Thoughts on Week 26, Ch. 15, I. The Two Uses of Time


Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time? Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more.

That it does seem hard to imagine at times given all that occurs in an hour, a day, a week or a year. Yet, I offer to the Holy Spirit “time”, He knows what to do with it. I do not. He can use it for my own well-being.

The ego instead wants me dead. I have felt it breathing down my neck long enough. Who can I trust? “No one,” it whispers and that for now seems true. The ego wants my allegiance. It keeps fear from me, yet it keeps me in fear to work its smoke and mirrors. The ego only sees hell. There is no hope here. There is no one you can trust. All too many times that has been the case. Even now.

Holy Spirit wants me to know there is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present. Hard to believe when one’s state of mind is full of bleakness. Yet onward and upward Holy Spirit leads me to Heaven. He would undo all fear now. He would remind me to take one step at a time, one instant at a time. In this I will see it reborn. Leave the past behind. Leave all that has hurt me behind. I no longer need it. The past is not my friend, nor anyone there.

Jesus says to take this instant in the here and now, and understand that nothing from the past can reach out and grab me scaring the bejesus out of me. I am completely absolved (no matter what I or others think), I am completely free, and I am wholly loved without condemnation whatsoever. Any condemnation comes from my own mind. From anyone else, that is their own mind to solve.

If you are tempted to be dispirited by thinking how long it would take to change your mind so completely, ask yourself, “How long is an instant?” Could you not give so short a time to the Holy Spirit for your salvation? He asks no more, for He has no need of more. It takes far longer to teach you to be willing to give Him this than for Him to use this tiny instant to offer you the whole of Heaven. In exchange for this instant He stands ready to give you the remembrance of eternity.

So an instant I give and eternity I receive. Isn’t that all I really wanted? An eternity of peace. Hush now and rest in peace.

A Practice: I am Never Upset for the Reason I Think

We have been afraid of love. That’s what it comes down to. We’ve been so fearful of love in our minds. We talk about love. We want to have love. We desire love. We seek for love, yet if we allow that love in, we’re so terrified. The ego says, “No way!” The ego is terrified of it. It doesn’t want us to seek it. Why? Because it would dissolve into nothingness if that were so. So we continue to see the problem as something outside of us instead of inside.  

“I AM NEVER UPSET FOR THE REASON I THINK” PRACTICE 
 
Use a journal or notebook.  
 
Sit quietly for a few minutes. Close your eyes.  Take a few deep breaths.

Say to yourself: “I am never upset for the reason I think.”

Very quietly now, write that down in your journal. “I am never upset for the reason I think.”  

Jesus tells us that we’re really upset over nothing. We think the problem is real, but what we’re upset about is over nothing.  
 
Put that in your own words. “I think my problem is real, but Jesus tells me I am upset over nothing.” Whatever way you want to word that for yourself. You’re affirming that for yourself.  
 
Take a look at what those unforgivenesses are, what those grievances or upsets are. Write those down.  
 
It could be something like: “I think I’m upset because I have failed myself and others. I think I’m upset because and believe that I’m alone. I think I’m upset because others told false stories about me.”  
 
Just keep writing. Maybe do about five to seven sentences. Whenever you are done with those, just set the pen down.  
 
Take time to do this, dear reader, as it is most beneficial to you if you do the practical application. 

Close your eyes again. Take a few more deep breaths. Let them be cleansing breaths.  
 
Time to make your intention to change these problem thoughts, these unforgiveness thoughts that you have.

“Jesus or Holy Spirit, look on these problems with me, these unforgivenesses, these judgments, and these grievances. Look on them with me. Above all else, I want to see, see differently. I know when I look with You, I will be recognizing the ego strategy for my own demise.”  

Pick up that pen again. Go through the beliefs that you have just written. I want you to add something to them. Rewrite the sentence.

For example: “I think and believe I am alone… cannot take away my peace.” So you want to add: “…Cannot take away my peace” to the end of whatever it is that you wrote.  
 
For example: The belief that I have failed myself and others… cannot take away my peace.  
 
Whatever the belief is that you had, the upset, the grievance, the judgment, the unforgiveness, add to it: …cannot take away my peace. This belief cannot take away my peace.  
 
Once again, dear reader, open up to doing this healing work in your journal.  

None of these beliefs can take away your peace. You have decided that they can. Now we’re in the process of deciding otherwise. In truth, we are only upset about nothing. Nada, zero, zilch. We’re upset about something that is not real. We are upset over an illusion. This keeps me separated from God.  

Now say to yourself: I now accept the atonement for myself. 

Deep breaths. Be OK wherever you are with this process too. Just allow yourself to relax for a few more moments. Look at all this with a still and open mind. Jesus and Holy Spirit is looking with you, to see past all the perceived unforgivenesses and grievances and judgments. He’s looking with you.  

Join with me in this prayer: 
 
My real problem, my real upset is that I believe I’m separated from God. I’ve been afraid of love. Now I look at these grievances without judgment. I see their nothingness. No more do they have the sting that they had before. I allow love to fill my heart and fill my mind. Amen and amen. 

Very gently, bring yourself back to the room you are in.

Excerpted from Rev. Deb’s book “The Holy Place of Forgiveness”

You Are Exactly Where You Need to Be

You Are Exactly Where You Need to Be
with Rev. Deb Phelps

The present is the only time there is.

Rev. Deb speaks to the practice of the Workbook Lessons. If you are “behind” or you have forgotten to practice the daily lessons, this calls for gentleness, kindness and compassion and not self-criticism which is a tool of the ego. Love yourself as God loves you. Keep on keeping on. Remember you have mighty companions who walk with you in addition to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. You are never alone.

Recorded March 10, 2019

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Learning About the Ego

Hi Everyone,

Last night we started our new class on What is the Ego, the Body & the World? And, it is not what you think! It is not a beginner class although it can be. We are getting down to basics and even if you have been studying for some as some of our students have, you will find the sharing deep and rich.

We started off the class with a meditation to bring us into the present moment. We then shared our intentions and what we hope to gain after our six weeks together. It is important to put forth before us the goal as Jesus speaks of in the section “Setting the Goal.” Having done so the class was ready to attend to our first reading from the Workbook for Students, “What is the Ego?”

By beginning with the ego, we can see that the ego is quite literally a fearful thought. As some students shared throughout the evening, it is a thought system of specialness. Some expressed their attachments in various forms, be it attachment to identity, achievement, addictions, etc.

We have to ask ourselves “How does that work for me?”

The ego’s voice is there telling me to be on high alert. If one is anxious it is because we are being vigilant for the ego and not the Kingdom of God.

