Nothing Is Happening by Accident

. . .[N]othing is happening by accident. (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 5, Page 68)

We can experience God when we allow Him to dwell, observed, in our very bodies. Of course, he (and we) are not truly bodies. But in this world of form, we experience that, and it is all good. Allowance opens the door to God’s action in our lives. It is the best thing that we have going for ourselves.

Elsewhere in the Way of Mastery, Jesus says that allowance is one of the keys to good living. It gives us salvation, the ultimate salvation of Awakening (Christ-consciousness). Allowing things to influence us is a matter of some faith, at least in the beginning, before we believe concretely that there is Another World, a place beyond us to which we go at death. Then we do not have to have faith, because we “know.” Jung said the same thing a few years before his death.

When we know of God’s reality, then our allowance for Him has taken hold.

Then we are living lives of growing joy and abundance.

Let us allow God to have His way with us. Let us let Him take the controls.

Nothing to Fear in Guided Desire

You have learned, therefore, to fear desire because that fear is the effect of fearing yourself, and that is what cripples you. (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 4, Page 46)

Our fears have done us in, mostly just fearing ourselves.

Now is the time to change, to alter trajectory to a new and glorious word. There is nothing to fear in desire, IF it is informed by following guidance. If we think we are not looking to guidance, then we are just falling back on asking the ego what to do. And the ego will always lead us wrongly.

We are right in loving ourselves. The lack of self-love also means that we don’t love God in the way that we ought, for if we cannot love ourselves, then we also think (wrongly) that our love for God is something too elusive to join in faith.

If love of God does seem elusive, then look to what in our lives we do love. One woman, in a story told my Norman Vincent Peale, said that she knew that she loved her little nephew. And Norman said to her that this was where her mission lay. In loving the nephew, she would come to see from whence all Love comes, the very Godhead Itself.

We have not trusted ourselves to know where to turn and what to do, and this psychological disturbance has caused much inner turmoil.

Make the decision today to reach that which is higher and more all-encompassing than our little egoic self; make the decision for God.

Illusions

The Course says that we (not God) made the world that we see. It is an illusory world, but it does not appear illusory to us. We have “micreated,” but still what we have made cannot have power over us. It is as if to say that a god (Baal), fashioned of gold by the Israelites, has more power over their minds than does the Holy One at that very moment of fashioning tablets on the mountaintop with Moses. It simply isn’t so. We are one with God, and we never leave Him.

This understanding requires the knowledge that All is One. The Thought that is God extends Himself to create all living things. Only if God is mad could a part turn on the whole to destroy it. We have many times tried to turn on the whole and destroy, but to no effect. But God allowed this to happen only in illusion, assuring us that we have not in truth hurt either anybody–ourselves or others. Thus Return becomes possible at any time, although, practically, it may take millions of years for all of us to return.

A million years sounds daunting, but when we realize that we can have the “happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings,” we know that we are not bereft in a hostile world. God needs many hands and feet to do His bidding in His world; he needs us to spread salvation upon the earth.

Let us do our part today, not by proselytizing, but by example.

Returning to God

When this pathway back to God is begun, the way at first seems hard, because the ego is still strong within us, and it sniffs defeat in the air and would be violent to retain control of one’s mind and heart. Consistently listening to the Holy Spirit, prayerfully considering the promptings of intuition, will quickly smooth the way so that one knows, deep in the heart, that a withered ego is one’s only salvation. Then is one’s real Self actually strong, no longer a will ‘o wisp in the breeze, batted about by every foreign opinion thrust upon it. And we see that it was always the ego that suffered defeat at the hands of its “enemies.” Always being undone, for that is God’s way, the ego is abandoned by our real Self as well. And then the way is paved for great and faster growth as the creatures of God we truly are. A Course in Miracles tells us that the mind is very powerful. It also says that the reason that we don’t believe this is because we are afraid of its power: “You prefer to believe that your thoughts cannot exert real influence because you are actually afraid of them.” (T-2.VI.9:10)

Surely we are afraid when we look around and see a ravaged world. Did we do this? Yes, the Course counsels, but only in illusion and only in madness.

The Course says that faith, belief, and vision, shared with us by the Holy Spirit, are our way out. As the goal of salvation replaces the goal of sin, our steps in the mist become clearer. Faith inevitably gives us the power of persistence, but we don’t recognize the tremendous power that is unleashed until we place our faith not in sin, but in love. It is then that the power becomes the reliable lifesaver that it is meant to be.

I was once described in a letter of recommendation as having an “indomitable will to succeed.” I took this as a compliment in the almost 20 years ago in which it was written. In this, I see a glimpse of the personal power that I (and everyone else) have. I now know that this “indomitable will” of that era was far too informed by the ego. It was a competitive bent that later would alienate some of my co-workers. What had worked well in our educational system worked less well in a work environment where cooperation was necessary to accomplish shared goals.

Now I know that this drive to succeed is laudatory only when it is not threatening to others.

When we turn to God, we know that our own will is weak without Him. Let His will inform our own, and we will soon be on the pathway back to God. We need to bend our “indomitable wills” to God’s way.

Want He, and we, want us to do.

Our Experiences Are Stepping Stones Home

“The very thought that you would claim as your own from which you have created the world of your own personal experience is also literally the result of your prayer to awaken. And the Father is creating—assisting you to create—just those experiences as stepping stones that carry you from where you are to where God is.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 3, Page 31)

Yes, stepping stones show us the way. The way to where God is. And these stepping stones are smooth and stable so that we don’t dash a foot against a stone, causing a tumble.

When we create our personal experience, that personal experience shows us the way to awaken. Our prayer to know what to do is all that it takes. God does the rest. That is an unequal contribution, and perhaps we think that somehow, in some way, we need to do more.

This is a false thought. We need, as A Course in Miracles says, only a “little willingness.” God does the rest, ALL the rest. Our unequal contributions from the Holy Spirit, and from ourselves, have nonetheless accomplished what seemed impossible.

We are home, in God’s arms, at last.

Change from Within Works

“Imagine then, a society in which the prevalent legal view is simply that your brother or your sister is an aspect of yourself. And if you would help yourself, you must help them—meeting each cry for help and healing with forgiveness, love and support. Can you imagine, for a moment, what it would be like to live in such a society? How would it be different than the world you see?

“If you would have these things be different, it must begin with you. For the way to heal the world is not by seeking to change what is on the outside, but by first changing what is on the inside. When that change has occurred, you will become a conduit for an energy that knows how to use your gifts, and how to place you in just the right situations. And a great power will work effectively through you—the power alone that knows how to heal your world.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 3, Page 29)

The truth is that we ARE aspects of each other, for we are One. And this One includes all the people in the world, as well as all energy everywhere. If we realize that to harm another is to harm ourselves, we will be less likely to strike out. In fact, we won’t strike out at all.

This truth becomes clearer when we realize that we think we have been harmed, and we want to lash out. Why would we hurt another as we have been hurt if we are all the same?

We wouldn’t. I can imagine that even our penal system would alter tremendously when we realize that we are all One. We all have the potential to harm.

We need to meet bad things with an attempt to heal. Everything negative is actually a call for help and healing, and when we realize this, and express a desire to help and heal, we are on the right track.

We can’t actually alter the exterior unless we have first altered the interior, our very propensities emanating from our personalities as well as our souls. This is what traditional Christianity says, including the orator Billy Graham. The buck stops here. We are in need to change, first, before we can take that change and influence our world—indeed, even create a new world.

Change from within works. Nothing else does.

Light for Our Pathway

“You can wait, delay, paralyze yourself, reduce your creativity almost to nothing, and even induce a real developmental arrest or regression. But you cannot abolish your creativity.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.48.3:3-4)

This says that we can go backwards. Helen herself (scribe of A Course in Miracles) is said to have had such a regression, previously, in other lives. So might we all. But if we stay close to the tenets of ACIM, we will be alright. We have the power to halt our progress to ultimate salvation. But why would we do that?

The way back is easy, when we are pliable in God’s hands. He takes care of us, leads us back to the fold. And in the coming back, we can help others. There is nobody so lost that he/she cannot help others.

Why would we reduce our creativity? Why would we ever? Because we don’t think we know any better. Our own sense of being lost from God is a major impediment to our progress back to Him. If we don’t see where we are going, how can we go toward the straight and narrow? We can’t. But we would be wise to ask for a Light for our pathway. A Course in Miracles is such a light.

The world needs wiling saviors. Let us join that group today. Let us know that we can make a difference.

All it takes is a tiny step toward beginning our mission. And our mission is salvation for the world.

When We Choose Love, We Choose What Will Save Us

“The same is true of you! You cannot express yourself independently of the whole! It is as impossible as it would be for the finger to do so. And yet you think that this is possible and that this is the meaning of free will. Free will does not make the impossible possible. It makes the possible probable. It is thus probable that you will use your free will in order to be who you are. But it is not guaranteed! It is your choice and your choice alone that is the only guarantee. This is the meaning of free will.” (ACOL, T4:5.9)

“Being who you are” is being who God created us to be, and that is a free individual, joined with Him, and not knowing egoic separation at all. For eons we have not been the people whom God created; we have been lost in illusion, an illusion that is simply another word for madness or insanity. We have been out of our minds. The ego had us chained to beliefs that caused us great fear, and with the fear came pain and suffering. The world can’t work without Love, and we were trying in vain to make it work with d judgment, that were constantly being undone. God knew in His creation that nothing could cause the universes to survive well except Love. His very Being was comprised of Love, and when that Being individuated Itself, Love was present in every part. Love had been extended to God’s creations.

We can’t get away from the need for Love. This is also like saying that we can’t get away from the need for God. If we find belief in God untenable, then we can just as easily believe in Love, and He will understand. Our minds have long wanted proof of God’s existence, and this proof, a knowing, can only come from the depths of our being, mostly likely through our intuition. There will come a time, in our movement toward Christ-consciousness, that we will just know that God is real, that Love is real, and that this Love is the backbone of the Whole. This Whole is everything seen and unseen, for energy is present in different frequencies, and some frequencies are too high for us to see with physical eyes. These frequencies, however, are discernible by our depths of mind and heart. And it is by turning within, in communion with that great depth within, that we will ultimately come to know rather than simply perceive.

Our free will still operates within certain parameters. We cannot, any of us, make the impossible, possible. God holds the trump card. But we can agree to the probable, and this probable includes using our free will to erase the separation from God that has caused us such miserable trouble. The separation was never real, for we have always been a part of God. But, lost in insanity, we made a world with effects that very nearly have destroyed us. Like Helen and Bill (co-scribes of A Course in Miracles), we come finally to the place where we know that there must be another way. And this “another” way is actually a better way.

Would not we want to walk through this perilous world without fear? This fearlessness is what we are walking toward when we turn inward and let our Christ-Self direct our movements and our voices. Would we like to give up holding grudges? This is what we will do in realizing that all of us have acted innocently, in insanity, with diminished responsibility because of this insanity. We will forgive, and in this forgiveness, we will cease attack, we will cease anger, and we will cease to judge. Of course, here we have the two impediments to Christ-consciousness, fear and judgment. And all of it is subsumed by fear, the opposite to Love.

Let’s let our inner Self direct our doings today. Let’s let Love overwhelm us. It is possible to feel so loved by God that we are made weak by the feeling. That is what we need to head toward. That very weakness, our vulnerability, will eventually settle into an invulnerability to things of this world. We can experience pain, but we will never, in this state of mind and heart, experience suffering again. We will be too close to God to let emotional overwrought hoodwink us into doubting the goodness of the universe(s).

Nothing bad ever happened, in reality. We just lost our way a little while, but time is an illusion, and now we are making our way back in remembrance of what was lost. Let our feelings of love well up within us. Make no decision against love today. Make no decision that would allow us to think God a figment of our imagination. In our depths, we know that His Love sustains us, wherever we are.

Prayer

Be with me today. If bad things seem to happen, give me the equanimity to withstand anything this world can throw my way. Thank You for the greater calm that You have granted me in recent days. Communing with You allows Your love to become real to me.

May You guide my speech today to be comforting and consoling to anyone I see. May I rest in the peace that only You can give.

Amen.

Our Turn to Love Will Save Us

“Once the original nature of the created becomes observable in physical form, physical form will surpass what it once was and become the new nature of the created. There is no reason why the original nature of your being cannot become a being the nature of which is form if you so choose it to be. There is a reason why the original nature of your being cannot exist in a form unnatural to love. A form whose nature is fear cannot house the creation of love.” (ACOL, T4:3.12)

We are creations, borne of God, who occupy form—however unreal that form may actually be. Even though A Course in Miracles called the physical world an illusion, there is no doubt that we perceive the bodies that we inhabit. And Jesus is doing a grand thing in A Course of Love: He is inviting us to embrace our physical forms as something that can be very good. We don’t have to wait until after death, and an ethereal world to come into our fullness. We can come into our fullness, living in the bodies that we know.

Yet there is an important, very important, proviso. We cannot come into our fullness if we cling to fear, for this is a result of our separation (illusory) from God, and fear is not natural to God’s Kingdom, the House of Truth. Because we thought that we were alone and lonely, abandoned by God, we dropped into fearful thoughts, and with this, the ego was born. And the ego has never done anything real at all; the egoic world has been lost in illusion from day one. True reality means that we drop into a world free of judgment and attack, free of fear—a world of harmony, peace, joy, love. This is our real heritage. This is what we are about.

We are moving into a new world, one in which form is not denigrated at all, but only if the fear that has dogged the steps of the physical is eliminated. We can and will make that change, for we are very weary of living in a fearful world. We turn to Love, and when we turn to Love, and with the elimination of judging and fear, we move into a new reality of enlightenment, Awakening, Christ-consciousness. Whenever we have a particularly harmonious day, we have in all likelihood experienced a glimpse of enlightenment. Let’s remove the blocks to the awareness of Love, and with that, we have done all that we can to invite Christ-consciousness. But it is enough. It is really enough.

The newly created world will transform life as it has been known for eons. We are on the brink of an ever-expanding newness, and with this newness will come joys that are still unknown to us. This is an exciting time for transformation. Be on the forefront. It will give us a good and very different life from the one that we have lived heretofore.

Prayer

Be with me today. Basically, I want to focus on Love and invite the harmonious experience of this day, inviting a glimpse of enlightenment. I know that the only thing that I can do is to make sure that I neither judge nor fear anything today. Then my focus on Love will be genuine. I ask Your help, for without You I am completely and utterly incompetent to change my life at all.

Help us to welcome our brothers and sisters to a better world. When we reach out in Love, we reach out to individuals who are part of You. And this makes it easy to love everyone.

Amen.

A Kinder, Gentler World

Note: I recommend the online newsletter, The Embrace, which you can sign up to receive about every two weeks into your email. The Embrace, published by Take Heart Publications (same publisher as A Course of Love), gives a featured presentation from ACOL readers in each issue. Here is the link:

http://acourseoflove.com/the-embrace-newsletter/

“Your thinking will begin to change to reflect your recognition of reception. Reception and welcome are highly linked. You will find you are welcome to all the gifts you recognize in your brothers and sisters just as you freely will offer yours to serve them. To serve rather than to use is an enormous change in thinking, feeling, and acting. It will immediately make the world a kinder, gentler place. And it is only a beginning.” (ACOL, C:20.44)

“Use,” as described here, is the sense that we choose our friends and family for what we can get out of them, what good they can do for us in a sometimes difficult world. This means that we have been likely to surround ourselves with friends solely because we didn’t want to be alone. This means that we cozy up to our family in case we need their financial help. This means that we try to succeed in the world just for the sake of competition, to come out on top, not because we are trying to do anything good for other people.

“Service” is the alter-ego of use. Service is when we think of the other person’s best interest, even if aside from our own best interest. We do things for other people that may be laudatory, but we don’t take egoic satisfaction from our deeds. We are just glad to help.

When we serve, we do receive in like measure, but our reception is not tainted by overriding self-interest. When we serve, we are, as Jesus says, living in a kinder, gentler world. Our deeds may even go unrecognized, but this does not disturb us, because we have moved out of ego. Our heartfelt response to others is what saves us, and save them. We are living salvation.

Prayer

Dear Father/Mother,

This day filled with brilliant sunshine also fills my heart with calm joy. It is a good day. Help me to go out in the world, when next I do so, with a calm and radiant spirit imbued by the peacefulness that I sense right now.

Be with us as we seek to be of service in Your world. Your world, of course, is not the egoic world that we previously knew, but a new, real world that is permeated, through and through, with Your love. Peace, harmony, calm, joy, limitless release—these await us in the real world that we enter when we have turned to our hearts for solace.

Help me to remember to turn to my heart throughout this glorious day.

Amen.

Remembrance Will Save Us Now

“The first step in remembering this holiness is forgetting. Let yourself forget that you do not feel holy and that the world does not appear to be sacred. Let your heart remember that you are holy and that the world is sacred. A thousand things can pull you from your remembrance. Forgetting “things” can free you to remember.” (ACOL, C:20.23)

We are not learning new things as we read A Course of Love, as much as we might think that we are. We are being led back, in forgotten memory, to a remembrance of what we knew many eons previously. This remembrance will save us. Nothing else can.

It is important not to view ACOL as “new doctrine,” because if we do that, we will wonder about everything that we read. Ask ourselves, instead, if this way of viewing the world hits a resonant cord in our hearts. Do we FEEL that what this voice is saying is true? Do we want it to be true—for what we want will come about. This is the truth that we create our own reality.

We need to forget all the notions that say that these ideas are too good to be true. Do they FEEL true? That is the litmus test.

We don’t need to apply our logical brain to this exercise. Our heart knows something that the mind does not. That is why forgetting is so important. We have listened to the egoic mind for eons; now is the time to turn from that to something better—the heart, the heart that doesn’t demand proof, but just knows in a way that the mind does not.

Prayer

Dear Father/Mother,

The best that we can do is follow the guidance that whispers in our ears throughout the day. We don’t need to apply logic to this silent whispering; we just need to trust, and trust is not hard to do, when our egoic thinking has been stilled.

Be with me today so that I don’t act impulsively, and then regret my actions. I need to be stopped in my tracks if I start heading off in the wrong direction. And I ask for this stopping to be done as gently as You can. I know that You know me better than I know myself.

And in Your knowing are all my questions answered.

Amen.

Love Is All that Is Important

“While you look for a God with a physical form you will not recognize God. Everything real is of God. Nothing unreal exists. Each person passing from this life to the next learns no great secret. They simply realize love is all there is. Nothing unreal exists. Think for yourself: If you were going to die tomorrow what would you today find meaningful? Only love. This is salvation’s key.” (ACOL, C:2.2)

When we decide to look on all with the single emotion of love, we have salvation’s key.

We may think that this is impossible. But if we love the bad as well as the good, we transmute the bad into the good. We don’t suppress the bad so that it rises another day to frighten us. We integrate, and therefore overcome, the bad with the light of our better nature.

Everything real is of God, and nothing unreal exists. And so our ego gets out of the way when we become inclined to the real, the things of God. We don’t learn anything more very much when we die from this world. We do simply realize that love is all there is. And we will realize this now if we consider the possibility that we might die tomorrow. What would be important today? Only love. Think about that. Only love. We want to hold our loved ones close to us at the end. And we are seeing something then that we have overlooked heretofore.

Why not hold our loved ones close to us now, right now? There is no better way to spend the day, in thought if not in proximity.
Most of us do have to get out of bed, get dressed, go to work, whether at home or away. But we don’t have to forget what is important.

The Easy Way Out

“Resign as your own teacher. Accept me as your teacher and accept that I will teach you the truth. Find no shame in this. You cannot learn what I would teach you without me. You have tried in countless ways and can try still again. But you will not succeed. Not because you are not smart enough. Not because you will not try hard enough. But because it is impossible. It is impossible to learn anything on your own. Your determination to do so only blocks your learning. It is only through union with me that you learn because it is only in union with me that you are your Self.” (ACOL, C:1.10)

In this passage Jesus asserts that his Self and our Self are one. And that we need him to make proper decisions. On our own, we cannot choose rightly; we just get lost in mindless meandering. Here Jesus is taking his place in this teaching volume of A Course of Love as our teacher. (Toward the end of ACOL, he will resign as our teacher, saying that we have now learned from him, and that he is our companion in the future.)

We cannot learn on our own, even when we try the hardest. We need a wiser soul to take charge and lead us out of the maze in which we find ourselves. And Jesus, as our savior, takes this task of leading us out unto himself. What a blessing for us this really is! We don’t have to struggle to get free of eons of bad choices. He will show us the easy way out of the mess that we have made of our lives. He knows how to do it, and he is using A Course of Love as one gigantic teaching tool.

There are other pathways, of course. But if we find an affinity with A Course of Love, it behooves us to accept the savior who is channeling that work. And I believe that this is indeed Jesus. Many others believe this as well. And indeed we find many wise sayings in ACOL that vie for a place among the best advice ever given.

Let Jesus help today. Read the first volume of ACOL with new eyes. Accept Jesus as the savior, the teacher, who can lead us into creating the new world that he so wants us to become part of. What do we have to lose but our agony?

The Altar in Our Minds Is the Only Reality

“To be in the Kingdom is merely to focus your full attention on it. As long as you believe you can attend to what is not true, you are accepting conflict as your choice. Is it really a choice? It seems to be, but seeming and reality are hardly the same. You who are the Kingdom are not concerned with seeming. Reality is yours because you are reality. This is how having and being are ultimately reconciled, not in the Kingdom, but in your mind. The altar there is the only reality.” (ACIM, T-7.III.4)

The altar in our minds is the true reality. We are not concerned any longer with “seeming” to know reality; we do know reality. We both have and we are—what we are being is consistent with our having the Kingdom of God.

This is deep understanding, and it is hard to recognize on first reading. When we wish to be in the Kingdom, we can focus our full attention upon it, and when we do that, we are no longer “seeming” to know reality, but we are truly knowing reality. Attention, mindfulness, is a way home, a way to salvation, and, ultimately, a way to Awakening, or enlightenment.

What we are in our essence, in the inner altar of our minds, is reality. Nothing else really exists. There is no world, according to Jesus in A Course in Miracles. It is purely and simply illusion, projected from our minds outward in a world, as well, of illusory bodies. Of course, everything seems solid, but that is simply part of the illusion. Projection makes perception, as Jesus also says.

Many of us do not accept that the world is not real. But if we come to see that it is, we are immediately freed from its effects. We realize that there is nothing in an illusion that can ultimately hurt us, and so we stop being defensive.

Jesus also encourages us to avoid defense, saying that it makes what we are trying to avoid.

So there is nothing in this world that can hurt us in any real sense. We see blood in the illusion, but it is not unlike catsup in a movie. We are never ultimately harmed. The only real thing is the state of our mind and heart, the inner altar that is also the home of God.

Dot AND Circle, by Ivor Sowton

Early in the Dialogues of A Course of Love (ACOL), Jesus gives us a very powerful exercise to practice:
“Expand your reach! Step outside of the dot of the separated self and into the circle of unity where all you desire is already accomplished in the fullness and wholeness of the undivided Self.” (D: 8.11)

For me and many I’ve come in contact with, the spiritual search has been the primary aim in life–precisely because the limitations of the tiny separated self have become far too painful. That is, we long to expand our reach beyond the monad or separated self. A monad is an existentially isolated being. But thankfully, the idea is not to completely jettison or discard or kill the monad in us, but to elevate it.

There is a tradition is esoteric spirituality that there actually is no monad or separated self–that it is an illusory construct only and needs to be outgrown and discarded at best and vigorously excised at worst. As when Adam and Eve in the Bible disastrously step outside the proscribed limitations of the Garden of Eden and exercise self-will. In that version of the creation story the choice for self-will is a completely negative thing and the family of humans have to struggle from then on merely to continue to survive at all.

