The Two Spiritual Goals

No matter a person’s spiritual path there are only two possible goals: To spiritualize the self’s life in the world or to transcend the self. The vast majority of people choose to spiritualize the self’s life in the world. Even if they’ve had higher miracles in which they perceive that the Truth is true and that the world is not they do not feel called to transcend the self. Being aware of Truth improves their life in the world and this is enough for them.

But a few feel called to transcend the self usually because they’ve experienced the reality of Truth in either a direct Revelation (only Truth) or a higher miracle. They feel called to Truth because It is the Truth and nothing else will satisfy them. They are willing to be wholly free from guilt.

Even those who feel called to transcend the self will go through a stage of spiritualizing the self’s life in the world. It is an inevitable stage when embarking on a spiritual path because when you start out all you know is the self. But whether one is satisfied there or feels called to go beyond only the individual can know.

A Course in Miracles is a useful tool for both those seeking a “better way” and those called to transcend the self. But your goal will determine how you read ACIM and which teachers of it, if any, resonate with you. If what you want is a spiritualized life in the world then you will probably spend your life studying ACIM and perhaps other spiritual teachings. But if you are called to transcend the self then you will understand that you are in a long process. You will recognize that the passages in ACIM that are about spiritualizing the self describe a stage through which you will pass. You will eventually reach a point where ACIM, indeed all study, falls away naturally. So it is helpful to discern which goal calls to you. Is a better life in the world because the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in your mind) is with you enough for you? Or are you drawn to Truth like metal to a magnet?
Obviously, anyone I work with is spiritualizing the self’s life. If they were past that point they would not need to work with a mentor. But are they satisfied there or do they feel called to go past the self? This question is always in my mind as I watch their stories unfold. It can help determine how I answer their questions and help them through their blocks. Some know the answer if I ask but unfortunately the majority will say anyway that they want to transcend the self because in their guilt they think that is “superior” to spiritualizing the self. (Of course it is not. Both are temporary and fall away in the end).  
Of course one’s goal can change. One may begin by thinking they want to transcend the self but find in time that they are quite satisfied with a better life in the world. And someone who thinks that they are happy spiritualizing the self may have an experience of Truth that then calls them to go beyond it.

If you are honest with yourself, putting guilt aside and what you think you “should” answer, which is your goal? If you have clarity on this, even if it turns out to be temporary, you can take a lot of pressure off yourself now. If you want to spiritualize the self you don’t have to pursue ideas or study that go beyond this. You do not have to try to understand what does not call to you. And if you do feel called to drop the self you can acknowledge that, for the time being, you are in the stage of spiritualizing the self. You can enjoy it knowing that it will pass naturally. You do not have to force yourself to be beyond it now.

>>>>>>
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Comments

Christine said…
Thank you.
Deb Baczewski said…
This article clarified my path up to now and the recent "turn" that is evolving. . . Over 20 years spiritualizing self and higher miracles over the past 3, now I am being called to transcend self. It never felt like a choice. Very natural. Thank you Liz
Deb Baczewski said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Question:
Could you give an example of what you mean by spiritualizing the self?
ACIM Mentor said…
Anonymous, in this case it means going through life identified with the self and with the Holy Spirit as your guide and teacher but never reaching beyond the self. You invite the Holy Spirit into your work, relationships, etc. to have a more harmonious experience in the world rather than using these situations to grow your awareness of Truth so that you eventually transcend the self.

I will probably write more about this next week.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for your answer above. Please do write more on this subject. I find it is tantalizingly just out of reach of my understanding.
Anonymous said…
To me your article sounds like you are implying that people on this path get to a certain point and then make a conscious (or otherwise) choice to stop growing. I thought that once underway the process has a life of its own. Why would we stop?
ACIM Mentor said…
Anonymous, someone who spiritualizes the self may continue to grow as a self. They simply do not grow in their awareness of Truth. It's an unconscious choice based on what one values. Some simply do not feel called to Truth. The awareness they have is enough. Therefore, there's no motivation to go on. Once the process is underway it is going to evolve as far as one is willing. You are always in charge. The Holy Spirit cannot take you further than you are willing to go.
Anonymous said…
In your book, Releasing Guilt, you use the term "growing in their awareness of Truth" when describing the hypothetical life situations of various individuals. These "characters" seem like individuals who are using the process in ordinary ways ie. living a more harmonious worldly life. Are you now using the term "growing in ones awareness of Truth" differently? Sounds like it.
ACIM Mentor said…
Anonymous, I will be discussing this in my next article...
ACIM Mentor said…
Here's a paragraph from it that may answer your question:

As I mentioned in the article, even those who are called to transcend the self will go through a phase of spiritualizing the self. For them their relationship with the Holy Spirit is not so much about getting answers for a more harmonious life for the self. Yes, that happens, but that’s a nice side-effect, not the goal. Being aware of the Holy Spirit is the goal. For one whose goal is to spiritualize life for the self the Holy Spirit is the means to a more harmonious life. For one whose goal is to transcend the self, the self’s life is the means to be aware of the Holy Spirit.
Anonymous said…
I look forward to next week's article which you say will expand and clarify the theme of the current one. It seemed that your intention was to "take the pressure off" of students in deciding what they truly want: a better, more harmonious worldly life or something more sublime. Geez! Do people really walk around with this dilemma?!
The second comment above seemed to express my own idea on how this path plays out - "Over 20 years spiritualizing self and higher miracles over the past 3, now I am being called to transcend self. It never felt like a choice. Very natural." No choice, very natural. This comment seems consistent with what you say throughout your teaching - this path is a long one. First willingness, leading to trust which builds upon itself. For the life of me I can't imagine anyone who has fostered a consistent relationship with the Holy Spirit over the course of decades which in turn has brought about significant changes in their worldly affairs will choose not to go further. At the same time I recognize if there is one giant theme of the Course it is that of choice. Are you saying there is some kind of wall of fear, laziness, contentment, or weariness one chooses not to go beyond? Anyway maybe next week I'll get your point.
ACIM Mentor said…
Anonymous, some have a limit to how much guilt, and therefore fear, they are willing to confront and undo. If they think they are content where they are they simply have no motivation to go further.
Sage Starfield said…
I'm at a point where I don't seek any definitions of myself. I don't feel qualified to make any decisions concerning myself. I see that as HP's job.
Kristine Klug said…
I am a bit confused. I did not think the personal self (ego) was capable of being "spiritualized." That is just an illusion like itself. If one is happy in the dream of duality here, it is only temporary as is our "existence" here.

I would think that in my almost thirty years of doing my best to learn & practice course principles that stepping aside or releasing my attachment to the personal self is the ONLY way to be & stay peacefully happy here. (No matter what the circumstances). "A happy place to rest in for awhile where nothing need be feared, but only loved". In other words: Spiritualizing the ego is a lie & does not work. However, I recently watched a documentary on "cults" & I guess some can make the illusion game of idolatry last for many, many years. One reason (among many) that I celebrate the course is that it is a "self-study" curriculum.

And you are helpful in reminding us that since there is no sin, go ahead...it is only yourself you need to answer to since there is "nothing outside of you".


But still, I can not imagine a day when I no longer need to grab a peek at ACIM as a reminder of my goal & purpose, since I do not have the luxury of isolating myself at this time. The beautiful lesson #200, "There is no peace except the peace of God" is so helpful, "To ask for what you already have must succeed".


Ever gratefull for your insights,

Kristine Klug
Anonymous said…
"Do you want freedom of the body or the mind? For both you cannot have. Which do you value? Which is your goal? For one you see as means; the other, end." Text 22 VI 1

Deb
Anonymous said…
liz,
there is a place in the acim text where a point in the journey is described as a plateau of peace, and characterized as one where the journeyer is often not as far along as they think. i have interpreted this as a description of an ego-negotiated peace, and a natural part of how the journey can unfold. i have long been interested in how to move swiftly beyond it - to have the HS's help in recognizing what is happening, and in turning an extended plateau into merely a cross road. this, out of the desire to have undone all identity with a personal self, so that God might take the final step and bring me home.

i look forward to your continued conversation with us on this subject, and any light you can shed on confusion i may have on this aspect of our journey to Truth. what moves me deeply when i read your postings is the Love that extends from them. i recognize in That what i am looking for.

endlessly grateful, nicci
Anonymous said…
I have no doubt what my goal is. I want out. For awhile now, just spiritualizing the self seems a long way off. I'll just have to have faith that it's part of the journey.
Anonymous said…
But,
I have to remember, even though I am going through this self induced isolation, I can see important personal changes taking place. Life changing things. Lay off the whining and stay positive.
Anonymous said…
The personal mind saying my spirituality has gone away and I listening to it. You gotta love it)
ACIM Mentor said…
Kristine, yes, spiritualizing the self is an illusion. But so is transcending the self. Anything that happens at the level of form is an illusion. This is why it does not matter whether one spiritualizes the self or transcends the self. It is all equally meaningless in Truth. It only has meaning for the one making the choice.

BTW: The "self" is not the ego. The self is the body/personality. It is neutral. The ego is a thought system in your mind that tells you that the self is you.

Again, my next article will go into these questions...
ACIM Mentor said…
Nicci, you are referring to the "period of settling" in the Development of Trust in the MFT. It is not an ego-negotiated peace. It is true peace. However, how "not come as far as you think" showed up for me in that stage was the awareness that all that had happened so far was preparation for the real letting go of the ego. That does not really start until the next stage, the "period of unsettling".

