Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Welcome Him

I welcome Jesus this year, not as a babe in a manger who was born to sacrifice himself for the sins of the world, but as the savior who brought to us a message of peace and love and how to recognize my true Self, of power unlimited and beyond my imagining. I welcome him as the Prince of Peace who tells me that I share in the Sonship with God with him, as do all of my brothers. I welcome him with open arms and open heart and hope that I am worthy, but I know that I am because he has said that I am, as is everyone. I welcome him and give him the gift that I will receive back:

"The gift of union is the only gift that I was born to give. Give it to me, that you may have it. The time of Christ is the time appointed for the gift of freedom, offered to everyone. And by your acceptance of it, you offer it to everyone." ACIM text pg. 324-325.

In this season and every season, I will remember my true Self and share in the Christ with all of my brothers everywhere. I will ask Jesus to help me to see the light in the darkness and accept it wholeheartedly. I will forget about sacrifice and remember Jesus' words in the course, that sacrifice is separation from love and brings guilt as surely as love brings peace. I will listen to Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, the One Who Knows, so that I may remember my true Identity.

"The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His Presence the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. and you need but invite Him in Who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is One, and no thought alien to His Oneness can abide with Him there. Love must be total to give Him welcome, for the Presence of Holiness creates the holiness that surrounds it. No fear can touch the Host Who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the Host is as holy as the perfect Innocence which He protects, and Whose power protects Him."
ACIM text pg. 327

I will remember that I am NOT a body, for:

"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 text pg. 328

I will remember the true reason Jesus came to earth:

"The Prince of Peace was born to re-establish the condition of love by teaching that communication remains unbroken even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication. And if you understand this lesson, you will realize that to sacrifice the body is to sacrifice nothing, and communication, which must be of the mind, cannot be sacrificed. Where, then is sacrifice? The lesson I was born to teach, and still would teach to all my brothers, is that sacrifice is nowhere and love is everywhere. For communication embraces everything, and in the peace it reestablishes, love comes of itself."
ACIM text pg. 328

"Teach only love, for that is what you are. " ACIM text pg. 94

Let there be peace on earth and it has to begin with me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Fountain of Youth

Throughout the day my husband and I share bits of insights that we gather from the course in our daily readings. Yesterday he said to me, “Did you know that the Fountain of Youth is mentioned in the course?” My reply was, “No way!” Surely I would remember if I had read that! To never grow old, to live forever . . . well, my first thoughts when he said that, as they probably would be for anyone, was of a Fountain of Youth for the BODY. I looked at him and he had a mischievous grin on his face so I knew there was more to the story. Of course, we are NOT a body, and the course does not mention a “Fountain of Youth” in those terms, but read this:

“In Him you have no cares and no concerns, no burdens, no anxiety, no pain, no fear of future and no past regrets. In timelessness you rest, while time goes by without its touch upon you, for your rest can never change in any way at all. You rest today.”

“Each hour that you take your rest today, a tired mind is suddenly made glad, a bird with broken wings begins to sing, a stream long dry begins to flow again. The world is born again each time you rest, and hourly remember that you came to bring the peace of God into the world, that it might take its rest along with you.”

“Time is not the guardian of what we give today. We give to those unborn and those passed by, to every Thought of God, and to the Mind in which these Thoughts were born and where they rest. And we remind them of their resting place each time we tell ourselves, ‘I rest in God.’”

(quotes are from ACIM Lesson 109)

This is the Fountain of Youth that I’ll gladly dip into!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

In the Quiet Stillness

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10

“In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved.” ACIM Text pg. 574

“Learn to be quiet, for His Voice is heard in stillness.” ACIM Manual for Teachers, pg. 38

“Let this day be a day of stillness and of quiet listening.” ACIM Lesson 125

“I will be still an instant and go home.”
“When you are still an instant, when the world recedes from you, when valueless ideas cease to have value in your restless mind, then will you hear His Voice.” ACIM Lesson 182

In the Course in Miracles, stillness is emphasized over and over as the condition by which God’s Voice can be heard. How easy it is to believe I am in stillness and quietness and yet my mind is babbling on about this or that. Stillness - true stillness, whereby the mind is still, takes practice. And yet, if I practice Lesson 182 on a daily basis, on an instant-by-instant basis, I know I can succeed.

I wonder what project I’ll make next.
I will be still an instant and go home.
What should I cook for Christmas?
I will be still an instant and go home.

Will he like the gifts I got for him?
I will be still an instant and go home.
I really should clean the kitchen floor today.
I will be still an instant and go home.
I wonder if I have any new e-mails.
I will be still an instant and go home.

