Tag Archives: struggle

Serenity Will Heal

“The impulse to struggle and defend is the impulse that moves the egoic world because the ego is only concerned with its survival.”  COL bk.2, 18:II

Perhaps we can read in this quotation from Choose Only Love the implication that to struggle and defend are false issues for us.  Certainly struggle is not God’s way with us.  His way of speaking to us is all peace.  And defending our little territory of mind and heart in this world is not the way, either.  Yes, struggling in vain and defending our way as the only way are both signs of an egoic leaning.

The ego would like to continue to lead us around.  But its days are numbered.  In A Course of Love, as we read through it meditatively, we discover that the ego has left us.  If we latch onto a new way of living, we will not build a new ego on the ashes of the first one.  And we would not choose to do that, for such a futile choice would take away all our gains.

When tempted to struggle with an issue, go within and get quiet.  In the silence, God will speak to us.  He knows that serenity is one of our greatest blessings.  And He will bring serenity to our personal issues in life.  Serenity irons out the difficulties, and we will walk a smooth pathway as we go along.

Defenses do what they would defend, as A Course in Miracles tells us.  So a defensive attitude in life is not the way either.  Drop our defenses today.  We will be the better for it.

Give up the ego and egotistical leanings as bad choices.  Let the subconscious mind be cleansed as we pray for help. 

This in itself will go a long way toward saying good-bye to the ego.

Effortless Decision-Making

“The way is so simple and so easy that the mind of the world overlooks it, thinking that it simply cannot be. But that which is simple seems impossible to that which insists on complexity. And a mind that insists on conflict simply cannot accept that there is another way. Yet what waits before you is simply this: In the end of all of your struggles, in the end of all of your doubts, and in the end of all of the moments of your unconscious conforming to the mind of the world, there remains the simple choice to be made—the choice to acknowledge the truth that has already set you free.” (“The Way of the Heart, WOM)

The truth is that the way back to God is both easy and effortless, something that all of us can allow the Holy Spirit to bring about in our lives. We stay in such conflict, and such conflict is, oh, so unnecessary. And we struggle so. Why?

Maybe it is time that we ask ourselves this question, why? To what avail do our struggles and doubts bring us? We just raise our blood pressure, perhaps, and damage our physical bodies, not to speak of our emotional bodies.

There is another way. And we need to get the clouds of complexity out of the way before we can act on this other way. We just do the loving thing, let Love direct our movements. It is so easy—and yet so hard, for we are used to getting ourselves in a dither.

Choose the most loving alternative, and then test it out in prayer. Are we actually tying ourselves in knots over what is “love’? Or are we following God’s way? Which is it?

Discernment, a Quaker concept, will lead us aright. And that discernment comes through quiet times in our quiet corner. Ask the Holy Spirit what to do, what to say, what to think, even.

And everything will come out alright.

Live Effortlessly & Love Effortlessly

“Stop wasting your energy trying to love God. That will not do it for you. Stop wasting so much energy trying to learn how to love another. That will not do it for you. And for God’s sake, please refrain from all attempts to get anyone to believe that you love them!” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 7, Page 89)

Why would Jesus say such things? It is because when we “try,” effort is involved, and the new way of thinking, with the heart leading, is effortless.

We may find this hard to believe, because the ego has had us on a treadmill for a very long time. Yet we can believe it. It does take some adjustment on our part, because habit if strong. We are so used to struggling and striving that we don’t know what it means to relax in God’s grace. Relaxing in God’s grace is exactly what we are now called to do.

Do we wish that we could make other believe that we love them? This is wasted effort. When we center in ourselves, and just love—not “try” to love—we soon are blessed with the knowledge (and it is knowledge, not perception) that all is well, and that we living in a love-filled world.

Love, by itself, is enough to heal. And healing is what we need above all else. We can have this healing for the asking. Relax, don’t press, rest in God.

We have so much on our “to do” list. We prioritize, with effort. And then we mark off our accomplishments. This is the ego talking. Do we really think that marking off accomplishments on a “to do” list is the way to live? There is no end to it. That’s the rub. Live more internally. Let the next right thing find us.

If we cease our struggles always to “do the right thing” on our “to do” list, we will find that that right thing, miraculously, does find us.

