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Showing posts from March, 2006

Which is the Real Sacrifice?

It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give. What can the sacrifice of nothing mean? It cannot mean that you have less because of it. There is no sacrifice in the world's terms that does not involve the body. Think a while about what the world calls sacrifice. Power, fame, money, physical pleasure; who is the "hero" to whom all these things belong? Could they mean anything except to a body? Yet a body cannot evaluate. By seeking after such things the mind associates itself with the body, obscuring its Identity and losing sight of what it really is. (M-13.2)

To sacrifice is to give up something of value. Ego values sacrifice because you sacrificed God for it. Sacrifice is honored in ego’s world and in its religions. Read the paper, watch the news and see the stories glorifying “heroes” who have made some sacrifice, even unto death, for other egos or for “God”. Each sacrifice, no matter how small, validates the original …

Coming Out Spiritually

The Holy Spirit, as always, takes what you have made and translates it into a learning device. (T-6.V.A.2)

Your Holy Spirit will use what you have made – this worldly life – to help you awaken from it. Sometimes that can be through parallel experiences that can serve almost as a metaphor for spiritual awakening.

When I was first a student of the Course I was struck by how the process of awakening to my True Identity was much like what I had just gone through awakening to my lesbian identity: The deep denial of the truth of my nature despite experiences that should have made it obvious to me; the growing awareness that I’m not who I’m trying to be; the shock as the truth fully dawns; the acceptance, as I look back over my experiences, that the truth has always been here.

The awareness of how deeply I could deny my own identity made me afraid of what else I might be denying. As I dug around within my mind I had a vague and uncomfortable feeling that there was something much bigger than my …

All You Have to Do

The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself. (T-2.V.5)

The sole responsibility of God's teacher is to accept the Atonement for himself. (M-18.4)

"Atoning" means "undoing." (T-1.I.26)

Your purpose is to awaken from the world because it is not your home. What other purpose could you have? What other error is there to correct? You couldn’t ask for easier responsibility.

Even after years of study some students still speak in terms of changing the world. But the world is an error. It is an error in your mind. So the correction of this error must also occur in your mind.

How do you atone or undo such an error? Since the error is that you have divided your mind from your Self, then the correction is to turn your mind back to your Self. Turn your mind over to your Holy Spirit. How simple is your one responsibility and with what relief can you accept it!

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Using Everyday Transitions to Remember Your Self

It is all well and good to say you are part of God but this will not mean anything to you unless you remember it.

The lessons in the Workbook progress to a point where you are to remember them throughout the day. This is hard enough when you are doing the Workbook, but what about your life afterward? You may find Holy Spirit has a specialized curriculum for you that continues past the formal lessons of the Workbook, perhaps a thought for the day just for you that comes up during morning meditation. In any case, after you finish the lessons you want to continue to stay consciously connected with God throughout the day.

One way to remember your lesson throughout the day -- or your Self as part of God throughout the day -- is to make it a habit to go to these ideas, or to a holy instant, during a transition. This means when you are moving on to something different from what you have been doing. For example, when you rise in the morning, then when you leave for work, when you enter or leav…

Distinction: Peace vs. Boredom

Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is. (T-8.I.1)

Some people think inner peace is boring. Usually it is young people who think this, but I have heard this from people of all ages: “I don’t want to be at peace. That would be boring.” But peace and boredom cannot coexist.

Conflict and peace are opposites. Where one abides the other cannot be; where either goes the other disappears. (T-23.I.12)

Peace is an absence of conflict; boredom is conflict. Peace is rest; boredom is restlessness. Peace is a state of wholeness; boredom is a state of incompletion. Peace is found within you; boredom is a form of external searching.

Those who think peace is boring do not understand what peace is, nor Who they are.

Peace is a natural heritage of spirit. Everyone is free to refuse to accept his inheritance, but he is not free to establish what his inheritance is. (T-3.VI.10)

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We All Want to Awaken

The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience in the opinion of the asker. (M-21.2)

If I say everyone wants to awaken, I bet you can think of people who are so immersed in the world and in ego that you think awakening from this dream of separation from our Self is the last thing they want. But I’m sure you’d agree that everyone wants lasting love and peace and happiness.

When people pray for specific things, they are asking for the experience they think that thing will bring. They pray for the destruction of their “enemies” thinking it will bring them peace; they pray for a new “thing” thinking it will bring them happiness; they pray for the perfect mate thinking they will bring lasting love. In our hearts, we are all asking for the same experiences. But in our minds we each picture different things will bring us these experiences.

