Tag Archives: significant others

Let Love Encompass Us

“I invite you, from the Heaven of your holy heart, to let yourself be loved.”  COL bk.2, 20:III

This quotation, attributed to Mary, suggests to me that all too often we aren’t aware of the love for ourselves that surrounds and envelops us.  If we can let ourselves be loved, we will know that we are worthy of love, and this is something that we don’t often tell ourselves.  In egoic thinking, we think we are just miserable people.  At least some of the time.

We sometimes do a kind of dance with our nearest and dearest.  If the other person becomes too close to us, for some reason this scares us, and we instigate a fight to make for distance between the other and ourselves.  This makes no sense at all.  It just says that we are afraid of closeness, of letting someone else, even someone we love, come too close.  We are afraid of intimacy.

Let these inferior thoughts go today.  We don’t need to “protect” ourselves from love, although that is what we are doing when we make for barriers to intimacy.  Our nearest and dearest deserves something better from us.

So:  Don’t fear anything.  Just let ourselves go today, and invite love into our holy sanctuary, the “Heaven of holy heart.” 

We will be blessed beyond compare.

Holy Relationships

“It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. . .A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. (T-18.VII.4-5)”

We love our significant relationships, and when these are cleansed to become holy, rather than special, relationships, we have found the one person given to us to love. In our love of him, we find it in our heart to forgive entirely, and in the forgiveness do we speedily reach Awakening. We need “do” nothing. All is given to us in the fact of our holy relationship, spending instants of time in league with our brother and with God.

We can’t win by fighting against sin. We have, in the first place, only made mistakes, because there is no unforgivable sin. We find this hard to believe, of course, in part because of other teachings that we have taken to heart. But Jesus in A Course in Miracles makes it easy for us. He says that we are always forgiven for our mistakes. We rectify what we can, of course, and this is only common sense. But there are some mistakes that only Jesus can rectify, and he has said that he stands at the end of the pathway to salvation to resolve what we have found impossible to resolve.

If the universe is restored to us, we know reality. We are enlightened. We have Awakened. And for all this, we need only walk the pathway to salvation by holding our brother’s hand. This fact alone saves time, unlike years and years of what can be tedious contemplation. This means, with our brother, works. When we feel that we love purely, we have forgiven. And God will act immediately to lift us up to Awakening.

Fundamental Error: that Fear Can Be Mastered. The Only Real Mastery Is through Love.

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

Affirmation: “only real mastery is through love”

Reflections:

1 – Mastery through Love

This is one of Jesus’s great promises in A Course in Miracles: that fear can be mastered by love (and only by love). I know this first hand, though I have as yet had only glimpses of Awakening that I did not sustain. I know that when I have let all grievances go, I know that I am safe (from the Workbook). And when I know that I am safe, I do not feel fear. And it is my love for others, especially significant others (past and present) that gives me the wherewithal to forgive what has not happened, for we live in illusion. Pardon is totally justified due to this. Nothing has ever really hurt us except in illusions, the maya of Eastern religions.

2 – Time and Space

The final sentence also states a truth that we would be wise to accept at face value, though perhaps it is early yet to recognize the miracles that the sentence represents. Isn’t it wonderful to think that Jesus has such power that time and space are under his control? But he would not demand that we believe this yet, while we are not yet sure of miracles. It might help our belief if we stop to realize, often, that we live in an illusion. Dreams can be manipulated, even by ourselves, when we dream them in sleep. So it is not so very far from credulity that Jesus, the Ascended, could manipulate time and space to aid us in our “journey without distance” (from the Text of A Course in Miracles).

3 – Learn how to Love

We must learn to love if we are to be happy, for who can remain happy while intermittently experiencing pangs of fear? A Course in Miracles is the way that many of us have chosen to learn how to love, how to live a better way. It is a beginning, a way home for those of us who follow diligently its guidance. Early in the Text, Jesus tells us abundant willingness and great patience are needed for learning. And that revelation can occasionally reveal the end to us. I have personally had that revelation. The end is Awakening, which I have not sustained. But the glimpses that I have had–once for a summer, once for six months–sustain me through more difficult times and assure me that all of us will eventually reach the good outcome. In the meantime, I aim for patience and willingness to learn (and this learning, according to A Course of Love, is now through observation, not intense study).

4 – Mastery of Fear

The time between readiness and mastery of fear does not, as implied by this passage, have to be lengthy. It is true that it may be lengthy, but elsewhere Jesus recommends that we be content to walk the pathway, even if the way seems long to us. I have, in my own experience, found that the time has indeed been lengthy, though I have known periods of great calm and peace, without any fear at all. I see my own limitations as the reason for the fact that the mastery of fear through love is taking so long. Jesus says in ACIM that here we are not meant to be without limitations, but we are to overcome them when and where we can (a paraphrase).