In this season of the year, when all it stands for, from a religious or spiritual perspective, should be a time of stillness and peace, too often we are too caught up in the hubbub and stress to stop and listen to God’s Voice. Let me go away, not just from the din of the throngs of shoppers in the mall, but away from the ceaseless chatter of my thoughts. When I neglect my 10 minute meditation first thing in the morning, as I have done lately, I see the difference throughout my day. Something seems “off.”

“Learn to be quiet in the midst of turmoil, for quietness is the end of strife and this is the journey to peace. Look straight at every image that rises to delay you, for the goal is inevitable because it is eternal. The goal of love is but your right, and it belongs to you despite your dreams.” ACIM Text pg. 219

“You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind’s miscreations. The particular result does not matter, but the fundamental error does. The correction is always the same. Before you choose to do anything, ask me if your choice is in accord with mine. If you are sure that it is, there will be no fear.” ACIM Text pg. 29 (Jesus referring to fear and conflict)

"Let me be still and listen to the truth." ACIM Lesson 106

"Let go all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven.” ACIM Lesson 48, pg. 76

I will be still in my mind. It is in the stillness that I will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit/Jesus - the Voice for God. It is in the stillness that I will return to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sacrifice & the Dream

“Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God’s teachers.” ACIM Manual for Teachers, pg. 32

“The world will end when all things in it have been rightly judged by His judgment. The world will end with the benediction of holiness upon it. When not one thought of sin remains, the world is over. It will not be destroyed nor attacked nor even touched. It will merely cease to seem to be.” ACIM Manual for Teachers, pg. 36

“It will merely cease to SEEM to be.” We are dreaming up this illusion that we call the world. The Course makes that very clear. My thoughts are creating the world that I see with my eyes. I must step aside and allow the Thoughts of the Holy Spirit to look at the world and judge it for what it is - meaningless.

“The first illusion, which must be displaced before another thought system can take hold, is that it is a sacrifice to give up the things of this world. What could this be but an illusion, since this world itself is nothing more than that?” ACIM Manual for Teachers, pg. 33

When I first read this passage, I thought it was saying that I had to physically give up my material possessions - all of them - in order to see the Truth. Well, to do that - to give everything away - would be to keep it because by doing that and by my thinking that I am giving it up - I make it real, and nothing in this world is real. It would be akin to looking on sin and then forgiving it. You can’t do that because sin is not real, nor are the “things” that I possess. To give up the things of the world in the Course’s context, then, is not to be attached to them. Not to see loss if they are taken from me. Some people may view this thought system as escape from reality, but it is actually an escape into Reality. The thinking of the world is upside down from what the Truth is. You keep what you give away. Give away love, then. Give away the Word of God.

“’And the last to be overcome will be death.’ Of course! Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions. And in death are all illusions born. What can be born of death and still have life? But what is born of God and still can die?” ACIM Manual for Teachers, pg. 67

“There is no death. This sword does not exist. The fear of God is causeless. But his Love is Cause of everything beyond all fear, and thus, forever real and always true.” ACIM Manual for Teachers, pg. 46

See what we call "death" for what it is - meaningless, and a merely laying aside of the body. See no loss in it. If you can forgive death, then you can break through to the Truth.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Shoe

“Without judgment are all things equally acceptable, for who could judge otherwise? Without judgment are all men brothers, for who is there who stands apart?” ACIM Teacher’s Manual, page 12

“When you feel tired, it is because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired. When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him as unworthy. When you laugh at yourself, you must laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more unworthy than they are. All this makes you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself. The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable. . . . if you wish to be the author of reality, you will insist on holding on to judgment.” ACIM text page 47

The Course makes clear that we not only SHOULD not judge, but we CANNOT judge. Only the Holy spirit can, because He sees everything. Our judgment about anything is flawed. It cannot help but be. Even our reactions to events, other people, circumstances, are flawed because we don’t know the reasons for them.

“I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.” ACIM text pg. 298

So all of the judgment I do about anything is based on what I believe about it from my past learning.

For example, take a shoe. I tried this example when my DH and I were trying to explain the Course to his daughter and she thought I was crazy, I know. But - what is a shoe? A shoe is a compilation of materials stitched together in a manner that fits onto my foot and keeps my foot dry/warm/uninjured. And I can judge that to be a good thing. But had I never seen a shoe before from the moment I was born, I would not know what it was for. I had to be taught in the past what a shoe was for and that the right size, shape, even color, would be a good thing for me. Yet - what about a shoe on another person’s foot coming at me from behind? Well, I know that would hurt based on previous learning (from my past) and that makes that particular shoe a bad thing. (Because, let’s face it, a bare foot would hardly have the same impact.)

Any judgment that I make is based on my past learning and my perception of what is good or bad. Any judgment the Holy Spirit makes is based on knowledge, not perception. And so - I must relinquish judgment to the Holy Spirit. My wanting to be my own god - the “author of reality” - is what keeps me bound to this world. I am not the author of reality - only God is. I must learn to let it all go.

“Your past is what you have taught yourself. Let it all go. Do not attempt to understand any event or anything or anyone in its ‘light’ for the darkness in which you try to see can only obscure.” ACIM Text pg. 297

When I try to see anyone or anything in its “light” - as I see it in this body, this physical world of perception - I see it in darkness.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving and A Course in Miracles

"I thank my Father for His gifts to me." ACIM Lesson 123

"Today in gratitude we lift our hearts above despair, and raise our thankful eyes, no longer looking downward to the dust. We sing the song of thankfulness today, in honor of the Self that God has willed to be our true Identity in Him. Today we smile on everyone we see, and walk with lightened footsteps as we go to do what is appointed us to do." ACIM Lesson 123, para. 4

I am thankful today for the true Me that God created. I am grateful to Him that He has given me everything, for there is not anything that exists that He has not given me. I am thankful for the seeming problems that arise in my worldly life, for they are opportunities for forgiveness and shine on the road home. The Holy Spirit can use such difficulties to show me the way. I am thankful for my brother. One with me, we share the Sonship and I cannot enter Heaven's gate without him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Decision for God

"Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God's creatures. Perceiving this as 'sin,' you become defensive because you expect attack. The decision to react in this way is yours, and can therefore be undone. It cannot be undone by repentance in the usual sense, because this implies guilt. If you allow yourself to feel guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you. . . The first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise. Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there . . . return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:

I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me."
ACIM text, pg. 89-90

I fully realize that every moment is a decision either for God or for the ego. You cannot walk with both. (You cannot serve two masters or you will love one and hate the other.) I really have to be on my toes because it is the little things that trip me up. I don't have any BIG problems in terms of the way the world describes problems, but the seeming little ones creep up on me. For example, there are issues with our neighbors and the fact that they don't behave responsibly with their dogs, which impacts not only the dogs but the wildlife in the woods. So yesterday I found myself walking with the ego and becoming angry about the dog thing. My peace went out the window. Finally, when I came home and meditated about it, I gave it over to the Holy Spirit but yet my decision hasn't been fully made because I still find it irritates me, and, as the Course says, there are no small upsets.

"There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind." ACIM Lesson 5

Also, "I am never upset for the reason I think." ACIM Lesson 5
"I am upset because I see something that is not there." ACIM Lesson 6
"I see only the past." ACIM Lesson 7

I am seeing the past behavior of the dogs' owners and the past way the dogs act. Each moment, each encounter with another, is a chance to be "born again" and see them as they are IN THIS MOMENT and not as they were even a MILLISECOND ago. Because time does not exist, only the holy instant exists. And in the holy instant, everyone/everything is as God created them - holy, pure, divine and without any fault. And when I think about ANYTHING through my self versus my Self (my Divine Self guided by the Holy Spirit), my thoughts are meaningless.

Boy, this is very complicated but I GET it! I just have to practice it. This dog thing is an "in my face" thing every morning when I walk and so I'll get plenty of practice.

"If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy." ACIM Lesson 12

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Call

"This simple courtesy is all the Holy Spirit asks of you. Let truth be what it is. Do not intrude upon it, do not attack it, do not interrupt its coming. Let it encompass every situation and bring you peace. Not even faith is asked of you, for truth asks nothing. Let it enter and it will call forth and secure for you the faith you need for peace. But rise you not against it, for against your opposition it cannot come." ACIM text pg. 370

"To you who have acknowledged the Call of your Redeemer, the strain of not responding to His Call seems to be greater than before. This is not so. Before, the strain was there, but you attributed it to something else, believing that the "something else" produced it. This was never true. For what the "something else" produced was sorrow and depression, sickness and pain, darkness and dim imaginings of terror, cold fantasies of fear and fiery dreams of hell. And it was nothing but the intolerable strain of refusing to give faith to truth and see its evident reality." ACIM text pg. 371

I believe I ignored the Call for so many years and that is why I had some difficulties, although, looking back, those difficulties brought me to the place where I am today. Now I am more peaceful than I have ever been in my entire life. When I try to have faith through my ego, I block the Holy Spirit from showing me the truth which leads to faith and, ultimately, peace. And isn't that what we are all looking for? Peace. When I ignore the Call (which I don't do anymore; I can't!!), I get bogged down in the world and the pain that this world and the ego try to give. I like how the Course says "dim imaginings of terror" and "cold fantasies of fear" because that is all they are - imaginings and fantasies. There is no terror and there is no fear. These things cannot have any effect on me because they are not real. The Course is very clear about that. Only God is real. But I can MAKE fear and terror (pain and suffering) seem real when I believe in them. You make real what you believe.

