Tag Archives: sacrifice

Sacrifice

“It is obvious that these individuals have not been able to transcend the misperception of the need for sacrifice, or they could not possibly be willing to sacrifice themselves. Anyone who is unable to leave the requests of others unanswered has not entirely transcended egocentricity. I never ‘gave of myself’ in this inappropriate way, nor would I ever encourage you to do so.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.III.13:1-3)

Jesus continues his theme that the sacrifice on the cross was not what made him the savior for us. In this passage, he doesn’t mention the resurrection, but in clearly turning aside from sacrifice as a way of life, he has pointed the way to our own rising up, our own resurrection. He is trying to make enlightenment more believable.

Originally Jesus talked about Edgar Cayce’s increased number of readings, a choice Edgar made that was sacrificial. Here very precisely, Jesus turns aside from any command that we do something similar.

Sacrifice is simply not called for. And if we think it is, we are thinking in the insanity of the ego. The ego thinks that its own sacrifice is necessary, and because this “entity” thinks that it is us, it thinks that we too have to sacrifice to God. This has to make God a fearful being. And God truly is anything but fearful.

Jesus came to pass along to the world a new view of God, a loving Creator Who blesses His creations (us) with tolerance. God has never condemned us at all, and so He doesn’t need to “forgive.” He waits patiently, as we walk daily along the pathway back to Him. Our Holy Spirit guides the way.

And soon we will all be home, even if this “soon” is millions of years. Time, in the universe, after all, is an illusion.

Understanding the Lesson of the Atonement, the Sons and Daughters of God Are without the Wish to Attack

music-in-the-tuileries-gardens-1862 - manet
“Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the wish to attack, and therefore they see truly. (T39)”

Affirmation: “without the wish to attack”

Reflections:
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1 – The Innocent

The “they” in this passage are the innocent, the Sons and Daughters of God, those who have experienced the Self as an indwelling spirit. Not all of us are ready for this blessing immediately. It takes great patience, abundant willingness, and study to see the manifold blessings that are held out to us when we experience the truth of Jesus’s words.

2 – Crucifixion

There is a built-in confusion about the word “Atonement,” because traditional Christianity looks to what is viewed as the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross as our way out. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that it is wrong to look to the cross, that the resurrection pointed out his part in our Atonement. And what a more joyous interpretation this is! We do not have to see an angry God who demanded sacrifice because of our many “sins,” but a loving Father who gave proof of our place in eternal life.

3 – Personal Experience

I read many years ago that Jesus, as a boy, in all likelihood saw the sacrifice of animals to God as a way of meriting God’s good graces. He may have interpreted the sacrifice of the best which existed as the sole means of finding a way back to God. And, as time proceeded, and he realized his mission, he realized what his end would be. And that end, that time of seeing the crucifixion as the propitiation of our sins, worked for many generations. But we are no longer as open to this interpretation. And ACIM has come along for our generation. The resurrection points out Jesus’s contribution to our salvation, and, ultimately, our Awakening.

4 – Definition of Atonement

In only one place in A Course in Miracles is there a definite definition of the Atonement. It reads as follows: “the restoration of the integrity of the mind. (T74)” There are also broad explanations that encompass a definition that is at odds with traditional Christianity. Jesus asserts that to cling to the crucifixion is a mistake; the crucifixion points out to us that he did not launch a defense under the extreme situation in which he found himself. Not to be defensive is a major Course tenet.

5 – Resurrection

Instead, we are to look to the resurrection, the overcoming of death–the promise of eternal life. This step will bring us peace. Our binding of ourselves to God is a lesson of the Atonement. To do so constantly is a challenge to the neophyte, but not to the advanced teacher of God. We learn more as we progress through the ACIM.

6 – At – One – Ment

Atonement is sometimes viewed as “at-one-ment,” but this is a bit limited in its interpretation. It is this and more. Atonement is the surrender of the little self to the larger Self that is allied with the Holy Spirit. When we make this surrender, we see the futility of attack, and our perceptions are therefore cleansed. Atonement is the correction, the undoing of error (from ACIM). And when our minds are returned to God, that correction has been made for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I see the futility of attack today, and if and when I am tempted to attack, may I refrain. Often no response is better than a vicious one. But You have taught me that the best response is to run to my brother’s side with love, for he is hurting.

May I look to the resurrection of Jesus as I realize that there is no death. We will all live eternally, because this is Your great promise.

Amen.