5 – Sometimes Time Moves Fast

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May we see Jesus control time and space in our world. Even when we do not understand this, may we realize that what he has promised is real–more real than the things of this world. May I suspend doubt and let my mind play with this concept. It is indeed a great blessing.

May we master fear by love. We know that this is the only way. May we feel the love that You have placed in our hearts. When we feel this love, however briefly, and we abandon resentments, we feel safe and therefore fearless.

Be with me today as I seek to follow Your way. I know myself, and so I know that I will stumble and fall, but I ask that You walk beside me and help me back up, each time that I fall. May I keep the words, “distress that rests on error,” keenly in my mind as I react to individuals who are pursued by their demons. The anger that I sometimes hear is actually a call for help, as Jesus tells us in the chapter on forgiveness in ACIM. May I recognize any and all calls for help today, and rush to the side of the one doing the calling.

Amen.

Being Tempted to Reenter the House of Illusion

early 20th century Pennsylvania impressionism“You will be tempted, nonetheless, to reenter the house of illusion, if only to grasp the hands of those you love and gently tug them through its doors. You will be able to take note of the explosions happening within and will want to return to add your own to those going on inside, thinking that with the force of one more, maybe the walls will finally come tumbling down and those inside be held within illusion no more. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 9.5)”

Affirmation: “I cannot help others by reentering the house of illusion myself.”

Reflections:

1 – Other People Caught in Illusion

We mean others well, most especially our significant others who are still caught in illusion. We have moved outside the house of illusion, but there are explosions within that rock the world. And we would rescue our brothers and sisters who still reside in the house of illusion. Can we do this meaningfully?

2 – Do Not Lose Your Insight

Jesus says not. We do not help by reentering the house of illusion, for we will lose our insight. We do best by living in reality, in the real world, once that has been granted us. And then, by our example, those caught in the house of illusion are coached outward. There is no better way.

3 – A House of Cards

The “explosions” are evidence that the house of cards that is the house of illusion is beginning to fall. This world is transforming, though the transformation, entirely, may take millions of years (a tenet from A Course in Miracles). Just as it took millions of years for the separation to occur. But the way back has been set now. And those of us who live in this new world of Christ are ready, even when, in our weakest moments, the ego informs us that we are mistaken, that we are poor and miserable and guilty of arrogance.

4 – Not Arrogance

It is not arrogance to listen to Jesus in A Course of Love, and to realize that finally we have moved beyond believing in the part of ourselves that we defined as the ego. We are no longer living that illusion. It is true that we may slip (a personal interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or ACOL). But we get ourselves up from the ground, dust ourselves off, and start all over again (as a popular song notes).

5 – House of Illusion on Borrowed Time

The house of cards that is the house of illusion is living on borrowed time. May we listen to the explosions within, from our vantage point from without. And as others emerge from the chaos within the house of illusion, may we be there, in reality (the real world), to help everyone adjust to the light in which we now live.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know that I cannot help my loved ones by reentering illusion with them. I can best help them by staying in the real world, the world of truth, the House of Truth, that is outside the House of Illusion. Within there are those who are beginning to see differently, to see a better way. And it is they who are causing the explosions that will ultimately bring down the House of Illusion.

Thank You for these concepts, and I pray that they are a correct interpretation. Help me to be contented and reassured that Your way is best, that You will do what I cannot do. But if You give me a way to help, I will try to carry it out—when you lead me, how you lead me.

Thank You for being with me today in this sometimes conflicted world made up of both illusions and truth, for both I sometimes recognize. I would live in truth always. Help me to do so.

Amen.

Response, Not Responsibility

“Responsibility implies needs that would not be met without you.  Response is given and thus genuine.  It is a natural act of giving and receiving as one.  Responsibility is a demanded response, a necessary response, an obligation.  Response happens from within.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.13)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond to my significant others today.”

Reflections:

1 – Responsibility vs. Response

Here is the distinction made between having responsibility for another and simply giving a response, surely heartfelt, to him or her.  This passage continues the theme of the last several postings, emphasizing how very important these concepts are to A Course of Love.  We do not want to do things for others out of obligation; we want to do so with love, and this love is a response rather than a duty-bound responsibility.

2 – Giving and Receiving

Perhaps giving and receiving as one is such a commonplace part of our religious culture that we aren’t sure what it does mean.  Giving and receiving as one mean that what we give, we receive in equal measure.  The equality of giving and receiving will give us pause for thought.  If we don’t give, we don’t receive.  But I think that first we almost have to have received blessings from God that prepare our heart to respond by giving back–to Him, as well as our brothers and sisters.

