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The Vision of the Holy Relationship

In the last article I discussed the difference between the two “visions”: What the body’s eyes report and the meaning (or the awareness of no meaning) that your mind projects or extends. Spiritual Vision is not just a “nicer” way of interpreting the world. It is a wholly different vision that you can invite and welcome, but you cannot make it happen. It comes to you when you are ready and open to It.
When I was a new student of A Course in Miracles for a few months I experienced the Vision of the Holy Relationship with another. I saw that we were one and the same, obviously not as bodies and personalities, but in Truth. The inner Vision I had was that the Truth in her was the exact same Truth in me. Even thinking about her brought an experience of deep recognition beyond any human experience. This is the experience that Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford had. I recognized it completely when I read the passages in ACIM about the Holy Relationship. This Vision is what, in ACIM, Helen was…

The Two Visions

A Course in Miracles talks about two “visions”, “sights”, or “perceptions”. (In my translation into plain language I used only “perception” for clarity). This “seeing” is not done with the body’s eyes. It is an inner seeing. It occurs in the mind from one of two unconnected places in your mind. It is much like these two visions are two different platforms in your mind. One platform, the lower platform, is in the world. On that platform you are very involved with the world. You can move around on that platform and look at the world from different angles, but all of those angles are on the same level. The change in view is not a real change. It is simply a different angle on the same thing. For example, you learn something new about someone and you “see them in a new light”. Outwardly they have not changed, so you do not “see” them in a new physical light. You see them from a new point of view within your mind. Your inner vision of them changed. You stood in a different place on that lo…

The Present and the Process

First, this mind believed it was a self in a process toward the goal of peace. Then one day it had an experience while meditating that Truth is right here. It was the Holy Instant and It was breathtaking. This mind realized that in meditation, and in everything else, it always reached for Truth. And in that reaching it over-reached Truth and missed It because Truth is right here. It was like when the self looks for the mustard in the refrigerator but does not see it because the mustard is right in front of it and the self is looking past it to find it.
And then the awareness of the immediate Presence of Truth was gone. Each day in meditation this mind tried to be present and experience the Truth again but could not. It could remember the experience but not conjure it. How long did this go on? Months? Years? Then it happened again and this mind would think, “This is it. This is all I need to experience. This is all I need to remember. Stop reaching. It’s here now.” And then…It couldn’…

Beyond Managing Mere Moods

This mind is grateful that its current stage of awareness of Truth coincided with this body’s peaking in peri-menopause because otherwise it would be a neurotic mess. If peri-menopause had happened earlier in this mind’s developing awareness of Truth this mind would be totally distracted by the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of the wild and unpredictable surges in hormones that are the natural process of this stage of the body’s life.  The body would require hormone replacement therapy at minimum and perhaps anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines. This time of life for the body coinciding with this stage of growing awareness of the mind has in fact helped this mind to hone its detachment from the body, the self, and its story. It has helped it to see that there is no real difference between a “good” mood and a “bad” one in that they occur in the same self-identified part of mind. It has helped this mind to see all moods as one single experience – the human experi…

The Value of Self-talk

I used to have episodes of panic attacks. After the panic attack subsided I’d remain in a heightened state of anxiety for days in dread of more panic attacks. This heightened state of anxiety led to more panic attacks, more anxiety, more panic attacks, etc. It was a vicious cycle.
Eventually I learned that the primary cause of my panic attacks was some small change in my body that I would pick up subconsciously and that would lead to fearful thoughts just below my conscious awareness. These thoughts would lead to the rush of adrenaline that fueled the panic attacks. For example, I noticed I often had panic attacks at the beginning of Fall. When I paid attention I became aware that there was a very slight thickening feeling in my bronchia. I was experiencing a small allergic response. I would subconsciously pick up on this and I’d have thoughts just below my conscious awareness that I was suffocating. But even after I discovered this I felt powerless to do anything about it. I tried t…

Ask: I fear that if I continue with my Course studies I will lose the memory of my husband...

“…I contacted you almost 4 years ago when my husband of 20 years, and the kindest, most supportive and best friend I've ever had, died suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep at the age of 43. I contacted you soon after and asked your thoughts about seeing a world famous medium and you said I should do whatever might help. I have received many messages of support from him since then in the form of readings from various mediums, a host of coincidences and even sightings in my daily life. These have been a great help in my embracing our eventually being reunited when I die. That said, I can't apply the Course teachings to everything else and not this. If everything I experience here is what I've asked for that means all of my husband’s messages are coming from me and not him and that is crushing me. Literally. And now, the personal thought system is constantly telling me that if I continue with my Course studies, my husband will disappear from my memory because he was nothing…

Ask: Does the Holy Spirit speak quickly and first?

“…My question is…does the holy spirit speak quickly and first with lightning speed?  I find I feel this voice may be the correct voice since it sounds definite and inspired. The answer almost seems to come out of nowhere and not even have thinking involved, just a kind of knowing…” – AB
The two voices speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously; or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first. – T-5.VI.3
The ego always speaks first…The Holy Spirit does not speak first, but He always answers.– T-6.IV.1,3
As a rule, it is the ego that speaks with lightning speed. This is especially true when you look on a person or situation or you are seeking an answer. But sometimes when your mind is quiet and relaxed you may hear the Holy Spirit spontaneously. You may hear words or you may have unformed thoughts that seem to rise up into your conscious awareness and take form there.
It takes a while to sort out the Holy Spirit and the ego (personal thought system) bec…

Ask: Can you clarify the term "magic thoughts"?

“….  Could you please clarify the use of the term 'magic thoughts'?...” – TB (November 13, 2015)
A Course in Miracles uses the concept of “magical thinking” in two ways. One form of magical thinking is the belief that anything outside of you can make you whole and at peace. For example, the belief that if you just had perfect health or the right partner or enough money or if that person would change or if everyone just believed as you do, etc. then you would be at peace. ACIM includes in this form of magical thinking the idea that sickness is a form of problem solving. For example, using illness as a way to get attention, to be a victim, to avoid a situation, or as self-punishment to mitigate God’s punishment of you, etc. The belief that the things that illness would get you “saves” you is a form of magical thinking.
The other form of magical thinking in ACIM is the belief that change at the level of form is caused at the level of form. For example, the use of medications or oth…

Ask: Does Lesson 68 have it wrong?

“During our discussion (in the study group) of Lesson 68:’Love does not hold on to resentment’, you made it abundantly clear that you personally could not follow the part about seeing everyone as your friend because trying to do so made resentment even stronger. What mattered, you said, was being in Truth, so regardless how others showed up you would be at peace. And in the event that someone was so dysfunctional, you could set up a boundary and still be at peace. This made total sense to me and suited my own personality. What I can now take out of that lesson is to think how resentment disturbs my peace; how it reinforces my guilt and belief in a false god. What hangs me up however, is that lesson 68 is quite clear when it tells us to see these others ‘as my friend’, when I know that doing so will be counterproductive. So I choose to ignore it. Is the Course wrong here? Where else does it give ‘bad’ advice? Are we free to pick and choose how to interpret it based on what feels comfort…

Ask: Can the ego be taught?

“…I attended an ACIM meeting last night and the question arose:  Can the ego be taught?  My immediate response was ‘yes.’  Although shortly after I started to question myself, saying inwardly; can a false belief system be taught—can what was never real be taught?  But there still was something in me that questions this, believing the Course would agree with me.  The Course speaks of this in rare form, such as these two teachings: T-4.1.3—Spirit need not be taught, but the ego must be.  And, …spirit cannot perceive and the ego cannot know.  They are therefore not in communication and can never be in communication. Nevertheless, the ego can learn, even though its maker can be misguided. My question is; how is it; what is it, that the ego can be taught, and or can learn?...”
First, let’s define what is meant by “ego”. The ego is a thought system in your mind that is a part of and is about the idea of the universe-of-form-as-reality. It is about you (mind) limited to a self (body/personali…

Yes, the Spiritually Aware Set Boundaries

My last two articles discussed setting boundaries in relationships. A common question I get is that if one is spiritually aware wouldn’t they not be bothered by others’ attacks or negativity. Yes, it’s true that when you are spiritually aware you do not have a personal reaction to what others say or do. But that does not mean that you want to be around dysfunction if you have the choice.
First, I want to point out that people who are having problems in their relationships have not yet reached a level of spiritual awareness where they have stopped getting an emotional charge from others’ attitudes and behaviors. If they had reached that point they would not need to ask how to deal with their relationships! Boundaries would be automatic. In fact, a sign that someone with low-self-esteem is growing in their spiritual awareness is that they are ready to start putting up boundaries with dysfunctional others. A side-effect of growing spiritual awareness is a healthier self.
But back to the…

Ask: Can you give examples of where ACIM says what to do at the level of form?

“I appreciate your last e-newsletter and found the question and your answer very interesting and valuable. However, I also resonated with the questioner's statement that the Course does not address how to deal with issues at the level of form. You said: "I'm not sure why you say ACIM does not address what one should or should not do at the level of form when most of the Workbook and much of the Text addresses this!" Could you provide an example of how the Course addresses what one should or should not do at the level of form, maybe in your next newsletter?” – CT
This course remains within the ego framework, where it is needed. It is not concerned with what is beyond all error because it is planned only to set the direction towards it. (C-in.3)
I hear often enough that A Course in Miracles does not deal with the level of form to assume that the perception that it is an ethereal, impractical teaching must be a fairly common form of ego (personal thought system) resistanc…

Ask: What do you suggest I do to end unhealthy relationships?

“I have been having some trouble withdrawing from some ‘friends’ that I no longer feel I want to spend time with. In the past I have felt justified in confrontation and judgment when I felt I was right, but clearly, after 13 years of study that is no longer an option I want to pursue. But, even as I write this I want to list their "sins" and unfairness, proving to you and the Truth in my right mind that they are the guilty ones and I the innocent victim…the bottom line is I feel that they take advantage, been dishonest and without going into more detail are ‘friends’ I no longer trust or want to spend time with them, however I don't want to hurt them or, as I am so dying to do...tell them what I think is wrong with them. In Truth, intellectually I know that they are characters I cast in my own play, speaking my own scripted dialog and have done nothing that I didn't unconsciously want them to do but in form I feel further contact would be toxic and very uncomfortable…

Unfolding Detachment

One upon a time as this mind’s awareness of Truth grew the natural result was that this mind came to experience that it was “in the world but not of the world”, as the popular phrase goes. This meant that it felt that it was still a self operating in the world but that it had a growing awareness that its interest was really in Truth. It was a lot like being at a party but standing on the edge of the room and watching the party rather than fully participating in it.
Then this mind attained an experience of detachment that was “not in the world but aware of the world”. This meant that it no longer lived through the self to fulfill a sense of lack but that there was still a world in its awareness. This was a lot like being outside of the house in which a party was occurring but still being aware that there was a party.
Now this mind is attaining an awareness that it is “not in a world but aware of a meaningless idea of a world”. This is like being in a quiet place and remembering that o…

"Separated from God"

A Course in Miracles says that your one problem is that you feel “separated from God” and that you feel guilty for this. But it’s fairly common for students to tell me that they have a hard time getting their minds around this concept. They don’t go around thinking “I’ve separated from God and I’m bad for this” and they even believe in God. The concept is too abstract for them to grasp.
The belief in separation from God is largely unconscious and it is the source of all guilt. It is actually the consciousness into which you think that you are born into in your identification with a self. The concept is there at the core of the ego (personal thought system) in your mind. It is the idea that “proves” that the ego is real and that also protects the ego by keeping you from looking inward. You are not meant to see it consciously because then you’d be motivated to undo it and therefore undo the ego. Because the belief in guilt is the consciousness of the world, the world reinforces guilt, o…

Deal at Your Level of Awareness

Often when I answer in my newsletter/blog a question from someone experiencing an upset in their life they explain that they have tried and failed over and over again to forgive the situation as just a projected image in their mind. This effort would seem to be in line with A Course in Miracles but in practice it is not helpful. If your awareness has not grown to the point where you see something as just a projected image trying to forgive it leads to repression rather than to release (forgiveness).
What shows up at the level of form is the result of cause and effect at the level of form. The mind in which this occurs is the one split mind, which ACIM calls the “Son of God” or the “dreamer of the dream”. What you experience as “you” having the upset is a figure in the dream. Your mind is ultimately the one split mind (dreamer), but that is not how you experience it. You experience it as though it is the figure in the dream. And you have to deal with the thoughts in your mind at the l…

Why It Is Important to Accept the "Dream" As It Is

A Course in Miracles teaches us that Reality is formless, eternal Being extending without limit. It likens our experience of Reality’s opposite - a universe of time-bound, limited form - to a “dream”. It isn’t real but it sure seems real when you think you are in it.
Sometimes students ask, “If it’s a dream, why can’t anything be true? Why can’t reincarnation or unicorns or a ten-thousand year old earth or humans with wings or human civilization as the result of beings from other planets, etc. be true in the dream?” What they imply is that since it is a dream it can be anything one wants to dream it is
Very simply, the dream cannot be anything but what it is because it is over. The “dream” is what the “dream” was. When ACIM says you are always looking at the past it means this on two levels: As a self you look at the present through the filter of your personal past. But on another level the entire experience of the universe of form is over or “past”. The idea of the opposite of Realit…

Ask: Accepting What Is and Accepting what is

This week’s article follows up on an earlier article about living in the flow of the universe (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2015/03/in-flow-of-universe.html) as well as last week’s “Ask ACIM Mentor” article (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2015/08/ask-any-insights-on-accepting-not.html). When you accept What is – that only the Truth is true – it follows that you also accept what is at the level of form without resistance or judging the self’s role in the unfolding story of the universe of form. When you find your wholeness in Truth you stop living through the self so you accept it as it is and just watch it unfold.
The play/movie “Amadeus” always comes to my mind when I think of an example of how miserable a life is when one does not accept it as it is.  The story is a fictionalization of the relationship between the genius composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the composer Antonio Salieri. In the story Salieri as a young boy is so moved by beautiful music in church that he makes a d…

Ask: Any insights on accepting not having the partner and family I want?

“I am 39 and single, childless. I have spent the last 15 years doing everything (and at times letting go) to find a partner (and be the best I can be and absolutely everything under the sun) and have a family. This has not happened. I am a few months shy of 40, and am accepting the painful truth that it hasn’t and probably will not happen (I am not prepared to have a child on my own). It is so hard not to judge this as 'devastating' and 'wrong'.  I can’t even judge it as 'for the best' or 'meant to be'. I can’t seem to connect to the HS in my mind at the lesson or truth of this. There is shock, grief and denial. I’ve been able to accept spiritual understanding with so many things, but not this. In saying that, I am definitely in a process right now, and am quite certain I will come out the other side- I always do. Insights?” - HE
            The first thing you need to clarify for yourself is that what does or does not happen in the universe of form has…

"What could you not accept...?"

The level of form is one great story; one tapestry of interconnection. Nothing at the level of form lives in isolation from the rest of the level of form. Everything that happens affects everything else. When something happens at the level of form there are multiple contributing factors. There are causes and effects and effects which became causes themselves all playing on each other. The attitudes, behaviors, choices, and energy of the self with which you identify all play into this one grand story. And everything else happening at the level of form plays into the self’s seemingly-singular little story within the grand story.
All of this happens apart from Truth (God). It is the opposite of Truth, so it is without meaning because Truth cannot have an opposite. Therefore it is an “illusion” or “dream”. Its interconnectedness is not the Oneness of Truth, Which is not made up of discrete parts joining, but is the same throughout.
When you (mind) change, the self’s attitudes, behavior, …

You Do Not Need to Repress the Self's Emotional Needs

My last article about the egoic experience of personal alienation as one grows in their awareness of Truth seemed to cause some confusion and perhaps led to upset for some readers. I was not prescribing a course of action in that article. Instead I was describing what occurs naturally when one becomes aware of Truth and of their wholeness in Truth. It was therefore for those readers who have attained this experience naturally. It was not meant to suggest that those who have not attainted this experience naturally try to force detachment to occur through repression or denial of the self’s emotions or emotional needs.
So let me paraphrase that article another way: As your awareness of Truth grows and you find yourself feeling whole in that awareness the ego (personal thought system) will still persist in telling you that you are not whole and that you need to connect with others to be whole. Your choice is to accept the wholeness that you are experiencing or to continue to listen to an…

Putting Aside the Alienation

Living in the limelight The universal dream For those who wish to seem Those who wish to be Must put aside the alienation Get on with the fascination The real relation The underlying peace
-      -     Limelight [Rush (Chronicles)]
A recurring theme with students on a spiritual path is the personal alienation they feel while still being aware of a sense of Wholeness and Peace beyond. And this is the choice before you: seeking for connection with others as a person or resting in the Wholeness and Peace that is always here within you. Your choice is to live in a lack that will never be filled or to accept the Wholeness That is. You cannot have it both ways.
The real question is why, when you are aware of Wholeness and Peace, you still go back into a feeling of loneliness and lack and a desire for connection to fill the loneliness and lack. The answer is simply that you are used to being a self and when Peace comes it does not come to the self or its thought system (ego/personal thought system).…

Getting Past the Ego's Response

Back in the day when I was a political junkie I’d occasionally read an editorial or an opinion in the newspaper that would get me so fired up I’d dash off a letter to the editor in response. But before sending the letter I would go back and re-read the original offending article to be sure my response was as sharp as possible. And many times, much to my embarrassment, I found that the original article was not offensive at all. Sometimes it was even on my side and my response said the same thing it did. After expending my emotional response the original article would read completely different from the way I originally read it. Fortunately, because I didn’t send the letters before re-reading the original articles, my embarrassment was limited to myself.
After this happened a few times I finally caught on: My emotional response to something early in the article blinded me to the rest of the article. In my expectation that I would be attacked I read attack. I was experiencing how the eg…

Questions for Deeper Study and Practical Application

Studying is more than just reading. It is thinking about what you read. Early on in my study of A Course in Miracles I found I was asking questions while I studied that would help me to take the ideas in deeper. This was especially important for me as a student of ACIM because ACIM gives so many words and concepts new definitions. The questions were like this:
1. How do I think of this concept now? What do I feel about it? 2. How is this concept being used here? Is it different from how I’m used to using it? 3. If I accepted this concept (or how it is being redefined) as true how would that change how I feel about myself? 4. If I accepted this concept (or how it is being redefined) as true how would that change my relationship to the world?
For example, ACIM was not the first place that I read that God is within rather than an outside being. But it was as a student of ACIM that I realized that I had to integrate this idea or ACIM would have no real effect on me. So:
1. How do I think…

Ask: What steps can I take to overcome this fear of loss?

“My best friend and husband died suddenly one night a little over 3 years ago and your help was wonderful…the fear and pain of that sudden "loss" opened up a door to the Truth and I was able to move forward…However at the present time, I fallen back into the trappings of the dream.  With T gone and no family I've put all of my security and sense of well-being into the two Pugs we were raising together and our home…I see that I've come to believe my safety lies in having these things around me, this while studying every day and going into silence almost as consistently… Each time something "happens" to threaten whatever illusion I've put my faith in, obviously, I quake with fear and run to the Course. Now it's one of the dogs. I can't believe what happens whenever something seems to go wrong with one of them…And with my years of studying I have felt the feeling of dark terror so much less than I did that when it does come I feel as though I might …