Cease Right Now from All Attempts to Struggle

“These answers lie within you, at the heart or center of your Self, as do all answers. Your desire to make of me a teacher is the same as your desire to make your thoughts into answers that will provide you with direction. As was said earlier, you dare not, as yet, turn to your own heart for answers. Yet your heart is the well of spirit from which true answers are drawn. Your heart is a full well, a wellspring from which you can continually draw with no danger of ever drawing an empty bucket. You need never thirst again when you have accepted this. You need never seek again for answers when this has been accepted. Because you will know and fully accept that the answers lie within.

“To believe that you are already accomplished and not live from this belief is insane for reasons already enumerated time and time again.” (ACOL, D:11.10 – 11.11)

We listen to our thoughts, the thoughts and thinking of our mind, analyzing, conjecturing, speculating—try to understand our lives. We are going about this desire to know what to make of our lives in a very backward way. Our mind’s analysis will never satisfy, even if the mind has been shorn of the ego. It is the heart that holds the knowledge of what to do and where to go. And the heart is known by feelings, emotion, more so than the intellect (though we do not discount the intellect and its reasoning).

We are to bind heart and mind together, united, and this gives us the knowledge that is held in the center of our Self, where unity resides. We have united mind and heart, and, if we are lucky, we have also united the larger Self with the body, the elevated Self of form. This union, on more than one level, is what gives us the grace to assume true knowledge about ourselves, our accomplished selves. We have already planned, and done, from beyond the body, what we will implement here. This implementation is called in A Course of Love, the expression of our being. And this expression is what we are to be about a we settle into Christ-consciousness, Awakening, enlightenment.

We are encouraged not to struggle to achieve any longer. That was the way when we were learning, trying to take credit for what we accomplished in a largely egoic fashion. Jesus tells us that no day is meant to be lived in a struggle with what it brings. And this struggle is the polar opposite to effortlessness, something we are told we will acquire. We will still be quite busy, maybe even busier and busier, but without strain. Our new relaxed demeanor will allow us to accomplish as never before. We never knew how to achieve before. Always there was struggle, and assuming credit for what we had done. Now we know that a Higher Power, God Himself, is living through us. And so we enjoy our work, but we don’t take the credit for what gets accomplished any longer. We are at home in God, enjoying the day and what it brings, not anxious about the morrow, just living with ease and comfort as we listen to guidance about what to do next.

So: Cease right now from all attempts to struggle. The new way is better. The new way works. And nothing else works quite so well.

Prayer

Be with me as I seek to have productive days. But I don’t take the credit for what develops in my days. I know that I am guided, led every step of the way, and the accomplishments that are mine are not really mine. You are living in me, bringing about what You will, when we have joined our free will with Yours.

Thank You for relaxing me today. May this relaxation be a harbinger of good days ahead.

Amen.

Struggle Is Not Meant to Be

“Just as you eat to still your hunger only to become hungry again, so does the rest of your life need constant maintenance to retain the reality you have given it. ‘Struggle to succeed and succeed to struggle yet another day’ is the life you have made, and the life you fear heaven would replace.” (ACOL, 6.13)

We have made such a mess as we sought to make the reality that we wanted in this world. How many of us really are addicted to struggle, think that it is virtuous?

I think many of us are. We think that hard work is its own reward, but, oh, are we so wrong. Life is not meant to be a struggle. We are meant to live peaceably and in contentment. Until we change our goals, we will not understand this directive. We will think that we are missing the mark if we drop struggle, because the ego made everything a struggle, as though we wouldn’t measure up unless we constantly worked.

“And yet the very reality that you have set up—the reality of not being able to succeed in what you must constantly strive to do—is a situation set up to provide relationship. Like everything else you have remembered of creation and made in its image, so too is this.” (ACOL, 9.26)

We still find ourselves in relationship one to the other, even in our egoic state of mind prior to getting a glimpse of true reality. We have “remembered” part of what creation really meant for us, but we have remembered it in only a pale reflection of what it is. This remembering is commonplace in our world, but we don’t normally recognize what we are remembering—that we are seeing a pristine world prior to the fall into insanity.

We can let ourselves off the hook. We have so often chastised ourselves for failing. But this is not the issue. Our egos have set up the world for us to fail, because the ego is constantly being undone. If the ego were not being undone, we would ultimately be lost, seeing no way out. That the ego fails repeatedly is a lesson that we will one day come to see, and this lesson offers us the first glimmerings of our way out—our way to salvation.

