Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Seemingly-Parallel Goals for the Self

A few weeks ago I wrote about the two spiritual paths, spiritualizing the self and transcending the self, and then a week later a follow up. Since those articles some have spoken to me about their confusion over which path is theirs. Part of the confusion is because, as I wrote, even those on a transcending path will go through a long period of spiritualizing the self. The greater arc of their path will lead to transcending but while they are in the stage where they spiritualize the self they can’t really see beyond it.

Another reason for some confusion is that they expect that if they had truly made the choice for Truth, Truth would be all that they wanted. And it just doesn’t work that way. The choice for Truth is made in an instant but in time that choice unfolds as a process. For a long time, even if your goal is to transcend the self, you have what seems to be two parallel goals for everything.

As an example, last week I wrote about my experience of the mystical Holy Relationship. I experienced the Holy Relationship in the midst of an ongoing (for me) special relationship. My desire for the special relationship did not fall away because I experienced the Holy Relationship.

“It is no dream to love your brother as yourself. Nor is your holy relationship a dream. All that remains of dreams within it is that it is still a special relationship. Yet it is very useful to the Holy Spirit, Who has a special function here.” – T-18.V.5

All relationships in the world are special in that they are each unique. Just as each self is unique. But, as always, the Holy Spirit can transform “special” for its own purposes. Where the ego (personal thought system) uses “special” to reinforce the unique self, and therefore your sense of separation from Truth, the Holy Spirit gives the special relationship a purpose that leads you back to Truth. This is what makes the special relationship a Holy Relationship.

The self is what desired a special relationship. Specifically, in my identification with a self I wanted a lifelong relationship. That desire was neutral. It had no meaning in itself. It was not good or bad or right or wrong. It was not a harmful or harmless desire because it was neutral. Whether it was helpful or not for this mind was determined by this mind’s goal (wholeness) and the teacher (thought system) it chose to reach that goal.

The ego is a thought system of lack, guilt, and fear. Through it I came to believe that a special someone would fill the lack it told me was there in me. All my fantasies were of meeting the “right” woman and being “saved” from the pain of lack, guilt, and fear. This is the kind of “special” that A Course in Miracles points out is not helpful. It does not undo lack; it reinforces the belief that lack is real. It does not undo guilt and fear; it reinforced the belief that guilt and fear are real. This is why special relationships are so conflicted and painful. I couldn’t see this then because the only way to wholeness that I could think of was the way that the ego showed me. But given that my goal was wholeness the ego was not the helpful teacher.

The Holy Spirit, however, saw this same desire for a special relationship as a classroom where I could learn that I am already whole in Truth. On some unconscious level I was willing to learn this. So I experienced the mystical Holy Relationship in which I experienced an ongoing higher miracle. In that higher miracle I experienced the Oneness, or Wholeness, that was in my mind beyond the self and the ego. The Holy Spirit was the helpful Teacher.

My desire for the special relationship did not fall away with the Holy Relationship. I was presented with the choice of to which thought system I wanted to attend, so which would grow in my awareness. As I shared, for a long time I was angry and chose the special relationship. But eventually I accepted the lesson of the Holy Relationship. And when I met my wife years later I was ready to express those lessons in a practical Holy Relationship with her. Our relationship is still special in that it is unique, as is all form in the world. But in content it is Holy because I choose to use it to learn that I am whole in Truth. The ego’s “special” fell away because I no longer needed to look to anyone else for wholeness.

This is how the path works: You have two thought systems in your mind, ego and Holy Spirit, each with their diametrically opposed goals for the neutral world of form in your mind. When you become aware of them you can decide which you want to follow. For a long time, as you sort them out, you will choose both. They will seem to run parallel in your mind; they will seem to be simultaneous. But really you cannot be in both at the same time. However, you will vacillate between them so quickly sometimes it will seem like you are in both at the same time.


As long as not-Truth (the universe of form) is in your mind the self and the ego will be in your mind. The self’s neutral desires and preferences will be there and the ego will tell you how to use them to be whole. But as you grow aware of the Truth in you and become aware that you are already whole you won’t feel a need to follow the ego. You will hear to it tell you how to use the universe of form to be whole but you will disregard it. You will rest in wholeness and watch without judgment the story of the self unfold.

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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 www.acimmentor.com.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

An Example of Misusing the Specificity of ACIM

(This is very, very long so you may prefer to read it on something larger than a mobile).

I know it bothers some of my readers when I teach that A Course in Miracles was written specifically to Helen and Bill in their Holy Relationship and that it is helpful to read it through this awareness. I do not mean to take anything away from anyone by pointing this out. Instead my intention is to help readers avoid some of the pitfalls of guilt and misuse of ACIM into which I fell and into which I hear other students fall. ACIM is not diminished as a useful instrument that the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in your mind) can use to teach you because it was written first and foremost to Helen and Bill. Many spiritual teachings are about someone’s specific experience and guidance. In fact, it is helpful in deepening your awareness of the Holy Spirit when you have to use discernment to sort out what was meant for another specifically and what lessons you can generalize for yourself. This is how study grows your awareness of the Holy Spirit.

