Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ask: Why do I need to make things "right" in the world?

“Last night I watched a riveting documentary on the life and crimes of the notorious millionaire psychopath, Robert Durst. I vaguely remembered hearing about him but actually knew very little. As his Texas murder trial played out in the film, it became clear that he was going to be acquitted. Watching his slick, venal, lawyers manipulate the unsophisticated jury - and then calmly talk about their unscrupulous tactics in later interviews - I felt my stomach tighten with fear and my temples throb with rage. The duplicity of Durst's wealthy family in the cover-up, the unresolved grief of the families of his victims, and of course listening to the vile Durst himself trying to play the world for fools, added to my upset. I tried to detach from the story and contemplate why I felt so threatened for one thing, and how to return to peace (my ultimate goal in all upsets.)  The only thing I could come up with is that this case so rocked my sense of how things SHOULD have played out, I felt like I was standing on my head and needed desperately to get "my feet back on the ground". This is a pervasive theme in my life, ie. the need to "SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT" - with the right words, the right truths; How does so and so get away with that? etc. I slept badly and woke up exhausted. What do you think the lesson is here?” – ES

You believe that guilt is real. This is another way of saying that you believe that the world is real. If the world is real then guilt is real. Guilt is the “proof” that the world is real.

The world is the opposite of Truth (God) in every way. It is imperfect, dysfunctional, unfair, unjust, etc. When guilt is real to you, you see this as “wrong” or “sinful” rather than as impossible. You feel an urge to fix it according to what you feel is “right”. The world’s sin reflects to you the sin that you feel is in you. When you realize that you cannot fix the world you feel powerless and afraid. Really what you are feeling is powerless to do anything about the guilt in you. You are doomed, and this is terrifying.

The lesson here is that you are mistaken. There is no sin; there is no guilt. The world’s imperfection does not change the Perfection of Truth in any way. When you get this you will no longer see the world as “sinful” but as nothing. So it won’t upset you.

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, February 03, 2016

On Consciousness (Awareness, Perception)

A couple of week ago I answered a question about whether or not animals have consciousness ( answer provoked several emails of questions and comments. They seemed to be about different aspects of my response but I’ve come to see that they were all related. So I am going to respond to the ideas in them here in one fell swoop.

First, let me define what I mean by “consciousness” (in other contexts “awareness” or “perception”): A mind that is capable of an awareness of Truth. While one split mind (what A Course in Miracles calls the “Son of God”) projects the entire universe of form, it projects its split mind onto only one form, the human animal. So while many animals have some degree of intelligence and many experience degrees of emotions, only the human animal suffers the conscious and unconscious psychological conflict of a mind that is split between Truth and not-Truth.

Some indicated that I said or implied that because only humans have consciousness they are somehow special or superior to other animals. I did not say this nor did I imply it. In fact, I implied the opposite with the last paragraph: since nothing at the level of form has any effect on Truth there is no part of it that is special or superior to the rest. It is no different to have consciousness than to not have consciousness. All illusion is illusion and is equally meaningless.

This brings me to another issue that was brought up. Some were disturbed by the idea that it does not matter if they are aware of Truth or not. Of course, I intended this to set them free! The freedom and joy of forgiveness is in the awareness that Truth is not affected by not-Truth (the universe of form). The take away is that you do not have to worry about what you attain or do not attain as a person. You can just enjoy the process and let it take you where it will. There are no bad consequences for not attaining a certain awareness. But “Why bother to become aware of Truth? Why bother with this process?” some asked. In my experience once one has had an awareness of Truth there is no going back. The Truth compels you because It is the Truth. And being aware of Truth does bring relief from the pain of believing in not-Truth (the universe of form). But just as pain is only temporary so is the need for relief from pain only temporary. Either way, it all falls away.

And this leads to the other issue brought up in the emails: Isn’t one’s awareness of Truth real and eternal? Isn’t this what “goes on” after the body is dead?

Remember, awareness (consciousness, perception) is only temporary, whether that awareness is of not-Truth or of Truth. Only Knowledge, which is Truth, is eternal. To be aware of Truth and to know Truth are not the same experience. The highest awareness one can have is of Truth. But that awareness is not Truth Itself. It is not Knowledge. Awareness can fluctuate and vary. Knowledge is static and absolute.

