Sunday, December 24, 2006
God is the light in which I see.
Today we are continuing the idea for yesterday, adding another dimension to it. You cannot see in darkness, and you cannot make light. You can make darkness and then think you see in it, but light reflects life, and is therefore an aspect of creation. Creation and darkness cannot coexist, but light and life must go together, being but different aspects of creation.
In order to see, you must recognize that light is within, not without. You do not see outside yourself, nor is the equipment for seeing outside you. An essential part of this equipment is the light that makes seeing possible. It is with you always, making vision possible in every circumstance.
Today we are going to attempt to reach that light. For this purpose, we will use a form of exercise which has been suggested before, and which we will utilize increasingly. It is a particularly difficult form for the undisciplined mind, and represents a major goal of mind training. It requires precisely what the untrained mind lacks. Yet this training must be accomplished if you are to see.
Have at least three practice periods today, each lasting three to five minutes. A longer time is highly recommended, but only if you find the time slipping by with little or no sense of strain. The form of practice we will use today is the most natural and easy one in the world for the trained mind, just as it seems to be the most unnatural and difficult for the untrained mind.
Your mind is no longer wholly untrained. You are quite ready to learn the form of exercise we will use today, but you may find that you will encounter strong resistance. The reason is very simple. While you practice in this way, you leave behind everything that you now believe, and all the thoughts that you have made up. Properly speaking, this is the release from hell. Yet perceived through the ego's eyes, it is loss of identity and a descent into hell.
If you can stand aside from the ego by ever so little, you will have no difficulty in recognizing that its opposition and its fears are meaningless. You might find it helpful to remind yourself, from time to time, that to reach light is to escape from darkness, whatever you may believe to the contrary. God is the light in which you see. You are attempting to reach Him.
Begin the practice period by repeating today's idea with your eyes open, and close them slowly, repeating the idea several times more. Then try to sink into your mind, letting go every kind of interference and intrusion by quietly sinking past them. Your mind cannot be stopped in this unless you choose to stop it. It is merely taking its natural course. Try to observe your passing thoughts without involvement, and slip quietly by them.
While no particular approach is advocated for this form of exercise, what is needful is a sense of the importance of what you are doing; its inestimable value to you, and an awareness that you are attempting something very holy. Salvation is your happiest accomplishment. It is also the only one that has any meaning, because it is the only one that has any real use to you at all.
If resistance rises in any form, pause long enough to repeat today's idea, keeping your eyes closed unless you are aware of fear. In that case, you will probably find it more reassuring to open your eyes briefly. Try, however, to return to the exercises with eyes closed as soon as possible.
If you are doing the exercises correctly, you should experience some sense of relaxation, and even a feeling that you are approaching, if not actually entering into light. Try to think of light, formless and without limit, as you pass by the thoughts of this world. And do not forget that they cannot hold you to the world unless you give them the power to do so.
Throughout the day repeat the idea often, with eyes open or closed as seems better to you at the time. But do not forget. Above all, be determined not to forget today.
My comments... Today is Christmas eve, a time when God is (or should be) on an Christian's mind. I need practice and help from the Holy Spirit to achieve with today's lesson. Pray for me so that I may learn and regain what I have lost. Merry Christmas to you and yours... and all people of the earth.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.
Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge. Yet He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your mind. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge. That is its function as the Holy Spirit sees it. Therefore, that is its function in truth.
In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist. Yet in salvation, which is the undoing of what never was, perception has a mighty purpose. Made by the Son of God for an unholy purpose, it must become the means for the restoration of his holiness to his awareness. Perception has no meaning. Yet does the Holy Spirit give it a meaning very close to God's. Healed perception becomes the means by which the Son of God forgives his brother, and thus forgives himself.
You cannot see apart from God because you cannot be apart from God. Whatever you do you do in Him, because whatever you think, you think with His Mind. If vision is real, and it is real to the extent to which it shares the Holy Spirit's purpose, then you cannot see apart from God.
Three five-minute practice periods are required today, one as early and one as late as possible in the day. The third may be undertaken at the most convenient and suitable time that circumstances and readiness permit. At the beginning of these practice periods, repeat the idea for today to yourself with eyes open. Then glance around you for a short time, applying the idea specifically to what you see. Four or five subjects for this phase of the practice period are sufficient. You might say, for example:
God is my Source. I cannot see this desk apart from Him
God is my Source. I cannot see that picture apart from Him.
Although this part of the exercise period should be relatively short, be sure that you select the subjects for this phase of practice indiscriminately, without self-directed inclusion or exclusion. For the second and longer phase, close your eyes, repeat today's idea again, and then let whatever relevant thoughts occur to you add to the idea in your own personal way. Thoughts such as:
- I see through the eyes of forgiveness.
- I see the world as blessed.
- The world can show me myself.
- I see my own thoughts, which are like God's.
Any thought related more or less directly to today's idea is suitable. The thoughts need not bear any obvious relationship to the idea, but they should not be in opposition to it.
If you find your mind wandering; if you begin to be aware of thoughts which are clearly out of accord with today's idea, or if you seem to be unable to think of anything, open your eyes, repeat the first phase of the exercise period, and then attempt the second phase again. Do not allow any protracted period to occur in which you become preoccupied with irrelevant thoughts. Return to the first phase of the exercises as often as necessary to prevent this.
In applying today's idea in the shorter practice periods, the form may vary according to the circumstances and situations in which you find yourself during the day. When you are with someone else, for example, try to remember to tell him silently:
God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.
This form is equally applicable to strangers as it is to those you think are closer to you. In fact, try not to make distinctions of this kind at all.
Today's idea should also be applied throughout the day to various situations and events that may occur, particularly to those which seem to distress you in any way. For this purpose, apply the idea in this form:
God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.
If no particular subject presents itself to your awareness at the time, merely repeat the idea in its original form. 2 Try today not to allow any long periods of time to slip by without remembering today's idea, and thus remembering your function.
My comments... At times, these lessons (and often the text) from A Course In Miracles is so obscure to me as to be undecipherable. Take today's lesson, I've needed to read it over and over to try to "get it". (Gary Renard's books have helped me quite a lot)
Sometimes I get discouraged because some of this seems to be “doublespeak” – I get a clue, but not the prize. I want to scream…. “just tell me the truth and show me the way”. What is the purpose of all these lessons if the message remains shrouded in obscurity?
It is like someone is telling me about a rounded piece of fruit… it’s beautiful in color… it tastes delicious… it is very good for you… you will love it. Okay, great… just show me the apple!!!
There, I’m done with my rant…
Thursday, November 30, 2006
God is my strength. Vision is His gift.
The idea for today combines two very powerful thoughts, both of major importance. It also sets forth a cause and effect relationship that explains why you cannot fail in your efforts to achieve the goal of the course. You will see because it is the Will of God. It is His strength, not your own, that gives you power. And it is His gift, rather than your own, that offers vision to you.
God is indeed your strength, and what He gives is truly given. This means that you can receive it any time and anywhere, wherever you are, and in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. Such is the strength of God. Such are His gifts.
We will have two three-to-five-minute practice periods today, one as soon as possible after you wake, and another as close as possible to the time you go to sleep. It is better, however, to wait until you can sit quietly by yourself, at a time when you feel ready, than it is to be concerned with the time as such.
Begin these practice periods by repeating the idea for today slowly, with your eyes open, looking about you. Then close your eyes and repeat the idea again, even slower than before. After this, try to think of nothing except thoughts that occur to you in relation to the idea for the day. You might think, for example:
Vision must be possible. God gives truly,
Any thought that is clearly related to the idea for today is suitable. You may, in fact, be astonished at the amount of course-related understanding some of your thoughts contain. Let them come without censoring unless you find your mind is merely wandering, and you have let obviously irrelevant thoughts intrude. You may also reach a point where no thoughts at all seem to come to mind. If such interferences occur, open your eyes and repeat the thought once more while looking slowly about; close your eyes, repeat the idea once more, and then continue to look for related thoughts in your mind.
Remember, however, that active searching for relevant thoughts is not appropriate for today's exercises. Try merely to step back and let the thoughts come. If you find this difficult, it is better to spend the practice period alternating between slow repetitions of the idea with eyes open, then with eyes closed, than it is to strain to find suitable thoughts.
There is no limit on the number of short practice periods that would be beneficial today. The idea for the day is a beginning step in bringing thoughts together, and teaching you that you are studying a unified thought system in which nothing is lacking that is needed, and nothing is included that is contradictory or irrelevant.
The more often you repeat the idea during the day, the more often you will be reminding yourself that the goal of the course is important to you, and that you have not forgotten it.
My comments... This is one of those "retain your perspective" lessons. If we accept that "Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God." - then I must accept this promise of vision. It is God's gift to me.
Monday, November 27, 2006
God goes with me wherever I go.
Today's idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment all the separated ones experience. Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation. So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering and intense fear of loss.
The separated ones have invented many "cures" for what they believe to be "the ills of the world." But the one thing they do not do is to question the reality of the problem. Yet its effects cannot be cured because the problem is not real. The idea for today has the power to end all this foolishness forever. And foolishness it is, despite the serious and tragic forms it may take.
Deep within you is everything that is perfect, ready to radiate through you and out into the world. It will cure all sorrow and pain and fear and loss because it will heal the mind that thought these things were real, and suffered out of its allegiance to them.
You can never be deprived of your perfect holiness because its Source goes with you wherever you go. You can never suffer because the Source of all joy goes with you wherever you go. You can never be alone because the Source of all life goes with you wherever you go. Nothing can destroy your peace of mind because God goes with you wherever you go.
We understand that you do not believe all this. How could you, when the truth is hidden deep within, under a heavy cloud of insane thoughts, dense and obscuring, yet representing all you see? Today we will make our first real attempt to get past this dark and heavy cloud, and to go through it to the light beyond.
There will be only one long practice period today. In the morning, as soon as you get up if possible, sit quietly for some three to five minutes, with your eyes closed. At the beginning of the practice period, repeat today's idea very slowly. Then make no effort to think of anything. Try, instead, to get a sense of turning inward, past all the idle thoughts of the world. Try to enter very deeply into your own mind, keeping it clear of any thoughts that might divert your attention.
From time to time, you may repeat the idea if you find it helpful. But most of all, try to sink down and inward, away from the world and all the foolish thoughts of the world. You are trying to reach past all these things. You are trying to leave appearances and approach reality.
It is quite possible to reach God. In fact it is very easy, because it is the most natural thing in the world. You might even say it is the only natural thing in the world. The way will open, if you believe that it is possible. This exercise can bring very startling results even the first time it is attempted, and sooner or later it is always successful. We will go into more detail about this kind of practice as we go along. But it will never fail completely, and instant success is possible.
Throughout the day use today's idea often, repeating it very slowly, preferably with eyes closed. Think of what you are saying; what the words mean. Concentrate on the holiness that they imply about you; on the unfailing companionship that is yours; on the complete protection that surrounds you.
You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go.
My comments... I did not have a spiritual encounter this morning when I tried to practice this lesson. God knows I want to, but either I could not quiet my mind or I am not yet ready to accept this gift. I appreciate the meaning of today's lesson and will try to reflect on the true meaning and meditate again. Hopefully I will experience these "startling results", I so much want to be able to truly feel God and dismiss the foolishness of this world of mine.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I am blessed as a Son of God.
Today we will begin to assert some of the happy things to which you are entitled, being what you are. No long practice periods are required today, but very frequent short ones are necessary. Once every ten minutes would be highly desirable, and you are urged to attempt this schedule and to adhere to it whenever possible. If you forget, try again. If there are long interruptions, try again. Whenever you remember, try again.
You need not close your eyes for the exercise periods, although you will probably find it more helpful if you do. However, you may be in a number of situations during the day when closing your eyes would not be feasible. Do not miss a practice period because of this. You can practice quite well under any circumstances, if you really want to.
Today's exercises take little time and no effort. Repeat the idea for today, and then add several of the attributes you associate with being a Son of God, applying them to yourself. One practice period might, for example, consist of the following:
I am blessed as a Son of God.
I am happy, peaceful, loving and contented.
Another might take this form:
I am blessed as a Son of God.
I am calm, quiet, assured and confident.
If only a brief period is available, merely telling yourself that you are blessed as a Son of God will do.
My comments... I enjoyed reading about today's lesson. The first line of the lesson where it says "begin to assert some of the happy things to which you are entitled", this just seemed to offer me hope. It is like I am taking a proactive first step - as opposed to purely learning lessons. It is like I have been practicing on the piano for these months and now I get a chance to play - my recital.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
If you are a parent of a teenager, a high school prom is most likely in your future. A friend who has watched three daughters drive off to the prom has just published a book about 'after prom parties'. She personally organized an after prom party for one of her daughters and learned enough to realize that this was an event that needed to be introduced to every parent of a high school student.
In doing her research, she inadvertently discovered that the night of the prom is one of the most dangerous times of a teenager's life. Every year, scores of American teens are killed every year on prom night and most of the accidents and deaths involve alcohol. The only way to protect our children from themselves during this perilous time is to provide a celebration that is more fun than other nonsanctioned activities. See what this mother suggests and learn more about her timely new book at www.After-Prom.org.
Monday, November 13, 2006
If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? Like the text for which this workbook was written, the ideas used for the exercises are very simple, very clear and totally unambiguous. We are not concerned with intellectual feats nor logical toys. We are dealing only in the very obvious, which has been overlooked in the clouds of complexity in which you think you think.
If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? This is not difficult, surely. The hesitation you may feel in answering is not due to the ambiguity of the question. But do you believe that guilt is hell? If you did, you would see at once how direct and simple the text is, and you would not need a workbook at all. No one needs practice to gain what is already his.
We have already said that your holiness is the salvation of the world. What about your own salvation? You cannot give what you do not have. A savior must be saved. How else can he teach salvation? Today's exercises will apply to you, recognizing that your salvation is crucial to the salvation of the world. As you apply the exercises to your world, the whole world stands to benefit.
Your holiness is the answer to every question that was ever asked, is being asked now, or will be asked in the future. Your holiness means the end of guilt, and therefore the end of hell. Your holiness is the salvation of the world, and your own. How could you to whom your holiness belongs be excluded from it? God does not know unholiness. Can it be He does not know His Son?
A full five minutes are urged for the four longer practice periods for today, and longer and more frequent practice sessions are encouraged. If you want to exceed the minimum requirements, more rather than longer sessions are recommended, although both are suggested.
Begin the practice periods as usual, by repeating today's idea to yourself. Then, with closed eyes, search out your unloving thoughts in whatever form they appear; uneasiness, depression, anger, fear, worry, attack, insecurity and so on. Whatever form they take, they are unloving and therefore fearful. And so it is from them that you need to be saved.
Specific situations, events or personalities you associate with unloving thoughts of any kind are suitable subjects for today's exercises. It is imperative for your salvation that you see them differently. And it is your blessing on them that will save you and give you vision.
Slowly, without conscious selection and without undue emphasis on any one in particular, search your mind for every thought that stands between you and your salvation. Apply the idea for today to each of them in this way:
My unloving thoughts about ___ are keeping me in hell.
My holiness is my salvation.
You may find these practice periods easier if you intersperse them with several short periods during which you merely repeat today's idea to yourself slowly a few times. You may also find it helpful to include a few short intervals in which you just relax and do not seem to be thinking of anything. Sustained concentration is very difficult at first. It will become much easier as your mind becomes more disciplined and less distractible.
Meanwhile, you should feel free to introduce variety into the exercise periods in whatever form appeals to you. Do not, however, change the idea itself as you vary the method of applying it. However you elect to use it, the idea should be stated so that its meaning is the fact that your holiness is your salvation. 4 End each practice period by repeating the idea in its original form once more, and adding:
If guilt is hell, what is its opposite?
