Jesus is Accessible: Lessons 122-128 | Insights on A Course in Miracles

Greetings Mighty Companions,

I’m excited to share that Jesus guided me to share a message and dialoging practice in this episode of Insights on A Course in Miracles. His message is that He is accessible to each and every one of us now! He gave me simple steps on how to reach out to him during our practice meditations to begin a simple dialogue. Of course, this is a perfect time for Him to bring this up, because we have been working with Lessons in the Workbook (122 through 128) which are stepping up our practice of listening for the Voice of God. To learn more about how you can start your own dialogues with Jesus, and hearing the Voice of God, check out this video.

Many Blessings, Rev Paul

Miracle Toolbox Week 26 | Walking & Awakening with Jesus

Greetings Miracle Workers!

This week Jesus suggested that we take a look at the section titled, The Way to Remember God (T-12.II), within the Text of A Course in Miracles. Within this piece Jesus points out that we often are like little children who hide themselves beneath the cover of heavy blankets in an attempt to hide from our nightmares. He explains that if we truly want to begin to awaken from the dream of nightmares, all we need to do is to learn how to be quiet in the midst of turmoil and turn to him for help. He even makes a clear promise that he will help us to awaken as surely as he did if we have the willingness to trust and walk with him.

Our first tool for our Miracle Toolbox this week is a moving blanket. Jesus would like us to hand over to him the moving blanket we have been hiding beneath, and then give it to him and the Holy Spirit for a better use. The moving blanket symbolizes all the illusions within the world that fill us with fear. He asks that we have a willingness to meet with him in the space of meditation and to look at the things that scare us with him. In turn, he will help us with a reinterpretation that will help us to feel better, safer, and know which direction to go. This is how we begin the walk with Jesus on a daily basis toward our own awakening. Our walk through life will become more peaceful because the moving blanket will be laid out before us on the ground to soften our path.

The second tool for our Miracle Toolbox is Lesson 155: I will step back and let Him lead the way. Within this lesson, Jesus explains that the middle path between two extreme paths is the easier path to walk along with him. It is a path that is appointed for us now. This path will allow us to walk safely, however, we will need to be careful because it is a new path for us. You see, when we walk with Jesus, our lives become easier and happier, but this experience can sometimes lead us astray from checking in with him on a regular basis. When this happens, invariably the ego’s path of happiness slips in and then leads us to a painful fall. To avoid this pitfall, Jesus reminds us at the end of the lesson to practice thinking of him a while each day. We should practice listening to him in silence every day, so that we may hear him speak to us and tell us how much he loves us. I personally find it inspiring to be reminded how easy it is to walk with him to our own awakening through this simple practice.

Blessings from the Light!

Rev. Paul

Miracle Toolbox: Week 5 | Remember Your Worth

Greetings Mighty Companions,
 
Welcome to week 5 of our Miracle Toolbox and I am safe in God healing journey! Being the loving and caring people that we are, we can occasionally find ourselves in positions where we would like to be good teachers, guides and mentors for the younger generation following along behind us but sometimes feel uncertain on how to be good teachers. If you notice this feeling of uncertainty, that is a good thing because it means that we need to check in with our brother Jesus or the Holy Spirit to receive guidance on how to proceed. It is also a great opportunity to practice listening to our Inner Voice – Yay!
 
When I ran into this very situation this past week, I was pleasantly surprised at the insights that I received from Jesus when I practiced asking him simple questions about my situation and then pausing to listen for a minute. Before I realized it, ten minutes had passed and I had several new perspectives that felt very helpful to me. I suddenly found myself feeling happy and inspired with a clear sense of direction on how to proceed with communicating with one of my nephews. The core messages that came through included: approach with kindness, be accepting, share words of encouragement, and remember his worth.
 
After receiving these simple but key messages, Jesus led me to two readings in A Course in Miracles that we can use as new tools to add to our Miracle Toolboxes this week. They were Right Teaching and Right Learning (T-4.I), and Lesson 128: The world I see holds nothing that I want. Within these rich readings He reminds us that if we want to truly become good teachers within the world, then we will need to come to him for guidance and training. A key problem being, that our sense of self worth is low and is in need of correction because our true worth was already established by God. At this point in our conversation, Jesus suggested we use a measuring tape as our tool analogy for the week. If you look at a measuring tape while it is extended, where do you think you measure up on the worthiness scale? One foot, three feet, five feet? Now think about where you would measure up on God’s scale – it is immeasurable and off the tape!
 
