Tag Archives: The Secret

Deprived of Nothing Except by Our Own Decisions

“When you are sad, know that this need not be. Depression is of the ego, and you are hiding little spots of hatred that are hurting you. Depression always arises ultimately from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. Know you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VI.5:1-4)

We have been given everything, by God, to make our way through life easily and peacefully. On the surface, this sounds like an outrageous claim, but Jesus does say that we are “deprived of nothing except by your own decisions.” This sounds very akin to Jesus’ way of speaking of the law of attraction, in which what we focus upon, actually comes to be.

The law of attraction has been hot news since Rhonda Byrne and her team made a film entitled The Secret, and this was followed, by her, by books (The Secret, The Power, The Magic, The Hero). It is a very controversial idea, but the law of attraction says that we have to watch our minds for the scraps of fear that abide there, for we will make very bad things for ourselves if we focus on the negative. In The Power, Rhonda made clear the central place of love, and this book has spiritual aspects that would lead all of us to see that Love in religion, and love in the law of attraction, is a universal concept with universal ramifications.

Depression does wrap our mind up in knots. We can do much to dismiss depressed thoughts when they arise in us, as the psychologist Richard Carlson has made clear, especially in the books, Shortcut through Therapy, You Can Feel Good Again, and Slowing Down to the Speed of Life. He doesn’t think that we are doomed by brain chemicals to lead a depressed life; we have some say in how we thrive.

Jesus, in the passage for today, seems to say much the same. We all need compassion, and those who are depressed perhaps need more compassion than most. If we are trapped by depression, let us reach out to our brothers and sisters, including the medical establishment and the community of psychologists and psychiatrists.

Let us ask what we would want to think that we can’t seem to think now.

And that will hold the key.

Internal Treasures

“As this Treatise is not concerned with material treasure, we will not explore the dimensions of physical treasure except to say that the feelings that cause one to think that any physical thing is capable of being a treasure or being treasured are of the ego. We will instead assume that you have moved beyond these ego concerns and explore the realm of internal treasures.” (ACOL, T2:1.3)

This passage is a direct answer to the popular book, The Secret. Although Rhonda Byrne did not mean just material treasure, material treasure is used by way of introduction to her idea, an idea gleaned from extensive historical research. Perhaps Rhonda can “hook” us into the law of attraction by enticing our materialistic longings. She herself has written later books that indicate that she well knows that the material is not all that is important.

We need to go beyond the material, as we who have read this far in A Course of Love realize all too well. We may have been hooked time and again by a materialistic toy that we thought would satisfy our longing for treasure, only to find that it turned to dust in our hands. We were not, in a word, satisfied for long. So Jesus is leading us here to internal treasures, those that time does not destroy. Our internal treasures will satisfy us by turning into abilities, and then simply part of what we are, our very identity. This is the flow that treasures take.

We don’t want egoic nonsense in our lives any longer. That does not mean that we will eschew the material, for we live in a physical world. We have physical needs, of course, and we still can be caught by the glittering gold of a physical object. But if we realize that these external treasures are fleeting in their ability to satisfy, we will put our heart where the real treasure is—internal joys, internal pleasures. We will focus on intangibles rather than tangibles, the physical. We will know that the intangibles of joy, harmony, peace, goodwill, serenity will give us what we long to have above all else—and this is the peace of God. We may not fully realize this desire yet, but we are getting there. We will soon know that the only things worth having are things that cost nothing at all. These valuable things ask only that we put first things first, that we turn to God to satisfy our legitimate needs, and that we spend at least a part of each day in gratitude for all the blessings that we indeed do have.

This way of internal treasures is the ultimate in personal satisfaction, the ultimate way to happiness. Let’s march forward with that insight today.

Prayer

You know that we all need the material, in our material world. But You also know that we need the formless more than the material, and that it is the formless, the intangible, that will satisfy us for long and satisfy us fully. I would find the peace that emanates from harmony with all things today. I would enjoy those things that don’t cost anything, and yet their worth is incomparable. Your day, given to all, is beautiful whether it is raining or sunny. Birdsong costs nothing, and when we walk outside, we are privy to that beautiful trilling without doing anything special.

I know that my material needs will be taken care of, so long as I listen to Your guidance as to how to take care of the physical. You don’t deemphasize the physical; you just put it in proper perspective.

Thank You for another beautiful day in Your world. The world that we will create anew when we have assumed Christ-consciousness and are ready for a new day on earth.