Choose a day without struggle. If there is something that you don’t want to do, but think you should—just choose not to do that activity. Find out from your reticence what is going on is this non-productive state of mind. You may find that you have been walking along the wrong pathway, and your true reality is trying to let you know. You can always try this activity tomorrow if the experiment proves unfruitful. But I think that you will learn great things by listening to the small Voice that warns against the activity for which you have no motivation. There is a reason for no motivation. Listen and be forewarned.

An Easy and Effortless Life of No Struggle

“Not one day is meant to be lived in a struggle with what it brings. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 2.21)”

1 – Fighting Life

What a reassuring statement this passage is! We do not have to “fight” life, and indeed we are leading ourselves wrongly when we try. We learn that acceptance is the way to the real life, the true life. An awakened individual, about whom I once read, said that his secret was that it did not matter to him what happened. This reminds us of Paul in the New Testament, when he asserts that, whatsoever state he is in, therewith he has learned to be content.

2 – The Past

Many of us have struggled through long years of turmoil, drama, and anxieties—filled with pain and sometimes suffering. How we view our past lives is largely a matter of attitude. It is possible to see everything as a blessing, in that it brought you to this point, a point that we would not deny but would accept.

3 – Faith

Even the most abject sufferers in this world of ours, as we perceive predicaments, may have a strong faith and not feel put upon. This again comes back to attitude. It is possible to see everything as bringing you to this point in life and as doing so benignly.

4 – Rose-Colored Glasses?

This is not looking at the world with rose-colored glasses. This is the truth that we have been saved from much, that things could have been much worst. We often do not know what our blessings are; we would thank God that we have been saved from some of those things that we wanted the most at the time.

5 – Struggle

This is the way that we see struggle. But a little adjustment in point of view would make such a difference. And Jesus is showing us that difference in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

6 – Contentment

Jesus would have us to be content on a daily basis, even when life seems tough to us. Truly it will not seem so tough if we bow to his recommendation. Life is at times a struggle, but it is a clean struggle if we have asked forgiveness for our mistakes, and we can thereby led to experience the pure joy and limitless release that A Course in Miracles promises.

7 – Clean Life

May we live today a clean life, living in the promise of forgiveness from A Course in Miracles, and living in the unity and relationship promised in A Course of Love. Then we will turn aside from the suffering that we feel, and even pain is a “clean” pain, with no hint of the “in extremis” feeling that we may have felt in our past. Life today can be lived better, and what a joy that is!

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live today without struggle, as Jesus has promised is possible. May I live in harmony and love, and may I let go of all the “issues” that seem to arise that only upset my peace. Life is not meant to be a struggle. I thank You for that promise.

Be with me today as I go about the day, seeking to recall the promise with which I am beginning this day. Be there for me, the prayer that I pray so much. I know that You are there, always, and it is only I that sometimes forget.

May the day bring only good. May I make the right decisions. May You walk with me, showing me the way constantly. Thank You for the effortless way that You direct me.

Amen.

Cease Struggle

“By saying that you are not only accomplished, but The Accomplished, it is being said that you are already what you have sought to be. In order to live by the truth, you must live in the world as The Accomplished and cease struggling to be other than who you are in truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 16.8)”

Affirmation: “I can avoid struggle today.”

Reflections:

1 – When Ego in Charge

Struggle is a given when the ego is in charge. But struggle, and its concomitant of strain and striving, is unnecessary in the new world of Christ in which we live. We change inwardly, and then we see the outer world change as well. We do effect societal change, but, as traditional Christianity has pointed out, we first must change internally.

2 – We Are Not Defective

We are not defective. Our Self has never left us, even when we were lost in the ego and its fears. Now we are called to affirm that the Self, the Christ, is motivating us—and in this motivation we have no fears that are unfounded. Fear serves only to alert us to dangers that still exist in this world. And fear does not degenerate into anxiety.

3 – Joy and Peace

We have struggled long and hard. We thought that this struggle was better than a superficial happiness that made us fail to change the world. But, as many have noted, real change starts from within. And happiness is a laudable goal, one that others would emulate. How can we change the world through salvation if we do not live lives of joy and peace? Who would want to listen to us?

