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) resistance to it. But all of ACIM deals with your thoughts, your feelings, and your perceptions, which are all forms. And the Workbook lessons teach you very specifically what to do to deal with those. The Text, as well, is also full of practical advice. What could be clearer about what to do at the level of form than Chapter 30’s “Rules for Decision”?

You may complain that this course is not sufficiently specific for you to understand and use. Yet perhaps you have not done what it specifically advocates. This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application. Nothing could be more specific than to be told that if you ask you will receive. The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. (T-11.VIII.5) (The underlines are mine).

Perhaps what people mean when they say ACIM does not say what to do at the level of form is that ACIM does not give guidance on behavior. This is because ACIM deals with cause, not effect. Behavior is the effect of beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. So when you change your mind the self’s behavior automatically changes. In fact, there was an example of this in the last newsletter. The writer had been in unhealthy relationships. As she changed her mind and became aware of the Truth within her, her sense of self-worth grew. She found she no longer had a need for dysfunctional, abusive relationships that reflected her former low self-worth. So she was moved to change her behavior: She set boundaries with those who do not treat her with respect. However, some of those unhealthy others refuse to respect her boundaries. So she was further moved to end those relationships.

It may also be the case that some think that “hearing” the Holy Spirit means hearing a Voice from on-high every time they present the Holy Spirit with a problem. And sometimes you do hear It as a still, quiet Voice within. But the Holy Spirit is just the label given to your own mind’s awareness of Truth. In the example above, the motivation to set boundaries was the Holy Spirit guiding the writer. Her unhappiness in her relationships was her call for help in a specific situation at the level of form. Her new-found motivation to set boundaries was the specific answer she needed at the level of form.

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


Anonymous said…
CT, I went through the same thing and it is a legitimate question. I searched and searched and searched for instructions and for definitions but the search never paid off. It won't for you either; not for awhile. We know of only one way to learn when studying from a book and that is the way we were taught in school. That won't work here. It's too complicated to go into here. You can call Liz or get her book The 4 Habits. The 4 habits will tell you all you need to do.
Anonymous said…
CT, What we are trying to learn in the Course is very abstract. It is not like picking up a history book in school where you read it and understand what it is saying. Understanding abstract as in the Course requires a foundation to work off of. This takes years. Knowing what to do in so many cases with the Course is woven into this abstract stuff you are learning. The main thing is don't worry about it. Obviously you are putting effort into this so you can be sure your teacher the Holy Spirit is standing right by your side. Just remember abstract takes time for all of us.
Desert Dreams said…
I agree with you, anonymous. Parts of the Course seem cryptic and even confusing to me, as well (that's what stopped me from following it in the 80's); but there are other parts, to me, that are crystal clear. In my yearning to know my True Self and to 'wake-up' I often get white-knuckled about it. And then, if I'm listening, I get the 'message' to 'simplify'.

I also agree with CT, whole heartedly, that the book, 4 Habits for Inner Peace presents a clear and concise way to use the precepts of the Course in your life and provides the mind and heart training to receive the Truth, from your core, in every moment.

Then, as we learn listen and trust the 'Teacher of Truth' in the Stillness, we begin to understand the Course (Truth) on a level that is experiential and not intellectual. Quite a feat! ;-)
Desert Dreams said…
Oops. I guess I got my 'commenters' mixed-up. We're all One!
Spirit2go said…
Well done!!!
Anonymous said…
My remaining statement and question remains the same no matter which form of words is used: HELP! and it arrives. What does this tell me (or anyone else) about my true state of mind?
Of course this statement/question is engendered by powerlessness about situations over which I have no real control, like bureaucracies of all kinds, medical system frozen in its tracks, etc.
Any comments?
From Thula.
suzanneberry said…
CT I just recently discovered that after 13 years of study I was making the common student mistake of reading the Course not only through my own filter of guilt but mistaking everything that it says to apply to the body and the world even though intellectually I read day after day that there IS no world and no body!

That's why when faced with conflict with another body I think I need to fix it somehow or I'm failing the Course. But I think what it means in form is that I observe my reactions to the confrontation, whatever they are. I don't try to spout spiritual passages and pretend I don't want to scream and shout at the other person, but I do admit that that is my preference, without guilt, to myself. Like..oh, there it goes again. How silly.