In the shorter applications, which should be made some three or four times an hour and more if possible, you may ask yourself this question, repeat today's idea, and preferably both. If temptations arise, a particularly helpful form of the idea is:
My holiness is my salvation from this.
My comments... "Your holiness is the answer to every question that was ever asked" - is a statement that deserves extreme thought and deep meditation. The meaning of that statement is so powerful - it stops me in my tracks when I think about any of the thousands of questions I've had about this course, God, etc. When I truly accept my own holiness, my divinity (?), my personal hell goes away? Could it be that simple? Is it really that simple to change every belief you've ever had about almost anything?
Thursday, November 02, 2006
There is nothing my holiness cannot do.
Your holiness reverses all the laws of the world. It is beyond every restriction of time, space, distance and limits of any kind. Your holiness is totally unlimited in its power because it establishes you as a Son of God, at one with the Mind of his Creator.
Through your holiness the power of God is made manifest. Through your holiness the power of God is made available. And there is nothing the power of God cannot do. Your holiness, then, can remove all pain, can end all sorrow, and can solve all problems. It can do so in connection with yourself and with anyone else. It is equal in its power to help anyone because it is equal in its power to save anyone.
If you are holy, so is everything God created. You are holy because all things He created are holy. And all things He created are holy because you are. In today's exercises, we will apply the power of your holiness to all problems, difficulties or suffering in any form that you happen to think of, in yourself or in someone else. We will make no distinctions because there are no distinctions.
In the four longer practice periods, each preferably to last a full five minutes, repeat the idea for today, close your eyes, and then search your mind for any sense of loss or unhappiness of any kind as you see it. Try to make as little distinction as possible between a situation that is difficult for you, and one that is difficult for someone else. Identify the situation specifically, and also the name of the person concerned. Use this form in applying the idea for today:
In the situation involving ___ in which I see myself, there is nothing that my holiness cannot do.
In the situation involving ___ in which ___ sees himself, there is nothing my holiness cannot do.
From time to time you may want to vary this procedure, and add some relevant thoughts of your own. You might like, for example, to include thoughts such as:
There is nothing my holiness cannot do because the power of God lies in it.
Introduce whatever variations appeal to you, but keep the exercises focused on the theme, "There is nothing my holiness cannot do." The purpose of today's exercises is to begin to instill in you a sense that you have dominion over all things because of what you are.
In the frequent shorter applications, apply the idea in its original form unless a specific problem concerning you or someone else arises, or comes to mind. In that event, use the more specific form in applying the idea to it.
My comments... wow! This is the first lesson that speaks to me of my capacity to perform miracles. The first sentence. "Your holiness reverses all the laws of the world. It is beyond every restriction of time, space, distance and limits of any kind", is a powerful statement. The issue I face as a student is the 'true belief' in such a statement. How does one go from - just being me - to being capable of performing a miracle that is beyond every restriction of time, space, distance and limits of any kind? I imagine that is the purpose of these lessons, to push aside the ego and accept my divinity. This is good - and so am I :-)
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
My holiness blesses the world
This idea contains the first glimmerings of your true function in the world, or why you are here. Your purpose is to see the world through your own holiness. Thus are you and the world blessed together. No one loses; nothing is taken away from anyone; everyone gains through your holy vision. It signifies the end of sacrifice because it offers everyone his full due. And he is entitled to everything because it is his birthright as a Son of God.
There is no other way in which the idea of sacrifice can be removed from the world's thinking. Any other way of seeing will inevitably demand payment of someone or something. As a result, the perceiver will lose. Nor will he have any idea why he is losing. Yet is his wholeness restored to his awareness through your vision. Your holiness blesses him by asking nothing of him. Those who see themselves as whole make no demands.
Your holiness is the salvation of the world. It lets you teach the world that it is one with you, not by preaching to it, not by telling it anything, but merely by your quiet recognition that in your holiness are all things blessed along with you.
Today's four longer exercise periods, each to involve three to five minutes of practice, begin with the repetition of the idea for today, followed by a minute or so of looking about you as you apply the idea to whatever you see:
- My holiness blesses this chair
- My holiness blesses that window
- My holiness blesses this body
My holiness blesses you, [name].
You may continue the practice period with your eyes closed; you may open your eyes again and apply the idea for today to your outer world if you so desire; you may alternate between applying the idea to what you see around you and to those who are in your thoughts; or you may use any combination of these two phases of application that you prefer. The practice period should conclude with a repetition of the idea with your eyes closed, and another, following immediately, with your eyes open.
The shorter exercises consist of repeating the idea as often as you can. It is particularly helpful to apply it silently to anyone you meet, using his name as you do so. It is essential to use the idea if anyone seems to cause an adverse reaction in you. Offer him the blessing of your holiness immediately, that you may learn to keep it in your own awareness.
My comments... Again, we are building upon the previous lessons and this one drops a bombshell when it states that "Your holiness is the salvation of the world." That's a lot of pressure to assume (grin). If in fact, I created all this and am responsible for all that is in my reality, I guess that is not such a burdensome statement.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
My holiness envelops everything I see
Today's idea extends the idea for yesterday from the perceiver to the perceived. You are holy because your mind is part of God's. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy as well. "Sinless" means without sin. You cannot be without sin a little. You are sinless or not. If your mind is part of God's you must be sinless, or a part of His Mind would be sinful. 8 Your sight is related to His Holiness, not to your ego, and therefore not to your body.
Four three-to-five-minute practice periods are required for today. Try to distribute them fairly evenly, and make the shorter applications frequently, to protect your protection throughout the day. The longer practice periods should take this form:
First, close your eyes and repeat the idea for today several times, slowly. Then open your eyes and look quite slowly about you, applying the idea specifically to whatever you note in your casual survey. Say, for example:
- My holiness envelops that rug
- My holiness envelops that wall
- My holiness envelops these fingers
- My holiness envelops that chair
- My holiness envelops that body
- My holiness envelops this pen.
For the shorter exercise periods, close your eyes and repeat the idea; look about you as you repeat it again; and conclude with one more repetition with your eyes closed. All applications should, of course, be made quite slowly, as effortlessly and unhurriedly as possible.
My comments... a building block lesson that reinforces lesson 35, which as I mentioned, I had trouble 'digesting'. This reminds me of earlier lessons where I was instructed to not see what I was seeing. Conditioning lessons, I like to call these. Preparing me for greater accomplishments in changing how I perceive the world I 'think' I see.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
A new e-book called "A New Perspective On Wellness" by teachers of A Course in Miracles from A Course In Miracles International offers a practical and radical healing alternative to struggling with guilt, sickness and pain. (Excerpt)
The seemingly impossible dilemma inherent to the human condition is that it appearsalways to perceive something outside itself. Whether that “something” is adeadly strain of virus, the cancer I am fighting, the spinach I am eating, the carI am driving, the randomness of terrorism, or the obnoxiousness of my next doorneighbor---there is always something “out there” that can “get” me. The predicamentis the defining characteristic of all human behavior. Trying to find a referencepoint within the chaos of apparently opposing forces -- social, physical, emotional,intellectual, and sexual -- I react blindly to whatever I think I perceive. I standas if within a mirrored ball, bouncing off my own reflection, always in a reaction,projecting onto my body, my family, my community, and my world my own fearfuldefense against my own perceptions. The human race, the Master Teacher remindsus, is “suffering from the disease of projected self-identity.”
One of the book's main authors, the Master Teacher of A Course In Miracles states that "Wellness is a Whole Lot More Than Not Being Sick" and adds that there is available, a transformative mind training program through A Course In Miracles that utilizes the powerful application of love, healing, forgiveness and miracles offering people a systematic, direct, powerful approach to changing their lives for the better, once and for all.
"A New Perspective On Wellness" offers valuable tips on:
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To obtain a free copy of this e-book, go to: http://healnow.acimi.org
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
My mind is part of God's. I am very holy.
Today's idea does not describe the way you see yourself now. It does, however, describe what vision will show you. It is difficult for anyone who thinks he is in this world to believe this of himself. Yet the reason he thinks he is in this world is because he does not believe it.
You will believe that you are part of where you think you are. That is because you surround yourself with the environment you want. And you want it to protect the image of yourself that you have made. The image is part of this environment. What you see while you believe you are in it is seen through the eyes of the image. This is not vision. Images cannot see.
The idea for today presents a very different view of yourself. By establishing your Source it establishes your Identity, and it describes you as you must really be in truth. We will use a somewhat different kind of application for today's idea because the emphasis for today is on the perceiver, rather than on what he perceives.
For each of the three five-minute practice periods today, begin by repeating today's idea to yourself, and then close your eyes and search your mind for the various kinds of descriptive terms in which you see yourself. Include all the ego-based attributes which you ascribe to yourself, positive or negative, desirable or undesirable, grandiose or debased. All of them are equally unreal, because you do not look upon yourself through the eyes of holiness.
In the earlier part of the mind-searching period, you will probably emphasize what you consider to be the more negative aspects of your perception of yourself. Toward the latter part of the exercise period, however, more self-inflating descriptive terms may well cross your mind. Try to recognize that the direction of your fantasies about yourself does not matter. Illusions have no direction in reality. They are merely not true.
A suitable unselected list for applying the idea for today might be as follows:
- I see myself as imposed on
- I see myself as depressed
- I see myself as failing
- I see myself as endangered
- I see myself as helpless
- I see myself as victorious
- I see myself as losing out
- I see myself as charitable
- I see myself as virtuous.
But my mind is part of God's. I am very holy.
During the longer exercise periods, there will probably be intervals in which nothing specific occurs to you. Do not strain to think up specific things to fill the interval, but merely relax and repeat today's idea slowly until something occurs to you. Although nothing that does occur should be omitted from the exercises, nothing should be "dug out" with effort. Neither force nor discrimination should be used.
As often as possible during the day, pick up a specific attribute or attributes you are ascribing to yourself at the time and apply the idea for today to them, adding the idea in the form stated above to each of them. If nothing particular occurs to you, merely repeat the idea to yourself, with closed eyes.
My comments... This did not make sense to me the first time I read it. I had to read this a number of times and really concentrate on the meaning. It goes against the grain to say something to yourself like "I see myself as failing". However the immediate response of "But my mind is part of God's. I am very holy" nullifies the statement and its connotations. This has been a very difficult exercise to comprehend.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I could see peace instead of this.
The idea for today begins to describe the conditions that prevail in the other way of seeing. Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises.
Three longer practice periods are required for today's exercises. One in the morning and one in the evening are advised, with an additional one to be undertaken at any time in between that seems most conducive to readiness. All applications should be done with your eyes closed. It is your inner world to which the applications of today's idea should be made.
Some five minutes of mind searching are required for each of the longer practice periods. Search your mind for fear thoughts, anxiety-provoking situations, "offending" personalities or events, or anything else about which you are harboring unloving thoughts. Note them all casually, repeating the idea for today slowly as you watch them arise in your mind, and let each one go, to be replaced by the next.
If you begin to experience difficulty in thinking of specific subjects, continue to repeat the idea to yourself in an unhurried manner, without applying it to anything in particular. Be sure, however, not to make any specific exclusions.
The shorter applications are to be frequent, and made whenever you feel your peace of mind is threatened in any way. The purpose is to protect yourself from temptation throughout the day. If a specific form of temptation arises in your awareness, the exercise should take this form:
I could see peace in this situation instead of what I now see in it.
If the inroads on your peace of mind take the form of more generalized adverse emotions, such as depression, anxiety or worry, use the idea in its original form. If you find you need more than one application of today's idea to help you change your mind in any specific context, try to take several minutes and devote them to repeating the idea until you feel some sense of relief. It will help you if you tell yourself specifically:
I can replace my feelings of depression, anxiety or worry [or my thoughts about this situation, personality or event] with peace.
My comments... Sometimes I feel like snippets of ACIM are peppered throughout our history and philosophical beliefs. Take this lesson, which (to me) says I can change the way I look at something. I have the power to change what I believe about something. A relationship with a friend or employer might be stressful, but I can "choose" to look at what is happening differently. I can choose peace instead of stress.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
There is another way of looking at the world.
Today's idea is an attempt to recognize that you can shift your perception of the world in both its outer and inner aspects. A full five minutes should be devoted to the morning and evening applications. In these practice periods, the idea should be repeated as often as you find comfortable, though unhurried applications are essential. Alternate between surveying your outer and inner perceptions, but without an abrupt sense of shifting.
Merely glance casually around the world you perceive as outside yourself, then close your eyes and survey your inner thoughts with equal casualness. Try to remain equally uninvolved in both, and to maintain this detachment as you repeat the idea throughout the day.
The shorter exercise periods should be as frequent as possible. Specific applications of today's idea should also be made immediately, when any situation arises which tempts you to become disturbed. For these applications, say:
There is another way of looking at this.
Remember to apply today's idea the instant you are aware of distress. It may be necessary to take a minute or so to sit quietly and repeat the idea to yourself several times. Closing your eyes will probably help in this form of application.
My comments... a lesson I can use. This is one that brings immediate understanding and aids in perception. It is said tha there is no such thing as coincidence, and coincidentally I received an email from a friend that corresponds to the meaning of this lesson.
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.
"Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.
The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."
The boy's father was speechless.
Then his son added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."
There is another way of looking at our world!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
These "lessons" you are discussing, are they available other places online with greater explanations as to what this is about? I am interested in reading your comments, but I am not sure I get the full picture on what this is about.Good question, and if you are not familiar with "A Course In Miracles", I can imagine your confusion. Heck, I've reading the Course for months now and I promise you that no one is more confused than me.
Yes, A Course In Miracles is readily available on the web. You can get the complete text, and even listen to daily lessons. This link is to the public domain version of A Course in Miracles. You can find the Workbook for Students and the Manual for Teachers and the full 365 lessons. Another handy place to Select a Lesson is at this link, from the Foundation for Inner Peace. To be sure, there are many other links to the Course, but these two I reference most frequently.
You may have heard that there is (or was) a controversy about who "owned" (the copyright) to the Course, but that is not something I wish to concern myself with. I purchased the complete printed book and also bought the audio version, which is quite handy when working around the house or traveling in my car. On my Miracles website I have links where you can get the ACIM book and the other books I have discussed by Gary Renard (Disappearance of the Universe) and Taylor G. Wilshire (The What If Guy).
I guess this is a long-winded answer to your question, but if it bothered you, it is probably a question that others had. In my opinion, the Course is a self-discovery journey. For this reason, I have not done a lot of searching online for opinions of others. I know that some refuse to accept ACIM as the word of Jesus, and others consider it some kind of cult. There are many ways into heaven, and the Christian Bible we see today poses as many questions as ACIM.
On this journey, I have chosen to study A Course In Miracles and my blog and website are out there in the hopes that others might benefit from what I learn along the way. If you're new to the Course, buy the book or audio program and give it a chance. You have nothing but eternity...
Monday, October 16, 2006
I have invented the world I see.
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, it will not be there for you to see.
The idea for today, like the preceding ones, applies to your inner and outer worlds, which are actually the same. However, since you see them as different, the practice periods for today will again include two phases, one involving the world you see outside you, and the other the world you see in your mind. In today's exercises, try to introduce the thought that both are in your own imagination.
Again we will begin the practice periods for the morning and evening by repeating the idea for today two or three times while looking around at the world you see as outside yourself. Then close your eyes and look around your inner world. Try to treat them both as equally as possible. Repeat the idea for today unhurriedly as often as you wish, as you watch the images your imagination presents to your awareness.
For the two longer practice periods three to five minutes are recommended, with not less than three required. More than five can be utilized, if you find the exercise restful. To facilitate this, select a time when few distractions are anticipated, and when you yourself feel reasonably ready.
These exercises are also to be continued during the day, as often as possible. The shorter applications consist of repeating the idea slowly, as you survey either your inner or outer world. It does not matter which you choose.
The idea for today 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.
My Comments... As I go through these lessons, I am also reading the text of ACIM. This idea that I "invented" all that I see and experience weighs heavy on my mind. Just yesterday I was watching the news on television and saw a report form Irag where car bombs were set-off and scores of civilians were slaughtered by their "neighbors". I remember thinking to myself as I remembered parts of the Course I had read... "I created this"? "Why would I create something so barbaric and distasteful"?
I fully appreciate the concept of separation and why I (my ego) created this illusion, but I have a hard time fathoming such brutality and violence. Where this is easier to accept is the argument that God created the world and all that we see in it. If we attribute the goodness and beauty to God, the creator, must we not also attribute these atrocities if in fact he DID create the world? Therein in the justification that He is not responsible for anything I think I see or experience. If God is perfect love, he could not have created, nor permit such things to happen. If not God, then it must be me.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I am not the victim of the world I see.
Today's idea is the introduction to your declaration of release. Again, the idea should be applied to both the world you see without and the world you see within. In applying the idea, we will use a form of practice which will be used more and more, with changes as indicated. Generally speaking, the form includes two aspects, one in which you apply the idea on a more sustained basis, and the other consisting of frequent applications of the idea throughout the day.
Two longer periods of practice with the idea for today are needed, one in the morning and one at night. Three to five minutes for each of these are recommended. During that time, look about you slowly while repeating the idea two or three times. Then close your eyes, and apply the same idea to your inner world. You will escape from both together, for the inner is the cause of the outer.
As you survey your inner world, merely let whatever thoughts cross your mind come into your awareness, each to be considered for a moment, and then replaced by the next. Try not to establish any kind of hierarchy among them. Watch them come and go as dispassionately as possible. Do not dwell on any one in particular, but try to let the stream move on evenly and calmly, without any special investment on your part. As you sit and quietly watch your thoughts, repeat today's idea to yourself as often as you care to, but with no sense of hurry.
In addition, repeat the idea for today as often as possible during the day. Remind yourself that you are making a declaration of independence in the name of your own freedom. And in your freedom lies the freedom of the world.
The idea for today 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.
My comments... This tells me to rise above what I (think I) see and acknowledge that I am not part of the world I see outside or as I imagine things inside. Like so many of the previous lessons, this feels like an affirmation of sorts... convincing myself that I am not part of what appears to be going on around me.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.
The idea for today is the springboard for vision. From this idea will the world open up before you, and you will look upon it and see in it what you have never seen before. Nor will what you saw before be even faintly visible to you.
Today we are trying to use a new kind of "projection." We are not attempting to get rid of what we do not like by seeing it outside. Instead, we are trying to see in the world what is in our minds, and what we want to recognize is there. Thus, we are trying to join with what we see, rather than keeping it apart from us. That is the fundamental difference between vision and the way you see.
Today's idea should be applied as often as possible throughout the day. Whenever you have a moment or so, repeat it to yourself slowly, looking about you, and trying to realize that the idea applies to everything you do see now, or could see now if it were within the range of your sight.
Real vision is not limited to concepts such as "near" and "far." To help you begin to get used to this idea, try to think of things beyond your present range as well as those you can actually see, as you apply today's idea.
Real vision is not only unlimited by space and distance, but it does not depend on the body's eyes at all. The mind is its only source. To aid in helping you to become more accustomed to this idea as well, devote several practice periods to applying today's idea with your eyes closed, using whatever subjects come to mind, and looking within rather than without. Today's idea applies equally to both.
My comments... connecting the dots as it were. Yesterday's lesson taught me that "God is in everything I see". Today's lesson clarifies that I see God in everything because God is in my mind. God is with me, I am part of God and I am trying to recognize him - in me- in everything I can see or imagine.
Monday, October 09, 2006
God is in everything I see.
The idea for today explains why you can see all purpose in everything. It explains why nothing is separate, by itself or in itself. And it explains why nothing you see means anything. In fact, it explains every idea we have used thus far, and all subsequent ones as well. Today's idea is the whole basis for vision.
You will probably find this idea very difficult to grasp at this point. You may find it silly, irreverent, senseless, funny and even objectionable. Certainly God is not in a table, for example, as you see it. Yet we emphasized yesterday that a table shares the purpose of the universe. And what shares the purpose of the universe shares the purpose of its Creator.
Try then, today, to begin to learn how to look on all things with love, appreciation and open-mindedness. You do not see them now. Would you know what is in them? Nothing is as it appears to you. Its holy purpose stands beyond your little range. When vision has shown you the holiness that lights up the world, you will understand today's idea perfectly. And you will not understand how you could ever have found it difficult.
Our six two-minute practice periods for today should follow a now familiar pattern: Begin with repeating the idea to yourself, and then apply it to randomly chosen subjects about you, naming each one specifically. Try to avoid the tendency toward self-directed selection, which may be particularly tempting in connection with today's idea because of its wholly alien nature. Remember that any order you impose is equally alien to reality.
Your list of subjects should therefore be as free of self-selection as possible. For example, a suitable list might include:
God is in this coat hanger.
God is in this magazine.
God is in this finger.
God is in this lamp.
God is in that body.
God is in that door.
God is in that waste basket.
In addition to the assigned practice periods, repeat the idea for today at least once an hour, looking slowly about you as you say the words unhurriedly to yourself. At least once or twice, you should experience a sense of restfulness as you do this.
My comments... In today's lesson, it states that "You will probably find this idea very difficult to grasp...", but on the contrary I find it easier than many previous lessons. I have always believed that I get a glimpse of God when looking at a majestic sunset or a beautiful natural landscape. If I feel this way, is it therefore a reach to say that I can also see God in a "pencil"?
The conflict (or unease) I get is when applying this lesson to something that is not appreciated such as war or illness, etc. I get self-imposed pushback if I say I see God in the Iraq war. But I know that God did not make that war or participate in the atrocities of that or any war - that is our doing (my doing). I see God in the people of that war, not in their actions.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Above all else I want to see things differently.
Today we are really giving specific application to the idea for yesterday. In these practice periods, you will be making a series of definite commitments. The question of whether you will keep them in the future is not our concern here. If you are willing at least to make them now, you have started on the way to keeping them. And we are still at the beginning.
You may wonder why it is important to say, for example, "Above all else I want to see this table differently." In itself it is not important at all. Yet what is by itself? And what does "in itself" mean? You see a lot of separate things about you, which really means you are not seeing at all. You either see or not. When you have seen one thing differently, you will see all things differently. The light you will see in any one of them is the same light you will see in them all.
When you say, "Above all else I want to see this table differently," you are making a commitment to withdraw your preconceived ideas about the table, and open your mind to what it is, and what it is for. You are not defining it in past terms. You are asking what it is, rather than telling it what it is. You are not binding its meaning to your tiny experience of tables, nor are you limiting its purpose to your little personal thoughts.
You will not question what you have already defined. And the purpose of these exercises is to ask questions and receive the answers. In saying, "Above all else I want to see this table differently," you are committing yourself to seeing. It is not an exclusive commitment. It is a commitment that applies to the table just as much as to anything else, neither more nor less.
You could, in fact, gain vision from just that table, if you would withdraw all your own ideas from it, and look upon it with a completely open mind. It has something to show you; something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope. Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe.
In using the table as a subject for applying the idea for today, you are therefore really asking to see the purpose of the universe. You will be making this same request of each subject that you use in the practice periods. And you are making a commitment to each of them to let its purpose be revealed to you, instead of placing your own judgment upon it.
We will have six two-minute practice periods today, in which the idea for the day is stated first, and then applied to whatever you see about you. Not only should the subjects be chosen randomly, but each one should be accorded equal sincerity as today's idea is applied to it, in an attempt to acknowledge the equal value of them all in their contribution to your seeing.
As usual, the applications should include the name of the subject your eyes happen to light on, and you should rest your eyes on it while saying
Above all else I want to see this ___ differently.
Each application should be made quite slowly, and as thoughtfully as possible. There is no hurry.
My comments... This is an important clarification to me. This lesson seems less abstract than so many of the previous lessons. The comment, "You could, in fact, gain vision from just that table, if you would withdraw all your own ideas from it, and look upon it with a completely open mind", strikes a chord. I have yet to see light surrounding an object or acknowledge anything that I would consider to be out of the ordinary. Meaning, that something about these lessons was changing my conscious perspective. But this message adds clarification that hopefully will cause me to begin to see and understand things differently.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Above all else I want to see.
Today's idea expresses something stronger than mere determination. It gives vision priority among your desires. You may feel hesitant about using the idea, on the grounds that you are not sure you really mean it. This does not matter. The purpose of today's exercises is to bring the time when the idea will be wholly true a little nearer.
There may be a great temptation to believe that some sort of sacrifice is being asked of you when you say you want to see above all else. If you become uneasy about the lack of reservation involved, add:
Vision has no cost to anyone.
If fear of loss still persists, add further:
It can only bless.
The idea for today needs many repetitions for maximum benefit. It should be used at least every half hour, and more if possible. You might try for every fifteen or twenty minutes. It is recommended that you set a definite time interval for using the idea when you wake or shortly afterwards, and attempt to adhere to it throughout the day. It will not be difficult to do this, even if you are engaged in conversation, or otherwise occupied at the time. You can still repeat one short sentence to yourself without disturbing anything.
The real question is, how often will you remember? How much do you want today's idea to be true? Answer one of these questions, and you have answered the other. You will probably miss several applications, and perhaps quite a number. Do not be disturbed by this, but do try to keep on your schedule from then on. If only once during the day you feel that you were perfectly sincere while you were repeating today's idea, you can be sure that you have saved yourself many years of effort.
My comments... Wow, this is a revealing lesson to me. It addresses a question I posed earlier about "missing practice sessions during the day", but most of all it just seemed to speak to me. Above all else I want to see. I really want to see. Bless you for reading this.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.
It is surely obvious that if you can be attacked you are not invulnerable. You see attack as a real threat. That is because you believe that you can really attack. And what would have effects through you must also have effects on you. It is this law that will ultimately save you, but you are misusing it now. You must therefore learn how it can be used for your own best interests, rather than against them.
Because your attack thoughts will be projected, you will fear attack. And if you fear attack, you must believe that you are not invulnerable. Attack thoughts therefore make you vulnerable in your own mind, which is where the attack thoughts are. Attack thoughts and invulnerability cannot be accepted together. They contradict each other.
The idea for today introduces the thought that you always attack yourself first. If attack thoughts must entail the belief that you are vulnerable, their effect is to weaken you in your own eyes. Thus they have attacked your perception of yourself. And because you believe in them, you can no longer believe in yourself. A false image of yourself has come to take the place of what you are.
Practice with today's idea will help you to understand that vulnerability or invulnerability is the result of your own thoughts. Nothing except your thoughts can attack you. Nothing except your thoughts can make you think you are vulnerable. And nothing except your thoughts can prove to you this is not so.
Six practice periods are required in applying today's idea. A full two minutes should be attempted for each of them, although the time may be reduced to a minute if the discomfort is too great. Do not reduce it further.
The practice period should begin with repeating the idea for today, then closing your eyes and reviewing the unresolved questions whose outcomes are causing you concern. The concern may take the form of depression, worry, anger, a sense of imposition, fear, foreboding or preoccupation. Any problem as yet unsettled that tends to recur in your thoughts during the day is a suitable subject. You will not be able to use very many for any one practice period, because a longer time than usual should be spent with each one. Today's idea should be applied as follows:
First, name the situation:
I am concerned about ______.
Then go over every possible outcome that has occurred to you in that connection and which has caused you concern, referring to each one quite specifically, saying:
I am afraid ______ will happen.
If you are doing the exercises properly, you should have some five or six distressing possibilities available for each situation you use, and quite possibly more. It is much more helpful to cover a few situations thoroughly than to touch on a larger number. As the list of anticipated outcomes for each situation continues, you will probably find some of them, especially those that occur to you toward the end, less acceptable to you. Try, however, to treat them all alike to whatever extent you can.
After you have named each outcome of which you are afraid, tell yourself:
That thought is an attack upon myself.
Conclude each practice period by repeating today's idea to yourself once more.
My comments... Today's lesson dovetails with the previous lesson, "(#23) I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts". I see today's lesson as a very positive exercise. It is kind of like putting my thoughts in to perspective and making me realize that they are mine ONLLY, and ONLY I can change how I look at things and how I think about things. I will do my best to practice this the required number of times. As I mentioned in my previous comments, I'm having difficulty practicing the lessons the required number of times recommended. I guess I'm only human? :-)
Thursday, September 21, 2006
I do not know what anything is for.
Purpose is meaning. Today's idea explains why nothing you see means anything. You do not know what it is for. Therefore, it is meaningless to you. Everything is for your own best interests. That is what it is for; that is its purpose; that is what it means. It is in recognizing this that your goals become unified. It is in recognizing this that what you see is given meaning.
You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals. These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you. This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for. As a result, you are bound to misuse it. When you believe this, you will try to withdraw the goals you have assigned to the world, instead of attempting to reinforce them.
Another way of describing the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with "personal" interests. Since you have no personal interests, your goals are really concerned with nothing. In cherishing them, therefore, you have no goals at all. And thus you do not know what anything is for.
Before you can make any sense out of the exercises for today, one more thought is necessary. At the most superficial levels, you do recognize purpose. Yet purpose cannot be understood at these levels. For example, you do understand that a telephone is for the purpose of talking to someone who is not physically in your immediate vicinity. What you do not understand is what you want to reach him for. And it is this that makes your contact with him meaningful or not.
It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything. The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than "good" or "bad," is the only way to accomplish this. The idea for today is a step in this direction.
Six practice periods, each of two-minutes duration, are required. Each practice period should begin with a slow repetition of the idea for today, followed by looking about you and letting your glance rest on whatever happens to catch your eye, near or far, "important" or "unimportant," "human" or "nonhuman." With your eyes resting on each subject you so select, say, for example:
I do not know what this chair is for.
Say this quite slowly, without shifting your eyes from the subject until you have completed the statement about it. Then move on to the next subject, and apply today's idea as before.
My comments... Upon first reading today's lesson, I thought - "here we go again with another one of those 'that tree is not a tree' lessons". But after reading the lesson description, it actually made more sense and was easier to understand. This reminded me of an old song by Chicago... "Does anybody really know what time it is"? The answer to that son's question is obviously - no.
A question I have for experienced ACIM practitioners is... what is lost if one does not follow the lessons instructions as required? As an example, this lesson says that I need to practice this for six practice sessions today. What is the result if I only do it twice? Should I start over with this lesson tomorrow or go on to the next lesson? I am embarassed to admit that I often forget to do the required number of sessions. I forget and then I go on to the next lesson. It is not that I'm trying to speed up or cut something out - I just forget during the course of the day to do the day's lesson.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I do not perceive my own best interests.
In no situation that arises do you realize the outcome that would make you happy. Therefore, you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the result. What you do is determined by your perception of the situation, and that perception is wrong. It is inevitable, then, that you will not serve your own best interests. Yet they are your only goal in any situation which is correctly perceived. Otherwise, you will not recognize what they are.
If you realized that you do not perceive your own best interests, you could be taught what they are. But in the presence of your conviction that you do know what they are, you cannot learn. The idea for today is a step toward opening your mind so that learning can begin.
The exercises for today require much more honesty than you are accustomed to using. A few subjects, honestly and carefully considered in each of the five practice periods which should be undertaken today, will be more helpful than a more cursory examination of a large number. Two minutes are suggested for each of the mind-searching periods which the exercises involve.
The practice periods should begin with repeating today's idea, followed by searching the mind, with closed eyes, for unresolved situations about which you are currently concerned. The emphasis should be on uncovering the outcome you want. You will quickly realize that you have a number of goals in mind as part of the desired outcome, and also that these goals are on different levels and often conflict.
In applying the idea for today, name each situation that occurs to you, and then enumerate carefully as many goals as possible that you would like to be met in its resolution. The form of each application should be roughly as follows:
In the situation involving ______, I would like ______ to happen, and ______ to happen,
. . . .and so on. Try to cover as many different kinds of outcomes as may honestly occur to you, even if some of them do not appear to be directly related to the situation, or even to be inherent in it at all.
If these exercises are done properly, you will quickly recognize that you are making a large number of demands of the situation which have nothing to do with it. You will also recognize that many of your goals are contradictory, that you have no unified outcome in mind, and that you must experience disappointment in connection with some of your goals, however the situation turns out.
After covering the list of as many hoped-for goals as possible, for each unresolved situation that crosses your mind say to yourself:
I do not perceive my own best interests in this situation,
. . . and go on to the next one.
My comments... "I do not perceive my own best interests" - now here is a statement that I've been hearing my entire life. As a child, we have all heard words to this effect, that "we don't know what's best for us", or "you don't make good choices". Although the outcome is different with today's exercise, it is the same thing on a different scale. This is an easier lesson to grasp and doesn't cause the mind confusion or anxiety.
Friday, September 15, 2006
I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.
The idea for today contains the only way out of fear that will ever succeed. Nothing else will work; everything else is meaningless. But this way cannot fail. Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see. It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.
If the cause of the world you see is attack thoughts, you must learn that it is these thoughts which you do not want. There is no point in lamenting the world. There is no point in trying to change the world. It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world. Here you are changing the cause. The effect will change automatically.
The world you see is a vengeful world, and everything in it is a symbol of vengeance. Each of your perceptions of "external reality" is a pictorial representation of your own attack thoughts. One can well ask if this can be called seeing. Is not fantasy a better word for such a process, and hallucination a more appropriate term for the result?
You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image maker. You cannot be saved from the world, but you can escape from its cause. This is what salvation means, for where is the world you see when its cause is gone? Vision already holds a replacement for everything you think you see now. Loveliness can light your images, and so transform them that you will love them, even though they were made of hate. For you will not be making them alone.
The idea for today introduces the thought that you are not trapped in the world you see, because its cause can be changed. This change requires, first, that the cause be identified and then let go, so that it can be replaced. The first two steps in this process require your cooperation. The final one does not. Your images have already been replaced. By taking the first two steps, you will see that this is so.
Besides using it throughout the day as the need arises, five practice periods are required in applying today's idea. As you look about you, repeat the idea slowly to yourself first, and then close your eyes and devote about a minute to searching your mind for as many attack thoughts as occur to you. As each one crosses your mind say:
I can escape from the world I see
Hold each attack thought in mind as you say this, and then dismiss that thought and go on to the next.
In the practice periods, be sure to include both your thoughts of attacking and of being attacked. Their effects are exactly the same because they are exactly the same. You do not recognize this as yet, and you are asked at this time only to treat them as the same in today's practice periods. We are still at the stage of identifying the cause of the world you see. When you finally learn that thoughts of attack and of being attacked are not different, you will be ready to let the cause go.
My comments... Oh my, this is another of those lessons that cause me much confusion. It is like I can only process part of these thoughts (there's logic rearing its ugly head again). "You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image maker", is a statement I can nod my head when reading and agree. "Loveliness can light your images, and so transform them that you will love them, even though they were made of hate", I have trouble identifying with this statement - I WANT to, I'm just having intense difficulty. It is like saying that I can love another who murders a member of my family. I KNOW this is where I should be, but every fibre of my body wants to reject that thought.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
What I see is a form of vengeance.
Today's idea accurately describes the way anyone who holds attack thoughts in his mind must see the world. Having projected his anger onto the world, he sees vengeance about to strike at him. His own attack is thus perceived as self defense. This becomes an increasingly vicious circle until he is willing to change how he sees. Otherwise, thoughts of attack and counter-attack will preoccupy him and people his entire world. What peace of mind is possible to him then?
It is from this savage fantasy that you want to escape. Is it not joyous news to hear that it is not real? Is it not a happy discovery to find that you can escape? You made what you would destroy; everything that you hate and would attack and kill. All that you fear does not exist.
Look at the world about you at least five times today, for at least a minute each time. As your eyes move slowly from one object to another, from one body to another, say to yourself:
I see only the perishable.
At the end of each practice period, ask yourself:
Is this the world I really want to see?
The answer is surely obvious.
My comments... This lesson obviously follows up on the previous lessons, but it is explained more clearly and (unlike some of the previous lessons) makes more sense to me. Possibly because the statements, "I see only the perishable, and I see nothing that will last" are true in this made up world of ours. Nothing lasts. This is easy to accept. The "vengeance" and "attack thoughts" aspect of today's lesson is something I must think about, as this is a different concept for me.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I am determined to see things differently.
The idea for today is obviously a continuation and extension of the preceding one. This time, however, specific mind-searching periods are necessary, in addition to applying the idea to particular situations as they may arise. Five practice periods are urged, allowing a full minute for each.
In the practice periods, begin by repeating the idea to yourself. Then close your eyes and search your mind carefully for situations past, present or anticipated that arouse anger in you. The anger may take the form of any reaction ranging from mild irritation to rage. The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter. You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.
Try, therefore, not to let the "little" thoughts of anger escape you in the practice periods. Remember that you do not really recognize what arouses anger in you, and nothing that you believe in this connection means anything. You will probably be tempted to dwell more on some situations or persons than on others, on the fallacious grounds that they are more "obvious." This is not so. It is merely an example of the belief that some forms of attack are more justified than others.
As you search your mind for all the forms in which attack thoughts present themselves, hold each one in mind while you tell yourself:
I am determined to see ______ [name of person] differently.
I am determined to see ______ [specify the situation] differently.
Try to be as specific as possible. You may, for example, focus your anger on a particular attribute of a particular person, believing that the anger is limited to this aspect. If your perception is suffering from this form of distortion, say:
I am determined to see ______ [specify the attribute]in ______ [name of person] differently.
My comments... As mentioned in the lesson text above, this follows up on the previous lesson, but with more specifics. As I practiced yesterday's lesson and this one, I get a sense of calming when I identify a person or situation and state that I am determined to see this differently. It almost feels like I'm releasing myself (excusing myself) in some way. That by doing this, the guilt or anger I feel toward that thing is dissipating.... I'm determined!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I am determined to see.
We have been quite casual about our practice periods thus far. There has been virtually no attempt to direct the time for undertaking them, minimal effort has been required, and not even active cooperation and interest have been asked. This approach has been intentional, and very carefully planned. We have not lost sight of the crucial importance of the reversal of your thinking. The salvation of the world depends on it. Yet you will not see if you regard yourself as being coerced, and if you give in to resentment and opposition.
This is our first attempt to introduce structure. Do not misconstrue it as an effort to exert force or pressure. You want salvation. You want to be happy. You want peace. You do not have them now, because your mind is totally undisciplined, and you cannot distinguish between joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, love and fear. You are now learning how to tell them apart. And great indeed will be your reward.
Your decision to see is all that vision requires. What you want is yours. Do not mistake the little effort that is asked of you for an indication that our goal is of little worth. Can the salvation of the world be a trivial purpose? And can the world be saved if you are not? God has one Son, and he is the resurrection and the life. His will is done because all power is given him in Heaven and on earth. In your determination to see is vision given you.
The exercises for today consist in reminding yourself throughout the day that you want to see. Today's idea also tacitly implies the recognition that you do not see now. Therefore, as you repeat the idea, you are stating that you are determined to change your present state for a better one, and one you really want.
