Undoing the Ego

Remember to Laugh

Amy crosslegged whiteLaughing is the application of ACIM principles.  It’s right there in Chapter 27:  “Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.” T-27.VIII.6:2-5

Dr. Bernie Siegel, the author of Love, Medicine and Miracles, has many stories to tell about the power of laughter.  There’s a whole school of yoga devoted to laughter.  Comedian John Cleese says, “Laughter is a force for democracy.” Cancer thriver, as Kris Carr calls herself, has laughed in the face of terminal disease.  Vice president Joe Biden shines light when he shares the tragic death of his wife and child.  How do we laugh when we’re least likely to feel like laughing?

Biden considered suicide but came to find, “There will come a day, I promise you, and your parents, as well, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.”  He was speaking to the families of military veterans, but it goes for the rest of us as well.  It applies to anyone who has contemplated suicide or hurt inside in any way, for any reason.

“This is the great wake-up call, this is the great spiritual practice.  What am I going to do now?  Am I going to fold?,” asked Carr, author of Crazy, Sexy Cancer, who was given a death sentence but instead chose to keep smiling and become a peace revolutionary through a plant-based diet.

There is a saying, “Time heals all wounds.”  A Course in Miracles promises to save us time.  It teaches that miracles literally collapse time.  The miracle of laughter uses time for healing rather than brooding, simmering, panicking, collapsing, or seeking vengeance.

“The Holy Spirit uses time as He thinks best, and He is never wrong.  Psychotherapy under His direction is one of the means He uses to save time …” P-1.5:5-6

Laughter is psychotherapy.  Laughter is good medicine.  And when we just can’t bring ourselves to laugh, a wry comment, some dry humor, a small smile are better than nothing.  They are the equivalent of raising our eyes up from the ground and looking out towards the horizon.  There is some scientific evidence which shows that laughter, even when we force it, or fake it, stimulates chemical changes in the brain and body which are powerfully healing.

Of course, ACIM students learn that the only illness is mental illness and when we’re willing to change our minds, we find an inner peace that removes the wrinkles from our brow and puts a smile on our lips.  Remembering to laugh is choosing to forgive.  Lesson 121 is, “Forgiveness is the key to happiness,” and Lesson 122 follows with, “[Forgiveness] sparkles on your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day.”

At the root of physical and emotional pain is always psychological pain.  Whether our situation is dramatic or mundane, we deserve to exercise our option to choose light and laughter.  Remembering to laugh is an undoing process that takes us from our personal problems all the way back to the one problem the Course says is the only real problem: believing the tiny, mad idea that we are separate from God.  All we have to do to establish inner peace is choose again, choose to recognize the cosmic joke is on us, and forgive, forgive, forgive!

TIP:  Paradoxically, sometimes the only way to laugh is to stop laughing.  When I was going through a “dark night of the soul,” it was healing for me to stop laughing and smiling, because I blocked people from helping me with my constant good cheer.  They just assumed I was okay.  So if it seems to you that your smile is a defense, relax into your pain and allow that energy to move through you.  This is easier said than done, because becoming vulnerable when we’re frozen with self-protection takes time.  And certain emotions feel dangerous.  But if you sincerely want to heal, the Holy Spirit will show you how, and will help you find a healer with whom to do release work.  You will laugh again.  And each time you do, time will melt into timelessness until you remember Who you already are.

Get your laugh on — click here to watch the miraculously funny Trevor Noah.

Read previous, related issues of The Unlearning Classroom:

God Is In Your Smile
Forgiveness is Fear-Removal
What Is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is Understanding

 

Copyright © 2012 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

God Is In Your Smile

“Find where your smile originates and you will find your Source.”  Holy Spirit beamed this thought into my open mind and Amy crosslegged whiteinstantly I became aware that a smile is not your lips, your tongue, your mouth, your teeth, your jaw.  A smile starts deeper than that and spreads beyond the face entirely.

In fact, during my advertising career years, when I was lucky enough to work with voiceover artists and celebrities in recording studios, I learned that you can hear a smile.  If the person reading the script is faking their smile, a smile is not communicated!