The Holy Encounter

"When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. . . . The Kingdom cannot be found alone, and you who are the Kingdom cannot find yourself alone. To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego, whose purpose is to defeat its own goal. The ego does not know this, because it does not know anything. But you can know it, and you will know it if you are willing to look at what the ego would make of you. This is your responsibility, because once you have really looked at it you WILL accept the Atonement for yourself. What other choice could you make? Having made this choice you will understand why you once believed that, when you met someone else, you thought he WAS someone else. And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so. You can encounter only part of yourself because you are part of God, Who is everything. " ACIM, text, pg. 142-143

Last evening at our weekly meeting with the neighbor, we discussed how we are to view other people. We know we are all One and part of the Sonship, and when we meet others, our goal is to let us see them through the Holy Spirit's eyes, which is seeing them through our true Self.

Before our neighbor came, I had just read this section in the Course and then couldn't find it again while we were talking about it, although we had many other references. Finally, with the use of the concordance because I did remember that it had the word "everything" in it, I found the reference but not until after our neighbor departed. This kind of thing happens a lot. Thank goodness for the concordance, but that isn't always helpful when there are a gazillion references to "God," for example. My DH is still looking for the reference he saw in the Course about how when you finally get enlightened, you will see everyone as spirit, but they won't see you that way until they get there also.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I am Not a Body, I am Free

"It is impossible to see your brother as sinless and yet to look upon him as a body . . . The body is the means by which the ego tries to make the unholy relationship seem real . . . Who sees a brother's body has laid a judgment on him, and sees him not. He does not really see him as sinful; he does not see him at all . . . Your question should not be, 'How can I see my brother without the body?' Ask only, 'Do I really wish to see him sinless?'" ACIM text pg. 440-441

Who am I? Who is the 'me' who is doing the asking? In my meditation today I tried to establish my true identify in my mind, in terms of a wife, a daughter, a crafter, etc., and I came up empty handed. Why? Because all of those "identities" are linked to this physical body and the brain, and we all know that ultimately they pass away. And so the peeling away of the personality (who I appear to be to myself and others) brought me to my true and only reality - that of spirit, a child of God, a part of the Sonship - and when I got to that point, I was no longer empty handed, but my hands were full with real substance. It also brought to my conscious awareness the fact that anytime I see another person, another living being, as a body, I am not seeing anything. I am not seeing them. For nobody is a body - no person, no animal. All is spirit, part of God.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Only the Truth is True

"The truth is true. Nothing else matters, nothing else is reral, and everything beside it is not there. Let Me make the one distinction for you that you cannot make, but need to learn. Your faith in nothing is deceiving you. Offer your faith to Me, and I will place it gently in the holy place where it belongs. You will find no deception there, but only the simple truth. And you will love it because you will understand it." ACIM Text pg. 272 (message from theHoly Spirit)

"The quietness of its simplicity is so compelling that you will realize it is impossible to deny the simple truth. For there is nothing else. God is everywhere, and His Son is in Him with everything. Can he sing the dirge of sorrow when this is true?" ACIM Text pg. 274

Only the truth is true and all else is an illusion.

I have been so busy lately, really getting into my crafting (sewing, crocheting, knitting, felting) and now I'm getting into the writing mode and focusing energy on that. I think by me being interested in so many different things, it is the ego's way of sidetracking me from the Course, keepingme caught up in the world, taking my time away from reading the Course and meditating. Yet, I must remind the ego that by practicing forgiveness I am finding my way back home. Even if I never read another word in the Course (since I have read the text twice and done the lessons once and read the Manual for Teachers and Clarification of Terms twice), if I forgive and forgive, I will return home sooner rather than later (for we shall ALL go home eventually).

This World is the Opposite of Heaven

"For this world is the opposite of heaven, being made to be its opposite, and everything here takes a direction exactly opposite what is true. In heaven, where the meaning of love is known, love is the same as union. Here, where the illusion of love is accepted in love's place, love is perceived as separation and exclusion." ACIM Txt. pg. 341

This world is the opposite of heaven. Everything separate - identities (via the ego), physical forms, opinions, beliefs, skin colors, separation of a baby from its mother at birth, separation of a body from the world and its family at death - all of it is opposite of heaven, because in heaven, all is love, all is union and wholeness, which is the make-up of God.

We live in this world and we react to the multitude of difficulties we think we face here, but in reality, anything of this world is an illusion, one we made up to "hide" from God, to be gods to ourselves. We have buried God and the love and peace and joy we could experience by uniting our minds with His, under a blanket of ego that keeps His face hidden from our view, Yet, by looking on the face of Christ (and using Jesus' face in form if a symbol is needed?), we can come to remember who we truly are and when we remember, we can go home. The way to remember is through forgiveness of everything in this world and forgive our brothers because our brother's actions or inactions or whatever grievances we hold against him, are untrue and never occurred at all.