4 – Be Exactly as We Are

We do no longer have to cease being exactly what we are. It is so close to the ego to say that we are The Accomplished, but that is exactly what Jesus is saying. We do not rest on our laurels, but we cease trying to turn ourselves inside out to become something that we are not. We are enough, given our dedication to God and His way.

5 – Contentment

monet - lilypadLet us vow to enjoy contentment today. Contentment assures that we will not struggle to attain salvation. Such a struggle would be counterproductive. Rest in God, and He will show us all that we need to know, through the Christ Self within.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am very hopeful that I can cease struggling in any way at all. You want that for me, and I thank You. Struggle, though it does not seem like it, is of the ego. And I have asked to let the ego wither away. In Your will.

Help me to understand how I can be The Accomplished when I don’t feel it throughout my whole being. I do not understand. Open my eyes that I might understand, free of the ego, in all humility.

Thank You.

Amen.

You Do Not Need to Struggle

monet - water lily pond with bridge
“You do not need to give your effort to this calling. You do not need to struggle to create the new world you are called to create. You do not need to have a plan and you do not need to know precisely what this new world will look like. You simply need to be willing to live by the truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 16.2)”

Affirmation: “I will cease ‘effort’ and struggle today.”

Reflections:

1 – Striving

Most of us think that we have to strive to get anywhere in life, and sometimes that somewhere is an ego-driven goal. This is a long-held notion of human beings, and here Jesus says that we are thinking awry. To believe that we don’t need to struggle, to make an “effort,” but just to relax in the truth, is a welcome thought indeed. We are told that we can create the new world that is asked of us just by living the truth.

2 – Truth

The “truth” is a slippery concept for those still influenced by ego. Many people in this world have done disastrous things in the name of their truth. Harmful things, even things that they think are sanctioned by religion. Even those of us who have never been violent have fallen prey to the ego-oriented struggle for material goods and security. There is nothing wrong with safety and security, but our God is the only certain means of either.

3 – Perfectly Calm and Quiet

What does Jesus’s “truth” entail? These are interpretations, but surely his truth entails the calm and quiet toward which we are going. We will be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time. Our dramas will be gone when we live by the truth, and, honestly, many of us aren’t sure that we won’t to live without drama. The truth is gentle and produces peace. It does not call for elaborate sacrifices on our part (and this will be a welcomed idea). Jesus’s truth is, in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, a place that we would want to visit and then decide to live. He takes away the effortful struggle that we have associated with salvation; this attitude partook of our still strong ego.

4 – ACIM vs. ACOL

What a blessing to know that we don’t have to make effortful attempts at creating a new world. What we are to do will occur to us at the time of action, whether the action be mental or physical. We will be told all that we need to know. In ACIM, the means of guidance is the Holy Spirit; and in ACOL, the means of guidance is turning to our inner Self/Christ. Both are parts of God, for God is the All.

5 – Peace

May we find peace and contentment in contemplating the passage for today from ACOL.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I sometimes find myself struggling to write this blog, and that is a notion that I need to give up. Help me to give up this notion. Give me Your peace and contentment, knowing that the right words will come when I get myself out of the way so that those words can come through me.

May I enjoy the cessation of striving. While I know that this isn’t a license for laziness, the cessation of striving is a welcome thought. Help me to know what it means, all in Your will.

Thank You.

Amen.

Struggle Alerts to the Presence of the Ego

rowers
“It will seem all but impossible to live in relationship when those around you are still convinced of their separation and still seeking to glorify it. You will still perceive of the world as operating under the laws of man and as long as you perceive of the world in such a way you will be forced to live by its laws. This will cause struggle and as you now know that struggle of any kind alerts you to the presence of ego, you will continue to do battle with the ego rather than leaving it forever behind. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 11.2)”

Affirmation: “I give up struggle today.”

Reflections:

1 – No More Struggle

Oh, to give up struggle! This would be a blessing that all of us would welcome. And here it is held out to us–when we give up the ego. The way of the ego is hard indeed, though perhaps for a long time we have not realized this. A Course in Miracles says that we pay for our flights of joy by tears of pain, when we are caught in egoic thinking. There is always this oscillation. But there is a way to stop the oscillation.

