Friday, April 25, 2008
I have been studying ACIM for the last seven years. I cannot discuss it with the average Christian in the Bible Belt area in which I live. It is very metaphoric and requires deep thinking but most of all a willingness to question how one could be among the few that was lucky enough to be born in the Bible Belt and to have all the answers to Spiritual questions while the rest of the world is wrong.
At first I had problems believing that a person claiming to be an atheist would have Jesus come directly to her to enlighten our generation about our mis-guidings about the real truth of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. Still, something kept me reading and searching for more on line and local classes to help me understand it. Seven years later and a study of the book almost daily, along with the classes I have taken, I find myself with an inner peace I never knew possible. I pray in a totally different manner now, not "Why me Lord?" but "What can I learn from this?" I bless with gratitude my pain as much as my joy for I learn from both to be a better person.
Forgiveness has a total new meaning to me. I no longer forgive because it is the Christian thing to do because God said to do it, but I forgive because we all fall short and to forgive others is to forgive myself when I fall short. Now, I see myself not as separate from others, but one with others, even one with Mother Earth. I bless a blooming flower, singing bird and falling leaves or dead leaves for I am one with them, as well. A car with a handicap stick drove up and suddenly cut in front of me and too the parking place I had been waiting for while the lady was putting away her groceries in the back seat. In the past something like this would have had me fuming not just all day but perhaps for several days. This time I just thanked the Universe that I was not in as much pain as usual and perhaps I could walk a longer distance this day and perhaps the man that took my parking place could not, and I sent him the energy of inner peace and love that I had come to know since I had been reading ACIM.
Fear, shame, and guilt had been the tools I allowed others to use to control me all of my life but now I attempt to stay so forced in divine love that those games of manipulation no longer work on me for perfect love cast out all fear.
In my garden is where my peace seems to unfold daily in my meditations. There are rabbits that come and sit in perfect stillness. Their big eyes seem so wise as if finding a special inner peace. I painted one and put it up by my deck to remind me to choose peace always by refusing to judge, forgiving others and myself, and having a deep gratitude for the simple beautiful things in life. When I am tempted to go the old ways of my past I look up and read "I can choose Peace, instead of this" and I do.
From where ever ACIM came there is a wisdom there that supersedes even the Bible, that gives clarity and understanding to the teachings of Jesus and it has colored my life with JOY … and if there is ever to be a path to peace, I think the teachings of this book will take us there.
Rev. Linda Francis