Repeat today's idea slowly and positively at least twice an hour today, attempting to do so every half hour. Do not be distressed if you forget to do so, but make a real effort to remember. The extra repetitions should be applied to any situation, person or event that upsets you. You can see them differently, and you will. What you desire you will see. Such is the real law of cause and effect as it operates in the world.
My comments... As the lesson states, "this is our first attempt to introduce structure." This is something I have been eager to "see". Until now, these exercises seemed all over the board, as if there were no sequence being followed, and this added to my confusion. Today's lesson is simple, I am to repeat a phrase every half hour... "I am determined to see."
I believe that I am determined. To see and to experience the true meaning of God. This is why I am sticking with these exercises and why I share my feelings with you (whoever you are). Conventional "religion" has always held a promise to me, but it failed to do more than tease me. I have always felt there was something being held back, whether it be on purpose or because the powers that be deemed it that way. A Course In Miracles still "teases" me, but I am hopeful that if I follow the lessons and complete the text, the true meaning of all will be unfolded. This is my prayer. I am determined to see.
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.
The idea for today is obviously the reason why your seeing does not affect you alone. You will notice that at times the ideas related to thinking precede those related to perceiving, while at other times the order is reversed. The reason is that the order does not matter. Thinking and its results are really simultaneous, for cause and effect are never separate.
Today we are again emphasizing the fact that minds are joined. This is rarely a wholly welcome idea at first, since it seems to carry with it an enormous sense of responsibility, and may even be regarded as an "invasion of privacy." Yet it is a fact that there are no private thoughts. Despite your initial resistance to this idea, you will yet understand that it must be true if salvation is possible at all. And salvation must be possible because it is the Will of God.
The minute or so of mind searching which today's exercises require is to be undertaken with eyes closed. The idea for today is to be repeated first, and then the mind should be carefully searched for the thoughts it contains at that time. As you consider each one, name it in terms of the central person or theme it contains, and holding it in your mind as you do so, say:
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought about ______ .
The requirement of as much indiscriminateness as possible in selecting subjects for the practice periods should be quite familiar to you by now, and will no longer be repeated each day, although it will occasionally be included as a reminder. Do not forget, however, that random selection of subjects for all practice periods remains essential throughout. Lack of order in this connection will ultimately make the recognition of lack of order in miracles meaningful to you.
Apart from the "as needed" application of today's idea, at least three practice periods are required, shortening the length of time involved, if necessary. Do not attempt more than four.
My comments... The statement, "There are no private thoughts", really struck a chord with me. I have a "friend" who I find very difficult to be around most of the time. I won't bore you with the details, but this person is full of himself and being around him literally saps my energy. Consequently, I often experience negative thoughts when I am around him and I've sometimes had the feeling that he senses these thoughts.
Today's lesson hit me between the eyes. On some level, my friend DOES sense my thoughts about him. To me, this is a reason why I must always be vigilant about my thoughts and realize what they are and that they are affection others. This is deep...
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.
The idea for today is another step in learning that the thoughts which give rise to what you see are never neutral or unimportant. It also emphasizes the idea that minds are joined, which will be given increasing stress later on.
Today's idea does not refer to what you see as much as to how you see it. Therefore, the exercises for today emphasize this aspect of your perception. The three or four practice periods which are recommended should be done as follows:
Look about you, selecting subjects for the application of the idea for today as randomly as possible, and keeping your eyes on each one long enough to say:
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of how I see ______ .
Conclude each practice period by repeating the more general statement:
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.
A minute or so, or even less, will be sufficient for each practice period.
My comments... I have done some reading on the new science of DNA where they are now demonstrating that DNA from a person separated from that person reacts to stimuli (of the host) as if it were still attached to the person. This offers tangible insight to the statement that we are all "connected" regardless of our separateness. As implausible as it may seem, we are connected to the radical Muslim suicide bomber who is trying to kill us. That person perceives a tree or a book in the same manner in which I see a book or a tree. This is an interesting lesson to me and is easier to grasp than some of the earlier lessons.
Monday, August 28, 2006
If you are not familiar with how I came to discover A Course In Miracles, it was through reading a book by Gary Renard, author of Disappearance of the Universe. Well, I just learned that Gary has released a new book entitled, "Your Immortal Reality".
The write-up about Your Immortal Reality says that it expands the teachings of the Gospel of Thomas and A Course in Miracles. By implementing a unique modification in our understanding of forgiveness, and taking the true meaning of thought to a whole new level, the result will break the cycle of birth and death. Includes information from the Ascended Master Teachers, Arten and Pursah, who were first introduced to the world in Disappearance of the Universe. To learn more about what I have learned so far, see Your Immortal Reality.
I see no neutral things.
This idea is another step in the direction of identifying cause and effect as it really operates in the world. You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts. It is always the thought that comes first, despite the temptation to believe that it is the other way around. This is not the way the world thinks, but you must learn that it is the way you think. If it were not so, perception would have no cause, and would itself be the cause of reality. In view of its highly variable nature, this is hardly likely.
In applying today's idea, say to yourself, with eyes open:
I see no neutral things becauseI have no neutral thoughts.
Then look about you, resting your glance on each thing you note long enough to say:
I do not see a neutral ______ becausemy thoughts about ______ are not neutral.
For example, you might say: I do not see a neutral wall, because my thoughts about walls are not neutral.
I do not see a neutral body, because my thoughts about bodies are not neutral.
As usual, it is essential to make no distinctions between what you believe to be animate or inanimate; pleasant or unpleasant. Regardless of what you may believe, you do not see anything that is really alive or really joyous. That is because you are unaware as yet of any thought that is really true, and therefore really happy.
Three or four specific practice periods are recommended, and no less than three are required for maximum benefit, even if you experience resistance. However, if you do, the length of the practice period may be reduced to less than the minute or so that is otherwise recommended.
My comments... More training and preparation for my feeble brain. I am constantly reminded of cliches such as "you become what you think about most" (someone famous said that). Again, I see these exercises as training and preparing me to accept thoughts that are not easy to grasp and meet with so much resistance from my ego. As I've mentioned many times before in this blog... I'm still having trouble looking at a tree from my window and telling myself that it is not real. Maybe I'm just a slow learner, or maybe I'm textbook "normal"... I have no idea, but I know that these exercises are not easily accepted by my (ego) brain.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
This was sent to me by a friend today and it really struck a chord. I think this mindset is what finally leads many of us to ACIM. Anyway, it is a powerful message by an unknown author. Enjoy...
A time comes in your life when you finally get it….. When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks, and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out -ENOUGH--!! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears, and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at theworld through new eyes. This is your awakening!!!!!!!
You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter), and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you, and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love appreciate or approve of who or what you are….and that's OK (They are entitled to their own views and opinions). And you learn the importance of being and championing yourself; and in the process a sense of newfound confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop bitching and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say, and that not everyone will always be there for you, and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself; and in the process a sense of safety and security isborn of self reliance.
You stop judging and pointing fingers…and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties; and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the crap you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, and how much you should weigh; what you should wear and where you should shop, and what you should drive; how and where you should live, and what you should do for a living; who you should sleep with, who you should marry, and what you should expect of a marriage; the importance of having and raising children, or what you owe your parents. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.
You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with; and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is honor and glory in creating and contributing; and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for you next fix.
You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must built a life. You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world…and that you can't teach a pig to sing.
You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility, and the importance of setting boundaries, and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. You learn not to reject your needs or your feelings onto a relationship you learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name.
You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them to be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love. And you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms…just to make you happy.
And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely. And you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10, and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you “stack up.” You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK…and that it is your right to want things and to ask for things that you want…and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.
You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect; and you won't settle for less. And, you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his touch…and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect.
And you learn that your body really is your temple, and you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest.
And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to and play. You learn that for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve…and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for, and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help.
You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time. FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it, and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms.
And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve; and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It's just life happening.
And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal stage-the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you, and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.
You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself; and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever, settle for less than your heart's desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.
Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand; you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.