Undoing the Ego

Reasons to Keep Faith Even If You Don’t Hear God

The reason people get terribly discouraged when they pray and don’t hear God is because it seems as if God is not answering them. In order to keep faith, we have to open our minds to the idea that just because we believe “God doesn’t care about me” or “God doesn’t exist” doesn’t mean it’s true.

Here are five reasons to keep faith even though, right now, you think you can’t hear God:

1. God hears you even if you don’t hear Him.

In How You Can Talk With God, Paramahansa Yogananda tells us, “The trouble is not with Him, but with us. Our intuitive telephonic system is out of order. God is calling us and speaking to us, but we do not hear Him.” Even if you are convinced that God has not heard you because you specifically asked, and even begged, for something and did not get it, all that proves is that you were directing God to do what you thought best — rather than asking God for His guidance. We have to remain open to the possibility that what we think is best is not necessarily so. Our solutions may not be the Answer. Extend a little willingness to trust that God has heard you, even if you haven’t heard His reply – yet.

2. You have your fingers in your ears.

We don’t realize that we are deliberately plugging up our hearing, which, of course, interferes with receiving God’s messages to us. In order to hear God, whose call is there for us continuously, all day and all night long, we need to open ourselves to Him by releasing our desires, longings, and demands. The way to do this is to give everything to God. When we give God our desires, our wishes, our fears and sorrows, our resentments and jealousies, we are releasing blockages which clear our “ears” and makes it possible to “hear” Him.

3. Your eyes are closed.

A Course in Miracles tells us, “You believe that what your physical eyes cannot see does not exist. This leads to a denial of spiritual sight.” Many spiritual paths speak of a third eye. Located in the space between the eyebrows is the sixth chakra, the energy center of enlightened vision, which brings the body’s eyes together into one single eye — a spiritual eye which gives us God’s Vision. God speaks to us with symbols. It may be an inner voice, or visions, or a coincidence which is more than coincidence. Open your mind and ears and eyes will start to reveal Him to you. You can google “spiritual eye meditation” to find a specific exercise to help you open your spiritual eye.

4. You are asleep.

In the bible, the Adam and Eve story tells us that Adam fell into a deep sleep, but nowhere does it say that he awoke from this sleep. Again, more than one spiritual path tells us that this world is a dream or an illusion. A common reason that we think we can’t hear God is that we are in a deep, hypnotic sleep, utterly convinced that our dream is reality, when actually God is a reality beyond our human comprehension.

A compelling paragraph from A Course in Miracles states, “You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. Is it your decision to do so? You recognize from your own experience that what you see in dreams you think is real while you are asleep. Yet the instant you waken you realize that everything that seemed to happen in the dream did not happen at all. You do not think this strange, even though all the laws of what you awaken to were violated while you slept. Is it not possible that you merely shifted from one dream to another, without really waking?”

The question becomes, how can we awaken, and in that awakening hear what God has been whispering in our sleepy ear the entire time? There are many ways. One is to quiet the mind through meditation. Another is to ask God to guide us in His way without setting our own agenda. The main thing is to listen receptively.

5. Your seeds are germinating underground.

God is Love Itself, and you are God’s child. Trust that any time you turn to God that you are developing a relationship with Him. He is aware of you always. You are just learning how to recognize His communication, which comes in many varied forms and symbols. Every time you turn to God you plant a seed of love in the ground. They are germinating. The buds will poke out from the earth and start to rise toward heaven — your seeds will blossom. Let yourself believe this and you will find that God’s Voice was with you all along.

These are five reasons to keep faith even though you can’t hear God in this moment. Open your heart, open your mind, and let God surprise you. When we think too much we block our ability to receive God’s Thoughts. Try to relax, be it meditating, cleaning the house, fishing, or taking a bath – something calming that takes you out of your worried thoughts, and chances are better that God will reveal Himself in the very moment you least expect it.

You may also enjoy Five Steps to Cultivating Your Relationship with the Holy Spirit.  If you would like coaching to help you tune in to God, I am available for spiritual guidance. Just email miracles@amytorresacim.com

Copyright © 2011 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Value of Great Listening Skills

listen notHave you ever been talking to someone who is looking around the room while you speak? Or who interrupts you to say something on a completely different subject? Maybe you were confiding in a friend who seemed distracted and when you accused her of not listening, she said indignantly, “I was listening!” and to prove it she parroted back the last phrase you had spoken.

There is a difference between listening and technically hearing what is said. Hearing what is said takes short term memory — it only indicates that on a surface level you took in their words but didn’t join emotionally with the person speaking to you.

Men tend to be better listeners than women because generally they can tolerant silence better. Women are better listeners than men in that they are more comfortable sharing emotions. Men need to learn how to be more emotionally available and responsive. Women need to learn how to be supportive through their presence rather than talking too much.

Becoming a better listener means becoming a better person because it cultivates emotional maturity and generosity. Is it possible to become a great listener? Yes it is. Let’s look at eight ways you can develop great listening skills.

dog listening1. Be interested. Many people think listening means keeping quiet until it is their turn to talk. But true listening is a selfless act. Listening means giving your thoughtful attention to another person. This attention is non-judgmental, open-minded, respectful and curious.

2. Listening is receiving. We are receiving the trust and vulnerability of another person. To be a receiver, let yourself be a blank canvas for the other person. Allow your friend to toss out ideas, feelings, contradictory thoughts, and whatever else is coming up. Let her be upset or illogical.

3. Indicate you’re listening with subtle cues. Let the person know that you’re interested by nodding your head, murmuring “mmm hmmm,” and softly echoing a word or short phrase here and there.

listen ears4. Attuning and matching. A good listener usually makes eye contact, but might also sit companionably side by side and gaze straight ahead, allowing the talker privacy and intimacy at the same time. Attune yourself to the person talking to you by noticing the degree of eye contact they are making with you and match them. For instance, if the person seems self-conscious and looks down or away a lot, drop your gaze as well from time to time. This way she will feel accepted rather than scrutinized. If she is animated and leaning towards you, lean towards her. Pick up on her rhythm, her body language. Psychological research has found that people feel understood when we use the same gestures they use. This helps them to feel safe and relaxed.

5. Wait for an organic pause. Try not to interrupt — it’s an amazing gift to provide enough space for someone to let it all out. When there is a lull, and the person seems to have unburdened themselves, that will be the time to speak. When I was a student in Gestalt psychotherapy training, I would eagerly jump in while clients were still talking and a fellow student told me that I wasn’t waiting for the “organic pause”– that natural breath between spoken thoughts that opens the door to another voice chiming in. I came from a cultural background where we were used to interrupting each other’s interruptions, and it wasn’t unusual for five conversations to be going on at the same time. Even if this is acceptable socially, it doesn’t work when someone really needs a shoulder to cry on, or in a work situation, if a colleague needs to resolve professional issues.

6. Acknowledge and empathize. Good listening is not complete silence. When the time comes to speak, briefly reiterate to the person what you heard them say. For example, “It sounds like you’re really upset with your boyfriend for having lunch with his ex. If I were you I’d feel the same way.” or “I know you really wanted that promotion and I don’t blame you for feeling it was unfair that the new guy got it.” By reflecting back to the person what they said in their own words, you are acknowledging you heard them accurately. And by saying you might feel the same way, you are putting your foot in their shoe and empathizing with them. The emotional tone of what you say should be responsive rather than reactive. In other words, while you’re listening take note of what’s coming up for you and put it on a back shelf. Sort out what is useful for the person who is confiding in you and, for now, keep your own emotions and opinions to yourself.

7. Don’t give unasked for advice. Most of us have not been listened to in the way I’m describing, so we’re not used to listening to someone else this way. We may consider ourselves very nice people and have all kinds of good ideas for the person speaking to us about their problem. What we don’t realize is that offering solutions before a person has expressed their upset feelings doesn’t work. Do you want to be told what to do while you’re venting?