2 – Anger and Attack

It does seem all but impossible to stay true to our ideals when we are confronted, especially in our significant others, with anger and attack as well as judgment from them about us. But regardless of how long we live, this is the way of the world. And we are often surrounded by such individuals because they have been given to us as students. We are currently their teachers of salvation, though teaching and learning are actually inseparable (an interpretation from ACIM). There is a way to live peacefully amid the strife, because we are no longer so interested in the goals of this world, the goals which are usually egoic in nature

3 – Ego

Decide to battle your own ego no longer. Turn aside from saying and doing egotistical things, and you will come to recognize when the ego has intruded upon your peace. A little lilt in your demeanor will frequently signal the coming of the ego. You look back with pleasure on an occasion from yesterday. But know that when you seek to experience the pleasure, there will be occasions in the future when you rue your behavior. And the occasions will be similar except for your subsequent reaction to them.

4 – Sigh of Relief

So let us give up struggle with a sigh of relief. There is no reason to rue our relationships, either. We are here for a purpose, and while we do not actively proselytize (in line with ACIM and ACOL), we do make ourselves available to share when the people around us are ready to hear. You will know when that time arrives. In the meantime, turn inward for consolation. The Self/Christ is much better suited to giving us solace than anything external to ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would forego struggle henceforth. When I get ahead of myself, help me to pull back. Let me take the relaxed and easy way through this world. Your way is the way of happiness, and happiness does not include struggle. May I remember struggle is not necessary and is actually undesirable.

Be with me as I seek to follow Your path today. Your path is one of joy and tranquility, not pain. I would cease to experience suffering, even when pain does rear its head through my own egoic leanings. Help me to forsake the ego forthwith.

Amen

No Struggle / Only Ease

paintings-by-hilaire-germain-edgar-degas-7“A first step then in learning to recognize when you are acting upon notions of who you think you are rather than on who you truly are, is the appearance of the struggle or resistance. A a swimmer quickly learns, the only way to return to ease of movement is to cease to struggle or resist. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 4.6)”

Affirmation: “I would choose ease today as I follow ACOL.”

Reflections:

1 – Metaphor

The metaphor of a swimmer is used very well in A Course of Love. We are told elsewhere that we would not want to try to move in the water the same way that we move on land. Our movements are actually easier in water, but require an awareness that our environment is different from land. We move with more ease in the water, if we do not fight the water. This fighting would be a completely detrimental reaction, leading to major problems in swimming. And the same, in effect, with trying to live ACOL. We move with ease and not resistance when we don’t fight the words that have been given us. We soon feel much more ourselves, as the Christ Self will come through more and more over time, and we will be living our real Selves.

2 – No Struggle

We do not need to struggle anymore! What a relief this is! To give up struggle is something that we have wanted to do for a long time, but very likely we did not think giving up struggle was possible. And maybe we didn’t think that it was even desirable. We pit ourselves against forces beyond our control, thinking that we are building character. And we do, in fact, build some strength by struggling. But there is a better way. We give over our concerns to a Higher Power, and He paves the way for us. He is strong for us. In A Course in Miracles, this Power is the Holy Spirit. In A Course of Love, this Power is the Christ Self. Jesus declares elsewhere in ACOL that we were previously in the time of the Holy Spirit, but that now we are in the time of Christ. He is not here referring to the Jesus of 2,000 years ago, but to the Self that we all can inhabit.

3 – Time of Christ

Moving in water can be effortless, but it requires some practice. One may intuitively grasp the concept of swimming, but usually some training is required. And the same with what we are doing here. We are learning in the time of Christ. We are learning effortlessly, but we need some attention to what we are learning to assimilate all of it. And that new way of learning is by observation, not intense study (which would be very effortful indeed). We will learn, and we need to relax in the learning. One’s better life depends on mastering these concepts in A Course of Love (since we have chosen to use this as our means to Christ-consciousness), but we do not have to do so with great expenditure of effort. Indeed, to try that way would be counterproductive.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would learn a new way in the time of Christ. I would learn without trying to resist or to struggle, but I would learn with effortless ease. Sometimes to my personal self this seems too good to be true. But this evaluation comes only when my ego is rearing its head.

Learning now can be full of ease as well as joy. I do not have to pit myself against hard challenges. I ask You to pave the way for me. Tell me how to do my part. Tell me, guide me to do the right thing. May Your intentions for me win out always.