Amen.

I Am Not the Victim of the World I See. I Have Invented the World I See.

impressionist paintings1 – There Is No World!

A Course in Miracles stresses repeatedly that we live in a dream, that this world is illusory. And in support of this idea comes the assertion that projection makes perception. So all that we experience comes from within ourselves. There is no world! (This is an ACIM declaration.) Now the following passage repeats this idea in slightly different words:

“You will escape from both [the inner and the outer world] together, for the inner is the cause of the outer. (WB31)”

2 – Projection Makes Perception

If our inner world makes our outer (what we have been learning), then it behooves us to transform our inner to loving concepts. Fear in the inner world will make the outer world seem fearful to us. And when the ego is reigning within, we have little choice but to view an outer world that scares us.

3 – ACIM’s Purpose
We would not have it thus. Nobody would, if they knew what to do to change things. And with ACIM, we are learning the means to Awakening the transformative experience that will make all the difference.

4 – Useful Idea

“The idea for today [“I am not the victim of the world I see”] is also a particularly useful one to use as a response to any form of temptation that may arise. It is a declaration that you will not yield to it, and put yourself in bondage. (WB31)”

We are in control of our destinies. Our world is what we want it to be, once we have taken conscious control. Otherwise, we may be living with an imprisoned will, made that way because of the “tiny, mad idea” that changed us, that made the illusory separation from God. But many New Age writers have declared that we create our own reality. And ACIM says the same, though in this world ACIM uses the word “make” rather than “create.” We are not ready for true creation as long as we are in egoic clutches.

5 – We Invented This World

“Today we are continuing to develop the theme of cause and effect. You are not the victim of the world you see because you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want, it will not be there for you to see. (WB32)”

6 – Cause and Effect

Cause and effect can be a hard concept to wrap one’s mind around. But it is really very simple. It says that like creates like, and when we live in egotism, we make egotism in our outside world. Again, projection makes perception.

7 – Avoidance of This World

We do not want to see the world in which we have been living. But it is things of the spirit that will save us, not materialistic goods. Our reality is one that cannot be viewed by the seeing eyes. Our reality is the intangibles of God, his blessings of joy, peace, harmony, serenity, love.

8 – The Secret

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, has given me personally much room for thought. In this book and DVD, she and others say that we attract the world that we want. The first book in the series, The Secret does focus quite a bit on the material. But the second and third books in the series, The Power and The Magic, look to spiritual concepts of gratitude and love far more.

9 – Spiritual Concepts

It is to these spiritual concepts that I want to take our attention. We will never be satisfied for long with material goods. We will always want more, as long as those goods are coming to us to satisfy egoistic wants. But when we are grateful for the world in which we live, and when we love mightily, we have it in our power to transform the world that we see. And transformation is what we are after, if the truth be told.

10 – Apply Today’s Idea

“The idea for today [‘I have invented the world I see.’] should also be applied immediately to any situation that may distress you. Apply the idea by telling yourself: I have invented this situation as I see it. WB32)”

All of the passages from this Workbook lesson say much the same as what Rhonda Byrne is saying, and she has gotten a great deal of press in recent years. The concepts are making their way into the mainstream, much as have the concepts of ACIM. (Frequently entire books are written which set forth the philosophy of ACIM without ever crediting where the ideas have originated.)

11 – Change Your World

So, if we are not victims of the world we see, we can change that world. And let us seek to do so today. Let us get started. The world will continue on in its poor, downtrodden ways until we seek to make a change. It is not hard to change a thought that we wish to change. And the world is a thought, an idea.

Affirmation: “I am not the victim of the world I see.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May the world that I see today make a dramatic shift. May I see that this world is my own invention, that I am part of a mass hallucination. May I join others in the desire to make a better world that is not dependent on the physical eyes to see.

Be with me today. I long for an anxiety-free day, and I have much on my plate today. Help me to call upon You, to remember to call upon You, when I sense stress. You would not have me stressed. That is not Your way. Show me Your way today.

Amen.

Prayer Is a Way of Asking for Something. It Is the Medium of Miracles.

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“Prayer is a way of asking for something. It is the medium of miracles. But the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything. (T45)”

Affirmation: “the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness”

Reflections:

1 – A Way of Asking

Prayer is not discussed a great deal in ACIM, and this passage hints at why. A Course in Miracles recommends forgiveness of ourselves and our brother as the only basis for a good life. If we forgive, we “have everything.” This passage indicates that prayer is a “way” of asking, but it does not mean that asking is the whole of it. We will find, when we consider Song of Prayer, that prayer is not really about asking at all. But this is for advanced seekers. In the meantime, most of us need to ask for things of the world and things of the spirit, and God, I believe, does not think less of us for so doing.

