Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Problem with "Love"

“Love” is one of those words that I wish was not used in spirituality. We use the word in two ways when discussing human love and only one of them describes the experience of True Love. This leads to confusion as the two ideas become conflated.

As humans when we say “I love you” we mean “I like you a lot”, “I enjoy you”, “I enjoy being with you”, “I like how I feel about myself when I am with you”, “I enjoy the role that I play in our relationship”, “I am grateful to you for the role that you play in our relationship” and/or “I’m obligated to you through a family connection”. In these contexts “I love you” really means “I am attached to you in some way”.

We feel attachment-love only when we love others not when others love us. When others attachment-love us what we experience is a safe place to be ourselves. Others’ attachment-love for us brings emotional and practical support to our lives in the world. But their experience of attachment-love for us does not leave them and then go into us. If we don’t value ourselves their stating, or even demonstrating, their attachment-love for us is meaningless to us.

The experience of attachment-love is valuable for preserving the human race and for preserving and enhancing individual human lives. But the experience does not make you feel whole. And “wholeness” is the other meaning we have for “love”.

When we speak of True Love – spiritual “love”, or “God’s Love” – what we mean is an experience of wholeness. It is an experience of abundance rather than lack. And this is what we really seek in our relationships with others. This is what we hope to find in our love for others or in their love for us. And human attachment-love does not provide this. It is inherently limited.

Human attachment-love is always directed toward someone or something. True Love, as an experience of wholeness, is not directed toward anyone or anything. It is an internal experience that you carry with you. So you can understand the confusion that comes with spiritual directives like, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” From a human point of view you think this means you have to like everyone! And this is of course not possible so you end up feeling like a failure. But if you understand that “love” in this context means “wholeness” you understand that to love your neighbor as yourself is to come from your awareness of your wholeness in Truth in your relationship with them. And to recognize that no matter how they appear to you or what they seem to think that they too are whole in the Truth in their mind. You hold in your mind that Truth is all that is true no matter what is appearing.

In your awareness of True Love you do not direct love only toward certain others. You come from your awareness of your wholeness in your relationships with all, regardless of whether they are close to you or are strangers; whether you like them or not. You still feel attachment to those close to you simply out of familiarity. And your personality will enjoy some people more than others. But you do not ask anyone to make you whole. You accept others as they are. And you are willing to let anyone go should it become necessary.


When you find yourself seeking to feel whole then you are not seeking human attachment-love. You are seeking for the True Love (abundant wholeness) that is your True Being. And you can only find this within. You grow your awareness that you already have It within you by choosing to come from this awareness in your relationships with others. This is the practice of “what you give you receive” or “what you teach you learn” that A Course in Miracles emphasizes. You can give only to yourself. And you can teach only yourself. You give to and teach yourself that lack is real when you choose to look for wholeness where you will not find it. And you give to and teach yourself that you are whole when you come from your awareness of abundant wholeness (True Love) within you as you interact with the world.

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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, January 21, 2015

Ask: I had an insight and then seemed to totally lose it. What happened?

“Let's say I'm embroiled in some struggle with another person. They 'appear' as some kind of threat and the usual defend/attack scenario plays out - mostly in my head but sometimes spilling out into acting out behavior. Suddenly, a realization comes to me that the perceived threat is all made up (by me) ie. I had been attaching certain meaning to their behavior while in fact this person that I had demonized now appears as weak, clueless, ignorant or just can't help themselves or simply has another point of view. Now that the drama has been drained from the story, and all the meaning neutralized, I then realize that I need simply state my needs to that person, work out some compromise or move on. Peace at last. But then, a couple of hours later, much to my chagrin, the whole thing starts up all over again, sometimes with an even greater intensity than before! What happened?” – ES

            You are simply experiencing the process of accepting a new thought system (Holy Spirit/Teacher of Truth). The new thought system brings blessed relief. But you don’t trust it yet. And  the old thought system (ego/personal thought system), though painful, is familiar. It seems to give you something that you feel you lose with the new thought system. Going forward you will be in a process of learning that the old thought system does not give you anything of value. And you will learn to trust the new thought system.

            These flashes of insight are how accepting the thought system of the Holy Spirit begins. Take comfort in that you have begun the process. You will be back and forth between the two thought systems for a long while, but there is no turning back. You now know there is another way to look at things. And even though you may consciously forget this sometimes your subconscious knows it. The process will now happen of itself.

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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, January 14, 2015

Acceptance

Acceptance is one of those ideas that I see students resisting, largely because they confuse “acceptance” with “embracing” or “liking” or “condoning”. So when I say “Accept that growing your awareness of Truth is a process” or “Accept that your boss is unfair” or “Accept that you have a chronic illness” they think I am suggesting that they try to like or approve of these things. But what I mean by “acceptance” is “acknowledge a situation the way it is without resisting it or judging it”. Resisting or judging a situation is the way that you keep it in mind. It is the way that you hold onto it. Acceptance is the way that you let it go.

