Giving Thanks to You!

Thank you for receiving my Light,
and reflecting this Light back to me.

thank you beach

“When a mind has only light,
it knows only light.

Its own radiance shines all around it,
and extends out into the darkness of other minds,
transforming them into majesty.

The Majesty of God is there,
for you to recognize and appreciate and know.

Recognizing the Majesty of God as your brother
is to accept your own inheritance.

God gives only equally.
If you recognize His gift in anyone,
you have acknowledged what He has given you.

Nothing is so easy to recognize as truth.
This is the recognition that is immediate, clear and natural.”
(T-7.XI.5)

For me, every day is Thanksgiving.  I don’t equate giving thanks one day a year based on a very short-lived respite between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth Plantation in 1621 with real gratitude.

True thanks is the immediate, clear and natural response when your only purpose is choosing to see the Light in others, no matter what their personality or behavior.  Admittedly, for most of us, Thanksgiving does provide ample opportunities to practice applying this truth 😉

Let me know how seeing the Light in your brothers goes this holiday.  Email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com.

To receive my free e-newsletter as a beacon of Light in your inbox, just put your contact info in the “Join my email list” box — above and to the right.


Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Amy

 

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Related essays: Is Thanksgiving Necessary?, Giving ThanksReceiving Is Giving, and Admitting I Felt Ungrateful Released Me

The Irresistible Attraction of Love for Love

Rest assured that the irresistible attraction of love for love is the strongest power within you. Whether you are in touch with it right now, or not, it will emerge eventually and restore your connection with God.

Chapter 12 of the ACIM Text is called The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum, and in it Jesus tells us, “When you want only love you will see nothing else.”

love light_Are you able to feel love for yourself?  Many, many people are self-critical and believe that self-love is conceited and selfish.  If this describes you, please know that chronic self-criticism is not helping you become a better person, achieve humility, or be selfless.

You may also have noticed that you seem to be in relationships with blamers, that is, people who blame you for everything.  Self-critical people and blamers fit together like hand in glove.  Often, the one who is blamed agrees that they are guilty of having done something wrong, yet, there is also an underlying feeling of injustice.

victim attackerYou may recognize the self-blamer and the blamer within yourself.  This is because the ego is a contradictory, paradoxical thought system which has made you the victim of yourself.  The way this works is that the ego keeps us endlessly distracted by two choices: victim or attacker.  Usually, you will identify with one more than the other — notice if you usually feel attacked or the victim of attack.  The ego has had great success with mesmerizing us with these two choices, however, eventually, it becomes clear that there is a third choice, a better way.

The third choice is unified love — no victim/no attacker.  The ego paradigm of guilt, punishment and death melts stairway to heaven exit rightaway as you see through the ego dream state to the One Self you truly are.  This can occur over many years of mind-shifting as your spiritual path builds conviction within you.  There can be significant spiritual experiences along the way which are best used to confirm that you are on The Path, following your Inner Teacher Home.

The One Self  appears to be many, in conflict, and, occasionally in love, but unaware that these billions of people on earth are all versions of Itself in diverse costumes.  When you want only love, you “get it” that the abused “you” is also the abuser “you” and there is a holy instant of release as you rise above the battleground and allow a miraculous shift in perception from eyesight to Vision, from image-making to Formless LoveLight.

Trump CardThis timeless, formless LoveLight is your God-Self.  The mighty magnetism of your God-Self is constantly attracting you to Love.  As powerful as belief in the ego is, it cannot come close to trumping the Love which is your true inner Self.

Nothing external is true.  No interpretations or judgments are true.  Death is not true.  Shapes and forms come and go in the shadowy dream world the ego has been calling real life, but the brilliant Light within you dissolves all that nonsense instantly — when you want only love.  Love is all-inclusive.  Treasured wounds and righteousness about enemies are seen as two sides of one coin … and the coin disappears back into the no-thingness from which it came.

Begin where you are at.  Lesson 153, In my defenselessness my safety lies, impacted my personal relationships so powerfully that I was freed from many terrors and weaknesses as I practiced it.  Something that helps that profoundly is easily embraced for years and years, until the original relationship with the Holy Spirit, your Inner Self, is re-discovered.

You can also try Lesson 153 for yourself. Or use any lesson or concept from A Course in Miracles that resonates with you as a mental touchstone to guide you back to timeless love, effortless joy and inner peace.  I often used phrases from the Text in exactly the same way as workbook lessons.  Trust your Inner Self, the Holy Spirit.  Then you will find that the irresistible attraction of love for love is a tidal wave of clarity, well-being and embrace of the Impersonal Self you can never abandon and which never abandons You.

Click here for a free companion piece on what to do when you have an Extra-Strength Ego.

 

Ask Amy: Are You Spiritually Sponge-able?

Q: Can you explain more about how we need to use the body to undo our belief in the body?

A:  Spiritual sponge-ability is a whole new way of using your body.

Stay with me: sponges are porous and absorbent.  The spiritual law “giving is receiving” only works if you are also able to receive.

You must be able to sponge in God’s Love if you want a loving life.  Ask yourself:

  • Is your heart porous, in the sense that you’re able to receive and accept love?
  • Are your lungs porous? Are you able to inhale and exhale fully, enjoying the sensuality of your breath?
  • Are your muscles and interconnective tissue porous?  Can you feel energy humming and tingling through your torso?
  • Is your brain porous?  Is possible for you to allow your eyes to soften and melt back into your head, releasing your brain to float softly within your skull?

A Course in Miracles tells us, “…all sickness is mental illness….”*  So it is the mind which must be healed.  However, while you believe you are the body, Jesus advises that you ask the Holy Spirit to use the body for Her** divine purpose. This choice is crucial to your happiness, peace of mind, and ongoing sense of well being.

Up until now, you have probably been experiencing your body as flesh and blood — dense, contracted, possibly pain-riddled, and almost always not looking as good as you would like. You physically experience guilty feelings, heartache and body tension (often in the form of headaches and upper body pain such as TMJ, neck and shoulder tension, etc).

Probably no one has told you what the body feels like when it is free of excess tension, and is a free-flowing extension of God’s Will.  What does this mean?  When you allow the Holy Spirit to use the body for Her purpose you become a conduit for miracles. In other words, your body is experienced as an energetic transmitter of Loving Light.  God’s wisdom (you could say “good vibrations” or “energy”) runs through your body using it like a clear instrument. Your body becomes a hollow flute for God to play with His Fingers.

If you are sponge-able, you allow yourself to receive God’s formless, timeless Love, and then you effortlessly give that Love through your natural radiance.

If you are not sponge-able, you can give, give, give to the people around you and it’s still ego-driven. Giving without sponge-ability (the ability to receive) is just another form of ego control.

Sponge-ability connects your will with God’s Will.  You are illuminated with His Great Light, absorbing and squeezing out (to stick with our sponge metaphor) the radiant Great Rays that Great Light creates.

 

*ACIM supplement: Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice.

**I’m using the Divine Feminine to refer to the Holy Spirit, as modeled in the Hebrew version of ACIM (read Shekinah, Divine Feminine and the Holy Spirit).

Check out my series: How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You and http://facebook.com/acimbodyimage

Ask Amy: I Don’t Want to Reincarnate

Q: I think it’s likely that I will reincarnate because I have a lot of baggage and don’t see it getting all sorted out in this lifetime. Can you help me deal with the fear I have that I will reincarnate? I don’t want to come back here again, it’s been so painful and difficult.

A: There’s a parable called, “How Many Lifetimes Will It Take?”

Briefly paraphrased, in reply to a veteran meditator’s question as to how many lifetimes he has left before Enlightenment, God shows him a tree with three leaves on it. The man is terribly distressed that he has three more lives to go.

A new meditator, overhearing this, asks God how many lives she has left. God points to a tree with thousands of leaves on it. She runs up to the tree singing, “Thank you, God! Thank you, God!” As she dances round the tree, the leaves start falling from the branches until there are none left. She reaches Enlightenment then and there.

Clearly, her faith and gratitude are immensely powerful. But how to access faith and gratitude when feeling burdened, perhaps to the point of despair?

First, you may be comforted that A Course in Miracles says this about reincarnation, “There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times.” Therefore, “In the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible.” (M-24)

But even if the above statement offers you relief from the fear of returning to a future miserable human existence, it is not a solution, right? Because you’re still saddled with all the baggage that is too much to sort out in this lifetime. Jesus calls this our “personal repertory of horrors.” (W-14)

Guilt holds the ego in place like cement until we entertain the possibility that we can forgive and be forgiven. The way out of suffering is to investigate your suffering with Spirit. Being Witnessed compassionately is the antidote for fear, which thrives in secret.

As Sri Mooji says, “Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you. It will only burn what you are not.”

Second, sometimes anger can be redirected as a positive tool for overcoming fear. Rather than feeling hostile towards others, or beating yourself up, point the fire energy of anger at fear. You will gain some distance and detachment from fear; you will learn to tolerate feeling fear and yet carry on.

Best of all, you will assign new meaning to fear: it can be used as an alarm clock, alerting you each time you choose ego, and inviting you to choose again. Look within. Ask for Help. Listen, even briefly, for Guidance. Notice what happens. Read Physicians’ Untold Stories by Scott J. Kolbaba, MD to help you recognize the signs and signals you are being given.

Third, read and practice Lesson 14 in the ACIM Workbook.

Fourth, read Chapter 15, The Holy Instant, where Jesus acknowledges, “How bleak and despairing is the ego’s use of time! And how terrifying!” (T-15.I.6:1-2) and gives us an alternative:

“Begin to practice the Holy Spirit’s use of time as a teaching aid to happiness and peace. Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time. Nothing can reach you here out of the past, and it is here that you are completed absolved, completely free and wholly without condemnation. From this holy instant wherein holiness was born again you will go forth in time without fear….”

Follow these four steps and experience your faith strengthening, your gratitude increasing, and all dread dissolving in the light of Truth.

 

Receiving Is Giving

It used to be easier for me to give than to receive. There were rewards for giving. People were happy when I gave them what they wanted–be it a cup of tea, a comforting hug, a pep talk, some sympathy, money, loaning my car, etc. And I felt needed, useful.

However, after studying A Course in Miracles for a while (along with 12-step work and psychotherapy), I began to realize that giving on human terms was supporting conditional love rather than unconditional love. It was also enabling me to maintain control rather than developing faith in relying on my Inner Teacher.

“The bringer of miracles has need that you receive them first, and thus become the joyous giver of what you have received.” W-192

In the above quote, the “bringer of miracles” refers to the Holy Spirit, your Inner Teacher. Miracle principle #5, at the very beginning of the Text, states that miracles “should be involuntary. They should not be under conscious control.”  This is because miracles are being channeled through you by the Holy Spirit when you open to His joyous guidance.

As long as you select and direct who you love, who you are nice to, who you are generous with, who you pray for and what kind of healing you want, you are allowing the ego to play god instead of relaxing into God’s plan for salvation. God’s plan is communicated to you and through you when you allow yourself to receive the Love, Peace and Joy which is your true nature by opening as a clear conduit for miracles.

You cannot do this if you are constantly giving.  Constant giving is controlling and lacks humility.  It is busy egoic action and ultimately remains divisive and limiting.  You must open to receive what the Holy Spirit has to give you with no agenda whatsoever.  This is the path to an ongoing flow of miracles.  And remember, miracles are not for human gratification.  The purpose of miracles is to remind you of Who you really are–Spirit.

Listen to Corinne Zupko interview me on “Receiving Is Giving” (scroll down to the bottom right side for the 2014, 2015, 2016 Conference Bundle).

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Other Thanksgiving essays: Is Thanksgiving Necessary?, Giving Thanks to You, Giving Thanks and Admitting I Felt Ungrateful Released Me

Ask Amy: Is ACIM a Self-Study Course?

Q: Ever since I began reading A Course in Miracles, teachers and students have been saying that ACIM is a self-study course. This doesn’t feel right to me. I mean, the Course is all about practicing forgiveness which involves other people! What do you think?

A: Well, let’s start with the meaning of “self-study.” According to dictionary.com, “self-study” means “the study of something by oneself, as through books, etc., without direct supervision or attendance in a class.”

Consider this: you cannot learn what A Course in Miracles has to offer without direct supervision! If you, as a person, try to absorb ACIM, it won’t stick — like grease repelled by Teflon. Your entire purpose, as an ego-mind, is NOT to understand what the Course is teaching. The ego finds A Course in Miracles repellent.

“This course has explicitly stated that its goal for you is happiness and peace. Yet you are afraid of it. You have been told again and again that it will set you free, yet you sometimes react as if it is trying to imprison you. You often dismiss it more readily than you dismiss the ego’s thought system. To some extent, then, you must believe that by not learning the course you are protecting yourself.” (T-13.II.7)

So, if you want to benefit from ACIM, you must accept direct supervision.

Now, let’s breakdown the word “supervision.” Super. Vision. Hmm, who has super vision?

“The opposite of seeing through the body’s eyes is the vision of Christ, which reflects strength rather than weakness, unity rather than separation, and love rather than fear.” (Preface, What It Says.10:1)

In case you haven’t caught on yet, your Direct Supervisor is the Holy Spirit.

To “self-study” (take note of the lower case “s” in “self-study”) the Course, is, literally, not to study the Course. In fact, ACIM does not require study at all! What Jesus asks of you is to be willing to request spiritual guidance from One Who Knows because, unlike the ego’s self-study solutions, “…the Holy Spirit’s vision is merciful and His remedy is quick.” (T-13.III.7:2)

Merely taking an intellectual approach to A Course in Miracles puts you in danger of being a good “know-it-all”: learning concepts, memorizing terminology, grasping the model of two thought systems: the ego’s and God’s, etc. This can take you only so far, because God’s Thought cannot be put into words, concepts or terminology.

If you are what I call “sponge-able,” that is, willing to read without understanding, then the Course serves as your awakening tool. The ego-mind-body-person, cannot direct the forgiveness practice that ACIM offers (relating to “others” until you see ego projection/perception for what it is and realize we are Brothers-Christ-One Sonship). As Jesus tells us, “The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.” (T-5.III.5:5)

When you are willing to follow the Holy Spirit’s Guidance you embark on a Self-study course! It becomes clear that it is not the body’s eyes that read ACIM, rather a readiness for the memory of God within has been activated and you are flowing with Grace. This results in something far better than Self-study … Self-Awareness. Can you discern the difference?

For an immediate experience of your Self right now, fill in the box to the right, “Want to know how God sees you?”

THE POWER OF A CHILD’S FAITH by Teri Hooper

This GUEST POST is written by my wise friend and colleague, Teri Hooper, author of Conscious Parenting Using A Course in Miracles. Under remarkable stress, she continues to practice the Course and

THE POWER OF A CHILD’S FAITH
FAR SURPASSES THE ABILITY OF ADULTS TO BELIEVE

A year ago I had to move my elderly mother into my home. She was no longer able to live by herself but did not want to move to an assisted living facility. In addition, my husband was diagnosed with young onset dementia at age 59. Throw in my 31 year old schizoaffective untreated uncooperative son and my home became stressful beyond measure.
I thought A Course in Miracles would help me keep my perspective through this but I found myself angry when it didn’t seem to work.
What I realized is that while I had knowledge of the Course and have studied it for years, I did not actually have FAITH in the Course. I found that I am still believing the illusion of the world.
How do I know that I am still engrained in the ego thought system? GUILT and ANGER and RESENTMENT! Just recently it dawned on me that I still felt an obligation to make sure everyone in my family is taken care of. I have been judging whether I am doing a good job of caregiving or not. I would feel anger and resentment and feel stuck with the responsibility of them all.
Silly, silly, ego. Those are ego thoughts. I just need to apply the same principles I talked about with children in my book, Conscious Parenting Using A Course in Miracles, to the adults in my family as well.
But the most important “ah ha” moment is when I realized the biggest error in perception with regards to them is my belief in the special relationship. When I make myself feel responsible for their well being, I am believing in the special relationship of them being family and being separate.
I now know that if and when the time comes that I can’t or don’t want to take care of them anymore, it is ok because this world is not what I want. They are not the bodies that my physical eyes see. I am not the body MY physical eyes see. This world is not home! Why would I feel guilty and anger and resentment for something that is not real? So silly of me.
The anger, guilt and resentment aren’t entirely gone. They still show up from time to time, but they are replaced more often than not with compassion, forgiveness, awareness, and detachment. The difference seems to be that I recognize ego feelings more quickly than before, and now find it easier to shift that perception to Truth.
My ego has made this far too complicated. I forgot to surrender my thoughts to the Holy Spirit for healing all the while thinking that the Holy Spirit is having a good chuckle at my idea that they need healing at all!

Setting A Trap for God – a unique way to understand prayer

My intuition led me to the renowned Aramaic bible scholar, Dr. Rocco Errico, as I explored the essence of sayings attributed to Jesus.  One thing led to another, and blessedly, below is the first from a series of six videos that arose out of our initial in-person conversation.

Overcoming Overwhelm — the spiritual way :)

From October 2015 through December 2016, I felt overwhelmed, energetically compressed, and in need of help. My spiritual life continued to be a beacon of light throughout this time, but I still needed some practical, yet spiritual, guidance … and the Holy Spirit always comes through (even if it seems to take longer than we would like!).  Listen to the interview below, to hear the guidance that helped me, and is sure to be useful to you, too.

Flossing and Feldenkrais: One Good Habit Can Change Everything

pink backgroundNot only does flossing do the obvious and maintain the health of my gums, but it also is one of those habits that reinforces the power of good self-care.  For many years I knew I should floss my teeth, but I didn’t.

And it was discouraging that for some reason I just couldn’t manage to cultivate this healthy habit which I knew would save me from unnecessary pain and expense down the road.  The dentist told me.  My father told me (he’d learned the hard way).  I told myself.  One day I confided to my psychotherapist that when I started flossing my teeth, my whole life would change.  It sounded kinda crazy, but I knew it was true!

One day it finally happened.  I flossed.  And then the next day I flossed.  And the next.  And I’ve pretty much been flossing since.  Did my life change?  Yes, it did.  And I’m not sure which came first, the flossing or the self-discipline, but when it finally happened, several good habits fell into place.  My confidence increased.  My self-acceptance increased.  My gums stopped bleeding 🙂  My yoga practice became more regular.  I achieved a whole new level of self-love and self-care.

Flossing was a simple, ordinary thing.  The basic practicality of it appealed to me.  Being special had been important in my home and it had created too much pressure for me.  I longed to be ordinary, enjoy ordinary pleasures and feel easy with other people.  Flossing was my practical spirituality.

So where does Feldenkrais come in?  Over the years, I’ve had many back issues and tried many healing modalities including tai chi, cranio-sacral therapy, yoga, Alexander technique, rolfing, Trager, and Feldenkrais, to name a few.  I loved them all, and Feldenkrais was particularly delicious because listening to my body was really all I was asked to do.

Frania Zins, the brilliant Feldenkrais practitioner who treated me, taught me that running my tongue around each of my teeth slowly and thoroughly would release my spine.  It was extraordinary.  I would lie on her table and while I waited for her to begin, I would trace my teeth with my tongue and feel my vertebrae lengthen as my back muscles released and relaxed.

As my back improved, I happily returned to my busy life and forgot all about Feldenkrais.  Until I added oral irrigation to my dental hygiene.  One day I went for my cleaning and the oral hygienist was fresh out of school and full of enthusiasm!  I got a big smile and a dose of love while she cleaned my teeth.  We passionately discussed oral hygiene, since I had learned long ago that it was crucial for me and rarely did I have the opportunity to relish my personal advances with someone so interested.

As we talked she recommended a little-known product called “Shower Floss” that I could get at the local Ace store.  She said it was really a waterpick that you attach to a shower head and then you could spray and splash to your heart’s content without spattering your bathroom mirror!

I ran out and got me some “Shower Floss” and to my surprise, as I ran the water carefully around each and every tooth, front and back, I felt my back completely relaxing and elongating.  Never was dental care so fully pleasurable.  Flossing had actually led me to a form of “WaKrais” (I just stole that from “Watsu” which is water shiatsu–worth another essay 🙂 ).   Now I actually look forward to “flossing”!  My back is thanking me every day.

What does flossing and Feldenkrais have to do with A Course in Miracles and “How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You”?  Combining those two had to be God-given.  What an unlikely pair.  And how perfectly they fit together.  Only my willingness to take guidance from the Holy Spirit could result in such unexpected delight.  As God’s Messenger, it is my purpose for the body is to be a clear channel for receiving and transmitting His miracles.  The miracle always heals the receiver first and then emanates through her.  Try it yourself and let me know what happens for you!

* If you liked this essay, you may enjoy others in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You.

Ask Amy: The Lessons Are Your Lifeline

Q: I really want to stick with my ACIM workbook lessons, but somehow I get interrupted, don’t follow through, and eventually just quit. This is the third time I made a commitment to do the workbook, and yet again I’m so disappointed in myself for giving up. Any ideas?

A: First of all, you’re not alone, many people fall off the wagon (giving in to ego resistance).

Rumi says, “Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving, it doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times. Come, come again, come.” Isn’t that reassuring?

For all you ACIM students who struggle with practicing the workbook lessons (you know who you are) here’s a shift in perception that may help. Rather than thinking of the lesson as something you should do, have to do, want to do but find yourself resisting, etc, throw yourself at the lesson as if you are drowning and the lesson is your lifeline!

Because, honestly, it is. Nothing is more important for your sanity than reaching for the Hand of God.

A sense of urgency will propel you towards your lesson. 

Throw your whole body into the lesson. How? Start by reaching for the book — not the lesson.  Have you ever noticed that the book, A Course in Miracles, has a comforting heft to it?  Yes, it has a weighty groundedness … paradoxical for a writing that will lift you right out of your life.

This great tome can by your physical savior as well as your spiritual savior.  So go ahead and place the book on your lap. Let it anchor you.  Feel how comforting this is.  Notice how, paradoxically, providing a physical anchor can help your mind spontaneously go quiet. Your body may disappear completely for the span of a meditative practice session.

And that will increase your natural inclination to practice, practice, practice … rather than trying to force yourself into it.

So, I strongly recommend that if you’re reading the Course from an app on your phone, laptop or computer that you switch to the BOOK.  Why?

A Course in Miracles is an object being used by Spirit to focus you on the Objectless. Take advantage of that.

Enjoy the smell of your book, the texture of the pages.  Personalize your book — give yourself permission to write and draw in it. Really make it yours. Use it, as a workbook should be used — to work and practice.

Lug it around with you. Before electronic devices, Course students carried the book around with them. Sure, some of us xerox-ed pages, or copied them into notebooks. It was revolutionary when those mini-lesson cards came out and many a back pocket crushed the day’s lesson into oblivion — mine were well worn, for sure.

But even though carrying the Course around piecemeal was more convenient, I found hugging the book to my chest while riding the subway was a perfect reminder that I was safe, and I was here to Love and Be Loved.

It’s worth repeating: the ACIM book has a heft and a weight to it that will calm and comfort you, as it lifts you up.

Bond with your book!  Make your ACIM book your shamanic touchstone.  When you don’t need it anymore, it will drop away effortlessly.  In the meantime, as long you still have emotional attachments, make the Course one of them in an overt, physical way. It’s a whole lot easier to remember to do your lesson when you love your book — and it’s staring you in the face 🙂

P.S. You can check out my ecourse, Workin’ the Workbook – it was developed to help students deepen their workbook practice and follow through!