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Showing posts from 2006

A New Year's Resolution

The Course offers us a resolution to make for the New Year:

This is the time in which a new year will soon be born from the time of Christ. I have perfect faith in you to do all that you would accomplish. Nothing will be lacking, and you will make complete and not destroy. Say, then, to your brother:

I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself.
I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself.
In the name of my freedom I choose your release, because I recognize that we will be released together.

So will the year begin in joy and freedom. There is much to do, and we have been long delayed. Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you. This is our will. Amen. (T-15.XI.10)

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The "Happy Dream" Error

Prepare you now for the undoing of what never was. If you already understood the difference between truth and illusion, the Atonement would have no meaning. The holy instant, the holy relationship, the Holy Spirit's teaching, and all the means by which salvation is accomplished, would have no purpose. For they are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams, from which you waken easily to knowledge. Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. (T-18.V.1)

The Course tells us that a happy dream precedes awakening. It is a dream of Oneness that reflects the peace and joy of Heaven. It is necessary because it would be too shocking to go from the dream of separation and fragmentation back to the Oneness of God. It is the means of gentle awakening.

The dream of separation becomes a happy dream when you recognize you are dreaming. You recognize the world and the ego aren’t real and therefore they become a transpar…

Merry Christmas!

The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His Presence the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in Who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is One, and no thought alien to His Oneness can abide with Him there. (T-15.XI.2)

Let no despair darken the joy of Christmas, for the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy. Let us join in celebrating peace by demanding no sacrifice of anyone, for so you offer me the love I offer you. What can be more joyous than to perceive we are deprived of nothing? Such is the message of the time of Christ, which I give you that you may give it and return it to the Father, Who gave it to me. For in the time of Christ communication is restored, and He joins us in the celebration …

Take the Course Door-to-Door?

If you point out the errors of your brother's ego you must be seeing through yours, becausethe Holy Spirit does not perceive his errors. This must be true, since there is no communication between the ego and the Holy Spirit. (T-9.III.3)

When we are first students of the Course many, if not all of us, want to “spread the word”. There are two motivations for this. One is seeing that others are in pain and wanting to offer them relief. The other is not wanting to accept that we are responsible for our own perceptions. The first error is one of looking out from ego and not seeing others as they really are; the second error is obviously responsible for the first. It is uncomfortable to accept we are responsible for our perceptions when we have invested so much in being a victim of a cruel world.

Once I read where a woman suggested taking the Course door-to-door. She apparently did not accept what the Course tells us is our only responsibility: To accept our Oneness with God for ourselves…

Real Charity

…healing rests on charity, and charity is a way of perceiving the perfection of another even if you cannot perceive it in yourself. (T-2.V.9)

Charity is a way of looking at another as if he had already gone far beyond his actual accomplishments in time. Since his own thinking is faulty he cannot see the Atonement for himself, or he would have no need of charity. The charity that is accorded him is both an acknowledgment that he needs help, and a recognition that he will accept it. (T-2.V.10)

In the world, charity is usually a material gift given by one perceived to have more to one perceived to have less. The Course teaches us that charity is seeing Christ in another even when we cannot yet see Christ in ourselves or the other cannot yet see Christ in their self. Charity strengthens the awareness of Christ in both minds. Charity gives to both the giver and the receiver.

During this holiday season students want to know if they are supposed to give money or do charity work. There is no “su…

Boundaries and Spirituality

I used to feel guilty setting boundaries. Boundaries are the lines we put around ourselves for our own comfort. When others do not respect these boundaries, we boot them from our lives. For example, “You must treat me with respect to be in my life”; “You are an adult and you must act like one to be in my life”; “I’ve asked you to stay out of my business and if you can’t you must get out of my life”; “You must take responsibility for your own actions or you cannot be in my life”, “You must follow the company’s rules or be fired”, etc.

When I was growing up, what I learned from my mother (what I was teaching myself) was how to be an emotional rescuer. When I embarked on a spiritual path my lack of boundaries became even worse. For some reason I equated being spiritual with being a doormat. Naturally I attracted other adults who were looking to be rescued. I found their neediness to be such a drag on my energy that I didn’t care to be around most people. I was angry and irritated much of …

Martyrdom: The Common Mistake

I’ve written about not needing to sacrifice before (09/27/2006 and 10/17/2006) but it is such a common obstacle that I encounter with students I must write about it again. Many students – and I was certainly one of them – make the mistake at the beginning of their path of deciding to put up with an uncomfortable, unhappy or downright painful situation because they think they’re supposed to use it to learn forgiveness. They become martyrs and practice one of the ego’s versions of forgiveness -- what the Course calls forgiveness-to-destroy because it reinforces the illusion that you are separate from God rather than lets it go.

