Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ask: Since my body is an illusion what's the point in taking care of it?

“…I understand that everything is an illusion, just as Einstein discovered with his telescope, no matter just energy. But what I'm having a problem understanding is, since my body is an illusion, what's the point in trying to eat properly and taking supplements and curing disease naturally that enters my body, all of which are illusions?...” – AM
           
            Before I get to your question, let me clarify that Truth is formless so the universe of form is the illusion. There is no relationship between Truth (Formlessness) and illusion (form); they are diametrically opposed. What Einstein discerned and then proved with math (not a telescope) about matter being made up of energy (form, too, though invisible) is an explanation for how the universe of form works. He did not reveal what A Course in Miracles means by “illusion”. This will never be revealed through science because science always validates form, visible or invisible. Science “proves” that form (illusion) is real. Truth cannot be “proven” through objective “evidence”. Truth is a wholly subjective experience.
Your question is a common one and one that comes from what I call the “pouting ego (personal thought system)”. You have read in a book that the body is an illusion. This makes the ego uncomfortable so it goes on the attack and gets petulant: “If it’s not real then why should I take care of it?” Of course, the ego will never see or understand that the body is not real. And if you really understood that the body is not real you would not have this question. You could just as easily ask, “Since the body is not real, why should I not take care of it?” From the perspective of Truth it does not matter one way or the other what you do with the body. The decision is always one within the illusion.
            Motivation (“why”) and judgment are ego postures. When you are aware that the Truth is true you do no seek for motivation for or judge what the body does or does not do. You forgive it, which means you let it be without judgment. You find yourself taking care of the body according to what it needs in the context in which you find it. Your care for the body comes naturally without a “why?”

            If you are not yet at a stage where your care for the body comes without thought then use your concern for the body to grow your awareness of Truth. Ask the Holy Spirit within you, “Do I need to do anything to take care of this body? If so, what? I’m open to Your guidance.”

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Learn 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.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Ask: (#4) How do I know if I've misunderstood something I've read?

(This is the conclusion of a conversation published as the March 21, 28, and April 4 articles).
 “So what you're saying is I shouldn't derive my sense of self from this world because it's not real? Why does it feel real to me? I've realized I misunderstood my readings of the Course, so now I'm doubting whether to continue studying the Course or not. How do I know if I've misunderstood something or not?” – KR

It feels real to you because you were born into this consciousness and you don’t question its reality until something happens to make you question it.  Workbook Lesson #132 discusses this a bit:

“There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach. Not everyone is ready to accept it, and each one must go as far as he can let himself be led along the road to truth…But healing is the gift of those who are prepared to learn there is no world, and can accept the lesson now. Their readiness will bring the lesson to them in some form which they can understand and recognize. Some see it suddenly on point of death, and rise to teach it. Others find it in experience that is not of this world…And some will find it in this course…” (W-132.6-8)

For most who have an experience that shows them that the world is not reality there is an unconscious readiness to learn Truth that opens them to the experience.

As you study the Course you will find things that do not line up with what you have believed before. And you will find things that do not line up with what you thought you already understood in the Course. This is how you will know that you have not understood. And this is why it takes many, many years of deep study with the Holy Spirit. It is a process of undoing a belief system that you thought was real. It is a life-long process that starts with a lot of confusion and even disorientation but leads to true, lasting peace, joy, and clarity. I have found these past 30 years worth it because peace has come to stay for me, but I can tell you the beginning was very hard and I often regretted starting it! Whether or not you are ready to learn it is not something I can judge. And you may not be able to judge for yourself. This is something for you to bring to the Holy Spirit.

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Learn 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.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the ACIM Newsletter/Blog.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Ask: (#3) How can there not be a connection between Truth and you as a person?

(This is a continuation of a conversation published as the March 21 and 28 articles).
 “…You have said, ‘I think you may be locked in the old, religious habit of spiritualizing the ego. That’s when you think that there is a connection between the Truth and what you do or do not do as a person’. By judging me as thinking from 'old religious habit of spiritualizing the ego' haven't you contradicted yourself and judged me from the ego?
            Also, how can there not be a connection between the Truth and what you do or do not do as a person? That's clearly separation thinking because WE ARE TRUTH. How then am I so calm and less stressed out since I started studying the Course? As I study the Course and Jesus points me gently towards the Truth I feel peaceful even for a little bit, why is that? If there is no connection between Truth and what I do as a person?
            You have said you spend your experience, energy and time with your clients in exchange for money- so aren't you valuing your worldly abilities in this dream world therefore reinforcing the ego?..” – KR

There is a difference between judging and merely observing. Judgment applies a meaning (right/wrong, good/bad) and results in an emotional charge. When you merely observe you do not give any meaning (right/wrong, good/bad) and you feel no emotional charge. I was simply asking you to look at your thinking. I was not implying that your thinking was right or wrong or good or bad, but that you may find it is an obstacle to peace.
The self is not Truth. The self is the illusion that A Course in Miracles talks about. The Truth (God) within your mind is reality. The body/personality/ego is not reality. You are calm since you started reading the Course because it points you to the Truth within yourself. But if you want to experience only peace you will have to release yourself from your identification with a self.
            When I say that there is no connection between what you do as a person and Truth I mean that what you do as a person has no effect on Truth. Truth goes on untouched by the self in any way. The self is only a projection of your mind so your awareness of the Truth affects your projection of the self. But what the self does or does not do does not affect Truth in any way. So there is no reason to give meaning (right/wrong, good/bad) to what the self does.
It is this teaching – that nothing real is occurring in your experience of a self in a world because God (Truth) goes on untouched by any of it – that sets A Course in Miracles apart from other teachings. It is a teaching in absolute forgiveness that releases you from guilt and fear of punishment. Of course other teachings – Hinduism, Buddhism, for example - teach that the self and its world are all an illusion. But as far as I know only ACIM actually helps you do the psychological work necessary to release yourself from the unconscious and conscious belief in guilt that is the primary obstacle to peace.
Yes, this self in my mind exchanges its experience, energy, etc. for money because I have evaluated these as worth something. I leave it up to others, however, as to whether or not what I offer has value for them. That is the way that the world works. But I no longer evaluate myself by what the self has to offer. If I did, then, yes, it would reinforce the ego in me and be an obstacle to peace. But the Truth is true for me now and I let go of the self – which means I let it be, and let it do what it does, without judgment.

What changes as you go along in this process is not what you do in the world, but from which thought system you approach the world. So your life in the world looks like any ordinary life, but you experience peace within because you come from an awareness that Truth, not the self, is Reality.

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Learn about the book 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.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the ACIM Mentor newsletter/blog.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ask: (#2) By making people your clients aren't you reinforcing separation?

(This is a continuation of a conversation that began in the March 21 article).
“Thank you very much for answering. I'm so happy that at least one spiritual teacher answered instead of ignoring…I'm also a student of A Course in Miracles, I've recently started studying of my own accord. Jesus says there's really only one of Us in reality and that this world is a dream, a hallucination of the One Mind. The belief that we are separate from Him and God is the only belief that needs healing. We are all the Sonship. Therefore answer me this, would you ask for money from your family? By making people as your 'clients' instead of brothers and sisters of the One Family, aren't you reinforcing the idea of separation? Therefore contradicting your 'teachings'? People may assume that you're a con artist instead of a 'spiritual teacher' in that case, making millions off 'spirituality' when in reality Truth is abundant and available to anyone at anytime. I am slightly aware of the Holy Spirit within me since I started studying the Course. It is not my place to judge or condemn you in any manner, but these questions are genuine and have been in my mind for a long time…Also, please do me a favor and ask your readers to question everything and not take things for granted. Ask them to read the Course to learn directly from the Holy Spirit and not from their projections. Thank you.” – KR

            We are one in Truth (God), meaning the Truth in each mind is the same Truth. But we are not one as people. One formless Being (God) is reality. The illusion is the idea that there are separate minds in separate bodies in a world. So the goal is not to make the illusion like Truth, but to let it go to be aware of the one and only Being-that-is. The goal is to become aware that the universe of form is not Reality, but that the one Being that is the Truth in your mind is Reality.
And yes, I would take money from my siblings for my professional services. I used to clean houses for a living and my parents, one of my sisters, and my nephew were all clients of mine at some point. They all paid me full price for my professional services. The fact that the work that I do in the world now is spiritual in nature does not make it somehow different from any other work I would do in the world. It is no different to me than housecleaning was. It is just a job that I enjoy and that comes naturally to me.
The reason I do not feel guilty for taking money for my services is that I do not judge money, or needing to earn money to live in the world, as “wrong” or “bad”. This is simply the way that the world works. I accept this without judgment because the world is not my reality. Judging the world is what made it real to me. But I have learned that Truth is my Reality. This is not just theory for me. It has become my experience.
I am not conning anyone. I’m very open about what I do. Also, I do not make millions! That would be nice, but it is not necessary to me. My income from mentoring, the donations people send me for my newsletter, and the royalties off my books came to a grand total of $30,000 (gross) last year. (And it was only that high because one of my royalty checks from O-Books for 2012 came in 2013). This is the most I have earned in a year since I started mentoring in 2006.
I think you may be locked in the old, religious habit of spiritualizing the ego. That’s when you think that there is a connection between the Truth and what you do or do not do as a person. There is none. The Truth is untouched by anything that happens in the universe of form. Being aware of this is what A Course in Miracles teaches is true forgiveness. The Truth in you is already whole and perfect and untouched by the personal experience. You do not have to make the self be “good” or “right”. You do not have to perfect it and make it Truth-like. If you want peace you only have to be willing to release the personal as your reality so that you can become aware of your Reality in Truth.

