Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Correcting "this is not real" Mistakes

A Course in Miracles reminds us that only the Truth is true (only God is real). Truth (formless Being) is Reality. The universe of form is not-Truth or is not reality. You come to understand this not through your intellect but through what I call a “higher” miracle. These are shifts in your perception where you actually experience the Truth as true and you see that the universe of form is not real. Sometimes the focus of the higher miracle is more on one or the other of these but what’s essential to understand is this is an experience not just an intellectual acceptance of an idea, or belief.

Here are three mistakes students make applying the idea “this is not real” to the world:

First, students try to apply this idea without having experienced it. This leads to feeling depressed and de-motivated: “Why should I bother doing anything when it isn’t real?” Until you have experiences that show you that the universe of form is not real just forget about applying this idea. You cannot apply it without misusing it unless you have experienced it. What you can do is be open to having experiences that show you that the world is not real. Instead of focusing on “this is not real” focus instead on growing your awareness of Truth in your everyday life. Your trust in Truth will grow and this will prepare you to have experiences that show you What is real and what is not real.

The actual shift that occurs from the experience of a higher miracle is release from guilt and fear. It is a joyful, uplifting experience. When you realize that you cannot affect Truth with anything that you do or do not do in the world you feel set free to allow the self to do what is authentic to it without judgment. It takes many higher miracles for this awareness to sink in, however. Right after a higher miracle you may experience the ego’s (personal thought system’s) resistance and feel de-motivated and depressed for a while. But you can always counter these by remembering the liberation that you experienced at the time of the miracle.  Once you have experienced a higher miracle you have a basis to start applying “this is not real” by remembering the higher miracle.

Another mistake that students commonly make is to try to apply “this is not real” to singular events or circumstances. “How can I see this horrible event is not real?” What you imply to your mind is that only this “bad” event is not real but everything else is real. It is impossible for your mind to accept this division. And it is also not an appropriate application. When you have an experience of “this is not real” it encompasses the whole universe of form, not just certain aspects of it. You must be willing to turn away from all illusion, not just those aspects that you judge as “bad”.

The third mistake is closely related to this last one. Students try to see that an event or circumstance, or even the entire universe of form, is not real while looking right at it. I don’t mean looking at it with the body’s eyes, because what the eyes report is neutral and has no meaning in itself. Students look right at their interpretation of the event or circumstance and at the same time try to see it is not real. But looking at it and interpreting it is exactly how you make it real to you! You cannot give illusion meaning and at the same time see it is not real. You cannot detach from illusion with the thought system that is part of it. You cannot be in the midst of illusion and see it is an illusion. You must step into the Awareness of Truth (Holy Spirit) to see that illusion is illusion.

In practice this means you have to be willing to turn your mind away from illusion and inward to Truth. Instead of focusing on what is not real, you must look toward What is Real. The body’s eyes may continue to report the same forms but your mind will shift toward Truth. The personal thought system’s interpretation will fall away and you will see the forms that the body’s eyes report as insignificant.


In fact, it is always best for you to allow the awareness “this is not real” to arise spontaneously. It will do so as you grow your awareness of Truth. If you have had experiences of seeing the universe of form is not real you can try to invite the experience again by applying “this is not real”, but if you do not experience a shift then stop trying. Instead, turn to Truth and the awareness will come.

>>>>>
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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, January 11, 2017

"I Need Do Nothing" Discussed

I’ve written a few times about how the heading in A Course in Miracles, “I Need Do Nothing” (T-18.VII), is universally misused by ACIM students. They read this line and their ego (personal thought system) panics because they think that they are not supposed to direct the self to do anything at all ever again so their life in the world will fall to pieces. And then their mind shuts. They are then unable to take in anything that follows that heading and they miss the point of that section entirely.

(A study hint: If you read something in ACIM that inspires fear you are misreading it with the ego. Truth inspires liberation, not fear. Put it aside for a while, then invite the Holy Spirit into your mind and read it again with Love. If you are still too afraid to let the Holy Spirit through then you may benefit from studying with someone who has more experience – like a mentor!)

The section headed by “I Need Do Nothing” is really about the release from guilt that you find in the Holy Instant. In the Holy Instant you realize that you are Home in God, not separate from God, so you are not guilty. Therefore, you “need do nothing” – you don’t have to perfect the self or make it “right” or “good” - to be released from guilt. This section has nothing to do with ceasing all activity of the body. It is solely about the mind. In fact, it acknowledges the “busy doing” of the body in the world.

Since this section is almost never read as it was meant, I thought I’d take you through it paragraph by paragraph to ease the anxiety that the heading seems to evoke in students’ minds.

(This is very long and it may be difficult to read on a small device. The italicized parts are from ACIM and from my translation of the Text into plain language, The Message of A Course in Miracles (MACIM). I use both here so you can choose which you prefer. My comments then follow and are not italicized).

(T-18.VII);(MACIM-18.7) I Need Do Nothing

(ACIM)
1. You still have too much faith in the body as a source of strength. What plans do you make that do not involve its comfort or protection or enjoyment in some way? This makes the body an end and not a means in your interpretation, and this always means you still find sin attractive. No one accepts Atonement for himself who still accepts sin as his goal. You have thus not met your one responsibility. Atonement is not welcomed by those who prefer pain and destruction.

(MACIM)
1. You still have too much faith in the body as a source of strength. All your plans involve the body’s comfort, protection, or enjoyment in some way. This means that you interpret the body as an end in itself and not as a means for correction and that you still find separation from God attractive. You have not accepted correction if you still have separation as your goal and therefore you have not met your one responsibility – accepting correction of your perception that you are separate from God. You will not welcome correction while you prefer pain and Self-destruction.

You have too much faith in the body as a source of strength. [The “body” in ACIM  includes the physical body, the personality of the self, and the thought system of the self (ego)].  That’s why you are so concerned with it. You see it as an end in itself, so you are attracted to it. This means you are unconsciously attracted to guilt (the belief that sin, or separation from God, is real). Remember, elsewhere in ACIM it says that your “sole responsibility” is to accept the Atonement (correction of your belief that you are guilty for being separate from God) for yourself. Your attraction to the body, therefore your belief in guilt, makes you believe that correction is impossible. So you do not meet your one responsibility of accepting correction. You won’t welcome correction while guilt (pain and destruction) seems meaningful to you.

(ACIM)
2. There is one thing that you have never done; you have not utterly forgotten the body.  It has perhaps faded at times from your sight, but it has not yet completely disappeared. You are not asked to let this happen for more than an instant, yet it is in this instant that the miracle of Atonement happens.  Afterwards you will see the body again, but never quite the same. And every instant that you spend without awareness of it gives you a different view of it when you return.

(MACIM)
2. There is one thing you that have never done: completely forgotten the body. Perhaps it has sometimes faded from your awareness but it has never completely disappeared from your awareness. You are asked to do this for only an Instant but in that Instant the miracle of correction happens. After that Instant you will be aware of the body again but never in quite the same way. Every Instant that you spend without an awareness of the body will give you a different view of it when you return to an awareness of it.

Helen is being told that she has not yet allowed a Holy Instant, Which is described here as completely forgetting the body for an instant. (As you read this you may or may not have allowed a Holy Instant). An instant is all that is needed. In that instant you realize that the body and the story for time are not real. You are not separate from God so you are not guilty. Even though it is only an instant, it is enough to change how you view the body. You begin to realize that the body has nothing to offer; it is just a temporary experience as you learn to remember God. The body is no longer an end in itself; it is a means to remember God. The more you experience the Holy Instant the less you value the body.

(ACIM)
3. At no single instant does the body exist at all. It is always remembered or anticipated, but never experienced just now.  Only its past and future make it seem real. Time controls it entirely, for sin is never wholly in the present. In any single instant the attraction of guilt would be experienced as pain and nothing else, and would be avoided. It has no attraction now. Its whole attraction is imaginary, and therefore must be thought of in the past or in the future.

(MACIM)
3. There is no instant in which the body exists at all. You always remember it or anticipate it but you never experience it now. Only the personal self’s seeming past and projected future make the body seem real to you. Time controls your perception of the body entirely because your perception of separation from God is never wholly in the present. In any single instant you experience the attraction of separation from God as pain and nothing else and if you recognized this you would avoid it. Guilt has no attraction to you now. Its whole attraction to you is imaginary and therefore you must think of in the past or in the future.

Time is the illusion on which all other illusions rest. This includes the body. You have a story for the body’s (self’s) past and you imagine its future and this is what makes it seem real to you. Your attraction to the self’s story means that, unconsciously, you are attracted to guilt. The story for the body, which is the story of your guilt for being separate from God, contains stories of guilt from the body’s imagined past and you expect punishment for your guilt in the body’s future. You have a hard time being present because guilt arises in your mind and you experience how painful guilt is. So your mind avoids guilt in the present in an imagined past and an anticipated future in which you do not consciously see the guilt.