Others expressed specialness in the form of “I am special because of my profession. I have to prove that I am better.” This only brought pain. Once realized, we can be relieved of our the burden and the pain.

Here in our study the word “ego” is different than the psychological term for the “ego.” We go back to the Course definition of it is a fearful thought, a false self made as a substitute for the Self that God created. Simply, it is an illusion.

In our second reading of the night, we turned to the Clarification of Terms, The Ego-The Miracle. One of the sentences stood out to the group being “Are you ready to help me save the world?” Are we? If we are, then we practice our daily lessons, we forgive, we bring peace to our mind and we remain present in the now moment.

It is easy to become distracted as we practice. There is the fear of missing out. In this day of technology, sometimes it seems we have a smartphone permanently glued to our hand always waiting to see who will message us, or what’s happening on Facebook, or on CNN.

When do we stop the ego’s rush of bombardment of information so that our minds can come in the quiet and calm of God. We have to make the steps and the daily Lessons help us to do that. Our thoughts are meaningless and this world is meaningless as we are learning of late.

We don’t have to follow the ego blindly at all and mock God by asking Him to prove that He is right. We can accept it.

We don’t have to like the ideas or understand them but simply practice them. By our practice we will know the truth.

I am still accepting students in the class up until next Thursday. January 17th and you can watch our class video to get caught up before then. If you cannot make Thursday nights, there is a self-study option that will allow you access to all the class videos and our email forum for discussion.

More information can be found at the link below. I hope you will choose to join us on this journey. We gain so much when we enter into communion with one another.

Peace,
Rev. Deb

https://miraclesone.org/class/what-is-the-ego-the-world-the-body/

What Do I Value?


“What do I value?”

After reading a section of the text I try to take time to sit with it for awhile in order to fully digest the reading, which allows me to meditate on the words and receive insight from The Holy Spirit.

For the sake of making this blog more personal you will find when the text uses “we” I will be personalizing it by writing it in the first person in order to form a better understanding of how I apply and understand my readings.

I was reading from section VII: “The decision for God in chapter five of the Text and as section VII begins it asks, “What am I valuing, the ego or God?” I came from a very strong mainstream denomination before I came to “New Thought” spiritual practices. After I felt that I no longer aligned spiritually with the mainstream denomination’s teachings, through my experiences that are unimportant for the sake of this blog it launched me into a completely new and eye opening world of spiritual practices.

The first statement of section VII is “A common theme in the Course is that everything I experience is the effect of my decision(s).” These words caused me to pause for a long time, sit in the quiet, and spend time in meditation allowing the words from the Holy Spirit to wash over me.  I was reminded what the last sentence in paragraph one says “I may have decided wrongly, but I am always allowed to change my decision”. Wow! Those words alone freed me from a lot of guilt I felt for the many years I was not true to myself and who I truly am. I also realized that all the decisions I made on my Spiritual journey culminated down to that one sentence.

As I began to reflect on my years spent practicing the mainstream denomination’s teachings I realized I spent a lot of those years seeking the approval of various spiritual leaders I had chosen to follow. I now realize not only was I not truly following my spiritual path I had set out upon, but I was valuing the ego over God the majority of the time because I was seeking the approval of men and not truly valuing God, my creator. I was not allowing The Holy Spirit’s voice to direct me and I found I would rail against it because I had been convinced that the path I was on was the only way to make the journey home. I feel as thought I was listening to the ego and allowing it to take primary control to lead me since I was allowing other spiritual leaders to show me the path and make my choices for me. I allowed myself to believe in the illusion that the path they were showing me was the only spiritual path until one day I clearly heard The Holy Spirit’s voice telling me that there was much more out there and it was through leaving the large church I was a member of that I truly began to blossom into the person and the creation that God meant for me to be. Though my departure from that church was a very painful experience for several reasons I found that through listening I was at peace with what the horizon and future held for me. I had a level of excitement within my spirit that I had never experienced before. It wasn’t until years later when the Course found me that I read in this section that the plan for my Atonement was given to me by God and that it was a plan of undoing through helping to change my mind about what I valued. Jesus goes on to say “When our values change, our decisions change”. The second goes on to say “We are gently taught to recognize the valuable and the valueless. Letting go of the valueless is not perceived as a sacrifice. Rather it is recognized as a release of what is no longer wanted”. Those powerful words could not have resonated more with my spirit and with me. It was the first time I felt a true connection with my Creator and I was able to hear The Holy Spirit direct my path. Though the Course was still yet years away from finding me. I strongly feel that each part of my Spiritual Journey has led me to where I am now. Another feeling that I felt before I practiced the Course is that as I started to feel my peace slipping away it was the Holy Spirit that guided me back and I was at peace with the decision to walk away from what I was studying knowing that I was doing what the Holy Spirit was guiding me to do. The course has taught me to acknowledge when there is a lack of peace within and that Holy Spirit is there to support and let me know when a change of course is needed in my mindset. The Holy Spirit is always there to guide me to the next level of spiritual growth.

Jesus says “Be very firm with myself in this, and keep myself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from me, is nevertheless within me because God placed it there”. This is something I slowly learned along this new and exciting journey I’ve found myself on. I had a lot of undoing and relearning from all the formed doctrines, dogmas, and creeds that was the core of my spiritual practice for years, but I knew if I relied on the guidance of my Creator; The Holy Spirit would gently do this undoing and unlearning for me. This section has a beautiful prayer written in it that I use often if I do not feel at peace and know somewhere I decided wrongly with something on my spiritual path. That prayer is from section VII:

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. I want to decide otherwise, because I want peace. I do not feel guilty, because The Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I let him. I choose to let him, but allowing Him to decide for God for me”

This prayer is one of my go-to prayers when I am not at peace and “The Holy Spirit will respond fully to my slightest invitation.” As long as I am as sincere as I can be in inviting The Holy Spirit. The section also reminds me “The Holy Spirit is in our mind to help me decide for the Value of God. It is here where I find perfect safety, perfect joy, and perfect peace.” That is why Jesus us tells us of the importance of sincerely inviting The Holy Spirit. I am reminded, “The time is now. I do not need the dreams of the ego. I will receive God’s gift for my peace and joy as long as I am willing to still my mind and accept them.” Accepting these gifts and owning these gifts allows me to share the peace and joy of God with the Sonship, which is making the decision for God; by my sharing this peace and joy from my Creator is what my Decision for God allows for me to do. This is what making the decision of God is all about for me.

The last paragraph of Section VII of Chapter five of the text says, “Because there is no order of difficulty in miracles, I can accept healing. I can return to God the mind as He created it. As I return to God what belongs to God, I am healed. I return to wholeness where I belong. I return to certain peace, where I belong. God’s joy is mine and I experience it on in God’s wholeness.” When I am still and silent and listen to Guidance I am sure to choose correctly, or know that I am always free to turn around and change my decision with the confidence that The Holy Spirit is always there to correct any wrong decision I may have made. All I need to do is be open and have that “little willingness.” There is no fear of guilt or shame for deciding wrongly as I was taught when I was much younger. The illusion and fear of a vengeful God has been undone and as I have been in the unlearning and relearning process, I like to call this process that many people call “The Unlearning Classroom.” It was when the Course first found me and I found MiraclesOne Center for A Course in Miracles where I began my practice of MiraclesOne’s philosophy of the “Practical Application” of the Course. The more I dedicated myself to studying, practically applying the Course in my daily life, and made the full commitment to practicing and applying the daily Workbook Lessons the rest of the guilt and shame I had been working on undoing began to slowly turn into God’s perfect love, joy and peace.

So if you feel that you are not at peace and feel that you have decided wrongly. Know The Holy Spirit is just waiting for that sincere invitation to help you correct any wrong decision(s) that you believe you have made without feeling guilty, instead feeling the love, joy and peace of The Holy Spirit and The Creator.

The Course has changed my life in countless ways. One simple way I love to sum up my journey with the Course is that it has brought me to a place of complete peace and certainty of the unconditional love of God and has placed fully in my view the certainty of the bridge that I will one day cross over to that Holy place where my Creator will be waiting.

MiraclesOne is an all volunteer ministry, if you have enjoyed any of our drop-in study groups, our six-week classes, or any of the vast amounts of material to aid you in your practical application of living the Course that is available at miraclesone.org and would like to offer a monetary love gift there are several ways on our website, miraclesone.org.

 

Wishing you the Deepest Peace,

Ryan Westbrook-Vigue, MiraclesOne Board Member and Tuesday Night Online ACIM Study Group Facilitator

 

 

 

 

Summary of This Week’s Study Groups – 6/24/18


Joining together with others in the study of A Course in Miracles can assist with more understanding of the material, learning from others’ personal miracle stories, and the encouragement to dive deeper into personal practice. We have three weekly ACIM Study Groups that meet via video and phone conferencing on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. On Sundays in Madison, Wisconsin, we have an in-person study group. Each group has a slightly different focus but all maintain practical application of A Course in Miracles in our lives. Our study group facilitators are Gayle Bartlett, Mari Dole, Ryan Westbrook-Vigue, Darike Vigue, Tracey Frick, Tom Wolff, Rev. Paul Phelps, and myself, Rev. Deb Phelps. My thank to all!

Below you will find the summaries from our groups this week.

To join in our Tuesday and Wednesday ACIM Study Groups via video or phone conferencing, see the information at this linkOur Monday morning study group has been discontinued.

For Madison, Wisconsin information, go to this link.


Sunday ACIM Study Group in Madison

Opened with Lesson 289 – The past is over. It can touch me not.
Practical Application Topic: Holy Encounters

Personal miracle stories and examples were shared in relation to how we see our brothers and sisters. Do we really see them as they are now?

We read Text, Chapter 13, IV. The Function of Time. When we look at one another we must realize for one, the other is our mirror, and for two, we place the past on this person. It doesn’t matter if it is direct past with the person or our own past with other people. We project our fears and guilt upon others all the time. Can we see through the eyes of forgiveness and meet another in the present moment?

For only “now” is here, and only “now” presents the opportunities for the holy encounters in which salvation can be found. 

We closed with a silent meditation and announcements of what’s upcoming.

This week’s video teaching is “Holy Encounters.”
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIpcCK85-GY 


Tuesday ACIM Study Group by Video/Phone Conferencing

Text Chapter 4 Section VII “Creation and Communication”

The Study Group opened with a meditation over Workbook Lesson 177

“God is but Love, and therefore so am I.” Which is a review of Workbook Lessons

163: “There is no death. The Son of God is free” and Workbook Lesson 164: “Now are we one with Him Who is our Source.”

As we shared our personal application of the daily Workbook Lesson we discussed how amazing the Course changes lives and how powerful practically applying and living the Course can be. The Power of love that flows from the Course and how The Holy Spirit confirms one is on the correct Spiritual Path for them when one seeks confirmation that their following Guidance.

We also discussed the topic of the ego having a “game plan”; how the ego will do what the ego does and will cause separation, brings negative thoughts, and anything to distract from ones Peace. When the ego perceives a threat of the Course a student can increase their ability in hearing Guidance from The Holy Spirit during this challenge because one begins to recognize and see the egos attempt to take ones Peace at any cost and any possible way. When one is able to gain vigilance in recognizing the attempts of the ego and is able to seek and receive Guidance from The Holy Spirit it allows the Course Student to keep their Peace on solid ground rather than wavering with the ego’s guidance.

Lastly in our hour of Holy conversation together we discussed where one’s feelings and thoughts come from. How we are created in the image of the Creator and how our Truth is True and how God flows to, through, and from us. Also, that God communicates to His creations through their thoughts and feelings that come into their minds. The idea that like minds communicate with one another opened our eyes once again that we have a divine connection.

The Tuesday Night ACIM Text Study is an open Drop-In Study Group and all are welcome anytime. The Tuesday Night ACIM Text Study Group that is always filled with deep personal sharing from each Course Student’s Practical Application practice in A Course In Miracles.

Wishing you the Deepest Peace,

Ryan Westbrook-Vigue


Wednesday Study Group by Video/Phone Conferencing

Greetings Everyone,

We began with a meditation on Lesson 178, a review of these ideas: Let not my mind deny the thought of God. I am entrusted with the gifts of God. God is but love, and therefore so am I.

After agreeing to the group guidelines and checking in with each other about the previous week, we began our study of Section 25, in the Manual for Teachers: ARE “PSYCHIC” POWERS DESIRABLE?

We discussed the facts that there are no unnatural powers, that everyone has them, even if they are unaware of them, and that, as long as they are used in the service of Love and with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, they are helpful.

During the session, one of the participants shared a story illustrating this sentence: The limits the world places on communication are the chief barriers to direct experience of the Holy Spirit, Whose Presence is always there and Whose Voice is available but for the hearing. The participant said that a family member had spoken angrily during a meal, and, with quiet words, the participant’s spouse helped the participant not respond to the seeming attack. The next day, the participant wrote a note asking forgiveness of the family member, who responded lovingly. The participant felt that the Holy Spirit aided communication among all involved.

