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Showing posts from January, 2006

"Creation"

Everything God created is like Him. (T-2.I.2)

The law of creation is that you love your creations as yourself, because they are part of you. (T-10.I.1)

Creation and communication are synonymous. God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it, thus establishing it forever as a channel for the reception of His Mind and Will. (T-4.VII.3)

What else but you did the Creator create, and what else but you is His Kingdom? (T-4.III.1)

In common usage “to create” means “to make” or “to bring into being”. In the world’s theologies, “creation” is the physical universe, including bodies and egos. As the Course uses the term, “to create” is to extend yourself to or to know as One with yourself. And “creation” is everything in God’s Mind – you, as God’s Extension.

The Course also tells us that, being like God, we too are creators. But we have distorted that ability with projection:

Because of your likeness to your Creator you are creative. No child of God can lose this ability because it is inheren…

Why Did We Throw Away Heaven?

Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within. (T-18.VI.1)

For this world is the opposite of Heaven, being made to be its opposite, and everything here takes a direction exactly opposite of what is true. (T-16.V.3)

Inevitably students of A Course in Miracles reach a point where they ask why we left Heaven. Why did we choose to forget Who we are? Why did we make this world, which is the opposite of Heaven? Why did we choose loss and suffering over everything and peace?

The answer to these questions is: You didn’t. These questions imply something real has happened, when in fact, nothing has happened. That is the entire lesson of the Course!

Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God. (T-in.2)

The idea of separation from God is not the error. Taking this idea seriously is the error. You did not throw Heaven away, yo…

Rejoice! You Cannot Change God

Nothing you do (or don’t do) in this world changes God in any way.

Some have rejected the Course because it teaches that this world, and their life in it, has no effect on God. They prefer to think that sin is real, that separation from God is possible. Their fear of God outweighs their pain in thinking of themselves as “sinners”. They are afraid that if they don't believe in sin that God will strike them down. They would rather condemn themselves and hope this mitigates the punishment they expect from God.

Others are offended by the idea that they cannot change God. If you suggest their life here isn’t real, they get angry. They are deeply identified with the ego and the idea it isn’t real threatens them greatly. But the arrogance of the ego is a mask for their fear that they have made separation from God real — and fear God will punish them.

Still others feel that if their life here isn’t real, then it is meaningless.

Some students ask, “If I cannot sin, then why can’t I do anything…

"Serving" God and Others

A miracle is a service. It is the maximal service you can render to another. It is a way of loving your neighbor as yourself. You recognize your own and your neighbor's worth simultaneously. (T-1.I.18)

In this world, “serving” God through serving is considered a necessary part of being a spiritual person. But the world’s idea of service is quite different from the Course’s idea of service. It is taking some physical action for others, often for others deemed “less fortunate”. There is an aura of subjugation of one’s self to another or at least of some sort of sacrifice being made by you in this service. Giving up your free time, or perhaps doing something you consider unpleasant. Oh, how the ego loves you to sacrifice, rewarding you with feelings of superiority and righteousness!

Another way the world sees of serving God is simply to dedicate whatever you do to God. Think of athletes who, after scoring or winning, take time to pray or to kiss their hand and point to God. ”This win i…

Distinction: Extension vs. Projection

(The Course uses distinctions to help you understand how Truth and ego differ. I will visit these distinctions on occasion to help you with your study.)

The belief that by seeing it outside you have excluded it from within is a complete distortion of the power of extension. (T-7.VIII.3)

Because God is All, it is the nature of Mind to see Itself everywhere. The Course refers to this seeing as extension – the mind reaching everywhere. Being what it is, your mind can’t get away from this ability. So the ego has to use it but what it does is project – it splits your mind so that there is a within you and an outside you and tells you that what you see outside is not you. Now you did not make the world, it made you.

The Course aims to return your mind to its original wholeness, and therefore teaches you to take back the projection – to see that it is you who have made the world you see. Only then can you change your mind.

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Why the Text is Abstract

As you perceive more and more common elements in all situations, the transfer of training under the Holy Spirit's guidance increases and becomes generalized. Gradually you learn to apply it to everyone and everything, for its applicability is universal. When this has been accomplished, perception and knowledge have become so similar that they share the unification of the laws of God. (T-12.VI.6)

Some students are frustrated that the Text is too abstract and does not include specific examples for them to apply to their lives. There are three reasons for this:

--If specific examples are given you might think the lesson only applies to those specific situations and not see how it applies to your own situation.

--The goal of the Course is for you to learn to generalize – all illusions are the same, just as Truth is all the same. You may mistake specific examples as somehow “special” and different from situations not given as an example.

--There is a Workbook that is very specific! The Tex…

The Tone of the Course's Voice

Do you feel attacked or loved by the Course?

When I was first a student of the Course I thought the tone of the books was often lofty, distant, even cold and hard. Oh, yes, there were beautiful passages, but they were offset by this other severe tone. It was as though the Course had a split personality! But because I sensed the Truth was contained in the Course, I felt compelled to keep studying.