(ACIM)
4. It is impossible to accept the holy instant without reservation unless, just for an instant, you are willing to see no past or future. You cannot prepare for it without placing it in the future. Release is given you the instant you desire it. Many have spent a lifetime in preparation, and have indeed achieved their instants of success. This course does not attempt to teach more than they learned in time, but it does aim at saving time. You may be attempting to follow a very long road to the goal you have accepted. It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. Enormous effort is expended in the attempt to make holy what is hated and despised. Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary. All such attempts will ultimately succeed because of their purpose. Yet the means are tedious and very time consuming, for all of them look to the future for release from a state of present unworthiness and inadequacy.

(MACIM)
4. Until you are willing to see no past and no future for just an Instant you will have reservations about the Holy Instant. You cannot prepare for the Holy Instant without placing It in the future. The instant that you desire the Holy Instant you will be released in It. In the world that you perceive one way to God is to spend your time preparing for the Holy Instant and this does have its moments of success. This course does not attempt to teach more than that path teaches in time but it does aim at saving time. You may be trying to follow a very long road to the Goal of God that you have accepted. It is extremely difficult for you to reach total correction of your perception that you are separate from God by fighting against perceived “sin”. You will have to expend enormous effort trying to make Holy the body that the personal mind despises. It is also not necessary for you to spend a lifetime in contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body. All these attempts would ultimately succeed because of their Purpose but these means are tedious and very time consuming and they all look to the future for release from a present state of unworthiness and inadequacy.

You must be willing to let go of time, the body, and therefore guilt, just for an instant, to experience the Holy Instant. That is all. If you think you need to prepare for the Holy Instant you are putting release from guilt off into the future. The belief that it takes time to be released from guilt puts distance between you and the Holy Instant. You don’t have to perfect the body (fight against sin), which is so difficult because the ego despises it. You don’t have to take yourself off to a cave or a monastery and spend a lifetime struggling to detach from the body. These would ultimately work, but they are the long way to peace because they make sin (guilt) real to you and put peace off to the future. Instead, you can use the Holy Instant right now and save time.

(ACIM)
5. Your way will be different, not in purpose but in means. A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do. When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation and fight against the giving in to sin; when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation; or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization; "I need do nothing."

(MACIM)
5. Your way is different from these paths, not in Purpose, but in means. A Holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant of Holiness that you extend to your relationship with another restores Reality to your mind. You are prepared for the Holy Instant and all that you now need to remember is that you need do nothing. It is far more useful now for you to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do. When Peace comes at last after wrestling with temptation and fighting against “sin”, when enlightenment comes after a lifetime of contemplation, or when the Goal is achieved in any way it will come with the happy realization: “I need do nothing”.

Helen and Bill are being told that they are given a different means, the Holy Relationship, to save time. But what can you, who may not have a Holy Relationship, do to save time? Remember from earlier in ACIM that the Holy Relationship is the expression in time of the Holy Instant. But whether you have this expression available or not the Holy Instant is still available to you and to everyone. No one needs to prepare for it. All you need is willingness to put aside guilt and experience God. The realization, “I need do nothing” to make yourself not guilty comes when you are willing to recognize that you are already not guilty.

(ACIM)
6. Here is the ultimate release which everyone will one day find in his own way, at his own time. You do not need this time. Time has been saved for you because you and your brother are together. This is the special means this course is using to save you time. You are not making use of the course if you insist on using means which have served others well, neglecting what was made for you.  Save time for me by only this one preparation, and practice doing nothing else. "I need do nothing" is a statement of allegiance, a truly undivided loyalty. Believe it for just one instant, and you will accomplish more than is given to a century of contemplation, or of struggle against temptation.

(MACIM)
6. Here is the ultimate release that you will eventually find. You do not need time for this because time has been saved for you since you extended your Self to your perception of another. This is the special means that this course uses to save you time. You are not making use of this course if you insist on neglecting the means that was made for you in favor of other means. Save time for your Christ Mind with this one preparation and practice doing nothing else: “I need do nothing.” This is a statement of undivided allegiance to your Christ Mind. Believe it for just one instant and you will accomplish more than you would accomplish in a century of contemplation or of struggle against temptation.