Martyrdom can take a couple of forms. One is “I don’t like this situation but I’m supposed to use this as an opportunity to learn forgiveness.” Another is, “I really want this but I shouldn’t want anything in the world because it’s all an illusion. So I’m going to try to not want it.”

Sacrifice is the ego’s highest value because it was made from the sacrifice of yo…

What Happens to My Relationships When I Detach?

Some students fear detachment because they fear they will be perceived as cold and unfeeling and will lose the people in their lives. They fear they will be lonely.

When I talk about detachment I am talking about detaching from the ego and its perceptions. This shows up as detaching from the ego in others as well. This does not happen until you feel a conscious, ongoing connection to God. You don’t feel alone. The Holy Spirit is your constant Companion and loneliness is not possible. You are filled up, you are whole. You naturally detach because you don’t need anything from other egos. Your relationships are no longer based on “need”. You have only to give. Believe me, the people around you will not find this cold and unfeeling!

What will happen is you will no longer be interested in the drama of others and the world. You won’t be annoyed, frustrated or impatient with it – those are ego responses – you will be indifferent to it. You will be at peace within and untouched by the chaos swi…

Your Part in the Great Awakening

"The plan is not of you, nor need you be concerned with anything except the part that has been given you to learn. For He Who knows the rest will see to it without your help. But think not that He does not need your part to help Him with the rest. For in your part lies all of it, without which is no part complete, nor is the whole completed without your part." (T-20.IV.6)

"Suffice it, then, that you have work to do to play your part. The ending must remain obscure to you until your part is done. It does not matter. For your part is still what all the rest depends on. As you take the role assigned to you, salvation comes a little nearer each uncertain heart that does not beat as yet in tune with God." (W-169.11)

Some students want to know what will happen to them if they are not fully awakened, or have attained enlightenment, by the time they leave the world. Will they have failed? Will they still go to Heaven?

Heaven is an awareness of Oneness. You accepted Heaven whe…

The Illusion of Ego

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)

When you accept the above quote it makes forgiveness easier because you realize that what you are seeing in another is merely an idea in your own mind. This is why it is always your own illusions you have to forgive.

We talk about different egos but really there is just the one idea of ego, or a self separate from God. This idea takes many forms to confuse us and hide from us the fact that it is just an idea. We pick among egos, liking some and disliking others, as though one illusion of separation is better than another. They are all illusions so they are all the same. The details are not important.

It is easy to release judgment when you recognize there is nothing from which to choose. And without judgment as a veil across your mind you can easily let go of what you are seeing and choos…

Inviting the Necessary Experiences

Separating Truth from illusion is how spiritual awakening is accomplished. Unless you experience Truth, or your Oneness with God, you cannot really understand the Course when it tells you that the world and bodies/egos are illusion. They are all you think you know. The experience of Oneness with others or directly with God shows you how radically different is God from what you think is real.

So how do you invite these experiences? By retraining your mind with conscious and consistent effort. Here is what you need to do:

See Christ in others even when you do not really yet see Christ in them. You can do this by deliberately seeing light around them or in them to represent the idea of Christ to you. You consciously decide to focus on this instead of what is appearing. Then one day instead of seeing what you put there you will see Christ. I cannot describe this to you, but you will know it when you see it. In fact, it will be more familiar to you than what you are used to experiencing.

When…

Detaching From Attack

The Course tells us that you always attack yourself before you attack others. That is because you attack others to fill a perceived lack in yourself: A lack of love, fulfillment, safety, peace. So the first attack is the perception of yourself lacking and the attack on another simply perpetuates your sense of lack and guilt. You will keep attacking until you realize that attacking is not making you feel whole and safe.

How do you stop attacking? Realize that others cannot supply what you perceive yourself as lacking. Only God can supply what you need because all needs arose from a perception of separation from God. Commune with God and let God fill you up with love and peace and safety and wholeness.

When others attack you, you can understand that they are feeling a lack and are really attacking themselves. They are coming from fear. Their attack on you has nothing to do with you but with their perception that you can give them what they are missing. Of course you cannot, but you can re…

The "Better Dream" Teachers

Most of my students first heard of A Course in Miracles through popular books they read where it was mentioned. Most of them are pretty shocked when they read the Course and find out how different the Course is from the books that led them to it.

If you’ve been to my website or read through my past blogs you may have seen a topic called “Three Types of Course Students”. In there I discuss what I call “practical students”. These students take from the Course what they think they can use to dream a better dream and disregard the rest. Mostly, they take what they learn about projection and relationships. Many popular writers who reference the Course fall into this category.

Of course there are other writers who write directly about the Course, but they are not likely to be so popular at this time. Most people are not looking to wake up, but rather to dream a less painful dream. They have not yet realized that the source of their pain is that they are dreaming and that the only way to be to…

You Will Never Convince the Ego

When I was first a student of the Course I made the mistake of thinking I had to convince my ego to accept what the Course said and to accept my experiences of Oneness. I felt a deep sense of recognition when I read the Course, much like the experience of Oneness I would soon experience with another in the holy relationship. But I was also deeply identified with my ego and it resisted what I read and what I experienced. It told me what I read didn’t make sense, that it contradicted “reality” and that my experiences were insane even though they were more familiar and real to me than this world. I couldn’t see how I could ever wholly accept what I was experiencing because the ego would never let me.

And I was right. After more than twenty years my ego still says the same thing. Particularly when I have a profound experience that shifts me out of the world and shows me what is real, my ego follows up with a vicious attack. It knows that, even if it was only for an instant, I went someplac…

What Do You Want to Learn?

In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is "What do I want to come of this? What is it for?" The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome. (T.17.VI.2)

You are always teaching yourself what you believe you are. You can only teach yourself you are ego or God. So in any situation the question becomes, what do you want to learn?

When you enter into an encounter that you anticipate will be uncomfortable, step back and set the goal. It’s always easier if this is done before or at the very beginning of the encounter. Ask yourself what you want to learn – that you are ego, separate from God; or that you are Part of God? If you decide you want to learn you are Part of God, let go. Now the Holy Spirit can be your Teacher. Realize that you do not know what the relationship is about and what this particular encounter is about. Keep your mind open. You will be amazed at the results.

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Willingness vs. Worthiness

The other day I was in a home where someone had left their church’s magazine open on a table. The magazine was open to an article that said you could always trust in God. The blurb about the article stated that if you lived a worthy life you would be given guidance by the Holy Spirit. (I didn’t read the article so I don’t know what a “worthy life” looks like to them).

How different is this idea from what we learn in the Course! The Course tells us that anyone, anywhere at any time can be guided by the Holy Spirit if they are only willing to hear and follow. It does not matter who you are or who you have been. Your worth is established as Part of God and the Holy Spirit is your True Voice.

The idea that you have to do something to become worthy of God reinforces the idea that the separation from God is real and that your guilt for taking power from God is justified. Whenever you find yourself feeling that you are unworthy ask yourself if it is really possible that you are more powerful t…

An Ironic Example

A student of the Course posted to my blog asking me where he could find my blog of 6/21. When someone posts to my blog all I get in my email is the content of their post. I don’t know to which particular blog they posted unless I click on a link that comes with their comments. I rarely bother to do this because most comments are generic or about the poster’s own experience. In this case, I assumed he had been reading through the archive of my blogs in June and looked in my own files where I found I did not have a blog for 6/21 and emailed this to him.

But something (guess Who?) made me click on the link before I deleted his email. I found that he had actually been referring to my blog of 10/28 and that in it I had incorrectly referenced a previous blog as 6/21 instead of 10/21. What was ironic was that the blog in which I had made the mistake was the one called “Your Mistakes Are Corrected For You”, in which I explain how the Holy Spirit always finds a way to correct your mistakes!

I h…

The Pleasure of Connecting to God

All real pleasure comes from doing God's Will. (T-1.VII.1)

When I talk about giving from abundance and not from sacrifice or about giving to increase the value of an idea in your mind not “giving to get” students sometimes ask, “But don’t you feel good anyway? And doesn’t other people’s gratitude feel good, too?” Actually, no. When I am connected to the Holy Spirit the pleasure comes from the connection itself. I feel whole and good and at peace regardless of whether this results in action taken in the world. Whether I am guided to do something for someone else or not is not important. How an ego responds to my action (or lack of action) is totally irrelevant.

Do not deceive yourself into believing that you can relate in peace to God or to your brothers with anything external. (T-1.VII.1)

Our journey is inward. There came a time on my path when I thought the Holy Spirit was teaching me how to “be there” for others. But what I really learned was how not to be there, how to step aside.…

Your Mistakes Are Corrected For You

In my blog on 10/21 I wrote about how often students become paralyzed when they first turn their life over to their Holy Spirit because they are uncertain which way to go. Related to this paralysis of indecision is the fear of making a mistake.

First, you have to understand that making a mistake is not a sin. It calls for correction, not punishment. So any fear you have here is unjustified. Second, if you have turned your life over to your Holy Spirit, then you have the Correction with you at all times. Remember, there is only one mistake: The perception that you have separated yourself from God. If you are connecting with your Holy Spirit, Who speaks for God, then your one mistake is corrected. And this is manifested in the correction of any other mistake you may seem to make in the world.

