What Is Easter, Really?

heart waterEaster, according to A Course in Miracles, is a purification of our thoughts.  Not in a sinful, guilty, watch-what-you-think way, but as a way to clear your mind.  In ACIM, Jesus offers us a mind training, which is another way of saying purification.

Lesson 151 mentions Eastertide and explains that purified thoughts lead to resurrection.  In Chapter 6, Jesus tells us, “Your resurrection is your reawakening. … rebirth itself is merely the dawning on your mind of what is already in it.  God placed it there Himself, and so it is true forever.”  As we clear the mind of false beliefs (that is, purify our thoughts), we uncover our true Identity, which is formless, infinite and eternal, without the need for crucifixion or human death. Remember, “The body neither lives nor dies, because it cannot contain you who are life.” (T-6.V.A.1:4)

Miracle principle #7 states, “Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.” Purification, in the Course, is a synonym for forgiveness. When we practice forgiveness, we discover that the Holy Spirit removes “all faith that you have placed in pain, disaster, suffering and loss.  He gives you vision which can look beyond these grim appearances, and can behold the gentle face of Christ in all of them.”  The gentle face of Christ is “the great symbol of forgiveness.” (C-3.4:5)  “Seeing” the face of Christ has to do with insight, not eyesight.  It is spiritual vision–the recognition that within, under and behind every form in the world of form lies formless Truth.

But, you have to give Him your belief in pain, disaster, suffering and loss.  This is both the purification process and the practical application of forgiveness–giving your thoughts to the Holy Spirit.  No rituals are necessary; no fasting, no self-punishing atonement.  All that is necessary is the willingness to follow Guidance, to think differently, to change your mind.  Clear directions as to how to do this are all throughout the Course, especially in the 365 lessons found in its Workbook for Students.  Helen Schucman once complained to Jesus that his course did not work!  He asked her to be honest about whether she was actually applying its principles.  Purification can only occur if we actually use the ACIM practices :)

Last but not least, let’s be clear that ACIM is a mind training–not brainwashing–program.  We chose to dream a dream of bodies and brains.  Mind training undoes the sticky attachment to the dreamer of this dream, to the ego’s hypnosis that you are a person.  Jesus says in the Course, “The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are.“  It is not the personal self that is teaching love.  It is opening the mind to God’s Thought and allowing It to move through what seems to be “you” at this point in your undoing that produces miracles by practicing forgiveness and results in recognizing Who you already are.  That is the Joyful outcome of the ACIM purification process.

Happy Easter!

water crown

Previous Easter posts from The Unlearning Classroom are:  From Crucifixion to Resurrection and It’s Easter–Time to Wake Up!

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.

Practice Should Not Be Perfect

A Course in Miracles has an entire Workbook for Students which guides us through 365 days of spiritual practice. Let’s look closely at Lesson 95 which takes particular care in describing how to practice. Once we have reached this lesson, we must be almost four months into our Workbook study. We are told that five minutes of every hour has special advantages at this stage of learning due to our human tendency to let the mind wander. Jesus knows we need mind training because we lack mental discipline. We are forgetful and distracted. So short, structured, and frequent practice periods set us up for success.

Working with Lesson 95, we are advised to use the first five minutes of each waking hour to affirm, “I am one Self, united with my Creator.” We are cultivating a state of mind in which there is no doubt that this is true, saying with all the certainty we can give, “I am one Self, united with my Creator, at one with every aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace.” Then, with eyes closed, we say, slowly and thoughtfully, letting the meaning of the words sink deeply into our mind, “I am one Self.” Repeat this several times and feel the meaning of the words penetrate and saturate the mind, “I… am… one… Self.”

We are specifically told that if we forget or are unable to do our practice not to let this be a temptation to quit. “This should… merely be recognized as what it is; a refusal to let your mistake be corrected, and an unwillingness to try again…. The Holy Spirit is not delayed in His teaching by your mistakes. He can be held back only by your unwillingness to let them go. Let us be determined… to be willing to forgive ourselves for our lapses in diligence, and our failures to follow the instructions for practicing the day’s idea…. When you fail to comply with the requirements of this course, you have merely made a mistake. This calls for correction, and for nothing else.”

The ability to tolerate our human imperfection and strengthen our allegiance to the Holy Spirit’s correction is what the Workbook practice is really all about. The practice is about choosing again-choosing God’s Guidance. The practice is about loosening our grip on the ego as savior-undoing our attachment to our personal story and treasured wounds. The practice is about developing a positive obsession with God and running eagerly to practice every hour with a sense of joy and expectancy that we will be greeted with our Father’s Love and swept into His arms joyously.

Spiritual practice, whether it’s A Course in Miracles or any other path, is about becoming Mind-full of God’s Presence all day long and through our sleeping dreams as well. It’s not about ritualistically, superstitiously, and mindlessly repeating words–but if this is the best we can do for now, that is better than mindlessly worrying and fixating over the same old problems. If we try to perfectionistically control our spiritual practice, then we’re playing God instead of accepting His Guidance. For practice to make perfect, we have to be willing to connect to God’s Will and experience His Perfection.

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.

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

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.

The First Lesson Is Humility

Before I discovered A Course in Miracles, the Sufis came into my life.  Just to name them is to do them a disservice, because there is no “ism” to Sufism. It is the all-embracing religion of Love, encompassing all religions, and all peoples, everywhere.  Even so, there are different lineages of Sufis, and my teachers stemmed from the Chishti master, Hazrat Inayat Khan. Bless his heart, Wahiduddin has been providing the world with a message a day from the master for as long as I can remember.  I love the way they interweave with ACIM.  Here is one of my favorites.

Bowl of Saki, March 13. Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:

Murshid 3Every moment of our life, if we can see wisely, contains some fault or error, and asking pardon is just like purifying the heart and washing it white. Only think of the joy of humbling yourself before God! … humbling yourself before that Spirit, that Ideal, who is the true Father and Mother, on Whose love you can always depend — it is a spark of His love which expresses itself in the earthly father and mother — and in whatever manner you humble yourself before Him, it can never be enough. To humble your limited self before His Perfection, that is to deny yourself. Self denial is not renouncing things, it is denying the self, and its first lesson is humility.

This is self-denial: that a man says, ‘I am not, Thou art;’ or that an artist looking at his picture, says, ‘It is Thy work, not mine;’ or that a musician, hearing his composition, says, ‘It is Thy creation, I do not exist.’ That soul then is in a way crucified, and through that crucifixion resurrection comes. There is not the slightest doubt that when man has had enough pain in his life he rises to this great consciousness. But it is not necessary that only pain should be the means. It is the readiness on the part of man to efface his part of consciousness and to efface his own personality, which lifts the veil that hides the spirit of God from the view of man.

As life unfolds itself to man the first lesson it teaches is humility; the first thing that comes to man’s vision is his own limitedness. The vaster God appears to him, the smaller he finds himself. This goes on and on until the moment comes when he loses himself in the vision of God.

Thank you, Wahiduddin, for Bowl of Saki! 

From the Heart, Radhika aka Amy Torres.

sufi heart 1

“Of your ego you can do nothing to save yourself or others, but of your spirit you can do everything for the salvation of both. Humility is a lesson for the ego, not for the spirit. Spirit is beyond humility, because it recognizes its radiance and gladly sheds its light everywhere. The meek shall inherit the earth because their egos are humble, and this gives them truer perception.” ~ACIM, T-4.I.12:1-4

My Interview with Ken Wapnick

RoscoeIt was leaf-peeping season in Roscoe, New York in October 2000, when I drove up to spend the weekend interviewing Ken Wapnick (in between attending his workshops) at The Foundation for A Course in Miracles on Tennanah Lake. The trees along the winding upstate roads were raining gold and burgundy leaves.

The air was crisp. Plaid woolen jackets and red hunting caps were the local fashion statement.  Along with fishing rods and wading boots.  Known as Trout Town USA, the Roscoe visitor’s guide bragged, “Come cast a line in our waters–you’ll be hooked for a lifetime!!!”  Well, I was already hooked.  Hooked on God and His Message in   A Course in Miracles.  And I felt driven to ask Ken Wapnick, the first human teacher of the Course, some questions face to face.

Today, February 22nd, is Ken’s birthday, so I thought we could celebrate by receiving some timeless insights he shared with me almost 14 years ago.

While re-reading our conversation, it struck me that Ken exhibited a constancy of good cheer, unshakable faith and generosity that are signs of God’s Mind. This quote from a section in Chapter 21 which Ken often referred to, “The Last Unanswered Question,” came to me:

“Happiness must be constant, because it is attained by giving up the wish for the inconstant. Joy cannot be perceived except through constant vision. And constant vision can be given only those who wish for constancy.” (T-21.VII.13:2-4)

Here is an excerpt from the 30-page interview that Ken was gracious enough to have with me over the course of an entire weekend in October 2000.  It was intended to be published in The Sun magazine, as a follow-up piece to Higher Learning by D. Patrick Miller, an interview he did with Ken and Gloria which appeared in Issue 231, March 1995.  For reasons I don’t really understand, my interview stayed between me and Ken … I lost the desire to publish it.  I would apologize to him about this from time to time, and he would always forgive me :D

Now the timing seems right to surface some of the material, so here goes.

Amy:  Early in the Text, we’re told purification is necessary and it is our thoughts that are being purified. And we’re also told that “This is a course in mind training.”  Can you speak about purification and mind training?  It sounds to me like choosing to be brainwashed in the nicest sense of … washing your brain.

Ken:  Washing your mind.  Purification is not a word which is used very often.  What purification really means is to undo the guilt that’s in our minds.  The guilt is the impurified part of our mind.  The impurity.  And forgiveness is what undoes that.  It has nothing to do with purification of the body.

Amy:  It’s all about forgiveness.

Ken:  It’s all about forgiveness.  That’s the great purifier.  And guilt is the impurity.

Amy:  And when we reach the state of forgiveness, what happens to us?  Do we just evaporate in a sense?

Ken:  You remain Amy, just as lovely as you are now, the only difference is that you would be happy all the time, there would be no anxiety, there would be no fear, there would be no guilt, there would be no depression, there would be no concern for anything, and you would be happy and peaceful all the time.

Amy:  But does the dream evaporate?  The dream is an illusion …

Ken:  Yes, it does.  But it doesn’t do it immediately.  The Course has the concept of the happy dream and there’s one passage that says you could not waken from the nightmare into reality because the terror would be so enormous and therefore you have to take small steps and those are the gentle, or happy, dreams of the Holy Spirit.  So, in the very end when you totally accept the Atonement, and you’ve forgiven totally, then you do awaken from the dream.   Which doesn’t mean that your body goes “poof!”  It just means that you know for certain that you are not your body.

Amy:  And then do you stop dreaming?  Do you die?

Ken:  Well, physical death has nothing to do with it.  It’s totally irrelevant.  But before you reach that point you become less anxious, less fearful, less angry, less judgmental, less guilty, etc., etc., and it’s a process.  Within the illusion of time, it’s a process.

Amy:  Does the branching of the road come before the happy dream? [The Branching of the Road is section IV in Chapter 22]

Ken:  The branching of the road, in a sense, would represent your choosing the happy dream.  When you basically make the choice, “I’m not going back this way again, and I may still be afraid of the final awakening because I would lose this individual self but I’m really making a commitment now, not to go back to my old ego’s ways but continue to look forward.”

Amy:  Does the branching of the road correspond to that part in the Course where Jesus talks about how it may seem very painful that you have to let go of relationships or habits in your life?

Ken:  Well, yes, in the sense that when you make that choice, the branching of the road, you’re really making a commitment to really let go of yourself.

Amy:  The small self?

Ken:  Yes, the small self, and that’s where the pain and fear becomes more acute because your ego recognizes that you really mean business.  I’ll be discussing that in the workshop tomorrow. [The workshop was called "The Scissors of Duality"]

Amy:  Speaking of the small self, I’ve noticed in my own life that as I have developed ego strength that I’ve been able to relinquish my ego.

Ken:  Mm hmm, yes, that’s the way it works.

Amy:  Can you talk about that a little, because it’s so paradoxical.

Ken: If the person doesn’t have ego strength it’s because there’s too much fear.  Or anxiety, or guilt, or whatever form it takes.  So how could you let go of your ego which is all about guilt and fear anyway?  Developing what psychologists refer to as ego strength is really a way of letting go of a lot of senses of inadequacy, anxiety, fear of death, etc.  That’s how it works.

Amy:  So there’s a real logic to it.

Ken:  Oh, yeah.  You can’t let go of your ego until you first have one.

Amy:  You can’t let go of your ego until you first have one.

Ken:  Yes.  And not having ego [strength] is basically autism, ultimately.  And that’s really intense fear.  Because that’s what the ego is.  Jung talks about two stages of life and the first stage is developing an ego.  And Jung said that the second stage is that every problem over the age of 35 or 40 is a spiritual problem.  What he meant was that the first part of your life is learning how to adapt to the world and how to get by in the world.  And the second part of your life you spend learning how to let all that go.  I don’t agree with a lot of what Jung said but here I think he was right.  The East says the same thing.  With men, anyway, you spend the first part of your life raising a family and having a wife, and when the children are grown you leave, and you go on your spiritual search.  The form seems a little odd to us in the West, but the idea is that you spend the first part of your life developing your ego, which really means learning how to undo a lot of fear, and that’s the first step.  The second step is, you can now take a step beyond that, and let go of this ego stuff entirely.

There’s more to this interview, but I’ll stop here for now.  Happy Birthday, Ken!  Your personal identity and body was born into the dream on February 22, 1942.  And, in the words of the East, you achieved moksha, liberation from the ego, on December 27, 2013.  You are alive and well in my heart and the Universal Heart.  Heart within Heart

Namaste~  Amy

Copyright © 2000 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

 

 

 

A Happy Conversation About Death

My friend and mentor, Jon Mundy, took time out from his ACIM tour here in Florida to chat with me about something which is always at the back of everybody’s mind–the Grim Reaper, Angel of Darkness, Father Time, death!

The Course explains, “The death penalty is the ego’s ultimate goal, for it fully believes that you are a criminal, as deserving of death as God knows you are deserving of life. The death penalty never leaves the ego’s mind, for that is what it always reserves for you in the end.” (T-12.VII.13:2-3) 

So we decided to have a happy conversation about death.  Yes, you heard me–a playful, irreverent, happy conversation about death!  Smudges found it entertaining, and you’ll see Gatita’s response in the video.

Jesus tells us, “When you are tempted to yield to the desire for death, remember that I did not die. You will realize that this is true when you look within and see me.  Would I have overcome death for myself alone? And would eternal life have been given me of the Father unless He had also given it to you?  When you learn to make me manifest, you will never see death. For you will have looked upon the deathless in yourself, and you will see only the eternal as you look out upon a world that cannot die.” (T-12.VII.15:1-6)

Jon, who has eluded death several times, speaks from experience in the video below about timelessness, our inner Light, and the true purpose of the body.  Click here to watch A Happy Conversation About Death.

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.

 

Emotional Intimacy ~ Sacred Discomfort

This piece “Emotional Intimacy ~ Sacred Discomfort” by Zahava is vulnerable, courageous and inspiring.  May it open you and guide you.

ZahavaI’ve spent a lot of my life believing that people are busy and I’m lucky if I get their attention because other things are more important than me.  I grew up as an only child, latchkey kid (came home to an empty house and my parents got in late.)  Now I live in New York City, where the rhythm of life often means I don’t see dear friends for months.  So this story started to really feel true.  I believed it’s safer not to need other people emotionally because they aren’t emotionally available.

The incredible men in my life have started to crack open this story.  They have been vulnerable enough to need me.  They have pointed out when my “independent feminist persona” comes out as a guard to shield my heart and push them away.  And it often gets expressed as “I’m busy.”

Cracking this open has been uncomfortable.  It feels awkward when I don’t know how to receive what I’ve asked for.  Why do my eyes dart to the ground, my breath stop?  Why do I back off my requests or suddenly leave the room because staying feels too vulnerable?  And when I come back in the room, and he’s there looking into my eyes… how do I release my pride… because being right is so much less fun than being loved.  I wish I could write the answer.  All I know is that when I breathe and I remember he loves me, the discomfort feels less relevant.

The things I remember are not necessarily the orgasms.  They are the ways my beloved sees me.  He sees where I stop myself from receiving love and he gets angry at me.  It’s the most loving anger… because he’s actually on my side, he’s speaking for my heart.  He’s trying to get my fear to back off so I can receive his love.  The things I remember are not necessarily the orgasms, no, I remember where he listens from when he asks me how I’m feeling before and after the orgasm.

Now you may ask, “But Amy, what does this have to do with A Course in Miracles?” and my reply is this quote from the Course, “You are the work of God, and His work is wholly lovable and wholly loving.”  Embodying the love which you are, though seemingly paradoxical, is one way to recognize that you are not a body, you are free, for you are still as God created you.

