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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
Yes:
“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” (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-self-concept-fell-away.html) 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…

Ask: Is the fear of death behind all upsets?

“Like the other 7 billion people on the planet, every day I am offered opportunities to play out and examine my guilt in a myriad of ways. In the past I would ride the emotional runaway train into bad moods, depression, inertia, despair, rage against self, others and the world. After studying the Course for a number of years however, I handle all this differently. After processing the details of the upset up to a point (which may include acting out, feeling lousy etc.), I ask the question: "What is REALLY going on here?" The answer is always the same: There is a fear - make that terror - that if I don't find that missing sock, undo that faux pas I made that day, clear up that medical issue, put that person in his place etc. etc. - I will be cast aside and obliterated. (I know it sounds insane, even insanely funny, but think about it the next time you experience an upset.) So I ask: ‘Is the fear of death behind all upsets?’" – ES
Actually, you had it at the beginning …

Ask: Can you clarify the ego's use of time as hell?

“I just read in ACIM that the ego teaches that ‘Heaven is here and now because the future is hell.’ Then in the next chapter it says ‘the Holy Spirit teaches thus: There is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present.’ It seems to contradict; maybe you could talk about this in one of your future posts…” – AS
Actually, those quotes are in the same chapter and subsection (The Two Uses of Time) of the Text of A Course in Miracles, just a couple of paragraphs apart. Here is the first quote in context (my underlining):
“The ego teaches that Heaven is here and now because the future is hell. Even when it attacks so savagely that it tries to take the life of someone who thinks its is the only voice, it speaks of hell even to him. For it tells him hell is here as well, and bids him leap from hell into oblivion. The only time the ego allows anyone to look upon with equanimity is the past. And even there, its only value is that it is no more.” (T-15.I.5)
Notice that this paragraph…

Ask: Can you explain perception ending in time?

(This refers to the last article: (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2017/03/why-dont-i-just-kill-myself-and-go-to.html)
“I had to draw a picture of this to begin to understand. It helped! The last paragraph I do not understand though. Could you start with that on your next newsletter and explain it a little more…” - HW
Here is the last paragraph from the last article:
“Perception (awareness, consciousness), desire, lack - these are all temporary (time-bound) experiences. They can be satisfied in time through an awareness (perception, consciousness) of Truth. But they, and the awareness of Truth, end in time. Only Truth Itself has nothing to do with time.”
Using the language of A Course in Miracles, “Knowledge” refers to God or Truth. In God there is only God and what God knows is God.  “Perception” (also “consciousness” or “awareness”) refers to our split-mind’s experience apart from Knowledge/God. Unlike Knowledge, where all is One, or the same throughout, perception has degrees, grada…

Why Don't I Just Kill Myself and Go To Heaven?

The usual way of thinking about getting into Heaven is to wait until the self dies. And often Heaven is something to be won through righteous living in the world. In this view there is a direct correlation between the self’s life in the world and Truth (Heaven). Even if one does not have to earn Heaven it is implied that It can only be experienced when the body falls away. The body is one’s obstacle to being aware of Truth and experiencing Heaven.
A Course in Miracles, however, teaches that Heaven is here within you now and all you have to do is choose to be aware of It. There is no intersection of the self’s life in the world and Truth. You can experience both, but never at the same time, because they are diametrically opposed. Each cancels out the other. So the body is not an obstacle to Truth. But your belief in the body as your reality is. Heaven, then, is what is left when you let go of the belief in the body as your reality. This is an action of the mind and it has nothing to do…

To Deny the Body is "Unworthy" of Your Mind

To Deny the Body is “Unworthy” of Your Mind (March 10, 2017)
All students come to A Course in Miracles identified with the ego (personal thought system), which is another way of saying that they come with their mind steeped in guilt. So when they read that the body is not real they think that they are guilty for identifying with it. Actually, they do feel, unconsciously or consciously, guilty for identifying with it, but that does not mean that they are guilty for identifying with it. However, reading that the body is not real only increases their guilt at first and they attempt to deal with this guilt by pretending that they do not identify with it (“I know I’m not a body, but…”) or by denying or repressing their body’s feelings or desires.
Denial is never the way to deal with guilt. It suppresses the source of guilt (the belief that the body is real) instead of undoing it. And denying your experience also denigrates the power of your mind, which leads to feeling powerless.
“The body …

Ask: How can I lead my study group out of comparisons to peace?

