Friday, October 23, 2009

Course Note #28: Focus on the Kingdom...

One morning while on a walk, I started thinking about all the things going on in my life. I thought of the Inner Presence and asked, “I have all these goals, which one should I focus on first?”

Immediately I heard, “Focus on the Kingdom of Heaven and all will be added unto you.”

As I continued on my walk, I began to have a conversation with my inner teacher. It went like this: “Okay, but how do I do that?”

“Sheryl, call to mind someone who you’re angry at (this wasn’t hard to do back in those days!). Think about why you’re angry at this person. As you think those thoughts, do you feel joined with her or do you feel separated?”

“I feel separate.”

“Okay. Envision yourself taking her hand, and then give the relationship to Me.”
A prayer came to mind, “Holy Spirit I give this relationship to you that it may be used for your purposes of Love, rather than mine of judgment and attack. Thank you.”

“In this moment, do you feel joined or separated?

“I feel joined with her.”

“This is how you focus on the Kingdom of Heaven. It is recognition of your oneness with all living things.”

This conversation occurred perhaps twelve or more years ago and since then, “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven” has been a sort of life message for me. At least several times every week I’ll come across it somewhere in some form. And so, over the years I’ve delved into it and continue to uncover deeper layers of meaning all the time.

In the Bible, Matthew 6:33 says: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I used to have a problem with the word “righteousness” until I came to understand that it meant right relationship. I opened to the idea that seeking first the kingdom was really about coming into “right relationship” with my Self and my identity as a child of God. A Course in Miracles uses the term “right-mindedness”, which essentially says the same thing in that it is a state of mind that accurately perceives the oneness that we all share.

I often hear it as “Focus first on the Kingdom…” This makes sense to me as a student of the Course because it says that not only is the Kingdom of Heaven within you, it is you.
To focus on the kingdom is to focus on the Truth of who I am. Focus first on the Kingdom of Truth, and thus enter into right relationship with your Self – your True Self as God created you. And then, all “things” will be added unto you.

It’s not that we’re to seek or focus first on the kingdom so that we can get everything that we ever wanted; rather, when we focus on Truth (content, cause), we are then guided to serve from that level of being. From this consciousness, the things (form, effect) we need to serve will be added.

As I write this I am prompted to NTI Matthew 10: (v 7-10)*

God is within, and it is from within that I am led.

“To learn this lesson is true, do not focus on what is outside. Do not worry about what you are to eat or what you are to wear or where you are to sleep. Focus only on the Word within and seek nothing else. Everything will be provided, that you may do the work I ask.”

Everything you need to serve in the ways you are guided to serve will be provided. There is such a sense of release in that. When I focus first on the Truth of my being, then I’m guided in the ways that I can extend from that Truth in my daily life.

So whenever I find my thoughts wander to the things of this world, I am often, quite quickly, brought back to my purpose: Focus First on the Truth of who you are as a child of a Source of Light, Wisdom, Abundance, and Love, and then share this Self with all whom you meet. Amen.

Note: *NTI stands for New Testament Interpretation and is a very wonderful book which is actually titled: The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament. (For more on this see, or go to

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Course Note #27: I don't know what I need...

If you’ve read some of the previous posts here, then you know that I’ve been receiving much guidance on staying tuned to the fact that I don’t know what I want or need. You may even have been directed to read this blog because this is what’s up for you too.

The truth is that we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. We’re not privy to the big picture. From this vantage point, how could I possibly know what I will want or need? The problem, however, is that I see tomorrow as an extension of today and so therefore, I really do think that I know what will be needed. It’s this kind of thinking that perpetuates a future like the past, because such a mindset doesn’t allow for guidance from within.
As God created me, I lack nothing, but when I am mesmerized by the world of form, and let that sight dictate what I want or need, I fall back into the sleep of forgetfulness – forgetting the Truth of who I am. The Course says that there are two worlds: one that I see through the lens of fear and lack, and the world that is really there when seen through the eyes of Love. It is the Holy Spirit’s function to mediate between these two worlds.

When I acknowledge that I don’t know what I need, I am asking for help from Holy Spirit, the one that does know. It’s ego that constantly chatters about what I should have, do or be, and when I listen to it, I continue on with its mission of seek but do not find. Sound familiar?

It’s time to stop listening to that voice. I love how the Course puts it, “Therefore, ask not of yourself what you need, for you do not know, and your advice to yourself will hurt you.”

The voice for Love denies any thought of lack. It denies any thought of things “out there” needing to be fixed or changed. Love affirms the truth that you and I are creations of an abundant source of good. Indeed it is true that I hurt myself when I take advice from the voice of fear. I’ve learned that when I’m listening to thoughts that do not make me feel good, I am actually repelling my good – I repel Love’s will for me.