We will not be meeting next Wednesday, due to the holiday, but will do so on July 11. Please feel free to join us from 12:30 to 2:00 Central time.

Many Blessings,

Mari Dole


To join in our Tuesday and Wednesday ACIM Study Groups via video or phone conferencing, see the information at this link.

For Madison, Wisconsin information, go to this link.

Summary of the Week’s ACIM Study Groups 5/27/18


Joining together with others in the study of A Course in Miracles can assist with more understanding of the material, learning from others’ personal miracle stories, and the encouragement to dive deeper into personal practice. We have three weekly ACIM Study Groups that meet via video and phone conferencing on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. On Sundays in Madison, Wisconsin, we have an in-person study group. Each group has a slightly different focus but all maintain practical application of A Course in Miracles in our lives. Our study group facilitators are Gayle Bartlett, Mari Dole, Ryan Westbrook-Vigue, Darike Vigue, Tracey Frick, Tom Wolff, Rev. Paul Phelps, and myself, Rev. Deb Phelps. My thank to all!

Below you will find the summaries from our groups this week.

To join in our Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday ACIM Study Groups via video or phone conferencing, see the information at this link.

For Madison, Wisconsin information, go to this link.


Sunday ACIM Study Group in Madison

We had a small and intimate group due to the holiday weekend. Sunday’s meeting opened with a meditation using Lesson 229 – Love, which created me, is what I am. Our topic was “Loving Ourselves.”

The discussion turned to how difficult it can seem to ask for what we need from family and friends in the world, especially if we are in physical pain. Sometimes guilt holds us back; sometimes it is fear. The conversation continued, but I noticed it was staying focused in the world when the problem is really in the mind. I led a forgiveness process/meditation in releasing our fear to the Holy Spirit.

After the process, everyone felt more at peace and calmer with what we had been discussing. Being directed inward is key when we are caught up in a situation we are experiencing, be it at work, or with family. Once we can recognize that we are in fear, then we can ask for Holy Help.

This led us to Lesson 194 – I place the future in the Hands of God. If we place the future (and past and present) in His Hands want need do we have to worry? Or, feel anxious? We can breathe a sigh of relief when we can simply release.

We ended with the lesson as our focus in a guided portion and then in silent meditation.

As always, lots of healing and sharing takes place in our group. Come on and join us next week if you live in Madison. The sessions are drop-in, and each week a topic is presented, miracle stories shared and our reading for the day is guided by Holy Spirit

Rev. Deb


Monday ACIM Study Group

Greetings all!

Lovely as always to begin the week with our Monday morning Study Group!

Our meditation based upon the Workbook Lesson for the day moved us into the natural weaving together of today’s Lesson with other Lessons and then the correlation with today’s Text section as well!

Chapter 4, Section III.  Love without Conflict was our Text material today.

Knowing that “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” really means:

“The Kingdom of Heaven is you”, was a catapult to us for profound personal sharing!

We were all delighted with Jesus’ promise in the form of his prayer:

“The Kingdom is perfectly united and perfectly protected, and the ego will not prevail against it.  Amen.”

Jesus explained that his purpose in presenting this as a prayer is to assist us by its usefulness in times of temptation.

Even as we are tempted by the sense of separation the ego fosters, not because it appeals, but because it pulls, Jesus assures us of the permanence, the unshakability and of the absolute nature of God’s love.

The ego provides the conflict of ambivalent love born of the ever-present illusion of separation, while Jesus promises that His love for us, like the Father’s is pure.  We are welcomed into this love and reminded that this love is within us as

he states: “God has given you everything”.

Practical application of this Course material and our life experience is always central and creates profound sharing.  You are always welcome to drop-in and join with us – every Monday morning at 10:00 ET/9:00 CT!

Blessings to all!

Tracey


Tuesday ACIM Study Group

29th. May. 2018

This evening the Tuesday evening study group continued their study of Chapter 15 “The Holy Instant.” In the Text. We continued our study in section III “Littleness versus Magnitude” we began in the middle of the section starting at paragraph seven completing section III of this section of the Text.

The Study Group opened up the study time with a “Loving Kindness” meditation. The group expressed how this meditation set the tone of their hearts as we began our evening study.

The group then checked in with one another and shared how their week was going thus far.

We also discussed how we practically applied the daily Workbook Lesson, which today was Workbook Lesson 149, which is a review of Workbook Lesson 137 “When I am healed I am not healed alone” and review of Workbook 138 “Heaven is a decision I must make.”

While discussing the Workbook Lesson we discussed how the Workbook Lessons encourage us to think of our highest thoughts of love, in this case, Heaven and to also not ignore bothersome thoughts, but look at them and work on correcting/healing the mind. Another student spoke about focusing on the daily Workbook Lesson and living the Course has helped them remain grounded and to keep from becoming frustrated with circumstances beyond their control. Another student referenced a portion from the Introduction to the review with keeping the central theme of “My mind holds only what I think with God.” This has helped with their intention for the year and also takes comfort in the words from the review that God’s gratitude surrounds with peace and it is meant to be forever. Another student takes comfort in knowing that the lessons tell them they are not learning alone and expressed great appreciation for the ability to understand the Workbook lessons more and more as they go through the Workbook Lessons and having the ability to discuss with other like minded students that allow thoughts and ideas about the Workbook Lessons to be exchanged allowing the ability to see it from another perspective.

As we began the reading we discussed the gifts and time are important. God has given us a great gift to be a channel for his magnificence, power, and love. Self-love is a way we can honor God because without that we are not giving enough respect to God’s gift of making us the host and love is not just a title. Working on fear, and being open to God’s love ultimately brings peace and joy. Another student stated that love and forgiveness is a complete gift from Jesus as the Truth to who we are. Though, it has taken time to realize and accept that they are indeed worthy of God’s love. The ego loves for you to think you are not, and could never be worthy of God’s love though sometimes it does take some time to realize that you are indeed a Holy Child of God and deserve His love. The ego no longer is able to be heard when we come to know that it is Jesus’ love and holiness that connects us all together and is always present. We also should never settle for second best because we are worthy and should not accept anything but love. Part of this reading speaks of Christmas time. One student spoke of how they love the fresh fallen snow, it reminds them of the holiness of God and The Holy Spirit then the beautiful white snow inevitably turns to all kinds of mucky colors looking like the ego. When we step back and let The Holy Spirit lead the way it is like fresh fallen snow and everything is fresh, white, and resembles the The Holy Spirit’s pure love. Another student pointed out that if they remain aware of their holiness then they remain aware of their brother’s holiness and the same goes with thoughts of the ego.

