Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ask: I fear that if I continue with my Course studies I will lose the memory of my husband...

“…I contacted you almost 4 years ago when my husband of 20 years, and the kindest, most supportive and best friend I've ever had, died suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep at the age of 43. I contacted you soon after and asked your thoughts about seeing a world famous medium and you said I should do whatever might help. I have received many messages of support from him since then in the form of readings from various mediums, a host of coincidences and even sightings in my daily life. These have been a great help in my embracing our eventually being reunited when I die. That said, I can't apply the Course teachings to everything else and not this. If everything I experience here is what I've asked for that means all of my husband’s messages are coming from me and not him and that is crushing me. Literally. And now, the personal thought system is constantly telling me that if I continue with my Course studies, my husband will disappear from my memory because he was nothing but my own projection and that when I die I will not remember him and will never see him again and this, more than anything else, has interrupted and stalled my progress…Ken (Wapnick) said that the thoughts of love we have here are but shadows of what is beyond and you explained that Tim was a manifestation of the Love that I am. It's all so confusing to me.  Obviously I can't go back, but I also do not want to give up the hope that I'll see my husband again…” – SB

Only the Truth is eternal and unchanging. If you have something and lose it, it was an illusion. You seem to feel that either your husband was the source of your well-being or your relationship with him was the source of your well-being. If your well-being falls away when he is gone then it is not real, lasting well-being. It is an illusion of well-being.

But the good news is that you do have a Source of eternal, unchanging well-being within you. You won’t let go of your husband as long as you think he is the source of your well-being. You will let him go naturally when the Truth is true for you and you know that you can rest in Its eternal peace. There is no reason for you to feel guilty for your mistaking the source of your well-being. The Truth in you goes on whole and perfect, untouched by this. The path to true Peace, for everyone, is one of holding onto idols while growing your awareness of Truth. No one releases idols until they see that they do not work and they are aware of What does work. Your having an idol simply means that you are not yet aware enough of Truth to not have an idol. Growing that awareness is a process.

You also do not have to fear that you will lose idols that you are not ready to release. Nothing can be taken from you. What falls away does so because you are ready for it to do so. However, it is true that you will not continue on a path that you do not believe will bring you the unchanging peace that you seek. When you find yourself fearing that you may lose the memory of your husband as the source of your well-being remind yourself that this will fall away only when permanent Peace has come into your awareness. At that point you will not experience any loss. You will then remember your relationship with him, not as an idol that was the source of your well-being, but as a manifestation of your eternal well-being. There will no longer be any fear associated with this memory.

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ask: Does the Holy Spirit speak quickly and first?

“…My question is…does the holy spirit speak quickly and first with lightning speed?  I find I feel this voice may be the correct voice since it sounds definite and inspired. The answer almost seems to come out of nowhere and not even have thinking involved, just a kind of knowing…” – AB

The two voices speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously; or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first. – T-5.VI.3

The ego always speaks first…The Holy Spirit does not speak first, but He always answers. – T-6.IV.1,3

As a rule, it is the ego that speaks with lightning speed. This is especially true when you look on a person or situation or you are seeking an answer. But sometimes when your mind is quiet and relaxed you may hear the Holy Spirit spontaneously. You may hear words or you may have unformed thoughts that seem to rise up into your conscious awareness and take form there.

It takes a while to sort out the Holy Spirit and the ego (personal thought system) because the ego will try to mimic the Holy Spirit. You can recognize the difference in this way:

The Holy Spirit’s answer is quiet and you do have a sense of deep “knowing”. Its response is without emotional charge (although you may react emotionally afterward). The Holy Spirit never judges. It observes and it may explain. The Holy Spirit never inspires guilt. It inspires liberation from guilt so you have a sense of release or relief.

The experience of the Holy Spirit is “light”, both in the sense of illumination and in not bearing any weight. It inspires a sense of “lifting”.

The experience of the Holy Spirit quiets your mind, at least for a moment.

