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, 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 listen to what is valuable: The Holy Spirit. As you learn to distinguish the peace of the Holy Spirit from the pain of the ego, you naturally choose to follow the Holy Spirit more and more. Finally, you let go of ego completely and identify only with the Holy Spirit. This is the Course’s “gentle means of awakening”.

It isn’t important to know which stage you are in, but you do need to know what is required of you at each stage. It is the same for each stage: To commune with God daily; to practice the holy instant throughout the day; to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance; and to keep love in your awareness by extending love. This is how you “accept the atonement for yourself”. The Holy Spirit does the rest, working within you to bring about the necessary shifts in your awareness so you can advance to the next stage.

The shift to each stage is experiential, not merely intellectual. Each stage also flows naturally from the preceding stage and cannot be forced. As you shift from one stage to another they overlap and so they can be hard to sort out when you are going through them. For everyone, the particular way these stages unfold and how long it will take will be unique. But pretty much it goes like this:

Stage one, the period of undoing: You have had a shift in your experience that reveals Truth to you in some form. This may be a direct revelation of God or it may be a miracle. It’s profound enough to shake your current belief system. This may happen as you study A Course in Miracles or it may be what leads you to study the Course. It is likely your external circumstances will shift as a reflection of your new point of view. At this stage, the Voice of the Holy Spirit is buried in the constant babble of ego in your mind, so for you, the ego is you and you are very threatened by the idea you have to let it go.

Stage two, the period of sorting out: Though you may have been shaken by your “undoing” experience, you are drawn to Truth and you now know peace is possible. You open your mind to the Holy Spirit. You start slowly, asking for answers or help only in limited circumstances. The Holy Spirit may speak to you through your intuition, through a Voice you hear in your mind, and/or through wordless ideas. The ego uses the same avenues to communicate with you so you will likely take a long time learning to discern when you are hearing the ego and when you are hearing the Holy Spirit. As you do so, you find you value the experience of the Holy Spirit and you ask for help and guidance more and more. You still identify mostly with the ego, and valuing both teachers in your mind leaves you conflicted.

Stage three, the period of relinquishment: The experience of the Holy Spirit has become so valuable to you that you shift to letting the Holy Spirit lead the way completely. Many of your values conflict with your desire to follow the Holy Spirit and you realize you must let them go. You may be resistant at first, but as each old value falls away you feel tremendous relief, making the process easier as you go along. Your identity is shifting toward the Holy Spirit and you still experience a lot of conflict.

Stage four, the period of settling: Following the Holy Spirit has resulted in a profound, unshakeable peace within you. You never feel alone. You hunger for the moments of communion you can carve out of each day. Your life is much simpler as you always have the Answer to any “problem” and a Guide to lead you. You rest at this stage for a while, grateful for the peace you have, but aware you are not completely at peace yet because you still listen to the ego.

Stage five, the period of unsettling: You have sorted out the valuable (the Holy Spirit) from the valueless (ego), but you still value the ego enough for it to stand as an obstacle to your complete peace. The only step to take now is to give up what you have made (ego) to be what you are (the Holy Spirit). This stage is unsettling because you now know complete peace is up to only you. Now you must learn to keep your mind open and follow only the Holy Spirit.

Stage six, the period of achievement: Your peace is complete. You are consistent in following only one Teacher. You see through the ego easily and you let it go. You are just this side of Heaven and you stay in the world only as long as the Holy Spirit needs to work through you.

One-on-one study, support and guidance are available for students of A Course in Miracles who want inner peace, harmonious relationships and a deep sense of purpose faster and easier. Visit There you will also find an archive-by-topic for this blog and booklets to deepen your understanding of the Course.


Paula said…
The Holy Spirit has taught me a process of releasing my ego thoughts and focusing on peace with God over the last few days.

The process (conversation with the Holy Spirit in my mind) goes something like the example below once I've realised I have identified with an ego thought.

Me (from ego): "Holy Spirit! I just had a thought that doesn't make me feel good." (Tell him the specific thought and the emotions associated with it.)
Holy Spirit: "So if this thought makes you feel not at peace (guilty, sad, fearful, angry, etc) then is it valuable, true and of God?"
Me (from ego): "No."
Holy Spirit: "Are you willing to let it go and be at peace instead knowing that in God you are perfectly safe and whole?"
Me (from ego): "Mmm, yes."
Holy Spirit: "You can let it go now, honey, and return your mind to the awareness of peace with God. Everything else has been taken care of for you, darling."
Me (at peace with God): Thank you. I love you." (Sigh of relief, little smile on my face and sometimes tears of pure joy.)

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