Showing posts from 2017

Ask: About Non-Violence, Morality, and Why Bother to Study

“I have one thing keeping me from embracing ACIM, and that is that I still don’t understand non-violence. My question is, ‘If violence does not exist, then wars don’t exist, genocide does not exist, because it is all an illusion? Then there is no good nor bad, and one can do whatever they want?’ But then, nothing has meaning, and studying the book, and learning to think right also has no meaning, and no merit. I simply don’t understand, the thinking seems circular to me. I must be peace, killing an animal is peaceful? If I had the opportunity to kill Hitler in the middle of his act, with the thinking of non-violence, I should let him live? I am lost with this work. Please help me.” – Anonymous
You actually have three questions here so it is no wonder you feel lost! One is a question about non-violence, another is about morality, and the last is about why you bother to study at all.
With regard to non-violence, A Course in Miracles does not take a stand one way or the other on non-violence.…

Ask: How do I deal with a sister who is constantly sick?

“I am 78 and my sister is 70. Ever since I can remember she has been ill with different conditions. Before I learnt from ACIM that we choose our own sickness I always felt helpless about this. Now I just feel angry! I feel she is using the illnesses to get attention! It really irritates me that her attitude is 'Poor me. I can't do anything because I have just had this fall or I have this or that’...... Now on another level I know that this is my lesson but on a practical level I don't know how to interact with her. We are told to be kind! My reaction to that is that I should try to fix her problems. I seem to have been doing that all my life but I don't want to do this anymore!!!!! Help!” – Anonymous
The choice that A Course in Miracles refers to with regard to what happens to the self in the world is for the entire experience of imperfection and dysfunction that is the human experience. It is the opposite of God (Truth) in every way.  Illness, the vulnerability of the …

Ask: Is choosing to not follow personal thoughts the daily now dream?

“We (I) did not choose separation, still, I , being a personal ‘mind’, choose to believe ego's thought system, now.... although the Course teaches me otherwise . You personal LIZ still experiencing LIZ as LIZ constantly choosing to not follow her personal thoughts:  Is this the daily NOW dream..? I experience the dreamflow as reality with momentary ‘forgiveness’ workouts when things get STUCK because I forget the dream as being a dream...” – ER
A Course in Miracles does not teach that you as a micro split-mind chose “separation from God”. It teaches that the Son of God, or macro split-mind, made that choice. Your (micro split-mind) choice is made only in the present.
You are also not a personal mind, or thought system. Your mind is split between the thought system of the Holy Spirit and a personal thought system (ego).  You are not the thought system but the mind choosing it. And that choice is made so unconsciously that you do not even seem to have a choice. It’s like being aware …

There Was No *Choice* to be "Separate From God"

There are things that become so clear without the belief in guilt in the mind! For me, one of those things is the idea that “separation from God” was not a choice made somewhere, sometime, perhaps by the “Son of God” (macro split-mind). While I was studying A Course in Miracles the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth) would try to get me to see that God (Truth) is One so there is no choice in God. Choice is a part of not-God, which is the opposite of God, so there could be no choice that caused the separation. Choice only has meaning within the separation. But I felt, without articulating it to myself, that someone had to be responsible for the error. In fact I worked at being hyper-responsible for the separation by always referring to it as something I chose even though I couldn’t see it. This is all over my early writing.
What the Holy Spirit was trying to get me to see, and what I can see now, is that nothing real has occurred, so how could there be a choice that caused it? I don’t me…

Ask: Am I upset because the world is meaningless or because of my projections on it?

