Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Learning Beyond What's In ACIM

Sometimes I write about topics that are not mentioned in A Course in Miracles but which come out of my experiences with the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in my mind). Sometimes this prompts emails from readers who want to know where they can read about that topic in ACIM. Some seem to be genuinely interested in reading ACIM’s take on the topic. Others seem to imply that because it is not mentioned in ACIM it is not really appropriate for me to write about as part of spiritual practice.

For example, I write a lot about setting boundaries in relationships. I find that boundaries are a very common need among ACIM students. Many seem to feel that being spiritual means taking inappropriate responsibility for others and/or being a doormat.  They think that if they just forgive enough another’s inappropriate or dysfunctional behavior will change. Or they feel that if they had truly forgiven they would no longer see the other’s behavior as inappropriate or dysfunctional. Undoing the beliefs that underlie this form of co-dependency is what I work on with most of my clients.

But there is no discussion about building boundaries in ACIM. For Helen Schucman, co-dependency, the ego’s (personal thought system’s) universal approach to relationships, showed up not as taking too much responsibility for others but as asking others to take responsibility for her. She was a martyr; a victim full of grievances. Others let her down by not following her “scripts” for them.

ACIM is not a comprehensive teaching that covers everyone’s experiences. Yes, most of what it describes about the ego is universal, but some is specific. For example, Helen used illness to make others guilty. Not everyone does this. And not every egoic experience is included in ACIM. For example, some use illness to avoid unpleasant situations, like work or undesired family events. This is not mentioned in ACIM. As with any spiritual teaching, you must discern the spirit of the lesson and not take the letter of the lesson so literally. This is what ACIM means when it says that you will learn to generalize your lessons.

ACIM is not an end in itself. It is the means to becoming aware of the Truth in your mind. And that Awareness (Holy Spirit) will lead you through and past your obstacles to peace, not all of which are described in ACIM. For example, guilt manifested in me, yes, by my projecting it onto others and making myself a victim. But it also showed up as my taking too much responsibility for others. This was a much larger and deeper obstacle for me. I actually felt it was my god-given responsibility to “fix” others and that belief had to be rooted out and undone. This was a long process on which I was led not by ACIM directly, but by the Holy Spirit within me. ACIM led me to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit led me past my obstacles to being aware of Truth, many of which were not specifically mentioned in ACIM.

Want support on the path to peace? read "You Don't Have to Go It Alone".

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ask: Is a matter-of-fact experience akin to what ACIM calls "Innocence"?

“I live - by choice - in a very quiet rural area. Every summer the house next to mine is used by a family of brothers from New York City… I can always tell when the youngest brother is around by the level of noise coming from the house - yelling, non-stop talking, and extremely loud music… For four summers now I have experienced an intense emotional charge in reaction to this "barbarian" intrusion…I have essentially demonized these people in my mind, making them bad, wrong etc. My anger knows no bounds when I think about them. Whenever I think about talking to them about the situation however, I dissuade myself… The other day their music was so loud and lasted so long (hours) that I suddenly found myself transported to what I can only describe as The Land of Matter-of-Fact. All anger and fear vanished along with any sense of self-righteous importance…So when I arrived home one afternoon and the music was blasting, I simply parked in front of their house and with my new-found Bearable Lightness of Being, dove in. I found the young man in charge in the midst of his cohorts drinking beer and grilling barbeque and simply stated the facts: "I'm your neighbor next door and I need a favor. Your music is so loud I can hear it in my house even with all my doors and windows closed. I can't sit outside with friends and family on my porch. Could you tone it down?" I could see that even through a mild fog of intoxication, he was getting it. "Too loud? No problem." Since then things have been much quieter.
Do you think Liz, that when one can flatten the effect of a situation and experience it in a matter-of-fact way it is akin to what the Course calls Innocence?” – ES

What you experienced was the miracle of guilt dropping away from your mind so that you looked on a situation without an emotional charge. This led to your matter-of-fact experience and presentation, which in turn resulted in the young man that you spoke to being open to you without feeling defensive. This is a great example of how a shift in your perception – a miracle – can have results in your interaction with others. If you had gone in angry it is very likely that the young man would have gotten defensive and angry himself. Then you two would have been in a vicious cycle of anger-attack-defense.
In my experience coming from a place of no-guilt is different from the perception of Innocence. Both are miracles, but the perception of Innocence is what I would call a “higher” miracle. No-guilt is a shift in perception away from not-Truth and toward Truth. It leads to what you described, a charge-neutral (matter-of-fact) experience. This is a more “common” miracle and one toward which you can work by undoing the guilt in your mind.

The perception of Innocence is an extension of the awareness of Truth in your perception. This is impossible to describe, but the best I can say is that the body’s eyes see the same forms but they are washed in Innocence. This type of “higher” miracle is often accompanied by an uplifting joy. It is a radically different perception that happens spontaneously when you are, often unconsciously, ready to accept it.

Want support on the path to peace? Read "You Don't Have to Go It Alone".

Learn about one-on-one mentoring, how to send a donation for this blog, and about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ask: Can you comment on the satisfaction of accomplishment as a trap?

The other day was for me one of those high energy days where I found myself engaged in one project after another, mostly home improvement and maintenance type things. I felt no resistance and at the end of the day I experienced what is typically referred to as "the satisfaction of accomplishment" - a type of high that most people regard as oh so healthy. While there is nothing wrong in taking care of business, being creative etc., there can be a negative flip side if, on those languid days when we feel no motivation or energy, we feel guilt as though "We've let someone down". (Who?) Being busy as a way of earning peace is a trap because it is only a facsimile of peace. It is no different than the Buddhist concept of "earning merits" for this or another life or any form of "righteous behavior" called for by other religions, or ideologies. They all perpetuate and reinforce guilt.” – ES

Yes, temporary satisfaction, for whatever reason, is not true peace. It is simply the result of accomplishment, as you explained, or the personal thought system (ego) getting its way in something.
However, I think you are confusing two different motivations here. Being busy to attain satisfaction is different from being busy to stave off guilt. There is also another motivation for busy-ness: To avoid looking at something in one’s mind. So let’s look at each of these:
Busy-ness for satisfaction is actually just a part of being human so there is no guilt involved in this. It is natural as a person to feel satisfied when you have accomplished something. If it wasn’t for that sense of satisfaction we wouldn’t be motivated to do anything! It’s only a problem if one makes an idol of accomplishing things in the hope it would lead to lasting peace. But because this wouldn’t work it wouldn’t last as an idol for long. As with all idols it would eventually lead to a sense of emptiness and disillusionment rather than peace.
Busy-ness to stave off guilt does come, as you said, from a need to accomplish to appease a power outside and over you – a god. Of course, a person is not usually conscious of trying to appease a god. All they know is if they are not busy they feel guilty or their self-esteem plummets. They don’t examine this. They are just driven by the guilt to remain busy. And even if they did examine it they may not be in touch with a belief that there is a god sitting in judgment on them. But, of course, the guilt is the sign that this is exactly what they do unconsciously believe!

Busy-ness to avoid examining something in one’s own mind is very common. Sometimes people know why they want to keep busy, like when they are openly grieving a loss. However, unacknowledged grief is very often why people don’t want to be still. And besides grief, there are a whole host of things in a person’s mind that they may not want to look at so they avoid stillness and keep themselves busy.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Ask: What does it mean to tell your brother he is right even when he is wrong?

“I was wondering if you could open up or shed some light and clarity on the following statement Jesus makes . . . .
‘When you correct a brother, you are telling him that he is wrong. He may be making no sense at the time, and it is certain that, if he is speaking from the ego, he will not be making sense. But your task is still to tell him he is right.’ (A Course in Miracles, T-9.III.2)
I'm not sure what he means when he says ‘But your task is still to tell him he is right’ and how this would sort of look in a practical way.” – Anonymous

You increase fear in others when you make them wrong. So instead just let them know that they are understood. For example, a friend has what you consider really wacked-out political views. Instead of arguing with them look at where they are coming from. Usually it's fear. So just say things like, "You seem really afraid." Or, "I'm sorry that you are so afraid." Something that validates what underlies their statements rather than the statements themselves. They will feel better for being understood. And you will feel better for getting to the heart of the matter and not increasing their fear.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

You Don't Have to Go It Alone

You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

When I was a new student of A Course in Miracles going through the long and uncomfortable (sometimes downright painful) “period of sorting out” it would have been so nice to speak every now and then with someone who had been through what I was going through and who had actually attained the inner peace I wanted. But there was no one around then who offered a professional relationship like that. So I muddled through in more discomfort and pain than was necessary. And, eventually, when I was ready I became a mentor for others so that they could have an easier time than I did as they made their way to inner peace.

Obviously I do have clients so some people have taken me up on this offer.  But it is frustrating for me to hear of others who are still trying to go it alone. Clients tell me of friends who have questions or blocks to peace that they need help working out. They tell them, “Call Liz!” But they rarely do. Sometimes I can tell from comments people write at my blogsite or in emails that they are unhappy or uncomfortable or are ready to work through guilt and would benefit from a session with me. It’s not a time-consuming relationship. People get relief from just a half-hour call with me, every now and then or on a regular basis (weekly, every-other week, monthly). I’ve never had a client tell me that they felt worse at the end of a call. So why don’t they call?

Here are some things I’ve heard:

“I feel I should hear the Holy Spirit on my own.” But you read books and listen to tapes and go to a study group or to seminars? Like those the mentoring relationship is just another instrument that the Holy Spirit uses to reach you. And unlike books and tapes and seminars or a public study group, a mentor can answer your specific questions, give specific examples and tools, and clarify points. The give and take of a private conversation brings greater clarity and deeper understanding.

“I don’t want to pay for it.” But you pay for all sorts of everyday pleasures. Your lattes and booze and massages and ice cream and manicures and cable/satellite TV and books and tickets to movies and sports and plays, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s natural to pursue pleasure to offset the pain of the human condition. So why wouldn’t you pay for something that brings relief rather than just offsets the pain for a little while? Isn’t inner peace a worthwhile investment?

“I’m not worth it.” Well, what can be said about this but, “Yes you are and I’m sorry you don’t know it.” Not feeling worth it is something we can discuss, too!

“I don’t want to waste your time.” Really, people have said this. (No doubt the feeling was related to the last quote). Well, when I wanted help I felt this way, too. If anyone was available to help they were not people who mentored for a living so there was a feeling of taking up their time. But with me it’s a professional relationship. I am offering my time, energy, education, and experience in exchange for money so you don’t have to feel guilty about using them. A professional relationship puts us on equal footing.

“I don’t have anything ‘big’ enough to talk about.” If it’s an obstacle to peace size does not matter! And if it’s just a burning question it will hold you back, too. Not all of my calls with my clients are about problems or questions. Sometimes clients share what is working and good in their life. They share miracles. A lot of what I do is validate, which helps my clients move past doubts that hold them back.

Sometimes my readers have a vague idea that they would benefit from speaking with me but don’t know what to talk about. Anything and everything! Your whole life is your spirituality. We don’t have to discuss A Course in Miracles directly. As a client once said to me, “You teach spirituality; ACIM is just the language you use.” On most of my calls ACIM does not come up directly at all. Just bring to the call whatever is on your mind. I cannot tell you how often clients say, “I don’t know what to talk about today” and yet we fill up the time effortlessly.

The point is: You don’t have to go through the process to peace alone. You don’t have to stew with questions, doubts, or a nasty ego that won’t let you move past it. I’m here to help you make it easier on yourself. It is the path to peace after all…

(You can read testimonials here:

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Ego is Benign

One of the things I help my clients sort out is what is the neutral personality of the self and what is the ego (personal thought system). They are confused because the ego is the thought system in their mind that tells them that the self is their reality and that they need to measure themselves by the self. So it’s hard for them to see that the self – the body and personality – is neutral and that it is the ego that is not neutral.