(FILES): This February 24, 2008 file phoTo digress a moment, Wesley Snipes once read some copy of mine before he was famous.  And it was an honor to write for Ossie Davis, whose voice raised thrills as he warmed up by practicing some of my lines aloud.  Both of them had beautiful smiles, by the way. Ossie Davis smile

As I was saying, a smile spreads beyond your face because a smile is actually your Inner Light.  Your smile is one of those obvious, but often overlooked, clues that God is in you since your smile isn’t mechanical, therefore it must be inspired!  I remember telling my psychotherapist at a very low point in my life when I felt that I couldn’t overcome the anxiety and depression that was paralyzing me at that time, “The worst part is that deep inside I know I’m naturally cheerful — it’s in my smile!”

I once knew someone who had Bell’s Palsy* which is a condition that affects the nerves in the face.  He was self-conscious John Sudworth bells palsy smilethat his smile became crooked and spent the rest of his life trying not to smile.  How sadly backwards.  It took an effort to stop smiling — and if, instead, he had smiled, he may very well have healed and reactivated the nerves and muscles of his face.  But even if he didn’t, his smile would have communicated Love which overrides any deformity.

Your smile is an ordinary miracle, capable of reminding you every day that God is within you and without you.  When you smile, you radiate well-being and joy.  In other words, you are a conduit for healing miracles.  And when you become conscious that you have volunteered your body to fulfill the Holy Spirit’s loving purpose, your smile is reflected back to you a thousand times more than you smiled it!

A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as being spontaneous, natural, involuntary and it collapses time.  It defines a holy instant as a miniature of Heavewink with star in eyen — providing us with an experience of Timelessness.  String together enough miracles and holy instants and — poof! — you discover your Inner Light.  Why wait?

Let’s find where your smile originates right now and you will encounter your Self.  Take a moment and follow the trail of  your smile.  Does it actually start in your mouth?  Is it in your heart?  Your eyes?  Is it moving through you and emanating from you?  Right about now you could feel a shift in perception and realize that your smile is not only within you, but you are within God’s Smile!  The real you is a Smile without a face.

Abide in your smile“Father, Your Son is holy.  I am he on whom You smile in love and tenderness so dear and deep and still the universe smiles back on You, and shares Your Holiness.  How pure, how safe, how holy, then, are we, abiding in Your Smile, with all Your Love bestowed upon us, living one with You, in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete; in sinlessness so perfect that the Lord of Sinlessness conceives us as His Son, a universe of Thought completing Him.” (W-341)

Abiding in your own smile naturally leads to the discovery that you truly abide within Your Father’s Smile.  How many times does Jesus tell us in the Course that you are not the body, you are free, for you are still as God created you?  Well, it’s true!

While you identify as human, place yourself in the Holy Spirit’s Hands for guidance.  You will find yourself smiling more and more!  As you smile, you will realize that you are not human — you are Being.  And Being is Unaffected by what is not real.

As the Introduction to ACIM states: Nothing real can be threatened.  Nothing unreal exists.  Herein lies the peace of God.

Enjoy “Service with a Smile”! and Remember to Laugh and Happiness Is Your True Nature

* Click on the photo to read about John Sudworth’s attitude towards Bell’s Palsy.

To hear Amy speak about A Course in Miracles, watch her YouTube videos, and join her at the Weekend of Freedom Retreat this September.

If you’d like to ask Amy a question for her popular Ask Amy column in Miracles magazine, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com … Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice. 

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Are you the creator of your universe?

Guy QuestionQ:  After working with the Course for several years, I take from it the message that I am the creator of my universe.  A dear friend of mine was killed in Syria recently.  Did I create this?  If I did, I don’t know how I can live with myself.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  Rest assured, you did not create the killing of your dear friend in Syria.  Only the ego thinks in terms of guilty responsibility, magical powers of influence, and the loss of life.  Jesus, in his Course in Miracles, would never put you through this kind of psychological agony.

The idea that you are the creator of your universe is a common misconception among Course students.  The primary mistake lies in not understanding who you really are.  Typically, every human, and therefore, every reader of ACIM, begins with the assumption that he or she is a body, identified as male or female, labeled with a name, assigned a role as son or daughter, and so on.  These designations are nothing more than ego brainwashing, layering assumption on top of assumption that the body is “you.”

But you are not a body.  God’s Creation is an extension of the Creator Himself — consequently, you are Spirit, not human.  Therefore, when referring to yourself, know that You are Imageless, Formless, Timeless, and Unified as God’s One Son.  It is not the little ego “you” who creates; the ego “you” mistakenly dreams and that is all.  The real You creates the way God creates: You naturally and effortlessly emanate Loving Light.