I'm still trying to make the world a better place. I'm still trying to make my life easier and pain free and I think that my taking my still doing that seriously is what needs to be addressed. I'm not going to be able to stop trying to make this world work and keep my body safe UNTIL I progress enough to know that I'm NOT a body, living in a world. Until then, all I need do, I think, is observe what the ego does and how it responds without feeling guilt over it, not to make it a big deal.

Making anything a big deal is making a hierarchy of illusions. It's not the form that that is the problem, it's the belief that there IS form. But since we believe we ARE form we have to see how that belief is keeping us rooted in the dream and miserable, even when we think we're happy. That's where patience, practice and perseverance come in.

But then we think, yes, but I'm stuck here in this situation and I need to know what to do about it. It's very real to me and I'm in great pain. It's difficult to be objective and look at that situation as it is, not how I have set it up. It difficult to admit that I wanted that situation so I could prove to Truth that It's wrong and I'm right. I am real, see how much pain I'm in! So I can either use that situation as a means to keep me rooted in the illusion or I can use it as a classroom that will ultimately set me free.

We are never upset for the reasons we think. That passage is finally beginning to make perfect sense to me!
ACIM Mentor said…
Thula, I don't understand your question.
Hal Seeley said…
We are all different and what helps each of us awaken to our truth is different. Here is one possible way.

A simple lesson in physics says that anything in motion will continue on its path unless an out side force slows it down. Likewise, if an object is sitting still it will stay sitting unless and outside force moves it. This is the definition of inertia.

Think of our ego selves as a force moving along a path that will continue until something outside itself slows it down until it stops. As an example: When a gun is fired the bullet leaves the barrel at an astounding speed and eventually falls to the ground as both gravity and the friction of air slows it down until it stops. Without gravity, friction, or both, the bullet would continue on its path indefinitely. Ergo the ego.

What is the outside force that can influence the inertia of the ego? That force is your choice to consider there is an alternate existence to the pain and agony of this world. Focusing on your pain and agony is a force that gives the ego more energy to continue on its path. Any response to the events of this life that accepts the events as real keeps the ego moving on its path. If you can begin to understand inertia you can see why there is repetition in your life - the dream of life repeats itself over and over until something gets in its way of repetition. Looking at life this way relieves us of guilt because we can begin to understand we are not doing anything wrong, have never done anything wrong, except to give the ego and the imagined world the energy to continue existing. We can now stand back and watch instead of being involved.

Our reaction to the events of the dream is what the Course is all about. It is telling us that we are reacting to a dream looking at it as though it is real and that we are the person in the dream. You are not the person in the dream but you are the dreamer and the observer of your dream. Become aware of the observer. Observe the observer and you will begin to lose your attachment to the ego (personal self) and start slowing this speeding train down so you can get off and enjoy Life.

Observing the observer is to begin the awakening, and here is one way you may begin to practice this. Search back in your memory to a time you were watching a movie. You see yourself sitting in a theater or in a living room on the couch? You are now observing the observer of the movie. While you were sitting there watching the movie you became involved with the movie and in a sense lost consciousness of you sitting there. Look at yourself right now and consider that you are sitting somewhere watching the dream and are so involved you have lost consciousness of who you are. Can you begin to look at this world of form as an observer rather than as a participant? Close your eyes and imagine seeing yourself sitting at your computer reading these words on the screen. You are now observing the observer.
Desert Dreams said…
Acim Mentor, I think your answer in this article was clear and very helpful.
As happens, the thread of comments goes in many directions sometimes, but somehow, the comments always seem related to each other.

Thula, regarding your comment, though, I'm puzzled, too. I've read it many times and I'm not sure what you're asking. Maybe you could restate?
Aleta said…
"Making anything a big deal is making a hierarchy of illusions. It's not the form that that is the problem, it's the belief that there IS form. But since we believe we ARE form we have to see how that belief is keeping us rooted in the dream and miserable, even when we think we're happy. That's where patience, practice and perseverance come in."

Thank you, Suzanne -- I needed your comments, everyone's comments.

Just when I think that I have overcome the world, when I no longer make a big deal out of something like maybe somebody close to me's illness, when I no longer feel fearful, then something else crops up and I feel fear about it! I say to myself, oh but this is a big thing, and it is finally hitting me that I am not where I thought I was in overcoming the world. I need to be patient, and I'm having plenty of practice, and I will persevere in surrendering it all to the Holy Spirit - let go and stay in that place where I know All is Well!

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