So here I am going to give you an example of how I misused ACIM from my own very, very early experience with ACIM.  I tried to apply what was meant specifically for Helen and Bill to my own situation. And I had good reason to think I could because it was regarding the Holy Relationship. I have written about my experience of the Holy Relationship before but not in such detail. The details, I think, may help highlight the point I’m trying to make about applying ACIM too literally to one’s own experiences.

This is too long for the newsletter so here’s a link to the article:



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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 www.acimmentor.com.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

More on The Two Spiritual Goals

My last article about the two spiritual goals (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-two-spiritual-goals.html) led to my receiving a few questions. So I will attempt to clarify here.

“Spiritualizing the self” means using one’s awareness of Truth to better the self’s life in the world.  One who does this continues to identify with a self and does not seek to transcend the self. They bring their Awareness of Truth (Holy Spirit) with them into their work, relationships, etc. to help guide them to a more harmonious life. This is the most common choice for people on a spiritual path. It is always the way for those who are religious rather than spiritual. (Some are both).

I wrote that those who are called to go past the self to Truth are willing to wholly let go of the belief in guilt. This implies that, yes, those who do not transcend the self still believe in guilt. You would not continue to identify with the self unless you valued it. And if it is valuable to you then it is real to you so there is still an unconscious belief in your mind that the Truth has been undone and that you are guilty.

Moreover, spiritualizing the self always involves a sense that form (the self) and Formlessness (Truth) are equally real and interrelated. What one does or does not do as a self affects Truth, so there is an absolute “right” and “wrong” way to be a self. This is the way of religions. This belief, again, unconscious, is how guilt is perpetuated. Those who do not feel called to transcend the self usually have a hard time seeing this guilt. And since they are not motivated to transcend the self they are not motivated to find and undo the belief in guilt.

Those who seek to transcend the self must undo their belief in guilt because guilt is what ties one to the self. It takes a long while for them to be ready to see their belief in guilt because, believing guilt is real, they feel that they would be destroyed if they did see it. However, there comes a time when they are aware enough of Truth as truth to be ready to see that there is no justification for guilt. (My digital book, “Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace” goes into all of this in depth. You can find it at www.amazon.com or www.lulu.com.)

Spiritualizing the self is a little different from a “spiritualized ego”. An ego (personal thought system) is spiritualized when one uses spirituality to glorify the self, as in “I’m a good person because I’m spiritual” or “I’m better than others because I am aware of Truth”, etc. Those who set themselves up as leaders or teachers with special spiritual knowledge not available to others are a clear example of those who spiritualize the ego. New religions are often based on a spiritualized ego. However, spiritualizing the self does not have to result in spiritualizing the ego. You can spiritualize the self without listening to the ego’s pumping up of the self.

As I mentioned in the last week’s article, even those who are called to transcend the self will go through a phase of spiritualizing the self. For them their relationship with the Holy Spirit is not so much about getting answers for a more harmonious life for the self. Yes, that happens, but that’s a nice side-effect, not the goal. Being aware of the Holy Spirit is the goal. In short:

For one whose goal is to spiritualize life for the self the Holy Spirit is the means to a more harmonious life. For one whose goal is to transcend the self, the self’s life in the world is the means to be aware of the Holy Spirit.

Whether one spiritualizes the self or is called to transcend the self is an unconscious choice based on what one truly values. Some simply do not feel called to Truth. The awareness they have that makes life better for the self satisfies them. Therefore, they have no motivation to transcend the self. Once one is aware of Truth the process is going to evolve as far as one is willing. You are always in charge. The Holy Spirit cannot take you further than you are willing to go.


As I said in last week’s article neither way is superior to the other. Both are temporary, or time-bound, and fall away. Nothing one does or does not do in the universe of form has any effect on Truth at all. Truth goes on wholly untouched by it. Another way to say this is Eternity (Timelessness) is wholly unaffected by time. So one’s choice only affects their own experience in time. No part of what is in time “goes on” to Eternity. The Part of your mind that is Part of Eternity is already There. The part of your mind in time falls away, no matter what it has done in time. So there can be no right or wrong choice about the self. There is just what you want to experience in time. And I’ve found that some just don’t want to bother transcending the self. The pain of life in the world does not offset their enjoyment of it. Finding and undoing their belief in guilt involves more fear than they want to confront in themselves. But there are those of us who, having touched Truth, are called to It because we know It is the truth. So how could we be satisfied with what we’ve seen is an illusion? Growing our awareness of Truth to the furthest extent that we can is the only meaningful way that we can think of spending time.