The Holy Instant is the moment of release, or forgiveness, from guilt. It is the special means offered by ACIM as a short-cut for those who are willing to use it. You only have to be willing to realize that you “need do nothing” to make yourself guiltless because you have never left God and so are not guilty. Your willingness to use the Holy Instant attests to your commitment to peace. If you just accept for one instant the awareness that you are Home in God you accomplish in that instant what others have taken a century to accomplish through contemplation and attempts to make the self perfect.

(ACIM)
7. To do anything involves the body. And if you recognize you need do nothing, you have withdrawn the body's value from your mind. Here is the quick and open door through which you slip past centuries of effort, and escape from time. This is the way in which sin loses all attraction right now.  For here is time denied, and past and future gone. Who needs do nothing has no need for time. To do nothing is to rest, and make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention. Into this place the Holy Spirit comes, and there abides. He will remain when you forget, and the body's activities return to occupy your conscious mind.

(MACIM)
7. To “do” involves the body. When you recognize that you need do nothing you will withdraw the body’s value from your mind. This is the door through which you quickly slip past centuries of effort to escape from time. This is the way that the separation loses all of its attraction for you now because you deny time and the past and the future are gone for you. When you need do nothing you have no need for time. For you to do nothing is for you to rest and to make a place within your mind where the activity of the body ceases to demand your attention. The Holy Spirit then comes into and abides in this place of rest within you. And the Holy Spirit will remain with you when you forget again and the body’s activities return to occupy your conscious mind.

When you recognize from the Holy Instant that you don’t need to perfect the body to be with God and be released from guilt you release yourself from valuing the body. It, and therefore guilt, cease to attract you right now. You don’t need time to do this. You just need to rest in the Holy Instant with the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit will remain in your mind when you return your mind to the body’s activities.

(ACIM)
8. Yet there will always be this place of rest to which you can return. And you will be more aware of this quiet center of the storm than all its raging activity. This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this center, from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it.

(MACIM)
8. There is always this place of rest within you. Within it you are more aware of the Quiet Center than of the storming personal mind raging around it. This Quiet Center in Which you do nothing remains with you and gives you rest in the midst of all the busy doing to which the Holy Spirit sends you. From this Center you will be directed in how to use the body for correction of your perception of separation from God. It is this Center, from Which the body is absent, that will keep you aware that the body cannot separate you from God.

The Holy Instant is always with you, a Quiet Place within to Which you can return to rest. The more you practice it the more aware you will be of a Quiet Center as you go about the body’s busy-ness. From the Quiet Center you will be directed how to use the body in a way that will not increase your guilt because it is from this Center that you know that you are not guilty.

As you can see, there is nothing in this section about ceasing all of the self’s activities. On the contrary, it makes statements in the last two paragraphs that acknowledge the activities and busy-ness of the self. Moreover, this section emphasizes the ongoing message of ACIM: You don’t have to prepare yourself for God by perfecting the self. All you need is willingness, which is of the mind, to be released from guilt and to experience God. So why would it then tell you that you have to live a certain way? This would contradict its central message of forgiveness, which is that nothing you do or do not do as a person has any effect on God at all. This is hard to accept because needing only to have a willing mind completely cuts out the body and ego from the process. This is what this section is explaining.


You bring the Holy Instant with you into the midst of a normal life in the world. You don’t have to stay in a Holy Instant. You only have to be willing to practice it a few times a day. And it becomes the means through which you grow your awareness of God. This releases you from the value that you have put on the self, and therefore from valuing separation from God and guilt.

>>>>>
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, January 04, 2017

Free Will

Whenever I write about the story of the universe of form unfolding as an expression of an idea that is already over, as I did last week (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2016/12/what-if-you-knew-that-ending-was-happy.html), it brings up questions from readers about free will.

“Free will” means the ability to make choices and act independently of any other power. Immediately you can see that a “person”, or “figure in the dream” as A Course in Miracles would call one, does not have a will that is independent from the split-mind (dreamer of the dream; Son of God). Every person’s story is part of an intricate, complex unfolding of the universe of form. What feels like one’s independent desires and choices is really the story of the universe of form being expressed through their seeming-individuality.

Even knowing this, your desires and choices and the actions to which you direct the self feel as though they are your own. You feel independent when you are identified with the dream figure. But knowing that the self’s story is part of a greater whole you can learn to find the flow of the universe to live more harmoniously with it rather than to try to force to happen what simply is not going to happen. (I wrote about this here: http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2015/03/in-flow-of-universe.html and http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2015/04/one-story.html). You can find the purpose for the self in the flow, knowing that its unfolding story, whatever it is, is an essential part of a larger unfolding story.