Be with all of us who still question if a new way is too easy. I know intellectually that a new way is not only possible but also easy, and I would bring my emotions in line with this knowledge. Thank You for being with me, for giving me the sense of Your presence.

Amen

Without Struggle or Effort

Dejeuner-canotiers - renoir“Ego desires cause one to think of a grand piano. Thoughts joined in unity hear music. Ego desires cause one to think of an elaborately framed painting. Thoughts joined in unity see beauty. You are used to thinking that if you do not have a tangible goal, such as that of music lessons or the purchase of a piano, you will never reach the goals associated with those tangible steps. Thoughts joined in unity create without goals or planning, without effort or struggle. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 1.13)”

Affirmation: “I would hear music today.”

Reflections:

1 – Effortless Thinking

We perk up when someone, especially someone like Jesus, tells us that there is a way to live without struggle or effort. If we join our thoughts in unity, we will know that blessing of effortless thinking. But what does “joining our thoughts in unity” really mean?

2 – Unity

A Course of Love indicates that if we share our thoughts, our deepest thoughts with our Christ/Self, deep within our minds, and we share our thoughts with God, and with our brothers and sisters, then we are living in unity (an interpretation of ACOL). We are also living in relationship. In unity, the One is emphasized; in relationships, the differentiated mass of One is emphasized. The One and the differentiated mass are both of God, and there is truly no difference between them. There is just a difference in the way we are thinking and talking of them.

3 – Christ-Consciousness

May we hear music today. May we not struggle to pay for the piano, or to take music lessons, but let us rest in the assurance that all will come to us when we are ready. And that especially includes Christ-consciousness.

4 – Planning

We are not instructed to form comprehensive goals or to plan rigidly for the future. We do not, according to A Course in Miracles, need to plan at all, unless we are instructed, at the time, by the Holy Spirit. ACOL goes a step farther, for this work tries to tell us that the impetus to know what to do comes from the inner Self/Christ. We just know. And we are the better for it.

5 – Just “Knowing”

Just “knowing” is tricky at first. How do we just know? Largely this comes from feelings, or intuition. We do not judge what to do, because we are incapable of seeing the whole picture (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles). We cannot know all factors that impinge upon past events, circumstances, or goals; we cannot see all facets of the present; and we certainly cannot discern the future without help from God. We need to realize that the way of God is, in fact, easily distinguishable once we become attuned to listening to intuition. Of course, there are other ways that guidance comes to us, and I have an article in this blog entitled, “The Gift of Guidance,” which may shed some light on the question. (Search the blog under gift and guidance and hales.)

6 – Picture Frames

If we choose to give up elaborately weaving picture frames, we will know more. This image, by the way, is a direct correlation with one from A Course in Miracles. We need to realize that a picture, lightly framed and in light, will show the best image (from the Text of ACIM). This we can look at in certain fashion. And for this we do not need elaborate goal-setting and planning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the picture today, not the picture frame. And I would hang all the pictures of my life in slender frames, framed in light. I would turn aside from jewel-encrusted, massive picture frames that obscure the real point–the picture itself. Thank You for this lovely image from A Course in Miracles.

May I walk through life in a relaxed, happy fashion. This is within my power, when You are with me, and I listen to You as You guide me. I would be finished with fear. As soon as fear crops up, let me turn it over to You and be done with it. The day is worth rejoicing. Thank You.

Amen.

Practicing Mindfulness

pissaro - beside river

“The art of thought invites the experience of the new thought system by being willing to replace the old with the new.  While this will at first be a learned activity, and as such have its moments of seeming difficulty, it is learned only in the sense of your practicing the mindfulness that will allow the memory of it to return to you.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 5.13)”

Affirmation:  “May I understand the art of thought today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Longer Struggle

When we practice the art of thought, we do not furrow our brow and study hard.  We read almost as though we were reading a story, for the pleasure.  We learn, therefore, effortlessly.  We no longer struggle to gain concepts.  We let the meaning be shown to us by gentle means.  We do not negate the idea that maybe revelation is showing us the way.  Revelation is not always recognized for what it is.  And A Course of Love indicates that it is with us more and more as we walk further along the pathway to Christ-consciousness.

2 – Gestures of Love

We respond to our outer environment when we practice the art of thought.  We do not take responsibility for others, but we do try to alleviate their needs.  Again, this is not a struggle, but simply gestures of love.

3 – Observation

And we learn by observation of ourselves and others.  Observation is the new way of learning in this new world we are on the verge of entering.  We observe, we reflect, and we come to understand.  Again, this is all effortless.

4 – Gain a Whole New World

Can so much be had for so little?  Can we gain a whole new world in such effortless ways?  Indeed, we can, for the pathway is not one of struggle any longer.  We walk into the sunlight, prompted by intuition, feelings, insight–any means of guidance that comes to us.  We are not alone.  That is a primary message.  We never have to do all of this work of salvation unaided.  Indeed, salvation is not work at all, but the most glorious child’s play possible (paraphrased from A Course in Miracles, which says that salvation is a game that happy children play).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would spend today in a relaxed mind and heart, listening for Your guidance and knowing that it will come when I have stilled myself so that I can hear.  Thank You for being here for me.  May I observe this world in a new way of thinking, by observation rather than intense study.  May I no longer be tempted to struggle through my days.  You do not mean this for me.

Help all of my brothers and sisters to have a good day.  You mean for all of our days to be good, even the ones that have some pain in them.  Pain in the present moment simply doesn’t occur; we are always seeing the past in our pain.  May pain never been turned by our minds into suffering.  You would choose for all of Your children to rest in Your blessings, to receive Your ease, and to solve any and all problems, with Your help, that have presented themselves and may be causing pain.  Guide us to know what to do when faced with less-than-desirable life circumstances.  May our stress remain low and our spirits high.

Thank You for Your presence, always, in our lives.

Amen.

Disengage from Meaningless Conflict

“To strive for that which has value is what this course  is about.  It has nothing to do with struggle.  You think also that to leave struggle behind, to disengage from the conflict of this world that causes it, is to turn your back on the real world and all that has meaning in it.  In this you think correctly.  . .This desire to engage in struggle has nothing to do with your sense of responsibility and duty.  It is merely your ego’s attempt to involve you in distractions that keep you from your real responsibility.  (A Course of Love, 1.14)”


Affirmation:  “May I strive to do Your Will today.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego’s Struggles

We all have struggled long and hard for accomplishments in this world.  But Jesus would say that, in all likelihood, most of those struggles were instigated by the ego (an interpretation, not state in ACOL).  So, having given up the ego (or in the process of doing so), we do not have any reason whatsoever to “struggle” anymore.  The suffering entailed won’t buy us anything that we want.  So what is the difference between struggling and striving?

2 – Striving

Strive is, bottom line, more compassionate to ourselves.  It is also a more positive attitude.  A Course of Love does not want our sacrifice of ourselves for the “good” of somebody else (an ACOL tenet).  Sacrifice is never called for, according to ACOL.

3 – Guidance

But we will continue to strive to help, and it will not feel like work to do so.  We have guidance.  We are on the road to Christ-consciousness.  We have entered the time of Christ, and we are exiting from the guidance of the Holy Spirit (on which we depended mightily while studying A Course in Miracles).

4 – Christ-Consciousness

Very likely this transition to Christ-consciousness will not happen suddenly, though this sudden transformation is also a possibility.  We will see glimpses of Awakening before we sustain Awakening.  Let us ask for a glimpse today.  Elsewhere in ACOL Jesus encourages us to ask for a miracle, one that would put our minds at rest, one that would provide certainty that we are not alone.  Perhaps today is the day for us to ask for a glimpse of Awakening, for we can ask for miracles any day.  They are our birthright.  If you can conceive of the miracle happening, then indeed it can happen.  Do not be foolish about this recommendation, but do look inwardly before you ask.  We may all be surprised with what we are guided to request.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave behind the fruitless struggles of this world.  But may I remember my brothers and sisters who need my assistance.  To disengage from conflict is to drop the ego–nothing more.  I would strive when led to do so, but I would not struggle again.

This world is a place of struggle, and joining others in struggle does not help them.  We need to realize why this is so, and perhaps the passage for today will guide us in our interpretations.

Help us to have good days always.  If there are things that need to change in our lives, may we strive to change them.  But otherwise, let us be mindful of the needs of ourselves and  others, and seek to answer those needs without struggle.  Without the ego.

Amen.

The Way of Salvation Is a Fait Accompli

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

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

Reflections:

1 – What Jesus Learned

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

2 – Why Do We Struggle So?