3 – Demands

We do not want to do that which is demanded of us–at least, not often.  We rebel, because negative emotions such as resentment enter the picture.  But when our hearts are right with love, flowing over with love, we eagerly give a response from love.  And we do not recognize any covert demand at all.  We are too eager to give, in response to all that we have received.  Love does not keep record books; we give much as we forgive, 70 times seven (from the New Testament).  We respond with a willing spirit, and we respond because God has placed that will to do so in our hearts and minds.  He has first given to us, and with this recognition, we know that we can give and give and give, and yet our own store is forever full.  We do not give out of scarcity ever.  We know no scarcity.

4 – Look to Inner Self

The “within” aspects of this passage emphasize once again that we are to look to our inner Self for the direction that we need.  We look within and see no lack; we are therefore quite willing to respond to all needs that present themselves to us from those who are our brothers and sisters.  We do not respond when to do so would be inappropriate.  But the fact of appropriateness of response is broadened considerably when we open our thoughts to God and His way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to tell myself that You love my significant others even more than I do.  I have said this to myself many times over the past number of years, and I know that it certainly is true.  I can love only imperfectly, but Yours is perfect love.  And You will care for my loved ones.  I never need to think that I have to carry the burden all by myself.

Be with my loved ones today.  May I respond to their needs, without feeling that I have a particular, insistent demand from them for responsibility for their needs.  This is a great burden reliever, and I thank You for these words of Jesus.

Be with me today.  I need You.  Thank You.

Amen.

Our Hatred of Uncertainty

pissarro - pobae026_landscape_chaponval_1880_mus_orsay_paris_france“Since you live in a world of such extreme uncertainty, one of your highest requirements of those you have relationships with is a mode of behavior that allows you to know what to expect.  (A Course of Love, 31.36)”

Affirmation:  “I will not have expectations of my loved ones today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Dilemma

The passage for today highlights a very human predicament.  Because the world is uncertain in that we never know what to expect next, we try to impose certainty by having expectations of our significant others.

2 – Do Expectations Work?

But does this ever–ever–work?  I don’t know of any case in which it works consistently.  Our loved ones are not here always to do our bidding.  And even when they are willing to do so, the flesh is weak, and we cannot always depend on them to be there when we need them.  Nor can we depend on loved ones to do for us what only we can do for ourselves, we in conjunction with the Divine.

3 – Asking Too Much

We are asking too much of our loved ones with unrealistic expectations.  It is expectations, ironically, what cause the breakdown of many relationships.  “Don’t lean on me, for you will knock me over.”  I once heard internally these words in regard to a particular significant other in my life.  We do not want to displace our burdens on already burdened human beings.  They may not be able to sustain us.  And, moreover, sustaining us it not their business.  We need to be whole human beings, secure within ourselves, with God’s help, who form a healthy bond to another.  Do not our secular psychologies say much about co-dependent relationships?

4 – Can Never Predict

We can never predict accurately what our loved ones will say or do in any meaningful way, even when we know them well.  And this is asking too much of them, as I have implied.

5 – Depend on the Self/Christ

Then we cannot choose amiss, though we will still make mistakes that are eminently correctable.  We can always choose again if a given day goes badly.  Our main choice, for God, has been made, and we are, if intellectually certain, ready to walk a green earth under such conditions.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not get uptight today due to uncertainty, for I would depend upon my Self/Christ, and God to give me the guidance to live in an uncertain world.  There is no other way to live dependably.

Be with me as I walk in this uncertain world today.  You and You alone can heal me, can allow me to know what to do to choose the Self/Christ within, and the guidance that comes from such a choice.

Help me to choose once again, if this day should go awry.  I can always start the day again, if things do go awry.  But I do pray that this day will proceed easily and peacefully, Your way.

Amen.

Knowing through Relationship Is How Life Is

pissarro - street scene2“The relationship becomes the known.  While it is your nature to seek for more, it is also the nature of life to exist in relationship and to become known through relationship.  This is how knowing comes to be.  Knowing through relationship is not a ‘second best’ situation.  It is how life is.  It is how love is.  (A Course of Love, 23.2)”

Affirmation:  “I focus on relationship today.”

Reflections:

1 – What Relationship Means

This passage does not only mean relationship with other human beings.  This passage means relationship with all that we know, our inner Self and the world as we see it.  We stand in relationship to all, and that is how we learn, and that is what we love.

2 – Not Solitary Creatures

What does it mean to be “in relationship” to all?  We can take these words literally.  They mean what they say.  We are not solitary creatures; we were not created that way.  We are meant to be in relationship to all that surrounds us.

3 – With Significant Others

Of course, we focus most of all on our relationship to our significant others.  This is the way that A Course in Miracles defined salvation to be found.  And here A Course of Love picks up where ACIM left off, and also amplifies the concept.  It is a progression, because we were not ready for the full truth when we were dislodging the ego, as in ACIM.

4 – Reciprocity

We need to give our significant others the love that they need.  They in turn need to reciprocate, but this is not mandatory for the blessing to happen to us.  We will learn from love even when it is unrequited.  And we will learn from love when it ebbs and when it flows.  There is nothing that we learn outside of love, for Love is all that there is.  Everything else is illusion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize today that the world that I see is illusion, though it seems real enough to me.  I would recognize that the love that I feel in relationship and unity is the only true reality.  Help me to live peacefully with this knowledge, for it is knowledge, not perception.

Be with me throughout this day, to make of it a good day.  You will make of it a good day, and it is only I who would rue it.  I would not rue today.

Amen.

Share One Heartbeat

images

“It [the world] is the place of your interaction with all that lives within you, sharing the one heartbeat.  The heartbeat of the world does not exist apart from God.  The heartbeat of the world is thus alive and part of you.  This heart connection is what we seek to return you to.  (A Course of Love, 20.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would return to the heartbeat of the world.”

Reflections:

1 – Metaphor

The passage for today, a particularly poignant passage, gives us a metaphorical context for A Course of Love.  We are led to understand that we are One with the All, and everything in the world is a part of us.  This in itself is reassuring and comforting.

2 – Hearts Join

If we want to take the heartbeat seriously, we will do well.  We will have a point of departure in the heartbeat that teaches us to turn inwardly, to our own hearts, when we are perplexed.  And we have come to know that this is where God resides.

3 – We Are One

And we are One with the world and everything (and everybody) in it.  We would do well to remember this always.  It is not enough just to turn to God in an introverted fashion.  We need to reach out to our brothers and sisters in this world.  And then we will know what the one heartbeat really means.

4 – Contemplate

This metaphor encapsulates a vision of A Course of Love that has not heretofore been discussed.  Let us spend some time today contemplating what it all means.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would like to start sharing the one heartbeat with those closest to me, and then extend outward.  We need to love unconditionally, and those closest to us naturally come first.  These are our significant others, and we need to give and receive unconditional love with those others.

Be with me today as I seek to be a good companion with the others in my life.  May others whom I encounter notice that there is a love about me that is genuine and heartfelt.  May my significant others bask in that love.  And may they return that love to me.

Thank You for today’s passage.  I appreciate the beauty of the words, and I would take the message unto my heart.  Be with me for a good day today.

Amen.

Experiencing Love Removes Fear

“This is a simple exercise, and enjoyable too.  It but calls for you to ask one thing:  Ask yourself what you already know of the spirit of the person you observe.  You will be amazed at the knowledge you already have and the joy it brings you to remember it.  (A Course of Love, 13.2)”

paintings-by-hilaire-germain-edgar-degas- balletAffirmation:  “Let me observe my significant other today.”

Reflections:

1 – Feel Love

Certainly it is clear from A Course of Love that feeling love for another alleviates fear.  And this understanding may be the reason that Jesus recommends this helpful little exercise.  When we reach out to another in love, and we really feel the connection, we are saved from the anxiety that sometimes threatens to engulf us.

2 – Notice Our Significant Others

May we take a few moments, from time to time today, to notice our significant others.  To really see them in their spirits, which are pure.  We can overlook much that has distressed us (an ACIM tenet).  We would not feel joy when we think of the spirit of another unless that spirit were truly good.  And all spirits are good.  We just have to remember that, and to recognize that in this world we normally cannot live without some conflict.

3 – A Green Earth

If we thank God for these insights, we will walk a green earth today.  We will be joyous.  We will be appreciative for the blessings of our loved ones.  And we will never let fear dog our steps today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know the tranquility that comes from love today.  May I recognize that fear brings on all that which I do not want.  And love pushes fear out.  Always.

If I love my significant others enough, I will be free of fear.  Is this not wonderful motivation?

Be with me today as I seek to carry out the simple exercise in this passage.

Amen.

Longing for Love

“Longing is your proof of love’s existence, for even here you would not long for what is not remembered.

“All your long search for proof of God’s existence ends here when you recognize what love is.  (A Course of Love, 4.3 – 4.4)”

Affirmation:  “God is Love.”

Reflections:

1 – Love

This is a very cogent passage, in which we learn that all of the longing that we have, the longing, apparently, for love, is proof that God exists (an interpretation, not stated in A Course of Love).  Surely many of us have longed for love, not only from God, but also from others in our circle.  We have longed for the love of a potential significant other; this is the romantic longing about which many of us know much.  We have longed for greater love from our parents, for we often try to blame them when things have gone wrong in our lives (though this is a false issue, because we and they are blameless).  We have often longed for more friends.  And we have longed for material things, which in some cases has meant that we felt a “love” for those missing things.

2 – Turn to the Heart

When we know what love really is, then we cease to look further for proof of God’s existence.  And we know what love is when we turn to our hearts.  This continues the train of thought that Jesus has developed in these opening pages of ACOL.

