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Safety in Defenselessness

 “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” (W-153)
            You have two thought systems in your mind. The ego is the thought system that teaches you that you are a self in a body in a world. Because this isn’t true when you identify with the self you experience lack and vulnerability. You spend your time defining and defending the self’s identity in an attempt to undo your sense of lack and to feel safe.             The “defenselessness” referred to in this lesson is the other thought system in your mind, what A Course in Miracles calls the Holy Spirit. This thought system comes from the part of your mind that is always aware of God, or True Being. In this awareness you feel whole and complete. You feel safe so you have nothing to defend.             So this lesson is not asking you to be defenseless in the ego. This is not possible, since it is inherently insecure. It is asking you to turn away from the ego thought system which teaches you that you lack and are vulnerable. Turn ins…

Ask: Will you read "A Course of Love"? If not, why not?

“….Last week I was reading Jon Mundy's magazine on the Course…. In his mag, there was an advertisement notice that there was a new book out, A Course of Lovewww.acourseoflove.com...Have you heard of this book?  Will you read it?  If you will not read it, why not?  I am curious to get your opinion about its close similarity to only knowing the Truth and meditating just on the Truth...” – SS

I heard of this book many years ago and I continue to get advertisements for it. But, no, I will not be reading it. The need to study fell away from me naturally many years ago. Since then I find reading spiritual material to be superfluous and, frankly, rather tedious. I can only liken this to reading a recipe for a dish I make every day. After a while the recipe becomes unnecessary and turning to it actually gets in the way of making the dish quickly and efficiently. So when I read spiritual material now I feel, “too many words”.  They are not necessary for me to experience Truth and they ar…

Ask: Why do I have sudden thoughts about perceived attacks in the past?

“Let's say I'm going about my business feeling no stress, conflict or pain and suddenly, "out of the blue" comes some disturbing thought about a person/incident from the past which feels like I'm under attack, requiring me to defend and counterattack etc. I haven't seen this person for years, they're not in my life but there they are. While I believe that circumstances and people don't create feelings in us but rather we project our feelings onto them (it's entirely my movie), what I don't get is the suddenness, and absence of current context for these thoughts. Why now?...” – ES
What you describe is when something of which you are not conscious, or not fully conscious, triggers a memory of a person or circumstance. It may be some object your eyes light upon, a snatch of music or another sound, a body memory, or a train of thought that you had not been consciously following. It may also be that if the ego (personal thought system) in your mind…

Ask: Why do I keep passing out into peace?

“When I read the text, the manual and/or the lessons, I invariably fall asleep with the book open in front of me, often even when I’m fresh soon after waking. I first read the Course nearly 30 years ago. Ever since, it happens each time I read the Course, including your “Message of…” versions of them. It does not happen when I read them with a group. But this falling asleep — more like passing out — is often a remarkable experience because when I wake I experience a sense of release, clarity, energy, and a great welcome for what is happening in the present. It’s something more than merely waking from a nap or even from a deep night’s sleep. The words of the Course seem to have so much power that they virtually sort through my thoughts and find a new place, such that “my” thoughts seem to be set aside. The result is that I feel a great sense of peace even though I’m perplexed why I seem to pass out while reading. Is this an experience you’ve had, and is there a way that I can be consci…

Ask: Can you clarify the terms mind, awareness, etc.?

You say that we are mind but I read others who say mind does not exist. Then there are terms like awareness, consciousness, and perception that seem to be used in different ways by different teachers. I get very confused. Can you clarify?
            You are correct that these terms are used by spiritual teachers in various contradictory or interchangeable ways. I cannot clarify how anyone else uses them. But I will clarify how I use them. Before I do that, however, I want to point out that these contradictions can be useful if you are a serious student of spiritual material. Words are symbols and will never mean the same thing to everyone. Discerning how a teacher uses these words can be a way of both deepening your understanding of their teaching and your own understanding of the ideas that the words represent. So bring your confusion to the Teacher of Truth (Holy Spirit) in your mind and look at them. How do you use these words? How does the teacher that you are studying use them?…

Ask: Why can't both God and the world be real?