In my ACIM study group, I notice that when we get to a passage with convoluted syntax or a concept that pushes us out of our comfort zone, we’ll quickly engage in an off-topic discussion, for example, about “the media,” “religion” or “churches.” This is usually prompted by a participant’s remark about how the world of illusions doesn’t understand or live by the Course we so much appreciate. Like the rest of the group, I want to think there is something outside of me that can make me feel “good" about the Course. I’m curious how I can find a way to let go of feeling either “good” or “bad” and help the group locate the source of peace within the Course text.” – GB

What you describe is very typical for new students. The ego’s (personal thought system’s) thinking is always evaluative: right/wrong, good/bad, better/worse, etc. It’s simply the way it works. But although this thinking is from the ego I suspect its source is actually the speaker’s way of expressing gratitude for having …

More on Emotional Satisfaction or Freedom

Last week’s article (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2017/02/emotional-satisfaction-or-freedom.html) about the two possible approaches to spirituality and how one way to characterize them is the pursuit of emotional satisfaction for the self or transcending the self led to a lot of comments and questions that I will try to clear up here.
(The article was a follow-up to two other articles I had written on the same topic. Some of the questions readers had could be answered in those earlier articles and links were provided in last week’s article. If you still have questions I suggest reading those as well as last week’s article for a fuller look at the topic).
The emotional satisfaction I wrote about in the last article was not referring to what one seeks in relation to others. It was referring to the desire for an emotional connection with Truth (God) that one would characterize as “warm”. I was highlighting how which goal we pursue in spirituality can often be revealed by the experienc…

Emotional Satisfaction or Freedom

A few months ago I wrote a couple of articles about the two possible spiritual approaches (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-two-spiritual-goals.html,http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2016/09/more-on-two-spiritual-goals.html). The most common approach, the one of religions and most everyone else on a spiritual path, is to spiritualize the self and its life in the world. The other approach is to transcend the self.
A while later I was having a discussion with my wife, Courtney. Her path is to spiritualize where mine is to transcend. I have never put it in those words to her because from past experience I know that she doesn’t understand my desire for liberation from the limitations of the self. In this discussion she said, again, that she finds my spirituality to be cold and cerebral. She wants warmth; she wants emotional satisfaction. I understood, but did not explain to her, that she finds my path lacking because for her it is only an idea. She has not experienced what I have.…

Ask: Can you clarify "God created Love"?

“… I don't recall precisely where in ACIM, but I remember reading the sentence "God Created Love." This sentence struck me as, in my thought process, it implied at one point Love did not exist in God's Awareness or at least was not as Complete in His Awareeness as it is now. (Trying not to include "time" in this concept.) I also believe the statement was made "God IS Love" (emphasis I believe is mine).
After some attention on this (and I realize the disadvantage of trying to understand God from my particular viewpoint), I came to the conclusion that Awareness by Nature is expansive and seeks to increase. As such, it would explain a God that increases in Awareness - that is "Expansive" in Nature.
If this is True, it is logical to consider that God started at a point of Awareness and increased His Awareness from that point. It is also logical to conclude that any sane and logical expansion of Awareness would ultimately reach the Awareness …

"I am not a body, I am free..."

Sometimes when I share with my clients that I used to take certain ideas and phrases in A Course in Miracles and meditate on them to take them deeper they want an example. So here is an example of what I mean by meditating on a concept:
“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.” (W-Review VI-intro.3)
Notice how this phrase begins with a negative but quickly fills in the blank: “I am not a body. I am free.” It is never a good practice to stay in a negative or “not” phrase. It would leave me in emptiness. The obvious question that arises in my mind with the negative “I am not a body” is “Then what am I?” So the answer is immediately given: “I am free.”
What is fascinating is that what I am is not described as something abstract like “I am Spirit” or “I am Mind”. Instead ACIM gets to the experience of what I am: Limitless. It also reveals with the word “free” that my identification with a body is the reason that I feel limited. So instead of trying to conceptualize wh…

The "Evidence" For Truth

My wife and her friends play role-playing games, online and in person. They create elaborate fantasy worlds and if you overhear them you hear how real their characters (avatars) and fantasy worlds are to them. Years ago I had huge judgments against this. There was one friend of hers in particular that I judged as immature and unable to deal with life. He “hid out” in these fantasy worlds. I couldn’t just release these judgments so I realized I must be projecting. I was willing to look at my own thoughts and beliefs with the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in my mind) and what came up out of the depths of my subconscious mind was, “How is this any different from what you do with A Course in Miracles?”
Whoa…what???
Here was the ego’s (personal thought system’s) total unawareness of Truth. Of course Truth is not real to it because it is the opposite of Truth and cannot understand Truth. But my projections of judgment meant I held its lack of awareness of Truth as my own doubts about Trut…