“Yet what is it except a game you play in which Identity can be denied?  You are as God created you.” (W-191)

The one collective ego mind (of which people appear to be individual fragments) is a terrorist dictatorship thought system.  The way out of this tyrannical, punitive, and vicious ego-mind cycle is to observe the ego with Jesus.  Then you discover the only reason the ego felt so real is that you believed in it, while forgetting it was nothing more than a passing idea in God’s Mind.

“In a split mind, identity must seem to be divided.” (T-27.II.11:1)

When you stop unconsciously denying your true Identity, it is revealed that as long as we seem to live in a world with others, the only sane choice is to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and be a miracle worker.  You will feel peaceful, comforted, liberated and illuminated, as you devote the body to serving God’s Will instead of reinforcing a false personal identity.

“It is impossible that God lose His Identity, for if He did, you would lose yours.” (T-14.XI.7:5)

Let us conclude with a prayer for your friend.  May he rest in God, at Home with his Father, enlightened and free in the recognition of his true Self.  Death can serve as one of the many doorways to Who we really are.  Happily for all of us, it is inevitable that everyone awaken to our God-Self, each in our own perfect moment.

“The word ‘inevitable’ is fearful to the ego, but joyous to the spirit.  God is inevitable, and you cannot avoid Him any more than He can avoid you.”  (T-4.I.9:10-11)

Note:  If you found this topic interesting, click here to read the Ask Amy column in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Miracles magazine, which delves into this same concept from a different angle.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the March-April 2015 issue of Miracles magazine.  Miracles is a well-loved  staple in the ACIM community.  To get 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-84: Review of Lessons 67 & 68

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

I am Who I am.  I am That.  That I Am.  Am I.  Am.  Ma.  AmmA.  AbbA.  Aaaaah.

LESSON 84

There are the ideas for today’s review:

(67)  Love created me like itself.

I am in the likeness of my Creator.  I cannot suffer.  I cannot experience loss and I cannot die.  I am not a body.  I would recognize my reality today.  I will worship no idols, nor raise my own self-concept to replace my Self.  I am in the likeness of my Creator.  Love created me like itself.

You might find these specific forms helpful in applying the idea:

Let me not see an illusion of myself in this.
As I look on this, let me remember my Creator.
My Creator did not create this as I see it.

(68)  Love holds no grievances.

Grievances are completely alien to love.  Grievances attack love and keep its light obscure.  If I hold grievances I am attacking love, and therefore attacking my Self.  My Self thus becomes alien to me.  I am determined not to attack my Self today, so that I can remember Who I am.

These specific forms for applying this idea would be helpful:

This is no justification for denying my Self.
I will not use this to attack love.
Let this not tempt me to attack myself.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

W-83: Review of Lessons 65 & 66

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think.  With God’s Guidance the thought arises, “Think nothing … let Me Think through you.”  Think nothing, let Me Think through you.  How quiet.  How beauty-filled.

How Perfectly Peaceful. … and then, being Thought-through produces a shift in perception from receiving as the tiny “me” ego-body to being the Thought Itself.

You don’t have to do anything but be willing to be aware of What Already Is.  And so it is!

LESSON 83

Today let us review these ideas:

(65)  My only function is the one God gave me.

I have no function but the one God gave me.  This recognition releases me from all conflict, because it means I cannot have conflicting goals.  With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think.  All doubt must disappear as I acknowledge that my only function is the one God gave me.

More specific applications of this idea might take these forms:

My perception of this does not change my function.
This does not give me a function other than the one God gave me.
Let me not use this to justify a function God did not give me.

(66)  My happiness and my function are one.

All things that come from God are one.  They come from Oneness, and must be received as one.  Fulfilling my function is my happiness because both come from the same Source.  And I must learn to recognize what makes me happy, if I would find happiness.

Some useful forms for specific applications of this idea are:

This cannot separate my happiness from my function.
The oneness of my happiness and my function remains wholly unaffected by this.
Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness apart from my function.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

W-82: Review of Lessons 63 & 64

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

My forgiveness is the means by which the light of the world finds expression through me.  I would not forget my function, because I would remember my Self.  Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world. The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.  Forgiveness is light.  Forgiveness is healing.  Forgiveness is healing light.  For to give everything to God.  Give God my lonely, frightened delusions of separateness.  Give God my heart swollen with gladness and relief that I am His Son.  My widening, expanding, overflowing heart … consumed by the Cosmic Heart.  And so it is.

LESSON 82

We will review these ideas today:

(63)  The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.