Why does it have to be “non-duality”? Why can’t duality be real? Why can’t both God and the world be real?
            It’s not that it “has to be” non-duality. It’s just the way it is! Truth, or Reality, Which is what is meant by “God” in A Course in Miracles, is an experience of Being extending infinitely and eternally. There is nothing else in the experience. It is whole and complete in Itself. It is one both in the sense that It is whole and that It is All-That-is.             Once you have this experience, either in direct Revelation (only God) or in a higher miracle (an awareness that only God is real while still being aware of the world), you understand that Reality is really beyond the world that you thought was reality. It reveals to you that the world has no more substance than vapor.             But aside from the experience itself, which is really the only thing that will convince you that there is only one Reality and It is God, logic shows that something cannot be someth…

Ask: What's the difference between being a sociopath and being detached?

What’s the difference between a sociopath and the kind of detachment you seem to teach is desirable? (November 19, 2014)
A sociopath is someone who has a disorder that makes them unable to feel empathy for others. They are amoral (without morality) because they cannot understand the consequences of their actions on others. Psychologists report that sociopaths are actually deeply enraged. Anger is a defensive response so they are deeply fearful. Their ego’s (personal thought system’s) view of the world is very real to them. The detachment that I write about is the natural result of you being aware that only the Truth is true. So you no longer respond to the world with the emotions you did when the ego’s (personal thought system’s) interpretations of the world were real to you. In the awareness that only the Truth is true you feel whole. This is the same as saying that you feel an abundance of Love. So the self in your mind behaves in ways that are more likely to be considered “moral” b…

Ask: What authority assigned attributes to God in ACIM?

“Can you tell me if "God" and "Father" are the same in ACIM? Where does the authority come from to assign God attributes other than to say "God is". (Frankly, I even wonder where the "God is" emanates from?) The scriptures have some horrendous qualities designated to God but ACIM, although positive qualities, must have come from some knowledge given to Helen? Can you share your thoughts as to where the attributes assigned to God in ACIM originated?” – J
            Yes, “God” and “Father” are the same in A Course in Miracles. However, as with most everything in ACIM these symbols mean something very different from the way the world commonly uses them. “God” does not mean an authoritative being that brought the universe of form into being. “God” means Reality or Truth, Which is beyond the universe of form. God is the one Being that is. Everything else is an illusion.             “Father” in ACIM refers to God in God’s Totality where “Son of God” …

Ask: Is my life chaotic because I'm working ACIM?

“You have commented several times that when individuals start to seriously work with the Course, they can experience a lot of upheaval: bankruptcy, divorce, foreclosure on their house, etc. Why is that? I ask because it does seem that every time I really devote myself to Course study, “bad” things in my world start to happen. Then I back away from the Course for a bit, primarily because I’m trying to deal with all the issues created. For instance, the last time I was doing Workbook lessons daily, as well as spending time with Holy Spirit twice a day, I experienced a car break down on the highway, the HVAC system in our house died (much earlier than expected), the water heater went right after it (also unexpected according to its age), I was ticketed by a police officer for something I’m pretty sure I didn’t do, and I was disqualified for a large rebate I was counting on due to a mistake someone else made. This was all in one month. My life isn’t usually this chaotic. What is really go…

Ask: Does ACIM use the word "soul" to mean the same thing as "mind"?

“When I was 10 my grandmother passed away. The music playing was Ave Maria and it made me cry. My mother tried to comfort me by saying, Your grammy's soul is in heaven now". I was miffed and said rather loudly, "Where was her "soul" before she died? And before she was born!" My mother had no answers.  Now 6 decades later, I look back on that event within the perspective of ACIM and the Holy Spirit. I wonder about the Course's position in that only the mind is real, there is no birth, life, or death of the illusory body. Are the terms "soul" and "mind" similar in these situations? e.g. does ACIM use the term "soul" to mean the same thing as "mind"?  Could the experience at the funeral mass have been an indicator of my mind being in touch with Truth at a time when I believed my body to be 10 years of age?” – J
When most people use the word “soul” they are referring to the ego without the body. They are thinking of th…

Ask: Do the following statements/questions about mind make sense?