Luckily for us in our lives as individuals, Jesus in A Course of Love tells us that we should have Self-will–just not destructive small-self will, which is from ego and is illusory. Right near the end of this wonderful new dispensation Jesus has given us in A Course of Love, Jesus gives us the denouement here, saying that we needed to individuate from undifferentiated Godhead because that completed God. God needed or wanted to be known, and hence both subject and object became needed, because for there to be a created in turn means that there is perforce a Creator, and that God Himself has become fulfilled in His own creation. He is thus fulfilled through us, as we are fulfilled through Him. How beautiful!

The original mistake or misstep came when we got afraid of assuming that role of being a tremendously powerful Child of God, and in our fear made an ego in order to define our turf in much smaller terms. So the ego is the monad, and it’s not who we are, but at the same time it doesn’t need to be attacked and killed. Jesus says in ACOL that “You are called to peace, a peace that begins and ends by ceasing to do battle with the ego.” (2nd Treatise, 11.4)

Luminary current new thinker Ken Wilber has given us a useful model that has helped me understand the growth Jesus is recommending so strongly to us now: transcend and include (see his early, exuberant book A Brief History of Everything, currently in print.) So the dot goes beyond its little boundaries by transcending them, thereby becoming identified with the Container, the Eternal, the All– however we might conceptualize the One Source of all dots. The dot is then INCLUDED in the All, but does not thereby become obliterated, but fulfilled.

So we get to be both the dot and the Circle!

Now of course the dot is changed markedly by its new relationship with the circle, or the great expanse of Unity in which it is now included. Jesus calls this new dot, so to speak, the true Self in observable form, or just the true Self. Having re-established our identity and relationship with the Great Circle, we are now fulfilling our true purpose at last:
“You are a beautiful representation of the truth and cannot be otherwise. You may bring this beauty to any number of walks of life, to what you currently do or something you have always dreamt of doing. Wherever you go, whatever you do, the truth will go with you.” (3rd Treatise, 22.3)

And so we see that we don’t have to do self-damage to re-establish our sense of connection with God. What we do have to do is to open up to the vision of ourselves as not only dot and not only Circle, but BOTH. This is the inheritance Jesus says is ours and everyone’s–now and always. Thus Jesus tells us repeatedly “fear not.” We can’t lose, for we are all contained within the embrace of that Circle, always. Thus he says (Ibid., Ch. 13, title) that there can be for us now:

“No loss, but only gain (!)”

Time of Tenderness Accomplishes Atonement: the Culmination

“The time of tenderness is the time of your approach to unity. The atonement that is accomplished here is the means of opening the gate to your approach. No one has closed this gate to you, but you by your own hand pulled it shut as you departed your heavenly home, and you do not remember that your own hand can open it once again.” (ACOL, C:29.9)

The time of tenderness is an especially heart-wrenching period for those of us who are reading A Course of Love. Jesus has brought us to a point in which we see ourselves as particularly sensitive in our reactions. This sensitive point will render us able to recognize the indwelling of the Christ Self. It will tenderize our relationships to God, other people, and also ourselves. We will be ready for something more, an embodiment, a full embodiment, of the Christ in physical form. We do not have to rue this embodiment in physical form, for it has been elevated to a place very high in Jesus’s scheme of things. And forgiveness has helped to bring us to this point, the forgiveness championed so much in A Course in Miracles.

And we go on, at this point, to see where forgiveness fits:

“We speak not of forgiveness or even atonement here, for these have been thoroughly discussed earlier. You have all been through the time of tenderness, the time that preceded your giving and receiving of forgiveness, your request for and granting of atonement, your re-viewing and unlearning of the perceived lessons of your life.” (ACOL, D:Day 2.14)

“Unity” means the time that God and the self are once again One. We are no longer dependent upon the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit, to take command of our lives, through guidance that takes us home. We are home. We have a more direct approach to God than at anytime during the separation. We are living the Christ Self, a concept that is welcomed as we become the elevated Self of form.

At this point the theology becomes unified, something that we would expect when Jesus calls this time the “approach to unity.” We are a part of God, and we have welcomed Him once again, for we are not longer asleep. He does not have to think that His children sleep and need to be awakened. When we come into Christ-consciousness, we are awakened. The Unconscious is available to us. We see the merging of ourselves with the inner Christ Self in this time of the second coming of Christ.

In reading A Course of Love, we did go through a time of tenderness, and this time opened our hearts to greater understanding, full knowledge of what God would once again mean to us. We were actually “tender” during part of the reading of ACOL, and this stirring of the heart accomplished great things in us.
Now we can realize that atonement continues throughout time, until it is finally relinquished as a done deal. We do not try to hasten its ending, though sometimes we feel impatient. We rest in God’s timing.

It is enough. Once begun, the ending is sure.

And we welcome the ending, whenever God feels that we are ready for the Christ-consciousness, the elevated Self of form, that He wishes for us.

A Comparison of Forgiveness and Atonement

“Resign as your own teacher. . . .

“Looked at in another way, this process has much in common with forgiveness. The action associated with it raises it to a level similar to that of atonement. It is an undoing accompanied by a new means of doing. In the process of unlearning, both forgiveness and atonement occur.” (ACOL, C:23.27 – 28)

We learn to forgive gradually. If we followed A Course in Miracles, the theme was forgiveness. It was the means of salvation, the means of the dislodging of the ego. Now we find that atonement and forgiveness have much in common. We now have a new means of doing, a means without the ego that has dragged us down for eons. We have indeed come a long way.

The way is not complete until in atonement all false means of thinking are relinquished. Right-thinking is where we are heading, but to undo insanity, as I have pointed out earlier in this blog, is not easily overcome. Miracles help, but progress is also made slowly, undoing one habit of mind, and then turning to another—and sometimes retracing our steps when we have, once again, taken up a false way of thinking.

When we forgive, we have unlearned the idea that attack and anger are justified. We have realized that we get what we have defended against, that defense solidifies the false thinking and false behavior (from ACIM).

The ideas in this paragraph are new in A Course of Love. Jesus does not equate forgiveness and atonement in A Course in Miracles, though he does stress both as necessary to getting us out of the mess that we are in. We give up the egoic thought system, and then we move forward to replace that thought system with a new one. We move into Christ-consciousness, which gives us new revelations on a constant basis. We may be very surprised at the insights that come to us when we catch glimpses of Christ-consciousness. This miracle of glimpses prepares us, eventually, for sustainability of Christ-consciousness. We leave behind the old, we have reframed our minds (with help from the Christ Self, inwardly, and the Holy Spirit, who is also within us).

Atonement Banishes the Ego’s Thought System

“We could not begin the curriculum here because you would have been unable, without the lessons of this course, to distinguish the personal self from the ego-self. There is a danger even now in focusing upon the self of the body, as this self has been so long bound to the ego-self. Even with the ego once and finally vanquished, the patterns of the ego’s thought system remain to be undone. This is atonement. We work now to correct the errors of the past in the present, the only place where such work can be done. We work with what we have a form fully able to represent the truth and, in so doing, we bring the truth to lie and life to the truth.” (ACOL, T3:1.13)

Can we now differentiate the personal self from the ego-self? Perhaps we are not always sure. A Course in Miracles dislodged the ego, but it remains for A Course of Love to give the next step. I think too many of us didn’t know what to replace the ego with, and so A Course of Love was scribed a few years later, to answer current needs.

The patterns of the ego need to be undone, and this is the work, over time, that we are about now. It is what atonement is doing for us.
Do not be dejected to hear that atonement may take some time. We have all too often seen atonement as a one-time, one-moment thing, sort of like accepting Christ, that we would do—and then all would be well. But insanity is not dismantled in one fell swoop. Miracles speed the way to sanity, but there are still many, many tiny scraps of thought that have to be undone.

We had past errors, and these are now to be corrected in the present, which, as Jesus points out in this quotation, is the only place that past errors can be corrected. Atonement will proceed in strict order to the diligence we give our new thought system. The mind training that we received in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles will now be made complete.

Do not feel unaccomplished when you hear this, for Jesus has defined us as “The Accomplished.” We don’t have to feel that we are still wallowing in misery, committing more and more mistakes. Our minds have more sanity in them than they have had heretofore in the separation. We are undoing the separation now. That is what atonement does for us.

Old Patterns of Thought Cry Out for a Miracle

“You must be beginning to see that your thought processes, the very thought processes that tell you hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute how to perceive of and live in your world, are still often based on old concepts. This does not mean you have not changed nor that you are in need of accomplishment rather than the already accomplished. What this means is that you are still in need of unlearning, of undoing old patterns of thought. This is atonement and it is continuous and ongoing until it is no longer needed.” (T2:4.25)

Atonement, we learn here, is not a one-time event—we accept something held out to us, and are forever changed. Change normally takes time (though there are miracles that are instant in effect). Thus atonement becomes “continuous and ongoing until it is no longer needed.”

What does this tell us? It tells us that we have to be patient with our mistake-prone nature. Even though Jesus tells us in A Course of Love that we “The Accomplished,” we will not remain static at some level of development for all future times. We will continue to grow and develop, and until atonement is ultimately complete, atonement will continue to change us, to undo old patterns of thinking.

Have you ever thought how hard it is to escape insanity? To change every thought pattern that has gone awry? That is what we are up to, changing all false patterns of thinking to right-thinking. And it will take Jesus at the end, he tells us, to correct those patterns of thinking that we ourselves cannot change. He stands at the end for ultimate correction (from A Course in Miracles).

Patience and forbearance are required. Patience and forbearance will ensure that we make correct decision of what to say, do, and think, in the future. We are in an ongoing process of change. The result will be the elevated Self of form that creates a new world. This is the promise that A Course of Love holds out to us.
Won’t you join the great commission today?

Salvation Will Expand from the Few to the Many

“Few truly believe in atonement or undoing. Few truly believe there is no sin. Few truly believe that they are not the sum of their behaviors.” (ACOL, C:31.18)

What we do wrong does not define us. I think this is what Jesus is saying. We have made many mistakes, and may continue to make them, but correction is afoot in atonement. We do not have to continue to believe in sin, which would be uncorrectable if it were a real thought and not a fantasy of wrongdoing that, for perverse reasons, invites repetition.

Let us today be one of the few who do believe in atonement or undoing, do believe there is no sin, do believe that we are not the sum of our behaviors. There may be few today, but that number will increase exponentially if we do our part in being ministers of salvation. We will not proselytize, but we will share when we sense that others are ready to hear. And because they are ready to hear, they will be eager learners, until such time as they can put aside learning and move into observation as a way to grow.

Let’s be sure, first, that we are within the “few,” and then let’s expand the “few” to more and more individuals. This is what salvation is all about. It is not a selfish state, of course, but one that we share with all the fervor that we can muster.

A Dawning of Psychic Attunement

“God gives special gifts to His teachers, because they have a special role in His plan for Atonement. Their specialness is, of course, only temporary; set in time as a means of leading out of time. (M-4.1)”

We will develop some new abilities as we ease into our new role as the saviors of humankind. These include psychic abilities, which Jesus makes clear in this section of the Manual for Teachers. But this is not a reason to be prideful; we know that pride is false, that it is an egoic reaction. And we are quickly moving beyond the ego. We are moving beyond desire to be “special.” We simply want to live peaceably, in happiness and with a sharing of the gifts that have come so easily to us.

As time passes, all of us will come to see that the special abilities that we develop now are not a means of raising us higher than our brother. They are a means of saving our brother, once he has given us the nod that he would like to know how we received the light that seems to be in us now.

All God’s gifts will one day be shared equally among all His children (an idea from A Course in Miracles). We therefore have absolutely no reason to allow jealous feelings to rear their heads. We need not to allow the ego that much of a toehold in our emerging consciousness of God’s plan for salvation.

Salvation and Atonement Are for Everybody

“The circle of Atonement has no end.” (T-14.V.7)

We are all included in the Atonement. Nobody is outside, because we are all holding hands in a circle. If anybody were outside the circle, the Atonement principle would be broken for all.

