The Itch to Share and Learning What You Teach

Apparently my last article ( was not clear because I received several questions and comments about it. So I will attempt to clarify and answer some questions here.

The point of the article was that one’s urgency, or “itch”, to share what they learn while studying A Course in Miracles is their own desire to “get” what they are studying. You read something in ACIM that you get at a shallow intellectual level and you find yourself with a strong urge for others to get it, too. What occurs is that you, as the split-mind (decision-maker), want the lesson to go deeper for yourself. But the ego (personal though system) in your mind projects this desire outward and sees the lack in others. They need this; you already have it. The ego pushes away your desire for the lesson to go deeper by seeing it “out there”. It does not want you to get the idea more deeply.

But doesn’t ACIM teach “what you give you receive” or “what you teach you learn”? Yes. But both the ego and the Holy Spirit can use the same ideas. So what ACIM means is that you reinforce a thought system in your mind when you share from it with others. If you share an idea from the ego you reinforce the ego in your mind. If you share an idea from the Holy Spirit you reinforce your awareness of Truth. So in last week’s article I emphasized from where the itch to share an idea came from within you. When you feel urgency you can be sure that you feel the ego.

The ego’s itch for others to get an idea is not about you teaching to learn the idea more deeply yourself. It is only about projecting guilt (your own imperfection - you do not really fully get the idea yourself yet) onto others. They lack; you don’t. So your itch for others to get it is a projection of your own desire to get it. And your teaching from the ego will only reinforce your sense of lack and guilt. You will find yourself emotionally charged up when you teach. [For some the ego is also so insecure that this shows up as wanting to teach others to show that they (the teacher) are superior to them (the student)].

When you are ready to integrate an idea you may be moved by the Holy Spirit to share it to reinforce both the Holy Spirit and the idea within you. Teaching then flows out of you naturally, without the emotional charge that indicates it comes from the ego. For myself, I have never taught from a place of urgency. If I cannot put the ego aside and hear the Holy Spirit I keep my mouth shut. And anyway, if I am not ready to teach an idea from the Holy Spirit, either in speaking or writing, the words just will not flow. I cannot approach the idea with any depth, nor could I answer further questions about it. This does not mean that when I teach an idea I fully get it yet. But it does mean that it is in me enough to teach it from more than a shallow intellectual understanding. The process of teaching deepens my understanding until eventually I see the idea from every angle. That’s why you can see my own evolution with concepts over time. What I taught about a concept 2, 5, 10 years ago is not what I teach today.

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


bat said…
incredible post. It brings to mind the idea of "form vs content", which ken wapnick likes to emphasize. I love the idea that it is where you are teaching from that is the real "teacher", or "enforcer". Such a great lesson, thank you so much liz.
Anonymous said…
I found your last 2 blogs to be quite thought provoking. Taken together they raise several questions. Are you cautioning students not to delude themselves into a false sense of knowledge? In other words always look deeper? After reading your comment re. "keeping your mouth shut" before fully digesting a concept, I can't help but question the purpose of providing a forum for comments on your blog. The vast majority of comments come across to me as so highly subjective, they read like encoded messages whose meaning is known only to the writer. To me this reflects a lack of clarity so why put it out there. On the other hand, doesn't the Course promote and allow for incremental learning? Personally I'm gratified by anything I get out of my study and practice of the Course. If I could display my anxiety level during the course of a day as a series of undulating curves on a graph and compare today to any day in the past, I would see that the curves of today are much lower and of shorter duration compared to the giant spikes of the past. Am I "done"? Not by a long shot but what I feel makes me want to go deeper. With all due respect I don't think you acknowledge and affirm your students' incremental growth. Doesn't deep growth begin with superficial, intellectual shifts?
ACIM Mentor said…

1) I was cautioning students to look at from where they want to teach so that they do not inadvertently reinforce the ego in their mind.

2) The comments on my blog are highly subjective and they do reflect the mind of the writer of the comment. They are not their to provide clarity but for students to share with each other if they wish. However, as you can see, readers will use the comment section as they wish, not necessarily for the purpose for which I have for it.

3) Yes, the Course is all about being in a process (incremental learning). And yes, it does begin with superficial intellectual shifts. The point of the article was to encourage readers to recognize both when their learning is superficial and therefore not yet ready to be shared and that over time a concept will go in deeper if they follow the Holy Spirit thought system in your mind.
nicci said…
your blog is an answer to the very issue i have been asking for help with, in my day to day interactions and also attendance at a support group. thank you so very much. your understanding is immeasurably helpful.
endless Love, n
nicci said…

i am revisiting your blog this evening, after a day of intermittent recalling past experiences that deal with this teaching. i've experienced both the ego-impulse and HS inspired ways of Course sharing you describe here, and recognize how they feel and manifest.

there is one other event that happens often with me in the acim study group i attend. i am generally reticent about participating, particularly when there are discussions i could lend some perspective on. (one ex: a recurring theme of discussing the ego as if it were a small and naughty but separate part of the personal mind, and the agreed upon injunction to deal with it by resistance and pushing against it, something i could help with.) what often happens is the emotional charge appears as a strong heart pounding anxiety. clearly fear is the personal mind-ego, and a reminder of a childhood pattern of acute stage fright. i have the desire to want to help my fellow group friends, but during those times am too nervous (and rightfully i think) untrusting of the ego impulse i believe is behind it. i have called on HS when these episodes unfold but sometimes the fear is too overriding to make a connection. so i interpret this to mean i should remain silent, and do. have you have any thoughts on this? up to this point i am waiting until i am home (or on the driving there) and then gently turning the fear over to HS for correction and healing.