“…If one has read ACIM and experienced a number of shifts in identity, do the following statements/questions make sense to you?
1.  IT is what we Are (MIND and mind) = ONE Mind 2.  Is the above statement what Jesus (a figure within the mind to point us to the MIND) meant when he said "when two become One, it shall be done".  I had experience where the two parts (seemingly) merged or crossed over.  3.  Once one realizes that all is Mind, is there a natural merging back into the mind? Or is that still the conditioned mind (ego) demanding attention.  It feels like mind wandering again.  The running of different fantasy about a personal life and I know that I am hurting myself because at some place I again fulfill the wish (live, die, repeat ??) 4.  What stage would this fall into?  Once having realized being the Mind, the seeker within (so I don’t study like I use to) faded and now I just pay attention to my thoughts.  I want to play with them also, but this has led me to a feelin…

Ask: Would a "peak experience" be a Holy Instant?

“I was wondering lately how the Course would describe or define Maslow’s “Peak Experience” occurrence? I didn’t know that I had two distinct Peak Experiences before I took a psychology course in college… Nothing since then! Would a “peak experience” be something like the Holy Instant? Thanks.” – CS
            What Maslow describes seems to take in many kinds of experiences. So I would say that his descriptions of peak experiences would include, but are not limited to, the Holy Instant.             The Holy Instant is an experience of God (True Being). The ultimate Holy Instant would be a direct Revelation of God in which you experience only God. In this experience the world does not exist for you at all, not even as an idea. It is an experience of pure, joyous Being extending infinitely. This is very rare. Most never have this experience. And those of us who do experience direct Revelations have them very rarely.             But as you practice the Holy Instant daily it can show up …

Ask: How can people with brain diseases choose the Holy Spirit?

“I would like to know how ACIM deals with Alzheimer's, dementia and mental illness. These illnesses seem different from say from cancer, paralysis or heart issues. The latter seem to leave room to make decisions with the Holy Spirit. But what about diseases such as the ‘brain’ related ones mentioned above. How can these patients choose again for Spirit?” – J
A Course in Miracles does not address specific illnesses because from the perspective of Truth all illusion is illusion. The specific form of an illusion does not make it any less an illusion. The mind is not in the brain but as long as you identify with a body you will allow your thinking to be affected by the brain as though it is. However, the Truth in your mind goes on untouched in any way by anything that seems to happen in the illusion. Your awareness or lack of awareness of Truth has no effect whatsoever on the Truth in your mind. So if a person’s identification with a body keeps them from being consciously aware of the …

Ask: What does ACIM say about the future?

“I understand time is an illusion but we still need to deal with the "world" where we find ourselves. I'd like to know if the Course says anything about the future.” – J
The future is not here and it never will be. It is only a concept in your mind right now. A Course in Miracles points out that the ego (personal thought system) uses this concept to perpetuate guilt:
“By the notion of paying for the past in the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present.” (T-13.IV.4)
The Holy Spirit (the awareness of Truth in your mind) knows that you are only right here, right now in the present. So It conceives of the “future” as an extension of the present:
“Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present, and extends the present rather than the past.” (T-13.IV.9)
Because the future is only a concept any dream or e…

Ask: Can you take us through how forgiveness has changed for you?

Wondering if you could just take us through a day in the life for you in regards to "forgiving".  And maybe how you first started "forgiving" versus how you do it now. From forgiving the whole world to forgiving a hang nail.  Sometimes it seems when I read about child abuse for example, and I say "it's not real" it kind of feels like I'm discounting the horrible pain the child has gone thru…it's just my projection seems kind of like a cop out or something.....I really do understand it's all a dream, but still. I've been doing my forgiveness work for almost 3 years now and I really don't feel any happier or peaceful and it's starting to zap my motivation..... I do what the Course says:
1.      Notice it - acknowledge it's you/your projections 2.      Realize it isn't real/truth 3.      Release it to the Holy Spirit
Am I doing something wrong ? – DC
            The reason you cannot forgive is that the world and your projections…

Ask: Is the ache I feel for others a judgment?

Is the ‘ache’ I feel for others a judgment? …What I am experiencing is an overwhelming sadness/ache for others and I sense this is in fact the flip-side of the ego coin and is a form of judgment in its own right.  The arrogance of ‘feeling sorry for people’ perhaps, although it doesn’t feel like pity…I feel overwhelmed at times by this ‘ache’ for others, for the state of the world and so on.  I wonder if it is like any other projection that needs to be recognised for what it is, forgiven and released to the Holy Spirit?  That said, the ego tells me that if I felt neutral and peaceful over the plight of others I would be cold and heartless.  I understand that the pain and suffering of the world is not the Truth, but as a seeming person living ‘in it’ I can’t quite grasp that, although I get the metaphysics of it…” - AM
            You are projecting meaning (judgment – wrong/bad) onto what you see happening in others’ lives and responding to your projections of meaning as though they a…

Ask: How are others just ideas in my mind?

A Course in Miracles tells us:Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability. He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives, which is equally variable.” (T-4.II.2) I have to admit that I have a hard time seeing how others are just ideas in my mind. There they are, a body, which seems so solid and real to me… (September 12, 2014)
The body, like all of the universe of form, is only an empty symbol onto which you project the idea of a “person”. For example, my mother died over 10 years ago and yet when I think of her I still get a feeling that I think of as “Mom”. It’s the same feeling I had when there was a body here onto which to project “Mom”. It’s really an aggregation of thoughts and the feelings to which they lead that I think of as “Mom”. Sometimes it is so vivid that it is as though she is present. So it’s pretty clear now that Mom’s body is gone that the body could not have been the source of my experience …

Ask: Can you give examples of personally extending or creating?

“…Please can you give specific examples of how you personally "extend or create" as Truth?  My understanding is that as egos we extend and this is seen in all examples of projecting and then believing our projections as truth.  But egos' projections are illusions that end in chaos. For the awakened mind, instead of projecting it "extends or creates" in Truth.  Can you translate how as a unified One we constantly create? I recently read that Albert Einstein described himself as someone "just wanting to know the thoughts of God."  When I try to commune with Truth I try to just center myself on Truth so I might be able at some point "download" intuitive thoughts or feelings from the Truth. Creating peace. Don't know if perhaps this communing with the Truth inside me is the "extending or creating in Truth"?  Can you elaborate?” – SS
            As it does with so many terms, A Course in Miracles re-defines the word “creation”. In t…

Ask: Why become aware of God if we're going to go back There anyway?

My friend’s friend passed away recently and my friend said, “I am happy he is home in God now and relieved his pain is over.”But the man who passed did not seem to have any interest in spiritual awareness at all. So is it true that he went home to God? If so, then why go through the hassle of becoming aware of God in the world if you are going to go back there in any case?
            There is a faulty premise behind your questions and it is that in you there is some part of God (True Being; Reality) that left God and that will, upon the death of the body, return to God. But God is whole and complete always (eternal now). No part of It ever leaves It or needs to return to It. This idea is how the ego (personal thought system) makes it seem that the illusion has some reality. No part of illusion comes from Truth (God) so no part of it needs to return to Truth. All of not-Truth is wholly illusory.             Your friend’s friend did not “return” to God and would not have if he was as a…

Ask: Will you share how your practice started and has evolved?