So in the end, we al…

God's Chosen People

The "chosen ones" are merely those who choose right sooner. (T-3.IV.7)

There is no greater example of ego’s insanity than the idea of a chosen people of God. For centuries the Jewish people have been persecuted because of a deep, pathological fear of them as God’s chosen people. Some fear that if they are not Jewish they are somehow less in God’s eyes. This inferiority complex is the basis of all anti-Semitism, whatever reason may be given for hating Jews. Ironically, for Jewish people, being God’s “chosen people” has not meant that they are favored by God, but rather that they have a greater responsibility. Thus the deep association of guilt with Jewish culture. They can never do quite enough to satisfy this responsibility. Fear and guilt – two of ego’s favorite emotions.

And of course, there are many others who teach their religion is the only one right way and if you don’t choose that way you are not one of God’s people. This is an example of ego’s need to be special.

And wi…

Cleaning Your Mental House

It is clear that while the content of any particular ego illusion does not matter, its correction is more helpful in a specific context. Ego illusions are quite specific, although the mind is naturally abstract. (T-4.VII.1)

Before you can really embark on your spiritual path you may have some mental house cleaning to do. Most everyone starts out believing very much in this world. Some of the illusions we hold on to are very real to us. Painful, negative memories will stand in the way of real spiritual growth until they have been faced. Few people can immediately accept the idea that they are not real. And if you don’t deal with them, your spirituality will just become a means of denial rather than a means of awakening.

Some examples of the issues that can hold you back are painful childhood loss, like the death of a parent or your parents’ divorce; physical, emotional or sexual abuse; unresolved grief from any stage of life; war experiences, either as a combatant or as a civilian; curre…

Why is Suffering Allowed?

Aloving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction. He may ask for injury, but his father will protect him still. And how much more than this does your Father love His Son? (M-29.6)

Years ago I read where a popular spiritual teacher and writer said she had figured out everything but why God would allow children to suffer. Well, of course, God doesn’t allow anyone to suffer. The Course reminds us again and again that none of this is really happening and that we are as we have always been – One with God. You are untouched by anything that seems to happen in this world.

The idea of suffering is what you have to awaken from. Certainly, when you are dreaming of suffering – yours or anyone else’s – it seems very real. This is why the holy instant is so important. Stepping away from the world and spending time consciously with God is the only way to make the shift from experiencing the dream of separation from your Self as real to remembering you are still in God…

Answering the "Call"

"Many are called but few are chosen" should be, "All are called but few choose to listen.” (T-3.IV.7)

When I was a teenager I considered myself an atheist. I experienced an inner Voice I called my “inner therapist” because I found I could go to It with problems. Often I did this in writing. And I always got a loving answer. But this was so very different from what I thought of as “God”. “God” was supposed to be a mean old man who couldn’t tolerate independence in his children, who sacrificed his “one son” in some incomprehensible arrangement to save the rest of his children and who didn’t want anyone to have any fun. To satisfy this god you had to declare yourself a sinner, accept a man who lived two thousand years ago into your life, make sacrifices, waste Sunday morning in Church, live by strict gender roles, have sex only in a heterosexual marriage, and be a hypocritical goody-two-shoes. This god bore no resemblance to the loving Presence I experienced within.

One day …

Do You Believe in God?

Believe it or not, this is a hard question for me to answer. So are many other questions one gets asked about their spiritual beliefs in the course of life. In my experience, if I say I believe in God, people automatically assume that the word “God” means to me what it means to them. And what it means to me is often so very different from what it means to them!

In general, people ask about my beliefs because they want to tell me their beliefs – and they want me to validate them. And I cannot know what they really need to hear. So I let Holy Spirit answer.

Judge not the words that come to you, but offer them in confidence. They are far wiser than your own. (M-21.5)

One day a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door. I told them politely I was not interested and that there was no reason to give me their literature because it would just end up in my recycle bin. One of them sputtered when I said this, but the other asked if I went to church. I told her I was a spiritual, not religious. …

Micro Managing With Holy Spirit

Does this mean that you cannot say anything without consulting Him? No, indeed! That would hardly be practical, and it is the practical with which this course is most concerned. If you have made it a habit to ask for help when and where you can, you can be confident that wisdom will be given you when you need it. Prepare for this each morning, remember God when you can throughout the day, ask the Holy Spirit's help when it is feasible to do so, and thank Him for His guidance at night. And your confidence will be well founded indeed. (M-29.5)

After the Course was written and was getting ready to be published all those involved would sit and pray together whenever a decision had to be made. Of course this was cumbersome and unrealistic. Finally, Ken Wapnick spoke up and said this is not what the Course had taught them to do. The Holy Spirit is always present and if you stay connected when you can, you can be assured of guidance when you need it.