In Truth there is only Truth so there is no need for a “will”. (In ACIM, “God’s Will” refers to God’s Extension of God in God, not to God’s desires in the world). Truth is whole, so there is nothing to desire, nothing to choose, nothing to make happen. But within the idea-of-not-Truth, not-Truth seems to have a “will” that is separate from Truth. The split-mind projects, or “wills”, a universe of form in which to play out the idea-of-not-Truth. It is free to do this, but this freedom comes from the nature of Truth, Which does not oppose. Not-Truth is undone instantly in the Mind of Truth not through opposition but simply by Truth’s All-encompassing nature. Not-Truth arising in Truth is like fire trying to start in water. It is impossible so it is over before it can start. Not-Truth is never more than an idea just as fire starting in water can be imagined but can never actually occur.

A Course in Miracles introduces the idea of free will right in its introduction:

“…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…”

If you read this as a seemingly-individual split-mind it refers to your experience, which certainly seems, to a new student, to be independently chosen. It feels as though you independently make the choice to learn what ACIM (or some other form of the universal curriculum) teaches. The personal experience is the narrowest reading of that passage. But if you read this as speaking of the one split-mind that projects the universe of form then it refers to how the undoing of not-Truth in time occurs independently of Truth. The outcome is inevitable but how that outcome is reached is time’s, not Eternity’s, story.

So your seemingly-individual will is not independent from the will of the one split-mind. It is an expression of the free will of the one split-mind.

>>>>>
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, December 28, 2016

What If You Knew That The Ending Was Happy?

A Course in Miracles teaches, not in one place but by cobbling ideas introduced throughout, that the unfolding story of the universe of form in time is the expression of the moment in the Mind of God (Truth) of the-idea-of-not-God/the-undoing-of-the idea-of-not-God. The idea of the opposite of God arose and was undone instantly by God’s All-encompassing nature. But what was undone immediately in Truth seems in time to have begun long ago and as if it will be undone in some indefinite future. However, the outcome is inevitable; the “script is written”. The idea of Not-Truth will be undone in time because it is already undone in the Mind of Truth.  Looking at your life today or at the world today you cannot see this. But step out of time (Holy Instant) and you can see that everything in the story of time is perfectly a part of that undoing.

Looking at the story of the universe of form unfold is a lot like when you watch a movie. What you see on the screen already happened months ago when the action was filmed. You are looking at the past when you watch a movie. And so it is as you watch the story of the universe of form unfold. The idea behind what you see arose and was undone in an instant. It is past because it is already over and only your belief in the projection of that moment as time does it seem as though it is still happening.

You only ever see a teeny, tiny part of the story of the universe of form. To stay with the movie analogy, it is as though you dropped in on the middle of a film and you don’t know how the tiny bit you see is related to what’s gone before and what will come later. But what if you knew the ending? How would that color your view of the little bit you see? If you watch a movie with harrowing scenes and you don’t know the ending it can be harrowing to watch. But if you know ahead of time that, no matter what happens in the middle of the movie the ending is happy, then the harrowing scenes are not so bad because you know they lead to a happy ending. You can apply this to the story of the universe of form. You can trust that, no matter what seems to happen in the little bit you will see over a single short lifetime, the greater story ends in peace. And each part is an essential part of that peace unfolding.

When something does not go your way, in your personal life or in the world at large, your personal disappointment will always flare first. But as this passes, if you invite the Awareness of Truth into your mind, It will help you to step back and look at the larger picture. You will realize, “I don’t know why this happened this way. But it is all part of a larger unfolding toward a perfect ending.”

“All things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego's judgment.” – (T-4.V.1)


“The aim of our curriculum, unlike the goal of the world's learning, is the recognition that judgment in the usual sense is impossible. This is not an opinion but a fact. In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come.” (W-10.3)

>>>>>
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, December 21, 2016

The Holy Spirit Works in You

A Course in Miracles teaches that God (Truth) did not make the universe of form and does not come into it. Yet some students make comments to me about how the Holy Spirit made certain things happen in their lives in the world. Well, actually It didn’t. The Holy Spirit is in your mind. It affects your perception of the world and your interaction with the world but It does not leave you (or anyone else) and go out into the universe of form and make things happen. If you attribute “good” things in the world as coming from the Holy Spirit, wouldn’t you have to attribute “bad” things to the Holy Spirit as well? Or, perhaps, just that It is indifferent to the things that you deem as “bad” and so doesn’t intervene?

