Sorry, No Incantations Here

Sometimes I sense from my readers or clients that my practical answers to their problems are not what they seek. They want what I call a “woo-woo” answer. They want a transcendent answer that will not involve the tedium of dealing with life in the world on the terms of the world. They want an answer that will not involve the pain of examining their behavior and excavating their motivations. They want the “right thought”, the present day’s equivalent of a magical incantation, to resolve their problems at the level of form.

For example, let’s say a client has been told by her lawyer that she needs to file for bankruptcy. She’s upset and wants to know how she “created” this situation in her life. I ask questions about her financial situation, her financial choices, etc. She doesn’t want to go there. She just wants to talk about how she can change her mind to transform her situation. What she doesn’t realize is that her thoughts do not conjure situations at the level of form out of thin air. Yes, her situation was caused by her thoughts. She had certain thoughts (beliefs) that led to certain choices that led to certain behaviors. Cause and effect at the level of form is usually traceable. There’s no mystery here.

Let’s say this hypothetical client accumulated overwhelming debt because she spent more money than she had coming in. She made more purchases than she could afford for the endorphin-boost she got from shopping, she lived at a higher standard than she could afford to lift her self-esteem, she did not say no to friends and family who wanted money from her for fear that she would lose their love, etc. In other words, she was looking for wholeness in the wrong places. Her thinking (conscious and/or unconscious) was:

“I don’t feel good. I’ll go shopping. That always makes me feel better.”

“If I look successful everyone will admire me and I will feel good about myself. I have to buy this house, this car, these clothes, etc. so everyone will see how successful I am.”

“I’d better give my son money to buy a house or he will be mad and I won’t see him anymore.”

On a practical, worldly level her belief that she needed things outside of her to feel whole led to the behavior of putting out more money than she had coming in. So the solution to her problem has to be more than a thought that she can chant. She has to look honestly (and hopefully without judgement) at the behavior that led to the debt that resulted in the need for her to file for bankruptcy. Then she has to look at the motivation (her beliefs) for this behavior. When she resolves the problem at the level of her mind (her beliefs) then her behavior in the world will change. This is how she will “create” a more harmonious life in the world.

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


SKR said…
I am one who is very grateful for your practicality. Thanks Liz for all you help me tremendously.
Christine said…
This says it all...
will said…
Sometimes people ask questions that sound like they want a woo-woo but they are trying to live the course.
Jo Chandler said…
Of course what you said is spot on. Good counsel.

I am in the practice of facing every discomfort, pain, sadness, lack, anger, etc. Most often I find that a past grievance is attached to my current distress. But then, and this is the major thing for me, I take my situation to God (Spirit) to heal the part of my mind that still thinks I can be separate and to help me see my seeming problem through His eyes. I can't tell you the relief that comes from turning everything that isn't pure joy over to Spirit and God. That's my job. It's Spirit's job to fix it. Knowing this eliminates any guilt that is still lurking.

I read once, "I think I have a problem. God has the answer." It works for me.

Thanks Liz for you ongoing thoughtful sharing and your dedication to The Course.

Unknown said…
In my 89th year I have a lot of pain.Do I ask God for help? Of course I do.The thought comes to me:Is it lack of Oxygen that's the problem ? So I Google for information.Sure enough I get an answer and a simple remedy is breathing exercises! I will practise this and as soon as I can check this out with my Doctor.Thanks, Liz, for your reminder that we need to be practical and not rely on incantation. Peace of God to all. George.
Susie said… comes back to this always, it seems..... Asking and listening and handing whatever it is over to god/spirit/love/light/truth whatever you want to call it.... Thanks Liz ...and Jo....i might use your quote.... And George...great to have you here contributing....God via it!!!
Christine said…
Hey, George - take up the bagpipe! That's a "breathing exercise" for sure!!
Claudia M. said…
This is so clear! Thank you Liz.

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