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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 www.acimmentor.com.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Two Spiritual Goals

No matter a person’s spiritual path there are only two possible goals: To spiritualize the self’s life in the world or to transcend the self. The vast majority of people choose to spiritualize the self’s life in the world. Even if they’ve had higher miracles in which they perceive that the Truth is true and that the world is not they do not feel called to transcend the self. Being aware of Truth improves their life in the world and this is enough for them.

But a few feel called to transcend the self usually because they’ve experienced the reality of Truth in either a direct Revelation (only Truth) or a higher miracle. They feel called to Truth because It is the Truth and nothing else will satisfy them. They are willing to be wholly free from guilt.

Even those who feel called to transcend the self will go through a stage of spiritualizing the self’s life in the world. It is an inevitable stage when embarking on a spiritual path because when you start out all you know is the self. But whether one is satisfied there or feels called to go beyond only the individual can know.

A Course in Miracles is a useful tool for both those seeking a “better way” and those called to transcend the self. But your goal will determine how you read ACIM and which teachers of it, if any, resonate with you. If what you want is a spiritualized life in the world then you will probably spend your life studying ACIM and perhaps other spiritual teachings. But if you are called to transcend the self then you will understand that you are in a long process. You will recognize that the passages in ACIM that are about spiritualizing the self describe a stage through which you will pass. You will eventually reach a point where ACIM, indeed all study, falls away naturally. So it is helpful to discern which goal calls to you. Is a better life in the world because the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in your mind) is with you enough for you? Or are you drawn to Truth like metal to a magnet?
Obviously, anyone I work with is spiritualizing the self’s life. If they were past that point they would not need to work with a mentor. But are they satisfied there or do they feel called to go past the self? This question is always in my mind as I watch their stories unfold. It can help determine how I answer their questions and help them through their blocks. Some know the answer if I ask but unfortunately the majority will say anyway that they want to transcend the self because in their guilt they think that is “superior” to spiritualizing the self. (Of course it is not. Both are temporary and fall away in the end).  
Of course one’s goal can change. One may begin by thinking they want to transcend the self but find in time that they are quite satisfied with a better life in the world. And someone who thinks that they are happy spiritualizing the self may have an experience of Truth that then calls them to go beyond it.

If you are honest with yourself, putting guilt aside and what you think you “should” answer, which is your goal? If you have clarity on this, even if it turns out to be temporary, you can take a lot of pressure off yourself now. If you want to spiritualize the self you don’t have to pursue ideas or study that go beyond this. You do not have to try to understand what does not call to you. And if you do feel called to drop the self you can acknowledge that, for the time being, you are in the stage of spiritualizing the self. You can enjoy it knowing that it will pass naturally. You do not have to force yourself to be beyond it now.

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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 www.acimmentor.com.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Choice for Peace is Made Once

For a long time after I became a student of A Course in Miracles when things were hard or dark I felt I’d “fallen off the path”. I kept thinking I had to choose peace again and again. Why couldn’t I just make the choice and mean it? Why did I keep losing my way? What I didn’t know was that I had meant the choice for peace the first time that I allowed myself to experience Truth. I didn’t have to make the choice again. Once I let Truth into my awareness my path to peace was set. I wasn’t lost; I was in an unfolding process. The times that I saw as hard or dark or lost were part of that process to attaining peace. But I only saw this in hindsight many, many years later.
            What unfolded after the moment that I let Truth into my awareness was that moment manifesting in the story of time. So any choice for peace that I made after that moment was not to choose the whole path all over again. It was a choice for peace now. In any given moment if I was not at peace and I wanted peace I needed to choose Truth then and there. The goal of peace had already been chosen and didn’t need to be made again. In fact, it was unfolding in that choice for peace in the present moment. Every moment that I chose Truth in the unfolding story of time was an expression of that first choice for peace. Those moments for peace now were inevitable.
And it was also inevitable that initially the choices for peace in the present were few and far between. Though I had made the choice for Truth and my path to peace was set what I did not yet have was full acceptance of the Goal. I did not wholly trust It. So in time I had to learn that the Truth is true and to learn to trust It. In time trust grew and I chose Truth and peace more often until finally one day I realized peace had some to stay in my awareness. That moment long before when I let Truth into my awareness had manifested in the unfolding story of time.

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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 www.acimmentor.com.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Validation Speeds Up the Process to Peace

In my early years as a student of A Course in Miracles (I began in 1984) I didn’t really have anyone I trusted to speak to about my experiences. Very early on I experienced a direct Revelation and the higher miracle of the mystical Holy Relationship. No one in the initial study group I attended was discussing ACIM on the level on which I seemed to experience it. And I just didn’t know anyone else who was a student. (There was no internet yet!)