For myself, I rarely get an answer from…

More on Egolessness

Sometimes a teacher of God may have a brief experience of direct union with God. In this world, it is almost impossible that this endure. It can, perhaps, be won after much devotion and dedication, and then be maintained for much of the time on earth. But this is so rare that it cannot be considered a realistic goal. If it happens, so be it. If it does not happen, so be it as well. (M-26.3)

A blogee has asked what, if any, experiences of egolessness I have had. I have had moments of egolessness, but nothing sustained. Each one leaves me a little less attached to the world. During them, I am not in the world. What use is the world without ego? The world’s purpose is to give the ego someplace to project onto.

The experience cannot be described in words. It is nothing like anything in this world. As an example, I've learned that true peace is not only a state of mind without words, it is a state of mind without thought. But how can I adequately convey this experience?

One of the reasons…

ACIM Students and Spooky Happenings

There are, of course, no "unnatural" powers, and it is obviously merely an appeal to magic to make up a power that does not exist. It is equally obvious, however, that each individual has many abilities of which he is unaware. As his awareness increases, he may well develop abilities that seem quite startling to him. (M-25.1)

As a student of the Course, you learn that “mind” is not isolated to individual brains. As you do the lessons and open your mind to the Holy Spirit, the barriers you have erected around your individual mind may start to crumble. Some of the experiences I hear about (or have) as a student of the Course include an increase in “coincidences”; moments of clairvoyance or precognition; moments of leaving the world and being in the Light; time speeding up or slowing down; experiences of Oneness with others; automatic writing; automatic speaking; connecting with minds from another place and/or time; hearing the still, quiet Voice of God.

Be aware that when your m…

Helen and Iambic Pentameter

A blogee has wondered about the Course being written in iambic pentameter (5 beat poetic line). Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter and Helen Schucman, who scribed the Course, loved Shakespeare – and iambic pentameter. How much did Helen influence the style of the Course?

Think of God’s help as Play-Doh and our minds as the forms that you press Play-Doh through to make different shapes – stars, circles, squares, etc. When the Holy Spirit has to communicate through our individual minds to the world the message is pressed through the form of our separated mind. It comes out in a particular shape (iambic pentameter in the Course’s case) but the content (like the Play-Doh) remains the same.

I bet Helen was more receptive to hearing iambic pentameter. She would have enjoyed the rhythm of the words, even when she was uncomfortable with the message. This is another example of how the Holy Spirit uses what we have made to undo what we have made.

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My First Miracle

Miracles are natural signs of forgiveness. Through miracles you accept God's forgiveness by extending it to others. (T-1.I.21)

Soon after starting my study of the Course I had a car to sell. I was all of twenty years old. I had bought the car used myself and it seemed to me to be in good shape. What was not in good shape was visible – I had dented the driver’s side door and it had been repaired but not painted. And the air conditioning didn’t work. All of this was obvious to the young couple who came to look it over. They had just had a baby and were looking for a second car in which the new mother could run errands. They liked the car. They gave me a check and I gave them the title and went out and bought myself a moped.

A few days later the young man called me and told me off. The car was a lemon. They had been screwed by me, etc. I felt terrible. I had not intended to dupe them. When I got off the phone I was very upset. I decided that before my upset went further, I would let g…

ACIM at the Movies

This may seem like a silly idea – seeing the ideas in the Course in movies – but when you are open to the Holy Spirit lessons come from all over. There can be scenes or characters that resonate with you that are not obviously about the Course. And these lessons may resonate only with you – another student might not quite get what you see. You know it when you see it!

Here is an example of some movies that click with me:

The Matrix – Most students recognize this movie as a wonderful metaphor for the Course. It can all be summed up with the line, “There is no spoon.”

Harvey – Jimmy Stewart sees a benevolent being that no one else does. Yes, it’s a giant rabbit – but the point is, his faith in this being is so strong that others begin to see it, too.

The Thin Red Line – A gory WWII movie, yes, but the Jim Caviezel character sees God everywhere, even in the midst of war. When his character is cornered and realizes he’s about to “die” he stops resisting – and you know he forgives his “killers”…

What Egolessness is Like

This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven's state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would "go" anywhere, if peace of mind is already complete? And who would seek to change tranquility for something more desirable? What could be more desirable than this? (M.4.I.A.8)

In the Manual for Teachers, Part 4 What are the Characteristics of God’s Teachers? the Course lays out the process of establishing trust in the Holy Spirit to become a teacher of God and the characteristics of a teacher of God. But what would the experience of egolessness be? What would it be like to be an advanced teacher of God?

An advanced teacher of God is detached from this world. They are not touched by anything that happens, whether it seems to happen to them or to others. They do not make any judgments so they are not attached to outcomes. They live in the present. They feel free, they are at peace, they are joyous. And they are not long in…

Doing Nothing to Save Time

Save time for me by only this one preparation, and practice doing nothing else. "I need do nothing" is a statement of allegiance, a truly undivided loyalty. Believe it for just one instant, and you will accomplish more than is given to a century of contemplation, or of struggle against temptation. (T-18.VII.6)

When I led a study group, nothing would send my students scurrying quite like the idea in Chapter 18, part VII “I need do nothing”. They would panic: “You mean I have to just sit all day and do nothing? But I have to work! I have a life, a career, a family!”

The beauty of the Course is it is meant to be a shortcut to awakening that is used now, right where you are. You can practice in an instant what others have spent lifetimes practicing and achieve the same results.

The holy instant is a moment of doing nothing. All doing is of the body/ego. In the holy instant you step out of time and into timelessness to remember Who you are. You then return to the world with a change…

The Course and Jesus

The name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. But it stands for love that is not of this world. It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray. (M-23.4)

The name of Jesus is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God. The man was an illusion, for he seemed to be a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusions do. Yet who can save unless he sees illusions and then identifies them as what they are? Jesus remains a Savior because he saw the false without accepting it as true. And Christ needed his form that He might appear to men and save them from their own illusions. (C-5.2)

Is he God's only Helper? No, indeed. For Christ takes many forms with different names until their oneness can be recognized. (C-5.6)

It is possible to read his word…

Joel Goldsmith's Infinite Way

On my path to God, the only other writing that has helped me is Joel Goldsmith’s Infinite Way and related writings. In fact, whenever my mind would get all cob-webby studying the Course, I would take a break and read some of his works. It would clear my mind enough for me to get back to the Course.

Goldsmith emphasized metaphysics, and not everything he wrote is strictly in line with the Course’s theology. But he emphasized what is important – going within and connecting with God. A lot of what he wrote was spontaneous prayer. I recommend it to any Course student.

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Praying for Others

Praying for others, if rightly understood, becomes a means for lifting your projections of guilt from your brother, and enabling you to recognize it is not he who is hurting you. (S-1.III.1)

You may be tempted to look upon another’s situation and decide that it needs to be fixed or healed. When you do this, you are attacking yourself. The perception of bodies/egos – whether your own or another’s – is an attack on your own mind. You are mind/spirit, and there is only One mind/spirit. Perceiving a need for healing outside of your own mind is a way of projecting that need away from you so that you do not achieve real healing. Real healing is attained by taking back the projection and realizing it is you who needs to be healed.

True prayer does not ask for anything. True prayer is simply opening your mind to God. You do not have to ask for anything, because Everything is there. When you perceive the world, you are seeing lack and forgetting you have everything. In God’s Oneness is the perce…

Feeling Guilt? -- Or not?

If you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. (T-5.V.3)

There is another advantage,–and a very important one,–in referring decisions to the Holy Spirit with increasing frequency. Perhaps you have not thought of this aspect, but its centrality is obvious. To follow the Holy Spirit's guidance is to let yourself be absolved of guilt. (M-29.3)

It can be difficult, even overwhelming, to grasp the Course’s concept of guilt. You are probably used to feeling guilty when you perceive you have done something you judge to be “wrong” or “bad”. This is only part of guilt. The Course tells us that the human condition is one of perceived guilt. Guilt is so entwined in perceiving yourself as separate from God that it is unrecognizable apart from this “life”.

Guilt is inevitable when you identify with ego because ego is the belief you have successfully attacked God. Is this absurd? Yes, but ego believes it and so do you when you identify with ego. Ego does not allow you to exper…