If you are walking the path laid out in ACIM - grow your awareness of Truth and undo your obstacles to It as they come up - then you are on an accelerated path already. It is the "short cut".
"This is why it does not matter whether one spiritualizes the self or transcends the self. It is all equally meaningless in Truth". My question is: beyond either, is it something that can't be described in words? Is it eventually just being Truth? Perhaps not of this world of form, yet still being aware? I've often thought (but not much) about the idea of the story already being over and that what we're experiencing is a review. Is that why all "levels of form" happenings are meaningless? Sometimes all I can do is grow my awareness of Truth (above) and trust that it is the short cut.
Anonymous said…
liz,
ah. thank you. looking back on this path as it has unfolded and where i am this morning, i recognize your description. also, your distinction between the ego and the self is helpful.
endless L, n
ACIM Mentor said…
Yes, Danielle, Truth is beyond description. It is an experience of wholeness unlike anything the world of form has to offer. It is Existence without limits. So there is no "you" to be "aware". It is Knowledge Itself extending infinitely.

Yes, it is all meaningless because it was over as soon as it was thought. Only in time does it seem to have begun long ago and as though it will end in some indefinite future.

Growing your awareness of Truth is all you can do. What else would be a shortcut?
Anonymous said…
In ACIM you cannot write off the dream as unimportant or meaningless. Forgiveness is in the dream. We are going through the process of realizing the guilt is not in the other person but in ourselves. The guilt is never in the person we are attacking it is within us. The whole foundation of our existence here on earth is built on looking out beyond the body and judging. Saying “it’s just a dream” is playing into the egos hands. You have to take care of the dream first then you can worry about living in Truth.
Anonymous said…
The problem comes in saying "It's just a dream" before we have reached the stage of the Holy Spirit showing us. Saying "It's just a dream" is not part of practicing the Course. It is the goal.
Anonymous said…
Out, out brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth
Liz, can't think of another shortcut. I still try to figure it all out and I'm reminding myself of that. What I meant by awareness stems from the scribings of ascended masters (Jesus) that I've come across. He talks in colloquial terms to describe where "he" "exists". It's coming from some sort of "awareness" unless I'm again thinking too much. What are your thoughts on being of higher frequency vibration? If that makes sense. It is probably some ego goal that I've latched onto...
I say meaningless too in the sense that it is neither good nor bad. The dream IS meaningful in that it allows one to grow their awareness of Truth.
ACIM Mentor said…
Danielle, the "awareness" of "ascended masters" is simply the Awareness of Truth (or Holy Spirit) in every mind.

I am not sure what "higher frequency vibration" means. The only time I've heard of that is from New Age-y types who seem to imply that only certain people can "tune in" to this vibration and have a higher consciousness. This implies it comes from something outside rather than It's right here in every mind.
Thanks, yes. My thought was that I need to focus on peeling away (for growing my Awareness of Truth) than adding to.
ACIM Mentor said…
Danielle, the two-fold process is growing (adding to) your awareness of Truth and undoing (peeling away) the obstacles (guilt, fear) to growing your awareness of Truth.
Thanks again! Yes, makes sense. I used to read lofty texts, writings, philosophies to try to figure out. "Adding to" with a bunch of useless info (for me).
Anonymous said…
Danielle I wrote that because there are a lot of people reading this blog coming from different levels of understanding. Some people are far along and they write to reaffirm what they already know. Some don't know anything and it's easy for them to misunderstand. I liked what you wrote
Anonymous said…
Shakespeare answered it well (above quote)!
Mari said…
If you don't mind, I'd like to share my thoughts on Holy/Special relationships. As Jesus emphasizes in different ways in the course, our special relationship is with the ego; the Holy relationship with HS/Jesus. The one we choose is what will flow through us and into our worldly relationships. Just a matter of form vs. content. Yes we think we are 'form' (bodies) and do believe special and Holy are thus manifested in form, but he is teaching us very simply that the one we choose is the relationship & identity we will have. love & hate is content, not form. Nothing really to do with bodies, they are irrelevant, however useful tools while we go through this process of returning Home. ��
Paula said…
A voice in my mind said to me (not sure who/what) but it was very distinct and clear, "HE (meaning God) has come for you." I felt relieved and wasn't at all concerned as to how or when. I also felt a Presence. So, my point is, I don't think it matters how anything shows up in the world because it is never real and only God is real. This is all I need to know, accept and be thankful for. Just Keep Peace in my mind and the rest takes care of itself. I'm aware I've accepted a long process but I still choose to focus on Peace/God and leave the world/body temptation behind. I continue to look past appearances and to the wholeness/love of God instead no matter what shows up in my mind or world. The pull/attraction for God within me is far stronger than anything the world/body can offer. I'm glad to be going Home and I'm glad for all the things I need to forget/forgive in order to remember God. There is still much for me to process through but my trust in knowing that the Truth is here right now in my mind keeps me calm. I accept my Oneness with all even though I don't know how to. I just keep on keeping on and Know that eventually I will have to run out of things to process and I will wake up, look around and thank God that I am Home.

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