Love, Peace, and Joy as Effects

Sometimes students tell me they want to reach a state of bliss or to be joyful all the time. What they do not understand is if they attained these states they would not experience them as bliss or joy because their new state would become the “new normal”. Bliss and joy are really only felt in contrast to unhappiness. Peace is only felt in contrast to conflict. Love, or wholeness, is only felt in contrast to lack. They are all personal experiences. And they are only the flipside of the experiences that they are set up to replace.
I could say that Truth is the absence of all feelings and experiences. But really It is not even that. Truth is not defined by an absence of any kind. It cannot be understood in contrast to anything. Truth is beyond all comparisons or contrasts because It is beyond all duality.

That which experiences pain and seeks to be out of pain are the same. So to seek to feel “good” is to seek for only the flip-side of feeling “bad”. They are the same coin and nothing real is accomplished by changing feelings. Real change is to be aware of That Which is so beyond all feelings that It is not even the absence of feelings. Feelings were never There.

If you’ve read my earlier writing you know that for a long time I pursued love and peace and joy. I even defined Truth as the experience of lasting love and peace and joy. Now I see that these experiences are not Truth Itself but only the effects of an awareness of Truth. This is why they can be experienced through other sources. For example, you hear of people who have taken certain drugs or who have had a stroke who have “transcendent” experiences where they feel an expansion of their being and/or boundless love or peace or joy. They have experiences of “light” or they see the illusion of form or the interconnectedness of all things. Those experiences are only effects of chemical changes in the brain brought on by drugs or a stroke or an awareness of Truth. (When the experience is caused by the latter I call it a “higher miracle” because of its source). These experiences are only meaningful in contrast to what had been accepted as reality. But neither the experience one has before and after the “transcendent” experience nor the “transcendent” experience itself is Reality.

This awareness clarifies for me the experience of my last Revelation in September ’07. There was the Revelation, Which is beyond description. And, as always, what follows is a higher miracle full of lessons for me. In that case what I experienced on the “way back” from the Revelation was so much joy that I felt that if I felt any more I’d be the joy. Then I swung all the way into the darkest terror of the ego (personal thought system): the fear of not existing. At the time, and for long after, I saw my mind as split between the joy and the terror. Now I see those were in the same place in my mind. The Revelation was the Thing apart. The joy/terror was only the effect of experiencing the Revelation.

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…
My heart is filled with gratitude Liz. As my Awareness of Truth grows, the guidance you share lifts my understanding and further leads this mind to acceptance of what is. Carinos, Deb
will said…
If you can could you tell us what you were thinking/experiencing in "the fear of not existing." What was the terror about? Did you think you were going to die or is it something completely differently.
ACIM Mentor said…
Will, I feared that it was possible to cease to exist. It was the most complete experience of terror I had ever felt. It was only a moment, but really it was going into the heart of the ego.
Marissa said…
Liz, thanks for sharing your insights once again. My understanding is we need to heal/correct our minds first. The content has to change before we see the effect. So Divine Love, Joy & Peace is not felt in the body. Love not being possible here but we practice our forgiveness here which is the means to the Love we are wanting? So as the Holy Spirit says we accept everything, it is what it is. Our egos made this whole thing up, this dream, this illusion; which has no substance. But we love being in a body, which is why we experience great fear and terror the minute we realise we can disappear. How do we pasify our terror? Calling out to the HS? But we made this up and believe it's real. Letting go is the hardest bit........
ACIM Mentor said…
Marissa, true forgiveness means recognizing that only the Truth is true. In Truth you are whole (the experience we seek in "love") so forgiveness is the means to remember you are whole (Love).