The universe of form works on cause and effect at the level of form. These causes and effects are a very complex, interwoven tapestry. What you think of as “you” in the world – the self (body/personality) – is part of the universe of form. The self is the product (effect) of various causes in the world as well as of your mind. And it causes effects at the level of form. Its attitudes, behaviors, choices, and energy all interconnect with the universe of form. When you allow the Holy Spirit into your awareness It changes your mind, and therefore the attitudes, behaviors, choices, and energy of the self.  These changes ripple out into the universe of form and cause different effects than if you were still almost wholly ego (personal thought system) identified. And the universe of form in turn responds to the changes in the self.

Here are some examples:

Attitude:

Nancy has spent many years growing her awareness of the Holy Spirit. It has become her Constant Companion. Her trust in It to always bring her the answers she needs has resulted in her having the confidence to handle anything that she encounters in the world. Her confidence shows and she is looked to as a leader by her family, employer, and co-workers. This has led to new responsibilities and positions in the family and at work.

Behavior:

Jorge comes from a large family that gathers often for birthdays and holidays. But he has social anxiety and used to drink heavily in social situations to deal with it. When he was drunk he was a bully and verbally abusive and no one wanted him around. The family asked him to stay away if he couldn’t remain sober. He eventually turned to spirituality and as he became aware of the Holy Spirit within he took responsibility for his social anxiety. He got into therapy and was prescribed a low dose of an anti-anxiety medicine to take while he and his therapist worked on techniques to lessen his anxiety in social situations. His family and friends are happy to see the changes in his behavior and he has found his social life with his family resuming.

Choices:

Cassandra has met a nice guy who treats her with respect and that she likes a lot. She doesn’t realize it but her self-respect and self-confidence were what attracted him. Soon after she met him an old boyfriend came back into her life. He was the “bad boy” type that she always found hot and sexy. But actually it was more complicated than that. She used to feel bad about herself and she was unconsciously attracted to him, and he to her, because of her lack of self-respect. He saw someone he could selfishly neglect and verbally abuse and she saw someone who treated her the way that she felt she deserved. However, when he re-entered her life, Cassandra had been on a spiritual path for a while and had become aware of the Holy Spirit within herself. She now has self-respect. She has quickly found the physical attraction to the old boyfriend empty and has no desire to get involved with him again. She chooses the new guy whose behavior toward her mirrors her self-respect.

Energy:

Carl was a very angry person. He didn’t realize it but for years his angry energy was taking an unseen toll on the cells in his body. After embarking on a spiritual path he found with the Holy Spirit the sources of his anger and worked them out. He didn’t know it but the positive changes in his energy had a positive, healthy effect on the cells in his body. If he had continued on as angry he would’ve experienced a grave illness when he was older. But his new attitude changed his energy in a positive way and halted the damage to the cells in his body. What he did see, however, was that his change in energy had an effect on those around him. His relationships became more harmonious and positive opportunities showed up at work and in his personal life.

Sometimes there is confusion about the cause for what shows up in the world because you may have a spiritual break-through at the same time something you need shows up. For example, you may hit bottom in a situation and be finally open for help. You may call out to the Holy Spirit, consciously or unconsciously. Then the help you need shows up in form. It can seem that the Holy Spirit supplied the help but what shows up in form is caused at the level of form. Where the Holy Spirit comes into it is in your recognition of the answer for your call for help. For example:

Hernanda was a compulsive over-eater and was grossly overweight. She had been on and off diets and food plans all of her adult life but she could not manage her eating. For years those around her have suggested she get help and she tried different things but she was not yet willing. When she reached middle-age she was diagnosed with diabetes. This terrified her and she hit bottom. She cried out to the Holy Spirit for help and this time she meant it. She remembered a therapist/life-coach/personal trainer she had worked with briefly years before. She recognized that this was the help she needed to get back her health. She got off to a rocky start but she stuck with it and in time lost the weight to reverse the diabetes and has been able to maintain a healthy diet with rare slips.


Help at the level of form was always there for Hernanda, but when she was truly willing the Holy Spirit was able to guide her to the form of help that would work for her at that 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, December 14, 2016

You Are Not A Victim; You Are Making A Choice

Often I hear from clients who are in painful situations that they are not ready to leave. They feel powerless but they are not. And this is what I show them. They are in the situation because something they value in the situation outweighs the pain of the situation. When I point this out they find what it is that they value and they feel empowered. They realize that nothing is being done to them; they are at choice.

Here are some examples. (These are generic and not from any client’s specific story):

Bob’s boss, Teri, finds reasons to blame Bob for things that go wrong even when Bob is not responsible. Bob has examined his own behavior in each situation and taken responsibility where it is appropriate. But he’s also learned from other employees who have worked for Teri longer than Bob has that Teri always finds a scapegoat. And now it is Bob. Bob is unhappy and feels powerless. But he doesn’t leave because he needs the income and he has no other job prospects. When it is pointed out to him that he chooses to stay because his desire for the income outweighs the pain of staying Bob feels better. Whenever he is tempted to feel like a victim he reminds himself that he is making a choice and why he is making that choice. This make him feel empowered and he finds he is able to push back in a charge-neutral way when Teri blames him for mistakes that are not his. This has made his job less stressful.

Janelle’s Aunt Betty is a bitter, complaining woman who is never satisfied and never grateful. Betty is elderly and needs a lot of assistance around the home and with errand-running and doctor visits. Janelle is the one in the family who has the time to take care of Betty but she resents this. Betty is very hard to be around. When asked why she takes care of Betty, Janelle thinks about it and says it is because family is important to her. She also does not want to have any regrets when Betty is gone. She wants to be able to look at herself as a “good niece”. It is pointed out to Janelle that she takes care of Betty for herself. After recognizing this, when she is tempted to feel like a victim, Janelle is able to remind herself, “I am doing this for myself. I am doing this because family, no matter how obnoxious, is important to me. I am doing this so that I don’t have regrets later.” She has shifted to feeling empowered about taking care of Betty. Feeling empowered she has also found compassion for Betty, who Janelle now realizes is just a frightened old lady. She still does not enjoy taking care of Betty but she no longer feels powerless.

Krista is unhappy in her marriage to Mark. He is selfish and distant and has no interest in learning and growing to make their marriage better. When asked why she stays she says that if she leaves him her income will be enough to live on but her lifestyle will be greatly reduced. Wavering between staying and leaving has been a very close thing. Until now maintaining her lifestyle only just outweighed the pain of staying in the relationship. When she sees that staying is her choice based on her values she realizes she is not a victim. She comes to the realization that her fear of a lifestyle change is really not greater than the pain of staying in a dead-end relationship. She feels empowered to make the choice to leave.

In any situation in which you are unhappy you are always at choice. The power is yours. You stay because the pain (fear and/or practical considerations) of leaving outweighs the pain of staying. Be honest with yourself. Find what it is that you value more than what you would gain by leaving. Then you will understand your choice, accept it, and feel empowered. Or you will find that what you thought you valued is not really worth more than what you expect to gain by leaving the situation and you will be empowered to act.


(By the way, you can apply this to the question, “Why do I keep going back to ego?” You go back because you think it has something of value for you. You are not a victim of the ego; you are the one making the choice. When you learn that Truth is more valuable you will stop choosing ego.)

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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, December 07, 2016

Ask: When we attack aren't we projecting guilt?

We often hear that when we attack another in thought or action we are attacking ourselves. I wonder. Aren't we simply projecting our guilt and in so doing we are avoiding looking at that guilt which in turn reinforces it, thus delaying its release? Or is that the equivalent of self-attack?” – ES

You attack when you feel you need to defend yourself. And you feel that you need to defend yourself when you feel vulnerable. So you must be identifying with a self in a body in a world. This mistake is described in A Course in Miracles as an “attack” on yourself. So in any situation where you perceive that attack is real, whether you are the attacked or the one doing the attacking, the first attack you make is the one yourself. All other attacks then proceed from this first error.


Part of the error of perceiving yourself as a self in a body in a world is to believe that guilt is real. Yes, you are projecting guilt when you attack others. You really believe the guilt is in you but you try to get rid of it by seeing it in others and seeing yourself as an “innocent” victim. This is the ego’s (personal thought system’s) “solution” for the discomfort you feel in guilt. Yes, this is a way to avoid acknowledging that you really believe the guilt is in you. And, yes again, this reinforces guilt in your mind and delays your undoing your belief in guilt. You can only undo guilt where you really believe it is. So delay, too, could be seen as a further “attack” on yourself.

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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.