Your mind has diametrically opposed experiences: Truth and not-Truth. The experience of Truth is limitless wholeness. The experience of not-Truth is limitation and lack. Think of them as running parallel in your mind. You can experience both but they never intersect. They never blend. One never enters into or becomes the other. Since Truth is Knowledge (or Being) it is not aware of not-Truth. Knowledge transcends all awareness. And at the level of not-Truth you can be aware of Truth but never know (be) Truth. This is why if you want the endless Peace of Truth, not-Truth must fall away. It can never become Truth.

So in a nutshell: Whether or not something has consciousness or whether or not that which has consciousness is conscious of Truth is unimportant. It all passes. Only the Truth is true and eternal.

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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Happy Personality Does Not Signal Peace

Sometimes I get comments from students of A Course in Miracles students along these lines: “I have a friend who is always happy and peaceful even though they aren’t spiritual”; “Here I am miserable on this path and I look around at all these people who are content with their lives without working a spiritual path.”

Some people just have happy personalities. I used to clean the house of a woman who had such an upbeat disposition that as a child she was given the nickname “Sunny”. But I was in her home and saw that she was just like everyone else with her concerns and worries and judgments, etc. Her sunny disposition was genuine for her personality but it was a superficial trait. She was really no happier than anyone else.

A friend of my wife had a large personality that seemed to fill the room when she entered it. She was funny and bubbly and chipper. Her upbeat personality was not a mask; it was genuine. But those close to her also knew of the darkness within her mind. A year ago she killed herself. A happy personality in not an expression of true happiness and lasting peace.

Just as some people have a naturally happy personality others naturally have a more quiet, thoughtful, and rational mind. These traits do not always come from an awareness of Truth. A mind can be quiet, thoughtful, and rational and still be immersed in the world-as-reality.

“Mistake not truce for peace, nor compromise for the escape from conflict. To be released from conflict means that it is over. The door is open; you have left the battleground.” (T-23.III.6)

Many people have made a truce with the ego (personal thought system) in their mind: “Don’t look within or question me (ego) and I (ego) will leave you alone.” They don’t experience the ego attacks that students of ACIM do because they are not threatening the ego. In fact, if your goal is to release yourself from guilt and fear, you can look at ego attacks as a sign that you are on the right track.

A bubbly or quiet personality or a truce with the ego does not lead to an end of conflict. The bubbly or quiet personality experiences conflict beneath these superficial traits. And the one who makes a truce with conflict has merely found a way to adapt to it. But none of these personalities have actually transcended the conflict.

I say this often and I’ll say it again: When peace came to this mind it did not change the personality of this self. Nor has this mind’s awareness of Truth changed the conflict in the ego thought system in this mind. An awareness of Truth has made this mind quieter, more thoughtful, and more rational and this no doubt presents the self differently to others. But the self’s personality has not fundamentally changed. It is not an ongoingly happy personality. In fact, this mind gave up the pursuit of personal happiness when peace came to stay. Peace is peace, after all. The fact that peace did not change the ego or the self only made it clear to this mind that those must be released for there to be only peace in this mind.

Do you want to change the mind or the ego and personality? Here is the choice for any mind: Being aware of Truth and at peace; or pursuing personal happiness. It can’t be both. Yes, the distinction can be very confusing as long as the ego and personality seem to be what mind is. That’s why growing your awareness of Truth is so important. Only in an awareness of Truth can you learn that the self, its personality, and the ego are not you so that you can detach from them.

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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ask: Does each animal experience consciousness?

“What I've been wanting to know about is if we can say definitively whether each animal is experiencing consciousness, and does Jesus say definitively or can we say with certainty whether they suffer or do not suffer? And if each animal can experience its reference point in consciousness, does each one need to have enough lifetimes and/or humans praying for them (since it doesn’t seem they are able to pray themselves) to receive enough prayers so that their next reboot will be as a human so they can discover The Course?” – M

I am not aware of anywhere that Jesus says anything about animals in the context of consciousness. But I’m not too familiar with the Bible so there could be something in there about which I do not know.

