When I was a brand new student of A Course in Miracles, I had a hard time understanding what it meant by “turn within”, not in practice, but as a concept. In practice, I turned into my mind: That which contains my beliefs and thoughts. But sometimes I tried to locate this “within” and, being identified with a body, I would become confused. How would I go within the body? This trying to locate “within” eventually dropped away, not because I had a concept that worked, but because all I really needed was the practice. I knew how to “look within” without needing to conceptualize “where”.
Mind has no location and we don’t have words for this. I say mind is “everything” and “everywhere”. But not “everything” as in “all forms” or “everywhere” as in “everyplace”. It is “everything”, as in, “all that is”, and “everywhere”, as in “formlessness”.
(I did not use an uppercase “m” for mind above because what I just wrote is true for mind at all levels).
Sometimes I hear from students who have a hard time, as I did, locating mind or simply understanding the concept of mind. Simply, mind is that with which you know, believe, perceive, and think. That’s all you really need to know. Everyone uses mind constantly and knows the experience of it, even if they cannot conceptualize it.
In Reality, Mind is “Knowledge”. Mind knows only Mind because It is All That is. Therefore, Mind is Truth or Reality. Mind is the same as “Being”. It is the Aspect of Being through Which Being knows Itself. Mind is One, meaning both that It is Whole and that It is the Same throughout. Mind is the Absolute, the Eternal (Timeless), and the Infinite.
But in your perception that you are in a body in a world, mind seems to be in a relative and limited state. Instead of Knowledge, mind has belief, perception (also called awareness or consciousness), and thought. The relative mind is split and has many levels. It is split between a “higher” and a “lower” level, and, within the lower level, conscious, semi-conscious, and unconscious levels.
At its highest level, the relative mind is aware of Truth. This thought system is called Christ Consciousness, True Perception, the Holy Spirit, or, what I prefer, the Awareness of Truth. At this highest level of the relative mind, it knows that the Truth is true. This awareness is past belief, but it is not quite Knowledge. At this level, thoughts and perceptions point to Truth.
At its lower level, the relative mind is in the personal thought system (ego). It is identified with a self (body/personality) as well as the thought system that is about the self.
Since mind is what is, all spiritual growth is the development of the awareness of Truth. Therefore, spirituality and psychology (the study of the mind) are the same. However, many who use psychology, in one form or another, do not think of it as spirituality. They put limits on their use of psychology, only working within the personal thought system. The spiritual use of psychology, however, is to use it to eventually transcend the personal thought system.
Mind goes inward. Even when it seems to believe in forms as reality, the belief is of the mind, not of the forms. It is in denial about what it is (formless), but its denial is within itself. In other words, all minds see only mind, even though they may use forms to disguise this fact. They are always “within”. But “turning within” means consciously choosing to look at mind and its beliefs, thoughts, perceptions and, ultimately, Awareness of Truth.
As a mentor I help people sort themselves out—what is what in their experience. Email me at Liz@acimmentor.com to set up an appointment. Learn more at www.acimmentor.com.
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