Remember the story I told you on 10/21 about the couple who were planning to move but bumped up against too many obstacles. Their plan to move was out of accord with where the Holy Spirit needs them …

Why You Have to See Christ Everywhere

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. (T-8.III.4)

The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself you cannot find yourself, because that is not what you are. Whenever you are with a brother, you are learning what you are because you are teaching what you are. (T-8.III.5)

When I was first a student of the Course I was very resistant to the idea of seeing Christ in others. First of all, I didn’t think that most people were Christ-like at all. I misunderstood and thought I was supposed to see Christ in their egos, or individual identities, instead of seeing Christ instead of their egos. Second of all, I thought that the point of seeing Christ in others was to be “good” and I knew many attempts to be “good” only lead to hypocrisy. Any image-related concern (like be…

Taking Action

Many students become paralyzed once they decide to turn their life over to their Holy Spirit. They think they have to ask for guidance for every little decision as well as for all the larger decisions. If you have truly turned over your life to your Holy Spirit then you can be sure that guidance is there.

If you are uncertain which way your Holy Spirit wants you to go, go in the direction you want to go. Your Holy Spirit will guide you from there, either through your intuition, directly through thought or words, or indirectly through means “outside” of you. For example, I know a couple who were planning on moving their home and business to another state. They put their home up for sale and were putting their plans into action. “You know when you have so many obstacles you finally get the idea this is not the way you are supposed to go?” the woman asked me when I found out they had decided to stay in town. Of course, if this was the way they were supposed to go the obstacles would have…

If It's a Sacrifice, Stop!

Students ask me what is the point to life and the world if you no longer seek in the world for happiness, fulfillment and peace. They envision emptiness because they have not yet experienced Wholeness. When you accept the experience of happiness, fulfillment and peace within yourself then the world becomes a place in which giving becomes natural. And that becomes the point of your life and the world.

This is not the kind of giving that the world is used to. This is not the kind of giving where you lose what you give. Love and peace are ideas and ideas are strengthened in your awareness as you give them to others. In this way, giving and receiving are the same. Because there is no sense of loss there is no sense of sacrifice.

True giving does not come from a desire to be “good” or to be praised by others. That’s “giving to get”. And any sense of sacrifice results in resentment in the giver. If you are coming from either of these places when you give your time, attention and energy to oth…

Does the Truth Hurt?

The third stage through which the teacher of God must go can be called "a period of relinquishment." If this is interpreted as giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict. Few teachers of God escape this distress entirely. There is, however, no point in sorting out the valuable from the valueless unless the next obvious step is taken. Therefore, the period of overlap is apt to be one in which the teacher of God feels called upon to sacrifice his own best interests on behalf of truth. He has not realized as yet how wholly impossible such a demand would be. He can learn this only as he actually does give up the valueless. Through this, he learns that where he anticipated grief, he finds a happy lightheartedness instead; where he thought something was asked of him, he finds a gift bestowed on him. (M-4.I.A.5)

Students share with me that they find themselves hurt or angry or depressed as they study the Course and their old belief system falls away. I tell them thi…

Conscience Revisited

Then learn that God has given you the means by which you can return to Him in peace. Do not see error. Do not make it real. Select the loving and forgive the sin by choosing in its place the face of Christ. (S-2.I.3)

Whenever I write something about morality students become full of questions. My last blog was about conscience being another word for ego. “Does that mean I can do anything, even if it hurts others?” students have asked.

Nothing you do in this world changes God. You cannot change the Truth in you, you cannot change God’s Eternal, Perfect Love for you. So the question really is, why would you do something that hurts others? You would do it because you feel separated from God and you think that by attacking another you would somehow bring yourself relief from your feelings of lack, fear, emptiness and unhappiness. And, of course, you would actually end up perpetuating them.

What is the role of conscience here? Does it heal your sense of lack and unhappiness? Does it eliminate …

Conscience

Some believe that the Holy Spirit guides us through our conscience. Your conscience is your internal sense of right and wrong, leading you to feel either that you are good or guilty. The Holy Spirit will never teach you that you are guilty. That is in direct opposition to what the Holy Spirit wants you to learn. This alone should tell you the Holy Spirit cannot be the source of your conscience.

Your conscience is based on judgment. What does the Course tell us about judgment?

The world trains for reliance on one's judgment as the criterion for maturity and strength. Our curriculum trains for the relinquishment of judgment as the necessary condition of salvation. (M-9.2)

In God, Everything is One and the Same and you are Part of God, forever sinless. That is the only judgment to make. Ego’s judgments of “good” or “bad” are meant to keep you focused on the illusion of bodies and egos and the world. Judgment focuses on differences, which are never real, and to keep you apart from others…

Trust and Commitment

Doubt is the result of conflicting wishes. Be sure of what you want, and doubt becomes impossible. (M-7.6)

It seems silly, doesn’t it, to turn everything over to the Holy Spirit and then worry about the future. Who, after all, knows better what I need to reach my goal of awakening? Not just spiritually, but in the world as well. The world is the classroom where I learn and teach, so of course what I need in the world will show up.

