Tag Archives: sin

Acting “As If”

            Is it not true that a child learns best when one expects good in her?  Act “as if” a child will respond positively, treat her as you would want a good child to be treated, and the tantrums will fade away.  On the other hand, to focus on the tantrums is to make them stronger.  It is the same with our brother.  Expect the best, let him know that you are seeing the best, and his motivation will fall in line, making our brother a better person.  We must never show that we fear negatives from him; that would be a reinforcement of the possibility of those negatives.  Instead, accentuate the positive in all prayers and all interactions.  Let him know that we love the real Self, and that real Self will blossom before our eyes.  It is indeed very dangerous to act in any other way.  We are all potentially capable of great wrong, and it behooves to turn aside this potentiality, in ourselves and in our brothers, at every opportunity.

            Given this scenario, if we play our part right, our brother will cease so much to see “sin” in himself, and he will adopt our own attitude toward him.  He will begin to act out of the real Self, which is good, because his self-image has changed for the better.  And is this not what we would hope for all people?

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Forgive by Overlooking “Faults” in Our Brothers & Sisters

            Our brother sees “sin” in himself.  If we see sin in him also, we but reinforce an untruth, not only in him but in ourselves.  Surely it is that we see in others what we have first seen in ourselves; that is the law of projection, and, if we can believe the A Course in Miracles, projection makes perception.

            Does that mean we must deny the evidence of our eyes, and proclaim good where there seems to be only wrong?  No!  That would be a further deception, and it is the truth that we seek. We must acknowledge the wrong that we see, but recognize that, like all sights our physical eyes show us, we are seeing something unreal–a dream, if you will.  However badly our brother seems to treat us, this still is true.  It is our dream, showing us something that we don’t want to see, but only so that we can learn from it.  We are bade not to dwell on this unreality, thereby making it seem real to us, and making it harder simply to overlook and thereby forgive. (T-9.IV.4:4-5)

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Forgiveness

People who are particularly fearful of sin (though they may not call it that) will be particularly prone to find a victim in an attempt to ease their consciences at their own “unforgivable” wrongdoing. Their attacks upon another will be very pronounced, reducing her to an object deemed unworthy of esteem, but very worthy of damnation for “sins.” This is projection! The one who feels guilty, who cannot accept those mistakes of hers that seem black enough to be sins, will thrust her poor self-image onto another–the scapegoat. Know that this is simple insanity, and try no longer to make sense of it. Forgive the indiscretion, and this understanding will dawn upon an overwrought mind. Know that if we are the victims today, in other times we have been the perpetrators. Leave this insanity behind for all time. It is a replay of the mistaken message that we have long viewed by looking at the old, rugged cross.

We do not need the cross as expiation of sins. We do need the wholly benign lesson of the resurrection, and Jesus in A Course in Miracles bids us look to the resurrection rather than the crucifixion. A Course in Miracles affirms that all sickness is an illusion caused by our belief in unforgivable sin and brought into being by our guilt (over the “sin”) that asks for punishment. The Course does not really believe that sin, if true at all, is forgivable. And it implies that we do not believe sin, if true, is forgivable either.

The Course’s way out of this impasse is to say that the wrong that we do is really illusion, and that Reality has not be affected at all. So sin is not “real,” and only in illusion have we made errors that cry out for correction.

Calling an error a “sin” seems to make it “real,” and to call for punishment. And because belief makes an illusion, we will experience the punishment that we have asked for. We can seem to make error “real” by concentrating upon it, thereby elevating its status. What we need to do is overlook the error, perhaps offering simultaneously our forgiveness of it. But certain it is that we will make it “real” to ourselves if we focus on it, analyzing it as the ego is always prone to do. If we forgive first, we will then come to understand. We ought not to seek to understand before forgiving because that is a certain way to engage the ego and ensure that we will find it harder and harder to forgive, having made real to ourselves the deeds that we need to overlook.

Errors vs. Sin

A Course in Miracles affirms, “The ego’s whole continuance depends on its belief you cannot learn this course.” (T-22.III.2:1) Of course! The heart of the assertion is the distinction between “errors” and “sin.” Errors are made for correction, which we will learn to do by learning this Course. Sin can, in Christian theology, only be forgiven and, perhaps, imperfectly, as we humans are prone to do. The Course asserts that it is doubly hard to forgive sin that has been in our minds made “real.” The better way is not to focus on the “sin,” or mistake, from the beginning, but to overlook it as the illusion that it is.

Sin is likened to solid granite (T-22.III.3:4), which, when observed, is seen as an impenetrable barrier. But this is what only the body’s eyes see a form that is not reality at all. It takes the application of reason to truly see, to have vision. The body’s eyes, physically and metaphorically, can never see past illusory form.

It is necessary for us to realize that the ego is a false, illusory self, made by ourselves in insanity, and offering nothing that in our right minds we would really want. God had to protect His universe, and so He allowed our miscreations to live on in illusion only–not in reality. Only in reality can we share the Mind that is His, and thus know reality as it is really meant to be.

We Are Not Isolated Specks of Darkness

“As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. And so long will you also perceive yourself as a victim of sacrifice, justified in sacrificing others.” (ACIM, T-15.XI.5)

A Course in Miracles sees the body, as all parts of the world (including self), as illusion, and thus not as true reality. ACIM says that we will see ourselves as “lonely and deprived” as long as we believe that we, our real essence, are in this physical form. And sacrifice will be a part of this “reality,” something that we surely don’t want.

We find ourselves very lonely when we think that our total essence is encased in an independent body, separate and apart from our brothers and sisters. We think that we have to navigate this world all by ourselves, and this is essentially disheartening.
It is also untrue. As we have pointed out previously, we are not meant to be isolated specks of matter in an alien world. We are meant to share, and share abundantly, with others. This gives us a locus of control that is not self-centered. We are in this together with others. And we benefit from the shared reality of others with ourselves. We know that we are never alone. We don’t think that we have to suffer pain alone. We know that others will help us out.

If we feel that we are victim, we will in turn victimize others. It is just that simple. And so wrong. We need to realize that in this world there are truly no victims, that we live a reality that we made, and that we can inhabit a more benign world when we have turned our decision-making over to the Holy Spirit (or, as described in A Course of Love, the inner Christ Self).

Let’s get away from this victim mentality today. And reach out to others along our way. We can have no better day than we offer to others. Share and share alike, and what we share is returned to us.

“While you believe that your reality or your brother’s is bounded by a body, you will believe in sin. While you believe that bodies can unite, you will find guilt attractive and believe that sin is precious.” (ACIM, T-19.III.7)

This is the reason that we think of sin at all: bodies. Only minds/hearts unite, in truth. Our physical bodies just “join,” and in this joining there is no ineffable mystery, when we are joining in physicality.

We don’t have to rue the physical. And physical bonding is a way to reach toward heaven. But it is never enough. One is not satisfied when all that one seek is made of the body.

“The body is an isolated speck of darkness; a hidden secret room, a tiny spot of senseless mystery, a meaningless enclosure carefully protected, yet hiding nothing. Here the unholy relationship escapes reality, and seeks for crumbs to keep itself alive.” (ACIM, T-20.VI.5)
The body IS isolated, and it is the home of the unholy alliance as well. This in itself ought to make us doubt the efficacy of a purely physical relationship.

“Only mistakes have different forms, and so they can deceive. You can change form because it is not true. It could not be reality because it can be changed. Reason will tell you that if form is not reality it must be illusion, and is not there to see.” (ACIM, T-22.III.7)
Jesus returns to the theme of illusion in this quotation. We inhabit illusory bodies, and then we seek to make reality out of them.
This attempt will always fail.

“You learn your concept of using others from the reality you have made in which you use the body that you call your home and identify as your own self.” (ACOL, C:9.32)
We ought not to find ourselves in other people, taking from them what we think we don’t embody. And all of us have done this. In fact, it is the principal thing operating in a romantic relationship that seems to hold out the promise of “everything” to us. We are seeing in the other what we think we lack, and we reach out and try to grab.

This will never work long-term. Only when we realize that the romantic relationship is destined to become holy, not special, are we on the right road.

“Your Self and God will be but memories to you while your reality remains that of the physical experience and the personal self.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 13.2)

We are remembering when we reach back to the Self and God, for once we knew what both of these entities meant. We need only recover what we have lost, and all will be well. While we seek release only in the physical experience, we won’t remember accurately. We will be lost in a personal, “little,” self that is a pale shadow of the Self who we really are.
And we deserve better. Jesus would have us experience better. And we can do so when we reach the elevated Self of form, a form that embodies the Self as well as physicality.
There is not better way to recognize that form has always deceived than to be lifted up to the real Self. Then the form has a glorified purpose. Then and only then are we on the right track.

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.

Atonement Leaves the “Sins” of the Ego Behind

“Leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to me [Jesus]. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be. (T-4.IV.5)”

Atonement is to leave the “sins,” or mistakes, of the ego behind. Jesus says to leave this to him, a welcome prospect because we get so very tangled up in dealing with the ego at any time. When we don’t “change our minds” about others whom we have hurt (largely through anger and its result, attack), even Jesus cannot help us. This is because we are feeling guilty about the anger and attack, and guilt is hell (said elsewhere in A Course in Miracles).

The main thrust of ACIM is to dislodge the ego, freeing the mind to return to God and ourselves to be healed from the illusions. Atonement is the means, and this “undoing” (a definition of Atonement) was done by Jesus, he says, in the resurrection (not the crucifixion, as traditional Christianity says). When we are free of the ego, we are really home free. We have made it back to God, and we no longer harbor dreams. We are safe in an unsafe world. Our perceptions have been cleansed. We no longer project destruction, seeing this world as an illusion that is unreal.

We need to leave the guilt behind, and to do so, we need to cease attacking our brother. Attack will disturb the “undoing” every time, for we will feel guilty, and when we feel guilt, we are once again mired in the ego.

Let’s leave these concepts behind today—the ego, guilty, the attack. Let us accept the Atonement has a fait accompli and walk into this world holding Jesus’s hand.

The Ego Will Not Be Destroyed

“The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will reinterpreted to release you from fear. (T87)”

Affirmation: “The ego is uncreative and unsharing.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego’s Misinterpretations

“There are many examples of how the ego’s interpretations are misleading, but a few will suffice to show how the Holy Spirit can reinterpret them in His Own Light. (T87)”

This section from the early pages of the Text of A Course in Miracles gives abundant quotations from the New Testament which point out how we have misinterpreted Scripture, out of our ignorance and while in the thrall of the ego.

2 – Sow and Reap

“‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’ He interprets to mean what you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgment of what is worthy makes it worthy for you” (T87)”

This passage is often seen as evidence in the New Testament that the Eastern view of karma is accurate. Here Jesus does not say this, but gives a more benign interpretation. Jesus does not scare little children, which is what we all are.

3 – Vengeance

“‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord’ is easily reinterpreted if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared. The statement emphasizes that vengeance cannot be shared. Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God. (T87)”

Ideas do increase when they are shared, unlike material goods. Jerry Jampolsky made much use of this truth in his bestseller from years ago, Love Is Letting Go of Guilt. And it is the immaterial that gives us greatest comfort, despite the view that we think, in this world, we have to have lots of material toys.

We would not allow negative ideas, such as vengeance, to remain in our minds. To do so will invite those ideas to turn back on ourselves. And they will do so.

4 – Generations

“‘I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation,’ as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious. It becomes merely an attempt to guarantee the ego’s own survival. To the Holy Spirit, the statement means that in later generations He can still reinterpret what former generations had misunderstood, and thus release the thoughts from the ability to produce fear. (T87)”

Here Jesus hints at his reinterpretation of “sin” to “mistake.” We will no longer view sin as attractive when we drop it from our vocabulary. A mistake does not hold the repetitive nature of sin; we just want to correct a mistake. And we will do so.
5 – Wicked Shall Perish

5 – Wicked

“‘The wicked shall perish’ becomes a statement of Atonement, if the word ‘perish’ is understood as ‘be undone.’ Every loveless thought must be undone, a word the ego cannot even understand. To the ego, to be undone means to be destroyed. (T87)”

To be “undone” is not the same as death. And that is a good thing. Here the Atonement is emphasized. The Atonement, Jesus’s contribution 2,000 years ago, has undone our propensity to imagine that we are guilty creatures who require damnation for our sins. He has undone that representation.

