What is A Course in Miracles?

A True Declaration of Independence

fireworks purple goldLet’s transform Independence Day, the July 4th holiday, into a mystical holy day by looking closely at what Jesus calls “independence” in A Course in Miracles.

In Chapter 4 of the Text, he offers us this prayer:

The Kingdom is perfectly united and perfectly protected, and the ego will not prevail against it.  Amen.

He says that it is a declaration of independence, and that we will find it very helpful if we understand it fully.

Here’s my translation for fuller understanding:  The Kingdom is our true Home. At Home we are all joined in one perfect, formless union.  We are perfectly protected at Home because as the Oneness we really are, there is nobody to attack, threaten or endanger anybody else.  The ego cannot defeat God’s Kingdom because the ego is a figment of our imagination, while our Home shines timelessly with absolute loving light.  And so it is!

Jesus also clarifies that the Bible says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” but it should be, “The Kingdom of Heaven is you.”  In Chapter 5, we learn, “God is not in you in a literal sense; you are part of Him.”  Reminding ourselves that we are the Kingdom of Heaven helps us dis-identify as individual people and reconnect with Spirit.  Effortlessly, we rise above the battleground of the world.  Transcending the human identity doesn’t require a fight–just a change of mind.

This change of mind is affirmed in Lesson 31, “I am not the victim of the world I see” which explains that this idea is “the introduction to your declaration of release.”  As you grasp that you are not the victim of the world you see, you “remind yourself that you are making a declaration of independence in the name of your own freedom.  And in your freedom lies the freedom of the world.”  At first, this seems unrealistic, but with practice, miracles shift your perception from person to Presence.

Paradoxically, we come to realize our true independence relies on our complete and utter dependence on God!  Chapter 11 reveals, “Your whole creative function lies in your complete dependence on God, Whose function He shares with you.  By His willingness to share it, He became as dependent on you as you are on Him. … The belief in ego autonomy is costing you the knowledge of your dependence on God, in which your freedom lies.”

Another way of understanding this is that Jesus was able to lead because he was following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  As Lesson 169 puts it, “The Son of God has merely disappeared into his Father, as his Father has in him.  The world has never been at all.  Eternity remains a constant state.”  The ego wants to be a self-governing entity, but the truth is, God “has included you in His Autonomy” and that is true freedom.

Happy Independence Day, Mighty Companions!

You might also enjoy:   How The Homeless Made Me Feel At Home

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.

You Can Learn to Awaken

Did you know that A Course in Miracles is a gentle alarm clock for a part of your mind which has deliberately hypnotized itself into a deep, deep sleep?  This sleeping part of your mind is called the ego.  But you are not the ego.  You are God’s ever-present, never-sleeping Child.

When I began studying A Course in Miracles, I had no idea I was sleeping.  Even though it said over and over that we are dreaming, it took years to filter through my many layers of unconscious denial and blossom into right-minded comprehension.  In the meantime, like most ACIM students, I was approaching the Course as a person, and applying its forgiveness practice to my relationships.

As I willingly chose to give all my relationships and self-concepts to the Holy Spirit, He stripped me down to practically nothing … and I found myself at a crossroads: to continue believing I was a person, or to awaken to the truth that I was not a body, I was free, I was still as God created me.

Ego doubt whispered that this kind of freedom was out of reach, that only saints and avatars  reached Self-realization.  “Sure,” it said, “Dedicated yogis, Indian sadhus and Tibetan monks have a small chance of awakening.  But you?  Ha ha ha ha ha!” Yet Jesus kept explaining that I was already awake, and the only reason I didn’t know this was due to my own active interference with that Knowledge.

The wonderful thing about willingness is that it snowballs into full faith.  The ego could roar menacingly, whisper sweetly, and laugh demonically, but it could no longer convince me that its dream was Reality.  I want you to be this clear and certain, too.

Let’s take a moment together, right now, to absorb this truth.  You are awake.  You are God’s Creation.  You are Beingness Being Itself, right now.  This only seems far-fetched and impossible to “reach” when you actively resist Knowing your True Identity.  Let’s face it.  The real reason we actively resist is not fear.  It is that we want to play God.

There is nothing wrong with this.  But as we all find out sooner or later, playing ego god is a very painful choice. “Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.  Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be another way.  As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point.” (T-2.III.3:5-7)   Hopefully, this essay activates your turning point.

Once you tire of playing God, awakening occurs naturally.  First there is some tossing and turning.  Then a bit of blinking.  There comes a sleepy insistence on “five more minutes.”  And then an Aliveness, an Awareness, and a simple Joy of Being takes over.  What seemed so real fades away in a holy instant.  What is Real prevails.  “Pain is but sleep; joy is awakening.” (W-190)

What a comfort to have Jesus tell us, “You are not yet awake, but you can learn how to awaken.”  And then he holds your hand every step of the way.  Every lesson in the Workbook gives you a daily instruction.  Chapter 30 guides you with Rules for Decision.  The Manual for Teachers devotes section 16 to how you should spend your day.  And all the pages in between are overflowing with the Holy Spirit’s Direction.  Make no mistake.  You can learn through the ACIM unlearning process if you so choose.

“You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake.  There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him, because you will awaken.  Your dreams contain many of the ego’s symbols and they confuse you.  Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know.  When you wake you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you.  Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you, because they are beautiful and true.” (T-6.IV.6:2-7)

You are beautiful and true,
and this Truth can spontaneously arise in you right now!

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.

Healing Sexual Abuse through A Course in Miracles

Ken Wapnick has an invaluable question and answer section at www.facimoutreach.org.  Below is his explanation of how to heal sexual abuse through the forgiveness practice offered by A Course in Miracles.

Q:  I am in my first year with A Course in Miracles. I was sexually molested as a child. The severe shame I feel from this has made relationships difficult. With each new failure to keep or maintain a relationship, they seem to become progressively more difficult. I don’t mind being in the constant process of forgiving the perpetrators. But my life struggle seems to be in sustaining forgiveness of myself. Is there any way I can address this specifically in my renewed relationship with God?

IM000631.JPGA: It is your ego that has convinced you that the shame you feel now is the result of those traumatic and shameful abusive experiences of your childhood. That way, the problem remains in the past, never really capable of being undone. But you are not alone in thinking this way. This is the purpose of the world, to keep our focus away from the real problem in the mind, the original and only source of guilt and shame, and on events in our lives that have happened to us and cannot be reversed.

This is not to say that those childhood experiences were not horrific or that you don’t continue to be haunted by thoughts related to those experiences. But what the Course offers you now is another way in the present of looking at all of that so that it need not maintain the grip on your life and your mind that it has up until now.

The guilt buried deep in our mind over the thought that we would want to and could separate ourselves from love is the real source of all of our shame. And it is a shame so severe that we believe that we do not deserve to be loved, that a lifetime beginning with abuse by those who are responsible for us is a fitting punishment for our “crime” of assaulting love. We carry the belief that we are somehow fatally flawed and that is the real cause of our shame.

But we never go back and look at that source of shame in our mind, where with the gentle support of Jesus, God’s symbol of love in our mind, we might begin to question the validity of that original self-accusation. Instead, we shift our focus to the world of bodies and the shame associated with being helpless and abused by others over whom we have no power or control. And then this seems to be the shame that poisons our whole life, and all the relationships we embark upon in search of the love that is missing that we yearn for. But the good news of the Course is that the problem is not where we are seeing it, in the world of bodies, but rather in our minds, where the solution — forgiveness — is as well.

And so this is where your renewed relationship with God and His representative, Jesus, and his Course, offers hope. For as you are willing to uncover the deeper ontological guilt and shame that your lifetime of personal shame is pointing to, looking at it with Jesus’ love beside you, you will gradually allow yourself to recognize that there is nothing to be ashamed of. For with his love there with you, you will begin to recognize that you have not abandoned or betrayed love, and love has not abandoned or betrayed you.

*******

Thank you, Ken, for the clarity and power of your prolific teachings on A Course in Miracles which have made being a Course student much easier for so many of us.

A Course in Miracles and Yoga

J meditatingA Course in Miracles offers us a highly individualized curriculum where we use the body as a learning device under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Yoga is one of the classrooms the Holy Spirit offers me, to use my body for spiritual purposes. ACIM provides a mind-training; therefore, all of its practices are in thought-form, or ideas. This can be challenging, since the body demands our attention all day long. Yoga offers a body-based sadhana, or spiritual practice, using the body and breath to reconnect with God’s Mind. This way, instead of letting the body run the show, we have concrete techniques so that the body serves the Mind.

“The body, valueless and hardly worth the least defense, need merely be perceived as quite apart from you, and it becomes a healthy, serviceable instrument through which the mind can operate until its usefulness is over.” W-135.

Most of us think of yoga as a physical practice, but the physical movements or asanas, known as hatha yoga, is but one of five yoga systems.  (Hindu philosophy speaks of hatha yoga, raja yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, and karma yoga. Each of these systems can be used autonomously to realize God, or they can be used in combination.)

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means “to yoke” or “join” as in union with our brothers and communion with God.  Swami Satchidananda defines yoga as “the science of mind” and explains that “the mind is a veil woven with thoughts.”  Yoga is a system that helps us harness the mind, because as long as the ego mind gives us the runaround, we’ll remain unaware of the One Mind in which we all truly live.

Hatha Yoga
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAHatha yoga is the physical movement of yoga, the asanas, or postures. The Rishis of five thousand years ago inadvertently “invented” hatha yoga when they surfaced from deep meditation and felt stiff. The stretching they did to limber up was based on what they saw around them in nature: they mimicked animals, mountains, and trees to loosen up and invigorate the body. Nowadays, hatha yoga is used as preparation for meditation. It can also be seen as a moving meditation in itself. When the movements are linked to the breath, and smooth transitions melt one pose into the next, the mind is smoothed also. By relaxing and strengthening the body, we calm the mind and are more able to harness our thoughts and concentrate, which leads to meditation.

ACIM is not strict about a formal ongoing meditation practice. “Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary. All such attempts will ultimately succeed because of their purpose. Yet the means are tedious and very time consuming, for all of them look to the future for release from a state of present unworthiness and inadequacy.” T-18.VII.4:9-11. Yoga is an unhurried, ancient practice based, to some extent, on an accumulation of good karma. It takes time to balance chakras, activate kundalini energy, and transcend the sheaths of the koshas.2 The Course is a refreshing counterbalance to yoga in this way: ACIM promises us over and over again that it will save us time. It provides a structured practice of meditation in the Workbook Lessons, but after that, we are on our own, listening to our Inner Teacher and using the Holy Instant to connect with Universal Mind as often as possible, and in our own way.

Bhakti Yoga
gopis n krishnaBhakti yoga is a path of selfless devotion to God. Krishna’s gopis exemplified bhakti yoga. Gopi mean “cow- herding girl.” The story goes that when Krishna played his flute, gopi women dropped what they were doing, whether it was cooking, tending to the cows, or washing clothes. Everything would be left in the middle and the gopis would abandon their families to dance ecstatically around Krishna as he seduced them with his flute. At night, Krishna would visit every gopi, in a unique form just for her, and make love to her. Bhakti yoga has a quality of unreserved love and passion for God, a full faith that recognizes that God comes first above all others.

Mirabai, the thirteenth century mystic poet, valued her spiritual marriage to Krishna over her family’s arranged marriage for her. She spurned convention, surrendered entirely to her passion for Lord Krishna, and experienced Love alternately through knowing It, and yearning for It.

A Course in Miracles asks us for the same level of devotion. Lesson 157.5, “Into His Presence would I enter now” expresses it this way, “From this day forth, your ministry takes on a genuine devotion, and a glow that travels from your fingertips to those you touch, and blesses those you look upon.”

Jnana Yoga
acim book coverJnana yoga uses the study of scripture as a means to comprehend our true Self. What starts out as an intellectual pursuit deepens into a felt experience. Jnana uses inquiry to uncover meaning beneath meaning beyond meaning until the Self is revealed. The great sage and realized master Ramana Maharshi taught through the question, “Who am I?” This question, aimed at everything, takes us back to the Witness, the Observer, the Decision-Maker (in Ken Wapnick’s parlance). “It undoes the veils that the ego has interposed between its little slice of mind and its Source.

Jnana yoga helps us return to the decision-making part of our mind by stripping away the false self, layer by layer. “This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God.” T-3.II.5:6. Ultimately, the Course tells us to “Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.” W-189; but, until we reach that point, immersing ourselves in scripture can be the royal road Home. Rather than be lost in the ego’s unconscious, we saturate ourselves in the Holy Spirit’s teachings.

Karma Yoga
happy crowdKarma yoga is the yoga of taking action in the world through selfless service. It is a pure practice of brotherhood. It is the natural expression of the miracle, seeing Christ in everyone indiscriminately.  It is the application of the Course concept of “generalization,” which, essentially, recognizes that all actions should be equally loving toward all people, places and things, because we are all the same. “You will recognize that you have learned there is no order of difficulty in miracles when you apply them to all situations. There is no situation to which miracles do not apply, and by applying them to all situations, you will gain the real world.” T-12.VII.1:3-4.  And the way to do this is to see Christ in each other.

Raja Yoga
Patanjali, the sage who compiled the Yoga Sutras, lays out the path of raja yoga. Raja means royal and is considered a complete system. Its goal is to improve our concentration so we can move all our attention toward our Being in order to become that Being. Raja yoga is also called ashtanga yoga because of the eight limbs on which the system rests:

crown_chakra_poster-r31596d0ab74c4af2819dd4bc933ed9ef_w2q_525They are 1) Yamas, outward morality, consisting of non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, self- discipline and non-coveting 2) Niyamas, inner ethics, consisting of cleanliness, contentment, purification of body, mind and nervous system, study of metaphysical principles and self-examination, contemplation of God 3) Postures, or asanas 4) Control of breath and life currents, or pranayama 5) Withdrawal of the senses in order to turn within, or pratyahara 6) Concentration, or dharana 7) Meditation, or dhyana: prolonged periods of concentration which becomes contemplation and 8) Holy Trance, or samadhi, what the Course would call revelation, a direct experience of God.

As the Course says in the Clarification of Terms, “A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary.” ACIM also has a curriculum, and uses a text, workbook, and manual for teachers as its “limbs,” which, when used vigilantly, integrate its teachings and deepen our learning. The ACIM curriculum is not aimed at teaching Love or samadhi because that is beyond what can be taught and is naturally revealed as we remove the blocks to the awareness of Love’s presence.

The Yoga of ACIM
Though I was introduced to yoga first, along the way it became clear to me that ACIM is my path. The lack of ceremony and ritual, the lack of deities and complicated practices, suits me. I have a gypsy nature, which finds the “no baggage” dancing girl via bettina casimir clarkstyle of the Holy Spirit alluring. Still, it comes naturally for me to practice ACIM hatha yoga, where I find my mind often goes pleasantly blank and I spontaneously experience the peace of God. And ACIM bhakti yoga emerged effortlessly too, as it became natural to devote the fruits of my practice to God. ACIM jnana yoga is the pleasure of reading and re-reading the Course, experiencing a deeper and deeper understanding as I do, as well as cultivating the relationship with my guru, my inner teacher, the Holy Spirit. ACIM raja yoga is applying the practices, the Workbook lessons, and allowing the Course to work through me as an integrated whole. ACIM karma yoga is seeing Christ in my brother.

lotus headstandIt’s fun to reverse my upside-down perception simply by doing a headstand, and to evoke the holy instant by chanting “aum.” It’s fun “to let my words be chosen for me by ceasing to decide for myself what I’m going to say” (paraphrased from M-21). Recently, I heard myself giving a guided meditation to my yoga class during savasana inviting them to contact a glowing light within them that is always there, allowing it to permeate their bodies and then extend, radiating Its light through them, so that their very presence was a source of healing to all they came in contact with the rest of the day. “The light is in you,” I said, not realizing it was a line from Chapter 18, channeling straight through me. “You need do nothing except not to interfere,” I continued, transmitting Chapter 16 from the True Empathy section. The Light flowed through me on Its way to them.

In concluding, I say to you, “Namaste. The divine Light in me bows to the divine Light in you” or, in ACIM- speak, “You are one Self with me, united with our Creator in this Self. I honor you because of What I am, and What He is, Who loves us both as One.” Lesson 95.15:3.

———————————————
1 These are five well-known yogic systems. Kundalini yoga, tantric yoga, and kriya yoga are also frequently studied and applied, and the list goes on.

2 Yoga is a vast subject and there are countless books and online resources to explore karma, the chakras, kundalini energy and the koshas, as
well as many other esoteric topics, if you are so inclined. David Hoffmeister has an interesting chart in his book, Awakening Through A Course in Miracles, that maps the ego mind and the layers are remarkably similar to the koshas.

 

Copyright 2009 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

On This Clean Slate Let My True Function Be Written for Me

love blackboard

It’s almost January 1st.  Time for a new beginning.

And where better to start than the loving classroom of A Course in Miracles?  To bring in the new year right-mindedly, I’d like to share with you some phrases from the Course that are so simple and beautiful they lift the heart, bring tears to the eyes, and open the doorway to Heaven.

In one of the early lessons, Lesson 12, we’re told, “If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy.”  It goes on to say, ” … you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be.  … Beneath your words is written the Word of God.  The truth upsets you now, but when your words have been erased, you will see His.”

Lesson 65 gives us an exercise to help us discover the function God gave us, “On this clean slate let my true function be written for me.

And Lesson 276, “The Word of God is given me to speak” asks and answers, “What is the Word of God?  My Son is pure and holy as Myself.

The Course explains that the entire ego thought system is based on guilt.  When we allow God’s Word to be written, we discover our Innocence.  This Innocence has nothing to do with naivete, purity or the body.  It is the Innocence of Unity.  What is Unified cannot be guilty of anything for It is Joined in an Absolute Loving State of Mind.  It is a return to Love.

Ask yourself, “What is the Word of God?”  Then answer, “I am pure and holy as God Himself.”  This year, open to receive the Loving Message God has for you.  How powerful and beautiful to be a clean slate …

If you are interested in using the ACIM Workbook practice as a means to awakening, perhaps you’d like to join us in Workin’ the WorkbookClick here to find out more.

How many times have you promised yourself to do the ACIM Workbook? Now’s your chance.

Workin’ the Workbook, a 365-day ACIM with Amy online class, is my first cyber-workshop.

In 1998, the Workbook of A Course in Miracles changed my life forever.  After finishing all 365 lessons in 365 days, I literally felt reborn.  An iceberg of sin, guilt and fear fell away and I was more fearless and free than I had ever been!  Every year since then my state of mind has been excellent (and the circumstances of my life have consistently improved as well).

This year I feel inspired to support you in your Workbook practice.  So many students of the Course tell me that they would like to complete the Workbook but are stuck somewhere along the way.  Whether you are a newbie, an ACIM veteran, or somewhere in between, this class can be truly helpful.

Believe or not, doing the workbook practice can be a lot of fun!  Yes, there are painful problems and patterns to undo, but there is also the tremendous relief of unburdening yourself, and then the gift of uncovering Who You Really Are.

In Workin’ the Workbook, I do the lessons alongside you, clarifying their meaning and helping you more fully experience the exercises.  My background as a psychotherapist and yoga instructor makes me uniquely qualified to understand the process of ego-undoing on psychological, emotional and physical levels.

Let Workin’ the Workbook give you the structure, support, and inspiration to sustain your ACIM practice in 2013.  Give yourself the gift of a spiritual awakening.

Click here for details.   And … HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Amy’s FORGIVENESS Workshop on Saturday 9/22/12 in New York City

Five Keys to Forgiveness Workshop with Amy Torres

A Course in Miracles teaches us a new definition of forgiveness.  This new definition offers us an entirely different way of understanding ourselves and our relationships.  As the introduction to ACIM states, the Course offers us a forgiveness practice as a way of “removing the blocks to the awareness of Love’s Presence” which naturally leads to giving and receiving miracles.

In the Five Keys to Forgiveness workshop, Amy Torres offers us tools and tales for understanding forgiveness in new ways, and ideas for applying these principles in our daily lives.  We will cover:

*  Forgiveness is an undoing process, removing loneliness, fear, blame, anger, guilt and shame

*  Forgiveness contains the spiritual law that “giving is receiving” and offers us endless abundance.

*  Forgiveness brings inner peace, renewed faith, and lasting happiness.

*  Forgiveness instills a sense of purpose.

*  Forgiveness changes our relationship with time, our understanding of death, and results in miracles.

*  Forgiveness teaches us not to take ourselves personally and restores our True Identity.  Undoing leads to awakening.  That’s why forgiveness is a simple by-product of the willingness to be undone by following the spiritual guidance of your Inner Teacher. If you’ve noticed that this is the sixth bullet in a workshop that offers “five keys,” that’s because forgiveness is a giving practice that just keeps on giving and giving and giving :)   And the more we give, the more we inevitably receive.

Join Amy on Saturday, Sept 22nd from 11 am – 3 pm at this workshop:

Five Keys to Forgiveness
Center for Remembering and Sharing (CRS)
123 4th Ave (between 12th & 13th Sts), 2nd floor
Manhattan, New York City
on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
from 11 am – 3 pm

Bring a notebook and pen. Wear comfortable clothes. Be prepared to remove your shoes.
You do not have to bring your A Course in Miracles book with you for the workshop.

If you have questions, email miracles@amytorresacim.com or call 212-340-1201

If you register early, there are discounted rates:
$40 through July 31st
$50 through August 31st
$60 through September 22nd

If you need to pay by check, make it payable to Amy Torres and mail to:
13260 Immokalee Rd, #6-90, Naples, FL 34120
(write “Forgiveness Workshop” on the check, please :) )

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Namaste~
Amy

The Mythology of A Course in Miracles

For those of you who didn’t make it to the “Who Are You Really?” ACIM Conference in Cleveland, and for those of you who did and requested a copy of my slide show, the first part, “The Mythology of A Course in Miracles” is now posted on YouTube–just search for “Amy Torres Mythology” and it should pop up.