Many Blessings,
Rev. Paul

A Teacher of God is Anyone Who Chooses to Be One

A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s. Once he has done that, his road is established and his direction is sure (M-1.1:1-3).  

Jesus’ view of teaching is quite different than the world’s view. In the world, a teacher or professor is separate from and superior to his or her students. S/he’s the expert. S/he knows more than they do. He imparts his knowledge and wisdom to his pupils. But that’s not Jesus’ view. In the “Right Teaching and Right Learning” section, he says: “A good teacher must believe … in the students to whom he offers the ideas” (T-4.I.1:4). This means that a Teacher of God (which, again, is each of us) must trust in the Holy Spirit within his students’ minds.  

When I’m in a teaching role, for example, I trust that the students can access the Holy Spirit just as I can. In other words, I’m not giving them something they don’t have. We all have Holy Spirit. 

We are all equal as teachers and as learners. That’s why, as those who participate in our in-person or online studies and classes know, I don’t always plunge in right away to answer a question that has been presented. As the teacher or facilitator, I don’t have a monopoly on the answers. We have no gurus or groupies here! The Holy Spirit is the real Teacher. Each participant has the still, small Voice within.  

Often times, I’ll hang back and see what Holy Spirit expresses through someone else. Or, I’ll wait to see what the group says as a whole. We’re all connected to the Voice for God. Each of us can plug into that Wisdom. Each of us can access the information needed. The Voice for God speaks in every person, and if you doubt that, it’s because you really don’t want to hear It. Denying Holy Spirit in another’s mind reflects your fear of hearing Him in your own mind. 

When we can accept the Voice in everyone, then we are lighting the way home. 

How can we become the demonstration of a Teacher of God and be the voice of calm in the middle of the world’s chaos? 

Jesus tells us in ACIM, that is for us to follow him means to stand with him in the circle of peace. “I stand within the circle, calling you to peace. Teach peace with me, and stand with me on holy ground.” 

We are here to teach peace. Teaching is a demonstration. It is by our example that we teach and by which we learn. The world needs Teachers of God. Are you ready to accept your calling? 

Our program for 2020 is titled, “A Circle of Peace” inspired from this quote. Our year will be spent in deep dedication of learning what it is to be a teacher of God and how we can embrace the characteristics of God’s Teachers. Each month we will envelop a characteristic with full support of materials in audio, video, and written form. This can be done do so either through self-study or group classes. Private mentoring sessions are also available as well as community support. Either way, the devotion spent to learning to live the Course from the heart and not the intellect will prove valuable to each and every one of our participants, myself included.  

To enroll in the program, you can choose the self-study version of $20 monthly or the weekly class version of $50 weekly. If you cannot make the weekly classes, I will meet with you in private sessions to enhance your learning. 

Make the commitment today to join us in the Circle of Peace. Learn more here. 

My Personal Journey Through the Workbook for Students With MiraclesOne

I would like to take this opportunity to share my personal journey of working through the Workbook for Students with MiraclesOne. I joined MiraclesOne and chose to make MiraclesOne my “Virtual Spiritual Home” around May of 2012. The first time I went through the Workbook for Students was around the middle of that year as I began practicing the Workbook in around May of that year. That first year I was totally new to “A Course In Miracles”. The entire Spiritual Practice and Application was something very foreign to me, but I knew that The Holy Spirit had Guided me to this new Spiritual Practice.

Our 2019 ACIM Lessons dedicated website is located at www.acimlessons.org

Since I began practicing the Lessons I kept in my mind what we like to say before we begin the reading of the Daily Workbook Lesson, “Today we are Reading, Practicing, and Applying Workbook Lesson Number ___.” I took those words to heed. One of the reasons I chose MiraclesOne as my “Virtual Spiritual Home” is because of our philosophy of a “Practical Application.” Since I began towards the beginning/middle of the lessons, I really had to focus on what Jesus tells us when we began our Journey through the Workbook as we began our Journey together towards Healing. Jesus encourages us in the last paragraph of the Introduction to the Workbook, “Remember only this; you need not to believe the ideas, you need not even accept them, and you need not even welcome them.” Jesus goes onto encourage us that, “Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy.”

He completes this beautifully encouraging Introduction to the Workbook with, “Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, USE THEM. Nothing more than that is required. Now, I, of course, capitalized “USE THEM.” To me, this tells me to remain open, if I found any resistance to any of the lessons to be open to that resistance and to hand it over to The Holy Spirit, and to always keep my heart open to change, healing, and transformation. I freely admit the first year I experienced resistance to many of the Workbook Lessons, I still worked with them as much as I was comfortable.

Each year I Read, Practice, and Apply the Workbook Lessons I find there is less and less resistance to the Workbook Lessons that I am resistant to the years before and some Lessons that I might not have been clear to me that year, the following year it usually is more clear and usually speaks to me in a way that I personally need that year. 

I share this because, I know that beginning of a commitment of not only Reading, but the Practice, and Application of the 365 daily Workbook Lessons, especially the first year, sometimes seems a little daunting and takes commitment, but I tell you it is possible. I experienced this first hand. The Volunteers at MiraclesOne are here to help you every step of the way on this Beautiful Journey on our “Year of Practical Application of The Workbook for Students.”

This is a great year to start this journey. It is a personal journey, though you are not on this journey alone. Every member of the Volunteer staff at MiraclesOne feel Called, Guided, and are Extremely excited to assist and be there for you with your Personal Practice of not just The Workbook for Students, but “A Course in Miracles”.

If you happen to find yourself at some point missing a few lessons here and there, don’t give up. Pick up and restart. You will not be the first one. I went several lessons where I went without “keeping up,” my first year with the Workbook, and there are still years this happens, as life happens, but the team at MiraclesOne were Always there for me for whatever I needed and that’s our commitment to you. We are Always here for you.

We provide several outlets and have planned our entire year to study the Workbook Lessons in various formats throughout the year. I find by joining with others with like minds who are going through the Workbook for Students as well, and as we join and all walk together on this journey. I find by this that when I join in one of our groups, not only gives me the encouragement I need, but refreshes me just in the sharing and I always leave the meetings refueled. The on Tuesday evening study group, as is the Wednesday afternoon study group are “Drop-In” study groups, meaning “Drop-In” when you are able to be there. There is no commitment to attend weekly. We are simply Always here for you. 

MiraclesOne welcomes you warmly and our entire Volunteer Staff is Always here for you and are Extremely excited for our 2019 them. We look forward to seeing each of you in the New Year and all of us look forward to joining with us as we begin our year of “Practical Application of The Workbook for Students.”

Wishing Each of you the Deepest Peace,

Ryan Westbrook-Vigue, Volunteer Facilitator and Board Member

Summary of This Week’s Study Groups – 6/10/18


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

Opened with Lesson 306 – The gift of Christ is all I seek today.
Practical Application Topic: Compassion

Personal miracle stories and examples were shared in relation to compassion, both self-compassion, and compassion for others and how we can incorporate this more into our life.

We were guided to Chapter 31, V. Self-Concept versus Self. This section speaks of the face of innocence that we present to the world. It is a fascinating read as we learn about the shrouded vaults where we hold our brothers’ and our own sins. We keep the face of innocence to the world to hide. We feel that we have been treated unfairly and we only attack in self-defense.

In the end, we learn,
There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: 
I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.
Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.

What helps us with this, is honesty. When we can look at ourselves with honesty without condemnation, we can make the shift with the Holy Spirit. We learn to forgive ourselves and others.

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

This week’s video teaching is “Simple Compassion.”
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijv0wWc7L8w

Peace,
Rev. Deb


Monday ACIM Study Group by Video/Phone Conferencing

Greetings, all!

A unanimous joy in starting the week in our ACIM study and sharing, rings out once again!

We began with a lovely meditation based on today’s Workbook Lesson:

(162) I am as God created me.

We always enjoy sharing our ways of working with the Lessons in general, and as this is the third presentation of this idea, we were each able to share the ways in which our understanding and our practical application have evolved.

We moved on to the Text reading for this week: Chapter 4 THE ILLUSIONS OF THE EGO, Section V. The Ego-Body Illusion, and were all quite eager to dive into this one.

We seemed to experience a good deal of synchronicity today in desiring to bring out many of the same points, while sharing our own unique experience.

We each had examples of how “all things work together for good”, and marveled at how Spirit moves through multiple people or groups of people and events, as this good unfolds.

How full of examples we were as to Jesus’ words that “Preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are favorite ego devices for impeding learning progress.”

More important was our sharing of the truth – the truth we truly do know,

that we can choose not to traffic in these “problems” of the ego.

Jesus tells us that we must learn to ask the question: “what for?”, what is the purpose?  He explains that purposeful decision directs our efforts automatically!

What happens then?  “All things work together for good”!

Join us next Monday morning, where all things work together for good in our Study Group at 9:00 CT/10:00 ET!  You will find a warm welcome with us!