2 – What is “Everything”?

It is hard to understand what this “everything” really is, but basically it is the recognition that we are not deprived in this life except by our own choice. This is part of the theoretical construct of ACIM. It is part of the secret outlined by Rhonda Byrne (in The Secret), which elucidates the power of attraction, through our emotional and vibratory resonance with the universe. The Self that deprives us of things is following our persona’s lead, the personal self (as described in A Course of Love, though this is an interpretation not stated therein). We create our own reality. I cannot stress this enough.

3 – Jane Roberts’s Seth

Creating our own reality is a credo of Jane Roberts’s Seth, and this is the means that I first learned of this law. I have followed this law, at least subconsciously, for most of my life since–since the age of 30. And I do consider that my life has been charmed in many ways. The law of attraction works. My low points were not necessarily bad as I look back upon them. Time of crisis leads to a greater realization later on. And this has happened repeatedly.

4 – Personal Experience

I think that prayer is one of the most important aspects of our life here on earth. I pray often at night, when I am trying to sleep. I presume that God does not decry my tendency to drift back off at some point in my praying. I am driving the thought deep into my subconscious; I am seeing God as my Protector, and He comes through this way for me. What is better for a persona that is trying to let go of the ego? To lead toward Awakening? In my thinking, there is no better way to walk toward enlightenment than to have a rich and full prayer life.

5 – Norman Vincent Peale and the Dalai Lama

Norman Vincent Peale says that most people, in his experience, admit to praying about five minutes a day. This, he says, in equivalent to one-half of one percent of waking hours–not nearly enough. He counsels more and more prayer time. Likewise, none other than the Dalai Lama meditates for four hours every morning, regardless of what the rest of his busy day anticipates. Prayer and meditation are much linked, though not the same. The final lessons in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles are, to my mind, a call for meditation, for prayerful reflection–a sort of Westernized version of meditation.

6 – Not a Call for Materialism

Why would we choose to deprive ourselves of anything? Maybe we are looking for the wrong things in life. ACIM is practical, but nowhere is materialism sanctioned. We are simply asked in this passage to pray for forgiveness, and then the miracles that will transform our lives will be forthcoming. This is the prayer of faith. This is the way that our lives will be fact be transformed.

7 – Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the theme of A Course in Miracles. And when we forgive, we are living in flow, for we will sense that we are on the beam with God. Nowhere else can this blessing be found. Only in prayer can we know that we have forgiven ourselves and that we have forgiven others. And we are pardoning illusions–never let us forget that. The world that we see is illusion, and the misdeeds perpetrated against ourselves (or so we interpret) have not really accomplished anything in reality. So let us forgive freely, not out of compulsion. The way home will open up; the pathway will become clear, when forgiveness is intimately in our minds and spirits.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I ask forgiveness for all the ways in which I have failed. May I ask that forgiveness be in my heart for those whom I feel have hurt me. I realize that actually I cannot be hurt, but I can feel the pain of believing that I have been hurt.

May I forgive, as I have asked to be forgiven. May all that I encounter feel the results of my prayer today.

May the blessings of this day reach me. Will you assist me to walk in Your light of forgiveness?

Amen.

How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

“Broadly speaking, then, it can be said that it is well to start the day right. It is always possible to begin again, should the day begin with error. Yet there are obvious advantages in terms of saving time. (M-16.2)”

1 – The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

This passage from A Course in Miracles is echoed in the popular book The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne. There is detailed the fact that stumbling when getting out of bed often starts a chain reaction, because we rue the beginning of the day, our thoughts turn negative, and then a little bit of everything seems to go wrong.

2 – We Create Our Own Reality

The Secret affirms that we create our own reality, we draw to us that which happens to us. And the work includes many examples of how better things, particularly material things, can come to us when we image those better things in our minds, affirming that our minds are very powerful.

3 – Positive Thinking

I recommend positive thinking on getting out of bed in the morning. I believe that the intangibles are more to be desired than the ego-oriented material aspects of our world. I also believe that we will never remain satisfied, regardless of how many material things we acquire, if we don’t have a handle on these intangibles of peace, joy, contentment, harmony, and the like. In my spiritual orientation, these intangibles are the blessings of God. And we can create these in our reality as well. These spiritual aspects are emphasized in two later books by Rhonda, entitled The Power and The Magic. In these two books, she focuses on the importance of gratitude and the importance of love in creating our reality.

4 – If the Day Begins Badly. . .

If the day begins badly, if we stump our toe, for example, we need a quick restorative. And this can come through The Secret’s emphasis on gratitude in daily life, which certainly is a spiritual concept.

5 – Gratitude

Gratitude expressed throughout a day is a day well spent.

6 – No Planning Necessary

The lesson for today from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles goes on to affirm that we do not need to plan our day. This is something that I especially need to hear, maker of “to do” lists that I am. It is true that we need a plan, but that plan is best, according to ACIM, the plan of the Holy Spirit, who will prompt us at various junctures about what to do next. This idea of guidance is not well-recognized in our world, and that is such a pity. Anyone who has met the Holy Spirit knows that He will guide us to the degree that we are open to His guidance. He will develop a flow to our day, and the day will indeed be marvelous, even if bad things happen. We will be largely impervious to those bad things, seeing them but not being intimately damaged by what we view.

7 – Offer Solace

We do need to offer solace to our brothers and sisters on this earth, though, especially if they are creating a reality that is detrimental to their well-being.

8 – Blaming the Victim

I do have a cautionary note. We all too often, in New Age circles, think that the individual who is suffering has somehow brought this suffering on themselves. But I believe that it is the Self that makes these decisions, not the personal self. And so the “little I” is innocent of the bad that seems to follow us into this world. The Self that is within, the Christ within, selects happenings that are intended to broaden our perspective. We sometimes suffer for a larger purpose. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and as soon as we ask for surcease, we are released from the pain. The physical and emotional pain may not subside immediately, of course, but the way has been paved. And the Self always has our best interests at heart. We can ask, as Jesus in the Text of ACIM recommends, that we learn through rewards, a more lasting learning experience than anything that pain can bring us.

9 – You Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

“You do not have to learn through pain,” we learn in ACIM. What a blessing this assertion really is. And all we have to do to merit this end is to step forward and claim it.

Affirmation: “I am going to do what I can to have a good day today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go well. I am starting over, because already there has been some stress in my day, self-generated. I know that getting a slower start in the morning is good. And I know that when I get that slower start, the rest of the day falls in place.

May I have Your guidance to create my reality. I know that Your blessings are intangibles, though You know that we need the material also. I especially pray for peace in this sometimes difficult world. May my brothers and sisters, as well as myself, live in harmony with each other.

Amen.

Overcoming Bitterness and Uncertainty

Giverny 036 - monet
“Bitterness and uncertainty are replaced by hope.  Hope is the condition of the initiate, new to the realization of having a home within the embrace.  It is the response that says to all you have just read, ‘Ah, if only it were true.  If only it could be true.’  (A Course of Love, 20.36)”

Affirmation:  “hope”

Reflections:

1 – Three Thoughts

There are three distinct trains of thought in the passage for today.  Let’s take them in order.

2 – Bitterness and Uncertainty Left Behind

First, we see that, as progress in reading A Course of Love, we leave bitterness and uncertainty behind.  Bitterness is a state of mind that was not a focus of A Course in Miracles, but is important to ACOL.  We are seen to be bitter about many of the things that have happened to us on our pathway through life.  And we hold this feeling of bitterness, this grievance against God, close to ourselves.  We cannot live this way in peace.  We must and will choose a better way.  And hope is the answer.  Even when life seems to go against us, because we have, like a mirror, attracted bad things to ourselves, we can recognize that this state of affairs does not have to be permanent.  We can choose again, and in the next choice, we can reach the tipping point of above 50 percent, which changes everything–if we hold firm to this concept of what we wish to see in our lives.  (Ideas are adapted from Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret trilogy.)

3 – Hope

We enjoy hope when we accept the embrace of Jesus as what we want, as we realize that he is serious about offering us the total, unconditional love that we crave.  And he soothes us, for we are much in need of comforting.  This the embrace does for us.  We imagine that Jesus is enfolding us in his arms, and we instantly feel justified.  We feel accepted by God as well as by Jesus.  And we accept ourselves, knowing that regardless of how many mistakes we have made, we are loved.

4 – The Embrace

The final sentence in the passage for today is the central hope of the embrace.  If only it could be true that I am forgiven!  If only it could be so simple to feel the peace that I want to feel!  This is the promise that hope brings to us.  And if we accept the indications of our heart, we will know peace, serenity, and we will also know happiness.  Jesus’s embrace can and will do all of this for us.

5 – Forgive Self

So let us drop our own unforgiveness toward ourselves.  We will even continue to make mistakes, for we are human (as well as divine), and we are living in this world, where there are many temptations.  But we need not feel that all is lost, that there is no hope.

6 – Hope Will Take Us Home

This passage tells us that there is hope.  And this hope will take us home to God, while we continue to walk this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The solution is always with the problem, and when we have articulated precisely the problem, and just as precisely turn that problem over to You, the solution appears–and quickly.  Your time is not ours, but more often than not the time is soon, even within our timeframe.  This gives us hope, which we are studying today.  And of course any lingering bitterness about what life has dealt us, or any uncertainty about what to do in the future, dissipate.  We always know the next right step, when we have taken the time to ask with sincerity.  Thank You.

Be with me today as I seek to solve the pesky problems that have married my mornings recently.  I feel anxious in the morning, and You would not have it so.  I feel on the verge of a breakthrough, and I have hope that this is a certainty.  I do ask for help with sincerity.

Thank You for listening to my prayer.

Amen.

Dreary, Hopeless Thoughts = Hell

ACIM Workbook Lesson 196 – for Sunday, July 15, 2012

Affirmation:  “It can be but myself I crucify.”

“The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross.  Perhaps it seemed to be salvation.  Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear seemed to be salvation.  Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real.  And what is that but hell?  Who could believe his Father is his deadly enemy, separate from him, and waiting to destroy his life and blot him from the universe, without the fear of hell upon his heart?  (WB374)”

Reflections:

1 – Fear of God = Hell

So the fear of God is hell!  Elsewhere Jesus says also that “guilt” is hell.  And so it seems that our own guilt at our presumed misdeeds and bad thoughts has made us fear God’s retribution, and therefore we have experienced hell on earth.  (And, if the truth be told, we have spent part of our lives, at least, fearing hell after death.)

2 – God Never Condemns

God never condemns, and so He does not need to forgive us for our thoughts and actions.  This is a sticking point for many students/teachers of A Course in Miracles, because we cannot seem to get out of our minds a God Who may have created part of the pain and suffering in our world, or at least ought to do something about it!  These thoughts misdirect our minds.  God neither created pain and suffering, but we, in a “tiny, mad idea” thought that we separated from Him, and we entered a world, built up by us, that is insanity.  And in an insane world there is pain and suffering.

3 – A Way Out

Is there a way out that we can take beginning today?

4 – Get the Madness Out

Yes, there is a way out.  And we need only learn as a student the precepts of ACIM, and, with our minds losing some of its insanity, the “dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook) can attract to ourselves a much better living experience.  These are benign dreams that some would say we have used through the “law of attraction” (a tenet of a bestseller entitled The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne).  But we too want more than the materialistic if we are to be happy.  The altruistic ideas of God will inform a world in much stronger terms than simply an improvement in our material conditions.  And, for the intangibles of God, we turn to our Guide, the Holy Spirit–or the Christ-consciousness within (if we have traveled this far on the pathway back home).  (The concept of Christ-consciousness is described in A Course of Love, believed by some to be a sequel to ACIM and also channeled by Jesus.)

5 – We Are Out Own Worst Enemy

So let us cease aiding and abetting our own hell on earth. We have taught ourselves the unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator (an ACIM tenet), and we have reaped the lamentable result in our world.  Let us turn today to a different way of living, and find our way home in God with all of its attendant joys.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I think that most of us have found ways to be happy, and some of our unhappy moments are when we forget to put into practice what we already know.  Certainly our depressed thoughts do constitute a hell outside of You.  We can get medical help, and we can turn to A Course in Miracles, to prayer, to friends and family, to writing in a journal; there clearly are limitless ways that may have helped in the past.  

Thank You for the good day that I am having.  But the day did not start in a promising way, because I felt sleepy and wanted just to nod off again.  Jesus would not have us to withdraw, as he says in ACIM.  And when I began writing (one of my solutions), everything turned around.  Then I visited my mother at her retirement community, and that gesture took me out of myself.  Thank You for the good day that this has turned out to be.

May my brothers and sisters be cheered by something today, if anyone is feeling down.  May we help each other, if by no other way that good thought vibes.