And God does not allow that to happen. He saves all his children.

This phrase, “circle of Atonement,” has been selected by one of the organizations teaching A Course in Miracles, and a link to that site is in the blogroll (sidebar to this blog).

Everyone Has a Special Part to Play in the Atonement

“Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. (T-14.V.2)”

When we fell away into our illusion of separation, we did not do anything that is unforgivable, and therefore we do not, actually, have anything to feel guilty about.

We find this hard to believe. Jesus notes elsewhere that we think that we are deep in sin, terrible things, from which we cannot be redeemed. We think that what we have done is so dark that God Himself could not look upon us with love. Of course, we don’t say these things very often, because our traditional religions have taught us otherwise. Yet the lingering doubt about our goodness still clings to us, wherever we go and whatever we do. We try to justify ourselves by good behavior, sometimes behavior made in fighting against sin, but we find that this doesn’t work very well. So what are we to do now?

We take the part that God has assigned to us in the Atonement. We take the part that says we are really guiltless. A Course in Miracles becomes our way home, for those of us who read it faithfully and who take the Workbook lessons. We move into Awakening, and then we know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that what Jesus has been telling us in ACIM is true. We have made mistakes only in illusion, and so those mistakes are not only forgivable, they never actually happened in truth.

We move to the real world in an Awakened state, letting others know, in whatever way we are led, that they too are guiltless. We accept with finality that Jesus knows what he is talking about in ACIM. Our love takes on the fervor of what God feels, if only in a minute amount. God’s Love, being all-encompassing, is so far beyond what we can feel that our feelings pale in comparison. Yet we do get a glimpse of what His love is like. And with that we commune with Him in silence, our communication with Him restored.

Sharing Purely in Salvation

“The Atonement must be understood as a pure act of sharing. (T-5.IV.2)”

How did Jesus, in the Atonement which he fulfilled, share with us? He shared an example of someone who overcame death. Never does he say in what form he arose. He leaves that a mystery, for our faith to decipher in whatever way we choose. But he does say in A Course in Miracles that his part in the Atonement was fulfilled by the resurrection, not the crucifixion—and this is a departure from the doctrine of traditional Christianity.

Likewise, the Holy Spirit shares with us; we share with others. So the line of giving is complete, and giving and receiving, as we have previously learned in A Course in Miracles, is the same.

Jesus set the example; indeed, he says elsewhere (A Course of Love) that his is the example life. He reached out to all of humanity with his great gift of teaching and, most of all, his God-granted right to resurrection, a gift that would let us know that eternity is ours.
Few of us have ever known “pure” acts. But when we listen to guidance, we will understand that what the Holy Spirit shares with us, we will want to extend to others in a pure act of sharing.
And Jesus says that he is with us also, when we ask. He says to imagine that he holds our hand, and that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

Some aspects of traditional Christianity are not interpreted differently by A Course in Miracles, and the Trinity is certainly portrayed similarly. The plan of salvation includes our openness to God, and His to us; our relationship to the Holy Spirit, our Teacher and Guide; and our brotherhood with Jesus, who says he has nothing that we cannot also have. Let us take these reassuring words and walk with them in our everyday life.

Atonement Solves ALL Problems

“The teacher of God has taken accepting the Atonement for himself as his only function. (M-22.1)”

We know that Jesus in A Course in Miracles often talks of our function, and he uses different labels: forgiveness, salvation, happiness. Here he says that our function is accepting Atonement. Jesus is equating all these terms, and may he not do so with impunity? We know that we cannot do little for this world or for God when we are lost in mistakes, following an egoic pathway to nowhere. The only thing left for us to take our place among the saviors of the world is to accept correction, and this is what Atonement is all about.

Are all of us really “saviors”? We don’t think of ourselves this way, mainly because to do so sounds so very egotistical. Yet Jesus would say that we all have a place in salvation, that we all have something to do—once we have gotten on our own pathway and are trying to live a good life in religious terms.

I don’t see myself as a “savior,” because it does seem too egotistical. A word like savior is reserved for Jesus, to my mind. Yet he welcomes us to do what we can, and if we can save another, that too is very, very good.

We need to realize that sometimes what we think is egotism is actually the ego telling us that we are being egotistical, thinking that it [the ego] will reel us in.

We don’t want to be reeled in. We want to following the footsteps of Jesus, helping others to the best of our abilities. We want to live good lives, following the highest and best that we know.

Let us seek to understand what our function really is today. It may be forgiveness, salvation, happiness, accepting Atonement. All are one in Jesus’s eyes, for he melds all of our life here on earth into something that can save us. And we reach out to others, trying to encourage their good sense to rise up and follow the ways of Jesus as well.

The day holds promise, if we practice the functions that Jesus has given to us in these words of A Course in Miracles. Let us ask that this day will hold promise for us. Let us thrust aside tiredness and jadedness, and walk into the sunlight with Jesus.

The Atonement Is the Final Lesson We Need Learn

“The Atonement is the final lesson he need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation. (T-13.in.4)”

The “he” is an individual, a person, who believes in separation from God and wants a remedy that will take away all guilt and offer absolution from mistakes. This is the extreme reading in A Course in Miracles, in which we know that all the wrong that we have ever done, out of allegiance to the ego, was simply an illusion. Being an illusion, it is not unforgivable, and, importantly, Jesus asserts that it is only a mistake, not a sin. Being a mistake, it can often (though not always) be rectified by later action on our part. We have pardon.

To have no need for salvation is to understand the true meaning of the well-known phrase of a “journey without distance.” We find our way back from what we never left, but thought we did. That place is in God’s Arms, fully in communication with Him, fully in the joy of His Presence.
And this “final lesson” of the Atonement does pave the way for Awakening, which is our ultimate end in A Course in Miracles. We may not all reach it, but we all have the potential to reach it. We need realize that we need do nothing, that it is all done for us, when we leave off the guilt that has taken us into insanity. We leave off the egoic notions, and we find our way home in peace.

This is our journey without distance. May we all takes steps toward the joyous end of Awakening today.

Forgiveness = Salvation = Atonement = True Perception

“Forgiveness, salvation, Atonement, true perception, all are one. (C-4.3)”

This single sentence is an example of how Jesus combines ideas to form a whole—a unified whole. If we can see that forgiveness = salvation = Atonement = true perception, then we will be well on our way to accepting the Atonement that Jesus prepared for us 2,000 years ago in his resurrection. He would see us with healed minds, walking this world by holding his hand (in our imagination).

Forgiveness is our way home, forgiveness of our brother. This is the path pointed out by A Course in Miracles.

Salvation is granted us by request. We may not see outstanding miracles; it may be a quiet time for us. But salvation is ours for the asking.

Our true perception prepares the way for knowledge, which comes only from God. When our eyes see truly, we don’t focus on what the physical eyes have seen. We focus on the things of God. And we will not be disappointed by this affirmation to see differently.
Atonement is our study now. And when we see that forgiveness, salvation, true perception all point the way, we will know God’s truth.

There Are No Accidents in Salvation. Those Who Are to Meet Will Meet. . . .They Are Ready for Each Other.

“. . .[T]he plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other. (M7)”

1 – No Accidents

The fact that there are no accidents in the plan of salvation is a comforting thought. Those who are meant to meet, will meet. Our potential, with each person in our personal world, is the potential to have a holy relationship. There are no exceptions.

2 – Contacts

These “very specific contacts” may give us solace as we go about our days, even as we encounter those whom we find it difficult to love. These may be our most important teachers. It is instructive that the plan of salvation, in the view of A Course in Miracles, is a detailed plan, with particular people entering our lives whom we are meant to meet.

3 – Holy Relationships

Finding the way to a holy relationship is not a straight line. Elsewhere we are bade to turn our special love relationships into holy relationships, but we are not perfect, and at times the hatred in our hearts, as yet unhealed, will surface with attack and anger. This is not a reason to despair, but one to recognize as an opportunity. When we fall down, we are helped up, often by the same brother or sister who has been the catalyst for our fall. Then we will see that special love relationships really can and do become holy, given time and the incentive to make the transformation.

4 – Teaching

“The simplest level of teaching appears to be quite superficial. It consists of what seem to be very casual encounters; a ‘chance’ meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult ‘by chance’ two students happening’ to walk home together. These are not chance encounters. (M7)”

For Jesus to affirm that such casual encounters as described in the passage are not accidental is a momentous assertion. It places our day solely in the hands of a benevolent Providence. Most things that we normally attribute to chance thus become something entirely different—a chance to show others what we are like, and thereby to improve the world, however minutely.

5 – Witnessing

We can witness in the most secular environment, the most secular surroundings. We do not have to make a big deal out of sharing ourselves in everyday life. It does behoove us not to resort to attack and anger in encountering others, whether they be significant others or very casual encounters with people who, at the point of meeting, are indeed strangers to us.

6 – Comforting Passage

This passage is very comforting, for it means that even when we feel alone, we are not really alone. Most of us encounter others who are strangers daily. We can see that each encounter has the potential for a holy relationship, and so we see that we are surrounded by potential friends.

7 – Casual Encounters

“Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come. (M7)”
This passage explains what happens in these casual encounters. Salvation has come! What an assertion and what a blessing! We reach out to another, almost unconsciously, and we are rewarded with a sense of good having been done.

8 – Alone?

We need to invite the feeling that we are losing our separate interests. We are not meant to be all alone, independent beings who don’t need each other. In our heart of hearts, we know that we do need others. Of course, our tendency toward introversion or extroversion will determine how many people we will let into our circle. This need not be a situation of conflict. Not everybody can welcome the whole wide world. Everyone can be open to the individuals given him/her to save. If we don’t get too intent on our own interests and desires, we will know when others are ready, and we will respond accordingly. Be careful not to give more than another is ready to accept. Salvation is always reciprocal, with the giver receiving even more then he/she is receiving, at least part of the time. We give and receive as one. In that One, we are teachers and students together.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that we have particular people whom we are destined to meet. This is one truth that gives meaning to our lives.

May I transform all the special relationships that I have into holy ones. If this seems a too-lofty goal, let me remind myself that I have started the pathway, and once on the pathway, the end is certain.

Amen.

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

1 – Weariness

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

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

2 – Don’t Rue the Day

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

3 – A Smile

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

4 – Joyousness

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

5 – Tired?

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

6 – Waking the World

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

7 – Helen Schucman

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

8 – All Power

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

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

9 – Heaven and Earth

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

10 – The Mind

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

The “One Voice” is the Holy Spirit:

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

The Function of Relationships Became Forever “To Make Happy.” And Nothing Else.

camille-monet-and-her-son-jean-in-the-garden-at-argenteuil-renoir-large
1 – Happiness a Worthy Goal?

We often don’t think that happiness is a worthy goal. We think that there must be much bigger things to do in life than to be happy.

2 – Salvation

And, of course, there are. We are to bring salvation to our brothers and sisters. Forgiveness is our function, but happiness is also given in A Course in Miracles as our function. How might we link forgiveness and happiness?

3 – Forgiveness and Happiness

If we are in turmoil emotionally, we are likely not going to “be there” for others. If we are unhappy, that translates into turmoil, great or small. So when we develop lives that are happy, it stands to reason that we will be more likely to be there for others, to forgive them when they trespass against us. We are also more in a flow and better able to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings; we are not so hard on ourselves.

Here is the full passage:

“God established His relationship with you to make you happy, and nothing you do that does not share His purpose can be real. The purpose God ascribed to anything is its only function. Because of His reason for creating His relationship with you, the function of relationships became forever ‘to make happy.’ And nothing else. (T-17.IV.1)”

4 – Living in Reality

So we want what is real, and when we share God’s purpose for our lives, we live in reality (though maybe not yet in the “real world”). His purpose is lofty, we can be sure, and so we need to see happiness as well as forgiveness as lofty goals. We would not be satisfied with inferior goals. We want the best. We want it all (from ACIM).