Every Tuesday this Study Group has deep practical sharing in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. The Group is a Drop-In Study Group, so anyone can just drop on in and discuss your practice of A Course In Miracles. We would love to have you join us. We study the Text the first two Tuesdays of the month, the Workbook the third Tuesday, the Manual for Teachers on the fourth Tuesday, and if there’s a fifth Tuesday the facilitator seeks Guidance as to what to what topic/section to study.

We would love to see you there. We meet at 6:30 CST. Drop-In Anytime, you are always welcome to come join in the discussion or just listen if you wish.

Wishing you the deepest peace,

Ryan


Wednesday ACIM Study Group
Six of us joined together to study Section 21 of The Manual for Teachers: What is the role of words in healing?
 
After an opening meditation on Lesson 150, part of Review IV, we read, one paragraph at a time, the section noted above.
 
The sharing was rich and profound. One participant, for example, shared an experience which illustrated these sentences: Gradually, he ( the teacher of God, i.e. everyone) learns how to let his words be chosen for him by ceasing to decide for himself what he will say. This process is merely a special case of the lesson in the workbook that says, “I will step back and let Him lead the way.” The participant encountered a friend, received guidance as to what to say regarding the friend’s problem, and spoke the words which they were guided to speak.
 
Please feel free to join with us from 12:30 to 2:00 PM, Central Daylight Time, as we practice living A Course in Miracles.
 
Blessings,
 
Mari

To join in our Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday ACIM Study Groups via video or phone conferencing, see the information at this link.

For Madison, Wisconsin information, go to this link.

Summary of This Week’s ACIM Study Groups – Week of 5/13/18


Joining together with others in the study of A Course in Miracles can assist with more understanding of the material, learning from others’ personal miracle stories, and the encouragement to dive deeper into personal practice. We have three weekly ACIM Study Groups that meet via video and phone conferencing on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. On Sundays in Madison, Wisconsin, we have an in-person study group. Each group has a slightly different focus but all maintain practical application of A Course in Miracles in our lives. Our study group facilitators are Gayle Bartlett, Mari Dole, Ryan Westbrook-Vigue, Darike Vigue, Tracey Frick, Tom Wolff, Rev. Paul Phelps, and myself, Rev. Deb Phelps. My thank to all!

Below you will find the summaries from our groups this week.

To join in our Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday ACIM Study Groups via video or phone conferencing, see the information at this link.

For Madison, Wisconsin information, go to this link.


Monday ACIM Study Group

This morning’s Monday Study Group opened beautifully with a meditation based upon today’s Workbook Lesson 134 Let me perceive forgiveness as it is. The meditation included Rev. Deb’s Thoughts from her journal entry which is published in her book, and can be found on the Miracles One website.

We were moved to explore this issue of forgiveness which is so central to the Course. We discussed our own journeys of forgiveness, how we understand this Lesson specifically, and where we are with our forgiveness work today. The discussion was rich, comforting and inspiring.

Our text reading as found in the weekly schedule is: Chapter 4, THE ILLUSIONS OF THE EGO, beginning on p. 52 of the FIP text. This week on the schedule we are reading the Introduction and section I. Right Teaching and Right Lessons.

We delved into the Introduction, into our understanding of devotion, of inspiration and our personal experience of Spirit’s word – to “Be still and know that I am God.” Finally from the Introduction, we shared our understanding of the crucifixion – both as we were originally taught and from the perspective of Jesus’ teaching to us, today.

Section I. Right Teaching and Right Learning, brought forth discussion of our ego protections which are activated in the face of change. Change is present as we move and grow ever more toward God. With our little willingness, Holy Spirit is able to make correction in each moment.

We shared about the teacher and student really being the same, and all as expression within the One.
Referring to our previous section, and the “authority problem”, which is really the issue of authorship, this section explores those things of which the ego is author, and those of Truth, authored by God.

Fear for example, is a child of the ego, and we learn that the ego itself fears. This section explains that the ego is afraid of the spirit’s joy, for once having experienced it, one begins to withdraw investment into ego protection, and into fear.

Jesus suggests we entrust him with our body and our ego, so that we might be unconcerned and allow Him to teach us of their unimportance.
So thrilling to know that Jesus understands our temptation to find importance in the ego and the body, because he was once tempted to believe in them, himself!

Jesus’ instruction brings us his promise as he says to us:
“In this world you need not have tribulation because I have overcome the world. That is why you should be of good cheer”.

Please know you are welcome to drop-in and join us next Monday, or any Monday morning at 9:00 CT/10:00 ET, for our Monday Morning Study Group! There is a warm welcome waiting for you there!

With blessings and love!
Tracey


Tuesday ACIM Study Group

Tuesday Nights ACIM Study Group was a rich sharing of personal application. Below is a summary of what was discussed last night…

Workbook Lesson 135: “If I defend myself I am attacked.”

Last night the Tuesday night drop-in study group read and discussed our daily workbook lesson, which was lesson 135, “If I defend myself I am attacked.”

We began our time together with an opening meditation focusing on Workbook Lesson 135. Rev. Deb’s journal entry was included from her book “Divine Messages.”

As we read the Workbook Lesson 135 we discussed how one sometimes will view/listen to the ego regarding the body and how one tries in vain to protect it even to the point of defending the body only to attack our brothers in reality we forget our place in the Sonship where we heal our mind and share our found Salvation and Peace with our brothers.

“Defenses are the plans you undertake to make against the truth.” We also took time in sharing our personal thoughts and personal experiences we’ve had on our Spiritual journeys and how defenses effect the belief that one knows what is in ones own best interest and how one may bypass hearing the Guidance of the Holy Spirit and place trust in past experiences.

The Tuesday Night ACIM Study Group is always a rich discussion of personal application.
Much Peace,

Ryan Westbrook-Vigue


Wednesday ACIM Study Group

We began with an opening meditation. We then discussed Section 19 of the Manual for Teachers: What Is Justice? At first, we found this topic somewhat puzzling, but as we went along, the six of us began to share our experiences, both of forgiveness and judgment.

All in all, the session was very rich, and we agreed that sharing our experiences in trust with one another was helpful and supportive.

These sentences from the section sum up our session: Justice is the divine correction for injustice. Injustice is the basis for all the judgments of the world. All concepts of your brothers and yourself; all fears of future states and all concerns about the past, stem from injustice. Salvation is God’s justice. Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see. God’s justice points to Heaven just because it is entirely impartial. Perception rests, the mind is still, and light returns again.