The understanding to which I have been led (and have come to see for myself) is that the entire universe of form, including all animals and plants, is the projection of one split mind (the “Son of God” in A Course in Miracles). The split mind projects itself only onto one animal, the human animal. So only humans have the kind of consciousness that can choose between Truth and illusion. At the level of form, any animal with a system of pain receptors can experience physical pain and will, when it is extreme, suffer in that sense. But because only humans experience consciousness only humans experience psychological or emotional suffering. Remember, however, that in the human experience pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. One suffers psychologically or emotionally because of the stories they tell themselves about pain. In any case, both the pain and the suffering are only temporary illusions.

No one needs lifetimes or prayers or A Course in Miracles for the Truth to be true. The Truth goes on right now wholly untouched by anything that happens in the universe of form, which is an illusion. Truth and illusion never intersect. No part of the universe of form “goes on” to Truth. What happens in the universe of form is wholly meaningless.

In the story of time (illusion) all stories begin as an expression (effect) of the-idea-of not-Truth. In some stories a dream figure (person) becomes aware of Truth and then their story becomes an expression (effect) of the-undoing-of-the-idea-of-not-Truth. But in either case it is a meaningless effect, not a cause. It does not lead anywhere. So you do not have to worry about anyone or anything finding ACIM or any other spiritual teaching. It does not have any real effect if one does or does not find Truth. The benefits are only temporary. They only matter in the story of time, which is an illusion. And the self which does or does not experience these benefits is only an effect and falls away in the story. Only the Truth is true and eternal.

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, January 13, 2016

Ask: What is your experience with synchronicity?

“What is your experience with synchronicity?  Have you found meaningful synchronicities occur between your outer and inner experiences as your awareness of Truth has deepened?  Would you have called meeting E and experiencing a Holy Relationship such a synchronicity because you were ready for that Vision at the time?  And do you think that she left your company because you needed that particular trial as well, in order to deepen your understanding?” - OT

This mind has observed that the quieter and slower it has become the more it sees connections, coincidences, patterns, and relationships that are all around at the level of form. Some refer to these connections, coincidences, patterns, and relationships as “synchronicity”. This mind does not see any special meaning in them. It is natural to see them given the interconnectedness of things at the level of form. This mind seeing them also has no meaning. Seeing them is simply the natural result of a quieter, slower mind that is more mindfully present.

The self’s meeting E (the woman with whom it experienced the Holy Relationship) and the unfolding of that relationship and all that followed is simply the story of this particular “Liz” in the greater story of time. It has no meaning, either. Yes, the self was ready for the experience or it would not have happened. And E did not leave because this self needed a trial. She left and this self chose to see it as a trial until she chose to learn valuable lessons from it. There is nothing making things happen for a reason in the universe of form. What happens in the universe of form is the result of cause and effect at the level of form. Things happen and the mind decides what it will tell itself about what happened, depending on what it wants to learn. So sometimes a self also makes its own synchronicity by deciding to view things as connected whether they really are or not.

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, January 06, 2016

Ask: What can I do about my frustration with those who are stuck?

“As my awareness of truth grows, I see aspects of my behavior, attitudes etc. in terms of correctable mistakes rather than crimes against humanity. The boogey man becomes smaller and smaller. This of course is a removal of an obstacle to peace. The problem that arises however, is my frustration with those around me who - out of fear - are so dug in to their stuff - unable and unwilling to budge. This results in a feeling of hopelessness, of helplessness, a "missing piece", a lie that must be tolerated. My options are to reject these friends totally; grin and bear it; knock some sense into them; or what? There's gotta be a better way.” – Anonymous

On the surface the fact that you no longer see your mistakes as “sins” would seem like a good thing. However, you still see “sins” or you would not be bothered by others. You still project guilt so you still believe that you are guilty. Your shift from seeing “sins” to seeing mistakes is merely a superficial intellectual shift.

If you do not want to be around people who are not growing then limit or end your relationship with them. They are taking up space in your life that could be filled by healthier people. But doing this may bring only temporary relief. It won’t fix your problem of projecting guilt. You are likely to project guilt into new friendships.