3 – Of Love

Our hearts will tell us of love.  We need look no further.

4 – Using Our Minds to Find God

Why did we ever think that we needed “outside” proof of God’s existence?  Why did we ever?  Because we are thinking beings, using our minds.  And our minds long for intellectual proof.  Our minds are sometimes the reason that we are said to be our own worst enemies.  Our minds get us in so much trouble.  And part of that, always, is that the ego has reigned in the mind.  We need to accept the message of the first-channeled A Course in Miracles; and then we follow with the knowledge–and it is knowledge–that our hearts hold the key to our understanding, a tenet of A Course of Love.

5 – All Will Be Well

Then all will truly be well with us.  We will attract only the good when our minds have been informed by our hearts.  Our hearts will attract the good that our minds will not affirm.  And we will be very grateful.

6 – The Real Question

For what more could we ask?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am reassured by the assertion that longing is proof of love’s existence.  And I read this as Love with a capital “L,” meaning You–my Father.  Surely we all know that we want love, and perhaps we are only misguided when we place the things of this world above the love that is both in and beyond this world.  May we find what we seek.  May we find the love that our hearts long to experience once again.  May we remember the time when love was certain for us.

Our fantasies about romantic love are often an impediment, for love comes to us in many forms, only one of which is as a significant other with whom we share our life.  May we enjoy our romance, but may we never make this romance a substitute for the Love that is the real Center of our lives.  And this is You.

Amen.

Let Your Words Be Chosen for You

“There are many who must be reached through words, being as yet unable to hear in silence. . . .The teacher of God. . .learns how to let his words be chosen for him by ceasing to decide for himself what he will say.  (M-21.4)”

Affirmation:  “May I hear in silence today.”

Reflections:

1 – Silence

It is quite possible to learn through silence.  Silence is often cited as the way that God speaks to us.  And when there has been no interior “voice,” we are not as likely to be misled, perhaps, by the ego.

2 – Words

But many of us still need words.  And those of us who are teaching do need to speak to make ourselves understood.  We ourselves may have learned through silence, but those we are trying to reach may, as yet, only be able to learn through the words that the Holy Spirit leads us to say.

3 – Mistakes

We can always be mistaken, and this includes the longstanding student or teacher of A Course in Miracles.  So often we want to get it right, and as the ego has not totally disappeared from our minds, we get it so wrong.  But there is a remedy.  We can always ask for help, feeling internally that the help will come, and we will always be answered.  It may take awhile for us to become aware of what help we have received, but the Holy Spirit does not leave anyone bereft.

4 – Our Words Matter

Be aware today that the words that we say may have a profound effect on another.  We do not realize how much our words really mean to another, especially our significant others.  And we need to realize, anew, that attack and anger give us nothing that we want.

5 – Make Time for Silence

So, let us hope for the silence today.  Make time for the silence.  And from that silence go out into the world to say the words that, after prayerful consideration, come to us.  The words will be far wiser than what we might, without divine help, consider saying.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with us today.  We need You always, sometimes especially so when things seem to be going so well.  We get cocky then, and think that we are farther along the pathway home than we really are.  Help us to realize the help that we need to walk gracefully is right inside us.  Your Communicator is within us, as You are.  Help us to be grateful that Your plan for the universe was so perfectly created.

Be with us as we seek our way home to You.  And may we always remember that help is only a request away.

Amen.

How to Strengthen the Holy Spirit in You

“The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the Universe of which it is a part.  It is strengthened by being given away.  It increases in you as you give it to your brother.  Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur.  (T78)”

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit is strengthened by being given away.”

Reflections:

1 – Live ACIM

This is a passage with deep meaning.  It suggests that we do not have to get our brothers and sisters to study the Course before they will derive great meaning from it.  They will derive that great meaning by our own living out of the principles of the Course.

2 – Set a Good Example

We have long taught in our world that one’s example is the best teacher.  Living what one says is far superior to giving the words.  Any parent knows this.  And if our words conflict with our living out of the words, the individual we are affecting will look to our behavior first of all.  We do a great disservice to Jesus if we study the Course and then do not live its principles among our most significant others.

3 – Strengthening the Idea of the Holy Spirit

When we give away our understanding of the Holy Spirit, we enrich our brothers and sisters.  The idea of the Holy Spirit is strengthened.  And they do not have to even be aware of what we are doing.

4 – A Miracle

Jesus calls this sharing of the Holy Spirit a “miracle.”  It will indeed seem so as we see our brothers and sisters more loving and peaceful, just by the fact that we are trying to share our understanding of the Course with them.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I share my understanding of the Course and the Holy Spirit, silently, with my brothers and sisters.  May I especially share this understanding with those most close to me.