“I'm a bit confused. In Lesson 12 it states the world is meaningless in itself and what is meaningless is neither good nor bad, but then it says I am upset because I see a meaningless world. I thought that I was upset because I projected meaning onto the world…” - AS
The answer you seek is in Lesson 12 itself (the underlines are mine):
“I think I see a fearful world, a dangerous world, a hostile world, a sad world, a wicked world, a crazy world,” (W-12.3)
“But I am upset because I see a meaningless world.” (W-12.4)
This lesson is pointing out that beneath the upset that you feel for the meaning that you project onto the world, the deeper source of your upset is that the world is meaningless. This is elaborated on in the next lesson, #13:
“A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God.”  (W-13.5)
Here A Course in Miracles is introducing the true source of guilt and the fear it engenders in your mind, even if you are not ready to see it yet:
“You are not e…

Ask: What remains of the specific "me" after death?

“Thanks for this article (On Life After Death and Level Confusion; a very complex subject, but you've provided some clarity. It opens up questions concerning 'reincarnation'. If the micro split-mind (body and personality) dissolves at 'death' then what (if anything) remains of the specific ‘me’ (soul?) that ‘rolls over’ into another worldly experience? Much of what we read on this subject implies that the spiritual ‘progress’ (Undoing/ Healing) we make in this life will lighten the burden in our 'future' lifetimes. On the other hand I've come to understand that there is no 'specific me’, there is no ‘world’...only the Macro split-mind projecting itself as billions of micro-minds. So, when this particular ‘Parenthesis in Eternity’ (J. Goldsmith) closes do we say that only Awareness remains, and it is no longer identified with a specific entity? 
I've always been cu…

On Life-After-Death and Level Confusion

A topic has come up recently with clients and readers that has illuminated for me why my explanations of what happens to the ego or the split-mind when a self seems to die often leads to further questions that I have not been able to satisfy for others. It is because of what is called in A Course in Miracles “level confusion”. This means confusing what happens on one level of the mind with what happens on another.
To explain, I hope more clearly than I have in the past, I am going to use the language that I feel is more directly descriptive than the language of ACIM. Here’s a key:
Truth = God Macro split-mind = Son of God Micro split-minds = Sons of God Not-Truth = macro ego Personal thought system = micro ego
(ACIM does not distinguish between “macro” and “micro” ego just as it often does not distinguish between “macro” and “micro” Son of God. This distinction is implied in ACIM by the context of each particular passage.)
Awareness of Truth = Holy Spirit Undoing = Atonement Manifest…

Ask: What's with "remembered not" to laugh?

“…How curious that the text says ‘remembered not to laugh’ instead of ‘forgot to laugh’ (because it is impossible to be separate from God).  Since it was such a mistake, what’s with ‘remembered’???” – KA 
Actually, it is “remembered not”. The “not” is what makes it mean “forgot”. Here is the phrase you referenced:
“Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects.” (T-27.VIII.6)
Well, you want to remember to laugh? It is all because Helen Schucman had a love for iambic pentameter, the meter in which Shakespeare wrote. A Course in Miracles was dictated to her in this beat so that she would be more open to and comfortable with it. She would find it beautiful. Unfortunately, this led to some awkward passages, just as you shared. Instead of “forgot” we get “remembered not”. However, the next line clarifies with “in his …

Overcoming Resistance to Meditation

Meditation is the core practice of a spiritual path. (By “meditation” I mean sitting quietly and simply being with Mind, not reaching for an altered state). Why and how you meditate evolves over time, but its centrality to gaining inner peace cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult practice because your mind’s resistance to it is strong. You are mind and meditation should be natural. And it will become so as you become more aware that you are mind. But in your unnatural state of identification with a self (body/personality) you (a mind) find unnatural what is natural. The driver of your identification with a self, the personal thought system (ego), is threatened by anything that turns you inward to the mind. This is the source of your resistance (and why so many give up on meditation).
When my clients complain about their resistance to meditation I suggest that they pay attention to the feelings and thoughts that come up when they try to meditate. Feelin…

Ask: What does listening to the Holy Spirit entail?

“I hope this isn't a silly question but listening to the Holy Spirit entails what? Are we listening to an audible voice, or a deep knowing of what is right, our intuition etc. How does it actually manifest when we've heard the Holy Spirit?...” – AS
This is most definitely not a silly question. It is an essential question.
We speak of “hearing” the Holy Spirit (the part of your mind that is aware of Truth) but It does not always come into your awareness as a Voice. (If you do hear a Voice It is, of course, within your mind. If It seems to come from outside of your mind and no one is actually speaking to you, you are hallucinating!). Often the Holy Spirit’s answers and guidance come in unformed thoughts, or, as you said, a deep knowing or intuition.
The Holy Spirit is in every mind and people hear or feel It all the time without identifying It as the Holy Spirit. The ego (personal thought system) in your mind has many voices and causes many feelings so once you make the conscious de…

Listening for the Holy Spirit

One of the common things I hear from clients and readers is, “I do trust the Holy Spirit. I just don’t trust myself to hear the Holy Spirit.”
“Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this, and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant.” (T-19.IV.2)
You have only two thought systems in your mind: The ego (personal thought system) and the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth). At any given moment you give your attention to one or the other. And that will be whichever one you trust at the moment. (For a long while you will trust both and vacillate between them). When you put your attention on your ability to hear you are thinking with the ego. It is what tells you to focus on your own abilities. It is what tells you to doubt your own abilities. But the Holy Spirit knows that you can hear It because It is the …

Ask: Why not empathy as well as sympathy in your last article?

“Re: Your last article (May 26) I am wondering ‘WHY Not EMPATHY as well as SYMPATHY’ in the last sentence of your paragraph #4 in this edition?” – MA

“Empathy” means the ability to enter into what another is feeling because you feel or have felt that way, too. “Sympathy” can mean this or compassion or pity where you feel sorry for another without entering into their feelings. Because I was using them comparatively I meant sympathy as “compassion” rather than “empathy”. I was making the point that a shift had occurred for me. I could no longer step into the personal thought system (ego) without feeling disoriented. My awareness that the personal thought system does not make sense was no longer just intellectual but experiential. So instead of trying to empathize with my friend, or enter into her feelings as I once would have done, I could offer her only sympathy.
>>>> A lot falls away as you get closer to Truth and your peace grows. It can be confusing. One of the things I he…

The Effects of Real Perception Become the New Normal

When this mind entered the “period of undoing”, or the first period in the Development of Trust discussed in A Course in Miracles (M-4.I.A), I experienced spiritual Vision through the Holy Relationship. This Vision is what is called, among other things, the “real world” in A Course in Miracles. In my translation of ACIM into plain language (The Message of A Course in Miracles) I called this Vision “Real Perception” because “real world” confused some students. They expected to see a different material world or for the material world to change. But Vision is a perception not of the eyes but of the mind. I can understand why It is called another “world” in that you perceive a different “reality”. But it is not concrete like what the eyes show you. It is, well, a perception. The best I can do is to describe It like a smile beyond the concrete world. But of course there is no smiling mouth seen! It simply cannot be adequately described. (To myself I just call It “the Vision thing”). But t…

Ask: Is there anything this separate sense of self is responsible for?

Liz, thank you for your recent post on what if I run out of time. It’s helped me to stop struggling and let things play out. My question is: Is there anything this separate sense of self is responsible for?...” – AS
“The sole responsibility of God's teacher is to accept the Atonement for himself. Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors.” (M-18.4)
Now that you are aware of the Undoing of the idea-of-not-Truth (the “Atonement” in A Course in Miracles) you are responsible for accepting the Undoing for yourself. This may seem to contradict what I wrote last week about the Undoing’s unfolding being inevitable. But “down here on the ground”, as it were, the Undoing unfolds through your taking responsibility for correcting in your own mind the error of believing in not-Truth. This shows up in your day to day life as whatever study and practice you feel moved to do. And also what you feel not moved to do, as well. From now on, however you feel moved, it is the manifest …

What if I (or they) run out of time?