The guilt in your mind is taking the form of you thinking that it is “wrong” for people to be stuck in their problems. You must still feel that there is something “wrong” about you that you are seeing in them instead of in yourself. It may be a direct projection where what you specifically see in them is something that you feel in yourself. For example, there may be an area where you feel “dug into” your “stuff”. Or each person’s specific “stuff” may be something specific that you feel in yourself. Or it may be a general projection of feeling that you are inherently “wrong” and seeing others in their dysfunction merely brings up your general feelings of inherent “wrongness” and guilt. You could also feel helpless and hopeless because you mistakenly feel responsible for their dysfunction or for fixing their dysfunction and this is the source of the guilt that makes it hard for you to be around them. You may feel guilty for choosing to get healthy and “leaving them behind” in the process. In other words, these relationships are long over and you feel guilty for being the one to “leave” by choosing to get healthy. In fact, you could be feeling grief as well as guilt over the end of these relationships. You will have to sort out exactly what form(s) of guilt you are projecting and undo them or you will continue to project guilt.

When you have worked out the guilt in your mind you will no longer be frustrated by others’ choices. You may briefly wish that they could see that they are worth a better choice. But this will lead to feelings of compassion, not helplessness and hopelessness. You will see that they have their path to walk and that it is none of your business. Then you will feel free to decide, without judgment or guilt, how much, if at all, you want them in your life.

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, December 30, 2015

The Vision of the Holy Relationship

In the last article I discussed the difference between the two “visions”: What the body’s eyes report and the meaning (or the awareness of no meaning) that your mind projects or extends. Spiritual Vision is not just a “nicer” way of interpreting the world. It is a wholly different vision that you can invite and welcome, but you cannot make it happen. It comes to you when you are ready and open to It.

When I was a new student of A Course in Miracles for a few months I experienced the Vision of the Holy Relationship with another. I saw that we were one and the same, obviously not as bodies and personalities, but in Truth. The inner Vision I had was that the Truth in her was the exact same Truth in me. Even thinking about her brought an experience of deep recognition beyond any human experience. This is the experience that Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford had. I recognized it completely when I read the passages in ACIM about the Holy Relationship. This Vision is what, in ACIM, Helen was reminded to remember in her relationships with others.

I want to be clear that this Vision is not the stoned-out hippy ideal of “Yeah, man, we’re all one. Let’s all just love one another.” It has nothing to do with the level of form. It transcends it completely. It does not result in a desire to change world policies. It reveals that the universe of form is not Reality. It draws you inward, into an awareness of Perfect Formlessness, instead of leading you to change imperfect, unreal forms.

The woman with whom I experienced the Holy Relationship left my life after a few months. But the Vision of the Holy Relationship remained. What this taught me (when I finally chose to accept the lesson) was that this Vision had nothing to do with her or our relationship. The Vision was within my own mind. It was the Vision of the Holy Spirit. That relationship was the mirror in which I saw the Truth within me. The relationship reflected Oneness, or Wholeness. And that Wholeness was within me. It did not come from anywhere outside of me.

My dilemma as a spiritual teacher who uses ACIM as a common language with others is that very few seem to have had this experience. Many experience what I call “higher miracles” in which they have a moment of Spiritual Vision that transcends the universe of form even as they are aware of form. Sometimes they have this experience with others. Sometimes no one else is involved. But the experience of sustained Spiritual Vision that is the Holy Relationship is rare. So what I found was that many students were trying to apply ideas in ACIM in ways that it could not be applied because they were not experiencing the Vision that is the centerpiece of the Holy Relationship. And they were feeling like failures.

So years ago when I first wrote about my experience of the Holy Relationship I discussed it as two experiences: the mystical and the practical Holy Relationship. “Mystical” refers to experiencing the Vision of the Holy relationship.  I experienced the mystical in that first Holy Relationship. There wasn’t time in that particular relationship for me to really get to the practical application of that awareness. However, years later in my relationship with my wife, Courtney, I was able to apply the practical lessons that came from an awareness that my Wholeness is within me, not in another. This did not involve the Vision of the Holy Relationship but rather what I learned from it. And as a teacher the practical Holy Relationship is what I emphasize since the mystical Holy Relationship seems to be so rarely experienced.

When you read ACIM it helps to understand that when it discusses the relationship between Helen and Bill (“your brother”; originally “each other”) it is reminding them that there is a whole other Vision through which they could see each other. That Vision is the Vision of forgiveness because it shifts you to an awareness of Truth. It is not merely a nicer personal view of the other. Even if you have not experienced the Vision of the Holy Relationship but you have had a higher miracle then you do have something to which to refer in your own experience when you read those passages. You can remember that there is a whole other Vision. If you have not yet experienced a higher miracle you can read in those passages a reminder to invite this other Vision into your awareness.

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