I have come to realize that my degree of trust in the Holy Spirit is in direct proportion to my commitment to my goal. What seem to be my doubts about the Holy Spirit really reflect my uncertainty about the value of the goal I seek. The Course emphasizes that means and end are one and the same. This is most obvious on a spiritual path. The Holy Spirit is the means, God is the end, and they are One and the Same. When I’m not sure I want God, I’m not sure I want to listen to the Holy Spirit. And so it seems my trust wavers, when it is really my commitment that i…

More on Extension vs. Projection

But learn and do not let your mind forget this law of seeing: You will look upon that which you feel within. If hatred finds a place within your heart, you will perceive a fearful world, held cruelly in death's sharp-pointed, bony fingers. If you feel the Love of God within you, you will look out on a world of mercy and of love. (W-189.5)

No one really sees anything. He sees only his thoughts projected outward. (W-8.1)

There’s a curious thing I’ve noticed about projecting ego and extending God. When I project ego it does seem as though what I am seeing is only “out there” and not related to me. Yet when I am centered in God and seeing peace I am clearly aware that I am seeing what I am first feeling.

The Course uses the word “project” to refer to ego and “extend” to refer to God – even though they refer to the same “law of seeing” – precisely because of the experience I just shared. When you “project” something you throw it away from you (think “projectile”). In the case of ego, it i…

Do I Have to Give Up...?

Students often ask me, sometimes indirectly, if they have to give up what they value. Single students may ask if it is okay to date; someone who likes to travel may wonder why they should continue to learn about the world; a careerist may question their ambition. It is normal to start questioning your values once you embark on a path of awakening from the world.

But often students have only intellectually challenged their values. These values are still real to them. You do not have to give up anything until it seems easy and natural to do so. Otherwise you will feel you are sacrificing, and this is in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit’s goal. Everything you now value can be used by your Holy Spirit to teach you forgiveness. In the examples above, each person will learn a new purpose for what they value. Forgiveness will show them what is real and what is not, what part of their goal has value as they awaken, and what is an obstacle to their awakening. As they learn to value what is …

Your Real Work

Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. (W-42.2)

Sometimes students complain to me about how they feel the work they do in the world to earn a living is meaningless, out of step with where they are spiritually. But it cannot be. Your real work is forgiveness – remembering Truth no matter what is appearing. And this is needed everywhere. The Course trains you in everyday life, not just for your convenience, but because God’s teachers are needed in everyday life.

One of my students pointed out that each time we forgive, each time we see through what is appearing and see Truth instead, we are dissolving a little of the illusion for the Part of God that dreams. As you do your part to dissolve the illusion of separation from God, you not only allow Light to shine in your mind, but in every mind, because all minds are One.

Over time, as you forgive where you are now, you will move on to where you are needed to learn forgiven…

Healing

Miracles are expressions of love, but they may not always have observable effects. (T-1.I.35)

The other day I was in a doctor’s waiting room with several people who were obviously ill. I got into a conversation with a very ill woman and her mother. We talked about her various illnesses as well as the illness of the person I was with. In quiet moments, in breaks of the conversation, however, I stopped to remember Truth. I never said anything out loud, but in my mind I remembered “Only the Truth is true” and looked past what was appearing to Truth.

Did anyone in the room suddenly jump up all healed and whole again? No, but we were all healed. I know because I saw Truth, I felt the connection. That is the healing. To be concerned with what is appearing is to be lost. Because what is appearing – be it “health” or “sickness”-- is always false. This is what forgiveness recognizes.

What motivated me to remember Truth was not a desire to heal anyone else. I simply did not want to get so caught u…

Fearing the God We Made

You make attempts at kindness and forgiveness. Yet you turn them to attack again, unless you find external gratitude and lavish thanks. Your gifts must be received with honor, lest they be withdrawn. And so you think God's gifts are loans at best; at worst, deceptions which would cheat you of defenses, to ensure that when He strikes He will not fail to kill. (W-197.1)

I was amazed when I came across this quote because I have found that as I get closer to God, I have these lurking fears. I seem to trust God – up to a point. Not long ago I found I fear I am being tricked, that I am being lured closer with loving promises only to be punished in the end.

What this quote above is saying is that we project our own ego’s behavior on God. In our ego-identification, we snatch away kindness and forgiveness when we find they are not met with our own expectations of gratitude. And so we are sure that that is how God is responding to us. We have not been perfectly grateful and so we think we wil…

Stages of Awakening

The Course tells us that very few can go from being fully immersed in the dream of separation from God to being fully awakened to God. This would be too shocking to the mind and it would retreat deeper into fear. So the Course and other paths with the same goal of Truth are here to help us to awaken gently.

We awaken gently through stages. The goal is to become what the Course calls a “teacher of God”, or one who remembers their Oneness with God. Once you have had the experience of Oneness, even if only briefly, you are a teacher of God because your mind is forever changed. You can no longer wholly believe only this world and your individual identity are true. Whether you accept it or not, the light of this awareness shines on all minds. Yet the Course also refers to those who have gone the distance to remembering only God as “advanced” teachers of God. This is total awareness of yourself as One with God – the ultimate goal.

Guided
The world is your classroom, but you get to choose the t…

Overcoming Guilt

It is impossible to identify with the body/ego and not feel guilt. You identify with what you believe in and if you believe an individual identity is your reality, you believe you have successfully overcome God and you will feel guilty for it. There is no way to escape guilt but by shifting your identity to Truth – where It really belongs.

Everyone tries to make the compromise of believing in this world and not feeling guilty. All of us, when we first become students of the Course and learn that sin isn’t real, feel relief. But then we have to learn what “sin” means and the way that it manifests to us. All the behaviors that are called “sin” and all the guilt we feel for them are meant to preoccupy us with the body/ego and “prove” that we have triumphed over God. So we seek at first to find the “right” way to live to not feel guilty, yet the source of our guilt is not our behavior; it is our mistaken identity.

The way to overcome guilt is learn that you have not overcome God. The way to…

The Weird Associaton of God With Death

Any discussion of death is really pointless because it is about the individual self, which doesn’t exist. How can one meaningfully answer what happens to what isn’t real when something equally unreal happens to it?

Actually, the individual self – the body/ego -- is death because it doesn’t exist. And because it was made to represent the death of God. The body/ego is supposed to be the “proof” that God has been overcome, and the inevitable “death” of the body is supposed to be the ultimate proof of this. So when you identify with the body/ego you are identifying with death.

However, even some experienced students of the Course seem to think the only way to reach God is through the “death” of the body. This despite the Course emphasizing throughout that you are in God now and 365 lessons teaching you how to reach an awareness of this! Every student at some point asks, “Why don’t I just kill myself and go back to God?” Think what they are saying: They can reach God only if they destroy th…

Teleclass: Understanding A Course in Miracles

A teleclass for:
· Students who want a deeper understanding of A Course in Miracles
· Non-students who are curious about what the Course says
We meet over the phone on a bridge (like a conference call) so you can live anywhere in the world.
Tuesday, October 3, 4-5pm PST/7-8pm EST:
Theology: You Are Part of God
Tuesday, October 10, 4-5pm PST/7-8pm EST:
Practice: The True Meaning of Forgiveness
Cost for series: $20 US
Contact me at Liz@acimmentor.com.
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The Course and Raising Children

The world is an illusion. Those who choose to come to it are seeking for a place where they can be illusions, and avoid their own reality. Yet when they find their own reality is even here, then they step back and let it lead the way. (W-155.2)

Students of the Course who are raising children often wonder how they can pass along to their children what they are learning from the Course. Of course, you cannot tell them that the world is not real or that their lives here are not real. You cannot even tell adults that until they have shown some willingness to accept the idea. This is why it is always best to step back and let your Self lead the way when it comes to talking to others about your path (or not talking about it, as the case may be).

Your children will learn by watching you. Older children may see a change in you and ask what has brought it about. Depending on their age and maturity, you may be able to read the Course with them. You can also prepare them for opening themselves to …

Creation as Oneness

"Except ye become as little children" means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. (T-1.V.3)

Some students are uncomfortable with the idea that the world was not created by God. Remember, the Course uses the term “creation” to mean Oneness with God, not “to bring into being” as we are used to using it. God is Being and there is no lack in God. There is no need in God to bring anything into being. When the Course says “God created you” it means God knows you in Oneness with God.

Some come to the Course believing that God made the world and sent us here to learn. I’m not sure what the learning goal is supposed to be, but this implies separation and lack, also. This means you are not Part of God, Who is All and therefore cannot have anything to learn. It is true we are here to learn Who we are, but only after we have change our minds about who made the world. The lack was…

Stop Shoulding on Yourself!

There comes a time when students begin to “get” the Course and they start to “should” and “shouldn’t” all over themselves. They say things like:

“I should know better than this.”
“I should look at him as Christ, not a body.”
“I shouldn’t let little things upset me anymore.”
“I should be at peace.”
“I should be happy.”

There is no “should” in awakening! The only thing that matters is willingness to change your mind. Try saying:

“I don’t need to be upset anymore. I am willing to look at this differently.”
“I am not looking on Truth here. Let me remember Truth instead.”
“I can have peace instead of this. I open my mind to a new way of looking at this.”
“Happiness is my natural state of mind. I will let go of this and be happy.”

“Should” and “shouldn’t” are the ego’s way of inserting guilt onto your path of awakening. Let go of the situation and the “shoulds” as well, and simply be willing to change your mind instead.

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Practical Steps to Detachment

Most students find that after they have been studying for a while they are able to detach from situations or relationships that once would have bothered them. But they often still have a problem letting go of situations or relationships that began before they became students.

