Learning Beyond What's In ACIM
Sometimes I write about topics that are not mentioned in A Course in Miracles but which come out of my experiences with the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in my mind). Sometimes this prompts emails from readers who want to know where they can read about that topic in ACIM. Some seem to be genuinely interested in reading ACIM’s take on the topic. Others seem to imply that because it is not mentioned in ACIM it is not really appropriate for me to write about as part of spiritual practice.
For example, I write a lot about setting boundaries in relationships. I find that boundaries are a very common need among ACIM students. Many seem to feel that being spiritual means taking inappropriate responsibility for others and/or being a doormat. They think that if they just forgive enough another’s inappropriate or dysfunctional behavior will change. Or they feel that if they had truly forgiven they would no longer see the other’s behavior as inappropriate or dysfunctional. Undoing the beliefs that underlie this form of co-dependency is what I work on with most of my clients.
But there is no discussion about building boundaries in ACIM. For Helen Schucman, co-dependency, the ego’s (personal thought system’s) universal approach to relationships, showed up not as taking too much responsibility for others but as asking others to take responsibility for her. She was a martyr; a victim full of grievances. Others let her down by not following her “scripts” for them.
ACIM is not a comprehensive teaching that covers everyone’s experiences. Yes, most of what it describes about the ego is universal, but some is specific. For example, Helen used illness to make others guilty. Not everyone does this. And not every egoic experience is included in ACIM. For example, some use illness to avoid unpleasant situations, like work or undesired family events. This is not mentioned in ACIM. As with any spiritual teaching, you must discern the spirit of the lesson and not take the letter of the lesson so literally. This is what ACIM means when it says that you will learn to generalize your lessons.
ACIM is not an end in itself. It is the means to becoming aware of the Truth in your mind. And that Awareness (Holy Spirit) will lead you through and past your obstacles to peace, not all of which are described in ACIM. For example, guilt manifested in me, yes, by my projecting it onto others and making myself a victim. But it also showed up as my taking too much responsibility for others. This was a much larger and deeper obstacle for me. I actually felt it was my god-given responsibility to “fix” others and that belief had to be rooted out and undone. This was a long process on which I was led not by ACIM directly, but by the Holy Spirit within me. ACIM led me to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit led me past my obstacles to being aware of Truth, many of which were not specifically mentioned in ACIM.
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