So I went off on my own with the Holy Spirit. This was great in that it meant I had to work right away at building my trust in the Holy Spirit. And as ACIM points out, the whole process is the “Development of Trust” (Manual for Teachers) in Truth. But the process would have been smoother and I suspect gone a little faster for me if I had someone in the world to validate some of my experiences. Because I had no one to speak to I had to live with a lot of doubts. And doubts kept me spinning in place and not moving onto the next lesson.

For example, after a couple of years I began to notice a pattern of vacillation between experiences of peace and longer periods of being back in the conflicts of the ego. I noticed that any experience of Truth, no matter how “minor”, resulted in a huge backlash from the ego (personal thought system). Even though I saw the pattern it took me a long time to trust what I was seeing and to trust that this was the normal process. Was I really seeing a pattern? Or was my going back to the ego again and again a sign I was failing? The Holy Spirit seemed to reassure me that it was a normal pattern and explained that I was swinging between to the two thought systems in my mind to sort them out.  But my trust in my ability to discern the Holy Spirit was not strong yet. And my trust in the Holy Spirit was not strong, either. That was another place in which validation would’ve helped. And because I was not validated in my observations and my discernment I took a very long time to learn to trust them and the Holy Spirit.


Doubts are an inevitable part of the path to peace. But you do not have to stew in them. You can seek validation from others who have more experience on the path, in study groups, online, or one-on-one with a mentor. A lot of what I do as a mentor is validate my clients’ experiences. I can hear the relief in their voices when I tell them that what they experience is normal or that yes, they are hearing the Holy Spirit. And I watch them move forward after they are validated.

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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 www.acimmentor.com.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

You Don't Have to Give Up the Loves of Your Life

If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while please bear with me because I am returning again to an idea that I’ve visited many times before in many ways. But it is something that comes up often with clients and with people who write to me, even those whom I know have read all my stuff. So here I revisit it:

You do not have to give up the people, things, activities, etc. that you love to have inner peace. You simply want to give them to the Holy Spirit so It can use them as classrooms in which to teach you peace.

So often I hear from students of A Course in Miracles who judge against themselves for being too attached to their families, their friends, their animals. They try to force themselves to give up their interests and activities. If they love someone or enjoy or get pleasure from something they are certain that it is “wrong”. Somehow they think ACIM asks them to give up these things. But in fact it is the ego with its belief in guilt and punishment that leads them to feel that they must sacrifice. This expectation that they will be asked to sacrifice means they totally miss that ACIM teaches them not to give up but to turn over their “special relationships” to the Holy Spirit. ACIM also warns them to not decide for themselves how to walk the path to peace. Those who are used to listening to the ego have no idea how to find peace.
This self has people and animals that it loves and things and activities that it enjoys and, lo and behold, this mind has inner peace! They are actually separate things. As I have said many times, the ego and the self (body/personality) are not changed by your choice for peace, but the mind changes. The ego continues on with its guilt and fear and you (the mind) simply stop believing it. And as the self goes about its life you (the mind) simply rest in Truth and observe its unfolding story without judging it.
To clarify: You are mind. The self (body/personality) is an idea in your mind with which you identify. It is neutral in that it has no meaning. It is not right or wrong or good or bad. It is actually nothing. The ego is a thought system in your mind about the self as your reality. This is simply a mistake, not a sin. And the Holy Spirit is the thought system in your mind that knows the Truth but also knows that you (mind) identify with a self and have listened to and believe in the ego. So your choice with regard to the self is which thought system you want to direct you in directing the self. You have used the ego and you find it is rather painful. If you want a “better way” then you might want to try the Holy Spirit.
So the self’s loves and indifferences and likes and dislikes and preferences are all neutral expressions of its personality. They are not wrong or bad. They are not sins. For the ego they are ways of reinforcing guilt and fear and tying you tighter to the ego. For the Holy Spirit they are classrooms in which It can teach you of Truth. It teaches you of Truth simply by teaching you and you becoming aware of It.
You will not fully understand this until you do it. Just bring the Holy Spirit with you into your work, your relationships, your interests, etc. Start with just one part of your life if that feels safer. If you have questions or problems ask for guidance. The answers are not the point; that you connect with the Holy Spirit is the point. This is how you build trust in It. The result also happens to be that the answers mean the self has a more harmonious, simplified life. This is a nice side-effect, but the result of being aware of the Holy Spirit is inner peace no matter what is happening in the self’s life.

So don’t give up your loves. This actually blocks your awareness of the Holy Spirit because of your sense of sacrifice. And it also precludes you having classrooms in which to join with the Holy Spirit. Instead share your loves with the Holy Spirit, giving them all the singular purpose of peace.

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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 www.acimmentor.com.