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Showing posts from 2007

Jesus' Miracles

This is the last ACIM Mentor Blog of 2007 as I will be on vacation December 22-30. In the new year the ACIM Mentor blog will become a weekly blog. Happy Holidays! ***** Did the miracles Jesus performed that are reported in the Bible really happen or are they metaphors? Did Jesus really heal the sick, make the blind see again, walk on water, still a storm, turn loaves of bread into fish, and turn water into wine? Or are these metaphors for the healing that occurs in the mind when you accept Christ Consciousness – the awareness that you are One with God?The answer is: It doesn’t matter.Let’s talk about calming a storm. What is the difference between Jesus saying, “Peace be still” and a storm calming or a person accepting their Christ Identity as Truth and being calm no matter the storms churning around them? There is no difference. It is the acceptance of peace in either case that is the miracle.Miracles as such do not matter. The only thing that matters is their Source, which is far beyo…

Healing the Past Through the Present

There’s a saying in the world that we love others not for who they are but for who we are when we are with them. When I was young I got a glimpse of this when I noticed that when someone left my life that, yes, I missed them and I missed interacting with them, but what really cut deep was the loss of the part of me that was expressed when I was with them. What I was beginning to learn was that there are no “others”, that we are really always encountering ourselves.

Would you recognize a holy encounter if you are merely perceiving it as a meeting with your own past? For you would be meeting no one, and the sharing of salvation, which makes the encounter holy, would be excluded from your sight. The Holy Spirit teaches that you always meet yourself, and the encounter is holy because you are. The ego teaches that you always encounter your past, and because your dreams were not holy, the future cannot be, and the present is without meaning. (T-13.IV.6)

Do you know anyone who is always falli…

Choosing Hell

For the past couple of years I have been building my mentoring practice while continuing with the house cleaning business I’ve had since 1985. My plan has been to taper off house cleaning as my mentoring practice grew and for a while now I have been writing and mentoring Mondays and Tuesdays and cleaning houses Wednesdays thru Fridays.

At some point it became very difficult to switch gears in the middle of the week. I felt completely done with house cleaning. It was as though on Wednesdays I was stepping into the past. This was not like burn-out, which I had experienced often before. I wasn’t burnt out; I was done. One Wednesday this past summer as I was heading out to my car in the morning I casually wondered why I was still cleaning houses. Unexpectedly, I got an answer from the still, quiet Voice deep within: “Because you are too afraid not to.”

This answer blew me away. I asked the question casually and I wasn’t expecting an answer! What I was being told was that I was the one holdi…

Ego's Substitute Emotions

I have said you have but two emotions, love and fear. One is changeless but continually exchanged, being offered by the eternal to the eternal. In this exchange it is extended, for it increases as it is given. The other has many forms, for the content of individual illusions differs greatly. Yet they have one thing in common; they are all insane. (T-13.V.1)

A Course in Miracles tells us that there are two emotions: Love and fear. Love is the emotion of God; fear is the emotion of ego. Love can also be called joy and peace because love, peace and joy are always experienced together. The experience of love, peace and joy – God -- is boundless.

Fear is any experience other than God. Any experience other than God is an experience of lack, which is naturally a fearful state. The obvious manifestations of fear are anxiety, worry, tension, anger and irritation. The not so obvious ways in which fear is manifested are in emotions that seem to mimic love, peace and joy. Lets look at how they diff…

Patience and Trust

After 22 years of house cleaning I’m about to put that business aside to focus fully on writing and mentoring students of A Course in Miracles. I got the signal from the Holy Spirit a few weeks ago to close out my house cleaning business at the end of the year. It took me a couple of weeks to let this sink in and just when I was okay with this the Holy Spirit came up with a project for me that is going to take up a lot of my time next year. I wasn’t expecting this project, but there it was.

