Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ask: Can you take us through how forgiveness has changed for you?

Wondering if you could just take us through a day in the life for you in regards to "forgiving".  And maybe how you first started "forgiving" versus how you do it now.
From forgiving the whole world to forgiving a hang nail.  Sometimes it seems when I read about child abuse for example, and I say "it's not real" it kind of feels like I'm discounting the horrible pain the child has gone thru…it's just my projection seems kind of like a cop out or something.....I really do understand it's all a dream, but still. I've been doing my forgiveness work for almost 3 years now and I really don't feel any happier or peaceful and it's starting to zap my motivation.....
I do what the Course says:

1.      Notice it - acknowledge it's you/your projections
2.      Realize it isn't real/truth
3.      Release it to the Holy Spirit

Am I doing something wrong ? – DC

            The reason you cannot forgive is that the world and your projections onto it are still very real to you. You are trying to forgive from the ego.
            In the beginning it was the same for me. I finally gave up trying to forgive or to do anything that I thought I read in A Course in Miracles. I decided one day that I would focus on what I knew already worked for me: Communing with God (True Being) daily and maintaining my relationship with the Holy Spirit. I did this for a while, and nothing else, and lo and behold forgiveness happened of itself! This is why I emphasize growing your awareness of Truth rather than trying to forgive. Growing your awareness of Truth is the way to forgive. You do not forgive the world by looking at it and trying to convince yourself that it isn’t real. You forgive the world by looking away from it and toward Truth instead. To let go of the world you must become aware that the Truth is Reality. Otherwise all you’ve got is the ego and its projections.
            So when something comes up that disturbs your peace use it as a reminder to turn your mind to Truth. Don’t try to forgive it; just use it to remember Truth. As the Truth becomes true for you the world will become less true for you. Then you will not feel that you are copping out when you say it isn’t real. You will truly know that it isn’t real.

            Now I spend my day maintaining my awareness of Truth and forgiveness happens of itself. In fact, I don’t even think in terms of “forgiveness” anymore because there’s nothing there to forgive.

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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, September 17, 2014

Ask: Is the ache I feel for others a judgment?

Is the ‘ache’ I feel for others a judgment? …What I am experiencing is an overwhelming sadness/ache for others and I sense this is in fact the flip-side of the ego coin and is a form of judgment in its own right.  The arrogance of ‘feeling sorry for people’ perhaps, although it doesn’t feel like pity…I feel overwhelmed at times by this ‘ache’ for others, for the state of the world and so on.  I wonder if it is like any other projection that needs to be recognised for what it is, forgiven and released to the Holy Spirit?  That said, the ego tells me that if I felt neutral and peaceful over the plight of others I would be cold and heartless.  I understand that the pain and suffering of the world is not the Truth, but as a seeming person living ‘in it’ I can’t quite grasp that, although I get the metaphysics of it…” - AM

            You are projecting meaning (judgment – wrong/bad) onto what you see happening in others’ lives and responding to your projections of meaning as though they are real. You ache for others because you identify with them. In other words, you are looking out at others from the ego (personal thought system) rather than from an awareness of Truth (Holy Spirit). So you are using these situations to reinforce your belief in the ego in your mind. And, yes, as A Course in Miracles teaches, this is a judgment against yourself because the ego is not you.

“To empathize does not mean to join in suffering, for that is what you must refuse to understand. That is the ego's interpretation of empathy, and is always used to form a special relationship in which the suffering is shared. The capacity to empathize is very useful to the Holy Spirit, provided you let Him use it in His way. His way is very different. He does not understand suffering, and would have you teach it is not understandable. When He relates through you, He does not relate through your ego to another ego. He does not join in pain, understanding that healing pain is not accomplished by delusional attempts to enter into it, and lighten it by sharing the delusion.”(T-16.I.1)

As long as you see yourself as a “seeming person living ‘in it’ (the world)” you will not grasp how you can look on the world and see that suffering is not real. You must make the choice to let go of your identification with a self in a body in a world and to learn What is real. In a situation where you are confronted with a story of suffering you can turn away from the story, and therefore the ego in you, and remember that only God (your True Being) in you and in the other is real. This is true empathy. And this is how you can use these situations to remember the Truth instead of to reinforce your belief in the ego.
Of course to the ego your turning away from the ego and its projections appears cold and heartless. And as long as the ego and its projections of meaning seem real to you, you will agree with the ego on this. But as you grow your awareness of Truth you will find yourself overlooking what appears in the world. You will feel compassion for others in that they suffer, but you will know that what they suffer over is not real. In time you will also learn that their suffering is not real, either. But you cannot know this from the ego. You can only know this from an awareness that only the Truth is true.

