Unlearning Classroom

Which Version of ACIM Is Legit?

People feel strongly about the different versions* of A Course in Miracles, about what was edited or left out. What amazes me, although I guess it shouldn’t given the divisive nature of the ego, is the lack of empathy in seeing the best in their brothers.

It should be obvious that everyone involved with the original preparation and publication of A Course in Miracles was motivated by Love.  Not human love, but the inner grace that guided them and they chose to follow.  Everyone followed the best they could.  What we see in our brother is what we see in ourself.

Vision reveals everyone is Innocent.  Of what could anyone involved in delivering A Course in Miracles be guilty?  “You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment.” (T-3.VI.3:1)

Over the years, I’ve bought every version of the Course to see for myself if the differences are significant and concluded that any version of A Course in Miracles can heal the split mind.  How can that be?  Because I’m following the Author, not the editor.

“All fear comes ultimately, and sometimes by way of very devious routes, from the denial of Authorship.  The offense is never to God, but only to those who deny Him.  To deny His Authorship is to deny yourself the reason for your peace, so that you see yourself only in segments.  This strange perception is the authority problem.” (T-3.VI.10:4-7)

Jesus guides us all throughout the Course to ask, “What is the purpose?” of every decision.  He doesn’t leave us hanging.  Over and over, in various ways, he tells us, “The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself.”  (T-2.V.5:1)   Atonement is waking up!  Atonement is the end of ego interference and the recognition that separation never occurred.  Forgiveness, complete non-judgment, is another way of describing meaningful purpose.

Both Atonement and forgiveness release the belief in false identity — the ego — and it is recognized that we are not bodies, we are free, for we are still as God created us: Being.  Debates and arguments are for doers.  Doers are people who want to maintain identification with the ego and avoid undifferentiated Being at all costs.

There are those who state that crucial material was left out of ACIM, without explanation. But anyone who is truly interested can read Absence from Felicity by Ken Wapnick, Journey Without Distance by Rob Skutch and Understanding A Course in Miracles by D. Patrick Miller, to name a few books that give background on the subject.  Click here to read what Gary Renard has to say.  And here for Rev Tony Ponticello’s view and his response to Gary.

But don’t get caught up in a “camp” — that’s schismatic, which is exactly what the ego wants, misses the point of ACIM entirely, and is just plain silly.  Anyway, do you want to read about A Course in Miracles, or do you want to follow the guidance of A Course in Miracles?

It seems to me that Helen Schucman became a clearer transmitter for the Voice from God as she became more comfortable with the scribing process. Personally, I have no problem with early distortions of Jesus’ Message and personal material meant for her and Bill Thetford being kept private.  We still have over 1200 pages of wisdom repeating the same idea simply because we are too deaf, dumb and blind to get it the first time!

Read the Introduction to the Text:  “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”  Read (even better, practice) Lesson 189:  I feel the Love of God within me now.   It says, “Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.”

Isn’t it obvious that wasting time on which version is “right” is an ego ploy? What an ironic distraction! Any Course student worth his or her salt would recognize that in a heartbeat. A Course in Miracles isn’t important! The versions aren’t important!  Read any version you prefer.  They are all part of the illusion.

The worthy thing about the Course is its Message of Generalization — we are all the Same One – and ACIM offers us the method of forgiveness for finding that out. If you have any questions, and you are a true Course student, how about bringing them to the Holy Spirit and getting the Answer you need Directly?

And remember, the Holy Spirit’s Answer is a silent Love, a still Peace, a unified Oneness. There is no specific information. Specifics and information are not of the Abstract Mind of God.

I write this to get it off my chest. I would hope we can have a respectful conversation about this subject — and about any and every subject, for that matter. Anyone who attacks, points a finger or assigns blame is totally missing the point of A Course in Miracles.   Okay, I’ve said it.  Now let’s all choose again and go Home together. Namaste.

*Different versions of ACIM include the originally published books from the Foundation for Inner Peace, the publishing arm founded by Judith Skutch; editing done by Helen Schucman and Ken Wapnick (at first there were three separate books: the Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers; eventually they were bound under one cover), the Urtext, the original version, the sparkly edition, and now, A New Edition, compiled by Robert Perry and published by his organization, the Circle of Atonement, among others.

Copyright © 2009 Amy Torres (updated Jan 2017).  All rights reserved worldwide.