For example, clients will say something like, “I know it’s ego but…”

“…I like mountain biking…”
“…I want to study medicine…”
“…I enjoy horror stories…”
“…I prefer to be alone…”

First, you can see by the “but” that what they mean is, “I want this even though I know it’s bad.” They judge the ego as “bad” so what they see as expressions of ego are therefore “bad”. But actually the ego is not wrong or bad. It is nothing. Second, all of those traits that come after the “but” are just neutral expressions of a neutral personality. They have no meaning in themselves. They are not expressions of ego, which is a judgmental, evaluative thought system of lack, guilt and fear. It is the ego that has determined, after you start reading A Course in Miracles, that the ego is bad. And it is the ego that judges neutral personality traits as bad.

I used to write about the ego attacking me to hold my attention but I have come to see that the ego is actually benign because it is nothing. It cannot change Truth so the ego has no real effects and I can see that now. When I listened to the ego I projected my belief in guilt, which I learned from it, onto it. I really believed I was guilty, but saw the guilt in the ego, just as I often saw guilt in others. But the ego does not attack. When your attention goes elsewhere it will do what it has to do to hold your attention once you turn its way again. It will pursue the thoughts, usually negative, in your mind that it knows work to hold your attention. But if you don’t believe in it, this will not work. Just as with others, you are only affected by what the ego says about you if you believe what it says about you.

The ego is really just the thought system of the human animal. And it functions like an animal, doing what it has to do to “survive”. In its case, “survival” means seeming to exist for you. Your belief in it is its sustenance. And when you withdraw your attention it seems to “attack” to get you to feed it again. But you won’t experience its attention-sustaining measures as an attack when you see that it is nothing.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

In the Turnaround

When I was a young child sometimes when I played alone I would experience a reassuring, comforting Presence with me. I felt in those experiences that everything would always be okay. These experiences were very rare. I had a happy, secure childhood and I had no conscious need to seek reassurance. But of course I was still having the human experience of everyday lack and insecurity. I was unconsciously open to Truth at those times. These experiences seemed very natural so I didn’t question them. Nor did I think of them beyond their occurrences.

As a teenager I would in times of desperate adolescent angst turn to what I thought of as my “inner Therapist”. These were very rare occurrences, too. But you can see how a shift had unconsciously occurred for me: The Presence was no longer with me; It was within me. It was still Other, but I knew It was in my own mind. I thought of It as my “inner adult” the way as adults people speak of their “inner child” left-over from their childhood. It was a future, wise me come to guide and comfort me through hard times. (I pictured It at the time as being all of 25 years old!)

In my late teens I started reading self-help books and eventually psycho-spiritual material. These told me that God was within me. I understood that they were speaking of my Inner Therapist. And then A Course in Miracles came along when I was twenty years old and I knew right away that the Voice that dictated it was the Christ in my mind – another name for the Presence that I had experienced as a child and the Inner Therapist I turned to as a teenager. I changed my label for It but the experience was the same.

My study and practice of ACIM  led me to grow my awareness of the inner Presence, the Holy Spirit. I learned to call on it as my Guide and Teacher in all things. Later, when it came time for me to teach others, I learned to come from the Holy Spirit within me with others and in my writing.

Recently I have experienced a shift and I now know, not just intellectually but experientially, that that Presence, that Inner Therapist, the Christ Mind and Holy Spirit, is me. I have had surprising experiences of myself as the Teacher to the split-mind (decision-maker) in this mind rather than as the split-mind calling on or coming from the inner Teacher. In these experiences the split-mind is the “other”. It wasn’t exactly accurate for me as a teenager to think of the Presence as a future me. It was me all along. What was in the future was my awareness of this. I have gone from the Presence being with me to It being within me but Other; to the boundary between me and It slipping and being able to come from It as I dealt with the world; to beginning to experience, at least so far within this mind for the self in it, being the Presence…

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