We will bless our brothers and sisters by our own understanding.  May I not try to get anybody else to follow my way, but by my own following of it, may I lead others to You.

Amen.

Error Cannot Hurt

“True denial is a powerful protective device.  You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you.  (T199)”

Affirmation:  “True denial is protective.”

 

Reflections:

1 – True Denial

True denial refers only to our real self–the Self that cannot be hurt.  We aren’t usually very aware of this Self, but this Self influences us constantly.  Whether or not we listen is our own decision, but this Self can and does influence what happens to us.

2 – The Self

Error can actually accomplish nothing that is ultimately hurtful, because the Self is beyond being hurt.  The Course does not use the word “soul,” but in common language this is what is meant.  (The Course usually uses the word “spirit.”)

3 – Pain Is Illusory

When we are caught in the midst of suffering, of feeling our pain, in our own lives, or when we see suffering in others (whether our significant others or the world at large), we can affirm that the pain is illusory.  Certainly it is felt; this is not what is meant by “illusory.”  The pain actually accomplishes nothing permanent except, upon occasion, bringing us closer to God and thus to ultimate release.  This understanding will eliminate any tendency to project the blame for our pain onto God, thus removing one of the main reasons that we reject faith as being beyond our comprehension.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I learn the power of true denial, and use it only rightly.  May I truly know in the depths of my being that error–error in myself or error in others–cannot hurt my real Self.

May I forgive error in myself and in others.  May the error that does occur be an occasion to practice forgiveness, and may I turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to forgive.

Amen.

Health = Inner Peace

 

“Illness is some form of external searching.  Health is inner peace.  It enables you to remain unshaken by lack of love from without and capable, through your acceptance of miracles, of correcting the conditions proceeding from lack of love in others.  (T18)”

Affirmation:  “Health is inner peace.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Health Is Peace

Perhaps this passage will remain unclear for some time as we study A Course in Miracles.  We may not fully understand for what we are searching when we become ill.  But surely we have recognized, over our lifetimes, that we are peaceful when we are in good health.  Good health can be either emotional or physical; it makes no difference.

2 – Need a Break from the Daily Routine?

Some writers believe that we become ill when we need a break from our daily responsibilities.  Sometimes, in this work-a-day world, we don’t think we can have a moment, or a day, to ourselves unless we get sick, forcing us to slow down.  It may be helpful to realize that we may need to slow down, overall, if sickness dogs our steps.  We are trying to do too much.

3 – There Is Always Time for What Is Needful

Perhaps, you may say, I have very real responsibilities and obligations that I cannot shirk.  To this I would say that there is always time for what is needful.  This idea came to me just before I started a graduate program, one which promised to be filled with unknowns and, I did not know, perhaps much hard work.  But remember the Sabbath.  The Bible is often very practical in what it recommends, and a day of rest is as practical as the ideas of A Course in Miracles.  We will treat others better if we are not frazzled.   If this seems too much to ask, perhaps we need to take a look at our priorities.  We will be of no use to others if we are not taking care of ourselves.  We will become inwardly focused, in a harmful way, a way in which we do not properly appreciate the significant others in our lives.  And life will go by so fast, with our missing some of the important things.

4 – Refrain from Attack

Our emotional health can be seen in that many of us have no problem with the Course concept of refraining from attack when we are at peace.  When stress happens, though, we may find it all too easy to succumb to attack and also the accompanying anger.  This is not good emotional health.

5 – Physical Illness

Physical health is frequently a challenge that either brings us closer to God or seems to drive Him away.  We can respond either way, but the obviously better way is to seek God in our suffering.  He will be there.  And we will not have to wait long.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Surely you are with us in good health and bad.  When we are in good health, may we experience gratefulness.  When we are ill, may we experience the grace to be accepting of that which we do not understand.

May we move closer to You in health and in illness.  May our emotional and physical condition make no difference in the zeal with which we seek You.

Amen.

Attack

“You could not recognize your ‘evil’ thoughts as long as you see value in attack.  You will perceive them sometimes, but will not see them as meaningless.  And so they come in fearful form, with content still concealed, to shake your sorry concept of yourself and blacken it with still another ‘crime.’ (T622)”

Affirmation:  “From henceforth I will put no value in attack.”

Reflections:

1 – Leave Attack Behind Forever

The Course would have us leave attack behind forever.  If we do attack, we may feel better momentarily, thinking that we have gotten the guilt out (from Ken Wapnick), the anger vented, but we will accuse ourselves of “sin,” or, as the Course says, yet another mistake.  We will feel worse about ourselves, a “sorry concept,” that has been blackened by yet another crime.

2 – Let the Holy Spirit Be the Judge

These words are deep.  They suggest that the only way out of our illusions of sin are to leave attack alone.  Turn over our anger to the Holy Spirit.  Let him judge the severity of the deed against ourselves, done by another.  It is not for us to judge; let Him.

3 – Thinking Unconsciously

I think that we attack another when we are thinking unconsciously; we just react in loud words, sometimes viciously if we are threatened.  I don’t have any experience with physical attack, but I have been guilty of verbal attack (and this is not yet conquered in me, though I always try to apologize when I am, once again, thinking clearly and sanely).  We need to realize that attack actually makes our way harder, not easier.  Nobody is going to feel better about us when we have attacked them; just the reverse is true.  And all of us actually long for the often-unexpressed love that we urgently desire from our significant others (most of all, our significant others).  If we all knew how to love better, we would.   This is the appeal of most religions, and love is always the theme.

4 – Love Afresh

A Course in Miracles counsels the way for us to love afresh, even when that love is not returned.  We can have a settled good will toward all of our brothers and sisters.  We do not have to blame others when they don’t take the roles that we have assigned to them (an ACIM tenet).

5 – The Way of Attack Never Works

We think that attack gives us something that we want.  We are wrong.  The way of attack can never work.  The Course embodies that premise.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would leave behind attack today, even when someone I know and love is baiting me.  That individual is acting unconsciously; what is actually wanted is love, but all of us so poorly understand how to love simply and effectively.  We think that attack, when we are angry, will get us something that we want.  But it only alienates another.  The soft word, the gentle touch, dispell attack from another.  And gentle, inner thoughts will dispel the wish to attack in ourselves.

Thank You for leading me to this realization.  Help me to keep in mind and make my own the intellectual understanding.  Help me to go beyond the intellectual, and to put into practice the emotional that I so wish to feel.

Thank You for being there, even when I do not always act well and lovingly.  I would act well and lovingly, but I will never do so until You aid me.  And You will.  I promise to be a willing student.

Amen.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses. . .

“Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes.  Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave.  Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave.  And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams.  He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T585)”

Affirmation:  “dream of your brother’s kindnesses”

 

Reflections:

1 – How We See God

The final sentence in the above passage is pivotal.  As long as we are caught in the ego, we will see our brother as offering both life and death to us, because we see God the same way.  This idea is startling when we are new to A Course in Miracles.  Do we really see God as offering both life and death to us?  We probably never thought this way before reading ACIM.

2 – We See God in Our Brother

We see God in our brother, though we are not usually aware of this.  When we progress, we gradually realize that God offers only life, and then our brother’s significance to us becomes clearer and more benign.  This helps, I hope, to explain the meaning of the “life and death” statement about God (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

3 – Our Intimate Relationships

The earlier portions of this passage help a good deal in our intimate relationships.  We can choose what to fantasize, what to think, about our loved ones.  We can think of the times that we have been disappointed or hurt, or we can dwell on those times of happiness, when our brother has been all that we might wish in a loved one.  The obvious choice, for happiness, is to choose to focus on the good aspects of our relationships.  And certainly this is valuable.  Jesus does not negate happiness; it is one of several functions that he says in ACIM are important for us.  (Other functions are salvation and forgiveness.)

4 – Our Brother Has Only Made Mistakes

Note that the more negative times with our brother have signified his mistakes, not his real self.  We may also see that we contributed to the situation by our own mistakes.  But the Course stresses that mistakes, once recognized, will be corrected, because we will desire to correct them.  We will dream of happiness rather than sadness.

5 – Dreams of Happiness

And when we dream of happiness, in the dreams brought to us by the Holy Spirit, we are happy.  And is this not a powerful motivator?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would think of my beloved ones only in a good light.  I would not dwell on the times that I have been disappointed in the way that they treated me.  I would dwell on kindnesses only.

Help me to think of this passage when the day seems long, I am stressed, and my significant others say things that upset me, leading me to feel angry.   Anger is not justified, as I know.  We live in an insane world, and we are part of that insanity until we change our minds.  Help me to change my mind today, and help the others in my intimate circle change their minds when they are prepared to do so by You.

I would think only of kindnesses today.  I would not fly off the handle at a perceived slight.  There is always a reason for a perceived slight, and it is always forgivable.  I would forgive today, as You have indicated I ought to do.  Help me to lead a calm and tranquil life today, and then I know that all will be well.

Thank You for always being there for me.

Amen.

Wholly Worthy of Forgiveness

“But should one brother dawn upon your sight as wholly worthy of forgiveness, then your concept of yourself is wholly changed.  Your ‘evil’ thoughts have been forgiven with his, because you let them all affect you not. (T662)”

Affirmation:  “a brother wholly worthy of forgiveness”

Reflections:

1 – True Love = Forgiveness

If we have truly loved another, we have truly forgiven.  This brother is “wholly worthy of forgiveness,” and then we see that we too are wholly worthy of forgiveness.  How could it work another way?  Our significant others will know when we have incorporated this tenet into our lives.  Life will smooth out; we will not attack when we are stressed; we will love in a more demonstrative way.  And our significant others will respond to the new way that we are living, though they may not understand it, at least not yet.  Let them wonder, and when they ask what has caused the change in us, then is the time to share, over time, the tenets of A Course in Miracles.  Do not try to share before others are ready, or we will surely turn them off.  It is up to us to ask for guidance in this matter of sharing what we have learned.

2 – Our Real Self Is Not Hurt

It is best that we let no one hurt us, because in truth our Self has not been hurt (a tenet of A Course of Love).  If this emotion of healing seems too lofty a concept, then at least do not let a brother know that he has hurt us.  By feeling hurt and letting it be known, one believes that it is possible for illusions to bring suffering.  It is not necessary to learn through pain; this is a concept of A Course in Miracles.  The fact that we do learn through pain does not negate ACIM; it only means that we have misjudged ourselves.

3 – The Real World

Our reality has not suffered, has not known pain.  The real world of the Course makes this clear.  The illusion would not have it so–yet the reality knows the truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept deeply the truth that when one loves, one forgives.  If we have truly loved, we have truly known that the individual is forgiven of anything and everything that might have hurt us.  We need love only once to know this truth.

In the natural course of life, we love many others.  Our brothers and sisters are here for our love.  Thank You for letting us know that our special relationships need to turn into holy ones.  May You help me to do that in every instance, with every brother and sister who has ever crossed my path.  Thank You for the truth that this is indeed a very sane response, that no one has hurt me in the real world, and that my Self is still innocent of wrongdoing.  It is only in time that I have “sinned,” and time does not really exist.  May I come to live in Your eternity more and more.

Thank You for the peace that You have granted me today.  I know that You would have me feel this peace each day.  It is only the remnants of my ego that prevent me from the serenity that You wish for me, a serenity that would be permanent.

Amen.

You Never Hate Your Brother for His Sins, but Only for Your Own

“Learn this, and learn it well, for it is here delay of happiness is shortened by a span of time you cannot realize.  You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own.  Whatever form his sins appear to take, it but obscures the fact that you believe them to be yours, and therefore meriting a ‘just’ attack. (T651)”

Affirmation:  “I would not hate my brother for my ‘sins.'”

Reflections:

1 – “Only for Your Own”

“. . .[O]nly for your own.”  This statement will go a very long way toward eliminating judging in our little world.  If we can believe that we are looking within (unconsciously), and then looking outward, seeing that same secret sin in others that we think is within ourselves, we will have a moment of recognition that will be illuminating.  It is always ourselves that we are seeing.  We blame our brothers and sisters for the thoughts or actions that we ourselves would be prone to have or make.

2 – Especially Helpful Truth

This truth is especially helpful within the family, our significant other (our “brother,” in the terminology of the A Course in Miracles), or “brothers” in our circle of friends.

3 – Avoid Judging

Avoiding judgment is very important to learning the ACIM.  If we fail at this juncture, we are likely to fall away from the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings, (WB270)” and darkness will close upon us once again.

4 – Judgment Does Not Keep Us Safe

How do we avoid judgment when we have been taught in this world that judgment keeps us safe?  We think that we made a place of safety for ourselves, but it is not so.  We think that defending ourselves against presumed attacks will help us to walk a smoother pathway.  It is not so.  We cannot know all the facts in any given situation, and that is why ACIM counsels leaving all judgment to the Holy Spirit (who does know all the facts).  We avoid judgment by a concerted decision to do so, recognizing that we will not always refrain, and knowing that forgiveness is called for when we have judged without considering the full ramifications of what we are doing.  We go within, perhaps by distancing ourselves from the source of trouble, and we seek God’s solace.  Then we are in a much better position to reenter the world with a clear conscience, one that has reaffirmed that judgment is not the way that we wish to go.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join with my brother today, my most significant other, and I would not judge him in any way.  I would long for the time that we live harmoniously, just as harmoniously as, blessedly, we are living today.  May I forgive myself when I misstep.  And may I forgive him.  Thank You for being there for me as I find my way through the maze of relationship in our insane world.  I would live in the real world more and more, and I would ask You to help me do the things that are up to me to do.  But I would lean on the Holy Spirit as my Guide, until the time that Christ-consciousness as enveloped me on a sustained basis.

Be with us in safety today.  So often I have longed to be safe.  And, even though this world is insane, I know now that I can be safe in it, for I have You in me.  May the dream that I project not turn nasty.  May my innermost feelings reflect the best that You would choose for me.

Thank You for this good day.  I choose intimacy and happiness over being right all the time.  I choose to be happy rather than right, as A Course in Miracles implies that I should.

Amen.