8. Make an offering. After acknowledging and empathizing, you have the option of offering something more. It can be something simple like, “How can I help?” or “Would you like some feedback from me?” Chances are your friend feels relieved and solutions are starting to form within her now that she’s cleared a space inside herself. Don’t be surprised if your good listening facilitates her having a revelation about herself or the situation. She may tell you that you’ve done more than enough already! If she does want feedback, this is your opportunity to share your experience and offer advice. Timing is everything — wait until you’re invited.

good listener ribbonWhat’s in it for you? Great listeners are receivers — they receive trust, they are in an honored position in that way. They help people sort out their thoughts and feelings. Listeners offer solace and consolation. They celebrate and appreciate good news or achievements. And in the process, listeners receive the gratification of being there for someone else. Listeners have cultivated patience to wait until another person has talked themselves out-and have discovered that people often find their own answers to their struggles.

So, listening develops faith in us that people have an inner intelligence and we don’t have to be mini-Gods and fix everyone’s problems by jumping in and talking too much or too soon. By developing great listening skills, we provide a mirror that reflects back to the person speaking what is inside of them, and that is powerfully rewarding for both of us.


Copyright © Amy Torres 2011

The Challenge of Physical Pain and Disability

One of the challenges expressed during the recent Weekend of Freedom Retreat was the issue of pain and physical Skull Firedisabilities.  This deserves more attention and clarification than we had time for over the weekend.  It is also relevant to many, many people.  So let’s look more closely at how the ego consumes us with fear about pain and physical disabilities, and how to douse the flames of this ego fire.

Mooji smilingContemporary mystic Mooji asks, “Are you suffering your experience or experiencing your suffering?”

When you suffer your experience, you are identified with pain and helplessness.  Not only is your mind focused on the unpleasantness of what you are feeling, it is also fearing the future and imagining the worst possible outcomes.

When you experience your suffering, there is detachment from pain, helplessness and future outcomes.  There is also a knowing that all is well no matter what your circumstances.  You rest in God.  Having placed yourself in His Hands, the body is now used for His Purpose, as a communication link tuned in to His Channel.  Pain may be felt as sensation, in varying intensities, but when unidentified with, it loses its psychological power.

Physical pain may seem different from psychological pain, but it is actually a variation on psychological pain.  From A Course in Miracles perspective, all pain boils down to psychological pain.  It is the meaning you assign to pain that makes it seem real, important, and a valid distraction from finding out Who you really are.  If you use pain as a reminder to turn to God, it can be an accelerated path to awakening!  Ego will tell you that the pain is all-consuming and overwhelming, but the clue that this is not true is that unless you are unconscious, no matter how agonizing the pain, it is observed.  This Observer is the Holy Spirit, your Inner Teacher, Who is always here for you to choose instead of the ego.

violet lightI am not minimizing your physical experience; I am empowering you by inviting you to turn your attention away from righteous immersion in the pain and back to your Source.  Again, you may protest that you want to turn your attention away but you cannot.  This is why I use the word “righteous.”  Righteousness may be disguised as helplessness or self-pity, but it is really a way of maintaining ego identity.

You may also feel ashamed or guilty about no longer being physically healthy and independent.  This, too, is the ego talking.   There is no greater power than God and when you depend on Him, He will assuage your fears about human dependencies.  Many enlightened masters encountered physical pain and suffering as part of their karma.  Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj both died of cancer, as did Helen Schucman.  Don’t cop out by telling yourself that you are no enlightened master.  Jesus tells us in the Course that we are no different than he, “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain.” (T-1.II)

Remember, the most meaningful prayer is to request to recognize what you already are — not a request for physical healing.  Use the ACIM forgiveness practice to give all pain to the Holy Spirit.  This empties you of false personal identity and restores the connection with your true Self.  The natural outcome is Peace and Freedom no matter what the condition of the body.

yogi jcJesus tells us in Chapter 9, “An individual may ask for physical healing because he is fearful of bodily harm.  At the same time, if he were healed physically, the threat to his thought system might be considerably more fearful to him than its physical expression.  In this case he is not really asking for release from fear, but for removal of the symptom that he himself selected.  This request is, therefore, not for healing at all.”  It may be hard to swallow that you selected your symptoms, but Jesus means this in the general sense that we all chose to believe we are separate from God.

He goes on to say, “The Bible emphasizes that all prayer is answered, and this is indeed true.  The very fact that the Holy Spirit has been asked for anything will ensure a response.  Yet it is equally certain that no response given by Him will ever be one that would increase fear.  It is possible that His answer will not be heard.  It is impossible, however, that it will be lost.  There are many answers you have already received but have not yet heard.  I assure you that they are waiting for you.“*

The body has an expiration date.  This is inevitable.  The pain and dysfunction of the body can go on for many years before that date arrives.  The ego uses the time-body to testify that pain is real.  The Holy Spirit uses the body for the purpose of awakening.  Which do you prefer?

