Ask: How do I deal with obsessions and compulsions?
I am a recovering anorexic/bulimic, alcoholic, codependent. I have been studying ACIM for 2 years, and have felt the benefits of it. My one goal is "salvation", to know and be love. However, i have a lingering obsession, i feel that i must walk a certain amount each day. if i don't do it i feel guilty because i feel like I broke an unspoken rule i established, and if i do it feel guilty because i feel like i'm giving into the obsession… i know ultimately guilt is the belief in separation. but knowing this and having this truly change me isn't coming on this point. my mind feels torn. so i guess the question is how to deal with obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviors… the problem is that my thoughts about the whole thing are totally conflicted. i think it is because of my history… – KL
First, you may need to evaluate whether you need medication and therapy to deal with your illness. These will not remove your underlying belief in guilt but they may help you manage intrusive thoughts induced by a chemical imbalance that make it difficult for you to get down to your belief in guilt. Drugs and therapy are called for when you have thoughts that disrupt your life rather than just make you feel conflicted or uncomfortable.
Behaviors, like emotions, are caused by thoughts, so you only need to deal with your thoughts and your emotions and behaviors will change. You hit on what is going on with “I feel like I broke an unspoken rule I established”. You set these rules for yourself to deal with guilt. You feel that you need to be a good or right or perfect person to appease a punishing god. In the absence of rules given to you, you set your own in the hopes that this god will be pleased and not punish you so much for your intrinsic guilt.
The ego is the opposite of God so for it to believe in its own existence it must believe that it killed God. When you identify with it you believe that you killed God. You accept this because your limitless mind is not in its natural state when it identifies with a limited self. You are uncomfortable and you interpret your discomfort as guilt for killing God.
If you believe that guilt is real then you must believe that you will be punished. Any need you feel to be good or right or perfect or to control the world comes down to a belief in intrinsic guilt and a punishing god. (If God is dead how can It punish you? Don’t expect the ego to make sense. That it knows deep down that God is not dead and that it does not really exist is why the ego is so insecure). The belief in guilt and a punishing god are the center of the ego thought system. It is not going to change, which is why you need to release the ego to be at peace. You do this by looking at your unconscious and conscious beliefs in guilt and fear so that you can release them.
In A Course in Miracles the word “God” refers to the Limitless Being that is Truth or Reality. God is your True Being, not a power over you. Whenever you feel guilt and fear, in whatever form, turn your mind inward and remember your experiences of God. Since you experience God, God cannot be dead. This undoes the ego’s basis for guilt. And God is the Power within you, not a power over you. There is no power over you. You will need to remind yourself of this over and over as you root out all of the ways that you believe in intrinsic guilt and a punishing power over you. In time you will release your belief in guilt and your need to control the self and its environment will fall away.
(This article coincides nicely with the release of my new book, Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace. It addresses in-depth the ideas expressed in this answer. You can learn more about it at www.acimmentor.com).
Learn more about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and new! Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace new! at www.acimmentor.com.
If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog.