find to be the objects of your pity.  Yet you do not realize that this is the state your ego has you endlessly striving to achieve.  (A Course of Love, 1.13)”

Affirmation:  “Let my ego wither away.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego and Self-Sufficiency

The ego wants us to, somehow, make ourselves self-sufficient.  We know this, if we stop to think.  Has not much of our adjustment to society included the desire to be independent–first, from our parents, and later on, from almost anyone else as well.  Our egos have prized independence.  But is this natural?

2 – In Relationship to All

It is not natural to be “independent,” separate from God and our brothers and sisters.  We are meant to be in relationship to all.  In union with all and in relationship to all.  We think that we want love, but on our own terms–to give and to receive when we are willing.  Sometimes we agree to separate, and then to meet again when it is convenient to us (from the ACIM Manual).  But love almost never turns out well this way.

3 – The Ultimate Independence

If we realized that the ultimate of independence would be being “loveless and alone,” then we would not prize the independence so much.  We would see its failures in our own lives.  And independence has failed mightily, most of the time.

4 – Being Cared For

Our ego has tried to make us feel guilty for wanting others to sometimes take care of us.  But this caretaking is a two-way street most of the time.  We can help others as well, at least until our oldest old age is reached.  And we dread that day with a passion, though we would not die too early, unless we are driven to distraction by depression.

5 – Communicate with God

So let us not strive for independence, knowing that a failure to communicate with our Creator is most unnatural (from A Course in Miracles).  God is always there to help.  And He is eagerly leading us toward Christ-consciousness, which will be a strength that will show us when to turn to others and when to turn to God alone.

5 – Let’s Take Heed

Let us take heed today, and not strive for the independence that will leave us “loveless and alone.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that I have rarely felt “loveless and alone,” though I have been known to cry into journal pages that seemed to indicate that.  Thank You that those days seem far behind me now, with You as my Mainstay.  Your blessings are the joys of my life, as they would be for anyone.  When one love exits from a life, another enters.  When one door closes, another farther down the pathway opens.  You do not wish us to be loveless and alone.

Whey do we prize independence so much?  Some of us may do so out of shyness, but we are never truly happy when we cut ourselves off from our brothers and sisters.  We are, I feel, not meant to be alone.  Some of us are more introverted, but a certain degree of love asks that we invite others into our heart.

Be with me on this lovely day.  I thank You for the knowledge that we are not meant to be solitary creatures in a lonely world.  We are meant to reach out.  And, when we do, the heavens open for us.  

Thank You.

Amen.

Overcoming Depression

“You who are sometimes sad and sometimes angry; who sometimes feel your just due is not given you, and your best efforts meet with lack of appreciation and even contempt, give up these foolish thoughts!  They are too small and meaningless to occupy your holy mind an instant longer.  (M-15.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would know that my best efforts are appreciated–by Someone.”

Reflections:

1 – Discouragement

This passage gives comfort in times of discouragement.  It would be good to return to it from time to time for its clear-eyed assessment of what we sometimes view as taking place in our world.  We are Sons and Daughters of the Most High!  Ought we to remember that when the world intrudes too much on our peace of mind?  God is with us through his Communicator, the Universal Inspiration, the Holy Spirit.  And the Holy Spirit will calm us when our feelings are ruffled.  But words like this, from Jesus in A Course in Miracles, can be a tangible reminder when we are temporarily more insane than usual.

2 – Struggle

And we are insane when we think of ourselves as broken down by the world’s burdens.  We will know struggle so long as we listen to the dictates of the ego, and so long as we seek for egoistic attractions in this world.  Jesus would not have us to live this way.  And here, in one place in ACIM, is a measure of just how he would advise us when things do not seems to be going our way.

3 – Our Holy Mind

Jesus calls our mind “holy.”  Can we believe him?  I think that those of us who have read through A Course in Miracles are eager to give him the credit for our greater peace of mind.  Jesus, in my interpretation, is saying here that we are as God created us (a quotation from ACIM), that we have not changed from that ideal.  But we have believed ourselves to be separated from God, and we have believed that this was what we wanted.  Most of us who study ACIM passionately know with great intent that we do not want to perpetuate the idea of separation (wrong though it always was).  We have not separated from God, an illusion that would be impossible because we are part of Him, but we have believed, also in illusion, that we have fallen from grace.  God would not have us to live a small life, devoid of good things.  And it is up to ourselves to make the tiny movement toward the Holy Spirit that will turn our world around.  We can and will live better, when we let God have His Way with us.  The world will stop being such a fearsome place, and we will stop attracting its misery to ourselves.  Our minds will be so filled with the good things of God that we will no longer find ourselves in extremis any longer.  Our attracting power (not stated in ACIM, but an interpretation) will shift to the intangibles of God, which I have often discussed in this blog–the peace, joy, harmony, kindness, and, of course, love, that we all desire.  And we will live much better as a result.

4 – Attracting Negativity

What of our brothers and sisters who have not reached this understanding, and who still find themselves attracting negativity?  Many will not be ready for A Course in Miracles, but there is a course of some nature out there waiting for them.  We are not bidden to overtly proselytize, but we can treat our unhappy friends with more compassion.  And we can be there for them when they reach out for our help.  In the meantime, our prayers for our brothers and sisters will make a difference.  It cannot be otherwise, though this is not specifically stated in ACIM.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not let any depressed mood waylay me today.  I would follow Your Way, and I ask You to point this Way out to me.  May I always seek to walk the pathway back to You.  I know that I am a part of You, though I seem to forget this when I get upset or agitated about something.  You will always rescue me, and Jesus will help, when I make one unequivocal call to You.

I would not get discouraged today.  I know that life is not always smooth.  Just this morning, I was confronted with three minor problems and one major.  Just this morning.  And there was no warning that any of this was coming down the pike.  But You knew.  And You have calmed me and relaxed me, and helped me to see that life is not an emergency.  There is time for all that is needful.

I have dealt in some way with each of the four new problems.  As the Bible says, “Having done all, stand.”  And I will stand in Your Sight today.  Thank You.

Amen.

Oneness = Only Non-Dream

“Unity alone is not a thing of dreams.  And it is this God’s teachers acknowledge as behind the dream, beyond all seeming and yet surely theirs.  (M-12.6)”

Affirmation:  “unity”

Reflections:

1 – We Are All One

We are all One, with each other and with God.  This is the understanding of unity that I take from an interpretation of A Course in MiraclesA Course of Love similarly stresses unity also, as well as relationships with our brothers and sisters.

2 – Elements of the Real World

We are caught in a dream (ACIM tenet), an illusion.  But there are elements of reality, the real world, in what we experience.  And unity, as well as relationship, are elements of the real world.  We will experience unity and relationship to a much greater extent when we have experienced Awakening.

3 – Unity Is behind the Dream

If we know that unity is behind the dream, we have ample reason to rest easy.  There is nothing that we need to worry about.  God is underneath all, and we are His children.  The unity is behind all “seeming,” as we are told here, and we do not have to worry about “seeming.”  We are protected.

4 – Harold Kushner

What about the bad things that happen to “good” people, as Harold Kushner has said in his book by the same title?  We are told in the Workbook that healing always occurs when it is asked for, but there may be lingering symptoms and we may not be ready to accept the healing.  These are hard passages to understand, because we are bidden not to deny inappropriately, but still to realize that the continuance of symptoms does not mean that healing has not occurred.  The healing will be there when we are ready to accept it.

5 – Healing Is Always Here

And there is both emotional healing and physical healing, and sometimes the emotional is the most important.  That is the ultimate truth of ACIM, that healing is always here.  We may be right with God with an emotional healing.  Moreover, the illness for which we seek healing may be the individual’s way to die.  It may not be appropriate in such cases to cry for a healing.  Most of us in today’s world do choose to leave for the Other Side through an illness or disease.  Advanced teachers of God, we are told in ACIM, may just lay their body aside when its usefulness is over, but not everybody is advanced–yet.  Time, which does not really exist, separates the student from the teacher.  So all will reach the Awakening eventually, though that time may take millions of years (just as the separation also extended over millions of years).  (These latter points are paraphrases from the Text.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I revel in Your goodness today.  This day has started so well, and I pray that this will continue.  When I am reassured that healing is always an aspect of our life on earth, then I am reassured also that no matter what comes, all is well.  Be with my significant others.  Thank You that as of today, everybody close to me is well.  And may my faith not be shaken if this is not always the experience that I have.

We live in a dream, but unity is not a thing of dreams.  We live in unity, as One with each other, and in relationship, as we experience the various parts of ourselves that others embody.  Help me to carry this paradox in my mind and heart.  Be with me as a I seek to convey these paradoxes to other people.  May the intuitive truth light upon the minds and warm the hearts of the individuals who read this blog.  

Amen.

Learning in an Insane World

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

Affirmation:  “learn what is of value”

Reflections:

1 – Why Learn Something Not of Lasting Value?

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

2 – A Course of Love

Certainly we have been so reared in an egoistic world that we may love learning just for the sake of learning itself.  It may seem to be heresy to question this love of learning.  But in A Course of Love, we are told that there is a time for learning to cease, and to move forward in our lives by “observation.”  We do not have to think the egoistic way.  Knowing can come to us without irritable reaching for fact as well as fancy.  We can just know, because the Holy Spirit (and later, the Christ-consciousness) just tells us.  We know about our world almost as soon as we have asked internally.

3 – Careers and Relationships

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

4 – We Have Help

Whether we are “learning” or “observing,” it is evident that we don’t get where we are trying to go without help.  We are supported every step of the way.  And it is important to acknowledge that we realize that we are not doing all this by ourselves.  It is only the ego that wants all the credit, and surely the egoistic way has been discredited by now in our minds and hearts.

5 – The Valuable Is Lasting

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Love Will Enter Immediately

Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly.  This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s ‘drive to get.’  (T61)”

Affirmation:  “wholly without the ego’s ‘drive to get'”

 

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Limit Your Love

We sometimes limit the love that we can receive by specifying that this love must come from a particular source.  Such thinking usually signals that one is dealing with a special relationship, not a holy one.  But the Course would purify our special relationships, rather than remove them from us by force.  All special relationships are meant to become holy eventually.

2 – Love Comes in Many Ways

We would do better if we did not specify the desired source of the love that we invite to come to us.  Then the real world can deliver our desired love in any number of ways.  Love is not always found in a special relationship, even in the beginning.  The love of nature, for example, is a great healer in times of stress.  The love we desire does not have to be always from another person.

3 – Love Is Always There

When we truly want love in our lives, it is there already.  There are no exceptions to this rule, though the ego would often make us think so.  God answers our prayer for love by sending into our lives the love that is ours for the asking.  We do not have to plead or to
struggle.  We simply need to ask.  And this is truly without the ego’s “drive to get.”

4 – The Ego and Special Relationships

The times when we strive so hard for the elusive goal of “love” is a time that our love is the “special” love relationship that the ego always leads us toward.  While the Holy Spirit will not remove our special relationships from us, He would purify them, turning them into holy relationships.  We know that we do not feel great stress at such a change, though the change may disrupt the relationship for awhile (a Text tenet).  With holiness as our new goal, we are led to drop egoistic thinking from our minds and to walk into the sunlight with God and our brother.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

I do want love.  I want love to enter my life immediately and unconditionally.  I don’t want my ego to interfere.

May I drop all desires to have something that my ego dictates.  May I have, instead, the love that You have promised me.

Amen.

Judging

“When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning, In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them.  (T47)”

Affirmation:  “their meaning is lost to you. . .because you are judging them”

Reflections:

1 – A Difficult Passage

This passage is a bit obscure.  What exactly do we recognize (in our brother and ourselves) that we are?  The answer of the Course is that we are Sons of God (and Daughters); we are innocent in the inner essence of who we are.  We have not “sinned,” but the self which lives in this world has, instead, made mistakes–easily corrected when recognized.  We are said to want to correct mistakes in a way that we don’t want to correct “sins”; there is a attracting feature to sin that sounds irrational and that encourages that sin to be repeated.

2 – Judging Is Always Tainted

This is part of the philosophical basis of the Course.  Judging by ourselves is always tainted, impossible in essence.  We cannot know all the circle of causes and effects that we sometimes find ourselves judging.  We give up judgment to the sure judgment of the Holy Spirit, which is only that God’s Son is guiltless, and that sin does not exist.

3 – Avoid Attack, Judging, and Planning

There is a darker side to judgment as well.  We are told elsewhere that attack, judgment, and making defenses against contingencies to come, planning unless prompted by the Holy Spirit, will make us lose our way again.  These actions can accomplish nothing, and they will divert us from our pathway to light.  So let us give up judgment (i.e., relinquish it to the Holy Spirit, Who sees truly), and find the real meaning of ourselves and our brothers.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack, judgment, and making defenses against contingencies to come.  If I do these things, I will surely lose my way.  While the way can and will be found again, we lose much time, and we may suffer much.

May I completely relinquish attack in all its forms.  This is the ego personified, and only in the relinquishment of the ego is peace found.  Thank you for your help, for I will surely fail unless You walk with me.

Amen.

The Mastery of Fear

“We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered, and have emphasized that the only real mastery is through love. . . .You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery, but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.  (T33)”

Affirmation:  “only real mastery is through love”

Reflections:

1 – A Great Promise

This is one of Jesus’s great promises in A Course in Miracles.  The final sentence also states a truth that we would be wise to accept at face value, though perhaps it is early yet to recognize the miracles that the sentence represents.

2 – A Necessity = Learning to Love

We must learn to love if we are to be happy, for who can remain happy while intermittently experiencing pangs of fear?  The Course is the way that many of us have chosen to learn how to love, how to live a better way.   It is a beginning, a way home for those of us who follow diligently its guidance.

3 – Readiness and Mastery

The time between readiness and mastery of fear does not, as implied by this passage, have to be lengthy.  It is true that it may be lengthy, but elsewhere Jesus recommends that we be content to walk the pathway, even if the way seems long to us.

4 – The Way Is Not Always Long

It is not always long.  Many people find themselves at home in God within a few days or weeks of reading the Course.  When this happens, we have experienced a revelation of the end.  And the revelation may not last.  Yet we will take away from the experience our certainty, also given us by Jesus, that once the way is begun, the end is certain.  The Course then becomes our pathway home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we see Jesus control time and space in our world.  Even when we do not understand this, may we realize that what he has promised is real–more real than the things of this world.  I would reach for mastery, but not by grasping and not by putting in tremendous strain and effort.  Your way is easy, so easy that we overlook that not more is asked of us.  We think that we need to strain, and that is not what You would have us do.  If we only love a little more, we will find ourselves at home in You–and sooner rather than later.  This blessing is not through death, but here, right on earth.  We can have a Heaven on earth for the asking.  And we ask it today.

May we master fear by love.  We know that this is the only way.  May we feel the love that You have placed in our hearts.

Amen.

Fear Can Be Self-Controlled

“Fear cannot be controlled by me, but it can be self-controlled.  Fear prevents me from giving you my control.  (T28)”

Affirmation:  “Fear can be self-controlled.”

Reflections:

1 – Get Help in Eliminating the Conditions Leading to Fear

This is not the complete passage, and what is quoted can be a little misleading.  Later on Jesus says that we are to ask for help in eliminating the conditions that have brought the fear about.  That then frees us to accept the control of Jesus.  In getting the guidance of the Holy Spirit to eliminate the conditions that brought about the fear, we are going to the root of the fear.  This is true self-controlled fear.

2 – Fear Is an Effect

Jesus also says that cause and effect are involved in fear.  When the conditions that bring about fear are present as a cause, then the effect is the fear.  To tamper with this cause-and-effect relationship would be to deemphasize our minds, which Jesus would never do.  He also says that we fear the power of the mind, but to think of it as impotent is not a helpful concept.  We are actually afraid of the power of the mind.

3 – Mastery through Love

Fear can be overcome.  It is simple to read these words and to take them to heart, but perhaps it is not easy to effect the eradication of fear.  The Course returns again and again to the differences between love and fear, and ultimately tells us that the only true mastery of fear is through love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be free of fear.  May I have help with the conditions that bring the fear about.  And may I be guided in how to control my fear.

I pray for Jesus’s help in my life.  He promises this to me.  May I turn to him and to the Holy Spirit for the help that I so much need.

Amen.

How Do We Find Perfect Love?

“Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
But
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.  (T14)”

Affirmation:  “Perfect love casts out fear.”

Reflections:

1 – A Beautiful Passage

Jesus seems fond of syllogisms.  There are a number in the Course, but this is phrased in perhaps this most beautiful way of all of his syllogisms.

2 – Perfect Love vs. Fear

All of us wish to have perfect love and to show perfect love to others, especially our significant others.  Likewise, all of us would like to be free of fear, and we would like for others, the same.  According to this idealistic level of A Course in Miracles, we can have both.  We are in perfect love, but we do not recognize it.  And so, when we feel fear, it “produces a state that does not exist,” or, in other words, an illusion.

3 – We Live a Dream

We know from other parts of ACIM that its theology would say that we are living an illusion, living maya (an Eastern term).  But do we really believe this?  We are told (paraphrased from ACIM) that if others become vicious toward us, we will not be moved if we remember that this is our dream (or, in other words, our illusion).  So, when life seems difficult and we seem attacked on all sides, we can pray for a moment of calm in which we realize that we are dreaming.  And so none of it truly matters in eternity.  And in time, people have made mistakes (including ourselves), but these can be rectified by turning away from the mistakes.  Time does not matter, because time does not really exist.  Only eternity matters.

4 – Illusions

Here the Course goes to the heart of the unreality in which we live.  We live in illusions, not the real world, at all–at least most of us.  (The real world comes near the conclusion of our pathway back to God.)

5 – Incompatible States of Being

Perfect love and fear are completely incompatible.  This is what this passage is saying.  Because most of us still feel fear upon occasion, we are lost in dreams–and not the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit.  There is a danger that we will feel depressed upon reading these words.  But elsewhere Jesus cautions us not to lose heart.  If the way seems long, once begun the way back is always found in the end.  If the way seems long, we are to take heart and to know that we will find our way back, ultimately.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

In reality, only perfect love exists.  But we frequently feel fear, and so we are not experiencing the real world on a consistent basis.

May we experience the real world.  If this seems a long way off, may we in the interim experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.

Amen.

The Role of Relationships in Salvation

ACIM Workbook Lesson 343 – for Friday, December 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not asked to make a sacrifice
        To find the mercy and the peace of God.”

“The mercy and the peace of God are free.  Salvation has no cost.  It is a gift that must be freely given and received.  And it is this that we would learn today.  (WB475)”

Reflections:

1 – No Sacrifices Asked of Us

A Course in Miracles never asks sacrifices of us.  This truth would go a long way toward reassuring us that our God is a loving God, never a punishing one.  God’s goals for us are free gifts; we do not have to earn His mercy and His peace.  These free gifts are freely give, without any cost to anyone.

2 – ACIM Salvation in Relationships

The history of many religions, including Christianity, are based on the idea of sacrifices.  We would be led to understand by ACIM that this is not the way for us.  Our way is found in the forgiveness that transforms our special relationships into holy ones.  Our salvation is found in relationship, in the relationship to our brother/sister.

3 – We All Have Many Relationships

We may think that we have no single significant other, and thus the way of ACIM is closed to us.  But this would be a misreading.  We have relationships of various duration with everyone who peoples our world–from the stranger that we meet in the elevator, to the child who accidentally runs into our pathway.  There are no accidents in salvation, according to ACIM.  All who are intended to meet, will meet; and when the ending seems premature, we can know that we will meet again.  It is the goal of every special relationship to become holy, especially those relationships that are most problematic to us.  The lesson can be learned when we recognize the same degree of readiness in ourselves and our closest associates.  We may not recognize that the balance is perfect, but if it is and we learn the lesson, we can help to transform others (from the Manual).

4 – Salvation Is A Gift

So let us learn the lesson for today, that salvation is a gift to be freely given and received.  And then let us thank God that this is so.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take some moments today to reaffirm the primacy of my relationships in my religion.  A Course in Miracles teaches that this is the way home, this forgiveness of each other.  When we focus on those closest to us, we are speeding up our way back to You.  I would ask for a celestial speed-up today.

Be with me as I seek to be loving and kind, forgiving and peaceful.  Today is not a day to lose my temper and to attack.  Your way is different, and as long as I keep the stress in my day low, it is likely that I will walk the way that You choose for me.  I never get angry unless I am stressed.  And I would ask that this personal characteristic not interfere with my pathway and my relationships today.  Help me to remain at ease in Your world.  And may I extend my peace and Your peace to all whom I meet.

Amen.