5 – The Elaborately Framed Picture

“Look at the picture. Do not let the frame distract you. This gift is given you for your damnation, and if you take it you will believe that you are damned. (T-17.IV.9)”

The above passage comes from a particularly poetic portion of ACIM. Jesus describes an elaborate, overwrought picture frame that is inlaid with gems. He goes into some great detail, knowing that we would be attracted to such shiny objects. But he wants us to look at the picture that the ego has made, surrounded by all of that which would entice us, as well as distract us. The picture is small, a picture of nothing. If we believe the lies that the ego tells us, we will be “damned.” But we do not have to settle for this. We can leave this egoic part of ourselves in the ditch, with our eyes on the heavens. We can instead see a picture that is framed in light.

6 – Special Relationships

“The special relationship has the most imposing and deceptive frame of all the defenses the ego uses. (T-17.IV.8)”

We see here that this elaborately framed picture is a metaphor for our special relationships, and our special relationships are ego-inspired. We think that we will be happy if only we can possess this one special relationship, a relationship with a significant other who has attracted us. But we will not be happy for long. This way paves the path to hell for us, for the heights of joy are contrasted with depths of depression. The ego always does this to us. Never are we to be at peace. Never are we to have a stable happiness that will not desert us.

6 – Holy Relationships

“The picture of light, in clear-cut and unmistakable contrast, is transformed into what lies beyond the picture. As you look on this, you realize that it is not a picture, but a reality. (T-17.IV.16)”

The picture of light is a metaphor for the fact that our special relationships have been transformed into holy relationships. Jesus says that, in the beginning, when this transformation is first happening, we may be in a very disjointed frame of mind. The purpose of the relationship has shifted, and we are not immediately prepared for the shift. We may, in fact, break off the special relationship at this point, thinking that it no longer satisfies our needs.

7 – A Better Understanding

But we need to hang loose. We will come to know a much better relationship once the shift is completed. We will know love in a way that special relationships never promised (although they seemed to so promise).

8 – Love

The picture of light is gracious to us and gracious to God. We see an image that reflects back to us the love that we are offering to another. And this love is wholly pure. Though still in this world, it is not of this world.

9 – Eliminate the Ego

Change the elaborately framed picture of egoic special relationships to the picture framed in light that is a metaphor for holy relationships. Once we have done this, we will never look back.

Affirmation: “I would see the picture framed in light today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the picture framed in light today. I would turn aside from the tiny picture hung in an elaborate frame of gems that are meant to betray. Help me to develop the holy relationships that You long for me to have. May I, with Your help, turn all special relationships, past and present, into holy ones.

My brothers and sisters, seen and unseen, are in my mind today. People from the past, and new people from the future, crowd my mind. May this mean that I would have holy relationships of all others.

Thank You for being there for me. There is no better way to live a life than without the ego, with You only.

Amen.

Devotion to a Brother or Sister Cannot Set You Back

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“The Bible says that you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks. It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey. Devotion to a brother cannot set you back either. (T52)”

Affirmation: “Devotion to a brother cannot set me back”

Reflections:

1 – Masculine and Feminine Gender in ACIM

A “brother” in A Course in Miracles always includes brothers and sisters, and it means a companion, another person in this world who needs our compassion. (A Course in Miracles was scribed in the sixties, and inclusive gender language had not yet become inherent in our writing. This aspect of ACIM has become controversial, especially among younger students/teachers.) A brother or sister is someone in the world who may need us in ways that we can answer, or who may need us in ways that we cannot answer. ACIM recommends tolerance of differences, but in no way does ACIM imply that one is to disregard one’s own better instincts in order to cater to a brother or sister. We may walk farther along a pathway, due to the tolerance that we are encouraged to adopt, but we do not do anything to lengthen the journey that our brother or sister has set upon. After all, all of us are on a “journey without distance” (from ACIM), and we do not actually have to “go” anywhere at all to find our way to the spark of divinity which is within.

“The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. (T-8.VI.9)”

2 – Go the Extra Mile

It is important to note here that we are to follow the biblical injunction of going the distance with our brother. We are to go the extra mile. But we are not encouraged to send our brother searching alone for his (or her) pathway; we are to help him in the best way that we know how. This best way may not always be apparent. Sometimes we can help best by stepping back, and only smiling at him (or her); this is stated in the Manual of ACIM We are bade to pay attention to what our brother is ready for. And this may not be readily apparent, and so we need to think carefully before we act. If we ourselves cannot be hurt by a brother (and we cannot be), then we have nothing to fear from him–even when he misunderstands us. We may need to absence ourselves from him in such cases, though. Though A Course in Miracles does not say so, sometimes absence from the picture is a loving thing to do. We are not the right person for every other person, because we differ radically in our personalities (from the Manual of ACIM). Our personalities are quite distinct.

3 – No Lost Ground

Also important to this passage is the fact that our devotion to our brother cannot cause us to lose ground. Our pathway, according to ACIM, is found in our devotion to our brother, rather than through long periods of contemplation. Our way, according to the Course, is forgiveness, which leads to love, of our brother. Forgiveness of our brother will lead us to Awakening. So will contemplation, though Jesus states that this other way can be tedious, and we are encouraged to follow our way, which A Course in Miracles spells out in abundant detail.

4 – We Don’t Lose by Helping

If it seems that we have walked farther along our metaphorical pathway than our brother, know that if he/she has been “given” to us, then our companionship with him/her will not set us on a longer pathway home. Each of us is given certain others to whom we can fulfill a teaching role, and this occurs even if we are new students of A Course in Miracles. As soon as we have answered the call, these others will begin seeking us. We will know internally which new faces surrounding us really need us in some way that we can fulfill. And this may take patience. Not everyone is ready at the point of introduction. But if we stay in close touch with the Answer (the Holy Spirit), we will be led in how to conduct a given relationship. Our own desires for special relationships will fall away as we seek to make each encounter holy. And our ongoing special relationships will turn holy (though this may not be without pain).

5 – We Are Here for Each Other

What better way can we spend an eternity than to “be there” for our brothers and sisters? In A Course in Miracles, this is both our primary purpose and our means of salvation leading even unto Awakening. Forgiveness of our brother and sister is the means that we use. Remember that we do not pardon real offenses; our brother and sister are innocent creatures who are doing the best that they can. They may misinterpret the signals that we give, and, if so, it is for us to pull back. But forgiveness remains the central means that we move from fear to love in ACIM. And forgiveness means that even when we get our signals crossed with a brother or sister, we are encouraged still to be loving to that individual. Knowing what to do, and when, takes great skill, and we can never succeed in this tricky business without the guidance that the Holy Spirit prompts.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be the best companion to my brother. This will mean that I am there for him when he needs me. I will walk along the pathway with him.

May I recognize that devotion to my brother cannot cause me to lose ground in the quest for salvation. Devotion to my brother is the way spelled out in A Course in Miracles. Thank you for these words of encouragement and advice.

Amen.

Salvation = Game that Happy Children Play

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“Realize that this game of chance [tension between desire and accomplishment] is a pattern of the old thought system that needs to be replaced by certainty. If you have enjoyed the game of chance, play a real game and have fun doing it. Do not bring this attitude into your new thought system or your new life. If you are tired of the old, be willing to be done with the old. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.15)”

Affirmation: “There is no challenge in reality.”

Reflections:

1 – No Challenge to the Advanced Teacher of God

The passage for today indicates that there is no challenge—to the advanced teacher of God (from A Course in Miracles). To my mind, the tension between desire and accomplishment IS challenge. And we do not want to reinforce this attitude. We want to be done with the old.

2 – Guidance

According to the Manual of A Course in Miracles, there is no challenge to the advanced teacher of God because he/she follows guidance. He/she chooses for all humankind at the same time as choosing for the self. He/she makes no mistakes (be careful for this, for we oscillate in and out of favor), because his Guide (in ACIM, the Holy Spirit) is sure. He/she knows that his/her decisions are based on knowledge that is far beyond anything that he/she can comprehend alone.

3 – Certainty

If we are tired of playing this game of chance, in that some things turn out well and others don’t, know that we can be through with this particular game. Instead, let us play the happy game of salvation, a “game that happy children play” (from ACIM). Let us choose what we say and do with the certainty that has been denied us previously. We can know certainly only by following guidance, and, with A Course of Love, this guidance is the word coming from the inner Self, Christ. We make no mistakes when we are on the beam with this. But we have to realize that we are not perfect in this world, and mistakes will still happen. This keeps us humble, and this also keeps us listening to the inner voice of guidance.

4 – Glimpses of the Real World

Are we weary of this world? There is a way out, and it is not death. We can, most of us, catch glimpses of the real world before Awakening turns out life aright all the time. The first turning is by grace of God, but there are things that we can do to increase glimpses once they have begun. Prayer, study, and communion with God—all increase the likelihood that these glimpses will increase qualitatively and quantitatively.

5 – A Prayer

May we know more today than yesterday, and may we know more tomorrow than today. Always, though, living in the present.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be cognizant today of taking part in a real game, not a game of conflict and disaster. I would see salvation as a game that happy children play, knowing that the lighthearted touch is best.

Be with me to clue me in to the right way to proceed. And thank You for Your presence, which always brings a feeling of warmth and a feeling of being loved.

Amen.

The Ultimate in Salvation

san Marco Renoir painting“It should be becoming clear to you by now that, although you dwell in the house of the truth, you are capable of bringing with you old patterns of behavior. Once the translation of the new thought system for the old is complete, this will no longer happen. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.3)”

Affirmation: “I would avoid old patterns of behavior today.”

Reflections:

1 – Christ-Consciousness

We need to translate the old thought system into the new—the old egoic patterns into the new truth of reality as it is meant to be lived through Christ-consciousness, the ultimate in salvation. But we are still caught in the fears of the old pattern, and as long as those fears stay with us, we will have a problem. We will not be moving forward.

2 – Fear

Take time today to contemplate, with God, what we might do to speed along the process to completion of salvation. Many of us have had mystical experiences along the way, even glimpses of Christ-consciousness, but these have most usually not been sustained. Ask, and ye shall receive (from the New Testament). Ask to reach Christ-consciousness and to sustain it. To do so will mean that we make a conscious choice to leave fear behind.

3 – Divine Help

Can we leave fear behind on our own? No! We cannot. We need divine power to leave behind something that has become so ingrained in us. But God’s will for us is surely to leave behind the old thought system of egoic fear, and to walk into the sunlight with Him. He would have us transform ourselves, and ultimately the world. And time does not mean the same to Him that it does to us. What may seem a very long time, even millions of years (from A Course in Miracles), will pass very quickly in the grand scheme of things.

4 – Paradox

Don’t be afraid to leave fear! This assertion sounds paradoxical, and indeed it is. But do we not cling to the past in thousands of ways? Are we not afraid to let go and let God? His truth for us is far greater than we can imagine. He can show us how to lose the past by an all-encompassing movement, even run, toward the future.

5 – God

Let God show us today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to leave fear behind forever. I have often prayed a prayer for the lessening of anxiety, yet despite the glimpses of the ultimate in life, I still invite anxiety from time to time by my attitudes.

Let me leave this foolishness behind now and each day in the future, taking one day at the time. It is not Your will that we cower against this world, though it is true that this world can hurt us. I would not invite hurt by my attitude. I would enjoy tranquility and peace today and every day. Help me to do so.

Thank You.

Amen.

Love Does Not Demand Payment

impressionist paintings
“How you implement this idea [refusing to believe in earning and paying] will be your choice. But the idea that you do not have to earn your way nor pay your way must be birthed and lived by. While most of you will immediately think of your survival needs, this is far from the only area in which the idea of earning or paying your way can be found. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 13.7)”

Affirmation: “Under the laws of love, I don’t have to earn or pay for my pathway.”

Reflections:

1 – Earning and Paying

Upon reading the passage for today for the first time, we are very apt to discount it as impractical. Of course we have to earn our way! Of course we have to pay for our way! But do we really? What does earning and paying for really mean?