My forgiveness is the means by which the light of the world finds expression through me.  My forgiveness is the means by which I become aware of the light of the world in me.  My forgiveness is the means by which the world is healed, together with myself.  Let me, then, forgive the world, that it may be healed along with me.

Suggestions for specific forms for applying this idea are:

Let peace extend from my mind to yours, [name].
I share the light of the  world with you, [name].
Through my forgiveness I can see this as it is.

(64)  Let me not forget my function.

I would not forget my function, because I would remember my Self.  I cannot fulfill my function if I forget it.  And unless I fulfill my function, I will not experience the joy that God intends for me.

Suitable forms of this idea include:

Let me not use this to hide my function from me.
I would use this as an opportunity to fulfill my function.
This may threaten my ego, but cannot change my function in any way.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

W-81: Review of Lessons 61 & 62

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Behind the mask of your ego-face shines the light of Who You Really Are.  Good disguise!

LESSON 81

Our ideas for review today are:

(61)  I am the light of the world.

How holy am I, who have been given the function of lighting up the world!  Let me be still before my holiness.  In its calm light let all my conflicts disappear.  In its peace let me remember Who I am.

Some specific forms for applying this idea when special difficulties seem to arise might be:

Let me not obscure the light of the world in me.
Let the light of the world shine through this appearance.
This shadow will vanish before the light.

(62)  Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.

It is through accepting my function that I will see the light in me.  And in this light will my function stand clear and perfectly unambiguous before my sight.  My acceptance does not depend on my recognizing what my function is, for I do not yet understand forgiveness.  Yet I will trust that, in the light, I will see it as it is.

Specific forms for using this idea might include:

Let this help me learn what forgiveness means.
Let me not separate my function from my will.
I will not use this for an alien purpose.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Gatita’s Metamorphosis Into The Lady

The Lady muted eyesIt has been about eight months since Gatita gently laid the body aside and emerged as The Lady.

Some hours after shedding her skin, I had the clear sense that Gatita was no longer a cat.  When I spoke with her in my mind she was now The Lady.  She had emerged from the confines of form.

The Lady has the elevated essence of Mary’s love, purity and kindness.  She is numinous, sublime and retains a feline inscrutability.

The Lady is another way of saying the Holy Spirit.

The Lady understood my great appreciation of Gatita’s form and we could mind-meld as She loved me and communicated ideas like,

“That was an exquisite form.  I understand your love for it.  You can love the Gatita I was and yet you don’t have to miss her.  When you drop your Amy form you will not miss that.  You will experience pure freedom.  And you can experience that pure freedom before you drop the form as well simply by shifting your attention from form to What Is.”

All grieving felt sweet; it was a confirmation of the love Gatita and I shared.  It didn’t feel like loss.

This grieving feels like a tribute to unconditional love.  It is confirming of the Formless.  It is liberating and tender.  It is strengthening of faith and courage.

Om Namah Shivaya.

Click here to read an earlier post on the miracle of Gatita’s passing.  And this may inspire you as well: Inexplicably Predictably Happy

“The Lady” illustration was lovingly and beautifully drawn by Harper Wood.  If you would like to commission artwork, email harper@harperwood.com

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

W-80: Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Once the problem has been identified, something glorious happens … it is seen that there never was a real problem.  In that sense, the solution is inherent within the problem because when looked at closely, there is no problem to be found.

There was a bad dream that ended long ago, but that was a fantasy, not a real problem.

Close your eyes and receive your reward.  One problem, one solution.  Salvation is accomplished.  Peace is at hand.  Enjoy:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSouws7cE-A

LESSON 80

Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

If you are willing to recognize your problems, you will recognize that you have no problems.  Your one central problem has been answered, and you have no other.  Therefore, you must be at peace.  Salvation thus depends on recognizing this one problem, and understanding that it has been solved.  One problem, one solution.  Salvation is accomplished.  Freedom from conflict has been given you.  Accept that fact, and you are ready to take your rightful place in God’s plan for salvation.

Your only problem has been solved!  Repeat this over and over to yourself today, with gratitude and conviction.  You have recognized your only problem, opening the way for the Holy Spirit to give you God’s answer.  You have laid deception aside, and seen the light of truth.  You have accepted salvation for yourself by bringing the problem to the answer.  And you can recognize the answer, because the problem has been identified.

You are entitled to peace today.  A problem that has been resolved cannot trouble you.  Only be certain you do not forget that all problems are the same.  Their many forms will not deceive you while you remember this.  One problem, one solution.  Accept the peace this simple statement brings.