Well, guess what? As I’ve developed trust in the Holy Spirit the tone of the Course has changed. When it isn’t neutral, it is simply loving. It is not lofty and distant, but direct and matter-of-fact. It’s all beautiful. It turns out I was the one with the split personality and I was projecting my own tone onto the Course all along!

Sometimes in my study group a student would respond as though a passage was attacking them. They would say things like, “The Course sounds angry here”, or “Why is it talking down to me? I already know this!” I would have to tell them they were reading anger or condes…

Passing Through the Course

“Every good teacher hopes to give his students so much of his own learning that they will one day no longer need him. This is the one true goal of the teacher.” (T-4.1.5)

It is ironic that as a mentor for students of A Course in Miracles my job is to help you get past the Course. The Course offers you a theology, or system of belief, that is more in line with Truth to replace one you already hold. Yet, you will reach a point where you won’t need any theology because you have a direct relationship with God that is beyond any “belief”. And the structured, formal lessons in the Workbook will be replaced by direct, informal lessons from your Holy Spirit. In essence, a mentor guides you through the Course and out the other side, where you will need neither the mentor nor any structured curriculum.

Three Types of Course Students

I have observed at least three different types of Course students:

Casual – These students come to the Course with firmly established beliefs, which can be anything from traditionally religious to eclectically New Age. They do not study the Course in depth. Rather, they take from it that which validates what they already believe and disregard that which conflicts with what they already believe. They often lead others to the Course by showing them the books or inviting them to study groups.

Practical – These students use the Course to better their life in the world. They tend to enjoy the Workbook and have a hard time with the Text. They love the effect that practicing the Course has on their relationships most of all. They are not so much seeking for Truth, but rather seeking to dream a better dream.

Awakening – These students love the whole Course and are hungry for it. They want the Truth because it is the Truth. They see the Course as the path to lead them there. They do not always re…

Your Purpose

Awake and remember your purpose, for it is your will to do so. (T-12.II.6)

Not long ago someone asked me if there was anything I did that I felt was my purpose in life. I said yes, when I was meditating and made the connection to God – then I felt I was fulfilling my purpose. This surprised her. In this world, one’s “purpose” tends to be expressed as a vocation or a profession. We think we are fulfilling our purpose when our “personalities” and our work intersect. We say, “I feel I was meant to….” (Become a doctor, work with children, go to the moon, etc.).

Yet the Course tells us we all have the same purpose and it is not of this world. It is to overcome the belief that this world is Truth.

Your purpose is to see the world through your own holiness. (W-37.1)

Forgiveness removes only the untrue, lifting the shadows from the world and carrying it, safe and sure within its gentleness, to the bright world of new and clean perception. There is your purpose now. (T-18.IX.14)

Salvation cannot be…

Why Mentoring?

You don’t need a mentor, but you may want one.

It may seem a contradiction to offer mentoring to you when I know you don’t need it. Your Holy Spirit is your True Mentor. But there is a difference between needing a mentor in this world and wanting one. When I was a new student in the mid-80s I would have loved to have someone to help me who was focused on my particular needs. I did belong to a study group, but there were competing interests there. There were parts of the Course I got quickly and other areas where I was stuck. In a group, my particular questions did not always get answered. And while the leader of the group was great, I was never sure he would understand my experience of the holy relationship. No one there was talking about the experience I was having that was so clearly not of this world. I often felt I was just barely holding on to my own sanity!

It was a blessing that I had only my Holy Spirit to turn to, but it also took a long time for me to develop trust in this rel…

Desperately Seeking Me

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)

Whenever a non-ACIMer uses the word “ego” I have to ask them what they mean. In psychology, the ego is only a part of your psyche. To some in twelve step programs, ego means “pride”. Never do they mean it as the Course does: Your entire human identity, including your body and your “personality”.

The ego, whether one you make for yourself or one you project onto others, is unstable because it is unreal. Identify with it and you are always searching for yourself, trying on different identities, looking for some idea, or thing, or group to identify with because you have left your True Identity behind. And you will never feel you truly “know” someone else. Even lifelong relationships will shift again and again.

You are in an identity crisis until you accept the only Identity you have is in G…

Political, not Spiritual Leaders

Change your mind, change the world.

A spiritual leader would be one who leads you to awaken from the world of separation not reaffirm your belief in it, don’t you think? Some political leaders are called spiritual leaders because they use religious philosophy to further their cause – Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Pope, the Dalai Lama, for example. They were or are each concerned with justice in this world, not with awakening.

Salvation is God's justice. It restores to your awareness the wholeness of the fragments you perceive as broken off and separate. (M-19.4)

Seeing others as yourself is not a philosophy, but a true experience. It is what is just, because it is the Truth. It is your mind that needs to change, not the world. Those who try to change the world instead of their own minds have forgotten the source of the world they see is in their own minds.