You don't have to pacify the fear. In fact, you cannot because the ego can never be without fear. And trying to only increases your feelings of fear by making fear real to you. The fear of non-existence is not your own. It is the ego's fear. When you let go of the ego you let go of its fear as though it was your own. And you will let go of the ego when you know that only the Truth is true.
Guy Viau said…
Dear Liz,
I am a student of ACIM and I have been receiving and reading with great interest your newsletter for a while now and I want to thank you for graciously sharing your wisdom with us.
Like many others, I guess, I am struggling.
Take for example your newsletter of March 18 where you quote “T-17.I.1” (“The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his “sins” are but his own imaginings”). I find this upsetting as I interpret it as if I could go about killing, torturing, maiming, hurting while claiming it’s not Real, it’s only illusions. It would not make for a very nice society would it?
You’re going to tell me that it is because I see myself as a body but am I not in the world of form right now as I write this? Indeed, I need to dis-identify from the body but until I get there I am lost as to how handle things.
Would you mind shedding some light on my confusion?
ACIM Mentor said…
Guy, you may be interested in my digital book, "Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace", in which I explain this in depth. (You can find it on Amazon). But in short, there is a difference between a belief in an absolute-morality decreed by a god and the social-morality that we need to live harmoniously with each other in the world. There is no sin because there is no absolute-morality decreed by a god. But there are social transgressions and necessary consequences for them in the world. However, they are not sins. They are mistakes that can be corrected by making amends or paying whatever penalty a culture deems appropriate. When you know there is no sin your guilt is undone by making amends or paying a penalty. You accept that you are not perfect as a person and never will be. But the ego turns these mistakes into proof of your guilt in the eyes of a god that does not exist. They are "sins" in the egos eyes and so you feel you can never undo your guilt.
Furthermore, killing, maiming, etc. is evidence that one already believes in guilt. One may do these things to fill a sense of lack. Or one may do these things because they've projected their guilt onto others and they want to kill the guilt in themselves by killing it in another. When you know there is no guilt and sin you have no reason for these harmful actions. Again, all this is gone into in much detail in RGIP.
will said…
Guy, Two other books that will be a great help is 'The Message of A Course in Miracles' and "The ACIM Mentor Articles: Answers for Students of A Course in Miracles' both of them by Liz. 'The Message' will make the text easier to understand. The Text is so difficult that we really need all the help we can get. The Mentor Articles is something you can read before you go to sleep at night. Easy reading with a lot of answers.
Boyd Sharp said…
Though I am late in responding to this article I believe that ACIM often refers to joy, love, and happiness as attainable and desired goals in our growth while we believe we are here in this world. To me, the difference it make is to caution us to understand that these are mere reflection of the real joy, happiness and peace that is Truth/God. And in this light I will continue to work toward these attributes, moving ever close to the real essence of them.

hannah said…
liz, this brings to mind our recent conversation about real choice, and also my dream where we went into the empty rare coin company building.

if 'my presence will be felt within the dream, but not my reality' then the greatest maintainable experience is awareness of truth right? which would HAVE to involve the cessation of striving for truth .. a deep acceptance of the 'limitations of experience'?? accepting what the higher miracle SHOWS us.. 'we' do not exist outside of a dream, and that this is not terrifying but pure joy.. in 'truer' perception, haha!

it would seem to me (though obviously i have not 'experienced' revelation) that the greatest gift revelation could then offer would be to stop trying to reach for the unreachable, and just accept that 'Love Is'. oh.. isnt that what the course says? stop trying to bring Love to not love? just know Thyself? the act of striving for truth, would seem to be helpful to a certain point, then become unhelpful after that point.

oh.. i understand my 'aloha 626' glowing hearts and light experience clearer now, the golden light shining from within me.. know Thyself! ok.. while i still feel pain around the idea that i cannot be truly seen by another.. i can SEE that the mourning period for that idea just got much shorter!

"These experiences are only meaningful in contrast to what had been accepted as reality"

'my mind' must contain beauty and joy (and non acceptance (not-beauty/joy) also) because 'my mind' must contain perception. whereas what Mind 'contains' cannot be held or chosen by perception, being beyond it???
hannah said…
oh wow.. having such deeply lovely sychchronistic experience. beautiful, but also scary. to shift where i seek for wholeness feels like death. i feel so angry!! and yet.. im the one looking here, im the one not wanting to turn away from the growing awareness of truth. ah, i want it to MATTER what i hold on to!! its like.. not wanting to cease being afraid of death. like.. death keeps me existing.
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, I am not sure if I am meant to respond to these question marks...
hannah said…
i did want you to yes, but its ok, i think im getting it clear now. apologies for not being clear myself!

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