Admitting I Felt Ungrateful Released Me

no-gratitudeFor many years, when the Course spoke of gratitude, something in me objected, because I felt that Jesus was accusing me of being ungrateful. Even though I knew better, there was still a deep feeling of uneasiness and resentment that I had done something wrong, I should be grateful that I was not being punished, and the payback was that I had to feel indebted.

Ego interpreted gratitude as being forced to say “thank you” when I did not want to; as being obligated to feel happy when I did not. Of course, I felt guilty that I was having this negative reaction to gratitude. How unspiritual could I get?

My guilt was compounded as many people in my life expressed heartfelt gratitude about God’s Love, their eyes filled with sincere tears, and I grew angrier and more ashamed of my ungrateful attitude. I did not want to feel ungrateful. But I had to admit that I did.

Still, I was a dedicated Course student and determined to apply its practices. Jesus tells us to be honest, to trust him, and to practice forgiveness, not just towards others, but also towards ourselves. I knew the Holy Spirit undoes everything the ego made IF I chose to give Him my beliefs. So I prayed.

I approach prayer conversationally, so I told Jesus, “I’m willing to give you my resistance to gratitude BUT FIRST…” and went into all the nasty details of my objections (there was some shouting and swearing involved). And what do you know? In return, He thanked me!

unconditional-loveIt was supremely healing to encounter this divine reversal: I gave Spirit all my ingratitude and received Gratitude in return. Emptied of all my grievances, all that was left was Unconditional Love.

Holy Spirit clarified that I was not ungrateful, just triggered by my interpretation of gratitude. He guided me to Lesson 14, “The idea for today is another step in learning to let go the thoughts you have written on the world, and see the Word of God in their place.” And He kindly suggested that I substitute the word “appreciation” for “gratitude” until the issue was entirely purified and the words didn’t matter anymore. Doing this helped me realize how very appreciative I am.

He also led me to Lesson 197, “It can be but my gratitude I earn,” which illuminates the spiritual law that giving is receiving. In other words, when I’m willing to live from the Light which I am, grateful-heart
my appreciation for others is based on the inner light we share, no matter what their opinions or behavior. “The world must thank you when you offer it release from your illusions. Yet your thanks belong to you as well, for its release can only mirror yours.”

Right about this time, someone told me the word “grateful” means “greatful” as in: we are full of Greatness. As I tried on this new definition for size, there was a holy instant of release in which Greatness extended Itself naturally, producing a profound relaxation which stilled my thoughts and spread through my muscles and limbs. As Lesson 155 promises, my forehead was serene; my eyes were quiet.

These days, I gratefully find myself here: “Today let us be thankful. We have come to gentler pathways and to smoother roads. There is no thought of turning back, and no implacable resistance to the truth. A bit of wavering remains, some small objections, and a little hesitance, but you can well be grateful for your gains, which are far greater than you realize.” (W-123: I thank my Father for His gifts to me.)

Let us appreciate these gains together. If you’re having trouble, remember, the quickest route to gratitude is admitting your ingratitude to the Holy Spirit and accepting His merciful release.

* * * * *

This article first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2016 issue of MiracleWorker UK magazine.  

Related essays: Is Thanksgiving Necessary?, Giving Thanks to You, Giving Thanks and Receiving Is Giving

Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Today’s Miracle: Do We Choose Our Thoughts?

This 16 minute video from Rupert Spira helps to clarify how ego thought functions and what Freedom really is.

Today’s Miracle: The Body of Presence

What a joy to discover Ellen Emmet’s work, dissolving the identification with the body.

Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You

How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You was originally a workshop which I gave at  the “Who Are You Really?” Course in Miracles conference in Cleveland, Ohio in 2012. Little by little, it has grown into a library of articles, essays, video, a Facebook page and other stuff (as it keeps growing).

The topics (see list below) include how to use the body to practice forgiveness, facing fears about death, not having to have perfect body health to spiritually awaken, how falling apart can be the best thing you can do, and more.

Here are some tantalizing quotes about the body from A Course in Miracles:

“And you have done a stranger thing than you yet realize.  You have displaced your guilt to your body from your mind.”  ~T-18.VI.2:5-6

But luckily, ” … the body is a learning device for the mind.”  ~T-2.IV.3:1

So, “The body is beautiful or ugly, peaceful or savage, helpful or harmful, according to the use to which it is put.”  ~T-8.VII.4:3

Reassuringly, “Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly.”  ~T-8.VIII.9:8

Last but not least, “The body is the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity.”  ~W-5. What Is the Body?

Topic List:

Are You Sponge-able?