Blessings,

Mari


Sunday ACIM Study Group in Madison

I realized I can share with you too what we do at our in-person study group here in Madison. Currently, I open with a Workbook Lesson as a meditation and we share on the Lesson afterward. Then, I introduce a topic which is usually the topic that I have recorded as the Sunday video that is published on Facebook and YouTube at 10 am Central Time. We share practical applications on the topic and our miracle stories. Halfway through this session, we are guided to a section in ACIM to read. We close with a short meditation. This can vary from week to week as I go as guided by Spirit in my facilitation. This will be the same for the Thursday Summer Series we will do on Thursday nights via conferencing when our current class completes and goes on hiatus until the fall.

This Sunday, we spent time in our opening meditation with Lesson 164  – Now are we one with Him Who is Our Source. We shared a little on that lesson, then a question arose from one of the members regarding how to deal with family members who are estranged or are at the opposite end of the political spectrum. Since it was a small group because of Mother’s Day, we stayed on this discussion instead of moving to continue our reading from last week on The Substitute Reality. Practical application is always the key!

In all, it is to see everyone through the Eyes of Christ. Answer their call for love with Love, yet if you need to maintain boundaries out of safety, do so. Jesus does not ask us to prove our worth or forgiveness nor are we to be a doormat for others. It is always an “In-job” of self-responsibility. There is no one out there to blame nor to fix how uncomfortable we feel. We need to meet with our Inner Teacher for assistance. In any decision, whether it is to go to that family event or not, we ask Jesus/Holy Spirit to be our Teacher in making that decision. It is a process and forgiveness will be as we are ready, and remember, it is not the old way of looking at forgiveness. It is to realize that in truth, the error never occurred. We are to see our brothers as ourselves. They are the mirror to us. What do we wish to see?

Rev. Deb


To join in our Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday ACIM Study Groups via video or phone conferencing, see the information at this link.

For Madison, Wisconsin information, go to this link.

 

Peace is What We All Want, Isn’t It?


Wherever we go, we can take Peace with us. Wherever we go, we can see Love if we choose to. Jesus has been preparing us to be able to do that. That’s why he gave us the Workbook lessons. He slowly, slowly builds the amount of time we take for meditation and listening for the Holy Spirit’s Voice. If we’re serious about wanting to hear Holy Spirit, doing the Workbook faithfully is a great first step. It’s systematic mind-training in hearing the Voice for God. And if we’ve already done the Workbook, we just need to practice and deepen what we’ve already learned. We may choose to go back and redo certain lessons as we’re guided.

Some students fret that they’ve completed the Workbook but they’re still “not getting it.” Hey, no sweat! Like Jesus said, it takes time and practice. Just keep practicing the lessons. Pay attention to the messages Holy Spirit gives you through the lessons and through other means. We’ve already talked about where those messages come from. Everywhere and anywhere, right? There’s no real particular method or form, but you’ll know Him by the peace He brings.

The Workbook Lesson 49 tells us that “God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.” Holy Spirit is always broadcasting, but we’re not always listening.

And peace is what we all want, isn’t it? When we are making a decision about this or that, or when there’s a situation we have to deal with, the bottom line is that we want peace. That’s not so complicated. We want the peace of God. We were made for peace, and we only feel at home in peace. If we’re paying attention to ego thoughts, we’re not going to have peace. We’re going to have anxiety, confusion, worry, fear, and all those other negative states we’re so familiar with. If we want peace, we need to accept responsibility for our non-peaceful thoughts. Recognize them. Don’t blame them on someone else or some situation outside of you. With the Holy Spirit’s help, forgive yourself for your ego thoughts. They are merely a fearful defense to keep the Love of God at a distance.

The Voice for God may come in some of the ways we’ve been talking about, but It also can come in the recognition that we have been wrong and mistaken about how we’ve been seeing a situation, person, or event and now we’re willing to see things differently. That realization is the Holy Spirit, too. In the Preface to the Course, we read about Helen and Bill. Bill gave Helen an impassioned speech about how there had to be another way to deal with their difficult relationship. What did Helen reply? “I will help you to find it.” She later said that those words just came to her. But that’s exactly what the Holy Spirit tells us when we say to Him, “There must be another way!” Holy Spirit replies: “I will help you find it.” That’s pretty profound when we realize that right there in the Preface we’re told how the Holy Spirit works with each of us. We come to the point where we say “There must be another way” and Holy Spirit, Who is our Right Mind, promises to help us find it. That’s all it takes.

Here’s a summing up of our suggestions for how to hear the Voice for God:

  • Open-mindedness: Being open to what or how the messages will come to me. Do not look for them to appear in a certain way or form.
  • Conscious choice: Make a conscious choice to hear the Voice for Value It above the ego’s voice. Have the determination to hear It.
  • Willingness: Be willing to let our ideas go and learn something new.
  • Trust: Trust that Holy Spirit will answer and that we will receive the answer. The Voice for God always answers, but It may appear differently than we had expected.
  • Focus on self, not others: Do not compare ourselves with others and how they receive Holy Spirit’s wisdom. He will communicate perfectly with us if we continue to practice. Love makes no comparisons. Tune in to how we are feeling. What obstacles have we put in the way of hearing Holy Spirit? Surrender ourselves to Holy Spirit and let go of our own agendas.
  • Focus on content, not form: It’s not what we do; it’s what we think. The form doesn’t matter. It’s the content that’s important. Let’s remember that and keep practicing.

An excerpt from our book, Change Your Mind! Talks on Living A Course in Miracles

Comparison is the Thin Edge of the Wedge


The ego is always aware of the threat to its existence, that threat being God, or more specifically, the mind’s decision to remember God and to choose Him. So if I go to God with what I’m feeling – my low self-worth, feeling unloved, unwanted, not accepted or appreciated, feeling sick or in pain, afraid of financial loss, or whatever – the ego is going to fight back. Even if we’re feeling a sense of depression or despair, the ego will try to retaliate and attack. We’ll find ourselves critical and condemning. We’ll compare ourselves to others, and remember that to the ego “different” and “separate” are the same. Comparison is the thin edge of the wedge that the ego uses to insinuate itself into our thinking and lead us to attack our brother with the machete of judgment, anger, and hatred. We’ll think thoughts like these: “Well, would you just look at what she’s wearing,” or “I’m better than her. I know about computers,” or “I’m a better parent. At least my kids don’t yell and scream in public.” It’s always: “I’m a better this or that. I’m superior.” Or we can feel righteously superior because we suffer more. Either way, we’re superior. That’s the ego’s line, its theme song. It is grandiosity and it keeps us away from knowing the truth of who we are.