Stay tuned for “The Metaphysics of A Course in Miracles”, coming soon :)   Enjoy!

Lesson 25: I do not know what anything is for.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Up until now the lessons have been working with how our thoughts and our eyesight are meaningless.  Today we begin to find out what our purpose is.  We’re told that purpose is meaning, and what we see and think is meaningless, so we don’t know our own purpose.  Our purpose, we are informed, is that everything is for our own best interests.  The ego makes everything personal which interferes with us realizing our purpose, since spiritually there is no personal interest.  “It is in recognizing this that your goals become unified.”  (Not long after I became a Course student, a book called Unified came my way and it was invaluable to me as a supplement to the Course teachings.  I highly recommend it.)

I’m realizing now that the first time I did the workbook I was reborn.  The second time I did the workbook was more like a review for me, rather than an experience.  This time I can see how my mind really has been trained to a great extent.  I have been undone and operate from a place where I know in my heart that I’m outpicturing the world.  I can usually catch the voice of the ego quickly, and my way of thinking about life and approaching relationships is transformed through true perception.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still getting plenty out of the workbook–it’s just different.  I’m no longer amazed at the concepts, the reversals, or at the content of my ego mind.

This doesn’t mean I never get upset–it means even when I’m upset I know there’s nothing to be upset about, except a false idea that I could separate from God.  Pretty quickly I ask for Guidance, and to recognize What I Already Am, as well as devoting my prayer to the highest good of all.  This is what I would call mindfulness, or good solid ongoing 10-step work (Step 10–Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it; please see my blog entry on Step 10–my personal understanding of it, which reframes the idea of being “wrong” and having “character defects”), or a daily cleansing process (sometimes I’ve used Sanskrit mantras to interrupt all those pesky obsessive thoughts occupying my mind in English) that keeps me relatively ego-free.

Camille Pissarro “In the Village”

Last, but not least, the lesson clearly states:  “For example, you do understand that a telephone is for the purpose of talking to someone who is not physically in your immediate vicinity.  What you do not understand is what you want to reach him forAnd it is this that makes your contact with him meaningful or not.  It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything.” [bold mine]  This is so funny and refreshing!  How relaxing to give up all my goals.  All my goals. I can really live one day at a time now, and enjoy the present more than ever.  I do not know what anything is for when I’m looking with the ego’s eyes.  But place myself in Spirit’s hands and golden vision filters through the dream.

LESSON 25

I do not know what anything is for.

Purpose is meaning.  Today’s idea explains why nothing you see means anything.  You do not know what it is for.  Therefore, it is meaningless to you.  Everything is for your own best interests.  That is what it is for; that is its purpose; that is what it means.  It is in recognizing this that your goals become unified.  It is in recognizing this that what you see is given meaning.

You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals.  These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you.  This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for.  As a result, you are bound to misuse it.  When you believe this, you will try to withdraw the goals you have assigned to the world, instead of attempting to reinforce them.

Another way of describing the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with “personal” interests.  Since you have no personal interests, your goals are really concerned with nothing.  In cherishing them, therefore, you have no goals at all.  And thus you do not know what anything is for.

Before you  can make sense out of the exercises for today, one more thought is necessary.  At the most superficial levels, you do recognize purpose.  Yet purpose cannot be understood at these levels.  For example, you do understand that a telephone is for the purpose of talking to someone who is not physically in your immediate vicinity.  What you do not understand is what you want to reach him for.  And it is this that makes your contact with him meaningful or not.

It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything.  The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than “good” or “bad,” is the only way to accomplish this.  The idea for today is a step in this direction.

Six practice periods, each of two-minutes duration, are required.   Each practice period should begin with a slow repetition of the idea for today, followed by looking about you and letting your glance rest on whatever happens to catch your eye, near or far, “important” or “unimportant,” “human” or “nonhuman.”  With your eyes resting on each subject you so select, say, for example:

I do not know what this chair is for.
I do not know what this pencil is for.
I do not know what this hand is for.

Say this quite slowly, without shifting your eyes from the subject until you have completed the statement about it.  Then move on to the next subject, and apply today’s idea as before.

To see the entire Workbook for Students, get a copy of the book, A Course in Miracles, or visit the original publisher, Foundation for Inner Peace, online at http://acim.org/Lessons/index.html.  To have the lesson delivered daily to your email box for free, sign up with http://www.acimdailylesson.com/category/daily-lessons-from-a-course-in-miracles.