Keep in mind that any situation that causes you to have a strong emotional reaction is meant to replace God. This means even so-called “positive” emotions. The idea is to get you so involved in the world/body/ego that you forget Who you really are. Detachment is natural as you recognize that this “life” in the world is not your Reality.

If you are really hooked into a relationship you cannot seem to detach from, here is a three-stage practical way to reach detachment (you can use these for other situations not involving people as well):

First, it is easier to deal with people when you can clearly accept them only as an idea – when they are not physically present or occurring. So take advantage of this, and when they…

The Course and Buddha

Many have chosen to renounce the world while still believing its reality. And they have suffered from a sense of loss, and have not been released accordingly. Others have chosen nothing but the world, and they have suffered from a sense of loss still deeper, which they did not understand.
Between these paths there is another road that leads away from loss of every kind, for sacrifice and deprivation both are quickly left behind. This is the way appointed for you now. (W-155.4-5)

Do you know the story of Prince Siddhartha, who became Buddha? (The word Buddha is derived from Sanskrit and means “to wake up” or “to be enlightened”. Buddha and Christ are the same state of awareness of Oneness). As a prince, he had everything material in the world one could ask for. He also married and had a family. But he did not have fulfillment and was overwhelmed by how much of life was suffering. So he renounced the world, became a mendicant and went to study among ascetics and seek for enlightenment. Bu…

Are Course Students Christians?

Whether or not you consider yourself Christian is up to you. The designation “Christian” is a concern of the world, not of awakening. (The term “Christian” is used in the Course only in Chapter 3, part I. Atonement Without Sacrifice).

For the most part those who call themselves Christian seem to agree on one point: At minimum, you must declare yourself a sinner and accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior to be a Christian. Of course, there are others who call themselves Christians who do not accept these concepts.

The Course teaches us we cannot sin, that we are all Christ in Truth, and that we are One with God. The Course teaches us that God did not make this world, so therefore it cannot be real; that it is a projection of the wish to be separate from God; that atonement means correction of this perception, not punishment for it; that guilt is unjustified; that sacrifice has no place in God’s plan for your awakening. All of this is the opposite of what traditional Christianity tea…

The Past and Forgiveness

The one wholly true thought one can hold about the past is that it is not here. Very few have realized what is actually entailed in picturing the past or in anticipating the future. The mind is actually blank when it does this, because it is not really thinking about anything. (W-8.2)

What time but now can truth be recognized? The present is the only time there is. (W-164.1)

Until you have experienced Truth, it may be difficult to accept the Course’s definition of forgiveness, which is that nothing that happens in the world is real. Forgiveness recognizes that only God is real, and nothing can change God.

The purpose of time, from the point of view of the desire to be separate from God, is to make it seem as though God isn’t real. The past is what is real; it has happened and you cannot change that. If you have learned correctly in the world, you anticipate a future that will be just like the past. The present is where nothingness resides; it is but a brief transition from past to future…

Being In the World But Not of the World

There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet. And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own. Yet those who have not yet perceived the way will recognize you also, and believe that you are like them, as you were before. (W-155.1)

When I talk to students who have not yet experienced the holy instant about detachment from the world and living within themselves in the Presence they focus only on what they perceive they would lose. Will I still eat? Will I still work and pay my bills? How will I raise my kids? Am I going to have to go live in a cave? Can I go to the movies?

If you have experienced the holy instant than you know how you can be present to God and still appear to be in the world. Outwardly, your life looks no different. You go through the motions while within you are in peace and joy. You are unaffected by what seems to…

Accept Its Message and the Course Will Be Clear

In my 4/11/06 blog I wrote about the importance of reading the Course in context – meaning, understanding the whole message of the Course to understand each line and paragraph. Though the Course can be read on many levels, there is no part of the Course that isn’t consistent with the whole.

I just read of an example of taking the Course out of context that had me laughing. I went to Amazon.com to send my brother a copy of the Course and they had a little blurb about the books. The writer of the blurb pointed out that some people may find the Course too simplistic, and used the quote “To heal is to make happy” as an example. When I read this I burst out laughing. She must think the Course is saying all you have to do is take someone out for an ice cream (or whatever treat will make them happy) and they will be healed!

Well, of course what the Course is saying is that happiness and healing are the same thing. In fact, if you read the quote (T-5.in.1), you only have to go to the next parag…

Overcoming Fear

All fear is ultimately reducible to the basic misperception that you have the ability to usurp the power of God. (T-2.I.4)

Think of something in this world you are afraid of right now.

You fear it because you believe it is real.
If it is real, then it means you have successfully overcome God.
Now you feel guilty and fear that God will punish you.
This is the true source of your fear.