Basically, the project is a study aid to help clarify the Text for students. The work will be pretty involved. I began it and found I had a lot of resistance to it, so I backed off. This is very different from the way I used to handle ego resistance. I used to tackle it head on, analyze it, try to resolve it and struggle, struggle, struggle. But looking back over 20+ years of spiritual awakening it’s pretty clear that all the misery I experienced was of my own making, and it was just this struggling…

Life and Death

Sometimes I’ll see literature from one religious institution or another and it will say that it has the answers to life’s big questions. One of those questions, of course, is “What happens when I die?” Often these big life questions are not so easily answered for A Course in Miracles students!

The question of what happens to “you” when “you die” is really one of those questions the ego asks to make a statement, not to seek an answer. What the ego is saying is: You are a body. It does not raise that concept to question! And that’s the concept that has to be challenged by you for you to remember you are One with God.

Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen. (T-27.III.5)

God is formless Being; Eternal and Infinite Life. You are One with God. All form, then, is the negation of God. Identifying with the ego/body is as close to death as you can get because form seems to make God – Life -- unreal. You cannot be both formless and form.

The curious belief that there is pa…

Valuable Doing

“I do therefore I am”, says the ego. When you are ego-identified you are defined by what you do. When you follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance you say, “God is, therefore I AM.” What you do is merely an expression of your relationship with the Holy Spirit and the doing is itself unimportant.

The Holy Spirit is not concerned with what you do, but it is natural that your connection with the Holy Spirit will be expressed in the world in some form. As always, your connection to the Holy Spirit is what is important, not the form of the expression of this connection. The ego always emphasizes form; the Holy Spirit content. For example, let’s say you got a job as a construction worker. Depending on its mood or the overall story it has made for you, the ego will use this as a source of pride or shame. It may say, “You are doing valuable work building this city. You are an important contributor to society” or “You are in a lowly, blue collar job. People of real value work in an office”. However, i…

Getting Over "My" Self

Recently I had a birthday. The way I like to spend my birthday is as a usual day followed by a quiet dinner out at a restaurant of my choice with my partner, Courtney. My family drops off my presents during the day if they have not already given them to me before. On or before my birthday Courtney and I go out and get my present from her, which is usually something I have chosen. That’s it.

This year we have a roommate. One of Dean’s favorite forms of entertainment is to go out to dinner and he especially likes to gather up a group to go with him. His funds have been low for a while, and will be for a while more, so for now he does not get to indulge his passion for eating out. So I invited him to join Courtney and I. The week before my birthday Dean started suggesting people to invite along, starting with his best friend, Jack, and moving on to my family. I am not social at all; I am a loner who, if there have to be people, prefer them one or two at a time. Going out in groups is not …

The World and the Real World

One of the hardest concepts to grasp in A Course in Miracles is what it means by “world”. When we think of the world we think of bodies and their physical environment. When we are ego-identified, it is “my” body and the world is nature, buildings and other physical structures and other bodies. Yet when the Course mentions the “real world” it becomes clear it is not talking about the physical world at all.

Sit quietly and look upon the world you see, and tell yourself: "The real world is not like this. It has no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate. There are no stores where people buy an endless list of things they do not need. It is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim. There is no loss. Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever."
The world you see must be denied, for sight of it is costing you a different kind of vision. You cannot see both worlds, for each of them in…

Is Your Life Planned?

What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? (W-135.13)

There is a statement I make when I talk about my relationship to God that when I picked up A Course in Miracles and began reading it that I knew it was the whole reason I came into the world. That and the quote above are examples of figurative language that sometimes confuse students. If God didn’t make the world and individuality isn’t real, how could I feel I had a reason to be here? How could our lives be planned out ahead of time?

The idea of a Part of God being not-God was over the instant it was thought. We look at the world as a story unfolding in time, but what is really happening is that instant playing over and over and over again. Each instant you have the choice between separation and Oneness. This is what the Holy Spirit knows. What is planned by the Holy Spirit is to use every instant to teach …

If the World Isn't Real, Why Ask For Guidance?

Every now and then a student asks me why they should follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance if the world isn’t real and if it has nothing to do with God. What difference does it make how you live in the world, then?