Overcoming Loss of Love

“You who have given everything to be alone and separate fear most of all that which you have given everything to attain.  For what is loss of love but confirmation of your separate state?  What is loss of love but being left alone?  (A Course of Love, 14.21)”

Van-Gogh-Night-CafeAffirmation:  “I would reestablish love in my life today.”

Reflections:

1 – Sacrifice

We think that we want to be independent, alone and separate, and the only thing that this gives us is fear.  We have sacrificed everything for that which we actually do not want!  Does not this sound like insanity?  And, indeed, Jesus calls this insane thinking in A Course in Miracles.  We have, under the influence of a part of ourselves called the “ego,” sacrificed our rightful place in the kingdom as well as the love that we so desperately really want.

2 – Salvation

Can this be righted?  Of course!  This righting is what salvation is all about.  When we know that we want to be One in sharing with others, One in relationship to them and One within ourselves, with God, we are back on the right track.  There is no other way to live happily.  We must give up this senseless pursuit of independence that would neglect the others in our world.  We are not meant to be alone; we are meant to share in unity and relationship with the All.

3 -Still Resist?

Why do we still resist?  What do we think that we will give up?

4 – Rebellion

I think that there still is what can only be called adolescent rebellion in us.  Indeed, this is just what Jesus calls it, in a comparison that he makes in A Course of Love.  He says that we are like adolescents who have to separate from their parents to define their own identity.  But, in an interpretation, I would go on to say that this is not desirable with our heavenly Parent–God–is the One from whom we desire separation.  We are a part of God; He is in all of us, for He is the All.

5 – Separation

We are not meant to walk on this world as separate beings apart from each other.  We weep when we try this insanity.  This insanity can never bring us peace.  Give it up today, and return to the fold of God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My blog today sounds a lot like traditional religion, traditional Christianity even.  And it is, but with a twist.  We are One with You, and as such we have a right to walk with You.  This is, I think, what Jesus is trying to tell us in such beautiful words.  May we listen, perhaps for the first time, today.

I would choose love over fear, and when the anxious thoughts come, I would simply let them wash over me without drowning me.  Much of this may be of the body, but my mind and heart are not yet strong enough to see all of the body’s thoughts as illusion.  May I recognize illusion when I experience it.  Sooner rather than later.  And may my walk with You bring me the quiet joy that You mean me to have.

Thank You.

Amen.

Heaven Restored

“Yet each temptation to accept magic as true must be abandoned through his recognition, not that it is fearful, not that it is sinful, not that it is dangerous, but merely that it is meaningless.  Rooted in sacrifice and separation, two aspects of one error and no more, he merely chooses to give up all that he never had.  And for this ‘sacrifice’ is Heaven restored to his awareness.  (M-16.10)”

Affirmation:  “Heaven is restored.”

Reflections:

1 – Errors

We need to avoid making errors in our daily life.  We are so used to sacrificing for ourselves and others, and so used to believing that we are somehow separated from God, that we do not recognize that this is magical thinking.  When we cease to follow magical, erroneous, thinking, Heaven is restored to us.  We are aware of the presence of Heaven once again, and perhaps for the first time indeed, since our fall from grace.

2 – Awareness of Heaven

We may not sustain this awareness of Heaven.  Before Awakening is sustained, I know from personal experience that there are times of experienced Awakening that do not last.  Many of us know this.  Perhaps the moments were fleeting, and perhaps they extended over months.  It does not matter.  These are forerunners of the happiness that lies ahead.  We have the promise of a sustained Awakening, though A Course of Love indicates that nobody has sustained Christ-consciousness (it is unclear if this includes Jesus’s experience).  But the closer we live to God, the more likely that our gratitude for what we are experiencing will follow us “all the days of our lives” (quotation from the Lord’s Prayer).

3 – Magical Thinking

Magical thinking does extend even to “religious” practices.  We must earnestly seek to know if we are following God’s Will for us at any given time.  If we have any doubts, any straining to effect a specific outcome, we need to stop a moment, and ask ourselves if what we are wanting is really in our best interests.  It may not be.  God will protect us from ourselves, but we are given free will, and we can sometimes bring about outcomes that turn to ashes and dust in our hands, because those outcomes were not dedicated to God.

4 – Heaven

May Heaven be restored to us many times in our lives, including today.  May we avoid the temptations that so beset us from time to time.  May we turn to whatever practices help the most to avoid the temptation, with perhaps our communing with God at the top of the list.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for a glorious beginning to what I hope will be a good day.  There is so much that You hold out to us, to experience in this world–so much that is good.  We mislead ourselves when we think that You want sacrifice from us.  You want us to care for ourselves, and our brothers and sisters, but these are loving gestures, and if done with the right attitude, will not entail sacrifice of anything that our Self values.

This Self is the Christ who is in all of us, waiting for recognition.  I would so recognize today.  I would not delay any longer.  I know that I am asking in Your Will, for You want us to be happy.  And happiness is a lofty goal, not inferior as I once thought years ago.

Be with us today.  Help us to walk Your way.  And may I find joy in the daily activities of this day.  Most days are generous in their joy, when we have turned out hearts, minds, and spirits over to You.  May I do so today, all day long.

Amen

Hope of Heaven / Remembrance of God’s Love

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

Affirmation:  “I would value the valuable only.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego

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

2 – This World = A Dream

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

3 – Sacrifice

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

4 – Don’t Make This World Important

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

5 – Follow Our Guide

May we follow the right Guide today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

No Place for Sacrifice nor Suffering

ACIM Workbook Lesson 187 – for Friday, July 6. 2012

Affirmation:  “I bless the world because I bless myself.”

“Never believe that you can sacrifice.  There is no place for sacrifice in what has any value.  If the thought occurs, its very presence proves that error has arisen and correction must be made.  Your blessing will correct it.  Given first to you, it now is yours to give as well.  No form of sacrifice and suffering can long endure before the face of one who has forgiven and has blessed himself.  (WB355)”

Reflections:

1 – Doing for Others

We have long believed that when we sacrifice for our loved ones, we are doing the right thing.  This passage for today assures us that, even when we are doing for our loved ones, God does not demand sacrifice.  We may do the same things, but when we are in God’s flow, we will not see our actions as sacrifice.  A change of attitude is all that is needed.

2 – Change of Attitude

“If the thought occurs” is the pivotal point, the indication that we need to change our attitude.  We need to entertain the thought of correction.  Correction is the definition of Atonement (an ACIM tenet).  When we have accepted Atonement for ourselves, we will know correction in our daily lives.  And our daily lives will take a substantial and lasting turn for the better.

3 – Blessings and Thankfulness

Blessings and thankfulness are often linked in my own mind.  If we wish to bless someone, we are being thankful for their place in our lives.  And then we have opened the door to more blessings for ourselves as well.  We will not sacrifice and suffer in our holy relationships, because we will know love

4 – Forgiveness

If we have not forgiven ourselves for our past misdeeds, we will carry a heavy load of guilt, and guilt is hell (an ACIM tenet).  Let us reject such foolishness by simple forgiveness.  We need only ask, and the blessing of forgiveness is ours.  There can be no better way to have a good day.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for this glorious day.  I had a moment of an anxiety attack this morning, and, with distraction and prayer out loud to You, the moment left me–and quickly.  Help me to remember always that You are nearer to me than my breath, that I am a part of You.

No sacrifice seems too good to be true!  We will be caregivers for our significant others, but if I view this as a sacrifice, I need to change my attitude.  There is much to be gained from taking care of our loved ones–for them as well as ourselves.  May I never forget that this caregiving is a two-way street.

Be with me as I seek to leave all suffering behind.  The last three days have been glorious ones for me, and a tiny change in my routine created some of that difference.  Be with me as I seek to attract Your blessings, and many of these are the intangibles of love, peace, joy, tranquility, and serenity.  No need for drama in a life that is calm and quiet.

Amen.

Give Up Suffering, Loss, Sadness, Anxiety, Doubt. . . to Enable Love

ACIM Workbook Lesson 323 – for Saturday, November 19. 2011

Affirmation:  “I gladly make the ‘sacrifice’ of fear.”

“Here is the only ‘sacrifice’ You ask of Your beloved Son; You ask him to give up all suffering, all sense of loss and sadness, all anxiety and doubt, and freely let Your Love come streaming in to his awareness, healing him of pain, and giving him Your Own eternal joy.  Such is the ‘sacrifice’ You ask of me, and one I gladly make; the only ‘cost’ of restoration of Your memory to me, for the salvation of the world.  (WB463)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Love Flows In

If all of us in this world could believe these comforting words of A Course in Miracles, we would be a long way toward overcoming the suffering that besets us.  We are not asked to sacrifice.  We can give up suffering, anxiety, doubt.  The only way to effect these blessings is to believe that God’s Love is flowing into us now.  When we ask to feel His Love, we are reassured that all will be well.  We can let our anxieties go.  We do not have to feel the suffering that can arise from pain.  We can rise above the pain.  Then we are truly Home–living with the assurance that we are beloved of God and that we are free of the fear that has beset us for eons.