ever grateful for your help, nicci
Anonymous said…
I can relate to the "stage fright" issue you talk about. The issue under discussion in the last 2 blogs is a thorny one. To teach or not to teach - that is the question. What threw me off was Liz's "keeping my mouth shut" comment in referring to her own brake on teaching something before fully understanding it. The meaning I read into it was like a sledge hammer admonition. However, she also said that her teaching has evolved over time. She also gave a nice clarification of incremental growth and the possibility of inadvertently reinforcing the ego with teaching something that was not fully understood in response to my questions above. So think about it, what can the worst outcome possibly be for you to offer a suggestion in your group? A mistake? The hand of God coming down to get you? Something that "never happened" anyway? We all need to need to take it easy and remember that most of us are in that long and difficult "Sorting Out" period, so sort out we must. You sound sincere. You can't be too far off base.
Anonymous said…
Although this issue is specific, it speaks to the larger issue of developing a relationship with and trusting the Holy Spirit. You bet it's going to be hard.
ACIM Mentor said…
Nicci, if you don't trust where the desire to share comes from you can be certain it is the ego. With the Holy Spirit there is a quiet but persistent urge to speak. However, in either case if you have "stage fright" you may be too afraid to open your mouth. As Anonymous said, it really does not matter if you share or not. You cannot do wrong here. Anything that needs to be corrected will be corrected.
nicci said…
i think what may be behind this fear is that i am terrified of What i am, whatever That is, and so reinforce a belief in rejection. this has interfered with my desire to open to HS. it continues to amaze me how swiftly the personal self-ego will insert itself into every experience. the advice to remember to take it easy is just what is needed, as well as remembering we are all sorting it out. learning to trust and open, again and again, to HS is where this path has taken me, and the most often reoccurring lesson i am getting. thank you anonymous.

endless Love, n
nicci said…
oh, i just had your response show up liz. yes, there is present the fear of "doing wrong". what needs to be corrected will be corrected . . . what a reassuring teaching. what a relief. thank you.

endless Love, n
Anonymous said…
Thank you Liz, Your teaching is perfectly timed for me right now. I have been looking at the "spiritual ego" for some time now and was not fully grasping the lesson. Looking closely at the relationships I would share with, when coming from ego these "others" would reflect back ego and well of course, they would object or tune me out or even get mad. When I share from Holy Spirit I receive agreement, acknowledgment, laughter even. Learning to just be, to listen and be comfortable with silence.

Also, looking deeper at the concept of this self, I wrote in my journal, "who is that, that I am? Who is that that is always reliable, conscientious, wise? To be the Self, I don't have to be any of these things. I don't have to prove I am any of that. I Am worthy as Presence and Presence is quiet calm stillness. It is my ego that wants to be all that specialness stuff. Spirit just Is.

More insight is rising but for now, I will practice quiet.

will said…
I'm in agreement with what Liz is saying. For myself, starting years ago getting sober, I found if I put what I was thinking out in front of me (writing or talking) where I could see it, I could tell pretty quickly if I am on track or not. I call friends sometimes who have no knowledge of the course and ask if I can tell them what I'm thinking. All I need is to get it out in front of me so I can see it.
jerryo said…
What is a ' spiritual ego ' ?

I see this phrase pop up every now and then on the net.

Right away it sounds illogical .... ego and spirit

sound imcompatible

What gives with this strange phrase ?
Unknown said…
First I think I have everyone of your articles downloaded to my compactor and was wondering if you have them all in book form. Secondly, I think this is only my second response to any of them. First, as a former pastor I often find myself thinking and forming in my mind the thought "oh man I could make a good sermon out of that thought" and even see myself delivering the message. I realize it is the ego talking. Though in the company of Christians I do slip and preach. The second that comes to mind is the phrase one hears quoted often, "When good men are silent, evil furnishes". Again the ego speaking. I do believe one can teach simply by not speaking about it but by living the Course in Miracles, "we are not alone in experiencing our thoughts" And I believe by that Love cancels out a multitude of ego thinking.
Anonymous said…

spiritual ego is just a concept. It's basically when you get on a soapbox and try to judge others by coming off as more "spiritual". You try to give advice where it's not needed, to deny your basic needs for "spiritual aspirations" etc etc.

Ken Wapnick likened it to course students that show up to funerals and try to tell people to stop mourning because this is only an illusion, after all! They wear all white and try to "spread the miracles" to people who really don't want it.

Spirituality, like any other illusion in this world, can be used to separate or to join. Spiritual ego is when you use it to separate from others, often without even knowing.
jerryo said…
Ok , thanks @Anonymous

ACIM Mentor said…
Boyd, my articles through April 2010 are collected in a book, The ACIM Mentor Articles. They are also on my website under "Answers by Topic". The "Ask ACIM Mentor" articles and essays since are on this blogsite.

Thank you for your interest!

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