A concern of many who work with or contact me is that they will “run out of time”, meaning, that they will die before they reach what they consider “enlightenment” or “awakening”. Some also are concerned about loved ones who have no interest in being enlightened. What about them?
[Spiritual awakening or enlightenment can mean different things to different people. But I find in general that what spiritual students mean by these terms is a sustained awareness that only the Truth is true. This would be the highest level of awareness (consciousness, perception) one could attain. It is also known as Christ or Buddha Consciousness.]
The question of running out of time is a personal one of course. There is fear behind it that one must attain enlightenment before they die or they will end up in purgatory or have to come back in another life. But both views represent a mistaken view of what life in the world is about. It is not a cause for a future effect, as in, if you do it right you will g…

Ask: Guilt always seems to triumph so why bother?

“In a recent mentoring session I spoke with you about a situation involving a woman I had been seeing who turned out to be a disappointment. Upon reflection I saw that she was a poor choice in the first place… I took what I considered to be a mountain of evidence to support my conclusion and thought I could call the whole thing a mistake on my part and simply walk away. While my feet did the walking, my mind continued to be haunted by the details with a vague sense that somehow this was my fault. I could see that this could be explained by the concept of “generalized guilt” that you often talk about, but the guilt remained. I had a chance to talk about this with a woman I met recently whom I would describe simply as a peer – someone with life experience, intelligence, insight, and credibility. She responded unequivocally that this woman was not for me and that I could do much better. I immediately felt a calming resolution from this interaction. (Whether it lasts time will tell.) I wo…

Keep An Open Mind as the Undoing Unfolds Through You

Keep an Open Mind as the Undoing Unfolds Through You
Back in 2014 when this mind described to a client its then-recent inability to answer some questions about the self within it he recommended the book, “The Experience of No-Self” by Bernadette Roberts. Ms. Roberts was a contemplative nun for 8 years but left the convent and returned to the world (or, as she calls it, “the marketplace”). However, she continued to live a contemplative life as she became a wife and mother, among other things. One day, after over 30 years on the journey, while meditating she discovered that she could not locate her self. And, even more disturbing for her, she could not find God because she was used to being in union with God and now there was no longer a self and an “Other” with which to be in union. She had not been seeking this and she had no idea it would happen.
At the time of reading this, this mind was uncertain exactly what it was experiencing or was about to experience so it was unsure if our jo…

Manifesting the Undoing of Not-Truth

After it wrote last week’s article, “The Self-concept Fell Away” ( this mind had the sense it wasn’t accurate to say that the self-concept falling away was only the beginning of self-identification falling away. What it saw was that indeed self-id had fallen away but it had not yet fully caught up to this fact.
This split awareness is not new to this mind. For many years now it has seen that life in the world is over for it. It knows this with certainty but then it is back in the story of an unfolding process of undoing. This is because it vacillates between the two diametrically opposed parts of it. In one part it is not so much that it is past the world as that it has never entered it. In the other it is in a process of leaving. It is this experience that led this mind to truly understand how the universe of form is the unfolding in time of an idea (not-Truth) that was over as soon as it was thought. This split-…

The Self-concept Fell Away

When this mind entered the “period of settling” (A Course in Miracles, M-4.I.A) the way that “he has not yet come as far as he thinks” showed up for it was to realize that the period of settling and the three periods before were only preparation for letting go of self-identification. The real shift was yet to come.
About two-and-a-half years ago this mind realized its self-concept had fallen away. It wasn’t falling away; it had fallen away. This mind had entered the fifth period, the “period of unsettling”. Self-identification was beginning to fall away. This mind became aware of this speaking with clients who would ask it questions about how this mind saw itself as a self. This mind would have to tell its clients it had no way to answer. Their questions left this mind disoriented because when it tried to find the answer nothing was there. Many times on the path this mind has had periods of disorientation as its self-concept shifted. But now it was unable to find even a shifting self…