Questioning Does Not Necessarily Mean Tossing Out

When I was very young I realized that I didn’t feel love when others loved me but rather when I loved. This is why I was a nurturer. I had learned, though not in these words, that what I give I receive.

When I was twenty I became a student of A Course in Miracles and read that lesson in those words. But I made the mistake of thinking that ACIM could not be talking about a lesson I had already learned. Helen Schucman was in her fifties when she scribed ACIM. Certainly she had to have already learned this lesson? Maybe this meant something else? So I took the lesson deeper and learned that it was saying, as it says elsewhere more plainly, that I can only give to myself.

My mistake was thinking that I could not know something at twenty that someone at fifty had yet to learn. Of course we do not all learn the same lessons in life. And even when we do we do not learn them in the same order. A twenty year old can know something that someone at fifty has yet to learn. I was young and inexperienced and insecure and didn’t trust my own learning. I also felt ACIM was so radical that it couldn’t also contain mundane lessons. Another mistake. Yes, in its ultimate teaching that the universe of form is not Reality it is radical. But it is also meant to be used in a mundane world. It was answering Helen and Bill’s call for a “better way” to be in the world.

This is only one example of the mistake of thinking I couldn’t already have learned some of ACIM’s lessons before I picked up the books. Many ideas in ACIM were wholly new to me. But those that were not, those lessons that I had already learned, I questioned. And I questioned every other lesson I’d learned and continued to learn in life. This should’ve been a good thing because it could’ve opened my mind. Questioning means one considers the validity of what they have already learned. If the lesson is valid then questioning it strengthens it. If the lesson isn’t valid then it is tossed out. But questioning does not mean that one inevitably tosses out what they have learned. And this is what I did for a long time. I tossed out, or at least distrusted, all that I had learned and continued to learn about the world and my experience in it. My mind was closed, not open.

What ACIM actually teaches is that I should bring lessons to the Holy Spirit to determine what is useful and what is not. But since I didn’t do that for a very long time I drifted through the world unmoored. I think I thought that this was spiritual! But in fact I was just lost because I didn’t trust my own observations and experiences. When I finally did allow the Holy Spirit to guide me through the world I found my experiences and observations in the world were validated by the Holy Spirit. Most of it was useful. I found common sense prevailed. I found my footing again and felt grounded in the world. It turned out that being grounded in the world is not un-spiritual; it is the result of spiritual awareness. I was not going to transcend the world by denying my observations and experiences of it. I had to first accept those before I could begin to transcend the world.

The funny thing is, these mistakes led me to look deeper into ACIM’s teachings. I kept thinking that it couldn’t mean just what it said on the surface. And I found that deeper meaning every time I sought it with the Holy Spirit. I found a singular, profound, cohesive message that I eventually expressed in my translation of ACIM into plain, everyday language. Oh, well. Even our mistakes have their uses if they are given to the Holy Spirit!

Want support on the path to peace? read "You Don't Have to Go It Alone".
Learn about one-on-one mentoring, how to send a donation for this blog, and 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


hannah said…
well, this blog made me cry. (yep, the cause was out there and it got me right in the effect.) (sorry.. one of those days.)

id much rather talk one on one with you about this liz, but it will be a while til i can, but i have quite a few questions. well ive just deleted many paragraphs, i dont know where to start.

ok.. well, i dont bring lessons to the holy spirit to determine what is useful and what isnt, or at least.. i dont think so, or not often? ive not managed to get my head around what thats process actually IS. nothing i have tried has led to a feeling of being guided.. maybe im misunderstanding that sentence. ive noticed that when im fairly relaxed and not over thinking life tends to flow more, it feels like nice things happen for people through me etc, but im not bringing decisions to holy spirit when that happens, im just feeling realxed. i was wondering if you could describe the process you went through which led you to start doing.. whatever it is, as well as telling me or pointing to other blogs which do so, what bringing lessons to the holy spirit to determine what is useful, actually IS.. what are the feelings, what do you do or cease doing?