With love,

Tracey


Tuesday ACIM Study Group by Video/Phone Conferencing

Tuesday Night Drop-In Study Group is a unique format because we rotate our exploration, using the Text, the Workbook Lessons and the Manual for Teachers.  Everyone seems enthusiastic with this broad spectrum of study experience!

We began with a meditation based upon the Workbook Lesson of the day: (163) There is no death.  The Son of God is free.  We used Jesus’ beautiful prayer at the end of the Lesson, to take into silent meditation.

In His prayer, Jesus asks that God bless our eyes, and give them the ability to see beyond the illusion of death which confronts us, continually.  This He asks, so that we may see the eternal life that shines in all!

As always, we shared our own experience of working with this lesson and examples from the day.

Our Text reading and study was

Chapter 15 THE HOLY INSTANT, Section V. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships.  We read together as always, and made sure we had a working sense of these

specific concepts of “Holy Instant”

and “special relationship”, and then how these terms appear in our life experience.

Tracey


Wednesday ACIM Study Group by Video/Phone Conferencing

Hello everyone. We began with a meditation from today’s lesson 164; for two minutes, we practiced affectionate breathing, taking in love on the inhale and sending love out on the exhale. We then checked in, briefly sharing how we were.

Our reading for today was from The Manual for Teachers, from which comes this paragraph:

M-23.7. This course has come from him because his words have reached you in a language you can love and understand. 2 Are other teachers possible, to lead the way to those who speak in different tongues and appeal to different symbols? 3 Certainly there are. 4 Would God leave anyone without a very present help in time of trouble; a savior who can symbolize Himself? 5 Yet do we need a many-faceted curriculum, not because of content differences, but because symbols must shift and change to suit the need. 6 Jesus has come to answer yours. 7 In him you find God’s Answer. 8 Do you, then, teach with him, for he is with you; he is always here.

We discussed the role of Jesus in healing, the fact that he symbolizes the unconditional love of God, that we can call upon him because he has made the same journey we are making now, and that other teachers too have manifested this love.

All of us shared examples from our lives to illustrate the ways in which God’s love has healed and strengthened us.

Please feel free to join us each Wednesday at 12:30 PM, Central time.

Many Blessings,

Mari Dole


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 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 5/20/18


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

Greetings to all!

Our Monday morning Study Group was both deep and delightful!

We enjoyed a beautiful meditation together, followed by immersion in Workbook Lessons.  It was certainly our intention to delve into today’s Lesson (141, the first Lesson in Review IV), but then knowing that folks were on other Lessons in their own study, we broadened our discussion to include each.  We are committed to sharing our understanding of the Lessons and how we use them in our life experience.

The focus of our Text discussion this week was Chapter 4, Section II.  The Ego and False Autonomy.  

In the Monday morning Study Group, we really enjoy delving into the concepts of the Text, what they mean to us, and sharing examples of these concepts as they occur for us, as well as how we work with them.

We were intrigued by the concept of having made not only our own ego, but also our concept of the other’s ego, as well.

There was some resonance to the idea we “react to the ego much as God does to His creations, – with love, protection and charity”.

There is so much rich and substantive material in this section

(but where in the Course is there not?)!

Continuing with some highlight hopping of our experience: Jesus explains that “Salvation is nothing more than right-mindedness.”  He differentiates this from the One-mindedness of the Holy Spirit, but He says that it must be achieved before One-mindedness is restored.  And then there is the promise, that right-mindedness leads to the next step, automatically!

Jesus asks us this important question: “Who is the ‘you’ who are living in this world?”

That is a great question to ponder, is it not?

All are welcome to ponder with us, and to share with us by dropping-in

to the Monday morning Study Group

(9:00 CT/10:00 ET)!

With love and blessings!

Tracey


Tuesday ACIM Study Group

Tuesday Evening ACIM Study Summary:

22.May.2018

This Tuesday the group discussed number 22, “HOW ARE HEALING AND ATONEMENT RELATED?” from the Manual For Teachers.

We opened with a Guided Meditation called “The Pebble.”

We spoke about how we are practically applying how we are living the daily Workbook Lessons.

Check-in to share how each member of the group to talk about how their week was going.