Once you choose the Holy Spirit as your guide, pain is tranformed.  It may still be there, but as you give it to your Father, it is used for a healing purpose.  The pain in your body is not only yours.  It is a human condition shared by many!  Be a living demonstration of grace under pressure by surrendering to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Not only will you be used as a conduit for miracles, you will awaken to Who You truly are.  In this way, you will discover that all is well.

thank you beachFew do it, but it is possible to say “thank you” to pain and physical disabilities.  This “thank you” is a grateful surrender to not knowing anything; in the big picture this pain may be seen very differently than you do now.  Perhaps it is the motivator that forces you to your knees and helps you complete your awakening.  Perhaps it breaks through complacency and personal identity.  If good health had motivated you, you wouldn’t be intimidated physical health issues now.  Therefore, now is a perfect time to open your mind to hearing the answers to your prayers which are waiting for you to receive them!  Let me know how it goes (email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot com)

* * * * *

For more on illness and the body, please visit https://www.facebook.com/ACIMBodyImage.  Also, You may also benefit from reading Ego says, “You need me.”

*  Emphasis mine.

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.


Ego says, “You need me!”

Are you ready to be ego-free?  It is possible.  You must look within, but the ego will tell you this is a very bad idea :) dont look under the bed

Ego says, “You need me!  How will you function without me?  Who will you be without me?  Without me, you will lose your loved ones, your income, your pleasures, life itself!”   Are you still falling for that? 

Let’s get something straight:

miracle sparklesYou are Life.  You are Love.  You are Innocence.  You are Infinite.  You are Timeless.  In this recognition, all worldly problems recede and are resolved in the brief interval you remain in the body to Shine on your brothers and accept the reflection beamed back to you.  This is your function as the light of the world. (W-61, W-62, W-65 and countless more references throughout the Course.)

Jesus tells us in an early chapter of A Course in Miracles, “Because I am always with you, you are the way, the truth and the life.  You did not make this power, any more than I did.”  Take this statement to heart!  Trust …

He goes on to say that the memory of God is within us and, “It is our function to remember Him on earth, as it is given us to be His Own completion in reality.”  Yes, you are God’s Completion.  Do not accept the predictable ego tirade about how you are not worthy or capable or maybe someday after countless lifetimes but not now.

Jesus comforts us that we do not have to repeat his extreme experience of crucifixion saying, “The Holy Spirit is glad whenJesus Hand you can learn from mine, and be reawakened by them.”  This is bad news for the ego, which does crucify you every single day that you allow it — the crucifixion looks different in the 21st century, but all torment boils down to psychological torment.

Though the body of Jesus was on the cross, Jesus’ God-Mind was not.  You, too, live within the Mind of God.  It is insanity to think you don’t; the ego self-concept is imagined with the Mind of God so “you” can’t somehow exist outside of God-Mind.  Just pay attention to what you think and what your senses show you.  As you develop personal self-awareness, little by little you stop taking yourself personally.  Eventually, you stop taking others personally.  Finally, self-awareness leads to Self-awareness.

In the ACIM Psychotherapy supplement, Jesus asks, “And what more transcendent aim can there be than to recall the way, the truth and the life, and to remember God?”  We could say “the way” is willingness to tune in to the Holy Spirit, your Inner Teacher.  We could say “the truth” is the empowerment that arises when communication with your Inner Teacher is established.  We could say “the life” is the realization that you are Bodiless, Identity-less Being — Unified, Un-conceptual, Image-less, Non-sensory.  Perception and projection completely undone reveals That Which You Are.

pink backgroundIf you would like to explore an ego-free life more deeply click here for info on private sessions with me or email me at miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot com)

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.


Ask Amy: Death of Child

Guy QuestionQ: In a workshop, I heard you say that the loss of a child could be the best thing that ever happened. Initially I was shocked. I don’t see how a parent could ever think this, but being a Course student for five years, I keep an open mind. Can you explain?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA: Your question cuts to the quick, and therefore offers huge potential for healing. First, notice how ego changes what was said just a little bit, so little it seems inconsequential. The actual phrase used was, “Every moment, no exceptions, is the best moment of your life.” Ego distorts, misinterprets and misses the point – that’s its job. It does this to maintain its false identity.

Your open mind provides the space for the miracle. “It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound.” (T-31.V.17:3) The “best moment” is a timeless moment. The timeless moment is what the Course calls a holy instant.

“The holy instant is this instant and every instant. … Delay it not. For beyond the past and future, where you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance.” (T-15.IV.1:3-8)

The holy instant reveals you are not the body but the One Eternal Formless Self. There is no pain or loss here. There is no memory here. There is no personal identity here. There is no “untimely death” here. Jesus tells us 20 times in the Course, “Brother, there is no death.” and who is better qualified to assure us of this than he?

To the ego, this is outrageous and heartless. When in the throes of grief, this may seem impossible to grasp. But this is the perfect time to rely on the Holy Spirit. Give Him your tears, your shattered dreams, your rage, your guilt, your agony. This clears a space to receive the miracles that surely follow. You may or may not recognize them, depending on the openness of your mind. Either way, healing occurs.

The ego believes in loss; the Holy Spirit reminds you that you are Whole. The ego declares you are form; the Holy Spirit reminds you that you are Spirit. The ego wants you to witness to form: obviously you are a body. Jesus witnesses to Content: obviously you and your child are deathless Life. “The holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s most useful learning device for teaching you love’s meaning. For its purpose is to suspend judgment entirely.” (T-15.V.1:1-2)

A Course in Miracles is about shifting from the human point of view, which we take for granted as the only point of view, to recognizing what you really are. You are not a person; you are Spirit. God is not other than you; God is your Self. This is revealed in the holy instant, which offers us glimpses of Timelessness. Glimpses eventually stabilize as Vision. The Holy Spirit uses time for holy instants until they culminate in the Atonement – the final undoing; the recognition that the separation never occurred.

“There may come a time when you thank God for your difficulties,” says the contemporary mystic, Mooji, “because that pain led you to God.” The death of a child can be viewed as a devastating tragedy or an opportunity to awaken.

Please feel free to continue this inquiry with me; more questions may arise as your contemplation deepens.

Recommended Reading: Self-Concept versus Self (T-31.V); The Holy Instant and Special Relationships (T-15.V); The Bridge to the Real World (T-16.VI); This Is the Best Moment of Your Life by Amy Torres

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the Sept-Oct 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.

Irresistible Attraction of Love for Love

The previous Unlearning Classroom e-newsletter promised that next issue we would delve into the “irresistible attraction of love for love” and the time is now.  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.  Try Lesson 153, or any aspect of A Course in Miracles.  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.

If you’d like some one-to-one coaching, click here.

Click here to read the previous article, Extra-Strength Ego.  Click here to subscribe to the Unlearning Classroom.

Let’s practice together! Come join me in September 2015 at the Weekend of Freedom Retreat, in October 2015 at the MiracleShare cyber-event, and next April at the CMC’s Las Vegas Conference: Change Your Mind – Change the World! (To register call or email miracles@earthlink.net – please give them my name).

Watch and hear my reading of each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice. My book, Sweet Dreams of Awakening, should be released late Fall 2015.

Front cover left back cover right

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Saying the words, “I want to break up,” whether with respect to a marital relationship or any other committed romantic relationship, is one of the hardest things a human being ever has to do.

Making the conscious choice to end one of the strongest bonds we have ever made frightens us to our very core. We fear that we’ll never meet anyone else. We fear the possible financial burden, the loneliness, the unknown. We feel guilty for being disloyal, abandoning a loved one. We dread seeing hurt or rage on our partner’s face.

Many teachings suggest that we should never break up. There are loyalty oaths, responsibilities, social stigmas. There is the suggestion that we are immature, lack tenacity, are being selfish.

I’ve found that for a certain kind of person — a person who is considerate, emotionally generous, fair-minded, and understanding; someone who is seeking cooperation, yet has symptoms of low self-esteem — it is possible to be taken advantage of in relationships.

It is this sort of person who is the most afraid to break up, because underlying these positive qualities, there is often an emotional immaturity and dependency that produces a feeling of insecurity and inadequacy.

But it is just this sort of person who benefits from dissolving a partnership that is not working because it is an opportunity to be true to themselves; to put themselves to the test of being more independent; developing resourcefulness and self-sufficiency; and, eventually, if they so desire, insisting on a more compatible mate, a true partner.

I speak from experience. After agonizing for years, I finally left a husband who wasn’t truly in partnership with me. In the process it felt as if I was losing everything that mattered to me — building a life with someone; having children together; developing lifelong relationships with family and friends.

Thankfully, my spiritual studies sustained me through the pain. A Course in Miracles empowered me through Lesson 153, “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” which strengthened me to tell the truth without attacking. I learned to focus on the healing power of our relationships with others. I had a growing understanding that, whether we are aware of it or not, we are all facets of the same diamond, all beating in the same heart, all thinking through the same mind.

A Sufi proverb puts it this way, “When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit laughs for what it has found.”

The lyrics “breaking up is hard to do” are so true. But spending a lifetime in a relationship that you resent is far worse. I learned a hard, but invaluable spiritual lesson from this experience — I gained a deep and abiding trust in God, a deep ‘knowing’ that being completely dependent on God, rather than on any human being, was the answer. What a perfect solution to codependency!

Paradoxically, that dependency guarantees the most empowering relationship in which we will ever be, because it is an awakening of our original relationship with God, from which all other truly loving relationships spring.

Copyright © 2009 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Extra-Strength Ego

Do you ever feel like you have an extra-strength ego?  Lots of people tell me that their ego is particularly strong and I have to laugh!  Let’s not give “your” ego that much credit — there is only one fear-based, guilt-inducing, headstrong ego.  Don’t worry, it is only your unconscious choice to believe in the ego that has made it seem so strong and unique to you.  But luckily, ego is a dream aspect of the Real You and You are actually the boss of it :)

The Real You is Spirit.  The ego “you” is a figment of Spirit’s imagination. Ego plays this game in which You forget what you truly are.  Until you realize this, you fully believe you are a person, and the world and the people in it seem very important.

Once you begin to grasp that you are not a person, your ego may very well kick up a fuss, impelling you to think, “My ego is particularly strong!”  Ego is an immensely powerful force when believed in, but it is also, as ACIM puts it, a “quaint absurdity” (W-156) when seen through.

Your life is best spent awakening from the ego fog of forgetfulness and discovering you are peaceful, joyous, loving, formless, timeless God Mind, as you’ve always been. The one ego mind, which has fragmented into shapes and forms called people, animals, vegetables, minerals, etc., is actually like a multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia combined: it is splitting into many personas, talking to itself and seeing what is not there (hallucinating).

Ego is not your true nature; it is an acquired taste. So, don’t take what seems to be “your” ego personally, because we are all just shapes and forms of the same ego. Visualize one ego thought of separation being blown, like air, into billions of balloons and you get the human population.

Extra-strength ego is just a more heavily armored “balloon” — thicker rubber, you might say.  When you attack another or yourself, you are just denying the Truth: that Unified Spiritual You is Perfect. When you are willing to see the good in your brother, his “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)

As you lose your taste for the ego, you gain a taste for forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a well-lit path Home with a Constant Companion Who is well worth following.  This is Who Jesus followed, and you can too.  At first, it can seem difficult to discern the voice of the ego from the Voice for God, but with a little practice, the “irresistible attraction of love for love” (paraphrasing T-12.VIII) takes over.  More on the irresistible attraction of love for love next time!  For now, if you’d like some one-to-one coaching, click here.

Here’s the follow-up article: Irresistible Attraction of Love for Love

Let’s practice together! Come join me in September 2015 at the Weekend of Freedom Retreat, in October 2015 at the MiracleShare cyber-event, and next April at the CMC’s Las Vegas Conference: Change Your Mind – Change the World! (To register call (415) 621-2556 or email miracles@earthlink.net – please give them my name).

Watch and hear my reading of each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice. My book, Sweet Dreams of Awakening, should be released late Fall 2015.

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Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.


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,

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.