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

3 – Journey without Distance

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

4 – Choose What Has Lasting Value

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Only a Little Effort Needed

ACIM Workbook Lesson 91 – for Sunday, April 1, 2012

Affirmation:  “Miracles are seen in light.”

Selected Passage:

“Your efforts, however little they may be, have strong support.  Did you but realize how great this strength, your doubts would vanish.  (WB156)”

Reflections:

1 – Let the Holy Spirit Lead

Elsewhere Jesus says that we do not feel comfortable with the truth that our own contribution is so little, and the contribution of the Holy Spirit to our best living is so great (a paraphrase).  We think that we ought to do more.

2 – We Need Contribute Just a Bit

Yet it is just because we are asked to do so little, ourselves, that our success is assured.  We are so often weak in the flesh (a biblical concept), and when we depend on guidance from the Holy Spirit, we are depending on real strength that will take us Home.  When we take this understanding to heart, we are reassured in the extreme.

3 – Do Not Struggle

We do not have to struggle; indeed, we are bade not to struggle.  We are not to choose the miracles that we will perform, because personally selected miracles may be misguided (a Text tenet).  We are to depend on Jesus to guide us to the miracles that we are to perform, and, when we do this, all is well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not struggle today, but take the day as it comes, knowing that the Holy Spirit will alleviate my burdens.  Let me not feel unnecessary in this exchange, because the Holy Spirit does need my willingness to follow His lead.  I give that willingness today.

Be with me as I walk through the day.  Your will is the only one that I would follow, and I am led gently down a pathway in spring.

Amen.

I Will Receive Whatever I Request

ACIM Workbook Lesson 339 – for Monday, December 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will receive whatever I request.”

“Father, this is Your day. It is a day in which I would do nothing by myself, but hear Your Voice in everything I do; requesting only what You offer me, accepting only Thoughts You share with me.  (WB472)”

Reflections:

1 – Struggle No More

This is another logical progression in the Workbook from day to day, building on yesterday’s lesson.  If we trust enough to offer our problems to the One Solution, we will not only find the solutions to those things that perplex us, but we will find perfect solutions.  We need struggle no more.  If times seem hard, let us remember that there are always those who have it worse than we do, and some of these individuals have found a way to praise God in the midst of their troubles.  Trouble is not a respecter of persons.  It comes to the good and the “evil” alike.  But those who turn to the Holy Spirit for their solutions are not often kept defeated.  Their deliverance is sooner rather than later.

2 – The Holy Spirit = Voice

The Holy Spirit is the “Voice” meant in this prayer.  We deliver the day unto the Holy Inspiration, and then we thank God that His Answer is there for us.  Our gratitude is not demanded (an interpretation of ACIM, not stated therein), but we will out of the fullness of our heart want to offer that gratitude.  Gratitude thus becomes a means to express forgiveness of our previous misconceptions about this world and the people in it, especially our significant others, our “brother” (ACIM terminology).

3 – Solve Problems Quickly

Problems are meant to be solved, and solved quickly.  We do not need to cling to our fears about our daily sustenance in this world.  Certainly we remain concerned when we see ourselves and others hurting, and we would do what we can to heal the brokenness of which we all partake at various times in our lives.  But we who follow A Course in Miracles know some secrets that we need only share to those who are ready to listen.  Then the miracle becomes real in our own experience.  And God’s Voice has shown us the Way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I declare in my words and actions the emphasis that the Holy Spirit would bring to my day.  I would not make these decisions by myself, but I would commune with You and Your Voice, and I would offer the certainty that, when I hear aright, I will remain on the pathway that You smooth for me.  Today is no different from any other day.  I need You today just the same as always.  But I would make a special appeal to remain flexible as I walk throughout this day, struggling no more, knowing that You do not want me to struggle.  All too often, I know, struggle is of the ego and leads us away from the goal that You hold out to us–a home with You, reveling in Your felt presence.

Help me to realize that the struggle that seems so laudatory is anything but.  We are meant to commune with You, and then we are meant to accept Your Words, and then proceed peacefully and easily with our lives.  Anything else is an egoic dream, and I would not dream those dreams any longer.

Thank You for the gift of A Course in Miracles.  For others, there are other pathways; but for some of us, ACIM is the answer to so many of the questions that our minds have tried to solve.  May my mind be one with You today.

Amen.