We discussed how we are practically applying how healing and atonement and how they are not related, but we are vigilant in our watching of these two in our daily lives. We discussed in lengthy detail how each Course student learns forgiveness along their journey and though each Course student is on the same journey home, the approach we each take on our journey home is different meeting each of us where we are in that moment of time. We discussed how God offered the option of Peace long before we knew that is what we desired and how understanding this forgiveness is healing and we need to have an understanding of healing for it to occur within us. Though we did not complete the entire reading of this section in the Manual For Teachers, it did not matter because such deep sharing occurred within the discussion of what we received during the opening meditation, our practical application of how we are living the daily Workbook Lesson and how we can tie in what we were discussing over our reading in the Manual For Teachers. This group always delves deep into personal sharing and application to our practice of A Course In Miracles. This is a drop-in study group that meets every Tuesday evening at 6:30pm CST. If you can drop-in anytime we would love to have you join this group and share your practical application of A Course In Miracles.

As Always I wish you the deepest peace,

Ryan Westbrook-Vigue


Wednesday ACIM Study Group

Hi everyone,

Gayle Bartlett here.  As usual, we had a lovely discussion of the reading from the Manual For Teachers yesterday, it was 20. WHAT IS THE PEACE OF GOD?  We took turns reading it, it’s short, six paragraphs, one to two at a time.  We find when they’re not too long, reading out loud to one another and then discussing it, paragraph by paragraph, to be truly beneficial.

I am keenly aware that many of you haven’t tackled the Manual yet, I am keeping this in mind as I write.  Top of mind are our newcomers whose exposure to the Course has been, perhaps, minimal or for a very short period of time.

The reading is just so reassuring, we are reminded that the peace of God “brings with it no past associations.”  (Paragraph two, sentence four.) Can you imagine?  Well, for me it’s like practicing the Holy Instant, there are entire sections of the Text devoted to learning how to practice it.  Basically, it’s where we forget the past, do not fret about the future and just get into the present moment.  There are no cares, worries, frustrations, no anxiety, depression, etc., but it is a commitment, if you will, to be willing to offer it to the entire Sonship, everyone we “hate”, despise, resent or even find mildly irritating.  You see, if we truly want the peace of God above all else and want to stay in that state of mind or remain in the Holy Instant, that’s what we are called to do, let go of the past and future.  What do they represent to us, you ask?  Grievances that we carry with us if we choose not to forgive.

In the third paragraph, Jesus states, sentence six, “Therefore, forgiveness is the necessary condition for finding the peace of God.”  In other words, we experience the peace of God by being willing to forgive, overlook what our brothers or we did realizing the separation from God never occurred, it just couldn’t.  By choosing to forgive, the “gift” we receive from God is His peace.  Of course, it’s always there, ever present, we just get hung up on wanting everything or everyone to be different, ourselves included, in order to be happy.

In the fourth paragraph, go to sentence six through its end, Jesus asks us, “Is conflict what you want, or is God’s peace the better choice?  Which gives you more?  A tranquil mind is not a little gift.”  WOW!  This is what it boils down to…conflict, what is the payoff? Do we really want to remain in a state of war or peace?  It is our choice, separation or peace, there are no alternatives and if we become angry in any form, peace cannot be attained.  Sentence two, same paragraph.

To wrap up, check this out, unbelievable!:

“Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real.  In this one sentence is our course explained.  In this one sentence is our practicing given its one direction.  And in this one sentence is the Holy Spirit’s whole curriculum specified exactly as it is.” Sentences seven through 10.

These sentences blew all of us away.  Can you imagine our “getting” the critical importance of being willing to forgive, allowing the Holy Spirit or Jesus to undo it all for us, and the indescribable sense of peace we will experience?  Don’t you find this possibility exciting and worth working toward?

Gosh, this is very long.

Just forgive me, OK?

Last comments:

One participant beautifully experienced the Holy Instant in church, the past mattered not, and the sense was it was nothing for which we have to strive, it’s an organic process, if you will.

Another shared the holy moments come, and they can be different in form, when stepping back and allowing Him to lead the way.

Another had decided to write down what she thought about the reading before devouring it and wrote the most magnificent few paragraphs on what the peace of God has meant to her as she practically applies the Course.  I will ask her if she’s willing to share it with the entire email group.

She also shared that rather than rejecting a part of her she finds highly frustrating and “seemingly” real in the course of a given day that by sending love to it was therapeutic.  She had been trying to “overcome” a particular tendency within herself which seems to exacerbate rather than diffuse it.

For me, it’s just been making peace my number one priority and divesting myself from distractions, interruptions, etc., I was unaware I had or was doing on an excessive basis, just being mindful and forgiving.

OK, that’s enough from me for one day!

You’ll hear from me every other week as Mari Dole and I take turns leading.

