Ask: Why doesn't Truth hold our attention?


Aldous Huxley wrote ‘Distraction is the original sin of the mind’. Distraction appears to be the ego’s most valued weapon in the world with a vast arsenal and growing steadily. So then it seems that it’s what you give your attention to that will determine the level of inner peace or chaos in your experience in the world. This Distraction/Attention dynamic seems to me to be at the core of Truth/not Truth discovery within. While in this dualistic drama not-Truth claims easy victories distracting personal selves through attention and distraction, Truth on the other hand stands silently and waits for our mighty power of attention to turn towards it. It’s as if Truth knows you will ultimately come back to it. The sound and fury of the ego has no effect on it but it does on you. Why doesn’t Truth pull our attention?” – E St. A

Make no mistake: Not-Truth (including the ego/personal thought system) has no power over you. You empower it by valuing it. Truth doesn’t hold your attention because you also value not-Truth. Sometimes you value not-Truth for what you think it will give you over what Truth will give you. Sometimes you value not-Truth because you are afraid of Truth.

This is why A Course in Miracles lays out the path to peace as “the development of trust”. You do not trust that only Truth will give you what you want or that Truth will give you more than you give up. It takes a long while for you to let It in via the Awareness of Truth (Holy Spirit) in your mind. And then your trust builds slowly—often three steps forward and two steps back. You are very skittish in your distrust.

However, slowly but surely, you will trust It and let It in more and more and your peace will grow.

>>>> 
If you want to benefit from my experience and lighten your process, email me at Liz@acimmentor.com to set up an appointment for mentoring. Learn more at www.acimmentor.com.

Comments

nicci said…
this posting is enormously powerful and relevant for where i am on the journey. my forgiveness practice is unfolding by working moment to moment with Jesus' gentle teaching about being too tolerant of mind wandering, as well as recognizing every time i have placed causation outside the mind. they - the mind wandering and the misplaced causation - occur together. return and forgiveness follow. peace is increasing.

this posting by you you liz, has given my practice greater strength. the HS continues to provide me with help, often through you.

in endless gratitude, n
ACIM Mentor said…
Nicci, I'm glad you found it useful.
will said…
Why doesn't the Holy Spirit just heal us and be done with it? If I had a penny for every time someone thinks that I'd be rich. Hell, you would be too! There would be enough to go around for everyone. We ask, we look for answers in the Course but the answers we find really aren't very satisfying. Why are we putting ourselves through this often unsatisfying and unrewarding spiritual journey? We look at the church down the road and they are singing and dancing, "Praise Jesus"! Good times.We know we can leave the Course and there is no punishment or retaliation from God or man. Sometimes someone will say with a small grin, "If your not in pain your not doing the Course right".

I don't know the answer, but I have some suspicions about what is going on. It is something that has happened twice in my life and without question has happened to you. Somewhere, sometime, if you remember back there is a good chance you will remember. Someone or something touched your forehead with their finger. You never felt it but looking back there is the sense you were anointed. Your path was set. You could always turn away but you would never find peace but on the path.

I have quit the Course for ever and ever many times. Often I would make a big production of it on the blog. I thrash about for a time, lick my wounds and come shuffling back.
will said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
will said…
I was being kind of flip there.The truth is this question weighs on me. Through no intent on his part, when Wapnick talked about it he left no wiggle room. So of course guilt jumped in and has tried to make itself at home. If we take the Course literally as Wapnick did I doubt many of us can reach that bar.

This is not a spiritual practice where we are responsible for the changes. But there is that nagging feeling we are responsible for our progress.

It is late but tomorrow I will try to find where I read the Wapnick stuff I am referring to.
ACIM Mentor said…
Will, I've come to understand what we call "laziness" as:

1) A lack of real motivation. One does not want it, so one is not motivated to work for it. Perhaps they took on the job or interest because they thought they "should".

2) Depression. This applies more to someone who is unmotivated, or "lazy" in general, rather than just in a specific instance.

Having my head in the clouds?

Yes, I liked cleaning houses because it left my mind free to have conversations with the HS about my confusion over ACIM or anything else.
will said…
You left the Course for a period. Could you briefly talk about that again?
will said…
It is the nature of the personal mind when dealing with spiritual things to do nothing but wait to be transported to the goal.
laurie said…
Will, sometimes when you delete your comment (at the behest of the ego no doubt) it makes what follows unintelligible. Liz's response seems apropos of nothing in this exchange.

I'm just sayin'....
will said…
Laurie, I was concerned about what I wrote was too personal. I can't imagine what she said that was unintelligible enough to have you write the comment but I will take it in good faith as a helpful hint.

will said…
Laurie, If you will tell me what was unintelligible I will try to give you the context so it makes sense.
will said…
I think there may be a misunderstanding about what the Course is teaching about the ego. I think many times there is difficulty separating our past understanding of the ego in psychiatric terms and what is being taught in the Course.
ACIM Mentor said…
I wrote this last night in response to Will's request, but for some reason it didn't post. It was still in my email, however...a mystery...