There is no god outside of you holding the self accountable so there is no reason to judge what the self does in the world. It has no meaning in Reality, and judging it is what makes it real to you and causes any sense of separation.

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Learn 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.
If you have a question the answer to which you think may help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ask: (#1) Why do you and other teachers charge money?

(This article is the first of four in a dialogue with the same questioner that will be published here today and through the next 3 weeks).
I would really like to know why all spiritual teachers I've come across including yourself ask for money in return for teaching people about God. No one has ever answered me this question, so please answer me. Why are you making the Truth corporate? Jesus didn't ask for money or anything in return to teach people about God.” – KR

I cannot speak for others, but I offer a service that no one needs but that some may want. Obviously God (True Being) is in every mind so no one needs me to bring God to them. But some want to grow their awareness of God and I offer assistance with that. And just as everyone brings to their work, I offer my time, energy, attention, education, and experience. I ask for money in exchange for all of this because money is required to exchange for things that facilitate living in the world. So my business is just a business like any other. It is not somehow “special” just because the services I offer are of a spiritual nature. My services are intended to point people inward toward Truth if they are open to It. But like all form it is not Truth itself.
I do not claim to be Jesus or even like Jesus. I cannot speak to His motivations because of course there are as many Jesus’s as there are people who think about Him! What someone tells you they see in Jesus tells you about them and nothing about Jesus.
            Please look to see if you are giving absolute-moral meaning to money or the earning of money. Like all form, money and the earning of money has no meaning in itself. Any meaning that you see you give to it. And giving absolute-moral meaning to things in the world comes from the belief that guilt is real and that you will be punished. Behind this is a belief that there is a god outside of you who decrees an absolute morality that you must follow in the world or be punished. Of course, this god does not exist. It is a construct of the ego meant to hold guilt and the ego in your mind. But believing in this god is the source of guilt and fear. This belief is what you must undo with the Holy Spirit to be at peace.

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Learn 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.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ask: Which Workbook lessons helped you bring your awareness back to Truth?

“…What are your favourite Workbook lessons?  Which ones have you personally found to be the most useful for bringing your awareness back to Truth?  Are there any which you found yourself repeating more frequently than others, as you trained your mind?” – OT

This June it will be 30 years since I started A Course in Miracles. I did the Workbook right away, at the same time that I also dove into the Text and Manual for Teachers (I was hungry for it all!). So it has been a very long time since I’ve done the Workbook. I do not remember which lessons resonated with me back then. I do know that I thought I did a lousy job of it. But a lot more of it sunk in than I was aware of at the time.
I can say that the idea in one of them which says something like, “We say God is and then we cease to speak” was one I was brought back to again and again in many different forms by the Holy Spirit (Teacher of Truth in my mind). The most transformative practice for me has been to simply open my mind to God (Truth, Reality) without any goal but to be aware of God. This practice has brought the greatest insights and shifts toward peace.

Much later I was given another thought by the Holy Spirit which helped to keep my mind centered in Truth: “Only God is Real.” Whenever I was tempted to get caught up in the world I’d use this thought to remind me that only my experiences of God are real and I can let go of the rest.

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Learn 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.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ask: If individuality falls away how was Jesus able to dictate ACIM?

“…If we are not really individuals once we leave this illusional world how was Jesus able to communicate as a former individual self to dictate the course?  Is there a memory of who we once were (which would explain near death experiences where people meet loved ones) that remains with us when we return to our oneness?  Is all of who we thought we were here in this illusion forgotten?  If that is the case, it makes Jesus claim of being a former body confusing to me…”

            The story of Jesus is one of a man who became so aware of God (True Being) that he stopped identifying as a man and identified with God instead. In A Course in Miracles this awareness is called “Christ”. The potential for this awareness is in every mind because God is in every mind. But for some “Christ” is too abstract an idea so they need a concrete symbol. “Jesus” can be a symbol of the Christ in every mind and some find this useful. Others need a role model that they feel they can follow and their story of Jesus serves as that for them. And for still others, it is too frightening for them at first to think of Christ within their own mind. In their guilt they do not feel worthy and fear that they will be punished for thinking that Christ is within them. So they temporarily need Jesus as a way to keep some distance between themselves and Christ.
Helen Shucman heard Christ in her own mind and she identified It as “Jesus”. Just as your personal story is just a story anything that you think about Jesus is just a story, too. There are as many stories for Jesus as there are people who think about Him! As ACIM points out, we make an ego not just for ourselves but for everyone we meet. It is the same with those we never meet but just think about. But if you are open to Truth then the idea of Jesus can serve as a useful symbol of Truth until you no longer need symbols.

In my experiences of direct Revelation of God there is only one Being extending infinitely and eternally. There is no memory or thought of this personal experience. In God there is only God. To understand this is to understand the true forgiveness that the story of Jesus can represent.

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Learn 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.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog.