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Showing posts from 2013

Ask: Does thinking ever stop?

“…A question occurred to me thinking about consciousness/knowledge/awareness.
I can experience awareness of Christ around and within me; I can ‘sense’ this awareness as being enveloped in the arms of Christ/God/Holy Spirit; and I wonder: what about abstract thoughts, i.e. connected to ideas of logic, are they – where? Form? I remember reading/hearing a long time ago that real thinking never stops. Do you agree?...” - T
            Once, many years ago, while meditating I slipped into a Place Where there was no thought or ideas. I had expected there were no words in Truth but not no thoughts or ideas at all. I experienced pure being. No forms (thoughts, ideas); no doing (thinking). It was so alien to my usual experience that I would not have been able to conceive of it if I had not experienced it. It what total bliss! What release and freedom! No boundaries of any kind. I had no idea what a burden thoughts and thinking are, no matter their form. So I will say that, thankfully, thinking…

Ask: Does ACIM teach that consciousness expresses itself in form?

“I am trying to reconcile the teaching of the Course which teaches everything is an illusion that is not God with the teachings of other spiritual teachers of consciousness which state that everything we see is ultimately consciousness. For example, Eckhart Tolle teaches that when you are with nature, you can sense the presence beneath....consciousness expressing itself as that form.  In the Course it seems to teach that everything is illusion.  Does the course not believe that consciousness expresses itself in form?” – MB             Because you seem to experience a reality that is apart from Reality (Truth, God), A Course in Miracles discusses your mind as though it has two levels – Truth and illusion. The level of Truth it calls God, Reality, or Knowledge. The level of illusion it calls perception, consciousness, or awareness. Truth is formless so form is an illusion. Consciousness, then, is not Truth. It is form and expresses itself through form. At its highest, consciousness is …

Ask: Does it make sense for me to spend time caring for the natural world?

“…The Course challenges me in two ways that I haven't yet figured out. First, as an example, I recently finished my cherished monthly National Geographic that describes Lions and their often brutal behavior toward their population and also their cubs. That makes me wonder (not facetiously), did they also have a 'tiny mad idea' of separation or are they or their behavior illusions of ours? That leads into my second question as an environmentalist who grew naturally into being appalled by man's arrogance in manipulating and destroying what we see as our natural world. My concern is that thinking this is our illusion, our creation, our dream, doesn't that reinforce that role of human as ruler of all we see, to be used for whatever selfish ego based experience we desire? So I wonder, does what I spend my time on in advocacy, conservation and care for the natural world still make sense?… – DM
            To answer your first question, here is a response to a question ab…

Ask: Why do babies continue to be born to learn and grow?

“…I have been studying ACIM for 6 years now and I understand and have accepted that some things just have to be taken on faith.  I want to get your views on this: Given that this world of form is illusion – given that the ego is typically in charge here and that we have maintained this mode of thought because we rebelled against a god and created this mistaken experience; What is the best way to wrap my mind around the idea that babies continue to be born (Souls) coming to Earth School – to learn lessons and grow in knowledge and divinity.  That is one avenue of thought that I have always heard.  Does this make sense because the Holy Spirit uses our errors and mistakes to further God’s Divine purpose for us?  That Souls continue to be reincarnated and come to Earth to gather experience, or so that God can experience through us?   Sometimes it feels like this doesn't make sense to me – simplistic, then again – I have not found an answer on my own.” – AG
You do not have to take any…

Ask: What is my personal responsibility in the awakening?

“…In the chapter about "What is the last Judgment?" (Workbook part II, #10) Jesus says:  "You are still My holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as your Creator and completely changeless and forever pure. Therefore awaken and return to Me. I am your Father and you are My Son." My question is: Can you talk about the verb awaken in this context and my "personal" responsibility in the awakening?” – ER
This phrase was not meant as an instruction, but simply as a reassurance. It’s saying that you have nothing to fear from God (your True Being) because God continues on within you untouched by the personal experience. So therefore it is safe for you to become aware of (awaken to) God within you again.
You do not have to make the choice to be aware of God. This is a choice that you make for yourself because you want to be at peace. If you do make this choice then your “responsibility” is to be willing to be aware of God. This …

Ask: Are you saying that no form exists for God?

“On reading your (last) blog…I was struck by a statement…: …‘What seems to happen in the universe of form has no effect on God (Reality) whatsoever. So Dahmer and Mother Teresa are not equally loved by God. Both are equally unreal. Neither exists for God. Realizing this is true forgiveness.’ … Perhaps it is my ego that feels alarm, or perhaps I don't quite understand the statement. Are you saying that no form exists for God and that we are connected to the True Being only through our true self (which is neither our body nor ego). Perhaps I am clinging to my childhood Christian belief that nothing goes unnoticed by God and something to the effect that God knows how many hairs are on everyone's heads.  If none of this form life exists for God, what is the point of it all?...” - MI
You read it correctly. God (as A Course in Miracles uses the word) is Formless Being. Only God is real. In God there is only God (the meaning of “Oneness”). So God knows only God. This means that God on…

Ask: How can I accept that there is no ultimate responsibility for my actions?

“ACIM asserts that the physical universe and all it contains…are total illusions…ACIM tells us we are ‘sin’ free…and thus all acts we commit, regardless of their impact on others, are consistent with the illusion. ACIM tells us we must only ‘Forgive’ our Brother in the Son of God, recognizing that our Brothers’ acts against us are equally unreal. Every other spiritual path or religion I’m aware of maintains that we are responsible for our actions in our present lives (implicitly asserting they are REAL) and will eventually be held accountable for them in some way, either in the present, directly in the afterlife or during some form of reincarnated future lives…This too, is disavowed by ACIM. The implication is that e.g., serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and Mother Teresa are not only loved equally by God but are equally open to receiving all of God's Love without any consideration of past acts. It is profoundly difficult to accept the rejection of any ultimate responsibility/accountab…

Ask: If we are all one how can we have such disparity?

…When sitting with family yesterday, it occurred to me that each of us has such a wide and varying approach and take on what is real.  If we are all one, and not various and individual souls/persons, how can we have such disparity in our beliefs?  Why isn't your awakening or Jesus’ awakening more of an influence on all of us if we are one consciousness?  Why does guilt seem so individualized when we are not individuals? - JG
You will notice that A Course in Miracles says that your perception of yourself as an individual mind (ego) among other individual minds (egos) is an illusion. You are not experiencing the one and only Mind (God) when you perceive the disparity of many minds. You are looking at an illusion. It is this mistaken belief in what is real that ACIM seeks to help you transcend. It isn’t really accurate to say that “we are all one”. It is more accurate to say that there is only one mind. Any time you apply a plural to “mind” you are looking at the illusion. But you c…

Ask: As I judge other less I feel more alone. How can I be more aware of the All?

“I have an understanding that judgment, especially of other people, is a way that separation is maintained. Watching myself I can see how that happens…I recognize that is happening and turn away from it. My question is this: so far the only images of other people are ones of judgment…and all the mental production into presenting them as a separate person to my mind. When I don't do that as much, then I begin to feel more alone. I don't have the experience of "other people" so much. I assume there is a deeper connection possible, to the All, to what is real, but so far that does not arise…” – RP
            You have seen that there is no real connection between selves. The personal thought system’s “connection” with others is an illusion maintained by judgment. You dropped the judgments and the sense of connection is gone. All along you were experiencing only your own thoughts. When you detach from (truly forgive) the personal thought system’s (ego’s) judgments you do…

Ask: How can we have a healthier state of mind as we become parents?

“My husband and I are trying to get pregnant and are seeing a fertility specialist. We are having procedures done to get pregnant and I've had a miscarriage in the past. How can I keep that heartbreak from hindering my future/our future? I know that our waking life is not real, but we want to raise and love a child we created together. What can we do to create a healthier mind state as we go through this journey to hopefully become parents?” – Anonymous
            A truly healthy state of mind is one where you are aware that only God (your True Being) within you is real. When you know this you know that you are whole. You do not set up anything in the world to be your salvation. This means that you do not look to or expect anything, anyone, any situation, or any role in the world to make you whole or lastingly happy and at peace. So while you have desires, preferences, and inclinations you are not attached to satisfying them.             When a child is wanted a miscarriage or an …

Ask: What is your take on the Second Coming?

“…what is your take on the second coming? I have often thought of it as fundamentalist bunk to police the converts. I must confess the ACIM 's explanation, page 449 # 9, quite loses me . Is it something like a ‘grand enlightenment for all people’ or what?...” – ES
            My “take on” the Second Coming as described in A Course in Miracles’ Workbook, Part II.9, is in my translation of the Workbook, Practicing A Course in Miracles, Part 2.9:
What is the Second Coming of Christ?
1. The Second Coming of Christ, which is as sure as God, is merely the correction of your mistakes, and the return of Sanity to your mind. It restores to you What you never lost, and re-establishes What is Forever True in your mind. It is your invitation to God’s Word to take the place of your illusions, and your willingness to forgive all things, without exception or reservation. 2. The all-encompassing nature of Christ’s Second Coming embraces all that you perceive, and holds you safe within it. There is n…

Ask: What do you think about all the hype about germs?

“What do you think about all the hype regarding germs, sanitizing, and hand washing?  I'm asking because my partner and I have different habits around this, and I feel really disgusted by her behavior sometimes.  I know that mentioning it to her will cause a fight, probably because I feel guilty for having these feelings.  I'm afraid that by being close to her physically, I am risking becoming infected with something she has picked up in public.  What's actually going on here?” – OT
            At the level of form there are laws of cause and effect. Some things cause harm to the body. The experience of a self is inherently dysfunctional and will never be perfect. But it does make sense to know the laws of cause and effect relating to the self and its body to mitigate your discomfort in this experience where possible. As the story goes, germs cause illness in the body. You do reduce, but not eliminate, your risk of being infected or of causing infection in others through b…

Ask: How do I deal with wanting to help without seeing it as real?

“…You wrote somewhere that, at one point on your path, politics kept dragging you back into the dream.  I'm totally like that, too.  Thankfully I don't get stuck there like I used to.  The emotional pull is nowhere near as strong. But it's still hard for me to see the corruption and say it isn't true. It's hard for me not to get involved somehow. Maybe it's because the town I live in is a political nightmare. I feel it's my responsibility to get involved!  How do I deal with this sense of wanting to "help" without seeing it as real? (By the way, I must admit I don't know if I am actually helping even if I think I'm trying!)” – SD
            The first shift that happens for students of A Course in Miracles, often unconsciously, is that you see every situation as a classroom to learn of peace. This turns every situation from an end in itself to a means for peace. If you want inner peace this is the only shift that really needs to occur. So…

Ask: How do you interact with the world when nothing has truth or meaning?

Liz, I think after so long and doing the workbook lessons again I'm beginning to at least grasp where you are coming from- theoretically. But where the rubber meets the road I haven't a clue how to do all of this. I have a spouse, friends, family and work with schedules, plans and expectations to make and meet within all this nothingness that has no truth or meaning. How do you interact with any one close to you- much less to us, your students? If nothing you see, hear or touch has truth or meaning how do you live and find meaning in each day? Of course you go inside and commune with "self" but this life goes on around you. Write a book or do a tape... You are in an existence here and now. Create a picture of what it looks like even to be "present" with you when you aren't present but closed off inside. Not knocking you or making fun of you. But I'm really missing something here… - LM
            The self’s life in the world is a projection of the m…

Ask: Do you pray that we don't go to war?

Liz, what do you do when you see something like we may go to war again? Do you pray that we don’t go to war? (September 20, 2013)
            As I released my projections of meaning onto the universe of form the world became very two-dimensional for me. So now the world is like a blank screen. It’s a lot like walking around on a theatrical set in which no play is being put on. The set and props have no meaning without a story. So without me projecting a story, or meaning, onto events in the world they no longer stand out as special or significant to me. All of not-Truth (universe of form) is all the same. I see no difference between a hang-nail and a war and a butterfly and a rainbow. They are merely different expressions of not-Truth. I do not mean that things appear the same to me. The body’s eyes see differentiation, size, degree, etc. But my experience of not-Truth has flattened out. Of course personal opinions pop up in my mind about events in the world, but what are they but not…

Ask: What if I get comfort from ACIM but do not always believe it?

I get a lot of comfort from reading A Course in Miracles but I have to admit I have not had some of the spiritual experiences that others say they have. I feel guilty to say this, but I’m not sure I really believe everything I read and frankly I’m not always sure I believe in a God...
            First, I want to point out that the feeling of comfort that you have when you read A Course in Miracles is the Holy Spirit (Teacher of Truth) within you. So that is one spiritual experience that you do have. It’s important to recognize that you do feel the Holy Spirit when you read ACIM so that you can recognize the experience in other contexts as well. There is never any reason to feel guilty for being honest. In fact, you cannot move forward without first acknowledging to yourself what you are truly experiencing. There are two lies that people commonly perpetrate against themselves on a spiritual path that are huge obstacles to peace. One is thinking that “belief” is all that is required. B…

Ask: Exactly what is the ego and exactly how is it vicious?

Exactly WHAT is the ego and what exactly does the Course mean by the ego turning “Vicious”? (Examples, please?) – DC
The word “ego” means different things in different contexts. In psychology the ego is just one aspect of the human psyche (the other two being the id and the superego). Some use the term “ego” to simply mean “pride”. A Course in Miracles, however, uses that word to refer to the thought system in your mind that opposes your Reality or True Being, Which it calls “God”. The ego thought system focuses your mind on the self/body as your reality. The ego does not really exist. It only seems to exist to you when you believe in it. So it is inherently defensive, always feeling it needs to prove its existence to you. This is why the Course says “The ego is therefore capable of suspiciousness at best and viciousness at worst.” (T-9.VII.3)             The ego cannot harm you. It can only seem to harm you when you identify with it. In other words, it can only seem to harm what it m…

Ask: How can I use my awareness of Truth to sing freely and effortlessly?

I am studying to be an operatic singer, and I am under the impression that when I become aware of Truth, my singing will spontaneously feel free and effortless, and my stage fright will disappear.  Learning to sing involves a keen awareness of the body, and it is to this that my voice teacher directs me.  Hence I have been completely preoccupied with doing things correctly.  I can see how I have created a punishing god out of my body, and an 'absolute morality' out of singing freely.  As a result, I fear and avoid singing and performing.  What do I need to understand in order to release these fears?  Is there some guarantee that my larynx will drop and open fully and permanently when I accept a certain Truth?  I have enjoyed several thrilling glimpses of singing on an open throat, but how do I get it to be permanent? – O.T.
            What you need to understand is there is no relationship between Truth (God) and your singing or anything else in the world. Truth is unaware of…

Ask: Why are there ego-based conflicts at ACIM events?

I’ve tried to attend study groups in my area and I’ve been to ACIM-based conferences and I’m always disappointed to find the usual ego-based conflicts arising between the people there. I guess I just think that students of ACIM should know better...
            You are disappointed because you are looking for something at these events that they cannot deliver. If you are looking for God (wholeness; abiding love, peace, happiness) you will find It only within. If you are looking to understand A Course in Miracles better and to learn from others’ experiences with it you may find these at these events.             Sometimes people confuse community with other people with communion with God. Humans are social animals and survive through cooperation. So joining with others is rewarded through the release of endorphins in your brain when you meet with others. This temporary feeling of well-being, or even of being “high”, is often confused with the joy of communion with God. But euphoria and…

Ask: Why would I fear God?

A Course in Miracles says that I fear God. But I don’t feel that I fear God. It also does not make sense to me. Why would I fear God?
            You think that you do not fear God but look at the evidence: Are you aware that God is your True Being and that only God is real? Do you recognize that the self and its world are nothing? If you knew these things you would experience only peace all of the time. Do you? If not, what is blocking your way? It can only be fear.             When you are identified with a self you fear God for many reasons. God is formless Being extending infinitely. It is an experience of wholeness unlike the limited experience of the self in every way. From the limited experience of the self God seems like the Great Unknown. And what is unknown is frightening. You also know on some level that an awareness of God undoes the self. So when you are identified with a self you feel that God will “kill” you.             The personal experience is the opposite of God.…

Ask: How can I declare myself an alcoholic when I am a holy child of God?

I've been in a 12-step program for many years. I’m no longer comfortable declaring myself an alcoholic because I know from A Course in Miracles that I am a holy child of God. But I have benefited from the program and part of me wants to continue in it. I’m in conflict and don’t know what to do. (August 9, 2013)
Your mind is an extension of God’s Mind (Truth). God within your mind (child of God/Christ) is one with God. But your mind is split and God is not all that is in it. You also have a self and a thought system about the self in your mind. The self (body/personality) with which you identify and its thought system (ego) are not part of God. These are ideas completely apart from God. They do not come from God and they will never be one with God. And it is the self that has the disease of alcoholism.
When you stand up in a meeting and say, “I am So-and-so and I am an alcoholic” you are simply stating a fact about the imperfect self. You can state this while knowing that God withi…

Ask: How do I practically apply "salvation lies in your brother"?

Salvation lies in your brother – the power and glory are in him. The inference is that there is no salvation without your brother’s. How do you respond to this in a practical way? – TS
            Helen Shucman and Bill Thetford were in a unique Holy Relationship where they were at an equal teaching/learning level. They were partners in salvation [correction of the perception of separation from God (Truth)] in a way that most students do not experience. They each, simultaneously, saw Christ (the part of every mind that is One with God) in their minds reflected in the other. As it says in the Manual for Teachers, these relationships are rare.             What this quote was saying to them was that the Christ that each saw reflected in the other was salvation for them because it showed them that they were not separate from God. They could see Christ in the other because the Christ Mind was in their own minds.
            But you do not need to have a partner in salvation in the world as…

Ask: Do you think all of the channeled material available now is authentic?

There seems to be so much “channeled” material available now. Do you think that it is all authentic?
I’m sure that the vast majority of channeled material out there is offered sincerely. I have not looked at any of it extensively. But I have looked into some of it and generally I’ve found the usual religion-like jumble of Truth and spiritualizing the personal thought system (ego) that indicates that the channeler is not very advanced in their awareness of Truth. There are limitations to material channeled by people who have not yet spent the many years it takes to sort out the Voice of Truth in their mind from the personal thought system. They often do not realize that the personal thought system has gotten involved in their channeling. And even when the personal thought system is not involved their inward hearing is not perfect. They are the first student of the material that they channel. And the material often far outstrips their awareness of Truth. So they do not notice incongruit…

Ask: Are not murderers, etc., guilty?

My problem with the Course is it seems irresponsible to say that there is no such thing as guilt. What about murderers? What about rapists and child molesters? Are they not guilty? If we don’t say that some behaviors are bad or wrong then the world would be even more chaotic than it is...
When ACourse in Miracles says that there is no guilt it means that in God (Truth, Reality) there is no guilt. But in the mistaken construct of a reality (illusion) that we call a world there must be rules for living with each other in relative harmony. So there is in the world guilt under the law. The guilt that the Course says does not exist would be an internal feeling of “I am wrong/bad” or “I have done something wrong/bad”. This is the guilt that is not real. In the world, legal guilt does not refer to an internal experience of guilt. It refers to socially inappropriate behavior. The ego (personal thought system) confuses them, however, to explain the internal guilt that you feel is real. Here is…