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Is it your Holy Spirit?

Not all “supernatural” experiences are from Spirit.

When you hear your Holy Spirit, it is a still, quiet Voice. On reflection, it seems the Voice (which may be experienced by you as actual words or as ideas) came from out of time. There is no emotional charge. What your Holy Spirit imparts brings a sense of liberation. Your Holy Spirit does not micro-manage your life – help you with each decision. Your Holy Spirit lifts you out of a “life” that seems to be lived apart from God.

There are other “voices” mistaken for your Holy Spirit that are manifestations of ego. Sometimes you are simply getting clearer about what you really want. You may be trying to make a choice, for example, and feel that a certain way is the “right way”. Of course to your Holy Spirit, decisions in this world do not matter. The only decision that means anything is whether or not you will awaken to yourself as Part of God.

Other times you tap into the “universal ego”. There is really only one Mind, even though there s…

Ego Loves Your Attention

The ego doesn’t care if you love it or hate it, as long as you believe in it.

After reading about the ego in the Course, beginner students spend a lot of time analyzing their ego -- and others’ egos, which is the same thing. There is a useful, but limited purpose in this. It is important to identify the ego at work. But the ego loves the attention and this analysis can go on for too long. Some students spend years thinking and talking about their egos. They may be laughing at it, but it doesn’t matter to the ego. As long as you believe in it, the ego is happy.

You don’t have to worry about your every thought and mood. It doesn’t matter what ego is doing because the ego isn’t you. When you realize you’ve been too caught up in the ego’s illusions, just say “Oops! Ego again.” – and let it go.

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But while I'm still here...

In ’99 I decided I wanted my life to be more meaningful than I felt it was at that time. I put this out to the Holy Spirit and let it go. Soon after, I read about life coaching in a magazine and decided that was what I was looking for. A life coach is someone who helps you reach your goals faster and easier. The goals can be personal or professional or both. This seemed suited to me and I entered a coach training program.

I had put formal study of the Course aside for a few years, but right after I began my training as a life coach I picked up the Course again. Suddenly, my focus shifted. I felt all that I had felt when I first picked up the Course in ’84: That the Course was my home, that it was my whole purpose in the world. I began to feel conflicted. How could I spend my time helping people focus on goals in this world and still value awakening from the world? These goals seemed opposed.

I knew an experienced coach who was also a student of the Course and I mentioned this conflict t…

Forgiveness

To forgive is to overlook. Look, then, beyond error and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds. (T-9.IV.1)

The world’s version of forgiveness is “You have done this to me, but I am going to let it go.” But the Course teaches us that forgiveness recognizes nothing has happened. This requires a shift in perception away from this world as reality to the Oneness of God as Reality.

Ultimately, you only forgive once and it is yourself you forgive for your illusions. Until then, you are basically preparing for this step.

So, how do you handle an everyday situation where you perceive yourself as harmed? If you are already in the throws of the emotions of feeling attacked (hurt, angry), allow yourself these emotions, but take a mental step back from the situation and remind yourself that though you are experiencing this situation as real, it isn’t. Later, when you are not so emotional, take the situation in your mind to your Holy Spirit. Be willin…

Your One True Goal

All other goals are at the cost of God. (S-1.III.6)

What more than this needs be said? If your goal isn’t God, it will cost you God. This sums up the path of awakening very neatly.

Moreover, what other goal is worthy of you, who are a part of God? Think of all the goals we make in this world – small and large, long term and short term. Each of them costs you God. Do not make the mistake of thinking you have two lives – the one in this world and a spiritual one. You have only one life and where you place your goals is based on who you want to be.

Live in the present, with God. All the rest is taken care of.

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The Course and Christian Language

The Course uses words, phrases and concepts familiar to anyone in a Christian culture, but redefines them. In this way, it uses what you have made to teach separation, to teach Oneness instead.

While the language is Christian, the message of the Course is not what is traditionally considered Christian. As more evidence of that, you need only learn that many Christian sects consider the Course heretical and have banned it! The message also makes the Course accessible to non-Christians (like myself) despite the language.

While you still have traditional concepts in your mind, the Course is very confusing. You have to open your mind to a new meaning for these ideas and words or you will not get the Course at all.

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Experiencing God over Understanding Theology

06/01/01

Experiencing what the Course teaches is more important than grasping its theology.

When I was first a student of the Course (1984), I initially experienced dramatic shifts in perception. But then I spent years and years trying to understand the theology of the Course. Those were dry years. Though I didn’t realize exactly what I was doing, I was intellectualizing my spirituality instead of practicing it. Of course the shifts in perception stopped because Spirit cannot be understood unless It is first experienced.

Save yourself time and learn from my mistake. Do not waste time trying to understand, but rather open yourself to your Holy Spirit, welcome shifts in perception and then understanding will come to you.

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