6 – Ego

The ego represents a false self, the little self–not the Self. We are asked to live as though we were not an ego. We can realize that the ego will just wither away when our false thinking is eliminated and we are living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

7 – Ego = Uncreative and Unsharing

What does it mean to say that the ego is uncreative and unsharing? We isolate ourselves when we feel oncoming the hard, tough shell of the ego. It is an unloving stance, and one that we would be wise to recognize when it rears its head. Pray to leave this uncreative and unsharing aspect of ourselves behind. Soften the heart, and lean unto its counsel. Then we will feel more a part of our brothers and sisters. We will love.

8 – Self

The ego is “uncreative.” Surely this makes sense! The ego has only “made” things (an ACIM concept). Creativity is of the Self, not of the little self, which is egoistic in the extreme. May we live so that we are the real Self, insofar as we can ascertain. Then we will let the ego and its unproductive part of ourselves collapse.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I realize that the ego will not be destroyed because I need it, but because I do not. It is uncreative and unsharing. This is the opposite of the way that I want to be.

May my creativity blossom as I let the ego wither away. May I share more with my brothers and sisters. These two blessings will enable me to realize that the ego is unneeded and undesired.

Amen.

revised

A Course in Miracles – What It Says, Part 1

1 – The Real vs. the Unreal

“Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God”

This is how A Course in Miracles begins. It makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal; between knowledge and perception. Knowledge is truth, under one law, the law of love or God. . . .The world of perception, on the other hand, is the world of time, of change, of beginnings and endings. It is based on interpretation, not on facts.

To read the epigraph is awe-inspiring, a proper approach to God Himself. The epigraph makes a sharp contrast between illusion and reality, between illusion as perceived, and the real world as a result of the coming knowledge. And what we know in this world is illusion.

2 – Jerry Jampolsky and Hugh Prather

Shortly after his death, Hugh Prather spoke to a friend, Jerry Jampolsky, in which he declared that A Course in Miracles is absolutely true. We live in illusion. Hugh said that we need not to worry so much. His message suggested that he himself regretted the worry that he had given some of the events and happenings of his just-lived life.

3 – Worry

We all need to cast worry aside. Worry dissipate when fear has been rejected in favor of love. And A Course in Miracles counsels forgiveness of our brother, and through our relationship to him, we come prepared for Awakening.

4 – Dream

“When you have been caught in the world of perception you are caught in a dream.”

ACIM uses the term “dream” more than “illusion.” There are some very beautiful passages in which we learn that Awakening is as though a light has come on in our dream. But we will not awaken with fear and a scream of mortal terror, because A Course in Miracles has given us the means to awaken without fear (from ACIM).

5 – Perception

We are perceiving with our minds. And perception always partakes of ourselves.

“’Projection makes perception.’ (ACIM Text) We look inside first, decide the kind of world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it. We make it true by our interpretations of what it is we are seeing.”

This oft-quoted statement, “Projection makes perception,” means further that we not only project the world, but that it is therefore not really there! There is no world, we are told, though we are also told that not everybody is ready to accept this startling statement by Jesus.

6 – Sins vs. Mistakes

“Sin is defined as ‘lack of love’ (from ACIM Text). Since love is all there is, sin in the sight of the Holy Spirit is a mistake to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished.”

Sin is described in ACIM as an attracting concept, one that will be repeated because of an attraction. Mistakes, a simple change of word, in our language simply denote something that we want to change, to correct. There is no attracting characteristic to mistakes. And sin suggests something that is unforgivable, whereas mistakes are always forgivable. We need to see all that our brothers says to us or does to us as forgivable, though we will not always stay in his vicinity if the situation becomes untenable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the calm that these messages of A Course in Miracles induce in me. I have learned much. My only regret is that I sometimes forget when stress is present in my life. And that is when I need to remember most.

Help me to be a non-controversial, congenial writer about ACIM. I would focus on the ways that we are similar, not the ways that we differ in our attitudes and beliefs. Help me to stay true in my interpretations to what ACIM really says. May I interpret what ACIM says in a way that is open to all individuals who study the volumes.

Please be with me.

Amen.

Overcoming Suffering

Suffering and sin comes from specialness, and so it is but specialness you must leave behind.  And there is a way to do so, a way that will not harm any of those you love even while betraying all they would hold dear.  (A Course of Love, 15.11)”

Affirmation:  “I would leave specialness behind today.”Reproduction-oil-paintings-Vincent-Van-Gogh005

Reflections:

1 – Specialness

Our brothers and sisters very often choose specialness rather than recognizing that in this separation, all is lost.  They do not really want to be separate from us, though they may think that they do.

2 – Likewise, for Us

Likewise, for us.  We may have studied A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love long and hard, but still when the weakened ego beckons, we choose specialness.  We just must choose again.  We also do ot want to be separate from our brothers and sisters.  We are all One, and it is time indeed that we recognize this.

3 – Can We Leave Suffering Behind?

Certainly we would leave suffering behind if we could do it.  And leaving behind specialness, in all its forms, is the way out of suffering.

4 – All Are Equal

We need to realize that we are all actually equal in God’s sight.  While out talents may seem to differ in this world, eventually all will be shared.  While some temporarily have more and some, less, this is indeed temporary.  And it is up to us to assist those in need while our hearts tell us the right thing to do.

5 – Knowledge

Our brothers and sisters hold specialness dear.  But it is not for us to do so.  If we persist, we will endanger all of which we have knowledge.  And it is God Who gives us the knowledge.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would renounce specialness for all time now.  This specialness is of the ego, and I would leave the ego behind.  We suffer because of our belief that we are “special.”  And we truly are not.  All of us are equal in Your sight.

If You would have it so, take this desire for specialness from me today.  Thank You.

Amen.

Based on Level of Understanding, Everyone Does His/Her Best

“Your real Self is the Christ in you.  How could it be anything but love, or see with eyes other than those of love?  Would you expect any decent human being to look on a loveless world, on misery and despair, and not be moved?  Think not that those who seem to add to the world’s misery are any exception.  (A Course of Love, 2.10)”

Affirmation:  “My real Self is the Christ in me.”

Reflections:

1 – “Evil” Brothers and Sisters

This passage indicates that those whom we see as “evil” or even “sinful” are still moved by the despair in our world.  Can we believe that everybody is doing the best that he or she can, given his/her level of understanding?

2 – Mistakes = Not “Sins”

And there is no “sin,” only mistakes that can be corrected.  We can set aside sin’s attractiveness when we embrace “mistakes” as the errors that we make.  We will not wish to repeat the error (from A Course in Miracles).

3 – Renegades

We know from the writing of individuals who have been dammed by this world for their “sins” that they themselves did not think that they were doing anything wrong.  Even the blackest of “sinners” think well of themselves.  And individuals in prison think that there was something special about their wrongdoing, something that would make it all alright.  Are we any different, we who may go to church on Sundays, may pray, and may seek to follow what we perceive as God’s Way?

4 – Humility

We too make mistakes, and sometimes we hurt the ones that we love more than any others.  We may be filled with a righteousness that Jesus turned against, according to the New Testament.  Let us not have it so.  Let us ask for the humility to know that we do not know how to live.  We need God’s help in this, for only He can set us straight.  And then we will give up our sense of rightness, knowing that only God is truly good.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that others who struggle are nevertheless doing the best that they can, given their current level of understanding.  The same holds true for me, especially when I struggle.  May no dark nights of the soul darken my pathway.  But if a dark night comes, may I immediately turn that dark night over to You, knowing that therein lies the peace and the blessing that I seek.

May I forgive those whom I think should know better.  May I judge no man nor woman, child, nor elder.  This is meant to be a forgiving world, and there are answers in this world for all who seek them.  Let us seek today until we find our needs met.  I know that the solution lies with the problem, and I know that my perception of that solution will come quickly, once I have surrendered, once again, to You.

Amen.

A Mistake Is Not a Sin

“You but mistake interpretation for the truth.  And you are wrong.  But a mistake is not a sin, nor has reality been taken from its throne by your mistakes.  God reigns forever, and His laws alone prevail upon you and upon the world.  His Love remains the only thing there is.  Fear is illusion, for you are like Him.  (M-18.3)”

Affirmation:  “Love is the only thing there is.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Condemn Yourself

This is a reassuring passage, one that leads us to understand that God truly is Love, and that we have only made mistakes–nothing to condemn ourselves.

2 – When Afraid

When we are afraid, when fear has moved into our conscious minds, we need a remedy, and we need it now, not later.  The best remedy is to fill our minds with these reassurances that Jesus gives to us in A Course in Miracles.  The fear may make our heart beat rapidly, pounding in our chest, but we can still say to ourselves, “This is illusion.  I have no reason to fear.”

3 – Moving Away from the Abyss of Fear

And then we can distract ourselves from the abyss of fear in which we have fallen.  A Course in Miracles does not give specific practices, beyond affirmations in the Workbook, that can be called upon.  But most of us know that prayer, communion with God, helps tremendously.  And communion with God is emphasized in the opening pages of the Text.  We can also do something as mundane as listen to quiet, soothing music–praying as we listen.  We can talk to a significant other, if we have not called upon him or her so often that we have worn out our welcome.  And, of course, when fear comes, it is frequently in the middle of the night, when we do not want to awaken anyone.  Writing in a journal can help.  Some have found meditative yoga to be helpful.  I have found it useful to pray aloud, away from others in a quiet room.  Praying aloud seems to keep me on track.  If one is agitated, the best thing that we can do is simply to rest in that agitation, watching it subside gradually.  We will actually all get the amount of sleep that we need.  We need not fear insomnia, thereby making it worse.

4 – Is It Guilt?

If guilt is a major reason for our fear, then we can pray for forgiveness.  Remember that God does not forgive, because He has never condemned (an ACIM tenet).  But we need to forgive ourselves, and this we can do.  The ego may object, but then the ego does not wish us well.  We need to be gentle with ourselves; we need to wish ourselves well.

5 – Sin vs. Mistakes

Remember that the concept of “sin” and the concept of “mistakes” are very different.  Sin has an attracting nature, one that would have us repeat the same thought or action.  Mistakes, on the other hand, simply call for correction, something that we can do when our motivation is strong.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be fearful today.  There is no reason that the daily activities need to make us afraid.  We can get excited, but better not to get fearful.  

You know that our emotions are often vacillating.  We feel one way one moment, and something entirely different just a moment away.  I would stop this merry-go-round of fear in its tracks by denying the ego its field day with my mind.

May You help me to turn to You repeatedly, anytime that the ego threatens to engulf me with fear.  Thank You.

Amen.

How to Avoid Temptation

“The avoidance of magic is the avoidance of temptation.  For all temptation is nothing more than the attempt to substitute another will for God’s  (M-16.9)”

Affirmation:  “avoid temptation”

Reflections:

1 – How to Avoid Temptation?

How might one avoid temptation?  There will be temptations along the pathway that we walk, and there is no getting around this.  We are not perfect, even, perhaps, when we have awakened.  (A Course in Miracles is not definitive about this, but A Course of Love
indicates that we will still not be perfect.)  The best way to avoid temptation, or, more precisely, not to accept the tempting thing that is offered, is to ask for help at the “point of contact.”  When we are tempted, we are seeking something of the ego, the part of ourselves that thinks that it has separated from God.  We think that another will (our imperfect will) will get us something that we want, something more than the everything that we are promised.  (Yes, we are promised “everything” in ACIM.)  Jesus says that it is as though we would say that we want this one (little) thing, and it will be as everything to us.  But this one little thing would not satisfy for long, and in so doing we are making a pact with our ego–and the ego always fails us.

2 – ACIM‘s Definition of “Magic”

What does “magic” mean in this context?  It is akin to mental illness, the “magical thinking” that secular psychology describes so precisely.  We are thinking things that are not true, and never can we make the true out of the false.  The false will remain false, and it will take us down with it.  We do not want this.

3 – Following the Will of God

If we have love for God (and all of us do, or we would not have read this far), then we will want to follow the Will that grants us everything that we really want.  We really want the intangibles, the promises that God gives; but we also want the material, and we should not think, wrongly, that God Himself cares little for the material.  Jesus recalls to our minds the lilies of the field, and their beauty, and the lilies do not toil.  Yet they cannot compare even to Solomon’s glory.

4 – May We Avoid Temptation

May we not fall prey to temptation today.  May we know that the idea that there is something out there that is better than what God would give is an anomaly.  We will always get the best when we attract it through our gratitude and love for God and our brothers/sisters.  And we must always love ourselves as well, even when we have disappointed ourselves.  We cannot measure up, ever, because we are trying to be perfect, and that is essentially a disheartening message.  The Bible does quote Jesus as saying that we should be perfect, even as the Father in Heaven is perfect.  But I think that there are mysteries here that we cannot understand until we have walked the whole pathway back to God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would stop, consider, and not go forward when I sense that I am trying to somehow get around Your will for me.  Please help me in this endeavor, today.  I would not seek to walk a different pathway, an egoic pathway that will take me far from You.  You want Awakening for me; I know that this is Your will.  But I need help.  And You are there for me.  This I know.