Remember always that you cannot be anywhere except in the Mind of God.

Yet, in the midst of all this, we need to remember that the ego has no reality. It’s only our belief in it that makes it seem real to us. But Jesus is meeting us where we think we are. He continues: “The ego is immobilized in the presence of God’s grandeur, because His grandeur establishes your freedom. Even the faintest hint of your reality literally drives the ego from your mind, because you will give up all investment in it. Grandeur is totally without illusions, and because it is real it is compellingly convincing. Yet the conviction of reality will not remain with you unless you do not allow the ego to attack it. The ego will make every effort to recover and mobilize its energies against your release. It will tell you that you are insane, and argue that grandeur cannot be a real part of you because of the littleness in which it believes” (T-9.VIII.4:1-6).

We’ve all experienced this. The ego attacks our conviction of our reality by trying to convince us that we are arrogant to believe that we are the Son of God, always and forever loved by God. It whispers to us: “Just look at what you’ve done. You’ve separated from God. You’ve destroyed the Oneness of Heaven just so you could have your separate, individual existence. After that, how could God love you?” And the ego will use the Course. Oh yes, don’t doubt that for a moment. The ego will take the Course words and terminology and what we’ve learned and use them against us to make us feel guilty. Because the ego’s intent is to keep us away from God, it’s going to mount every offensive it can to make that happen. It will try to undermine with stories from our past. Maybe you grew up in a dysfunctional family. Maybe you were abused. Maybe you’ve had multiple marriages. Rev. Paul is my fourth husband. The ego likes to use that against me. How could I ever think I could be a Teacher of God? Look at all the mistakes I’ve made! How can I accept that God loves me? But I can. We all can because it’s the Truth. We are His beloved Son, forever at One with Him.

Jesus says: “Yet your grandeur is not delusional because you did not make it. You made grandiosity and are afraid of it because it is a form of attack, but your grandeur is of God, Who created it out of His Love” (T-9.VIII.4:7-8). So yes, we are eligible for the grandeur of God because God created us like Himself. “From your grandeur you can only bless, because your grandeur is your abundance. By blessing you hold it in your mind, protecting it from illusions and keeping yourself in the Mind of God” (T-9.VIII.5:1-2). Yes, I am loved by God. This is who I am. I was created in Love. I am in the Mind of God, and I can allow myself to bless others and see the truth in them. In fact, I bless others by seeing Truth in them. I can choose to overlook their littleness and their grandiosity. I can choose to see them as the equal Sons of God that they are, loved by God as I am.

“Remember always that you cannot be anywhere except in the Mind of God. When you forget this, you will despair and you will attack” (T-9.VIII.5:3-4). Bingo! Bazinga! That’s exactly what we do! We forget; then we attack. We may be Course students, but we still do this. Once we forget the truth about ourselves, we become frightened, we despair, we attack. We project our guilt and self-hatred onto others. We criticize and find fault. These are the little ways we express our separation from each other and from God. They represent the thought of self-hate, which is our guilt over what we believe we did when we destroyed Heaven.

Reference: Text, Chapter 9, VIII. Grandeur vs. Grandiosity

An excerpt from our book, Change Your Mind! Talks on Living A Course in Miracles

 

What Happens When We Ask Holy Spirit to See Things Differently?


Defensiveness and attack start with the premise that we stole something from God, and we need to defend our “stolen property” and attack in order to keep it. What we’ve “stolen” from God is our existence as separate beings. As a result of our theft, we feel guilty. This guilt is so painful that we repress it, push it down, and keep it out of mind. But what happens when we repress? We project it outwards as anger and attack onto people, places, things, and yes, even football teams, in order to get rid of the pain. But this doesn’t work, and it doesn’t give us peace.

An excerpt from our book, Change Your Mind! Talks on Living A Course in Miracles

Do you feel defensive or defenseless? These kinds of situations come up all the time. Too often, we lose our peace when they arise. We believe we need to defend and attack. The ego wants us to blame other people for stealing our peace. We feel that they, these people or situations, took something from us. But what’s really going on is that we gave away our peace. We’re projecting the unhealed guilt in our minds onto people and situations that seem to be outside of us. We blame and complain. The ego tells us that projection will make us happy and safe. But that’s a lie.

But what happens when we ask Holy Spirit to help us see things differently? Then, no matter if I’m run off the road, if the store is out of potato chips, or if I’m late to the party, I know I’m OK. I’m safe. I know that everything is perfect because in reality, I am safe at Home with God and only dreaming of exile. I know that I’m innocent and that the people around me are innocent, too. That’s the Truth that Holy Spirit will always remind us of. That’s what the Course calls Vision. If we are looking through the eyes of the ego, we’re not really seeing. All we perceive are the projections of our own inner guilt. We “see” that this or that person is guilty of harming us and stole our peace and well-being and perhaps even our potato chips. But through the Holy Spirit’s eyes, we see the truth and loveliness of each person. We are innocent, and so are they. So – and this is key – there is nothing to defend because nothing can take away our peace. Nothing.

Does that surprise you? We can lay down our weapons of attack – our projectiles of guilt and anger – because in reality we’re the ones who give the other person, the organization, or the job, or whatever seems to be troubling us, the power to hurt us. But the truth is that nothing outside of us can hurt us because there is nothing outside of us. As Workbook Lesson 284 tells us: “I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.” We put those thoughts there; we can change them. But instead, we choose to blame someone or something outside us for causing the hurt. Listen to what Lesson 71 says: “The ego’s plan for salvation centers around holding grievances. It maintains that, if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved [happy, at peace]. Thus the source of salvation is constantly perceived as outside yourself” (W-pI.71.2:1-3). If my ex hadn’t said those things, if he hadn’t been drinking, if he hadn’t done this or that, then I’d be happy. If he hadn’t cheated on me, we’d still be married and I’d be happy. If my boss hadn’t fired me, I’d be happy and saved. I’d be happy if I didn’t have the problems I have right now.

Do you see how it works? We’re projecting responsibility for our own peace and happiness onto people, places, and things outside ourselves. It’s not our fault. It’s his fault, or her fault. Or it’s the weather, the germs, the economy. It’s racism or sexism or ageism. It’s genetics or astrology or karma. It doesn’t matter what we blame, attack, and defend against as long as it’s something outside us. But we can see things differently. We can choose again. Holy Spirit can help us to do so. We can stop defending and attacking.

I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.

We need to go back to content. That means looking within, going back into our minds with Holy Spirit, joining with Him and asking His guidance. We can say, “Holy Spirit, give me your perspective on this and show me what to do.” He leads us to forgiveness. But it’s really easy to confuse form with content. We can join with an employee in our mind and still fire him if he stole from our company. We can honor our child as a Son of God and still ground him for breaking curfew. Although we see no separation from our brother (content), there still may be actions we need to take (form). But when we join with Holy Spirit, we can do what needs to be done with peace and love, not with anger.

But sometimes as Course students we confuse form and content. We think, “I’m not supposed to defend or attack. I’m supposed to be defenseless. I’m supposed to forgive.” So when someone does something harmful to us in form, we slough it off. We let it keep on happening, but inside we feel resentful. We repress that resentment because we think it is “unspiritual” to confront someone or get into an argument, especially if the other person is also a Course student. So we pretend not to notice. We pretend to be all-forgiving when our spouse brings the car home with an empty gas tank again. We smile when we should really speak up or do something, and we deny ourselves and our brother a learning opportunity.

But it is OK to do things in form. It’s OK to speak up or take action, even if doing so triggers a disagreement (which the Holy Spirit can use as a learning opportunity). Maybe we’re secretly afraid of that learning opportunity. So we listen to the ego tell us to pretend and be “spiritual.” That’s one way the ego can twist our learning the Course. Remember, the ego reads the Course with us. It knows this book better than we do. The ego can use the Course for its own purposes. It can jump right in and say, “You didn’t do your Workbook lesson today. Shame on you! You didn’t do the practice every hour; shame on you. You didn’t forgive your mother; shame on you. You didn’t make nice and continue to let your sister walk all over you. You’re still sick with chronic arthritis. Shame, shame, shame! You’re a bad, bad Course student. You might as well quit.”

Yes, the ego can use the Course. It can use difficult situations in our lives to keep us stuck in the wrong mind. The ego will use anything and everything. So it can certainly use this challenging idea in Lesson 135: “If I defend myself I am attacked.” The ego can tell you that you shouldn’t defend yourself. Then it shifts and tells you that you should attack someone. You defend and you’re the victim. You attack and you’re the hero. The hero of the dream, right? The ego loves this because confusing form and content keeps us separate from our brother, whether we’re defending or attacking. In other words, the ego gets us coming and going. But Jesus is telling us to join with him and our brother on the level of mind. Then we can seek guidance from the Holy Spirit about what to do in form.

 

Excuses: Time to Shift Your Mindset


You would not excuse insane behavior on your part by saying you could not help it. Why should you condone insane thinking? There is a confusion here that you would do well to look at clearly. You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. You cannot separate yourself from the truth by “giving” autonomy to behavior. T-2.VI.2:2-7

This quote from the Course gives us some food for thought. It is true that we condone “insane thinking” i.e. our excuses. Sometimes we slip into the default mode of excuses for some inaction or action that has not gone well. This can occur with a supervisor, a friend or family member. We say, “I didn’t do X because of X.” In this instance, we are sidestepping and outsourcing the blame. This keeps us from the treasured characteristic, “Honesty,” as described in the Manual for Teachers, The Characteristics of God’s Teachers.

If we are honest with ourselves, then we are in congruence with our mind and our actions. They are regulated as the same. One who hopes to be on the spiritual path and succeed must make a mindset shift to the idea of “I am responsible.” Owning self-responsibility is vital whether we fail or succeed. The evolved spiritual person knows that there is more to gain by admitting a mistake and taking action to correct such, rather than dwelling, blaming or wasting time. You demonstrate to others your strength either in responsibility or blame. Excuses do not move us forward, they keep us in stagnant waters.

Rev. Gayle, Mari and I have been recording a podcast series on the Responsibility for Sight section in Chapter 21.  As this crucial point in this section states:

Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:

I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.

Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.

First and foremost in this path of A Course in Miracles, we must accept the responsibility of our mind and subsequent actions. If we are entrenched in the “blame game” we will not experience spiritual growth.

As Jesus continues his instruction, it is impossible that we are driven by the events occurring outside of us, nor is it impossible that it was not our choice. We always have an opportunity in how we determine such events. What is your goal? What is your priority?

We’re told it’s either suffering or happiness. Which will you choose? Choose suffering, and you are in self-imposed bondage; choose happiness, and freedom is as wide as the sky. Are you ready to release the excuses and be thoroughly honest with yourself, that is, your mind and your actions? Are you ready to realize how your behaviors impact others in the world or even your life in general?

As in Lesson 189 as I shared in Sunday’s Livestream, “In Our Quiet Hearts,” it shares with us how we look upon the world is how we will experience it. The similarity with the “Responsibility for Sight” section is apparent.

What would you see? The choice is given you. But learn and do not let your mind forget this law of seeing: You will look upon that which you feel within. If hatred finds a place within your heart, you will perceive a fearful world, held cruelly in death’s sharp-pointed, bony fingers. If you feel the Love of God within you, you will look out on a world of mercy and of love.

We fail here in the world, it’s human nature. Comfort with failure comes with practice. Excuses are a way to avoid failures. How do we shift our mind in this? By staying disciplined in our study and more importantly, our practice. Mistakes, yes, are a part of life, but we cannot use those as a shield to keep us from deeper self-development.

As we have been taught in ACIM, we don’t blame others for their mistakes but for our own.

You think you hold against your brother what he has done to you. But what you really blame him for is what [you] did to [him.] It is not his past but yours you hold against him.

Remaining in the present moment and keeping your priority of peace as the goal, is how we can serve ourselves. It is to ask ourselves when a situation presents itself and feel the quick knee-jerk reaction to judgment, “Is this what I would have instead of the Peace of God?” Is peace absolutely your one goal? Or are you in a trance state with your ego and fulfilling ego’s needs?

How can this occur in our lives? Let’s take this example: Are you consistently late to meetings? You relay one excuse after another until the group no longer takes you seriously. Are you cognizant of how the lateness impacts the other members? Have you taken a moment to be aware of their feelings because of your consistent disruption? Have you looked at yourself to see that perhaps this meeting at work is not a priority for you, thus why you are always late?

Sometimes we are so short-sighted that we do not see the reason why we keep having issues, or conflicts, or even seeming abandonment by others because of our behaviors. Our weapon is attack instead of the peace mindfulness can bring. Mindfulness leads us to the blessed acceptance and awareness of our mistakes. Once we have this and take steps towards self-responsibility, we have achieved a layer of growth like never before. Bring the Light of Awareness to your life, and experience liberation.

Peace,
Rev. Deb

P.S. A favorite PBS Special of mine was Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “Excuses Be Gone.” I couldn’t find the special on YouTube but I did find the audiobook on there.

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