Take Yourself Less Personally

The Purpose of the Body (essay) and The Purpose of the Body (video)

Death Is Just A Belief (essay) and A Happy Conversation About Death – Interview with Jon Mundy (video)

Coming Apart at the “Seems”

Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Unfolding

The Spark Is Still As Pure As the Great Light

Flossing and Feldenkrais

A Course in Miracles and Body Image (Facebook page)

God Is In Your Smile

A Better Way to Say, “I Miss You”

This Is the Best Moment Of Your Life

Ask Amy: Forgiveness – Am I Doing It Right?

Living the Language of Love, Harmony & Beauty (work-in-progress)

How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You is a fascinating subject, especially since the Course tells us the body isn’t even real.  But while we identify with the body, happily there is a way to use it for true healing, miracles, and the Holy Spirit’s pure loving purpose. I call this practical mysticism.

 

The Spark Is Still As Pure As the Great Light

Hey Sparky!

It’s been a while since I wrote, and you’ve been on my mind the whole time. I’ve been immersed in the Thought that each and every one of us has the spark of God within us, and share this so you can feel the Light within yourself:

The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal. In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured. Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten. If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the rays are there unseen. Perceiving the spark will heal, but knowing the light will create. Yet in the returning the little light must be acknowledged first, for the separation was a descent from magnitude to littleness. But the spark is still as pure as the Great Light, because it is the remaining call of creation. Put all your faith in it, and God Himself will answer you. (T-10.IV.7&8)

Please re-read the quote slowly and thoroughly. Read it out loud. Tell yourself, “I am a lamp of God. I am the spark within a Great Ray which streams from the Great Light. I am willing to put all my faith into the spark that I may hear God Himself answer me.”

The spark is the umbilical cord back to God. The Great Ray is the bridge you cross to your Source, the Great Light. The lamp is your body when you give it to God to use for His Purpose. The ego uses the body for fear, anxiety, tension, and death. If you would like some practical mysticism for undoing the ego’s darkness and discovering your spark, join “Undoing Anxiety,” a free MiracleShare Academy webinar series. Just click the pic below.

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Glowingly, Amy

Copyright © 2016 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!

Early in the Course, Jesus says something very interesting, “You do not know your joy because you do not know your own Self-fullness. … The full appreciation of the mind’s Self-fullness makes selfishness impossible and extension inevitable.” (T-7.IX.4:2 & 6)  Smiling is a direct route to knowing your Self-fullness and feeling the full appreciation of your True Nature which arises instantly when you do so.

Have you ever noticed that smiles are contagious?  When someone smiles at you, or you at someone, usually both end up smiling.  This is because, “The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark.  It is everywhere and it is eternal.  In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured.  Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten.  If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the Rays are there unseen.”  (T-10.IV.7:5-6; 8:1-3)  Your smile can help you learn of the greater light if you follow it to the Light from which it originates.

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 not your lips, your tongue, your mouth, your teeth, your jaw!

Your smile is an ordinary miracle, capable of reminding you every day that God is within you and without you.  Your smile is the Light within 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.

* * * * *

You may also enjoy watching Service with a Smile! and reading Remember to Laugh, Happiness Is Your True Nature and This Is the Best Moment of Your Life.

* Click here to read about John Sudworth’s attitude towards Bell’s Palsy.

God Is In Your Smile was originally published April 26, 2015 and this is the newly revised and updated version.

To hear Amy speak about A Course in Miracles, watch her YouTube videosIf you’d like to ask Amy a question for her popular Ask Amy column in Miracles magazine, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com …  To receive blessings from Amy, read Sweet Dreams of Awakening.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice. 

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Coming Apart at the “Seems”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Emphasis mine

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

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

A Clean Slate 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now 2016 is truly a clean slate!

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

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

Happy Clean Slate!

Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Mooji: Thunderbolts of Truth and Blessings to ACIM Students

“At a certain stage it will stop seeming auspicious to be a person. It’s a kind of grace that few will appreciate.” ~Mooji

On a rainy Saturday in October, with a feeling of baptism in the air, Mooji met with me in the breathtaking Ramakrishna Yurt which is perched on the edge of a precipice and has a view that silences the ego mind instantly.

Sri Mooji is a true Master, the living Christ, and points to the simple truth that you are, also. If you desire the deepest Truth, this video is for you. Mooji and I speak about Course concepts and his insights reverberate like thunderbolts! See for yourself.

You may also enjoy the conversation Bill Free and I had on his new internet radio show, Pure Presence.  If you missed it live, here’s the link: https://www.unity.fm/episode/PurePresence_100215

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.