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 of the concept of “God” now? What do I feel about it?

Traditionally, I think of “God” as a paternal, authoritative being outside of me that sits in judgement on me. This is a frightening idea to me. It makes me feel ultimately powerless and angry. And I feel guilty for feeling that way.

2. How is the concept of “God” being used in ACIM? Is it different from how I’m used to using it?

In ACIM “God” is the one Being That is. God is my True Being.  Yes, it is significantly different. God is not another being sitting in judgment on me. There is no separation between us.

3. If I accepted as true that God is within me how would it change how I feel about myself?

I would feel completely empowered. I would feel whole. I would not fear “sinning” and being punished by some outside being. This concept is so staggering that I don’t think I can even see all the ways that it would affect me. But it would all be positive.

4. If I accepted as true that God is within me how would it change my relationship to the world?

I would feel I could do anything I wanted. I would feel always safe and secure. I would feel wholly empowered.

I did not ask myself these questions to force myself to accept the concepts, only to understand them better. Nor did these questions cause me to immediately shift in a new direction. But they helped me to see what had to be accepted and the shift that had to be made. Often they made me see how much my mind had to change to align with Truth. So they helped me to formulate the correction that I had to bring into my day-to-day life to bring about the change. I realized I had to pay attention when I found myself falling into the old way of thinking and correct it to the new way. For example, let’s say I was driving and I saw a bumper sticker that said, “God loves you.” My initial feeling would be to try to convince myself that something outside of me loved me. Then I’d catch myself and think, “God is not outside of me. God is my True Being. So what does ‘God loves me’ mean to me now?” I’d realize that “God loves me” was an unnecessary statement. God is Love and is my True Being. That was a radical change in how I thought about “God”.


Deeper study led to practical daily application. This eventually led to the necessary shifts and integration of the concepts into my experience.

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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.

Comments

nicci said…
i applied these 4 questions this morning to lesson 238 ~ "on my decision all salvation rests." ~ and quickly went into a greater understanding and feeling of this teaching. i look forward to moving into this day with this practice, and with a closer connection with my Inner Teacher and the world. thank you for this gift, liz. i will use these questions. i can see they will take my practice deeper. they already have.
in gratitude, n
hannahlily said…
wonderful, beautiful, practical.. thank you! totally getting chills around the feeling of 'if i accepted' .. the sensation of opening/unfolding in my mind/being that those words excite is so powerful! its like.. a feeling of allowing, of possibility, some barrier seems to drop away! joyful!
will said…
Liz, a question
I’m going to use the word ‘value’ here although I’m not sure that’s the right word. When you ask the personal mind a question whether you are just thinking to yourself or asking another person you get a personal mind answer (ego). For instance you ask “Do you believe in God” or Do you believe the Course” what you get back is an ego answer that has no real value. I get the feeling when a person says “That was really helpful Liz” that the comment has no value, it’s just the ego talking.
will said…
Maybe I left that comment hanging. I'm asking from the perspective that there is no Will or Liz other than as an ego construct. None of this is directed towards anyone.
ACIM Mentor said…
Will, when someone says "that has value" and it's something that undoes the ego then that response is not coming from the ego! It's coming from the decision maker.
hannahlily said…
awesome.. thanks for the question Will. i sometimes feel guilty when i feel happy about something shifting into clarity! you and liz between you just helped bring into focus what that particular ego guilt dynamic is. this makes it much easier for me to drop. i still find it difficult to simply recognise that something is ego (via its qualities of disturbance of peace) and drop 'it', i still often believe i need something more concrete to drop... that i need to 'understand or see' what im dropping... so thank you! ;)
Sage Starfield said…
Thoughts on this: When one states that something "has no value" one is placing a value on the perceived lack of value. The concept of "value" (or lack of value) is a relativity game existing in our dualistic need for meanigs and definitions which ultimately fall away in light of the Absolute, Love, God, Source or whatever name you prefer. Whatever part of the self is doing this seems irrelevant to me. How can we separate a piece of ourselves out, label it "ego" and blame it for aspects of ourselves whick present inconvenient truths? I don't understand the distinction between "ego" and "decision maker". Is it just my ego that doesn't understand or is the ego just a structure which functions according to the input given it and has no inherent value in and of itself and therefore can't fairly be relied on as a scapegoat for every thought of fear or separation. Dunno, just wondering...
ACIM Mentor said…
The mind is the decision maker. The ego is a thought system in the mind about you as a self. Its filters are guilt and fear. The Holy Spirit is the thought system in the mind that is aware of Truth. It releases you from guilt and fear. Therefore they have different values. As long as the ego is in your mind you will feel you have choices and therefore values.
will said…
In this case Value refers to: Is this helping or hindering me in meeting my goals in ACIM.

I was reading “How do I relinquish judgement?” in the book ‘The Way of a Course in Miracles’, (Cronkhite). I began to wonder if anything the voice in my head said had any value given its source.
Sage Starfield said…
Thank you both for clarifying. I think I was coming from a not strickly ACIM definition of ego. A very interesting question, Will. What's your take on it at this point? Could one approach be to value whatever arises even if it's considered undesirable because we can learn from it? Could another approach be to not value anything that arises? I think that's where you're coming from... Interesting paradox.
ACIM Mentor said…
A point about "valuing": It is natural. You cannot make yourself value what you do not value. And you cannot make yourself not value what you do value. Either way, you do not need to judge yourself.
hannahlily said…
ive wondered about that as well sage starfield, nicely put! the chap who introduced me to ACIM years ago asked me what i valued, such a simple question that led to a big argument! he was telling me that only things that came from love had value. but i wondered.. if holy spirit can use everything to help us choose love.. then doesnt everything have value? but focusing on all value laying in the dreamer, not the dream, seems to be making this question more sensical! more inclusive, less separation.
will said…
Sage I don't know. My original question was about the personal mind (the voice in my head) and is it all ego all the time. It came from reading question 10 in the Manual for Teachers. I couldn't think of the right word for my question and finally settled on value.
will said…
What started this was an email I received last week which turned out to be a new comment on a blog from some time ago. The person was giving their opinion on AA and other things and I gave a knee jerk reaction. I reacted (judged) without thought and said to myself I might as well get what I can out of this for myself and ended up reading about judgment in the Teachers Manual which is pretty black and white about the personal mind...
ACIM Mentor said…
Will, the ego always speaks first and emotionally. You can learn to let it pass and then come from the Holy Spirit. Its thoughts have their origin in guilt and fear. So it is always evaluating (judging). You can pick out its thoughts by those criteria.
Sage Starfield said…
Hannahlily: I like your comment. You seem to have a well-established sense of the non-dual. Cheers!

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