When you turn your mind over to your Holy Spirit you are acknowledging:

Only God is real.
What is appearing is not real.
You don’t have the power to change what God created.
Therefore, there is nothing to feel guilty about or to fear.

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Seeing God in Others

And meaning always looks within to find itself, and then looks out. All meaning that you give the world outside must thus reflect the sight you saw within; or better, if you saw at all or merely judged against. (T-20.VIII.10)

The Course tells us to see God in our “brothers”. It’s not referring to what the body can see – another body. Nor is it referring to another’s personality or ego. If this is what you see, you have looked within and seen ego first, before you looked outward.

In my own experience, I do not see God “in” anyone. When I am centered within in God, anything my eyes see is neutral and frankly unimportant or meaningless. And I just experience God, within, without, everywhere.

Everyone describes the experience differently, so don’t get too hung up on words. Some may say they see God “in” or “around” or “beyond” or “instead of”. The words are not important; the experience is. Just be certain that you will experience “out there” what you experience within yourself first.

So if y…

Overcoming the Appearance of Spirituality

Some of the early obstacles we have to overcome as students of the Course are our own ideas of what it is supposed to be like to be a truly spiritual person. All of these ideas are steeped in the belief that sacrifice is required to be accepted by God. They inspire fear and make a spiritual path seem undesirable. These ideas are heavily fostered by the world, and some students are initially offended when they learn these treasured ideas have nothing to do with truly being in touch with God. They expect – rightly – that if they take on these undesirable appearances the world will pat them on the back. Here’s a partial list of situations, behaviors, attitudes and attributes that have nothing to do with truly being spiritual but may be an obstacle to you:

Poverty
Suffering
Loving everyone to the point of not having boundaries
Being “nice” to the point of being a hypocrite
Serving others
Preaching to and converting others
Living in isolation from the world
Sacrificing what you value
Marriage
Celiba…

The Experience of God

Ah, bliss!

Sometimes when you are stuck or feeling discouraged on your path it helps to remember the goal, not in general terms, but the actual experience you are moving toward. Even if you haven’t experienced peace and wholeness for a while, or if you are new to the Course and think you have not experienced them at all, it can help to imagine and contemplate what it is to be in God and free from all illusions. Words fall far short of the experience, and the experience cannot be conveyed to you by them, but try to imagine these experiences and see what happens:

Peace, pure and deep, that extends everywhere.
Joy and Love that rise to ecstasy.
Wholeness and fulfillment so complete the idea of lack or need does not even exist.
Security so sure doubt of any kind is not possible.
Limitlessness.

These experiences are Truth, they are what you really are. Now contemplate that!

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The Pull of Self-Righteousness

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)

The realization that you make an ego not just for yourself but for others too can be very uncomfortable. Because that means only your mind has to be changed. This is particularly frustrating to ego, which wants to see the world and others as having the problem that needs to be solved. But spiritual awakening is an inward path that requires you take full responsibility for what is in your mind.

When you embark on a spiritual path, ego can take refuge in self-righteousness. It may stay here for a long time, mitigating your discomfort by telling you that you are better-than others because you are spiritual, or because your spirituality is more “right” than theirs. The pull of self-righteousness is very strong and can be very subtle. Whenever you look on others or some situation in the world…

The Course and Morality

Do you prefer that you be right or happy? Be you glad that you are told where happiness abides, and seek no longer elsewhere. (T-29.VII.1)

You don’t have to be a student of the Course for long to realize it is not at all concerned with what is happening in the world. The Course does not lay out the “right way” for you to live in the world because the world is not your reality. There is no right or wrong because a dream is a dream is a dream. There is no “morality of God” because to God all of this is meaningless.

It can be a while, though, before you have the experiences of the holy instant and holy relationship that will lead you to see that this “life” you seem to be living is a dream, a projection of your mind. Until you have those experiences again and again it will be difficult for you to detach from what is happening in the world. An intellectual understanding of the Course is not enough to help you see that questions about how to live in the world are meaningless.

So, in the meant…

To Dream or to Awaken - That is the Question

Some students try to use the Course to dream a better dream rather than to awaken. This, of course, is going to result in limited peace and happiness. Since dreams are not true they cannot satisfy you – you will always know you are missing Something and will seek and seek and seek.

Let’s say tonight you go to sleep and have a nightmare. After a while you awaken, breathe a sigh of relief that it was only a dream, roll over and go back to sleep. This time you have a pleasant dream. Which one is real – the nightmare or the pleasant dream? Obviously, both are dreams. Neither is true.

Wouldn’t you rather awaken from all dreams? It is inevitable that your pleasant dreams will turn to nightmares because they are not true, you know this on some level, and you feel guilty because you feel you usurped God’s power. The Course tells us a happy dream will precede full awakening but this is only because you recognize that you are dreaming. The goal of awakening causes the happy dream. The goal of a h…