i want to keep going, but i think thats enough to start with!
ACIM Mentor said…
There was no process, Hannah, but just a tipping point where there was trust. My own guilt and fear made it impossible for me to hear the Holy Spirit. If It said anything that validated what I had already learned I didn't trust what I heard or felt because I was certain I was wrong. It was not until I reached a point of willingness to follow the Holy Spirit that slowly it evolved that I found what was common sense for me was validated. My trust in the Holy Spirit led to unconsciously growing more confident in myself.
hannah said…
thanks liz. i am confused about usefulness. which means i get confused about what i 'should' be asking of holy spirit. i think its first and foremost about validating truth or not-truth as true? i mean, i always understand asking holy spirit as.. asking to see with love not fear, basically. but it seems like those i feel are peaceful people bring the questioning into choices in the world also, at least for a part of their journey? it seems like skipping that maybe is not as helpful or as spiritual as i thought? i thought if the point is to be seeing with holy spirit, not to be getting holy spirit to organise things for me in the world, then asking what is useful would just hook me into the world, and into grandiosity/fixing the world or sacrifice/martyrdom. unless it means that 'what is useful' doesnt mean 'what do i do to be helpful', but 'how do i look without ego judgement to be helpful?' i THINK if i could just get my head around what 'useful' means then understanding what 'asking' means would just flow naturally. or does it apply to usefulness on all levels? i am sorry, i know youve addressed this many times before.

im seeing how the above questions tie in with feeling unmoored and drifting. i can feel the simpleness behind the complexity sometimes, which is why the line "I found a singular, profound, cohesive message" is so reassuring.
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, the Holy Spirit meets you where you are. So while you still perceive yourself in the world It will help guide you. The outcome of the guidance is not important. It is hearing and learning to trust the HS that is the point of this practice. This is how you learn that It is real.

Your mental contortions are just manifestations of your fear of the HS. So find just one small area in your life where you are not too afraid to let in the HS and when your trust grows there you will naturally extend it.
hannah said…
ok, thank you again! that is wonderful,

'The outcome of the guidance is not important. It is hearing and learning to trust the HS that is the point of this practice. This is how you learn that It is real.'

ok, that really does make me feel afraid! um.. its like, i always ask HS to help me remember truth and see true being in people and myself when i get upset in a situation. some examples the election in america gave me insight into how HS has been helping me (it still kinda feels like that, though i know im not actually turning to something else, outside) as i had nightmares when tony abbott was elected here. that was only a few years back, and the difference in how i felt about every aspect of the process these past months has felt just awesome. i have given a few family relationships to HS and my judgements are dropping away bit by steady bit. and i usually trust that that will continue. but if i think of asking for help that involves the selfs greater enjoyment in ways that arent purely about being more loving mentally then it feels like.. oh what IS that!? i was going to say at first just that it makes me feel like im misusing something, and failing to learn a lesson of being happy where i am in life as it is now. but then i got a wave of feeling, really strong, and it was fear that HS simply wouldnt help. and the feeling was i really should know better so HS will ignore me, not out of cruelty but to teach me to focus on whats happening in my mind, not whats happening in the world.

so there is this great amount of love and gratitude in my mind around HS, but i still feel that HS's support will be conditional in the name of not supporting attachment to form, for my own good. if i think of asking for help for example in knowing what to do with my time now that i no longer feel attached to hermit-dom, but dont want to rejoin the workforce yet (the question of what would i like to do now has been driving me bonkers!) i feel shame.
hannah said…
hmm, ok. i see how im projecting the idea that outcomes here are important or mean something one way or another, (other than to selves) onto HS. i still cant seem to wrap my mind around this though (contort is a great word!).. may i ask for an example or two of what kinds of 'small areas of your life' you asked for help/guidance with when you were at this stage? do you still 'ask' for guidance??
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, you are indeed acting as though the Holy Spirit is a person rather than Total Love. If you feel guilt or fear you are listening to the ego. The HS never inspires guilt or fear. It releases you from them.

I began by asking the HS only spiritual questions relating to ACIM. After about 5 years I realized I was always answered. So I decided to try other areas of my life in the world. I don't remember what the first one was. I think I tried everywhere but was inconsistent. Then I'd find I had whole pockets of my life I never thought to turn over to the HS (like money, about which I had so much guilt I was sure It was going to deprive me). But slowly, over the years, I gave everything over to the HS.

One thing I saw in hindsight: The HS wanted my trust so It was not going to ask me to sacrifice nor was It ever going to ask me to do something "for my own good". Of course It flowed with me and what was authentic to me. It did not ask me to do things that were not natural to me or would frighten me.

No, I no longer ask for guidance. I live in the guidance. The HS is no longer "other" for me.
Christine said…
Thanks, very clear.
hannah said…
thanks liz, that makes sense!