In our longer practice periods today, we will claim the peace that must be ours when the problem and the answer have been brought together.  The problem must be gone, because God’s answer cannot fail.  Having recognized one, you have recognized the other.  The solution is inherent in the problem.  You are answered, and have accepted the answer.  You are saved.

Now let the peace that your acceptance brings be given you.  Close your eyes, and receive your reward.  Recognize that your problems have been solved.  Recognize that you are out of conflict; free and at peace.  Above all, remember that you have one problem, and that the problem has one solution.  It is in this that the simplicity of salvation lies.  It is because of this that it is guaranteed to work.

Assure yourself often today that your problems have been solved.  Repeat the idea with deep conviction, as frequently as possible.  And be particularly sure to apply the idea for today to any specific problem that may arise.  Say quickly:

Let me recognize this problem has been solved.

Let us be determined not to collect grievances today.  Let us be determined to be free of problems that do not exist.  The means is simple honesty.  Do not deceive yourself about what the problem is, and you must recognize it has been solved.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

W-79: Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

If I think the problem is my swollen feet and the doctor says that’s just a symptom of the real problem, a clogged heart artery, I can continue to fixate on my feet or I can choose to shift  my attention to the actual problem–the heart.

In the same way, if I allow the ego to distract with all its myriad problems, then I miss that all those human problems are just symptoms of the one larger problem:  the belief in separation.

Now that I recognize the actual problem it can actually be addressed.

One problem, the desire for and belief in separation.

One solution:  to stop interfering with the ever-present Truth.

LESSON 79

Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.

A problem cannot be solved if you do not know what it is.  Even if it is really solved already you will still have the problem, because you will not recognize that it has been solved.  This is the situation of the world.  The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved.  Yet the solution is not recognized because the problem is not recognized.

Everyone in this world seems to have his own special problems.  Yet they are all the same, and must be recognized as one if the one solution that solves them all is to be accepted.  Who can see that a problem has been solved if he thinks the problem is something else?  Even if he is given the answer, he cannot see its relevance.

That is the position in which you find yourself now.  You have the answer, but you are still uncertain about what the problem is.  A long series of different problems seems to confront you, and as one is settled the next one and the next arise.  There seems to be no end to them.  There is no time in which you feel completely free of problems and at peace.

The temptation to regard problems as many is the temptation to keep the problem of separation unsolved.  The world seems to present you with a vast number of problems, each requiring a different answer.  This perception places you in a position in which your problem solving must be inadequate, and failure is inevitable.

No one could solve all the problems the world appears to hold.  They seem to be on so many levels, in such varying forms and with such varied content, that they confront you with an impossible situation.  Dismay and depression are inevitable as you regard them.  Some spring up unexpectedly, just as you think you have resolved previous ones.  Others remain unsolved under a cloud of denial, and rise to haunt you from time to time, only to be hidden again but still unsolved.

All this complexity is but a desperate attempt not to recognize the problem, and therefore not to let it be resolved.  If you could recognize that your only problem is separation, no matter what form it takes, you could accept the answer because you would see its relevance.  Perceiving the underlying constancy in all the problems that seem to confront you, you would understand that you have the means to solve them all.  And you would use the means, because you recognize the problem.

In our longer practice periods today we will ask what the problem is, and what is the answer to it.  We will not assume that we already know.  We will try to free our minds of all the many different kinds of problems we think we have.  We will try to realize that we have only one problem, which we have failed to recognize.  We will ask what it is, and wait for the answer.  We will be told.  Then we will ask for the solution to it.  And we will be told.

The exercises for today will be successful to the extent to which you do not insist on defining the problem.  Perhaps you will not succeed in letting all your preconceived notions go, but that is not necessary.  All that is necessary is to entertain some doubt about the reality of your version of what your problems are.  You are trying to recognize that you have been given the answer by recognizing the problem, so that the problem and the answer can be brought together and you can be at peace.

The shorter practice periods for today will not be set by time, but by need.  You will see many problems today, each one calling for an answer.  Our efforts will be directed toward recognizing that there is only one problem and one answer.  In this recognition are all problems resolved.  In this recognition there is peace.

Be not deceived by the form of problems today.  Whenever any difficulty seems to rise, tell yourself quickly:

Let me recognize this problem so it can be solved.

Then try to suspend all judgment about what the problem is.  If possible, close your eyes for a moment and ask what it is.  You will be heard and you will be answered.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.