The ego is usually emotional, but it may try to mimic emotional neutrality. However, you can recognize it by the content of its response. It will be judgmental or evaluative (good/bad, right/wrong, better-than/worse-than, etc.). It always leads to increased guilt and fear.

The experience of the ego is dark and heavy, but when you are used to it you may not recognize this until you experience lightness. It either maintains or increases your sense of being burdened.  It maintains or increases the chatter in your mind.

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ask: Can you clarify the term "magic thoughts"?

“….  Could you please clarify the use of the term 'magic thoughts'?...” – TB (November 13, 2015)

A Course in Miracles uses the concept of “magical thinking” in two ways. One form of magical thinking is the belief that anything outside of you can make you whole and at peace. For example, the belief that if you just had perfect health or the right partner or enough money or if that person would change or if everyone just believed as you do, etc. then you would be at peace. ACIM includes in this form of magical thinking the idea that sickness is a form of problem solving. For example, using illness as a way to get attention, to be a victim, to avoid a situation, or as self-punishment to mitigate God’s punishment of you, etc. The belief that the things that illness would get you “saves” you is a form of magical thinking.

The other form of magical thinking in ACIM is the belief that change at the level of form is caused at the level of form. For example, the use of medications or other treatments to reduce the symptoms of or to cure an illness in the body. ACIM says that this is magical thinking because only changing your thinking can change the body.

For those readers who have followed my teaching in one form or another for a while I will head off some inevitable questions by clarifying that yes, I teach only the former not the latter, despite what ACIM teaches. What I have been taught by the Holy Spirit is that thinking that healing the body is any true healing of me (mind) is magical thinking. Physical healing does not heal the mind of the perception that it is a body – the fundamental error of mind that needs to be corrected or “healed”. This is in line with what ACIM teaches in part. But the Holy Spirit has taught me that remedies at the level of form are at the level of form. Medications and treatments are how solutions to bodily ailments show up when one is ready for physical healing. Just as, if my house has plumbing problems I need to call the plumber or if my car isn’t running properly I need to take it to a mechanic. The body is not a “special case” of form that is fixed somehow by a change of mind where other forms of disorder in the universe of form are fixed at the level of form. This is where I have been led away from what ACIM teaches.

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

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Ask: Does Lesson 68 have it wrong?

“During our discussion (in the study group) of Lesson 68:’Love does not hold on to resentment’, you made it abundantly clear that you personally could not follow the part about seeing everyone as your friend because trying to do so made resentment even stronger. What mattered, you said, was being in Truth, so regardless how others showed up you would be at peace. And in the event that someone was so dysfunctional, you could set up a boundary and still be at peace. This made total sense to me and suited my own personality. What I can now take out of that lesson is to think how resentment disturbs my peace; how it reinforces my guilt and belief in a false god.
What hangs me up however, is that lesson 68 is quite clear when it tells us to see these others ‘as my friend’, when I know that doing so will be counterproductive. So I choose to ignore it. Is the Course wrong here? Where else does it give ‘bad’ advice? Are we free to pick and choose how to interpret it based on what feels comfortable?” – ES

A Course in Miracles is not “wrong” nor is it giving “bad” advice. This is a good example of what I mean when I say it is important to read spiritual material in context. And it is also a good example of why it is important to read spiritual material with the Holy Spirit (your awareness of Truth).

The context of ACIM is Helen Schucman’s mind and her relationships, particularly the one she had with Bill Thetford. Reading the Text and Workbook it is abundantly clear that she held onto a lot of dark thoughts about others. She was full of resentments and stories of victimhood. This seemed to be her primary issue in relationships with others. And it was the way her obstacles to peace showed up. She was being asked to be open to a new way of looking at others. Asking her to look at others as her friends rather than as her enemies probably worked well for the way her mind worked.

But it didn’t work that way for this mind. Focusing on seeing others in any way kept me in ego (the personal thought system). I tried for many, many years to apply ACIM as written and found it did not work. Finally, I said to hell with it. I was no longer going to try to “see Christ in others” or to forgive as ACIM teaches forgiveness (to see it is not real). It wasn’t working. I decided to focus on what did work for me: Communing with God daily and my companion-like relationship with the Holy Spirit. After focusing on these for a while, lo and behold, forgiveness came! Instead of seeing Christ (Truth) in others I found I could be aware of Christ’s Presence no matter how others were showing up. My awareness of Truth with me always led to my letting go of the ego and its world. It led to forgiveness.

When I was finally tired of stubbornly applying ACIM in a way that never worked for me I was open to the Holy Spirit giving me a new approach. The reason I wasn’t open earlier was because in guilt I was very rigid about ACIM. Like many students for a long time I thought doing ACIM right was the goal rather than that ACIM was simply an instrument that the Holy Spirit could use to reach me. If I’d understood that the Holy Spirit was the point I would’ve been a lot gentler with myself and brought my problems applying ACIM to the Holy Spirit much sooner.

You are always free to read ACIM however you want! There is no “right” way or “wrong” way to read it. But there are helpful and unhelpful ways to read it. You only have the choice of two teachers as you study: the ego or the Holy Spirit. I tried to apply ACIM with the ego for a very long time. The clues that I was studying with the ego were in how it wasn’t working and how my guilt increased with my sense of failure (not helpful). The ego is a rigid, judgmental teacher. The Holy Spirit is the Gentle Teacher. It will always help you find what works for you and It will never increase your guilt (helpful).

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ask: Can the ego be taught?

“…I attended an ACIM meeting last night and the question arose:  Can the ego be taught?  My immediate response was ‘yes.’  Although shortly after I started to question myself, saying inwardly; can a false belief system be taught—can what was never real be taught?  But there still was something in me that questions this, believing the Course would agree with me. 
The Course speaks of this in rare form, such as these two teachings: T-4.1.3Spirit need not be taught, but the ego must be.  And, …spirit cannot perceive and the ego cannot know.  They are therefore not in communication and can never be in communication. Nevertheless, the ego can learn, even though its maker can be misguided. My question is; how is it; what is it, that the ego can be taught, and or can learn?...”

First, let’s define what is meant by “ego”. The ego is a thought system in your mind that is a part of and is about the idea of the universe-of-form-as-reality. It is about you (mind) limited to a self (body/personality) in a world. The ego is not something that exists on its own. Your mind is its “maker” and it is “making” it anytime it is thinking with it. So it is really your mind, not the ego per se, which learns. It learns either within the context of identifying with the ego, in which case nothing really changes. Or your mind can learn as the “decision-maker”, in which case it can learn of Truth. When you choose to learn of Truth then your mind has withdrawn from the ego. And this is real change.

An example of learning within the context of ego-identification is what can occur in traditional therapy, 12-step programs, and other forms of self-help. A mind learns and grows healthier in the context of being a self in a body in a world. This is not a real change in the sense that erroneous ego-identification continues, albeit more comfortably. Many people, if they decide to get healthier at all, stop there. It is still “safe” to them in their ego-identification because they have not let go of the ego.

But sometimes this kind of not-real-change within ego-identification is the first step on the path to real change. Someone whose self-esteem was so low they felt unworthy of Truth (lasting peace and happiness) now feels good enough about themselves to unconsciously or consciously allow Truth into their awareness. This would be the beginning of real change because it would be the beginning of letting go of ego-identification. At the moment that they made the choice, unconsciously or consciously, to allow Truth into their awareness they made the choice as the decision-maker not as an ego.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Yes, the Spiritually Aware Set Boundaries

My last two articles discussed setting boundaries in relationships. A common question I get is that if one is spiritually aware wouldn’t they not be bothered by others’ attacks or negativity. Yes, it’s true that when you are spiritually aware you do not have a personal reaction to what others say or do. But that does not mean that you want to be around dysfunction if you have the choice.

First, I want to point out that people who are having problems in their relationships have not yet reached a level of spiritual awareness where they have stopped getting an emotional charge from others’ attitudes and behaviors. If they had reached that point they would not need to ask how to deal with their relationships! Boundaries would be automatic. In fact, a sign that someone with low-self-esteem is growing in their spiritual awareness is that they are ready to start putting up boundaries with dysfunctional others. A side-effect of growing spiritual awareness is a healthier self.

But back to the point: When you are spiritually aware you simply have no desire to be around a lot of drama, which is the result of dysfunction. So when you have a choice, you put up boundaries. Even when you are spiritually aware you’d prefer to sit in a quiet place rather than next to a jet engine.

Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Or, really, you do, but you are getting something else out of a situation that is of more value to you. For example, you may put up with your bigoted uncle on the holidays because he is part of the family and you want to be with the others in your family. So your boundary is to not have much to do with Uncle Bigot at family events. And you do not seek him outside of family events. Or perhaps you work with someone who is relentlessly negative and judgmental so you limit the time you interact with them to shared projects. You also may have a dear friend whose life occasionally erupts in victimhood drama, even with you, but you work it out with them because you get so much else out of the relationship.

Life in the world surrounds you with so much dysfunction why, when you have the choice, would you not make the choice for a peaceful outside that reflects the peace within? In fact, it’s automatic that you seek and create outside what reflects within. It is not a coincidence that those who are more spiritually aware have quieter, simpler, more harmonious outer lives.

And, importantly, the boundaries you set are not only for you. They are a loving way of demonstrating, “I am whole and so are you. I can see there is much more to you than you are now demonstrating.” Your boundaries model for others what it is to value yourself and your integrity. They give others the opportunity to look at their own behavior and to grow out of their dysfunction and immaturity. Whether or not they choose to do so is, of course, their choice.

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 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ask: Can you give examples of where ACIM says what to do at the level of form?

I appreciate your last e-newsletter and found the question and your answer very interesting and valuable. However, I also resonated with the questioner's statement that the Course does not address how to deal with issues at the level of form. You said: "I'm not sure why you say ACIM does not address what one should or should not do at the level of form when most of the Workbook and much of the Text addresses this!" Could you provide an example of how the Course addresses what one should or should not do at the level of form, maybe in your next newsletter?” – CT

This course remains within the ego framework, where it is needed. It is not concerned with what is beyond all error because it is planned only to set the direction towards it. (C-in.3)

I hear often enough that A Course in Miracles does not deal with the level of form to assume that the perception that it is an ethereal, impractical teaching must be a fairly common form of ego (personal thought system) resistance to it. But all of ACIM deals with your thoughts, your feelings, and your perceptions, which are all forms. And the Workbook lessons teach you very specifically what to do to deal with those. The Text, as well, is also full of practical advice. What could be clearer about what to do at the level of form than Chapter 30’s “Rules for Decision”?

You may complain that this course is not sufficiently specific for you to understand and use. Yet perhaps you have not done what it specifically advocates. This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application. Nothing could be more specific than to be told that if you ask you will receive. The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. (T-11.VIII.5) (The underlines are mine).

Perhaps what people mean when they say ACIM does not say what to do at the level of form is that ACIM does not give guidance on behavior. This is because ACIM deals with cause, not effect. Behavior is the effect of beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. So when you change your mind the self’s behavior automatically changes. In fact, there was an example of this in the last newsletter. The writer had been in unhealthy relationships. As she changed her mind and became aware of the Truth within her, her sense of self-worth grew. She found she no longer had a need for dysfunctional, abusive relationships that reflected her former low self-worth. So she was moved to change her behavior: She set boundaries with those who do not treat her with respect. However, some of those unhealthy others refuse to respect her boundaries. So she was further moved to end those relationships.

It may also be the case that some think that “hearing” the Holy Spirit means hearing a Voice from on-high every time they present the Holy Spirit with a problem. And sometimes you do hear It as a still, quiet Voice within. But the Holy Spirit is just the label given to your own mind’s awareness of Truth. In the example above, the motivation to set boundaries was the Holy Spirit guiding the writer. Her unhappiness in her relationships was her call for help in a specific situation at the level of form. Her new-found motivation to set boundaries was the specific answer she needed at the level of form.

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