Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ask: Why do I have sudden thoughts about perceived attacks in the past?

“Let's say I'm going about my business feeling no stress, conflict or pain and suddenly, "out of the blue" comes some disturbing thought about a person/incident from the past which feels like I'm under attack, requiring me to defend and counterattack etc. I haven't seen this person for years, they're not in my life but there they are. While I believe that circumstances and people don't create feelings in us but rather we project our feelings onto them (it's entirely my movie), what I don't get is the suddenness, and absence of current context for these thoughts. Why now?...” – ES

What you describe is when something of which you are not conscious, or not fully conscious, triggers a memory of a person or circumstance. It may be some object your eyes light upon, a snatch of music or another sound, a body memory, or a train of thought that you had not been consciously following. It may also be that if the ego (personal thought system) in your mind feels threatened by your spiritual practice and experiences it recalls people and incidents to distract you. It may use the “rewards” of feeling a victim as soon as you, often unconsciously, glance its way. Sometimes these memories come up because of a chemical change in the body that induces feelings that cause you to recall when you had those feelings before.
So there is a current cause for the thoughts. You are just not consciously aware of it. In any case the cause is not important. What’s important is these memories still evoke a strong emotional reaction in you. This indicates that you still have unconscious beliefs in guilt and fear to undo. So these memories, no matter how they are evoked, give you an opportunity to undo your obstacles to 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.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ask: Why do I keep passing out into peace?

“When I read the text, the manual and/or the lessons, I invariably fall asleep with the book open in front of me, often even when I’m fresh soon after waking. I first read the Course nearly 30 years ago. Ever since, it happens each time I read the Course, including your “Message of…” versions of them. It does not happen when I read them with a group. But this falling asleep — more like passing out — is often a remarkable experience because when I wake I experience a sense of release, clarity, energy, and a great welcome for what is happening in the present. It’s something more than merely waking from a nap or even from a deep night’s sleep. The words of the Course seem to have so much power that they virtually sort through my thoughts and find a new place, such that “my” thoughts seem to be set aside. The result is that I feel a great sense of peace even though I’m perplexed why I seem to pass out while reading. Is this an experience you’ve had, and is there a way that I can be conscious of its purpose and value?” – GB

When I was first a student of A Course in Miracles I would read a paragraph in the Text and fall asleep. I could not keep myself awake, no matter the time of day or that I was an otherwise vigorous and energetic 20 year old. This was clearly a form of resistance because it totally interfered with my studying. But what you describe does not sound like a form of resistance. It seems like your unique way of absorbing the Course.
I have not heard of this before. But I have heard from others that they sometimes have dreams at night that seem to lead to a similar experience though they do not always remember the dream or the dream itself seems unremarkable. Something is going on in the unconscious in these experiences. And you stated the purpose and value of them yourself: “…I experience a sense of release, clarity, energy, and a great welcome for what is happening in the present The result is that I feel a great sense of 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, December 03, 2014

Ask: Can you clarify the terms mind, awareness, etc.?

You say that we are mind but I read others who say mind does not exist. Then there are terms like awareness, consciousness, and perception that seem to be used in different ways by different teachers. I get very confused. Can you clarify?

            You are correct that these terms are used by spiritual teachers in various contradictory or interchangeable ways. I cannot clarify how anyone else uses them. But I will clarify how I use them.
Before I do that, however, I want to point out that these contradictions can be useful if you are a serious student of spiritual material. Words are symbols and will never mean the same thing to everyone. Discerning how a teacher uses these words can be a way of both deepening your understanding of their teaching and your own understanding of the ideas that the words represent. So bring your confusion to the Teacher of Truth (Holy Spirit) in your mind and look at them. How do you use these words? How does the teacher that you are studying use them? Is there a difference? If so, what does it show you about what you believe? What does it reveal about their teaching? How is their teaching different from what you already believed? How is it different from what else you’ve studied? If you do not think about what you read, you are not studying, you are just reading.
            I use the term “Mind”, when capitalized, to refer to the aspect of Being through Which Being knows Itself. In Truth, to know and to be are the same experience. So for me Mind and Being are synonymous. Mind/Being is formless, limitless, and timeless. It simply is. When teaching about Truth it makes sense to me to speak in terms of “mind” rather than “being” because the obstacles to being aware of True Being are thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. These are what make it necessary to speak of Mind as an “aspect” of Being as though What is One has parts.
            The part of Mind where the idea of Its Own opposite seems to be I call the “split-mind”. The split-mind seems to be split-off from Mind, seems to be split between Truth (Mind) and illusion (awareness, consciousness, perception and their object, the universe of form), and seems to be split within itself into billions of different versions of itself. When speaking of it in a seemingly-individual form, as “mind”, I use the lower-case “m”. Mind in this context no longer knows its Own Being. Instead it thinks (which is a form of doing rather than being). What it thinks about is what it is aware of, is conscious of, or perceives, either Truth (Mind) or illusion (the universe of form). So it is further split into “subject” (mind) and “object” (universe of form) as its thoughts are projected away from it. It identifies in particular with one of its projected thoughts, a self (body/personality), which it thinks surrounds it.
However, every mind is really still a part of Mind and can become aware of this. So your awareness (consciousness, perception) can transcend your belief in form-as-reality and realize that formless Mind is reality. You do this first by becoming aware of the Truth (Mind/Being) in your mind and allowing this awareness (which I call the Teacher of Truth or Holy Spirit) to help you change your thoughts so that they are aligned with Truth. By attending to your mind and its activity you eventually realize that mind, not the forms it observes, is reality and is also the source of what it observes. You become aware of both the one split-mind that is the source of the universe of form and of the Eternally Unified Mind (Truth) beyond even that. In time, your awareness of the Eternally Unified Mind reaches a point where you are ready to stop all thinking with the thought system in your mind that is about being a self in a body in a world (ego/personal thought system). At this stage you perceive the nothingness of form. Your seemingly-individual mind no longer seems to be apart from the universe of form or from Mind.
This highest awareness (consciousness, perception), however, is not True Being Itself. It is a transitional stage that prepares your mind to drop all awareness (consciousness, perception) and form. You are ready for the “last step” in which your mind will blend wholly with Mind. In True Mind/Being there are no thoughts or other forms, so no awareness (perception, consciousness) and no subject-object. Just Mind/Being extending without limit.

            So, the way I use the terms, awareness, consciousness, and perception are activities of the mind that can be used to stay in denial of Mind. Or they can be used to return mind to Mind, at which point they must fall away.

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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, November 26, 2014

Ask: Why can't both God and the world be real?

Why does it have to be “non-duality”? Why can’t duality be real? Why can’t both God and the world be real?

            It’s not that it “has to be” non-duality. It’s just the way it is! Truth, or Reality, Which is what is meant by “God” in A Course in Miracles, is an experience of Being extending infinitely and eternally. There is nothing else in the experience. It is whole and complete in Itself. It is one both in the sense that It is whole and that It is All-That-is.
            Once you have this experience, either in direct Revelation (only God) or in a higher miracle (an awareness that only God is real while still being aware of the world), you understand that Reality is really beyond the world that you thought was reality. It reveals to you that the world has no more substance than vapor.
            But aside from the experience itself, which is really the only thing that will convince you that there is only one Reality and It is God, logic shows that something cannot be something else and still be itself. For example, an apple cannot be an orange and still be an apple. Nor can it blend with an orange and still be an apple. A hybrid applange would not be an apple. It would be its own thing.
            So it is with God. Formlessness (God) cannot be form and still be Formless. Wholeness (God) cannot lack and still be Whole. Limitlessness cannot be limited and still be Limitless. Truth cannot be not-Truth and still be Truth. There can only be one Truth, or Reality. And It cannot oppose Itself and still be Itself. That’s why it “has to be” non-duality.

            Keep in mind that you experience duality only because you are in denial. You seem to be split against yourself. And this is what gives you the sense that there is an inside of you and an outside of you (the world, a god), right and wrong, Heaven and earth, subject and object, etc. when actually your Reality is an undivided Whole. When you experience This it is because denial has fallen away.

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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, November 19, 2014

Ask: What's the difference between being a sociopath and being detached?

What’s the difference between a sociopath and the kind of detachment you seem to teach is desirable? (November 19, 2014)

A sociopath is someone who has a disorder that makes them unable to feel empathy for others. They are amoral (without morality) because they cannot understand the consequences of their actions on others. Psychologists report that sociopaths are actually deeply enraged. Anger is a defensive response so they are deeply fearful. Their ego’s (personal thought system’s) view of the world is very real to them.
The detachment that I write about is the natural result of you being aware that only the Truth is true. So you no longer respond to the world with the emotions you did when the ego’s (personal thought system’s) interpretations of the world were real to you. In the awareness that only the Truth is true you feel whole. This is the same as saying that you feel an abundance of Love. So the self in your mind behaves in ways that are more likely to be considered “moral” by the world. You remember what pain was like so the self expresses compassion to others even though you know that pain is not real. You do not make others’ pain your pain but the self responds to their expressions of pain because the pain is real to them.

            There is a misperception that “detachment” means “coldness”. And it is true that some unhealthy people may perceive you as “cold” when you choose to no longer play emotional games with them or you put up healthy boundaries to which they are not accustomed. But when you come from Truth healthy people will find you warm and loving.

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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, November 12, 2014

Ask: What authority assigned attributes to God in ACIM?

“Can you tell me if "God" and "Father" are the same in ACIM? Where does the authority come from to assign God attributes other than to say "God is". (Frankly, I even wonder where the "God is" emanates from?) The scriptures have some horrendous qualities designated to God but ACIM, although positive qualities, must have come from some knowledge given to Helen? Can you share your thoughts as to where the attributes assigned to God in ACIM originated?” – J

            Yes, “God” and “Father” are the same in A Course in Miracles. However, as with most everything in ACIM these symbols mean something very different from the way the world commonly uses them. “God” does not mean an authoritative being that brought the universe of form into being. “God” means Reality or Truth, Which is beyond the universe of form. God is the one Being that is. Everything else is an illusion.
            “Father” in ACIM refers to God in God’s Totality where “Son of God” refers to the Part of God that seems split off from God in a universe of form. This Part of God also seems split within itself between God and not-God. (What seems like “your” mind is a version of this split mind). Keep in mind that God does not really have “parts”. “Father” and “Son” and “Part” are designations that are only useful while God still seems apart from you. They are the symbols that you can use to become aware of God within you. Eventually they fall away when you come to realize that there is only one Being and It is God. This is the experience “God is” and it emanates from God within you.
            God is all that is real in any mind. And God is in every mind whether one is aware of this or not. Helen Schucman heard the Voice for God (what ACIM calls “Christ” or “Holy Spirit”) in her own mind. She labeled this Voice “Jesus” because she needed a tangible symbol for It. This is the Voice that dictated ACIM to Helen. So God is the Authority that assigned attributes to the symbol “God” in ACIM.
            The Preface to ACIM tells some of the originating story for ACIM. But you may also be interested in the book, Journey Without Distance, by Robert Skutch. It tells the story of how ACIM came to be. It is always important to understand the context in which a spiritual teaching arose. The context should inform your study.

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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, November 05, 2014

Ask: Is my life chaotic because I'm working ACIM?

“You have commented several times that when individuals start to seriously work with the Course, they can experience a lot of upheaval: bankruptcy, divorce, foreclosure on their house, etc. Why is that? I ask because it does seem that every time I really devote myself to Course study, “bad” things in my world start to happen. Then I back away from the Course for a bit, primarily because I’m trying to deal with all the issues created. For instance, the last time I was doing Workbook lessons daily, as well as spending time with Holy Spirit twice a day, I experienced a car break down on the highway, the HVAC system in our house died (much earlier than expected), the water heater went right after it (also unexpected according to its age), I was ticketed by a police officer for something I’m pretty sure I didn’t do, and I was disqualified for a large rebate I was counting on due to a mistake someone else made. This was all in one month. My life isn’t usually this chaotic. What is really going on?
I should add that it’s not all adverse because I do find that I’m coping somewhat better with all the unforeseen events than I may have in the past. And I try to remember to call on HS when I’m feeling fearful and upset. But it does distract me from the Course as more time is taken in trying to evaluate new purchases, worry about the money to pay for them, decide whether to go to traffic court and contest the ticket, and negotiate with the merchant who gave me the incorrect information about the product I was buying. So I get more anchored in this magical world once again. That doesn’t seem to align with the aim of the Course.” – MD

What you hear me refer to is a person’s life aligning with the changes in themselves as they undo the guilt, shame, fear, and false values on which they built their lives. For example, a woman marries a man she thinks she “should” to please others, they live a lifestyle beyond their means because they feel this show of prosperity is necessary to feel good about themselves, and she stays in a job she hates to maintain that lifestyle. In her pain she starts seeking relief and finds something like A Course in Miracles which tells her that she is inherently worthy and does not have to seek outside herself for love and acceptance. As she accepts these ideas it’s apparent that she made life choices from a sense of unworthiness. Her outer life is completely out of accord with her new awareness of her inherent value. So she goes through divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and temporary unemployment as her outer life realigns with her inner awareness. In time her outer life will settle down again as an authentic representation of her sense of worth.
What you are talking about is something different. These are just the petty, everyday disruptions to which you are meant to apply the Workbook lessons. Nothing special is occurring, but you are making them special by giving them special meaning. Threatened by your study of ACIM, the ego (personal thought system) in your mind interprets these events as being caused by you working the lessons. So it advises you to stop the lessons rather than to apply them to these occurrences as they are meant to be applied!

            Disruptions in the self’s life are not going to stop because you are a student of A Course in Miracles. Sometimes these disruptions happen in a cluster, but this does not have special meaning. These disruptions are the very classroom in which you are meant to apply ACIM. You can be distracted by them, or, as you said, you can invite the Holy Spirit into them with you. If you do the latter they become the means to remember Truth rather than to forget It.

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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.