All that you made can serve salvation easily and well. The Son of God can make no choice the Holy Spirit cannot employ on his behalf, and not against himself. (T-25.VI.7)

The world is your perception that you are separate from God. Calling on the Holy Spirit to guide you in it corrects this misperception. You are no longer separate from God when you are following the Holy Spirit. What you ask the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Sprit answers is not important. What is important is that you asked and that you accepted an answer. When you follow the Holy Spirit the purpose of every circumstance becomes a means to be with the Holy Spirit. The world that was made to make separation from God real to you becomes a means of remembering you are One with God.

It doesn’t matter to God how you …

Your Reality Is Your God

While meditating a couple of weeks ago I slipped over to the other side for a moment and knew God as Reality and I had this insight: All of this – the world, bodies, egos, etc. – is unnecessary. What I saw was how all this was an attempt to make another reality – to make another God. God already is and there is no need to make anything. All making is what gets in the way of knowing God is.

The fact that truth and illusion cannot be reconciled, no matter how you try, what means you use and where you see the problem, must be accepted if you would be saved. Until you have accepted this, you will attempt an endless list of goals you cannot reach; a senseless series of expenditures of time and effort, hopefulness and doubt, each one as futile as the one before, and failing as the next one surely will. (W-96.2)

When I experience God, it is an experience completely apart from the world. There is no relationship whatsoever between God and the world. This is liberation! But for years I refused t…

More on Theology and Interpretation

My life-partner, Courtney, has returned to her spiritual path (twelve steps) and the changes in her have been miraculous. The other day she was discussing her beliefs about God which happen to be diametrically opposed to my beliefs about God. I asked her if, now that she was back to her spirituality, she was still comfortable with us having very divergent beliefs about God. She said yes and explained again how she believes there are many paths to God. Neither of us can deny the miraculous effect of each other’s relationship with God. It reminded me again how theology is nothing and the experience of God is everything. Beliefs do not transform; a direct experience of God is all that does.

Sometimes students ask me which teachers of the A Course in Miracles I have read and which of the interpretations of the Course I follow. My teacher has been the Holy Spirit and my reading of the Course is based on my own experience. My interpretation of the Course has evolved with my relationship with…

Jesus, Christ and the Holy Spirit

Some students have expressed confusion about the terms Jesus, Christ and Holy Spirit in A Course in Miracles. Is there a distinction between them? Do you have to believe in Jesus and His story to be a student of the Course? Why do some teachers of A Course in Miracles refer to Jesus and others to the Holy Spirit?

Christ is the part of your mind that is Part of God. It is also referred to in the Course as the Son of God. Christ is your True Mind, completely unchanged and untouched by your sense of separation from God. The Holy Spirit is the teaching part of your Christ Mind. Jesus, being wholly identified with Christ, has become a symbol of the Christ Mind in all of us. So Jesus, Christ and the Holy Spirit are all One and the Same.

Some students find the idea of “Holy Spirit” to be too abstract to feel any connection to It. They find a personal connection with Jesus to be helpful. A concrete image, a “person”, representing their Christ Mind is something to which they can relate. Others, …

Judgment and the Holy Spirit

When I posted my blogs about money (Money and the Course, Part I; Money and the Course, Part II), one of the responses that surprised me most were those that conveyed surprise that the Holy Spirit would be so involved in my life as to make financial decisions for me. What do they think is meant by turning your life over to the Holy Spirit, I wondered, if you don’t turn over everything?

The whole illusion of separation from God rests on the perception that your life is for you alone – meaning you without the God in you (the Holy Spirit) – you in ego. In order to be whole again you must correct this misperception by giving back your whole life – your whole mind – to the Holy Spirit in you. Any part you hold on to for you alone is the bit of separateness you want to keep. You cannot be wholly at peace until you wholly give up not-peace – ego-identity.

He (the teacher of God) must learn to lay all judgment aside, and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance. (M-1.4.A.7)

What do yo…

Changes Along the Way

There are several changes that students of A Course in Miracles go through and they sometimes wonder if it is natural. When you become a student of the Course, you are accepting a whole new purpose for your life. You are now on a path of becoming a teacher of God and your life is no longer driven by ego’s perceived needs. At first (the period of undoing) this is almost unconscious, but it causes shifts within you and in your life. Some of these changes occur because your values change and you simply don’t want or need what you were used to thinking you wanted or needed when your goal was separation from God. Some of these changes occur because the Holy Spirit requires them to fulfill Its role through you. Here are some changes that students report:
A sense of isolation because you cannot share what you are studying and going through with those closest to you.Friends falling away because you are no longer interested in the same things.Cherished goals no longer seeming important or desir…

Release Ego, Release Guilt

The ego is the part of the mind that believes in division. How could part of God detach itself without believing it is attacking Him? We spoke before of the authority problem as based on the concept of usurping God's power. The ego believes that this is what you did because it believes that it is you. If you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your ego you will experience guilt, and you will fear punishment. (T-5.V.3)

Your identification with ego is your belief you have overcome God. This belief makes you feel guilty. As long as you identify with ego, you will feel guilt and fear punishment. Guilt will manifest in lack of peace and in your life as any form of physical or emotional disharmony (dis-ease). You may accept the relief of certain forms of disharmony, but you will continue to manifest disharmony in some way as long as you identify with ego. Real healing is your complete identification with the Holy Spirit. This is the only w…

True Forgiveness

I’ve been asked to go a little deeper into the distinction between true forgiveness and what A Course in Miracles calls the ego’s version of forgiveness: Forgiveness-to-destroy. Students point out to me that many teachers of the Course still seem to teach the ego’s version of forgiveness. I have observed this also. True forgiveness is radically different from what the world thinks of as “forgiveness”. You have to let go of what you think it means – like so many words and concepts in the Course – and accept a new definition. True forgiveness is especially difficult to accept for the ego-identified because it undoes the ego. Resistance to the new meaning is strong in new students and even more experienced students fall back on the ego-appeasing practice of “forgiveness” until their identity begins to shift toward the Holy Spirit. However, true forgiveness is the foundation of the Course’s whole message and you must learn and then accept what it means if you want the Course to make any s…

Forgiveness Comes Wholesale

A student has asked me to write about how I let go of anger and resentment in relation to the holy relationship I experienced when I first became a student. She wants to know the process I went through to get over the anger and resentment I felt over E leaving my life and over my losing the special relationship as it was replaced by the holy relationship.

The ego's plan is to have you see error clearly first, and then overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly, you have made it real and cannot overlook it. (T-9.IV.4)

When you focus on a grievance it is very real to you. Your looking at it at all indicates you think it is significant. If you try to pretend you do not think so just because a book tells you it is an illusion, you are practicing denial, not forgiveness. The only choice of “forgiveness” you are left with is the ego’s “forgiveness”, what A Course in Miracles calls “forgiveness-to-destroy”: Condescension (I’m better than you), marty…

The Four Habits for Inner Peace

A wise teacher teaches through approach, not avoidance. He does not emphasize what you must avoid to escape from harm, but what you need to learn to have joy. Consider the fear and confusion a child would experience if he were told, "Do not do this because it will hurt you and make you unsafe; but if you do that instead, you will escape from harm and be safe, and then you will not be afraid." It is surely better to use only three words: "Do only that!" This simple statement is perfectly clear, easily understood and very easily remembered. (T-6.V.3)

Lately some students have asked for a simplification of what they must do to “accept the atonement” for themselves and to be at peace. A Course in Miracles teaches you certain habits in the Workbook, and emphasizes certain behaviors throughout, and I have distilled these into what I call the “Four Habits for Inner Peace”. These habits are what I developed for myself first by falling back on them during “trying” times, and…

Learning What Is From What Is Not

We said before that the Holy Spirit must teach through comparisons, and uses opposites to point to truth. (T-16.VII.6)

When the message of A Course in Miracles began to gel for me, when I began to see how every part fit into the whole, the Truth began to stand out for me in comparison to what the world taught or valued. This has continued to be the way I learn from the world.

The way it happened is I would sense that what was being conveyed, either a value or a concept, didn’t quite line up with Truth. As I compared it with what I was learning through the Course and the Holy Spirit, Truth became clearer to me and the value or concept would fall away. I loved the clarity but I also found myself angry at the person who brought the experience to me. Initially I thought I must be projecting, that I must really believe or value what they were teaching and that I was angry because I didn’t want to see this. But this never seemed to quite fit. In time I learned that what made me angry was not …

The Enlightened Among Us

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)

Sometimes students say they wonder if there are any enlightened ones walking among us. Of course there are. But they don’t stand out. Their presence is peaceful but they look like you and me and their lives look like ordinary lives. They do not say, “Hey, look at me, I’m enlightened!” They do not brag about not having an ego. They do not seek to go on Larry King or Oprah. They are not looking for fame or recognition or fortune or the world’s versions of success. They do not start movements or go into politics. They are not interested in saving the world. They do not walk on water or go around healing the …

For Those in the Healing Professions

Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. (M-5.I.1)

Some students of A Course in Miracles who work in the healing professions, be they “traditional” or “alternative”, experience conflict as they get deeper into the Course and learn that all healing comes from the patient’s own mind and not from anything or anyone outside of them. They wonder what their purpose is and if they should go into another line of work. Often, they feel they are right where they are supposed to be and are uncertain how to view their role in healing.

It is not the water at Lourdes, or the powers of the faith healer, or the medicine, herb or treatment that heals. A person decides they no longer want the illness and it is gone. But most people do no accept this. They need “agents” who seem to administer the healing. Your part, if you are in a healing profession, is to provide them a loving space in which to accept healing. Your part is to love the patient, even as you know t…

Ascending to God

When I was first a student of A Course in Miracles I was very ambitious. I half-jokingly talked about “ascending” one day. I imagined myself in a white-robe and Birkenstocks, transparent, rising into a pure white cloud, down from which beautiful rays of light poured. I had no idea what I was talking about, of course, and deep down I didn’t think I ever could ascend. It seemed like something magical or something that required an unimaginable – and unobtainable -- power. It was far beyond me to overcome the world and rise up to God.

So I was amused the other day when one of my students, having read my blog about entering “stage five” of the development of trust, said that he was afraid I would “ascend” soon. I hadn’t thought of “ascending” in decades!

When I was a twenty-year-old kid, “ascending” was very appealing to the ego. The ego will always use whatever we are doing on our spiritual path to glorify itself. Ascending was a lofty and unobtainable goal, the ego’s favorite kind. It coul…

Development of Trust

Since I posted on my website my recognition of my own “Development of Trust” (M-4.I.A) (see Relationship With God at www.acimmentor.com), I’ve received a lot of questions about the six stages of building trust with the Holy Spirit. For example, what does “sorting out” and “valuable and valueless” mean in practical, everyday terms? How do you recognize which stage you are in? Do you need to know which stage you are in? And what is required of you in each stage?

What you are “sorting out” is Truth from illusion, which in everyday terms means: What is the Holy Spirit and what is the ego in your mind? The experiences of Truth (the Holy Spirit) is what is “valuable” and the experience of illusion (ego) is what is “valueless”. It is natural for you to keep what is valuable and to let go of what is valueless, but you can’t do this when you can’t tell them apart, so you have to learn to distinguish them from each other first. The sorting out process begins with you learning to hear and then to…

Wanting the Ego

What seems to be the fear of God is really the fear of your own reality. (T-9.I.2)

When I wrote about the terror of losing my individuality I felt returning from my last revelation (see Unsettled) I was writing about the terror of ego, which isn’t me. It was the exact same feeling as the fear of death at its most extreme, yet I saw that there is Something in me that doesn’t die. The fear of death, then, is really the fear of loss of ego, and what but ego could fear that? I only experience the ego’s fear in direct proportion to how identified I still am with the ego. Even as I felt that terror my feet were firmly planted in the peace I have acquired. I could not have looked at it otherwise, because before this peace I would have thought that losing the ego was losing me and would not have been able to cope.

To look upon the fear of God does need some preparation. Only the sane can look on stark insanity and raving madness with pity and compassion, but not with fear. For only if they shar…