'The HS wanted my trust so It was not going to ask me to sacrifice nor was It ever going to ask me to do something "for my own good". Of course It flowed with me and what was authentic to me.'

and the last sentence is relaxy-balm! oh, well, there you go! i just recalled an experience i had only a few weeks ago, id pretty much forgotten it (youd really think that was impossible!) so thank you so much for this reinforcement. my friend and i were driving, and the thought came through my head 'if you could ask for anything, what would it be'. after the initial thoughts of 'ok, be honest.. id like a partner and for taran (nephew) to be happy etc, i kind of bounced my way through layers of thought/feeling til they stopped bouncing, and my heart was pounding and i was shaking. i was sitting with a feeling of so much self doubt. mistrust and the belief that i was intrinsically bound to inadequacy and mistakes. and in that state of doubting and fearing myself, peace was impossible. i thought, ok, so if what i really want is peace, and the block i can feel/access now is fear and doubt of myself, then what i would ask for is complete love and trust of myself. we pulled into the destination exactly at that point and a kid on a bike rode past with 'bazinga' written large across his back. the thing was, the feeling of love included the ego self, that white rabbit self that actively wants to go down the rabbit hole.

oh. you know how the course says that when you bring truth and illusion together, the not-truth just fades away naturally? is this an example of that in action? bringing love and ego actually together in this mind in love? i usually try to focus on seeing past the ego to the love that is real behind it. i try and bring kindness and compassion to my mind in regard to ego. um .. like, i try to treat it with love, but i dont try actually loving it, cos its not real! i just try to be gentle with my mind thats believing in it, but remind myself that its not me.. distance myself from it. is it making sense what im asking here? the approaches feel vastly different now im looking at it like that. i dont know if what im asking is clear though.
ACIM Mentor said…
Love just extends Love, Hannah. So it's not about directing love toward the ego it's just Love being Love. It extends Love to anything in your awareness even if that's the ego.
hannah said…
right, i got it! directing love is still fixing! 'condemning' our peace by seeing lack! love just loves! <3
hannah said…
directing is about keeping 'other' real, right?
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, I wasn't suggesting you not direct love toward anyone. I was simply explaining why you felt love even toward the ego. Love extends naturally.
hannah said…
thanks liz. after a week of studying 4 habits again and then rereading these communications i can see how im opening to experiences of truth at the same time as being very attached to individuality and 'getting hannah right'. thank you.

love extends naturally, and completely, with nothing to do cos it just is all that is. the ego just isnt, and in that belief that lack is reality with love needed to heal it, love becomes a tool for accomplishing something, and so is not actually truly love. and with that limited idea of love projected onto Truth, its not really any wonder i would usually feel mildly chastised when i was trying to let myself rest in god! i was confusing the directing love i was asking about with real love. your response to one of georges comments on your next blog (ooo, time travel!) helped me clarify this. what i have expereinced and projected onto reality as love was love-which-sees-problems-as-real not Love-which-Knows-Love-is-Real. so it felt like 'god' must have to do something to me to show love. and i can see how this keeps my self 'real' and therefor keeps reality away.

im accepting more deeply that the ONLY way to know peace is to be aware of truth. my reactions of sorrow and fear to this are lessening already, and i thank you again for helping me to drop guilt and trust love liz.

hannah said…
most of the other questions i had around this blog have dropped away, just one left. well, one issue anyway! this question feels silly, but i have had a lot of angst around it for years now. i dont even feel i can approach the question head on.

i have been unmoored in the world, drifting, for at least ten years now. i work when i want to, volunteer when i want to, and have no structure to my days when i want to. sit in complete boredom cursing my lack of imagination if i want to! ;) while i value what i have been focusing on, im aware that in the worlds eyes and mine i am a bludger on society. i am on a government payment for money, ten years ago i was granted a benefit which means i dont have to look for work, as it was impossible for me at that stage to function in the world reliably. i also didnt want to be part of a world which seemed obviously insane and pointless anyway. i considered opting out, but i thought if i could find something which had meaning to me personally, not what i was told i should care about, then maybe it would be ok. around that time acim came along.

now, i think i could be part of the workforce but i still feel it would feel burdensome, difficult, sacrificial (ego tantrum of not what i want!) (what ever that might be.) but i feel guilty because i know i could do it even if i dont feel its what i want yet, and fear feeling obligated.

hannah said…
i felt like looking up the word bludger and this is what came up '
i just felt like looking up bludger and this what came up

a scrounger.
"just look at that bludger, can't get his thieving hands on the cash fast enough"
an idle or lazy person.
"I suspect there are far more bludgers in jobs than on the dole"'
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, thank you for the clarification on "bludger". I figured it out from the context but it is an Australianism. Or, since it's also used in NZ, perhaps a down-underism?

As for your work situation: You can get past the guilt for not acting and the resistance to acting by asking the HS what you should do. Then you will be off the hook if the answer is to change nothing and you can be certain it will be helpful if the idea is to do something. Just ask, be open, let it go, and see what unfolds.
hannah said…
laugh, yeah mate i think youre onto it ;)

hannah said…
or i could have said, spot on cobber

Popular posts from this blog

The Grand Tour of Fear

You Don't Have to Go It Alone

Understanding the Ego Backlash