May I say the right things to reach my brothers and sisters, especially those in my immediate circle and those who read this blog.  I would help and not hinder in any way.  

Be with me through this glorious day, this harbinger of better days ahead.

Amen

Do Not Make Errors “Real”

“To perceive errors in anyone, and to react to them as if they were real, is to make them real to you” (T167).

Affirmation:  “I will not make errors real today.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not See Error

A Course in Miracles would have us see our brothers and sisters as innocent, caught in a dream of attack and grievances, but able to find their way to a real world that is very different, through the help of the Holy Spirit.  To effect this change in our perceptions is easy, once we turn over our judgments over to the Holy Spirit.  We literally do not see error in our brothers and sisters.  We extend love to them, and our perceptions are modified accordingly.  This is really all that we have to do.

2 – We Have Sinned in Time, but Not in Eternity

A Course in Miracles notes that we have “sinned” in time, but not in eternity.  And there is, ultimately, no time, because time is an illusion.  We have only made errors or mistakes in eternity, and we are strong and wise enough to recognize the value in forgiving errors in ourselves and our brothers and sisters in this world.  If we are blaming God for anything, we can likewise let go of those grievances–a gesture that will be freeing to us.

3 – Let Us Seek to Live in the Real World

To live in the “real world” is not described conclusively in ACIM.  But much note is made of the fact that following the ego is only following illusions, and that following the ego makes it impossible to live in the real world, otherwise known as simply “reality.”  We can interpret ACIM by realizing that the real world is composed of the attributes of love–the joy, the peace, the forgiveness.  Sometimes we do reach the real world fleetingly.  All of us remember times when all seemed right with our little world, and we were completely at peace.  We may have recognized this as a “peak experience,” a term used by Maslow and receiving much press in popular psychology.

4 – Peak Experiences

If we want more peak experiences, we need to live in the flow that will give us the real world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Living in the flow is a concept that all of us can appreciate.  We throw ourselves into some task, and time disappears for us.  We realize, minutes or even hours later, that we have experienced a peace in those moments that usually eludes.

5 – Forgive = the Secret

Jesus would have us forgive ourselves and others, and thereby to invite the forgiveness of the errors that we all, without exception, make.  Then those errors do not become “real” in our experience of them, and we are walking gaily on the pathway home.

Prayer:

 Dear Father/Mother,

 I would begin this new year with high hopes and many expectations that I will live in You and not in my ego.  I would let the ego wither away.  By this I mean that my false sense of self needs to go.  You know this better than I.  Thank You for the words in ACIM that caution my reliance on the ego, a part of my belief about myself.

 I would invite peak experiences this year.  I know that You would have me live in a better way than I did last year, and I would hope not to disappoint You.  Be with me as I seek to come to understand Your wishes for me ever more completely.

 Let me be good to my significant others as well as all others who cross my path this year.  We need each other.  We need to let attack and anger go, knowing that poor behavior is a sign that we need help.  All of us will still need some help along the way, but I would live in Your love so completely this year that I do not cause others to distress. 

 Help me to live up to my resolutions this year, to be a better person, to love ever more deeply, to let the ego just disappear as a part of my belief about myself.  Thank You for your ever-present help.

 Amen.

Sickness Is but Another Name for Sin

ACIM Workbook Lesson 356 – for Thursday, December 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “Sickness is but another name for sin.
Healing is but another name for God.
The miracle is thus a call to Him.”

“Your Name replaces every thought of sin, and who is sinless cannot suffer pain.  Your Name gives answer to Your Son, because to call Your Name is but to call his own.  (WB482)”

Reflections:

1 – Sickness and Pain Are Illusions

This is the level of A Course in Miracles that offers no compromise.  Certainly in this world we do know sickness and pain, but, ultimately, these are not real.  That is the one conclusion to which we can come.  We live in illusion, in maya.  And as long as we project from an egoic interior, we will project sickness and pain.  We will perceive sickness and pain, but when we tell ourselves that what we are seeing is not real, we will be at peace.

