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 Teachers as I did the Workbook. I couldn’t get enough of it. Early on I experienced higher miracles and the miracle of a holy relationship. These experiences showed me directly that what ACIM said was true. But I pushed those experiences aside and focused on understanding ACIM. Reading was when I allowed myself to feel the Holy Spirit. And because I had a house cleaning business my mind was free much of the time. So at some point I began to use that time to bring my questions about ACIM to the Holy Spirit (I actually didn’t call It  “the Holy Spirit” then. I didn’t call It anything. I just called on It.) I did not always accept Its answers right away. But I was always answered, and usually accepted them within a few days. The answers sometimes came into my mind as unformed thoughts or intuitions. Sometimes the answers came from a book or someone else.
            I was probably about five years into this before my trust in the Holy Spirit was enough that I started bringing to It questions about things in the world. Decisions, yes, but the Holy Spirit also functioned as a type of therapist and guide for me. However, I wasn’t really practicing the principles of ACIM in my daily life. I read, I meditated in a superficial way, and I asked for the Holy Spirit’s help now and then.
            I met my wife in ’94. She was in a 12-step program and she told me that it was like I had my own program. What she saw was that I was willing to take responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings. But I didn’t have peace. My efforts were largely in trying to understand ACIM. Once I was miserable over some guilty reading of ACIM and she said to me, “I’ve never known anyone who could think about God so much.” This really struck me. I realized I was thinking not practicing. But I still didn’t put much into practice. I just stopped thinking too much!
            Then in the late 90s spiritual study tapered away naturally for me. I got away from all spirituality for about 2 years. (In that time I did take a year to read the Bible from beginning to end but it has never functioned as a spiritual teaching for me). Then one day I picked up ACIM again and I was hooked with renewed commitment. I knew I was not going to let go again. This time, though, my reading of it was very different. I came back to it with fresh eyes. I still read guilt into it, but not as much as before. And where I had once understood pieces of it here and there I now saw the whole message. I saw how every part fit together. It was like for me there was a book within the book. (This eventually became the book The Message of A Course in Miracles).
            I understood ACIM now because I allowed myself to read it through my experiences of Truth. Over the years I’d had the rare Revelation (only Truth) and the occasional higher miracle (seeing that Truth is true and illusion is illusion but still aware of both) but I had pushed them aside. Now I realized I had to let them fully in or I’d just go in circles merely reading ACIM and not experiencing any real shift toward peace.
            This is when I entered what ACIM calls the “period of relinquishment”. I found an incredible willingness to follow only the Holy Spirit. I allowed the Holy Spirit to work in me and through me. My trust in the Holy Spirit really deepened during this stage. It became my primary relationship and constant companion. I brought It with me into all of my relationships. My meditations became meaningful as I used them to truly open to Truth rather than to just go through the motions.
            There was a direct correlation between my awareness of the Holy Spirit and the peace I experienced. One day I realized that peace had come to stay in my awareness. I was still aware of the ego, but peace never left. And since then it has only grown in my awareness. When others asked me how I stayed centered I thought about it and realized that I did four things to stay centered. These are my 4 Habits for Inner Peace, which I eventually also wrote a book about. After a while they were just my way of being in the world.

            So now there’s no “practice” so much as a way of being. It’s natural to me to know that what I experience comes from my own mind. So I attend to my mind. Each day is about maintaining my awareness of my wholeness in Truth.

>>>>>
Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace 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.

Comments

Mike said…
Thank you. Your blog and answers by topic have really cleared up a lot for me and will continue to read through them and practice the lessons. I saw the ACIM at an acquaintance's house and started to read check it out and found out it was based on the concept of forgiveness which was very validating for me as I had stumbled on to a whole other aspect of "God" as the result of a 12 step program and forgiveness for a woman whom I thought was a "bitch" as you know by now.

One event lead to another and I ended up obtaining a copy of A Return To Love and subsequently brought a copy of The Course. I'm not going to say I've been a "roaring success" with it but after what I'd been through in A.A. I wanted to know more about this side/aspect of "God" and spirituality. There's absolutely more to things than meets the eye and there's no reason why anyone can't do the lessons, as they are available for free on line today.

http://acim.org/Lessons/index.html

Thank you for doing this "M"
Anonymous said…
I see how the Holy Spirit works through you because your blog has answered "thinking too much." Thank you for that.
One question though, I've been experiencing the ego's resistance to love, both in body and psyche. Did you experience this along your path and can you address how you best handled the fear to look at the Love that manifests to physical ills and low moods?
ACIM Mentor said…
The whole process is one of overcoming fear of Love. Fear always indicates guilt. You fear Love because you think you don't deserve It so It will destroy you. So you must look at and undo your belief in guilt. You can find a lot of articles in this blog about guilt as well as my book, "Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace", which you can find for only $5 at www.amazon.com or www.acimstore.com.
Anonymous said…
Thank you again Liz. I just read a few more articles you wrote, "Release Ego, Release Guilt" and "The Guilt". I have to remember to stop forgetting to practice forgiveness. I will get your book to strengthen my practice. Blessings
will said…
It’s 4:30am. I’ve been up for about an hour. I have been getting up around 3am since spring. It gets warm in Arizona and the hours of 3-9am are really beautiful. I’m up for sunrise every day. I’m also up for the stars. I had to be in NJ for a number of years before coming here. It has its own beauty with the trees. It is green, green in the southern part of the state. You don’t see much of the sky because there are so many trees. Here in Arizona it is much different of course and at this time of day you see the stars and the Milky Way. There is mostly ambient night light where I live so it is really beautiful at night. I use these early morning hours as my quiet time. I have my favorite chair with a small bench on one side with whatever spiritual reading I’m doing at the time, right now it happens to be the Text, The Message and the Four Habits but it changes over time. On the other side of the chair is a sort of low table where I have my coffee. I have about three hours of quiet time every morning. I read, I sit with the Holy Spirit, I practice. Practice this morning is staying in conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit which I can feel physically. At this time of day if I’m lucky I can put the world down and just be aware of the reasons I am doing the Course. Centered, quiet and at peace. Many mornings my mind has some issue going on so I have to deal with that. I’m using those issues to keep bringing myself back to the Holy Spirit. Using it as a reminder to stay centered. This internal quietness this morning is the reminder of why I keep plugging ahead with the Course.
will said…
Over and over and over again the text keeps repeating, "Your only real goal is to extend God everywhere...If you extend God's Love..." over and over. Do you know how to do this, what it is saying?
will said…
If you are new doing the Course or just spiritual stuff in general I don't sit for three hours in some kind of meditative state. I take my time waking up with coffee, it takes a while for my brain to clear. If at some point I feel like it I may go for a short walk while it is dark or maybe just sit out on the back patio to look at the stars. This is not an intense thing I am doing. I am just trying to stay focused, to stay centered and remember the reason I got up.
jacomina said…
Will, if I may venture to answer your question I would say get a good understanding of Forgiveness. Let every person and situation be - with no opinion. Let go of any judgement your mind makes. Just let it go. Suddenly, ever so subtley, there is an internal quiet. That quiet extends itself by itself.

Jacomina
will said…
Well said jacomina.
jacomina said…
Hi Wil. In light of Liz's recent post regarding personal extending and creating I have to rethink my answer. It's a difficult read but brilliant. It will certainly give me days upon days upon hours of comtemplation. So much is answered automatically with our constant willingness to grow in Truth. Period!

How does one deal with the utter helplessness and failure to "get it"? Really Get It!

Jacomina
will said…
I think what you were saying was fine. Studying the Course and understanding it is very difficult. We approach learning the Course the only way we know how, the way we were taught to study in school. But that doesn't work very well because we don't get the same results. It's probably too long to go into here but your going to find the pieces just won't fit together no matter how much you try to force them to. It can be a nightmare at times. The Holy Spirit is the only teacher here not you studying so you "get it" when the HS helps you. As a human being with a mind you will not be able to understand the Course without the HS. That's a lot different than when we were doing in school. Be patient with yourself and know that no one else is getting it any faster than you.
will said…
J. I would say from the time you first pick up the Course and get serious your probably looking at five to six years before it begins to fall together. However there is a lot going on with you and the HS that you are not aware of during that time.
jacomina said…
Thank you Wil
Anonymous said…
A good teacher never terrorizes, and never wars against the ego even though a brother may act insanely. The ONLY thing I wanted was to take this Experience DEEPER instead, I'm perceived as "ego" and attacked. I recently had a conversation with HS and He ended up apologizing for you because if the Real "J" was here he would reject no one, and return everyone to sanity and Joy and reject not even the heinous muderer. The "war against the "ego" is the war against yourself and a bother no matter how3 insanly he or she acts is a call to love and nothing else instead of hawking you material "on Amazon" for however much money. God IS Love and the God in me forgives you all.

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