If I sit around thinking that I have more bills than money, or that I can’t find a job because there are no jobs out there; or that I’m never going to feel better, or have what I want, etc. Such thoughts do not carry a feeling of happiness and well-being. With the willingness to let go of such limiting and fearful thoughts, I am then open to hear my real thoughts. My real thoughts are the thoughts of truth and when I let myself hear these thoughts, fear must flee.

The truth of my being is that I am blessed as a child of God. God protects me, supports me and directs me in all things. This is the truth. Let us meet our thoughts of fear with Truth.
Call to mind something that evokes a feeling of fear. Ask yourself, “Am I ready to choose again?” If so, let’s take a moment to rest in Love’s presence:
Dear God,

In this moment I am willing to acknowledge

That I do not know what I want,

Nor do I know what I need.

You know what is best for all concerned

And so, I relax in your presence,

I Let your Love flow in

and through me, that I might be

a blessing in this world.

Thank you.

Prayer is an indication of willingness to choose again. Recognition that I don’t know but that there is a Presence within that does know, opens the door to new ways of thinking, which leads to new experiences.
A Course in Miracles tells me that Holy Spirit knows what I need. “In time, He gives me all the things that I need, and will renew them as long as I have need of them. He will take nothing from me as long as I have any need of it. And yet He knows that everything I need is temporary, and will but last until I step aside from all my needs and realize that all of them have been fulfilled. I leave, then, my needs to Him. He will supply them with no investment. What comes to me of Him comes safely. Under His guidance I will travel light and journey lightly.”

What do I really want? I might think that it’s some new and shiny thing “out there”, but I’ve gotten all too many new and shiny things that didn’t fill my true needs. What I need is peace that stems from the awareness that everything really is okay exactly as it is.

I had been experiencing frustration in running a business and after I surrendered to Holy Spirit through the prayer above, I have been guided, not to a new business, but to a new way of looking at the one I have. As I let go of needs, I have been more able to remember that I am here only to be helpful. I don't know how that will look but I trust in the Presence within who does.

Workbook lesson 186 says, “And then, do as God’s Voice directs. And if It asks a thing of me which seems impossible, remember Who it is That asks, and who would make denial.”

Let’s say that we release our needs to God, and then receive guidance to do something that had not been considered before. This may bring up feelings of unworthiness and fear, but then, ask yourself who it is that makes the denial?
Again the Course busts us: “Is it the distorted image of yourself, confused, bewildered, inconsistent and unsure of everything? Do not let this voice direct you. Hear instead a certain Voice which tells you of a function given you by God who remembers you and urges that you now remember him.”

Some students of the Course mistakenly think that God doesn’t know of our dilemma of being seemingly stuck in time, but in this lesson we are told that this is not so. “Love’s gentle Voice is calling from the known to the unknowing. It would comfort you, although It knows no sorrow. It would make a restitution, though It is complete; a gift to you, although It knows that you have everything already. God has thoughts which answer every need we perceive we have, although It sees them not.”

I had a “wow” moment as I read this next part of the lesson as it reminded me of something Mary Baker Eddy said, “Divine Love meets all our needs by giving us spiritual ideas.” And here we are told that Love must give, and what is given in Love takes on the form most useful in a world of form.   When we turn our minds to the God of Love and away from the world of form, we will have all we need to serve in the way Love guides us to serve.
Did I say, “Wow!”?
No matter what is going on in your life, in this moment, you have an opportunity to choose again. Be willing to go within and acknowledge that you really don’t know what you want or need. And then, act on the urges, ideas and inspirations that well up from within. If a thought comes to mind to contact a particular person, do so. Yes, it is a drag that guidance doesn’t come in the form of a huge billboard saying: SHERYL, SHERYL, DO THIS…

Have you ever gone on a scavenger hunt? The way the game works is that you get a clue and after you figure out that clue, you then receive another clue. On it goes until someone finds the treasure. But...if you don't act on the first clue, then you're never going to find the second clue.

Life is kind of like a divine scavenger hunt. I’ve discovered that we are indeed guided constantly, however we’re guided incrementally. When we act on the guidance we receive in this moment, we then received guidance for the next moment. When we stay focused on worry, anxiety and fear, we are not open to receive ever-present guidance, and this is why our lives stay the same – one day moving on to the next, a future like the past.
The Course tells us that the secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need. In prayer, overlook your specific needs as you see them, and let them go into God’s hands.

Angelus Silesius wrote, “God, whose love and joy are present everywhere, cannot come to visit you unless you aren’t there.” You think that you know what you need and want. Just for today, be willing to let go of the small limited fearful self, leaving room for God’s Love to come to visit. Enjoy!

Notes: Sections of the ACIM used in this ‘Course note” are:
1. T-13.VII. This whole section is wonderful in regard to “needs”.
2. Lesson 186: Salvation of the world depends on me.
3. The Song of Prayer Pamphlet: S-I.1:4
Audio was recorded for an internet audience on 8/20/09 and is 1 hour and 6 min.
I Do Not Know What I Need...

MP3 File