2 – “Suffering”

Note that “sacrifice” in these quotations is set apart by quotation marks.  This indicates that what is being asked of us is not really a sacrifice at all; it is the acceptance of a blessing from God, from Love.  When the memory of God is restored to us, we truly have reached Awakening.  And this is where we are all headed.

3 – Awakening / Christ-Consciousness

The study of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love both holds out these blessings for us.  We are told in A Course of Love that the time of learning is over.  We know enough just to accept our Home in God, our Christ-consciousness.  We may be mistaken in thinking that we have reached Christ-consciousness, but the inevitability of this blessing is never mistaken.  It may be sooner or it may be later.  We need not fear; it will come.  And in the meantime, we can prepare by turning to the Holy Spirit (if we are reading ACIM) or the Self within (if we are reading ACOL).  There is a logical progression from Jesus’s words in the New Testament, his words in ACIM, and his words in ACOL.  Would that we could only accept what he says at face value!  There is very little that we need to do to effect these changes in ourselves.  Our contribution is indeed small, and we are sometimes chagrined by this (paraphrased from the Text).  But why should we let the arrogance of the ego tell us that Awakening/Christ-consciousness is difficult?  Let us rest in God’s mercy, and we will know that He wishes us to have these blessings.  We will not have to seek pathways innumerable; the blessings will come with a sincere desire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would find You today, and I would do the little part that you ask of me to effect change for the better in my life.  I would come home to You.

May my brothers and sisters feel Your Love, and may they leave behind fear with all of its component parts.  I would do the same.  I am not above feeling fear, as much as I try to avoid anxiety by trusting in You.  We are all very human with the frailties that accompany the human condition.  May we help each other to rise above to the joy that You hold out to us when we have been made ready by Your guidance.

Be with me today.  Help me to know that sacrifice is never asked, and that I am misperceiving when I think that You might be asking this of me.  Your Way is the Way of Love, and when I know that in the depths of my heart, I will also be at home in You.

Amen.

The Return of Love / Loss of Fear

ACIM Workbo Lesson 322 – for Friday, November 18, 2011

Affirmation:  “I can give up but what was never real.”

“Father, to You all sacrifice remains forever inconceivable.  And so I cannot sacrifice except in dreams.  As You created me, I can give up nothing You gave me.  What You did not give has no reality.  What loss can I anticipate except the loss of fear, and the return of love into my mind?  (WB462)”

Reflections:

1 – Sacrifice is Not Needed

We do not really need to sacrifice in this world.  We need only to lose our fear and to return to love to have all that we really want.  Even with our loved ones, we do not need to experience sacrifice; when we are acting out of love, it is a misconception to think that we are sacrificing.  We are giving, and it is in the giving that we will learn the most about love.

2 – Let Us Lose Fear

We would lose fear today.  If this loss is important to us, we will do everything in our power to effect it.  And we will not make this transition–from fear to love–without deciding that egotistical, egoic, matters are not what we want.  If we would leave the ego behind, all would be peace.  When we will ever learn this?

3 – The Dreams of This World

We sacrifice in the dreams of this world.  And when we are loving, we are experiencing a reprieve from dreams, if only momentarily.  This understanding of the world that we experience being a “dream” is not unique to A Course in Miracles.  But it is spelled out for modern-day readers in a way that we do not find it in earlier religious writings.

4 – Give Today

May I give today, and then give some more.  And may I recognize that in this giving I will realize that I am not sacrificing my own best interests, but instead that I am finding them.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would reach a deeper level of love today, knowing that with this deeper level fear itself is diminished.  I do need to give, but help me to realize that “sacrifice” is not needed.  The return of love does not demand sacrifice.  Help me to follow Your Guide today, as I seek to enjoy a good day.

Earlier I believed that sometimes sacrifice was called for.  Thank You for showing me, through Jesus’s words, that this idea was well-intentioned but unnecessary.  Help me to give and then give some more.  But help me never to feel that I am sacrificing my own best interests in the guise of helping another.  I would help whenever I can, but the individuals whom I help, and I, will only gain when I give.

Love is the great need of this world.  May all whom I touch today, as well as myself,  try to give a little more love .  Then we will all come home to You sooner.

Amen.