Resisting and judging close your mind. And a closed mind cannot hear the Holy Spirit (Teacher of Truth) in your mind. So acceptance is the way to open your mind to solutions to problems or to another way of looking at a situation. Judgment and resistance also add to the discomfort or pain of a situation. With acceptance you do not add to the discomfort or pain of an already uncomfortable or painful situation.


So “accepting that growing your awareness of Truth is a process” becomes the way in which you let the process unfold naturally. It keeps you open and willing. “Accepting that your boss is unfair” opens your mind to ways of working with her in the context of what you know about her. And “Accepting that you have a chronic illness” becomes the way in which you open your mind to ideas for taking care of the body.

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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, January 07, 2015

Ask: What is the best way to deal with idols?

“I now see clearly my attachment to various false idols - the so-called special relationships - those things of the world that appear as sources of peace but which I know intellectually, intuitively, and through endless disappointing experience can never deliver lasting peace. Nevertheless, they feel so real and appealing as I covet and pursue them on a daily basis. As bright as these golden calves seem to be, worshiping them is fraught with fear, and a gnawing sense of lack. Obsessing over them leads me down a distracting, dead end path. How best to deal with these obstacles to peace and ultimately get past them?” – ES

            The mind is always looking for relief from lack. You won’t let go of idols until you have something to replace them even though you recognize that ultimately they do not work.

            Only your awareness of Truth will bring the lasting sense of wholeness that you seek in idols. When you find your mind turning to an idol for relief remind yourself how you’ve learned it does not work. Remember specific examples of how it does not work. Then turn to Truth instead. Remember your experiences of Truth and remind yourself that only in Truth can you find the wholeness that you seek. Let yourself rest in Truth for a while. As your awareness of Truth grows you will find yourself longing less and less for the old, futile ways of looking for relief from lack.

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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 31, 2014

Safety in Defenselessness

 “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” (W-153)

            You have two thought systems in your mind. The ego is the thought system that teaches you that you are a self in a body in a world. Because this isn’t true when you identify with the self you experience lack and vulnerability. You spend your time defining and defending the self’s identity in an attempt to undo your sense of lack and to feel safe.
            The “defenselessness” referred to in this lesson is the other thought system in your mind, what A Course in Miracles calls the Holy Spirit. This thought system comes from the part of your mind that is always aware of God, or True Being. In this awareness you feel whole and complete. You feel safe so you have nothing to defend.
            So this lesson is not asking you to be defenseless in the ego. This is not possible, since it is inherently insecure. It is asking you to turn away from the ego thought system which teaches you that you lack and are vulnerable. Turn instead to the Truth within you in Which you are eternally Whole and Safe.
            Defensiveness shows up as anger. Defenselessness shows up as not taking a situation personally so you are charge-neutral, or without an emotional response. The ego always speaks first and emotionally. This will not change. But as you become aware of your wholeness in God you will learn to let the ego’s emotional reactions come up and go by. Then you will be able to choose to come from a rational, detached place rather than an emotional, personal place.

            As long as you identify with the ego you will be defensive. Accept this. There isn’t any reason to add to your guilt. It is not wrong or bad to be defensive. It comes from a mistaken idea about yourself. You will stop being defensive when God is real enough to you that you will be able to turn to your wholeness in God when you feel vulnerable and get relief. Until then, use conflicts to grow your awareness of God by turning inward and opening to God when you experience them. You will receive an answer that is helpful to you where you are.

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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 24, 2014

Ask: Will you read "A Course of Love"? If not, why not?

“….Last week I was reading Jon Mundy's magazine on the Course…. In his mag, there was an advertisement notice that there was a new book out, A Course of Lovewww.acourseoflove.com...Have you heard of this book?  Will you read it?  If you will not read it, why not?  I am curious to get your opinion about its close similarity to only knowing the Truth and meditating just on the Truth...” – SS


I heard of this book many years ago and I continue to get advertisements for it. But, no, I will not be reading it. The need to study fell away from me naturally many years ago. Since then I find reading spiritual material to be superfluous and, frankly, rather tedious. I can only liken this to reading a recipe for a dish I make every day. After a while the recipe becomes unnecessary and turning to it actually gets in the way of making the dish quickly and efficiently. So when I read spiritual material now I feel, “too many words”.  They are not necessary for me to experience Truth and they are a distraction from experiencing Truth. I get all I need from turning inward and communing with the Eternal Quiet.

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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 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.