In anticipation of the emails I will get let me say this about responding to others who seem to be suffering: No, you do not want to say to others that what they suffer over is not real. You do not want to tell them that their own suffering is not real. If you wish to do that you are coming from a competing ego not the Holy Spirit (your awareness of Truth). You just need to know for them that suffering is not real while they still think it is. You will find yourself saying things like, “I can see this really hurts you” or “I’m sorry you are hurting” and leaving it at that. For many, all they want is to be heard and understood. That’s all the love that they can accept in their belief that suffering is real. To love others in the world you meet them where they think they are, not where you want them or even know them to be.

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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, September 10, 2014

Ask: How are others just ideas in my mind?

A Course in Miracles tells us:Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability. He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives, which is equally variable.” (T-4.II.2) I have to admit that I have a hard time seeing how others are just ideas in my mind. There they are, a body, which seems so solid and real to me… (September 12, 2014)

The body, like all of the universe of form, is only an empty symbol onto which you project the idea of a “person”. For example, my mother died over 10 years ago and yet when I think of her I still get a feeling that I think of as “Mom”. It’s the same feeling I had when there was a body here onto which to project “Mom”. It’s really an aggregation of thoughts and the feelings to which they lead that I think of as “Mom”. Sometimes it is so vivid that it is as though she is present. So it’s pretty clear now that Mom’s body is gone that the body could not have been the source of my experience of “Mom”. Since I still feel her she must be an idea within me. And since it’s the same feeling I had when there was a body here she must have always been an idea within me.
            It’s the same with anyone who is not in the room with you right now. Think of someone still “alive” but whose body is not with you right now. You get a feeling that you think of as that person. That’s obviously coming from you because their body is not present to you right now. So they are only an idea – an aggregation of thoughts and the feelings to which they lead – in your mind. Your experience of them is coming from you. When they are with you their body says and does things, but those actions are meaningless in themselves. You give meaning and a story to those actions based on your story for yourself and your story for them. When you do not know this, you respond to the story in your mind as though it is a fact outside of you over which you have no control. But once you do know this you can deal with your thoughts and change your experience from conflict to peace.
            You learn that you are mind, and that everything is an idea in your mind, by watching your mind and seeing how it constructs with thoughts and ideas the world in which you think you live. This does require that you slow down and pay attention to what is going on in your mind. This is the practical way to learn that what you perceive in the universe of form is an illusion – merely a projection of ideas from your own mind.

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Read 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, September 03, 2014

Ask: Can you give examples of personally extending or creating?

“…Please can you give specific examples of how you personally "extend or create" as Truth?  My understanding is that as egos we extend and this is seen in all examples of projecting and then believing our projections as truth.  But egos' projections are illusions that end in chaos. For the awakened mind, instead of projecting it "extends or creates" in Truth.  Can you translate how as a unified One we constantly create? I recently read that Albert Einstein described himself as someone "just wanting to know the thoughts of God."  When I try to commune with Truth I try to just center myself on Truth so I might be able at some point "download" intuitive thoughts or feelings from the Truth. Creating peace. Don't know if perhaps this communing with the Truth inside me is the "extending or creating in Truth"?  Can you elaborate?” – SS

            As it does with so many terms, A Course in Miracles re-defines the word “creation”. In the world we think of “creating” as bringing something into being that was not there before. In ACIM, “Creation” means the infinite extension of God’s Being (Truth). It’s really just another way of saying that Truth is one and the same throughout. As you can tell by this definition the experience of Truth is wholly unlike the personal experience, which has multiple levels and variations.
True Extension only happens in Truth so I cannot give you examples of personally extending Truth. If my mind is on the personal, or form at all, I am blocking my awareness of Truth’s Infinite Extension.
            Projection is extension plus denial. It’s the same mechanism as extension except you deny that what you see are your own thoughts. You “project” your thoughts away from you onto a meaningless universe of form. The meaning that you project is what makes form seem real to you. They are illusions because they are just ideas and interpretations, not facts.
            Extension is something that occurs in the mind. It goes inward, not outward, because it is the recognition that there is no “outward”! You can practice extension (though not True Extension, which only occurs in Truth) by choosing to come from your awareness of Truth in your interactions with the world. In this practice you are aware of the Truth within you and you choose to attend to It and overlook the ego’s (personal thought system’s) projections of meaning onto the universe of form. Your awareness of Truth therefore extends (grows) in your awareness. You are no longer projecting because you are aware that your perception of the world is in your own mind.

            As for Albert Einstein I suspect that since he was a physicist the universe of form was very real to him and he thought that by understanding its laws he would understand the mind of some god that supposedly made it. But of course all it could lead him to are physical laws that have nothing to do with Truth.

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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, August 27, 2014

Ask: Why become aware of God if we're going to go back There anyway?

My friend’s friend passed away recently and my friend said, “I am happy he is home in God now and relieved his pain is over.” But the man who passed did not seem to have any interest in spiritual awareness at all. So is it true that he went home to God? If so, then why go through the hassle of becoming aware of God in the world if you are going to go back there in any case?

            There is a faulty premise behind your questions and it is that in you there is some part of God (True Being; Reality) that left God and that will, upon the death of the body, return to God. But God is whole and complete always (eternal now). No part of It ever leaves It or needs to return to It. This idea is how the ego (personal thought system) makes it seem that the illusion has some reality. No part of illusion comes from Truth (God) so no part of it needs to return to Truth. All of not-Truth is wholly illusory.
            Your friend’s friend did not “return” to God and would not have if he was as aware of God as one can be. No aspect of a self is from God. And all that is real, ever, in any seemingly-individual mind is God. And God is here right now untouched by the illusion of an idea in the mind that is unaware of God, is becoming aware of God, or is fully aware of God. What happens in an illusion only affects the illusion.
            You do not have to wait for the body to die to be aware that God is already whole and complete in your mind right now.  There is no “you” to “go on” to become aware of God after the seeming-death of the body. If you want peace now you want to open your awareness to God now (the Holy Instant). The part of your mind that seems to lack or to have an awareness of God is never real. The need for peace is only a temporary, illusory need. Your choice in every moment is to be in the story of lack or in the awareness that you are already whole in God.

Your friend did not need to wait for his or her friend to seem to “die” to be relieved that his or her friend is no longer in pain. Your friend could have come to the realization that only God is real and that all manifestations of pain are not real. Death does not bring this realization. Nothing happens in death. It is just part of the same illusory story that is called “life”.

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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, August 20, 2014

Ask: Will you share how your practice started and has evolved?

“Would you do a blog on how you first started practicing and how it has evolved over the years? I would be very interested to hear that and I'm sure it would be a big help to a lot of people.” – WW

            My spiritual path began in 1984 with A Course in Miracles. I was 20 years old. I had been doing some other psycho-spiritual reading before I found ACIM but ACIM is what grabbed me. Its teaching was really my whole path until study fell away naturally.
            In the beginning I did not really practice. Oh, sure, I did the lessons. But I was terrified and I could hardly stand to read them every morning and evening. If I remembered twice a day to do those lessons that were supposed to be done every hour it was a good day! However, much more sunk in than I knew at the time. I repeated the Workbook for another year and didn’t do much better
            But my “practice” for a long time was really just reading. I was very hungry for ACIM. I read the Text and Manual for Teachers as I did the Workbook. I couldn’t get enough of it. Early on I experienced higher miracles and the miracle of a holy relationship. These experiences showed me directly that what ACIM said was true. But I pushed those experiences aside and focused on understanding ACIM. Reading was when I allowed myself to feel the Holy Spirit. And because I had a house cleaning business my mind was free much of the time. So at some point I began to use that time to bring my questions about ACIM to the Holy Spirit (I actually didn’t call It  “the Holy Spirit” then. I didn’t call It anything. I just called on It.) I did not always accept Its answers right away. But I was always answered, and usually accepted them within a few days. The answers sometimes came into my mind as unformed thoughts or intuitions. Sometimes the answers came from a book or someone else.
            I was probably about five years into this before my trust in the Holy Spirit was enough that I started bringing to It questions about things in the world. Decisions, yes, but the Holy Spirit also functioned as a type of therapist and guide for me. However, I wasn’t really practicing the principles of ACIM in my daily life. I read, I meditated in a superficial way, and I asked for the Holy Spirit’s help now and then.
            I met my wife in ’94. She was in a 12-step program and she told me that it was like I had my own program. What she saw was that I was willing to take responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings. But I didn’t have peace. My efforts were largely in trying to understand ACIM. Once I was miserable over some guilty reading of ACIM and she said to me, “I’ve never known anyone who could think about God so much.” This really struck me. I realized I was thinking not practicing. But I still didn’t put much into practice. I just stopped thinking too much!
            Then in the late 90s spiritual study tapered away naturally for me. I got away from all spirituality for about 2 years. (In that time I did take a year to read the Bible from beginning to end but it has never functioned as a spiritual teaching for me). Then one day I picked up ACIM again and I was hooked with renewed commitment. I knew I was not going to let go again. This time, though, my reading of it was very different. I came back to it with fresh eyes. I still read guilt into it, but not as much as before. And where I had once understood pieces of it here and there I now saw the whole message. I saw how every part fit together. It was like for me there was a book within the book. (This eventually became the book The Message of A Course in Miracles).
            I understood ACIM now because I allowed myself to read it through my experiences of Truth. Over the years I’d had the rare Revelation (only Truth) and the occasional higher miracle (seeing that Truth is true and illusion is illusion but still aware of both) but I had pushed them aside. Now I realized I had to let them fully in or I’d just go in circles merely reading ACIM and not experiencing any real shift toward peace.
            This is when I entered what ACIM calls the “period of relinquishment”. I found an incredible willingness to follow only the Holy Spirit. I allowed the Holy Spirit to work in me and through me. My trust in the Holy Spirit really deepened during this stage. It became my primary relationship and constant companion. I brought It with me into all of my relationships. My meditations became meaningful as I used them to truly open to Truth rather than to just go through the motions.
            There was a direct correlation between my awareness of the Holy Spirit and the peace I experienced. One day I realized that peace had come to stay in my awareness. I was still aware of the ego, but peace never left. And since then it has only grown in my awareness. When others asked me how I stayed centered I thought about it and realized that I did four things to stay centered. These are my 4 Habits for Inner Peace, which I eventually also wrote a book about. After a while they were just my way of being in the world.

            So now there’s no “practice” so much as a way of being. It’s natural to me to know that what I experience comes from my own mind. So I attend to my mind. Each day is about maintaining my awareness of my wholeness in Truth.

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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, August 13, 2014

Ask: Does ACIM say anything about tithing?

“…Many people extol the benefits of tithing (usually in the amount of 10 percent or more) to wherever they feel they are being spiritually fed. I'd very much like to hear your views on tithing from A Course in Miracles perspective. I'm sure nothing in either the text, workbook, or manual mentions it (or not that I've come across anyway), but some ACIM teachers recommend it nonetheless. Is there a sound basis for this Course-wise?...” –LH

            You are correct that tithing is not mentioned in A Course in Miracles. No behavior is necessary for inner peace. If you want inner peace you only have to be willing to be aware of God (True Being). And willingness is of the mind, not of the body.
            Like all behavior in the world, tithing is meaningless in itself. Some people tithe as a traditional practice. Others tithe as a practical way to express gratitude. And there are some who view tithing as part of the process of attracting or manifesting wealth in the world.

Tithing reveals an obstacle to peace in your mind if you tithe out of guilt (“I should”) or out of a belief that you must make certain things appear in your life to be happy and at peace. But if you tithe because you are used to doing so or to express gratitude then it will not get in the way of your awareness of God.

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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.