Ask: When is personal love an obstacle to True Love?

          I had written and received the most wonderful response from you in regard to feeling deep love and joy when interacting with my family which consists of my husband of almost 20 years and our two pugs. We are at our happiest when we are all together. I felt guilty because I felt I was "loving" myself deeper into the dream and your advice was that my family is a manifestation of the love I feel within and that I should gratefully continue appreciating and loving them. I felt complete release from guilt but it has returned. There are moments of joy we share that just seem so full and wonderful and I can't help but think I'm ignoring the text and strengthening the illusion.
            This passage, from The Message of ACIM, specifically illustrates my fear:

"Do not make any illusion your friend, because if you do, it will take the place of the Holy Spirit, Which God has made your only Friend in Truth."

            How do I process the love I feel without going in the opposite direction of the one I spend most of my day striving for? Are they my illusions? Am I theirs? Is my "love" for them shutting the Holy Spirit out? – SB

            Inner peace is the result of being aware of the Truth (God) within you and of nothing else. What that quote means is that you do not want to make anything in the universe of form rise to the level of Truth for you or it will become an obstacle to peace for you. Something rises to the level of Truth for you when you think that it is the source of your peace and happiness. If you have given your husband and dogs the role of being the source of your happiness and you find that you cannot be aware of Truth because of your feelings for them, then your feelings for them are obstacles to peace for you. But if you find that you can enjoy them and you can still be aware of Truth, then the love in your relationships with them manifests the Love within you.
            Your line “There are moments of joy we share that just seem so full and wonderful and I can't help but think I'm ignoring the text and strengthening the illusion” is very telling. It shows that you expect that being aware of Truth will lead to personal lack and unhappiness, and since you are experiencing fullness and joy you figure you must be doing something wrong. This is what the personal thought system (ego) teaches to scare you away from Truth! It teaches that Truth will lead you to an empty personal life. But in fact when you are aware of Truth this awareness manifests as a healthy, bountiful, loving personal life.
            Remember, you are mind. The personal life is an effect of, or an idea in, your mind. The personal self’s unfolding story reflects your choice of thought system (Truth/Holy Spirit or not-Truth/ego). When you seek through the personal life for lasting love and peace and happiness you never find them because the universe of form is only an empty effect. But when you are aware of Truth you are aware of eternal Happiness and Love. Your mind now causes the effect of a personal self whose needs are met, who has meaningful employment, and is in relationships that are happy and loving.

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Hi Liz. Just to say a big thank you to you and to "SB" for this question and answer. The guilt of living and loving "in the world" has been and is a big obstacle for me. Studying the Course, and living the truth is beautiful. Of course the ego does it's best to try to command my attention by feeling guilty about living in the world, as if somehow I am betraying God. I know intellectually this isn't true, but I think I will keep having to remind myself of this until I can lay down the guilt. Thanks again and hope you are well!


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