2 – Cost

In the idea of earning and paying, everything comes at a cost. And in the laws of mankind, that is indeed true. But the laws of mankind are laws of illusion, laws of the ego in that illusion. And the laws of love say something very different.

3 – Laws of Love

We still have to make our way in the world, and so it would be very wrong to quit our jobs and expect the world to care for us. We do not willingly give up our livelihood, and that is good. But the laws of love need no payment, and it is in the love that we would live today. We need the love of ourselves toward ourselves (self-love), love for God, and love for our brothers and sisters (giving and receiving). We are not meant to be alone, to be solitary creatures in our isolation because we do not trust.

4 – Trust

We can trust the world to give love back to us that we have also given to the world. And for this blessing there is no need to think of earning that love or paying for that love. The earning and paying are all of the old world, the world before the time of Christ. Now we seek only love, though our material needs do enter in (and rightfully so). God would have all of our needs—physical and emotional—be met. And this will happen as we proceed along our pathway. God’s children lack only from their own choice, but it is a choice of the Higher Self, not the personal self. And lack is not a conscious choice, and so we are not to blame the victim.

5 – Love

Look to love for your answers. Don’t think of any necessity to pay for this love. It is a free gift, an offer from God to us that will not be obliterated.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize today that love is a free offer from You. Your help is also a free offer. There is no reason to think in terms of payment or “earning my way” where You are concerned.

I would seek the love, in relationship, that is mine today. I would willingly recognize that payment taints the agreement that I have made with love. Love is mine to have and hold, as it is for everyone.

May I spend today in love. May all of us spend today in love.

Amen.

Salvation a Game that Happy Children Play

image_redfiled_blossom_2_full - pennsylvania
“Not one situation coming to you now will be a repeat of the past. How can it be when the past was lived in the house of illusion and the present is lived in the house of truth? Being cognizant of this is the only way that the simultaneous learning and unlearning that was spoken of earlier will be able to be realized. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.7)”

Affirmation: “I will seek to learn new things today.”

Reflections:

1 – Badly Taught

Earlier in this chapter in A Course of Love, Jesus asks us to forget as much as possible. Apparently he thinks that we were badly taught, and the reason comes out in the passage for today: We were living in the house of illusion. Now, he encourages us ever so much again by saying that we live now in the house of truth. He, if not we, are certain that we have walked far toward Christ-consciousness.

2 – How Happy Are You?

How can we measure our progress? A very simple way is to decide how happy we are, even if life is still tough in some respects and maybe in many respects. We will have an ineffable joy if we are living right. And actually things will turn out better, though Christ-consciousness and the preparation for it do not mean that all will always go swimmingly. Certainly Jesus had things go very badly, though he believed in what he was doing, and history has borne out the wisdom of his pathway.

3 – Do You Blame?

Other ways to know if we are proceeding along a path that leads ever closer to Christ-consciousness is to determine how we feel toward other individuals. Do we still blame them when they act badly? Do we still blame them when they blame us for something? Do we forgive readily? The life that is dedicated to Jesus’s way will proceed in concert with other individuals, always away that we hold each other’s hand as we walk through life. We walk side-by-side also, especially with our significant other, our brother (from A Course in Miracles). If we take turns moving ahead and falling back in this walk, neither we nor our brother make any forward progress. But if we walk gaily along, holding hands, we know salvation to the joyous game that children play (from ACIM).

4 – Walk to the House of Truth

So we walk to the house of truth. We may not always be certain what that truth really is, but nevertheless, we know that we are not wholly caught in illusions anymore. We feel better most of the time. Life seems a blessing, not a curse. And we walk in love of ourselves (for self-love does not have to be egotistical), others, and God.

5 – First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

Take time today to forgive, to love, and to reach ever forward on our walk. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Let’s don’t rue the day. We can and will reach Christ-consciousness, if we remain true to what we are reading. Only remember that God Himself makes the decision of when we are really ready to accept the ultimate blessing of living in this time of Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would emphasize my walk toward reality in my prayers to You today. I walk as humbly as I can, though egoic notions still impinge. I am ready to be done with the ego, and indeed Jesus says in A Course of Love that we all, who have reached this far, are done with the ego. May I recognize the truth of this statement.

I would drop my illusions today. I would drop the things that I say to myself that are injurious to myself. May my thoughts and words in in Your will, today and always. Be with me as I seek to walk into truth.

Amen.

In Peace Create the World Anew

“Creation becomes the new frontier, the occupation of those too young to rest, too interested in living still to welcome the peace of dying.  Those who could not change the world one iota through their constant effort, in peace create the world anew.  (A Course of Love, 6.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would create the world anew in peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Vocation

What a glorious vocation this passage elucidates!  We are to create the world anew, in peace but not effort.  What we will change permanently will indeed come effortlessly.  And in peace.  Our effort could not make this change, but our peace will do so–not in the future, but here, now.

2 – Edgar Cayce

I welcome the continued chance to make a difference.  I am personally not ready for death.  According to Edgar Cayce, many of us came to earth to make a difference in the lives of those who were trapped, without hope, in physicality.  We do not, with ACIM, take a stand on reincarnation, but since all time is an illusion, we do not need to feel that reincarnation is an issue.  We certainly do have this one life to live, and we can spend all of our days, in peace, with the hope and desire that others will live better lives because we have been here with them.  This indeed is our function of salvation, and we do live this function in conjunction with happiness.  God takes care of us, in unity with Him and in relationship to others.

3 – Effortless Work

When we desire peace, we sometimes think that death would be a welcome option.  But we still have effortless work to do here on this earth.  And death is nothing; it is like walking through an open door (from Ruth Montgomery’s Guides).  So do not long for death when the world turns difficult.  Put one foot in front of the other, and walk.  We will walk through the difficulty, so long as our thought and feeling processes remain good.  For this is the world that we make.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a good day today, an effortless day of work that will improve the world–indeed, that will create it anew.  What a glorious promise You have made to us!  It gives a motivation for living, a goal toward which we can all look–but without the ego making of anything a challenge.  Just effortless work.  Thank You!

Be with me as I seek to smooth the way for others today, and in so doing may I also smooth the way for myself.  As I treat others, I will be treated.  To give and to receive are one.  Be with  me as I seek to live this truth today.

Amen.

The Way of Salvation Is a Fait Accompli

“Would you not learn the lesson of salvation through his [Jesus’s] learning?  Why would you choose to start again, when he has made the journey for you?  (M-23.5)”

Affirmation:  “Jesus has made the journey for me.”

Reflections:

1 – What Jesus Learned

We can listen to the words of A Course in Miracles, and hear first hand what Jesus learned 2,000 years ago.  He made the journey for us.  We do not need to do anything to merit our own salvation.  We are sharing his resurrection with him.

2 – Why Do We Struggle So?

What a blessing this really is!  This passage asks us, without saying so, why we make life so hard for ourselves, when the way has already been cleared.

3 – Journey without Distance

Elsewhere Jesus says that this is a “journey without distance,” and there is a well-known book on A Course in Miracles by Robert Skutch that says the same.  We are not really going anywhere; we are accepting a reality that we have never known before in as great a depth as Jesus is teaching us in ACIM (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

4 – Choose What Has Lasting Value

We often choose activities because their value will not last.  We go on tangents, led by the ego, that leads to impossible learning goals that are inherently depressing and absolutely impossible of achievement.  We need to make a different decision today.  We need to ask for help in making that decision.  We need to choose only what has value that will last, for no value that is temporary is of any good to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the walk that Jesus took 2,000 years ago.  And he shares today what he learned.  His message in A Course in Miracles is clear, and this message is that salvation is ready for all of us to accept.  We do not have to achieve to accept salvation.  We are beloved.  We are as You created us.  As much as we disbelieve, we are innocent, guilty only of making mistakes–mistakes that are correctable and totally forgivable by ourselves and others.  You, bless You, do not extend forgiveness because You have never condemned.

Be with as we seek to incorporate the message of ACIM in our daily lives.  When we slip, You are there to catch our hand so that we do not fall on our face.  Be with us today as we take the journey without distance.

Amen.

What Can the Teacher of God Not Heal?

“To forgive is to heal.  The teacher of God has taken accepting the Atonement for himself as his only function.  What is there, then, he cannot heal?  What miracles can be withheld from him?  (M-22.1)”

Affirmation:  “May I fully express forgiveness today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ideal

This passage is another example of the “ideal” that is described in many parts of A Course in Miracles.  The words seem to say that there is nothing, once we have accepted the Atonement, that we cannot do, either through a healing or a miracle.  This certainly is a state that most individuals, even long-time students/teachers of ACIM, still aspire to attain.

2 – Miracle-Readiness

Elsewhere we learn that it is the Holy Spirit (and, sometimes, Jesus himself) who are attune to the miracle-readiness of our brothers and sisters, and then encourage us to perform a miracle.  We are not to do this on our own, because consciously-selected miracles can be misguided.  Always we perform what miracles we do perform under guidance higher than our own minds.  To do otherwise would be to invite the ego into our decision-making process about which miracles to perform.

3 – The Formula

Accepting the Atonement is sometimes equated with simple salvation.  Elsewhere salvation is seen as our only function.  And in yet other places, happiness is seen as our function.  So clearly these terms must be linked.  It is likely that from our joy, our happiness, we welcome salvation and we attain Atonement.  Then we are in a good position to perform those miracles that the Holy Spirit prompts us to perform.

4 – No Other Way

No other way will work.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would link in my mind today the fact of Atonement, forgiveness, salvation, and happiness.  Here is a working formula.  And may I accept that Jesus uses so many ways to show us how true reality works.

Be with me today as I seek to have a wonderful day.  I know that it is Your Will that all of us have joyous days, and those joyous days remain so when You are in the midst of them.

Amen.

A Miracle Worker? How Possible?

“Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors.  When this has been accomplished, the teacher of God becomes a miracle worker by definition.  (M-18.4)”

Affirmation:  “Correct me today.”

Reflections:

1 – Atonement

This is what we need, all of us:  Atonement.  We need to have our errors undone, all corrected.  If this seems a long way off, then let us be patient.  Jesus says that for everyone to return to God, to undo the separation (believed in but an illusion), it may take millions of years (from the Text).  But we do not have to be disheartened by this analysis.

2 – Do Not Be Disheartened

Why not disheartened?  We are not alone.  God and His Communicator, the Holy Spirit, are with us constantly.  Indeed, we are a part of God.  We do not normally realize this, because we focus too much on the errors that our own “creation,” the ego, leads us to ake.  And Jesus will be with us when we have made one “unequivocal call” to him (a quotation from ACIM).

3 – Intuition Brings Our Help

Do we believe all this?  Perhaps not yet.  But give yourself time.  The truth will become manifest as we see our help come to us, intuitively, just as we need it.  Don’t second guess this truth.  Don’t be so quick to put up roadblocks.  If the intuition is honed by love, then it is likely to be genuine.

4 – Ego Makes Power Plays

“Intuitions” of the ego are usually power plays, and we do not want or need that.  Is the ego puffed up by this indication of what to do next?  Walk slowly, and think again about the best course of action.

5 – We Will Find Out Way Home

We will all learn eventually.  We will all find our way home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would, in my own small circle of friends and acquaintances, become a miracle worker.  But I would listen for Jesus’s nod of what to do or say.  Only his guidance is necessary or desirable.  Anything else is misguided, because the ego gets involved, very involved.

Be with me today to find the Atonement anew.  Thank You for the times in my life when You have felt especially close to me, giving me Your advice.  Let me reach deep within me today to find You.  And let my manmade ego not intrude with unwelcome advice.

Help us to follow You today.  Help us to know how to help, how to heal.  If we need healing, may we find healing today.  And the same for all of our brothers and sisters.  May we attract that which You desire for us, knowing inwardly that health is Your choice for us.  Let us not intrude with ideas of illness.

