Undoing the Ego

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.

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.

Cover front and back

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.

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.