Hope you’ll join us sometime, you are always welcome!

Love,

Gayle


Sunday ACIM Study Group in Madison

Sunday’s meeting opened with a meditation using Lesson 80 – Let me realize my problems have been solved. So what is our problem? It is the belief in separation. We also talked about problems on the level of form and how trust and the release of the outcome are needed.

This led us into a discussion on Acceptance with the remembrance of “outside picture of an inward condition.” As a few shared their stories, we were able to notice how there was a desire to blame, to manipulate the other person or world, to basically, give our power away. We are not the victim and if we remember to turn the ideas around and realize it is only about ourselves, we can heal greatly.

As the discussion continued, we moved into “Projection and Perception.” We find amongst beliefs in fear and separation; these too are the cause of our unhappiness in the world. If someone else were different… well, it’s our responsibility! This led to both reads from Ch. 21 Introduction and II. The Responsibility for Sight.

We are responsible for what we see and experience by choice in our minds. No one is doing anything to us; the world is not doing anything to us. If we want others to act differently, we need to look within our own mind where we are hiding that thought.

This conversation then led to the “aha!” for someone that it is not just another person in the world, but could very well be, in this case, one’s employer.

If I think the workplace is unorganized and chaotic, then where is that really stemming from? My own mind.

As always, there was lots of healing and sharing. Come on and join us next week. 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

This week’s video on Acceptance was a replay of a video from our archives. A meditation on “Acceptance.”

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWUseGy317c

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.

 

Overthinking: Easy Does It


As we are on this path of “Miracles”, we must remember not to overthink our journey. Jesus has laid out the parameters in our guidebook of  A Course in Miracles. However, most students become entangled in intellectual gymnastics that actually slow our progress to a crawl.

In my over two and a half decades of studying and teaching the Course, there are patterns that are apparent in students. There are students who approach the Course from a high cerebral level. Their focus is knowledge and enlists in the approach that served them in higher learning. This does not serve the spiritual path. The Course is to be studied. However, the study is only one aspect of learning. When students focus only on dissecting, ruminating and memorizing its concepts, they have abandoned the heart of its learning.

The heart of learning the Course is in a simple sentence appears in the Text, Chapter 11 – This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application. Jesus instructs further in the next sentence – Nothing could be more specific than to be told that if you ask you will receive. When we approach the material from the brain, we are only training the brain; we are not awakening.  It is a fool’s game to believe that turning the material upside down and sideways in one’s mind is going to achieve the goal. The only goal that is achieved is formulating a spiritual ego.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado called this formulation of the spiritual ego, spiritual materialism. It is the process by which the ego grasps at the accomplishments and progress of the self upon the spiritual path. As I said, a fool’s game. This act by its nature denies the Self.

When we think of “materialism” just in and of itself, it is not merely a focus on the external. It is an attachment. So too, when we attempt to put a label on the “experience” that we have as we study and practice A Course in Miracles. As soon as we place investment in our spiritual quest and cling to it with our brain, we have valued something that is valueless.

Overthinking is a distraction from our spiritual journey. Overthinking does not lead to insight. That is an illusion. Acting on the principles in A Course in Miracles via practical application is the only way one will realize clarity; copious amounts of thought will not.

Be comfortable with being incorrect or producing mistakes on the path. Your knowledge will be gained by the mistakes you make. By these missteps, you will cultivate inner freedom and peace as you respond with forgiveness. This is why you are to complete the Workbook for Students with one lesson a day, every day. There is a system to it that Jesus in his Divine Wisdom created. There is a logical reasoning to his choices each day. When we proceed to segue from his plan of action, then we are transfixed on perfection and not practice, the valueless and not the valuable., the distraction and not the truth. The essence and ideas of the Lessons are rehearsed again and again albeit in a different format and approach. Trust the process Jesus has arranged for us.

Realize that it is our own unwillingness that deviates and evades from the structure of practice. This seems odd when we tell ourselves we pour ourselves into the pages and take great effort in understanding. However, as stated earlier the pursuit of knowledge will not bring peace, love, joy, and freedom. It is the daily walk of Miracles that will do so.

Take responsibility. Be aware presently of your approach thus far. Ask yourself, “Have I been overthinking this?”

Take a snapshot of your life, “Am I truly feeling peaceful?”

“Is a quiet, serene mind a part of my life or am I constantly judging and wanting to confront situations immediately and head on?”

“Am I consistently distracted by life situations, the news, and the opinions of others?”

Be honest in the answering of these questions. This will tell you if you are practicing vs. intellectualizing. The Course is a path of peace. It is accomplished through forgiveness, and this is not just forgiveness of others. It is forgiveness of ourselves; it is forgiveness of the very thoughts that intrude upon our minds and cause us dis-ease.

The presence of God is within you and not to be found in countless pages of a book. His essence is not found in your brain but in your mind, the One Mind He created. The Love of His Nature is tucked within your heart. You have not felt these because your mind has been too chaotic in frivolous pursuits. Your mind has also been stagnant with the effort to be “right” vs. “happy” of course. Your mind is imbalanced because of the lack of the practical.

How can you resolve this? You resolve it by making a dedication to living your life through the spiritual teachings and not in spite of it.

You may think it quaint when I speak of practical application. Instead, I speak from experience. Many people marvel at all I can accomplish in a day, from the administration of MiraclesOne (all-volunteer ministry for ACIM), to working with my web design clients, to taking classes to hone my skills for my clients and myself, to teaching meditation classes, to practicing meditation for two sittings a day for a total of 75-90 minutes (varies), to reading science fiction novels, to enjoying television programs, to cleaning and taking care of my home, and on the list goes.

I do so because my mind is focused. I am not swayed by distracting thoughts. I have fine-tuned my skill through my spiritual practice and mindfulness and meditation. It is the practice of presencing that permits me to do so. I choose to keep my mind focused on what is real in the now moment. Others opinions about me are just that, their opinions. I do not have to shoulder that burden, nor any shadows of the past, nor anxious premonitions of the future. I am here, now. As Ram Dass said, “Be Here Now.”

It is really not a marvel; it is a miracle in the sense that Jesus has shared with us. A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love. The outcome arrives because of the degree of determination one places on healing the mind. Don’t look to the book for this. Look to the Wisdom within you to assist you. Remember in Lesson 189 Jesus instructs, “Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.”

Your A Course in Miracles book does not make it Heaven, you do.

As the Eagles sang, “Take it easy, take it easy. Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.” Now think about what I have shared, but don’t overthink it! Embrace it, and you will find the peace you have sought your entire life. It has blessed my life, and it will bless yours a thousand-fold.

Service to Love


When we approach our daily lives with the premise, “I am here only to be truly helpful” there is a difference to the level of peace that we will feel. Moving from the “give to get” mentality and into the “giving with gratitude” mentality will save us countless tears and frustrations. We will then experience a satisfaction and serenity as never before when we make this shift. We already have it all within us as that is how we were created. We are Love and we are here to give only Love.

MiraclesOne was founded on the uttermost Service to Love. When we shift from fear to love (the miracle) then we are truly One. Because of our understanding of A Course in Miracles, we hold very dearly in our hearts the tradition of service to our brothers in the Spirit of Love.

“Ask Him very specifically:
What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?” ~Lesson 71

All members of MiraclesOne staff from our founders, to the Board of Advisors, and to our facilitators are volunteers and give the gift of service in one form or another, now and in the past. Be it in the employment positions some of us may have; the volunteer work for families; non-profit organizations, and others in our community; the sharing of Love by our ministerial messages; the joining of hearts in marriage ceremonies; the support in times of confusion or grief; or our freely giving attitude, we still hold true that we are here to be of service as spiritual leaders. We approach everything that we do with the premise as stated earlier, “I am here only to be truly helpful.” 

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

This is why too we offer all of our resources as freely as possible to A Course in Miracles students. When you are in service to the Holy Spirit there is only Trust in God. We trust that all will be provided to administer our ministry. We trust that those who desire a deeper awareness of themselves through the path of the Course will find our work of great assistance to them and share as they are able too. There is no need for a guru, for we all can establish an authentic encounter with God by virtue of our belief and practice. We are here together to dialogue and learn as one together in equality.

Tara Singh was a truly inspired ACIM Teacher who knew Helen Schucman personally, and has so inspired us. He said, “The Name of God cannot be commercialized….we come ‘not to learn, but to Be’…Once the student realizes Being is complete unto itself, non-commercial life begins.” 

Jesus speaks in the supplement to A Course in Miracles,  Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice:

One rule should always be observed: No one should be turned away because he cannot pay. No one is sent by accident to anyone. Relationships are always purposeful.  Whatever their purpose may have been before the Holy Spirit entered them, they are always His potential temple; the resting place of Christ and home of God Himself. Whoever comes has been sent.  Perhaps he was sent to give his brother the money he needed.  Both will be blessed thereby.  Perhaps he was sent to teach the therapist how much he needs forgiveness, and how valueless is money in comparison.  Again will both be blessed.  Only in terms of cost could one have more. In sharing, everyone must gain a blessing without cost.

Our approach to ministry is also influenced by the premise of Servant-Leadership. This was a term developed in the early 70s by Robert Greenleaf. We share with you some of his ideas from his booklet, The Servant as Leader.

The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?

…Awareness is not the giver of solace – it is just the opposite. It is a disturber and an awakener. Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed. They are not seekers after solace. They have their own inner serenity.

A leader must have more of an armor of confidence in facing the unknown – more than those who accept his leadership. This is partly anticipation and preparation, but it is also a very firm belief that in the stress of real life situations one can compose oneself in a way that permits the creative process to operate.

This is told dramatically in one of the great stories of the human spirit – the story of Jesus when confronted with the woman taken in adultery. In this story Jesus is seen as a man, like all of us, with extraordinary prophetic insight of the kind we all have some of. He is a leader; he has a Goal – to bring more compassion into the lives of people.

In this scene the woman is cast down before him by the mob that is challenging Jesus’ leadership. They cry, “The law says she shall be stoned, what do you say?” Jesus must make a decision, he must give the right answer, right in the situation, and one that sustains his leadership toward his goal. The situation is deliberately stressed by his challengers. What does he do?

He sits there writing in the sand – a withdrawal device. In the pressure of the moment, having assessed the situation rationally, he assumes the attitude of withdrawal that will allow creative insight to function.

He could have taken another course; he could have regaled the mob with rational arguments about the superiority of compassion over torture. A good logical argument can be made for it. What would the result have been had he taken that course?

He did not choose to do that. He chose instead to withdraw and cut the stress – right in the event itself – in order to open his awareness to creative insight. And a great one came, one that has kept the story of the incident alive for 2,000 years – ”Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone.”

Finally, we also see our ministry work as similar to this familiar quote:

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” – Author unknown

Thank you for joining us and please enjoy this talk Rev. Deb presented on the idea of “Being of Service.”

A Walk with Jesus By the Sea: Experiencing Faith


Healing Meditation
A Walk with Jesus By the Sea: Experiencing Forgiveness

with Rev. Paul Phelps

This week Rev. Paul shares a guided meditation that takes us on a journey with Jesus. Faith is a commitment you make now so you will no longer focus your energy on worry. Jesus is your elder brother and he loves and supports you.

Recorded October 29th, 2017

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Experiencing “I am as God created me.”


We had a truly inspiring retreat this past weekend. I know I was speechless and deeply moved by the end of our closing session.

I appreciate the openness and authenticity that was expressed this weekend by our group of 10 participants. The smaller retreat gatherings allow us to go deeper into healing and share intimately versus a larger type gathering.

During the sessions, we explored what Jesus shares with us in regard to our truth, “Light and joy and peace abides in me.” Allison’s various processes and meditations enhanced what we were learning as we took pencil, chalk, or pastels to paper to explore our inner self, our thoughts, and how we emerge as the “butterfly” with the knowledge “I am as God created me.” Our silent reflection period gave us all a chance to simply be with the learning, whether we journaled, walked outdoors, prayerfully stepped the labyrinth, or meditated, it all strengthened our connection with the Divine. The music was meditative, uplifting and meaningful. Saturday night I presented a that resonated deep within to the vibration of Life.

We departed taking these affirmations of our Source and our miraculous connections with one another into our heart and out into the world. We will now be reminded as often to remember fully, “I am as God created me.”

I hope to use this material in an upcoming 6-week class in the near future. I had started in this post to write my own personal experience from the retreat, yet when I went to save it as a draft, my entire personal sharing portion disappeared with the rest intact. I thought about it for a few moments and realized I wasn’t supposed to share my personal experience at this time. I know I still have more reflection to explore.

I will say that after our 2nd process when we had a silent reflection period and after I had walked the labyrinth and entered the center, I sat in meditation for a good 15-20 minutes. I opened my eyes and there before me just outside the window was a butterfly. It was not a monarch, at least I do not believe so, but it had the same colorings as we have used for this retreat decoration and design. It brought me great peace and joy. The miracles are there to shift us from fear to love. I felt this shift profoundly.

I hope to share more as I continue to unpack in my mind the weekend. Please enjoy our sunrise from this retreat in the video below.

Peace,
Rev. Deb

 

Sunrise at the Retreat

 

 

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