Coming Apart at the “Seems”

A Course in Miracles tells us that everything we think we see is an illusion.  It says there is no world, there are no bodies, and life as we know it is merely a dream.  Grasping this intellectually is the first gulp. After we swallow, we still need to digest this sublime wisdom.

One simple and effective way of digesting this is what I call coming apart at the “seems,” a play on “coming apart at the seams.”  It’s a spiritual way of falling apart which, paradoxically, reveals that you actually have it Together.

Who we areLet’s look at several instances of “seems” from the Course:

In Lesson 6: I am upset because I see something that is not there, we are told, “Today’s idea is useful for application to anything that seems* to upset you, and can profitably be used throughout the day for that purpose.”

Lesson 8 gives us a practice, “I seem to be thinking about [name of a person], about [name of an object], about [name of an emotion]. But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.”  Lesson 9 calmly points out, “It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems* to picture is not there.”

In Chapter 31 we read, “Whatever form temptation seems* to take, it always but reflects a wish to be a self that you are not.”

Lesson 68: Love holds no grievances, begins with this:  “You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems* to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him.”

After practicing Course principles for some time, my language changed to include the word “seems” on a regular basis.  It was the outcome of mind training.  For example, I would tell myself,

“I seem to be upset that my phone bill is outrageously high!”

“I seem to be angry that my yoga practice seems to keep throwing my back out.”

“The hurricane warnings seem to be scaring me because I still haven’t gotten flood insurance.”

“I seem to be a person and my body seems to have a stomach ache.”

“The world seems very real and the atrocities occurring in it seem highly disturbing.”

This one word “seems” had a potent ability to tune me in to my Inner Teacher.  “Seems” changed everything.  “Seems” slowed my thought process down and provided holy instants of illumination.  Light streamed through the reasons I thought I was upset and unveiled that I’m never upset for the reason I think (see Lesson 5).  “Seems” allowed me to see that I was defaulting to the ego as my teacher.  Then it became easy to choose again–choose the memory of God within me (the Holy Spirit) as my Guide.

In Chapter 5, Jesus tells us, “The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.”  You and I do not have to undo anything. We can leave undoing to the Holy Spirit. But we do have to choose to follow His Guidance.

open head w mechanical parts“Undoing” means uprooting the ego thought system.  This naturally leads to seeing through ego illusions to the Truth.  The ego thought system thrives on holding grievances. We do not have to try not to hold grievances. We simply need to become aware that we have chosen a “grievance” state of mind.  Once we realize that we are the dreamer of the ego dream of separation, and that grievances, guilt, fear, and punishment perpetuate the dream, then we can choose another teacher, the Holy Spirit, to undo our attachment to grievances.

Coming apart at the “seems,” for me, is the Holy Spirit’s undoing of “Amy.” Several years ago it came to me that I was thinning away, like the heel of a threadbare sock. The Course puts it this way:

“By focusing on the good in him, the body grows decreasingly persistent in your sight, and will at length be seen as little more than just a shadow circling round the good.” (T-31.VII.3:3)

This is one of the happy outcomes of coming apart at the seams. As Shawn Colvin sings in her song, Round of Blues, “it’s a new breakthrough, it’s an old breakdown.” If you’re sick and tired of your old breakdown, let’s have a new breakthrough together by coming apart at the “seems” :)   To the ego this is terrifying, but when you allow yourself to move your attention from the ego to the Holy Spirit, you find merciful detachment from this convincing, but false, terror.  Freedom awaits.

A Course in Miracles gives us concrete tools to apply to this seemingly material world while we believe we’re in it.  If you’re ready to join me in coming apart at the “seems,” please feel free to insert “seems” into every situation and emotion in your life that seems to be upsetting you.  And let me know how it goes.  I’d love to hear from you.

*Emphasis mine

You may also enjoy How to Take Yourself Less Personally.  If you need help practicing the Workbook lessons from A Course in Miracles, sign up for my online class, Workin’ the Workbook.

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

A Clean Slate 2016

It’s the first day of a new year — a clean slate.  clean slate with eraser

A clean slate is full of promise … and can be daunting, especially if you have tried and failed in the past.  So let’s apply the Course principle that there is no past, right now. Interestingly, the past and feeling guilty go hand in hand.

If you are willing to reassess a past failure as a worthy attempt, your heart is uplifted rather than downcast.  When your heart lifts, the chains of time are momentarily undone and the holy instant purifies your mind as you enjoy a glimpse of Heaven.  Maybe you have not paid enough attention when your heart lifts. Here’s your chance.

Say aloud, “On this clean slate let my true function be written for me.” and take a full inhale and exhale.  If your heart lifts, breathe through that feeling, enjoying it fully.  This connects you with your Inner Teacher, the Holy Spirit, the bridge to God.

If your heart sinks, know that you are feeling guilty in some way, and allow yourself to know more about what this sinking feeling represents. Don’t avoid it — plumb the depths with your trusty partner, the Holy Spirit, your Friend and Comforter.

As you become aware of the upsetting, disturbing, enraging, terrifying, shameful and destructive thoughts and feelings that result in your downcast heart, give them to the Holy Spirit.  Have a conversation with Him/Her.  Report your thoughts and describe your feelings aloud, giving each one to your Friend, your Inner Light, which cannot help but shine away inner darkness if you expose it in this way.

Now 2016 is truly a clean slate!

The phrase “a clean slate” is used in the audacious Lesson 65: My only function is the one God gave me.  Lesson 65 “offers you escape from all your perceived difficulties. It places the key to the door of peace, which you have closed upon yourself, in your own hands. It gives you the answer to all the searching you have done since time began.”

We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, if you began the Workbook on Lesson 1 today. But the truth is, any lesson can take you all the way Home if you surrender to it fully. That’s why I sometimes refer to every lesson as “Lesson One” because essentially they are all the same.

Happy Clean Slate!

Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Ask Amy: Forgiving Others Is Forgiving Yourself

Guy QuestionQ:  I have prayed and prayed but find it very hard to forgive my family for what they did to me including abandonment, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Can you please help me understand how forgiving others is forgiving myself?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  A Course in Miracles provides tremendous relief for its students because it relieves us of the burden of forgiving. As you have seen for yourself, sometimes our most sincere efforts still do not work. The missing link is your relationship with your Inner Teacher, also called the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness arises as you cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit because it is His job to undo our errors. “The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.” (T-5). When you place yourself in the Holy Spirit’s Hands, He purifies you by removing everything that is not-Love, and therefore only Love remains.

Your job is to practice forgiveness the way Jesus directs in ACIM. The Course teaches that forgiveness is not given by one person to another (or to yourself).  Forgiveness is the practice of giving. When you give everything, your whole life, to the Holy Spirit, you empty yourself of all resentments, wounds, grievances, sins and suffering. Then you are a clean slate. On this clean slate, the Word of God is written: Love.

Jesus sets the standard when it comes to forgiveness: “Condemn and you are made a prisoner. Forgive and you are freed.” (W-198) In case you are tempted to believe that Jesus is better than you, he is also very clear that, “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain.” (T-1)

If we did not feel like victims, we would see everybody who hurts us as terrified and in need of love (including ourselves). That’s how Jesus saw his persecutors. In Chapter 2, Jesus explains, “The statement, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’ in no way evaluates what they do. It is an appeal to God to heal their minds. There is no reference to the outcome of the error. That does not matter.” In Jesus’ case the outcome was torture and murder and it does not matter. “The message of the crucifixion,” says Jesus, “is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are.” (T-6)

Bodies can be physically injured. Egos can be psychologically injured. But Spirit, being Love, does not harm Itself.  Forgiveness is a mind-healing. This mind-healing can be attained no matter what situation you are in because no one can imprison your mind. You can allow your mind to be intimidated and manipulated until you learn you have the choice to turn your mind over to the Holy Spirit. Then, oppression ends. You reclaim your mind.

Jesus guides us, “… the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything.” Even Jesus was forgiven by God. Forgiven in this context means undone. In this undoing is the discovery that you are not human, you are Being. Then, the rest of your days on earth are heavenly, for you spend them being a conduit for God’s Love.

For more on this topic, watch

and read Five Steps to Cultivating Your Relationship with the Holy Spirit

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the Nov-Dec 2015 issue of Miracles magazine.  Miracles is a well-loved staple in the ACIM community.  For a subscription, email Jon@miraclesmagazine.org or call 845-496-9089.  To ask Amy a question, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

W-365: This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, certain that Your direction gives me peace.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Aummmmmm …

LESSON 365

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge.  For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me.  If I need a thought, that will He also give.  And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him.  He is in charge by my request.  And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

 

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.  

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

W-364: This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, certain that Your direction gives me peace.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

My heart flutters like a small bird in my chest … hope, anticipation, release!  First, a feeling of being held tenderly in my Father’s Hand.  Then … as I settle and feel safe … His Hand opens and … I am released without being let go … God’s Extension is total freedom and complete unity simultaneously.

LESSON 364

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge.  For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me.  If I need a thought, that will He also give.  And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him.  He is in charge by my request.  And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

 

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.  

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

W-363: This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, certain that Your direction gives me peace.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

My heart eases reading these words and entering the Stillness by doing nothing.  In my willingness to follow and to receive, comes  a shift from noticing a heartbeat within my own chest to being One with the Cosmic Heart.

LESSON 363

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge.  For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me.  If I need a thought, that will He also give.  And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him.  He is in charge by my request.  And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

 

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.  

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

W-362: This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, certain that Your direction gives me peace.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

The Holy Spirit is in charge by my request.  From Chapter 16:

I am not alone, and I would not intrude the past upon my Guest.
I have invited Him, and He is here.
I need do nothing except not to interfere.

… Certain that Your direction gives me peace …

LESSON 362

This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge.  For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me.  If I need a thought, that will He also give.  And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him.  He is in charge by my request.  And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

 

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.  

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

W-361: This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, certain that Your direction gives me peace.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

This holy instant would I give to You, Holy Spirit.  Be You in charge.  I place myself in Your Hands, certain that following You gives me Peace.

LESSON 361

This holy instant do I give to You.
Be You in charge.  For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me.  If I need a thought, that will He also give.  And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him.  He is in charge by my request.  And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

 

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.  

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

FINAL LESSONS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG8zmXR4xi4

Introduction

Our final lessons will be  left as free of words as possible.  We use them but at the beginning of our practicing, and only to remind us that we seek to go beyond them.  Let us turn to Him Who leads the way and makes our footsteps sure.  To Him we leave these lessons, as to Him we give our lives henceforth.  For we would not return again to the belief in sin that made the world seem ugly and unsafe, attacking and destroying, dangerous in all its ways, and treacherous beyond the hope of trust and the escape from pain.

His is the only way to find the peace that God has given us. It is His way that everyone must travel in the end, because it is this ending God Himself appointed. In the dream of time it seems to be far off. And yet, in truth, it is already here; already serving us as gracious guidance in the way to go. Let us together follow in the way that truth points out to us. And let us be the leaders of our many brothers who are seeking for the way, but find it not.

And to this purpose let us dedicate our minds, directing all our thoughts to serve the function of salvation. Unto us the aim is given to forgive the world. It is the goal that God has given us. It is His ending to the dream we seek, and not our own. For all that we forgive we will not fail to recognize as part of God Himself. And thus His memory is given back, completely and complete.

It is our function to remember Him on earth, as it is given us to be His Own completion in reality. So let us not forget our goal is shared, for it is that remembrance which contains the memory of God, and points the way to Him and to the Heaven of His peace. And shall we not forgive our brother, who can offer this to us? He is the way, the truth and life that shows the way to us. In him resides salvation, offered us through our forgiveness, given unto him.

We will not end this year without the gift our Father promised to His holy Son. We are forgiven now. And we are saved from all the wrath we thought belonged to God, and found it was a dream. We are restored to sanity, in which we understand that anger is insane, attack is mad, and vengeance merely foolish fantasy. We have been saved from wrath because we learned we were mistaken. Nothing more than that. And is a father angry at his son because he failed to understand the truth?

We come in honesty to God and say we did not understand, and ask Him to help us to learn His lessons, through the Voice of His Own Teacher. Would He hurt His Son? Or would He rush to answer him, and say, “This is My Son, and all I have is his”? Be certain He will answer thus, for these are His Own words to you. And more than that can no one ever have, for in these words is all there is, and all that there will be throughout all time and in eternity.

LESSONS 361 – 365

This holy instant do I give to You.
Be You in charge.  For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me.  If I need a thought, that will He also give.  And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him.  He is in charge by my request.  And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.

 

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.  

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

W-360: Peace be to me, the holy Son of God. Peace to my brother, who is one with me. Let all the world be blessed with peace through us.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

The Great Rays remain forever still and undisturbed within me.  Reaching inside in silence and in certainty, Peace is right Here … Holy, Holy, Holy Innocent Peace … Amen.

LESSON 360

Peace be to me, the holy Son of God.
Peace to my brother, who is one with me.
Let all the world be blessed with peace through us.

 Father, it is Your peace that I would give, receiving it of You.  I am Your Son, forever just as You created me, for the Great Rays remain forever still and undisturbed within me.  I would reach to them in silence and in certainty, for nowhere else can certainty be found.  Peace be to me, and peace to all the world.  In holiness were we created, and in holiness do we remain.  You Son is like to You in perfect sinlessness.  And with this thought we gladly say “Amen.”

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.  

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.