Amen.

In Deepest Silence I Come to You

ACIM Workbook Lesson 254 – for Sunday, September 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let every voice but God’s be still in me.”

“Father, today I would but hear Your Voice.  In deepest silence I would come to You, to hear Your Voice and to receive Your Word.  I have no prayer but this:  I come to You to ask You for the truth.  And truth is but Your Will, which I would share with You today.  

“Today we let no ego thoughts direct our words or actions.  When such thoughts occur, we quietly step back and look at them, and then we let them go.  We do not want what they would bring with them.  And so we do not choose to keep them.  (WB421)”

Reflections:

In silence we hear the Holy Spirit speak.  This is also how we best commune with God.  Words are steps removed from reality, for they are only symbols (a Text tenet).  When we are silent, we are in a form of meditation, though A Course in Miracles does not ever use this term.  Indeed, Jesus describes contemplation as “tedious,” and says that our way is in our relationships (moving from special to holy).  But prayer and communion are always welcomed.  And much of this Part II of the Workbook is prayer to God.  We are, once again, communicating with Him.  He knew when His children did not communicate, that the channels were closed, and He thought that we were asleep and needed to be awakened.  This is what Jesus is trying to do in A Course in Miracles, to awaken us.

Once again, today, we are encouraged to drop the egoic thoughts from our holy minds.  We would not have those things that egoic thinking would bring to us.  And be forewarned that what we think about does often come about.  This is the understanding given in The Secret, and while we are no longer seeking the material world, the ego is wily and will lead us into spiritual pride.  We do not want this, and we need to ask the Holy Spirit to protect us from this mistake.

The “truth” that the passage for today discusses is a difficult concept, because in our lives, the truth sometimes seems to be different for different people.  Certainly we are told that our personalities differ (a Manual tenet).  But there are universal truths, and those are the ones we would seek today.  We would not stay mired in mistakes and mishaps.  We need to ask that our steps on the pathway be steady and stable, and that we awaken gladly and without fear.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest in silence today.  On this deep day of mourning in the United States, may we realize that our tragedies can, ultimately, not only make us stronger but also make us better.  May we learn from the past the lessons that we need to learn, and may we forgive those whom we ought to forgive.

Be with me today as I seek to live in this troubled world.  May we see the good and not let egoic anger take us over.  May we live with minds that are ever-closer to Awakening in the knowledge of You.

Amen.

Gratitude

ACIM Workbook Lesson 217 – for Friday, August 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”

“It can be but my gratitude I earn.  (WB396)”

Reflections:

Mainstream society believes this affirmation, without knowing, in most cases, where we find it.  Many have recommended keeping “gratitude journals,” including Sarah Breathnath (Simple Abundance) and Oprah (the television personality).  A Course in Miracles, though, as is typical, takes this understanding of being grateful a step farther.  We earn our own gratitude toward ourselves by being grateful to God for our many blessings.  It has also often been said that God does not need our gratitude, but that we do need the exercise of expressing our gratitude.  This too is a step beyond what the normal gratitude journal is all about.

We “earn” the gratitude that we express.  It is a free gift, though, not anything that we struggle to earn.  ACIM, in fact, as we may remember, never counsels struggling to reach our salvation.  The way is described as “easy,” though on first reading (second and third, etc.) ACIM can seem anything but easy.

What we do get in exchange for our gratitude?  We may look upon gratitude as a form of love, and love gives far more than it ever gets.  We are encompassed by love, and we come to know this ever more clearly when we express gratitude for our blessings on an ongoing basis.  Even The Secret, a book that commanded much attention, counseled that its contributors made gratitude a daily exercise, suggesting that this in itself will get us what we want, what we draw to ourselves by our thinking.  Let us look to a higher purpose than just material things, though, for they will only satisfy the ego, and then only briefly.  Let us ask for the intangibles, and let us express gratitude for these when they come.  And they will not be long  in coming.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I want to express my gratitude for the day just lived, even though I know that You do not need my gratitude.  I do need to express it, though, and this expression will expand into a love that will help me through today.  Yesterday, today, and tomorrow will merge into a life lived in Your presence, aware of Your presence, when I live those days in gratitude for the love you shower on me constantly.

May my brothers and sisters benefit from the gratitude that I am expressing.  Let me not forget to express my gratitude to them for their helpful ways.  I could not manage without them.  Let me tell them that today.

Amen.