In the late 90s I realized ACIM had been sitting on my bedside table gathering dust for months. I had no interest at all in opening it. I had no interest at all in anything spiritual. It was baffling to me, because my entire adulthood had been defined by my spiritual path until then. (I began ACIM in 1984 at 20 years of age). But I couldn't force an interest I no longer had, so I put the books on my bookshelf.

For the next two years the only thing "spiritual" I did was read a modern English version of the Bible. But that did not feel at all spiritual to me. More like an intellectual exercise. It took me a year.

Then I entered life coach training and they said to look for our natural communities in which to market ourselves. Well, I had never been a social person. The only ones I could think of were the gay community and the ACIM community. So I picked up ACIM again to get back into a community to market myself. And lo and behold! My life did a 180. ACIM was back to center and I knew I would never leave off on my spiritual path again. Life coaching took a backseat for the next 6 years.

Moreover, my reading of ACIM was completely different. I realized I could no longer hold my spiritual experiences (higher miracles and direct Revelation) at bay as I read it. I would only understand it through those experiences. And suddenly instead of understanding ACIM here and there I understood how every part fit with every other part! I had the whole thing. I was so excited that when I finished reading the Text I read it through again to "test" my new way of reading it and it held up.

I did not understand this stage until much later. I had been locked into my reading of ACIM through guilt and I needed to step away so I could forget how I read it and come back to it with an open mind.

This experience where a life-long interest I had seemed to drop away completely only to come back "purified" happened to me in another area later in life, too. Again, you just never know how it will unfold. You've got to trust where you are right now is part of the path.
George Fordham said…
The Complete and Annotated Edition by Robert Perry ( The Circle of Atonement ) is a "must buy " even if only as a reference book.All that deleted 45000 words plus so much commentary is a revelation, a totally new view of ACIM. Thanks, Liz, for all the helpful insight that you always give us.
Deb said…
It seems sometimes I don't always recognize the questions on my heart and then I come here in the Hereness and the answer. Thank you Will for asking and Liz for the answer. Even guilt can hide as dust coating a blue (or purple) book sitting on a side table.

Something was ignited within and then I read Marianne Williamson is running for US President 2020. I had her book The Healing of America in my hands yesterday and somehow it's the same igniting.

Beautiful Blessing!
will said…
I keep thinking about it. I won't use time, I'll try commitment. How much commitment, mental and emotional commitment is needed to make this Course work? Saying it like that feels odd. But those are the words describing the thought (for me tonight). When you get thoughts out in front of you where you can see them, they very often change into something else. Something different than what was rattling around in your head. These are not easy questions to voice. You leave yourself wide open for a person to take a shot at you. But they are real and important. Warnock thought so. Jesus does think so. Remember rigorous honesty? Doing a self assessment with rigorous honesty? No guilt. We just look for improvement.
will said…
Wapnick sp.This kindle fire will change spellings on you after you hit publish unless you have everything set just right. It will fight you on words like Wapnick (Wornick, Wornock).
will said…
I'm not preaching, ha! Reading over what I wrote very often reads different after I hit the publish button. In 12 Step, these things such as "rigorous honesty, self assessment", are a foundation of those programs. After years they become a part of you. An addicted person wouldn't know rigorous honesty if it was the size of a barn and he walked into it head on. I know. You get warped out there partying.

Here is something else to consider. If you are addicted (and you do know if you are), trying to do a spiritual program becomes problematic. The honesty and enthusiasm when high just doesn't carry over to your sober moments.
will said…
You make a commitment when you make an appointment to go to the dentist to have a tooth pulled.
You make a commitment when you find the one you want to spend your life with. A commitment to win that person over.
If you try to win the love of your life with the same commitment you have to the dentist you make a commitment to remaining single.

The Course has goals too. They are a little different. You can't really see or touch them. They are about faith. Faith is tricky. There is a desire to meet your spiritual goals but no real sense where that desire is originating from. Liz lost her conscious desire for a period, then it returned. That makes it seem like the desire is not in our control.

What do we do with this situation? When we don't feel the desire for God we once felt we feel guilty. We attribute human failing for this lack of desire, a weakness in ourselves when we just decided desire isn't in our control! So what do we do?
will said…
It seems to me this conundrum is leading towards surrender. We are caught in a place with no real solution under our control. When we surrender to God in our powerlessness and hopelessness we open the door to the Holy Spirit and to the love of God and of Jesus. Suddenly it is all so simple! We need do nothing, but surrender to Grace. Surrender to that deeply sublime feeling of spiritual powerlessness.
will said…
A Course In Miracles calls Surrender, Forgiveness. Forgiveness is about letting go. It is a letting go through the Grace of God, through the Holy Spirit. We Surrender our mistaken power to the power of the Holy Spirit who guides us in this state to the Knowledge and Experience of Forgiveness.
will said…
The Slipstream

We are told in ACIM that we do not confront the ego. When we see it coming towards us we simply step aside and walk on by.

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit transmits its Grace through people. As we progress in the Course the Holy Spirit can increasingly use us as a conduit to others. Opening ourselves to this is not about Will or Jane or Mary. We are just a pipeline to be used. A conduit.

The Course would have us step aside from our relationship with the ego. The less ego involvement the clearer and stronger the Grace of God can flow.

The person, the ego that was formerly "Liz" is gone. From what Jesus is teaching us, the person without an ego can be used by the Holy Spirit in a very strong way. The Holy Spirit's Grace moving through can be thought of as a slipstream.

We can step into that slipstream and be a recipient of it by stepping aside from the ego thought "Liz" when it comes towards us and instead focus on what Jesus taught us in the Course. Just visualize entering the trail of a shooting star and you are there. It was given as a gift. Accept it as such and use it.
will said…
Ramblin’ on…

Some nights, like tonight, I’m a little tired and the personal mind starts acting up. It drug out one of its favorite fear thoughts and since I’m tired I can feel the angst in my chest. ‘The person formerly known as Liz’:) writes off and on that things will come to bother her and they aren’t a big deal and she just waits for a while and they go on their way. Waits for them to go home, I guess. I have taken to writing (obviously).

I will tell you what happened just before I got up and came in my office here at home. My chest hurt as I said. I had been trying to push the fear away but it wasn’t moving so I tried to ignore it and that wasn’t working either, so I tried to keep busy and more of the same. So, I turned the lights down low and sat in my chair and closed my eyes.

The slipstream came to mind right off. I’m pretty visual and there are always images moving through my mind. I was picturing diving into the slipstream as the tail of a shooting star. At first the slipstream was just a whole bunch of silver stars like we used to get on our homework in elementary school. They were flashing and glittering and I was right in the middle of them. Then the tail became like a huge sparkler, like the kind you get on the fourth of July, only massive:) Ha! All these sparkles flashing off and on. Then it turned into a combination of the school stars and the sparkler! Cool. Wish you were here...
will
will said…
Some more ramblin’…

So, I went back into the living room and turned on a movie. The old distraction trick. Not a bad movie, good cast but I just couldn’t watch it. I turned off the lights to talk with Jesus and meditate. As in so much of this week’s blog I said to Jesus, “I am tired of it (ego). Please just remove it.” I tried to stop thinking and just see what developed.

Out of the blue comes memories from 30 years ago. I was working in a mental health center but also going to my own counseling outside the center. The psychiatrist I was seeing I knew fairly well, a good guy. He asked me if I would like to try an experimental therapy that was showing very promising results. I said sure. He talked with me about feelings and emotions.

He said emotions are the brains reaction to physical stimuli. For example, with fear the heart starts beating faster, our mouth is dry and we feel our muscles tense up. The brains reaction to the changes in the body are called “emotions”. When the brain becomes aware of the emotions, we have feelings. Anyway, all this is going on at light speed (practically) so there is not a process we are initially aware of. The brain processes all these goings on and it says “fear”. For our purposes this is where the ego kicks in and shows us whatever it wants to. Often it will be about a recent event. Of course there are the emotions we usually attribute to everything. You see a bear coming at you and you feel fear. Kind of the opposite.

The therapy I was to do involved staring into his eyes without breaking away. I have forgotten the internal process that goes on but after ten seconds or so it becomes very uncomfortable to stare into this person eyes. You can feel your body jerking inside as the mind tries to escape this process. I think that was the purpose of it, to combine the physical with emotional… I don’t really remember.

I’m writing this because we give feelings and emotions an awful lot of power over our lives when in fact a lot of it has nothing to do with anything except the body reacting to some subconscious thought. We of course label our feelings right away and often point the finger at someone or something for making us feel that way. And around and around we go over something that has nothing to do with any of it…

This is clearly what is happening to me tonight.
will said…
It’s all very strange. We know what the Course says about the dream, about the ego, that none of it is real. I don’t think it is humanly possible to go beyond an intellectual understanding of what is being taught until the Holy Spirit gives you a frame of reference. A bunch of egos wrestling with ACIM:)

Think about this. We know how much of our lives are run on emotions. Very serious decisions are made, a self-concept is developed, we react to life and the people in it from emotions. Not all of if of course, but a fair share. Personal relationships are almost entirely based on feelings. So many of these feelings and emotions have nothing to do with anything other than how our body is doing at a particular moment. Women in their monthly cycle are well aware of this.

I guess I just needed to get this down and out in front of me so I could see it.
nicci said…
Liz,
what is the source of your opening paragraph: E. St. A?
n
ACIM Mentor said…
Nicci, E St. A is a reader who asked the question and he was quoting Aldous Huxley.
E St. A said…
I didn’t expect my question and your answer to provoke such a response. However do you remember the quote I sent you from ACIM after you responded to me directly? “Do not trust your good intentions; they are not enough. But trust completely your willingness to experience the Holy Instant, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this and do not be disturbed by the thoughts of the personal mind which surround it.” I think it is very appropriate.
nicci said…
E St. A,

i thought perhaps liz was quoting from a published source somewhere, and was going to look into locating it.

thank you for your question. your description of the distraction/attention dynamic following huxley's quote, liz's response, and your follow-up lines from ACIM in the preceding comment are entirely relevant for where i appear to be on this path. i am deeply grateful for the direction being given me through these communications.

endless Love, n

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