Amen

Safety = God’s Promise

“There is no deceit in God.  His promises are sure.  Only remember that. His promises have guaranteed His Judgment, and His alone, will be accepted in the end.  It is your function to make that end be soon.  It is your function to hold it to your heart, and offer it to all the world to keep it safe.  (M-15.3)”

 

Affirmation:  “I would ultimately find everyone at home in God.”

Reflections:

1 – Plan of the Teachers

This passage is about the plan of the teachers of God (from ACIM), to bring everyone back to Him, though that may take millions of years.  I have often mentioned this length of time in this blog, but always with a reassurance that our own way and God’s way in time are not the same.  Jesus says that each of us saves a thousand years, as the world measures time.  But time, also an ACIM tenet, is an illusion; there is no time.  Modern physics is coming to see this truth as well.

2 – God’s Judgment Is Benign

God’s Judgment is benign.  It dwells not at all on “sin.”  And it certainly does not dwell on hell.  God’s Judgment will come to all of us, when we are ready to welcome it (from the Manual).  The Judgment will be carried out by Jesus in conjunction with his brothers (and sisters).  Can we understand this?  Of course not.  We are very human, and this is part of the theology of ACIM that is in all likelihood something that is beyond us.  But having led us this far, is it likely that Jesus would be wrong herein?  Most students/teachers of A Course in Miracles do not believe Jesus is leading us astray.  He himself says that we might sometimes get that idea, but he has tried to choose words that are impossible to misconstrue (a paraphrase from the Text).  But he also says that we can twist symbols (which words are) around if we wish.

3 – The World Is Weary Now

We need to make the end come sooner.  This world is very weary now, and there is an astounding amount of suffering and pain.  Surely we ourselves weep when we hear some news accounts.  But this illusion will not stand before the compassion of God.  And our way home has been pointed out to us (in my opinion, in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love).  Let us seek today to be quiet a bit, and listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Let us ask today what we can do to be sure that the illusory separation from God does not continue for eons.  Let us ask what we can do today to save the thousand years that Jesus has promised to each of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is hard for me, as a limited human being, to comprehend the millions of years that Jesus says may be ahead before everyone is home again.  It seems such a sad dilemma.  But I know that Jesus is not a morose figure.  He always means well, and there are few of us who would ever doubt this.  So even a million years will be short when we have Awakened.  And it is our function in salvation to make that glorious day sooner for those with whom we come in contact.  Help me to remember this, and be with me, I ask.

I know that Jesus does not ask us to force our will on anyone.  Many, perhaps most, of us are not yet ready to accept all that salvation holds out for us.   It is my belief that each day, lived well and happily, provides a means to reach others with the glorious message of Awakening.  And, before Awakening, we are made gentler–not to be scared–by the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings to us.

Be with me today, as I seek to share Your message.  Help me to reduce mistakes in conveying Your message.  May all who are ready to receive help from You and Your Communicator, the Holy Spirit, open their hearts today to receive.  And may we be consistently happy as we receive, for that happiness is also a function for us in this world, according to Jesus in A Course in Miracles.

Amen.

Do Not Isolate Yourself

“Salvation is a collaborative venture.  It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me.  (T69)”

Affirmation:  “Salvation is collaborative”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Isolate Yourself

We are not meant to isolate ourselves in this world–even to study the Course.  We are meant to stay in the world ,and to minister to our brothers and sisters.  Our brothers and sisters are the Sonship.  (Note:  Scribed in the sixties, A Course in Miracles uses the same masculine terminology that the Bible does, but in the sixties, the masculine gender was recognized by everyone as including both genders, male and female.)

2 – Let Jesus In

Jesus, in this passage, indicates how important it is that he be a part of our lives.  This is his wish, but it is not mandatory.  Indeed, Helen and Bill were reluctant, when introducing the Course, to tell their listeners that their considered opinion was that the speaker was Jesus.  They knew how foreign this would sound to some hearers of the new message.

3 – Jesus as Elder Brother

Jesus can do more for us if we consider him a friend, an elder brother.  He speaks at one point of how we can imagine him holding our hand as we walk along, and he indicates that this will be no “idle fantasy.”  We cannot understand how this is possible, but we can take him at his word and see if it does not appear that he is with everyone who gives an insistent call.  He will come at the first “unequivocal” call (from the Text).

4 – The Consequences of Withdrawal

When we withdraw for too long, we also withdraw from Jesus.  And we cannot do that, because he and the Holy Spirit are our guides to better living.  He is the elder brother who catches us when we fall, and the Holy Spirit is the inner guide that leads us every step of the way–guidance.

5 – Salvation for Ourselves AND Others

Surely we do not want to disengage from Jesus.  So this passage has a warning for those of us who would seek our own salvation and not frequently enough think of the Sonship.  The two go hand-in-hand.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I am tempted to withdraw, help to remember my contribution to my brothers and sisters.  They need me, as I need them.  Salvation lies in our relationship.

May I learn from the Course with careful study, and then may I take that learning into the world.  This is the solution that will work for the world and for me.

Amen.

Salvation = A Decision Made Already

ACIM Workbook Lesson 88 – for Thursday, March 29, 2012

 

Affirmation:  “The light has come.”

Selected Passage:

“Salvation is a decision made already.  Attack and grievances are not there to choose.  That is why I choose between truth and illusion; between what is there and what is not.  (WB153)”

Reflections:

This is the underpinning of ACIM.  We know that we always choose between illusions and the truth.  Not sometimes–but always.  We are living an illusory world, not knowing that salvation is ours already.  When the real world has dawned on our sight, we will not be able to believe how wrong we were for so long, why we chose such insanity.  Let us drop the insanity today.  We can.

Affirmation:  “I am under no laws but God’s.”

Selected Passage:

“Here is the perfect statement of my freedom.  I am under no laws but God’s.  I am constantly tempted to make up other laws and give them power over me.  I suffer only because of my belief in them.  They have no real effect on me at all.  I am perfectly free of the effects of all laws save God’s.  And His are the laws of freedom.  (WB153)”

Reflections:

God’s laws are freedom.  And so often in the past we have not believed this.  We have chosen a way of looking at God that made us think that He would not accept us because of our manifold “sins.”  Now we learn in ACIM that we are innocent in our Self, and that we have only made correctable mistakes.  ACIM says that God does not forgive because He has never condemned.   Now it is up to us to accept this truth,  and to forgive ourselves.  Only then will be ready to reach out to others with pardon.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would leave behind attack and grievances.  I know that in order to do this, I must be at peace in my daily life.  May I be at peace today.

Your salvation for me is all that I really need.  I do know this.  I will listen to my heart today, thank You for my many blessings, and see no more illusions or fantasies.  Your Way is what I choose.

Be with me through the day as I seek not to sabotage myself.  I truly am my own worst enemy.  Help me to do the things that I know will help my brothers and sisters, and myself, and to leave behind the attack and grievances that are so detrimental to everyone.

Thank You for guiding me to feel Your presence.  That is surely my greatest blessing.

Amen.

How to Avoid Being Vulnerable

ACIM Workbook Lesson 86 – for Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Affirmation:  “Only God’s plan for salvation will work.  (WB151)”

Selected Passage:

 

“It is senseless for me to search wildly about for salvation.  I have seen it in many people and in many things, but when I reached for it, it was not there.  I was mistaken about where it is.  Only God’s plan for salvation will work.  (WB151)”

Reflections:

A Course in Miracles says that there are many other curricula, and that they only save time.  This is the main function of any curriculum leading toward salvation.  But Jesus stresses that our way is ACIM, and it would be foolish for us to try a different way when this one is intended for us.  By “us,” Jesus is talking about students/teachers of ACIM.

Affirmation:  “Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.  (WB151)”

Selected Passage:

“Holding grievances is an attempt top prove that God’s plan for salvation will not work.  Yet only His plan will work.  By holding grievances, I am therefore excluding my only hope of salvation from my awareness.  I would not longer defeat my own best interests in this insane way.  I would accept God’s plan for salvation, and be happy.  (WB151)”

Reflections:

We know that we need to give up grievances.  But we fail, time and time again, because the ego has not died in us.  The ego can be very wily when its foundations have been disturbed, and this is what A Course in Miracles, particularly the Workbook, has been doing.  We may no longer make gross mistakes, but the more subtle mistakes, ones that seem so “sensible,” may still pull us back.  We must learn that  forgiveness is our way always, in every situation.  Once this lesson has been learned, we will be well on the way to Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would drop any and all grievances that I have held or do hold.  I would follow the plan for salvation that You point out.  I would not listen to my ego-mind any longer.

Help me to know that I will understand full safety when I have given up grievances,  resentment, and the like.  It is only my own fear that keeps me from You.  I would go to You today, the You that is inside of me and all else.

Amen.

Thousands of Years

“The miracle substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years.  (T8)”

Affirmation:  “The miracle substitutes for learning.”

Reflections:

1 – Collapse of Time

What a great promise!  This is the collapse of time about which A Course in Miracles speaks.  Jesus has said in the Text that he will alter time and space to allow us to perform miracles, and the promise made in this passage is akin.

2 – We Each Save a Thousand Years

How does the miracle substitute for learning that might take thousands of year?  We ourselves are said to save a thousand years, each of us, as the world judges it.  With this promise comes the realization that time can collapse and they we can do something to heal the worn and weary world of suffering..  We are meant to understand that we all can and will make a difference, once we have imparted on the “journey without distance” (quotation from ACIM) that we all must make, sooner or later.  We can bring others to salvation and the real world, and then God Himself, when we are ready, awakens us.  We do not choose this time, though ACIM implies that we can hasten it, because the means–in ACIM–are being explained to us by Jesus.

3 – Learning

Learning is greatly overestimated by the thinking of the world.  Many of us have been quite proud of our learning ability, and we frequently want to add to what we already know by more learning.  Yet ACIM also says that we sometimes want to learn things that will not last.  Surely we need to go beyond this limited thinking of ours.

4 – ACOL:  Time of Learning Is Over

A Course of Love continues these ACIM promises, if we do entertain the thought that ACOL is a sequel to ACIM.  In ACOL, the time of learning is said to be over, and we are to come to know through observation and discovery.  This does not mean (an interpretation) that we will never “learn” anything again, only that the message of salvation is ours by an altered route.

5 – Does the Road to Salvation Ever End?

We who are ACIM followers frequently think that the road to salvation never ends, that we are always to follow the next signpost and then the next.  We almost fall in love with learning.  But A Course of Love says that this is not the way.  We can invite what is called the “elevated Self of form” at any time that we wish; it may not be granted immediately, but immediate granting is conceivable.  We turn to Jesus not as our teacher, but as a companion along the way (according to ACOL).  Jesus does not have the answers to every question that we will ever have because we are walking the path together, making the future real together.

6 – Trust Jesus

We cannot understand the passage above from ACIM fully, probably because it seems too good to be true.  We must trust Jesus to know what he is talking about.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek today to know that there is a time for miracles, as well as a time that learning will cease.  We will still discover and make observations, but we will not be encouraged to search for ever more paths to a more pristine salvation.  When we think this, we are not allowing for miracles.  May I know today that Your way is easy, as Jesus has said, and that I do not have to struggle anymore to effect my salvation, and definitely do not have to struggle anymore to effect my Awakening.  Awakening is Your gift to me, when You know that I am ready.  I pray that this readiness be sooner rather than later.

Be with me today as I walk through a sometimes stressful world.  May I recognize that miracles can dissipate trials, and that the trials are a way to choose again, to make a better choice this time around.  I would choose You and Your way without fail.  Help me not to fail today.

Amen.

The Secret of Salvation

“The secret of salvation is but this:  That you are doing this unto yourself.  No matter what the form of the attack, this still is true.  Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, still is this the truth. (T587-T588)”

Affirmation:  “I am doing this unto myself.”

Reflections:

1 – Does Life Seem Hard?

If life seems very hard, we can think of these words.  They are not easy to understand, because they sound like a “blame the victim” scenario.  But A Course in Miracles never intends this.  We do not consciously bring bad things upon ourselves, at least most of the time.  And the evil that is in the world is not our own personal fault.

2 = ACIM and Victimhood

This aspect of the Course has been misinterpreted by many people.  And many have rejected it because of the “victim” problem.

3 – Happier Days

Do not reject any longer.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will see happier days.  We will ponder the happenings around us, and they will cause pain.  But suffering is our own choice, and we can choose to turn over to the Holy Spirit all things that hurt.  This includes for others as well as ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When my relationships that I pray have turned from “special” to “holy” not give me problems today.  May I listen to Your Guide, and may I be for my significant others all that they need today, all that they honestly need for me to provide.  May I not take over their problems as my own.  We are here to assist, but not to take away the lessons that our loved ones are here to learn.  Help me to remember this truth today.

Thank You for leading me to understand that A Course in Miracles never “blames the victim.”  I know that our Self may have plans that we do not see.  And You may have plans that we do not comprehend.  But You never wish bad fortune on anyone, and I know this well.  Help me not to question Your love in any situation or at any time.

I do love You, and I appreciate that You love me unconditionally, in every situation in which I find myself embroiled.  May I resign from attack and anger, and reach inwardly to Your Being within me.  May my projections bring lovely perceptions today.

Thank You for carrying me when I am too weak to do anything helpful for myself.

Amen.

Walk into the Garden

“You have reached the end of an ancient journey, not realizing yet that it is over.  You are still worn and tired, and the desert’s dust still seems to cloud your eyes and keep you sightless. . . .Only a little wall of dust still stands between you and your brother.  Blow on it lightly and with happy laughter, and it will fall away.  And walk into the garden love has prepared for both of you.  (T393)”

Affirmation:  “I would walk in the garden today.”

Reflections:

1 – Succinct ACIM

A beautiful passage, this paragraph incorporates the whole of A Course in Miracles in succinct form.  We are meant to learn through our relationship to our brother (and sister), and through this relationship to be brought to Awakening.  Long periods of contemplation are not “our” way, though many ACIM students incorporate meditation as part of the workbook exercises.  (Indeed, the workbook exercises seem to encourage meditation, especially at the close of the year.)

2 – Special Relationships Turned Holy

This passage encourages the way of salvation for ACIM students/teachers.  This way lies in our transition from special relationships to holy relationships with our brothers and sisters.  We are “still worn and tired,” and it is in our forgiveness of others that our safety lies.  When we have let our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (from the Workbook).  We may become somewhat disjoined in our relationships as they move from specialness to holiness.  The purpose is different, when the holy relationship is seen as part of our salvation.  We are reassured that the Holy Spirit will not thrust our special relationships apart from us, but will be there for us as we transform them to what is truly beatific.  And when we are surrounded by holy relationships, what is this but Heaven on earth?

2 – Heaven on Earth

Jesus is very gentle with us, understanding that our way in this world is frequently hard, and indicating that he understands our pain.  The image of the “garden” perhaps indicates that Heaven on earth can yet be ours.  Certainly that is a hope in line with the teachings of ACIM.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this beautiful passage, so comforting and encouraging so much peace in me.  I am drawn to its beauty over and over, and the promises that it makes are profound.  May I spend part of this day in repeating these profound words over and over to myself, as affirmations.

May all of my special relationships, one-by-one, turn holy.  I realize that this is why we are here in this world.  May I say and do my part in making this come about.  But may I lean on You in making the decisions that I need to make to effect these changes in my relationships.

Be with us today as we seek to live peaceably with one another.  It is not right to try to isolate ourselves behind a computer or a print book.  Help me to reach out to others when You lead me to extend a helping hand.  But never let me overreach to those who are not ready or who are uninterested in what I might say or do.

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.

I Let Forgiveness Rest upon All Things

ACIM Workbook Lesson 342 – for Thursday, December 8, 2011

Affirmation:  “I let forgiveness rest upon all things,
        For thus forgiveness will be given me.”

“The key is in my hand, and I have reached the door beyond which lies the end of dreams.  I stand before the gate of Heaven,, wondering if I should enter in and be at home.  (WB474)”

Reflections:

1 – Paving the Way to Awakening

This passage paves the way to Awakening, a way paved first by our forgiveness of ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters.  But we are “wondering if I should enter in and be at home.”  This last sentence highlights the fact that the time of Awakening, while entirely God’s choice, is not untouched by our own dedication to forgiveness:  “The key is in my hand.”  When we reach beyond the door, we have gone beyond dreams, even the happy ones brought to us in preparation by the Holy Spirit.

2 -Forgiveness = Path to Salvation

When we forgive all things, then is forgiveness given to us.  God, it is said in the Text, does not forgive, because He has never condemned.  But the forgiveness required by this world is a function that we ourselves assume when we embark on the path to salvation.

3 – It Is Necessary to Go On

The affirmation and the passage chosen for today are working in tandem.  We forgive, the key is in our hand, and then we stop–wondering if we should go on.  It is necessary to go on.  We have been prepared by the Holy Spirit’s happy dreams not to be scared by the experience of Awakening.  Without that careful preparation, we would be terrified when confronted and thrown into Awakening.  God is too loving to have us enter a new state while tied to the old one.  We loosen the ties gently and easily, and walk into the sunlight with God.

4 – Why Are Happy Dreams Not Enough?

Sometimes, when the dreams are especially happy, we may think that this is “enough.”  Why go on when we don’t know what lies beyond the door?  But there is a definite reason why we need to go beyond the door.  It is our next reasonable step.  Once we have moved beyond the door, there is no turning back–if Awakening is sustained.  Prior to his sustainability, we may know glimpses of Awakening that do not last.  These have been brought to us by revelation, but to get to the end of the road, we need to have the means explained to us (Text tenets).  And A Course in Miracles is doing just that.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to key in today to the fact that forgiveness of my brothers and sisters is an absolutely mandatory next step for me.  I must make forgiveness total, and I must revisit shadows of unforgiveness that rear their heads.  We can always be a little more loving, a little more kind, a little more forgiving.  May all of us join in this common endeavor for salvation.

I would know today that You lead the way always.  Your Guide, the Holy Spirit, gently and easily maps out a daily walk, on which are found the people whom I need to meet, just for this day.  Help me to remember always that there are no coincidence in your universe.  We need to see the people whom You have led us to see.  May I be flexible enough to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit throughout each hour of this day.

Be with me as I start a new day.  May I realize that this day is the beginning of the rest of my life, and may I be careful to thank You for the many blessings that lie around me.  May today be good in all respects, keeping my understanding of Your vision before always.

Amen.

Pain Begone!

ACIM Workbook Lesson 330 – for Saturday, November 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not hurt myself again today.”

“Let us this day accept forgiveness as our only function.  Why should we attack our minds, and give them images of pain?  (WB466)”

Reflections:

1 – The Role of Forgiveness re Pain

When we forgive, we do not invite images of pain.  When forgiveness is seen as our only function, we do not attack our minds.  We do attack our minds when we hold grievances, attack ourselves and others, and look to the dark side of events in our world.  In fact, when we attack ourselves by holding grievances, we can never feel safe (a paraphrase of the Workbook).  We feel perfectly safe when we have let all grievances go.

2 – Our Functions re ACIM

A Course in Miracles gives other functions beside forgiveness, but these are also synonyms.  Happiness and salvation are the two that are most frequently cited.  But how can we know forgiveness without also signing on for happiness?  And how can we forgive without also offering salvation, in our own way, to our brothers and sisters?

3 – Forgive / Do Not Attack the Mind

It is the most important new concept on this day to note that we attack our minds when we fail to accept forgiveness as our function.  We are here to forgive.  Keep in mind that forgiveness, as we know it, is an illusion, because there is really nothing real to forgive; we forgive only illusions.  But in this world we experience the illusion as real, as tangible, and so we must be practical always (as Jesus bids in the Manual).  We forgive, knowing that nothing bad has actually happened to anyone, but in our deluded minds we think that the world that we see is real and capable of causing harm.  We must do what we can, in this illusion, to right the wrongs.  This declaration is not an insensitive attempt to save the world from itself.  We must reach out when we are welcomed by our brothers and sisters.  We are not meant to save when we would be rejected by the attempt.  But we should never underestimate the extent of the insanity in this world, and so others may not know enough to reach out to us.  Then, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we need to do what we can to lighten the load of our brothers and sisters.

4 – Living on a Higher Plain

If we would avoid images of pain, as seen by our minds, we must forgive.  When we forgive consistently and peacefully, we live on a higher plane.  Let us reach toward that higher plain today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to forgive today, that I would help others and that I would also be helped.  I would not fill my mind with images of pain, which is the outcome when attack is made upon ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  

May I come to understand the other functions that find their primary home in forgiveness:  happiness and salvation.  I would ask You to help me to lead a happy life, in spite of appearances that invite the feeling that I am a victim when attacked.  Help me to realize that You honor the illusion, in that You wish us to treat well our brothers and sisters who believe in the illusion, and do not have the assurance that reality is a better place to make our home. 

May I live in Your real world today.  Assist me in making wise decisions that will lead to joy.  I know that this is Your will for all who make the earth our present home.  May illusions lose their hold upon my brothers and sisters, and me.  May together we walk into the light, always seeking the Christ-consciousness to which we will eventually be led.

Amen.

“Unsupported” Faith Is Not Required

ACIM Workbook Lesson 327 – for Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “I need but call and You will answer me.”

“I am not asked to take salvation on the basis of an unsupported faith.  For God has promised He will hear my call, and answer me Himself.  (WB465)”

Reflections:

1 – Blind Faith

We are not asked to have faith only, a blind faith that is totally uncomprehending, and just appeals to “mysteries.”  We have support for our faith in A Course in Miracles.  Salvation, leading to Awakening, is spelled out for us.  And God Himself will answer us when we call.  We will never be left to our own devices.

2 – A Questioning Faith

The fact that we do not have just to say “have faith” is important to me.  I always thought like a heretic, questioning the faith of my childhood.  Until I found A Course in Miracles, and then the answers came that I had been seeking for so long.  Not everybody, of course, finds their curriculum in ACIM, but more and more are.  We who study ACIM seriously ought to be very, very glad that the tenets of ACIM have found their way more and more into the popular culture, especially the self-help or self-improvement literature.  Not everybody realizes that the author is using ideas from A Course in Miracles.  And perhaps this is alright.  Jesus is not proprietary about the ideas that we read therein.  He wants the message to be spread, and he has said that there is a course for every teacher of God.  We all make interpretations, some based on ACIM and some not, and we learn from each other as a result.

3 – Finding Our Way to God

Our supported faith is the faith that God Himself supports.  This is an important truth, and it would be well to dwell on the implications of this.  We are never alone in the universe(s).  We always have guidance.  In ACIM, this guidance is said to come from the Holy Spirit, because we are in the time of the Holy Spirit.  In A Course of Love, this guidance is said to come from the Self within, the Christ-consciousness, as we are in the time of Christ.  Either way is OK.  We do not have to be proscriptive about how we find our way back to God.  He never left us, but we thought we left Him.  And now is the time to return.  As the New Testament counsels, “Seek and ye shall find.”  And I have found this truth in my own experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You today for the day that I found A Course in Miracles.  No longer did I have to grapple with reaching for faith when I had questions and even doubts.  Your gift of ACIM answered so many of those questions.  May I be led today to put into practice the tenets that I have studied.  And may I reach out to others who are similarly questioning.

Faith does not have to be blind.  We are given answers to our reason.  We do not have to appeal to “mysteries.”  Help me to know when I do need to step out in faith and appeal to mysteries, and when the Answer, Your Holy Spirit, will guide me.  May He guide me carefully today.  I so long to walk the way of Your blessings, and Your blessings are never very far behind the guidance that is so freely given, when we ask for guidance.

Be with me today as I seek You.  Guide my thoughts as I reread A Course in Miracles.  Help me to discern the truth of its message.  And may I reflect in a helpful way for those who read this blog.

Thank You for always being near.  May I feel Your presence in me today.

Amen.