“Would you do a blog on how you first started practicing and how it has evolved over the years? I would be very interested to hear that and I'm sure it would be a big help to a lot of people.” – WW
            My spiritual path began in 1984 with A Course in Miracles. I was 20 years old. I had been doing some other psycho-spiritual reading before I found ACIM but ACIM is what grabbed me. Its teaching was really my whole path until study fell away naturally.             In the beginning I did not really practice. Oh, sure, I did the lessons. But I was terrified and I could hardly stand to read them every morning and evening. If I remembered twice a day to do those lessons that were supposed to be done every hour it was a good day! However, much more sunk in than I knew at the time. I repeated the Workbook for another year and didn’t do much better             But my “practice” for a long time was really just reading. I was very hungry for ACIM. I read the Text and Manual for Teache…

Ask: Does ACIM say anything about tithing?

“…Many people extol the benefits of tithing (usually in the amount of 10 percent or more) to wherever they feel they are being spiritually fed. I'd very much like to hear your views on tithing from A Course in Miracles perspective. I'm sure nothing in either the text, workbook, or manual mentions it (or not that I've come across anyway), but some ACIM teachers recommend it nonetheless. Is there a sound basis for this Course-wise?...” –LH
            You are correct that tithing is not mentioned in A Course in Miracles. No behavior is necessary for inner peace. If you want inner peace you only have to be willing to be aware of God (True Being). And willingness is of the mind, not of the body.             Like all behavior in the world, tithing is meaningless in itself. Some people tithe as a traditional practice. Others tithe as a practical way to express gratitude. And there are some who view tithing as part of the process of attracting or manifesting wealth in the world.

Ask: Aren't we addicted to the ego?

Aren’t we addicted to the ego?
            No. But when you think that the ego (personal thought system) is your reality you do think that you need it to live. So you feel that you have a dependency on it. Let’s look at the distinction between abuse, addiction, and dependency. These words are often used interchangeably but there is a difference between the experiences. Abuse refers to using a substance, behavior, or situation improperly, thereby harming or risking harming yourself. This does not necessarily lead to addiction or dependency. For example, most of us abuse food on occasion. You may overeat at a meal or regularly overindulge in a certain food. Or you may get drunk or high, even quite often, without developing an addiction or dependency on alcohol or drugs. Abusing substances can be a passing phase, for example when you are young and want to enhance your fun or when you experience a crisis.             The hallmark of addiction, which makes it different from abuse or depende…

Ask: Is there an affirmation to break through dark fears?

Could you help with some guidance in the work of quieting fear from thought when facing seemingly unchangeable physical problems, i.e.,  the slow loss of one's  vision or serious health diagnosis in one's child or a close loved one.  What can one do consistently in a practical way to combat the frightening feelings that come so tenaciously.....so often in the nighttime?  I am wondering if there are honest affirmations or words that might help break the dark fears of the future - and give one a sense of hope and control of the right kind?”  – LK
            The personal experience is one of limitation, lack, and inevitable losses. Peace comes only from the awareness of the whole, unchanging, eternal Truth (“God” in A Course in Miracles) within you. Truth is untouched by anything that does or does not happen in the world. It is wholly apart from the personal experience. So as often as possible remember your experiences of Truth. Use the limitation, lack, and loss of the personal…

Ask: I recently resolved an issue at work peacefully but I don't like to judge anyone...

“…I recently started a new position at work in which I am the supervisor of 6 people. 2 of them approached me about their unhappiness with one of their coworkers work ethic they demanded action. It was really hard for me as I just don't like to judge anyone. I did do it in the spirit of love and it did seem to work out pretty well but I was curious of your thoughts. I'm just learning that even in that situation I could be peaceful and not fearful. It was the first experience that I have had that kind of inner peace even in a conflicted situation. I also asked the Holy Spirit for the guidance and saw my onesies with these brothers…” – JW
            Since you experienced peace in the situation I’m not quite sure what more I can offer! You must’ve done something right. Perhaps you still feel conflicted over the idea of “judging” others even though you experienced peace in the middle of what you once considered a situation of conflict. What you want to sort out in any situation is …