Sunday, February 28, 2016

ACIM Sunday letter for 02/28/16

Dear ACIM friends:

I have heard from one of you this week and I thank that person for the email.
We are at the end of the month of February, 2016 during which our topic has been “decision making.” Next month, March, 2016, our topic will be “salvation.” If you have suggestions for a topic for April, please let me know.

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, a blog was started entitled “Notes On The Spiritual Life” which will include more ideas than can be covered in this weekly letters. I hope you will take a look at it and, when appropriate, send articles to others and invite them to visit.

Closing up February, 2016 and the focus on decision making in this last letter of the month, I am reminded of the introduction to ACIM where it says that “It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time.” It might be concluded that the first big decision we have to make is whether we want to give up our ego drama and become more aware of Love’s presence.

It is written in Chapter Two, Section III, paragraph 3, “5 Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. 6 Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there [must] be a better way. 7 As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point. 8 This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. 9 The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute. 10 But the outcome is as certain as God.”

In the substance abuse field, there is the idea that the person with the addiction, and/or the person in a co-dependent role with the person with the addiction, isn’t ready to make a change until (s)he hits bottom. At that point, of hitting bottom, the person, hopefully, will finally acknowledge that there must be a better way. The tolerance for pain has been very high and in hitting bottom the person with an addiction often has lost everything, marriage, family, job, driver’s license, financial stability, friends, reputation, trust, decency, even hope. The metaphorical 2 x 4 whacks the person in the head and sometimes “knocks some sense” into the person and (s)he decides it’s time to take the lessons of life seriously.

This taking life’s lessons seriously is often experienced as a “conversion experience,” and accepting the challenge of finding a better way is the biggest and most important decision of that person’s life. Most of us, perhaps, don’t have such a dramatic conversion experience, our dawning awareness is more incremental, but we finally get to a point in our lives where we realize things just aren’t working. We are stressed, depressed, angry, resentful, full of grievances and unhappy. We become aware that we can continue with our lives of quiet desperation which the ego encourages, or we can take up study of the Holy Spirit’s curriculum. We become increasingly aware that we have a choice to make.

Our choice is external materialism and the drama of the ego world, or the internal spark of the divine which we access through forgiving ourselves for our foolish mistakes and ideas. With this forgiveness of ourselves and others, we bring our wills into alignment with what we believe is God’s will for us  and experience the Atonement with its joy and peace.

The key to decision making is the humility to ask the Holy Spirit, Jesus, your Higher Power for help. As it is taught in 12 step programs, the first step is to acknowledge that our life is unmanageable. The second step is to recognize that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, and step three is to ask our Higher Power for help. These are three huge decisions which transform our lives.

As Luke Skywalker would say, “May the force be with you.” Or as we have been discussing, may you ask the Force to be with you and help you with your decisions.

Til next time,

David Markham

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