Thank you, Zahava, for your work and for being you.  Visit Zahava’s website:  http://lovemakingdances.com/

A Better Way to Say “I Miss You”

There was a time in my life when I was separated from someone I loved because he had to do military duty in Iraq. We were able to text and send letters and occasionally we even spoke on the phone. Inevitably we said, “I miss you.”

I began to notice that “I miss you” left me feeling lonely and helpless. I thought about what, specifically, I missed about him, and I made a list. I miss your smile. I miss your laugh. I miss seeing your face. I miss just driving around in the car with you. I miss holding hands. I miss doing your laundry. I miss you running errands for me. I miss sharing meals together.  I miss being close, being able to hug.

Then inspiration struck and I “translated” my list:

I wish I could see your smiling face right now.

I wish I could see you burst out laughing.

I wish we were driving in the car right now.

I wish we were doing chores together.

I wish we were on the beach together.

I wish we were eating dinner together.

I wish we were holding hands and could hug each other.

I had turned “miss” into “wish.” Then I was moved to “translate” again:

I am imagining you smiling at me right now.

I am seeing you laugh out loud with happiness that you’re back home.

I am hearing your laugh and feeling my heart expand with the pleasure your laugh gives me.

I am remembering driving around in the car together, singing along to the radio.

I am feeling happy and there’s a smile on my face as I think about us driving and singing!

I am feeling close to you, heart to heart, no matter how many miles are between us.

I had gone from “I miss” to “I wish” to “I am.” When we speak in the present tense, using the words “I am,” we activate our being. “I am” ignites a creative power within ourselves that is tremendously healing and nurturing. When we use this technique of translation we learn to soothe ourselves and maintain connection with our loved ones, no matter where they are.  A Course in Miracles teaches us that, “Your mind can be possessed by illusions, but spirit is eternally free.”  On a human level, missing someone is feeling deprived of their company.  But when we become aware that love is eternal, then whether someone is in front of us or seemingly distant, the love lives forever in our hearts.

So start with the genuine feeling of “I miss you” and make a list. Then translate your list into what you wish. Next, choose to be in the present moment with “I am” sentence constructions. Stay connected with the person you miss and actually build your relationship through specific examples of what you love about being together. This positive appreciation actually brings you closer, builds trust and intimacy, and will surprise you with how much easier it is to be parted, whether for a day, a week, or even facing a death. Love is an eternal bond which can never be broken. Try this better way of saying, “I miss you” and let me know how it goes by emailing me at miracles@amytorresacim.com

Copyright © 2011 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

SAFE WAYS TO SHARE

How to run harmonious A Course in Miracles study groups and classes.

Let’s start with the obvious: A spirit of cooperation is essential because “Salvation is a collaborative venture.” (T-4.VI.8:2)  Therefore, begin by invoking the Holy Spirit and placing the ACIM class or study group in His Hands. “The Holy Spirit speaks with unmistakable clarity and overwhelming appeal.” (ACIM Preface)

The teacher or facilitator of the group* can make a statement such as, “Holy Spirit, we place ourselves in Your Hands, please guide us.” Another suggestion is that the group can hold hands in a circle and recite a prayer from the Course, for example:

I am only here to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what
to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing
He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.

This intention opens the way for loving communication.

In order for us to feel safe, and maintain a beautiful spirit of cooperation, it’s best to share experience rather than state opinions, lecture or pontificate. An ACIM class or study group is not a debating platform. Those of us who choose to practice A Course in Miracles resonate with its teachings. Sincere questions are welcome–argumentative ones are not. Nor is it a place to preach to the converted–quoting the Course at each other is not necessary or loving; usually it is just the ego showing off and taking charge. And please, do not give advice unless it is asked for. Rather than being “truly helpful,” this ego-driven urge to “help” is what I call “horribly helpful” and is rarely welcomed.

Using “I-talk” is the best way to “own our stuff.” Some of you are well-acquainted with “I-talk” and others are not. I-talk is using the first person (me, I, myself) when communicating. Paradoxically, rather than being narcissistic, “keeping it on me” undoes me and results in being more loving and attuned to others.

When responding to another, you can ask, “Do you just need us to listen? Or would you also like feedback?” Each of you can request specific feedback by letting people know, “Right now I only need sympathy–no opinions.” Or, “Please share similar stories with me, but don’t comment on mine,” etc. Or you can set up a “No Cross Talk” rule which means that people share and no one else comments on what was said. (This is not ideal in a class or study group, but can be a good experiment just to see what happens and how it feels to practice no cross talk. Out of this experiment may grow a compromise approach customized to your group.)

See if you can express yourself in less words. There is a Buddhist saying, before you speak ask yourself, “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” Remember, less is more.  This is not about repression–far from it.  If something is charged up for you and you can observe that you are triggered with the Holy Spirit, than rather than spewing your projections (like projectile vomiting) onto others, or repressing them (like swallowing your own vomit) you can learn these practical ways of sharing in a way that does no harm, to others and therefore, yourself.

In general, it’s good for all of us to share our experience without pushing it on anyone else. Ways to do this include, “What’s coming up for me is … ” or in response to someone else, “I feel an inner pressure to comfort you (or encourage you, or clarify the teaching for you, etc.). The reason we would choose to describe the pure sensation, for example, “inner pressure,” is to own our experience without interpretation. The inner pressure is yours–it should not necessarily be shared, or taken as spiritual guidance to help another. Just observe your internal experience.  And do  your best to stay in the present moment, rather than getting into lengthy stories about your past (always a telltale sign that the ego has taken over).

The Holy Spirit doesn’t actually tell us what to do in the world–He simply shifts our perception from fear to Love, and the form in which Love is expressed is a symbol, or reflection, of God’s Love. We learn by practicing with each other. It doesn’t matter how the other person reacts or responds. All that matters is that you practice forgiveness by following the Holy Spirit’s guidance, which by definition means that you step back and get out of your own way. This does not result in people walking all over you; to the contrary, your presence will become calm, powerful, impersonal, and full of loving Authority.

You can also offer, “Here’s an experience from my life that I hope offers you comfort.” Or, “Let me know if I can be of help.” But before you go rushing in to offer help (which can often be a codependent reaction) it is much more healing to share pure body sensations. This invites a healthy habit in the group of observing without defining, and opens an inner space for the Holy Spirit to lead.

Last, but not least, protect each other’s privacy by practicing, “What we say here, stays here.” Respecting each other’s confidentiality heals wounds and ultimately results in dissolving the personal story that maintains ego identification.

You must embody what Safe Ways to Share says if you want it to work, just as we must practice A Course in Miracles and not just read it. Interestingly, the definition of “embody” is to be a living demonstration of an idea, quality, or feeling–in this case, forgiveness and its resulting miracles.

To teach is to demonstrate.
There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time.
From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. …
You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn through teaching. (M-Intro.2:1-3;6)

These guidelines are can be used in all your relationships, not just in a group. I highly recommend practicing them with everyone, everyday. Practicing emotionally responsible ways of communicating is a great undoing process. Feel free to ask me questions about this–you can email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com

* A class has a teacher who is the leader of that group and is the guide and protector of the group. This teacher should be humble and open to getting out of his/her way and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach the class–this is an ongoing process; the teacher does not have to be “perfect,” just honest, kind, with good boundaries, and hopefully, well-versed in the subject being taught.

A study group has no teacher, but instead is a group of people getting together to discuss a subject, in this case A Course in Miracles. Most study groups have a facilitator–someone who organizes the class schedule, contacts the participants, and facilitates the meeting by providing some guidance (e.g., “Let’s begin by invoking the Holy Spirit.” and “Here are the Safe Ways to Share used by this group.” etc.) without taking on the responsibility of teaching.

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Happy Now Here!

I admit I’m stealing “Happy Now Here!” from Mooji, the contemporary guru who embodies Christ-consciousness.  Jesus clearly explains to us in A Course in Miracles that time is an ego construct.  Timelessness is our true nature so “Happy Now Here!” is so much better than “Happy New Year.”

A Course in Miracles teaches us to practice the holy instant until we string together enough miracles (which collapse time) that we reach the Atonement (complete undoing of the belief in separation).

As Course students, how do we do that?  All together now:  “By practicing forgiveness!”  Give every moment of your life to the Holy Spirit and receive the ever-extending Truth about who you really are and what you truly have every single everlastin’ eternal moment!

In Chapter 15, The Holy Instant, Jesus tells us to “make this year different by making it all the same.”  The same Love is always available to all of us. We are that Love. What are you waiting for? The time is now.here and now yin yang

Happy Now Here!
Amy  ॐ