2 – But Do No Deny Your Sight

God grants us healing–healing that sometimes we can see and sometimes we cannot.  ACIM is always practical, and these books would not have us to deny the sight of our egoic eyes.  We see sickness and pain, and therefore it is there for us.  To deny this sight would be a particularly unworthy form of denial.  But we can be healed when we find God within.  Healing is not always of the physical, and even the mental may take its hits.  But healing is real when we trust God to show us the Way.

3 – Sinless in Eternity, Not in Time

We are sinless in eternity, not in time.  But there is no time, ultimately.  And so there is no lasting sickness or pain.  Let us ask God today to teach us the real truth behind these words.  May we take unto ourselves the truth of the illusion in which we find ourselves, and may we walk into the sunlight with Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The lesson for today teaches me important truths, and I thank you for those.  I cannot deny the pain and sickness that my perception shows me in this unreal world, but I can turn to You for help in handling the pain and sickness that I observe.  And I can know that what is happening does not affect the Self, that we are well in eternity.  And You will help us to cope in this world, when pain and sickness intrude.

Be with me and guard my mind so that I do not make my own pain and sickness.  Help me to realize, as Jesus has said in A Course in Miracles, that sickness is external searching.  I would not search externally today.  I would turn inward to have You heal me, and even when my perception still sees pain and suffering, I will know that, ultimately, all will be well.  My prayers can do much to lead me to accept Your healing.

Be with me today and with all brothers and sisters who suffer.  May we ask for a quick healing, and ask in faith that what we ask for, frequently is granted.  Thank You.

Amen.

How to Have Peace / How to Have Pain

ACIM Workbook Lesson 351 – for Saturday, December 17. 2011

Affirmation:  “My sinless brother is my guide to peace.
My sinful brother is my guide to pain.
And which I choose to see I will behold.”

“I can also see my brother sinless, as Your holy Son.  And with this choice I see my sinlessness, my everlasting Comforter and Friend beside me, and my way secure and clear.  Choose, then, for me, my Father, through Your Voice.  For He alone gives judgment in Your Name.  (WB480)”

Reflections:

1 – Sinful or Sinless?

We can choose to see our brothers and sisters as sinful or as sinless.  And what we see becomes the reality that we make for ourselves.  We ourselves, as well as others, are not really sinful, though we have made errors, and these need to be corrected.  Common sense would tell us this, and errors (mistakes) do not hold the allure that sin often does.  Sin has an attracting feature, and often makes us want to commit the same or a similar sin once again, and then again indefinitely.  Error calls only for correction.  And then we have made the right decision.  (The Text says that the perception of “sin” has an attracting quality.)

2 – Sinless Brothers and Sisters

When we see our brothers and sisters as sinless, we have freed ourselves from the grip of perceived sin.  We live as Sons/Daughters, when released from the grip of perceived sin.  We get out guidance as to how to react from the Holy Spirit (called in the passage above, the “Comforter” and “Friend”).  This Comforter is the only One meant to make judgments, for He alone knows all circumstances–past, present, and future.  His alone is the infallible judgment.

3 – Listen to the Voice of the Comforter

When we listen to this Voice, we determine what to say or do next.  And we can follow His guidance only when we are flexible, when we can turn on a dime.  Then we surely see ourselves and others as making errors that require correction, but nothing else.  We do not require punishment either for ourselves or others.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know from A Course in Miracles that we are not sinless in time, but that we are sinless in eternity–and there is no time.  This seems beyond me often, but physics alludes to such tenets.  Help me to live in eternity today, to know that my brothers and sisters have not harmed me in any way, that my Self is still as You created me.

Thank You for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.  I thank You that I am often comforted by Him, and that sometimes this comes when worries occupy my mind.  Help me to turn all negative things, including useless anxiety about everyday concerns, over to Your Guide.  He will resolve all in His own time.  I am not to get impatient and wish for a quick resolution, because Your time–Your eternity–is different from what I experience in my daily life.  

Help me to feel peace in the midst of the chaotic circumstances that constitute our larger world.  May I do what I can to help the larger world, but may I especially do what I can in the smaller sphere of my own home and hearth and significant others.

Amen.