Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Choice for Peace is Made Once

For a long time after I became a student of A Course in Miracles when things were hard or dark I felt I’d “fallen off the path”. I kept thinking I had to choose peace again and again. Why couldn’t I just make the choice and mean it? Why did I keep losing my way? What I didn’t know was that I had meant the choice for peace the first time that I allowed myself to experience Truth. I didn’t have to make the choice again. Once I let Truth into my awareness my path to peace was set. I wasn’t lost; I was in an unfolding process. The times that I saw as hard or dark or lost were part of that process to attaining peace. But I only saw this in hindsight many, many years later.
            What unfolded after the moment that I let Truth into my awareness was that moment manifesting in the story of time. So any choice for peace that I made after that moment was not to choose the whole path all over again. It was a choice for peace now. In any given moment if I was not at peace and I wanted peace I needed to choose Truth then and there. The goal of peace had already been chosen and didn’t need to be made again. In fact, it was unfolding in that choice for peace in the present moment. Every moment that I chose Truth in the unfolding story of time was an expression of that first choice for peace. Those moments for peace now were inevitable.
And it was also inevitable that initially the choices for peace in the present were few and far between. Though I had made the choice for Truth and my path to peace was set what I did not yet have was full acceptance of the Goal. I did not wholly trust It. So in time I had to learn that the Truth is true and to learn to trust It. In time trust grew and I chose Truth and peace more often until finally one day I realized peace had some to stay in my awareness. That moment long before when I let Truth into my awareness had manifested in the unfolding story of time.

>>>>>
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, August 17, 2016

Validation Speeds Up the Process to Peace

In my early years as a student of A Course in Miracles (I began in 1984) I didn’t really have anyone I trusted to speak to about my experiences. Very early on I experienced a direct Revelation and the higher miracle of the mystical Holy Relationship. No one in the initial study group I attended was discussing ACIM on the level on which I seemed to experience it. And I just didn’t know anyone else who was a student. (There was no internet yet!)

So I went off on my own with the Holy Spirit. This was great in that it meant I had to work right away at building my trust in the Holy Spirit. And as ACIM points out, the whole process is the “Development of Trust” (Manual for Teachers) in Truth. But the process would have been smoother and I suspect gone a little faster for me if I had someone in the world to validate some of my experiences. Because I had no one to speak to I had to live with a lot of doubts. And doubts kept me spinning in place and not moving onto the next lesson.

For example, after a couple of years I began to notice a pattern of vacillation between experiences of peace and longer periods of being back in the conflicts of the ego. I noticed that any experience of Truth, no matter how “minor”, resulted in a huge backlash from the ego (personal thought system). Even though I saw the pattern it took me a long time to trust what I was seeing and to trust that this was the normal process. Was I really seeing a pattern? Or was my going back to the ego again and again a sign I was failing? The Holy Spirit seemed to reassure me that it was a normal pattern and explained that I was swinging between to the two thought systems in my mind to sort them out.  But my trust in my ability to discern the Holy Spirit was not strong yet. And my trust in the Holy Spirit was not strong, either. That was another place in which validation would’ve helped. And because I was not validated in my observations and my discernment I took a very long time to learn to trust them and the Holy Spirit.


Doubts are an inevitable part of the path to peace. But you do not have to stew in them. You can seek validation from others who have more experience on the path, in study groups, online, or one-on-one with a mentor. A lot of what I do as a mentor is validate my clients’ experiences. I can hear the relief in their voices when I tell them that what they experience is normal or that yes, they are hearing the Holy Spirit. And I watch them move forward after they are validated.

>>>>>
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, August 10, 2016

You Don't Have to Give Up the Loves of Your Life

If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while please bear with me because I am returning again to an idea that I’ve visited many times before in many ways. But it is something that comes up often with clients and with people who write to me, even those whom I know have read all my stuff. So here I revisit it:

You do not have to give up the people, things, activities, etc. that you love to have inner peace. You simply want to give them to the Holy Spirit so It can use them as classrooms in which to teach you peace.

So often I hear from students of A Course in Miracles who judge against themselves for being too attached to their families, their friends, their animals. They try to force themselves to give up their interests and activities. If they love someone or enjoy or get pleasure from something they are certain that it is “wrong”. Somehow they think ACIM asks them to give up these things. But in fact it is the ego with its belief in guilt and punishment that leads them to feel that they must sacrifice. This expectation that they will be asked to sacrifice means they totally miss that ACIM teaches them not to give up but to turn over their “special relationships” to the Holy Spirit. ACIM also warns them to not decide for themselves how to walk the path to peace. Those who are used to listening to the ego have no idea how to find peace.
This self has people and animals that it loves and things and activities that it enjoys and, lo and behold, this mind has inner peace! They are actually separate things. As I have said many times, the ego and the self (body/personality) are not changed by your choice for peace, but the mind changes. The ego continues on with its guilt and fear and you (the mind) simply stop believing it. And as the self goes about its life you (the mind) simply rest in Truth and observe its unfolding story without judging it.
To clarify: You are mind. The self (body/personality) is an idea in your mind with which you identify. It is neutral in that it has no meaning. It is not right or wrong or good or bad. It is actually nothing. The ego is a thought system in your mind about the self as your reality. This is simply a mistake, not a sin. And the Holy Spirit is the thought system in your mind that knows the Truth but also knows that you (mind) identify with a self and have listened to and believe in the ego. So your choice with regard to the self is which thought system you want to direct you in directing the self. You have used the ego and you find it is rather painful. If you want a “better way” then you might want to try the Holy Spirit.
So the self’s loves and indifferences and likes and dislikes and preferences are all neutral expressions of its personality. They are not wrong or bad. They are not sins. For the ego they are ways of reinforcing guilt and fear and tying you tighter to the ego. For the Holy Spirit they are classrooms in which It can teach you of Truth. It teaches you of Truth simply by teaching you and you becoming aware of It.
You will not fully understand this until you do it. Just bring the Holy Spirit with you into your work, your relationships, your interests, etc. Start with just one part of your life if that feels safer. If you have questions or problems ask for guidance. The answers are not the point; that you connect with the Holy Spirit is the point. This is how you build trust in It. The result also happens to be that the answers mean the self has a more harmonious, simplified life. This is a nice side-effect, but the result of being aware of the Holy Spirit is inner peace no matter what is happening in the self’s life.

So don’t give up your loves. This actually blocks your awareness of the Holy Spirit because of your sense of sacrifice. And it also precludes you having classrooms in which to join with the Holy Spirit. Instead share your loves with the Holy Spirit, giving them all the singular purpose of peace.

>>>>
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, August 03, 2016

Ask: Any comments on you being an iconoclast?

“The more I read the July 27 blog (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2016/07/learning-beyond-whats-in-acim.html) along with the comments and your responses, the muddier the waters seemed to get (for me) until I read your statement:

 ‘ACIM led me to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit led me past my obstacles to being aware of Truth, many of which were not specifically mentioned in ACIM.’

You have always made the point that studying the Course was simply a means to an end; that it was even possible to reach an understanding of the Course and still not have inner peace. After getting almost nothing from the Course per se, the various teachers, authors, books, speakers, and students - I came across 4HIP, Releasing Guilt, the Mentor Articles and your personal mentoring. Now that I have established a relationship with my inner Teacher of Truth - which I find to be fairly accessible, simple, quiet and tailor-made, I feel like a phony to consider myself a student of ACIM. Why bother with what seems like a lot of extra baggage. I have enough of my own to sort through, why wrangle with more - especially if the original "brand" comes up short - like the issue of boundaries which other Course teachers and students seem to reject outright. Not to mention my own incredulity with the Course's origins; the inscrutable, grandiose language; distracting issues with the Jesus connection, and Course teachers and students who reject my approach to the Course because I'm not loyal to the "brand".
You Liz, are an iconoclast in the best sense – it’s not a role you affect, it’s just the place where you come from.
Any comments?” – ES

Hmmm. I don’t think “iconoclast” would be the word I’d use for myself since my dictionaries all seem to indicate that an iconoclast “seeks to destroy” or at least to “challenge” conventional ideas, icons, etc. Although the result is often that I do take apart conventional ideas my goal is to undo guilt and reveal Truth. I chose to be led by my experiences of Truth rather than by my intellect because intellectual understanding is not transformational but the experience of Truth is. And I (eventually) wanted real shifts to know Truth, not just to understand some spiritual teaching.

A client once said to me, “You don’t teach ACIM so much as you teach Truth.” Truth draws me like nothing else because It is the truth. What else could be worthy of my time and effort but the Truth because It is the truth? This does mean that, yes, I walk apart from almost all of the rest of the world. I’m not sure what this is called.


I can see why you may not consider yourself a student of A Course in Miracles since it has not worked for you. I still think of myself that way, or at least as a former student of ACIM, because it was almost exclusively the tool the Teacher of Truth (Holy Spirit) used to reach me for a very long time. I have left it behind but it is still the common language and a useful tool that I use with my clients.

>>>>>
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, July 27, 2016

Learning Beyond What's In ACIM

Sometimes I write about topics that are not mentioned in A Course in Miracles but which come out of my experiences with the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in my mind). Sometimes this prompts emails from readers who want to know where they can read about that topic in ACIM. Some seem to be genuinely interested in reading ACIM’s take on the topic. Others seem to imply that because it is not mentioned in ACIM it is not really appropriate for me to write about as part of spiritual practice.

For example, I write a lot about setting boundaries in relationships. I find that boundaries are a very common need among ACIM students. Many seem to feel that being spiritual means taking inappropriate responsibility for others and/or being a doormat.  They think that if they just forgive enough another’s inappropriate or dysfunctional behavior will change. Or they feel that if they had truly forgiven they would no longer see the other’s behavior as inappropriate or dysfunctional. Undoing the beliefs that underlie this form of co-dependency is what I work on with most of my clients.

But there is no discussion about building boundaries in ACIM. For Helen Schucman, co-dependency, the ego’s (personal thought system’s) universal approach to relationships, showed up not as taking too much responsibility for others but as asking others to take responsibility for her. She was a martyr; a victim full of grievances. Others let her down by not following her “scripts” for them.

ACIM is not a comprehensive teaching that covers everyone’s experiences. Yes, most of what it describes about the ego is universal, but some is specific. For example, Helen used illness to make others guilty. Not everyone does this. And not every egoic experience is included in ACIM. For example, some use illness to avoid unpleasant situations, like work or undesired family events. This is not mentioned in ACIM. As with any spiritual teaching, you must discern the spirit of the lesson and not take the letter of the lesson so literally. This is what ACIM means when it says that you will learn to generalize your lessons.


ACIM is not an end in itself. It is the means to becoming aware of the Truth in your mind. And that Awareness (Holy Spirit) will lead you through and past your obstacles to peace, not all of which are described in ACIM. For example, guilt manifested in me, yes, by my projecting it onto others and making myself a victim. But it also showed up as my taking too much responsibility for others. This was a much larger and deeper obstacle for me. I actually felt it was my god-given responsibility to “fix” others and that belief had to be rooted out and undone. This was a long process on which I was led not by ACIM directly, but by the Holy Spirit within me. ACIM led me to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit led me past my obstacles to being aware of Truth, many of which were not specifically mentioned in ACIM.

>>>>
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, July 20, 2016

Ask: Is a matter-of-fact experience akin to what ACIM calls "Innocence"?

“I live - by choice - in a very quiet rural area. Every summer the house next to mine is used by a family of brothers from New York City… I can always tell when the youngest brother is around by the level of noise coming from the house - yelling, non-stop talking, and extremely loud music… For four summers now I have experienced an intense emotional charge in reaction to this "barbarian" intrusion…I have essentially demonized these people in my mind, making them bad, wrong etc. My anger knows no bounds when I think about them. Whenever I think about talking to them about the situation however, I dissuade myself… The other day their music was so loud and lasted so long (hours) that I suddenly found myself transported to what I can only describe as The Land of Matter-of-Fact. All anger and fear vanished along with any sense of self-righteous importance…So when I arrived home one afternoon and the music was blasting, I simply parked in front of their house and with my new-found Bearable Lightness of Being, dove in. I found the young man in charge in the midst of his cohorts drinking beer and grilling barbeque and simply stated the facts: "I'm your neighbor next door and I need a favor. Your music is so loud I can hear it in my house even with all my doors and windows closed. I can't sit outside with friends and family on my porch. Could you tone it down?" I could see that even through a mild fog of intoxication, he was getting it. "Too loud? No problem." Since then things have been much quieter.
Do you think Liz, that when one can flatten the effect of a situation and experience it in a matter-of-fact way it is akin to what the Course calls Innocence?” – ES

What you experienced was the miracle of guilt dropping away from your mind so that you looked on a situation without an emotional charge. This led to your matter-of-fact experience and presentation, which in turn resulted in the young man that you spoke to being open to you without feeling defensive. This is a great example of how a shift in your perception – a miracle – can have results in your interaction with others. If you had gone in angry it is very likely that the young man would have gotten defensive and angry himself. Then you two would have been in a vicious cycle of anger-attack-defense.
In my experience coming from a place of no-guilt is different from the perception of Innocence. Both are miracles, but the perception of Innocence is what I would call a “higher” miracle. No-guilt is a shift in perception away from not-Truth and toward Truth. It leads to what you described, a charge-neutral (matter-of-fact) experience. This is a more “common” miracle and one toward which you can work by undoing the guilt in your mind.

The perception of Innocence is an extension of the awareness of Truth in your perception. This is impossible to describe, but the best I can say is that the body’s eyes see the same forms but they are washed in Innocence. This type of “higher” miracle is often accompanied by an uplifting joy. It is a radically different perception that happens spontaneously when you are, often unconsciously, ready to accept it.

>>>>>
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, July 13, 2016

Ask: Can you comment on the satisfaction of accomplishment as a trap?

The other day was for me one of those high energy days where I found myself engaged in one project after another, mostly home improvement and maintenance type things. I felt no resistance and at the end of the day I experienced what is typically referred to as "the satisfaction of accomplishment" - a type of high that most people regard as oh so healthy. While there is nothing wrong in taking care of business, being creative etc., there can be a negative flip side if, on those languid days when we feel no motivation or energy, we feel guilt as though "We've let someone down". (Who?) Being busy as a way of earning peace is a trap because it is only a facsimile of peace. It is no different than the Buddhist concept of "earning merits" for this or another life or any form of "righteous behavior" called for by other religions, or ideologies. They all perpetuate and reinforce guilt.” – ES

Yes, temporary satisfaction, for whatever reason, is not true peace. It is simply the result of accomplishment, as you explained, or the personal thought system (ego) getting its way in something.
However, I think you are confusing two different motivations here. Being busy to attain satisfaction is different from being busy to stave off guilt. There is also another motivation for busy-ness: To avoid looking at something in one’s mind. So let’s look at each of these:
Busy-ness for satisfaction is actually just a part of being human so there is no guilt involved in this. It is natural as a person to feel satisfied when you have accomplished something. If it wasn’t for that sense of satisfaction we wouldn’t be motivated to do anything! It’s only a problem if one makes an idol of accomplishing things in the hope it would lead to lasting peace. But because this wouldn’t work it wouldn’t last as an idol for long. As with all idols it would eventually lead to a sense of emptiness and disillusionment rather than peace.
Busy-ness to stave off guilt does come, as you said, from a need to accomplish to appease a power outside and over you – a god. Of course, a person is not usually conscious of trying to appease a god. All they know is if they are not busy they feel guilty or their self-esteem plummets. They don’t examine this. They are just driven by the guilt to remain busy. And even if they did examine it they may not be in touch with a belief that there is a god sitting in judgment on them. But, of course, the guilt is the sign that this is exactly what they do unconsciously believe!

Busy-ness to avoid examining something in one’s own mind is very common. Sometimes people know why they want to keep busy, like when they are openly grieving a loss. However, unacknowledged grief is very often why people don’t want to be still. And besides grief, there are a whole host of things in a person’s mind that they may not want to look at so they avoid stillness and keep themselves busy.

>>>>
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.