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Death Is Just A Belief

starlit skyAs a child, I felt terrified at the idea of death. No one had spoken with me about death, and no one close to me had died. Yet there was a picture in my mind of my body floating in an endless night sky, surrounded by stars, completely helpless, painfully alone, and frozen with terror.

This fear affected my entire early childhood. It was more important to play it safe, than learn to ride a bicycle, swim, or meet new friends. I was shy, and spent most of my time reading books. As I grew older, there was an uneasy feeling inside me that I was a coward. I admired people in stories I read, who would throw themselves in front of a bus to save another, and I sensed that I was not one of them.

It became crucial that I overcome my fear of death–but I no longer remembered that it was death of which I was afraid. I was now wrestling with the shame of calling myself a “coward.” This was my dirty little secret–I was yellow.cowardlylion

And cowardice infected my whole life. First, I was afraid of sports, then dogs, then water, then other kids, then summer camp, on and on. In order to feel safe, I had to withdraw from life. Safety came at a high price-loneliness and a great longing to play and participate; but instead I stayed in my room.

Although this was my plight as a child and young adult, paradoxically, I was not alone. Many people suffer from this kind of withdrawal. Lonely, terrified people are probably the majority of human beings. I found this out because eventually I went into psychotherapy–first as a client, and then when the therapy worked, as a professional. And I discovered that every client that walked through my door was lonely and terrified. Even when, externally, their lives appeared successful.

swirly omAs I faced my fear of death, spiritual wisdom came my way. Rather than comforting myself reading novels about lonely people, I started reading mystical literature. “If there is any death, it is that of death itself, for life will not die,” said the great Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan. Such elegant logic. How can life die?

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) explains, “The ‘reality’ of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving.” Again, impeccable logiclaverne-ross-while-adam-slept. If God is Loving, how could He create death? But what did “if God created bodies” mean? Where did bodies come from, if not God?

According to Advaita Vedanta, also known as non-dualism, this world and the bodies in it are an illusion, maya, the play of consciousness. As ACIM puts it, “What is seen in dreams seems to be very real. Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up.”

What? I read that over and over again, and then checked the Bible. I could not find a passage about Adam awakening. Could this all simply be, as the song goes, “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”?

dreaming aboriginalAustralian Aboriginals believe in “dreamtime,” an infinite spiritual belief about the time of creation. The “Dreaming” is eternal and life exists before a person is born and after the individual person ends.

Quantum physics has theories about non-linear and simultaneous time. There is no past and future. Time is a limited and limiting concept made up by humans. There cannot be death without the grim reaper, Father Time. Yet if God is understood as formless, infinite and eternal, there can be no death at all. It turns out death is just a belief.

“It is not you dying. It is what you are not that is dying. In fact, you are never going to die! Death is a myth. This body, you have to give it up. But you must come to know, while you have the body, that you are eternal,” says Mooji, a contemporary mystic, who teaches self-inquiry.

As I began to understand that I am not a body, and the reality that seems so real to all of us is merely a dream, the fear of death dissolved. The real me-and you–can never die. The spiritual Self in which we are all One prevails. This is the truth that Jesus said would set us free. This is the Truth that dissolves all fear, including the fear of death.om sky

Death Is Just A Belief is an essay in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You.  If you liked this, you may also enjoy “Gatita Sparkles,” “Gatita’s Metamorphosis,”Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Spiritual Unfolding,” “How to Take Yourself Less Personally”,Flossing and Feldenkrais,” and “I Am Not My Hair”     Also, be sure to watch Webinar #10, The Purpose of the Body on YouTube :)   And you may be interested in my Facebook page devoted to body issues: http://facebook.com/acimbodyimage

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Ask Amy: Grieving While Not Believing In Death

Guy QuestionQ:  After Ken Wapnick passed away, you wrote on Facebook that you will cry as much as you need to.  Why do you feel like crying if you are truly applying the Course, which teaches us that death is not real?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  What I wrote on Facebook was, “Only his form is gone, but I will cry as much as I need to, even as my mind remains clear that Ken is always with us, always.”

Intellectually and intuitively I know that we are spirit, there is no death, there is no world, there is no body, and there is nothing to fear.  But I am not yet fully established in this Knowing.  Early in the Text we’re told, “The body is merely part of your experience in the physical world.  Those who [deny its existence] are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial.” (T-2.IV.3:8, 11)

When I heard that Ken had died, there was an immediate reaction in the body.  It could have reinforced the ego’s agenda, but because I was willing to use it for the Holy Spirit’s purpose it became a release from the belief in loss.

Tears came.  I didn’t fight them.  They were sweet with Love.  Somehow, there was a paradoxical experience of sorrow without pain.  The result is an increased conviction that we are a Oneness joined as One.

In Chapter 21 we are asked, “What if you looked within and saw no sin?  This ‘fearful’ question is the one the ego never asks.”  I looked, with the Holy Spirit, at the ache which moved through the human heart, the sense of disbelief that Ken could be dead because he had always been so youthful and healthy.

I looked at my concern for Gloria, his wife, and his staff at the Foundation for A Course in Miracles, who had been with him for almost 40 years.  I looked with the Holy Spirit and trusted that, “The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.” (T-15.III.5:5)  Peace moved through my body with the quiet knowing that all is well.

I remember asking Ken if he missed Helen, and he said no, there was no need to miss her — she wasn’t gone.  I also asked him how he felt about his stutter, and he said it was nothing, he no longer gave it any thought.

Ken and AmyKen and I shared a similar background, both growing up in New York City, and both entering the fields of psychology and ministry.  To me, he’s “Uncle Ken,” the only family member who doesn’t think I’m crazy for knowing I’m not a person.  I speak in the present tense because there is no past and Ken lives in my heart.  His warmth, his wisdom, his humor — still here.

I turned to him many times to better understand and apply Course principles.  He helped me discern the voice of the ego from the Voice for God.  He helped me “get it” that we are a Mind, not a body; that we are Innocence, guilty of nothing.  He helped me when I first began formally teaching the Course.  The joke was that after I turned to Jesus, I double-checked with Ken.

“Within the dream of bodies and of death, is yet one theme of truth; no more, perhaps, than just a tiny spark, a space of light created in the dark, where God still shines.  And as you see [your brother] shining in the space of light where God abides within the darkness, you will see that God Himself is where his body is.” (T-29.III.3:1, 6)

This is how I choose to see Ken.  As he himself says in his YouTube video called Q & A: Death, “You never were in the body.  What happens when you die is nothing.”

Click here to read my interview with Ken Wapnick.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the March-April 2014 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

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?

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ACIMBodyImage/

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

ACIM teaches us that the Holy Spirit’s purpose for the body is to use it as a vehicle for learning, as a communication device.  After many years of working with the Course, the body feels less like “me” and more like a beloved car–a great vehicle in which to get around; a “thing” that I do my best to treat well and maintenance regularly.

In my personal curriculum, yoga has been one way the Holy Spirit has reached my mind through the classroom of my body.  Through my personal trials and tribulations with the body, I have tried all kinds of alternative healing.

On the physical side, there’s been cranio-sacral therapy, myofascial release, visceral manipulation, Feldenkrais, every kind of massage you can name (yes, I’m a massage junkie).  Body-oriented psychotherapy has included what I call expressive-release work (see bioenergetics based on Wilhelm Reich’s work, emotional somatic healing, and EMDR (uses eye movement).

Spiritually there’s been qi gong, tai chi, Afro-Cuban motion, belly dance, Indonesian latihan, EFT and much more.

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 and embodied spirituality.

 

Amy Quotes

If you find these words inspiring, please accept them as a gift that comes from the One Spirit we are, through me for you … and feel free to share.

human or Being magnet

“I thought I was human but now I know I am Being.  So are you.”

“Find the origin of your smile and you will find your Self.”

“Look yourself in the I and happily watch the person die.”

“There is nobody to duel in non-dualism.”

“If you want to be a good person, you must realize you are not a person.”

“That which lives in the body is that which the body lives within.”

“Through self-inquiry, by process of elimination, you eliminate yourself.”

“The more the body is embodied, the less the body is believed in.”

“The body is a demonstration of unconscious thought — when we work consciously with the body to look at the beliefs it holds, the belief in ego can be entirely undone.”

“Smelling a rose is like having an orgasm with your nose.”

“I would rather admire you than envy you. It’s the empowered choice every time.”

“Your body is thinning away like the heel of a threadbare sock.”

“The little person called Amy that I take myself to be is arising within the Awareness that I am.”

“You are not a realist unless you are an idealist.”

“Give love like a dog; receive love like a cat.”

“God is an All-Knowing Un-Knowing that Knows Itself Perfectly.”

“Discovering God is re-birthing the Unborn.”

“What is seeing what is real is what?”

“The Holy Spirit is not shining brighter — you are drawing nearer.”

“When you unravel a knot, what is left where the knot was? … Unravel the person you think you are and discover What you really are. I call this unravelization.”

“The ego mind is a weapon of mass distraction. Distraction is destruction when it comes to peace of mind.”

“The body is a repository for unconscious thought.”

“There is no need to distrust others when you trust your Self.”

“Don’t be the seeker. Be the Seer.”

“The ego would rather have us feel terror than uncover its error.”

“Unravelization: the unraveling of the personal self, concluding with the spontaneous Realization of the Wordless.”

“Talk to God and He will Listen.  Talk with God and He will Answer.”

prayer feet“What you are praying for is what you already are.”

“Greatitude leads to beatitude.”

“In my defensiveness, the ego lies.”

“Whatever is happening, right now, let it be the best moment of your life.”

“Don’t make a resolution, just surrender… ”

“You are a figment of your own imagination.”

“Your smile is not your lips, your mouth, your teeth, your jaw … your smile is the Light inside you.”

“Your smile is spontaneous proof of a miracle rippling through you.”

“Death is just a belief.”

“You don’t have to practice detachment if you practice embodiment, because detachment will happen naturally. And vice versa.”

“There is no need for morality when you have Integrity.”

“When you plug your will into God’s Will, the dream flatlines and Reality Shines.”

“When the person gets the attention she needs, the need for personal attention dissolves.”

“Stop me-ing and allow Being.”

“Intellectual understanding is not bad. It is the first gulp, but it is necessary to digest after swallowing.”

“If you want to be a good person, you must realize you are not a person.”

“When one awakens, it is realized that all are awake.”

Stillness Is 7-19-15“Stillness is the most beautiful sound never to be heard.”

“A place with no name, where time stands still, no questions asked.”

“Thoughts are the organizing principle with which the ego holds itself together.”

“For me, there is only The Message and any disharmony within the greater Harmony is still part of Harmony.”

“The one who fears annihiliation is the one who does not exist.”

“The Holy Spirit undoes undue fear.”

“We are more a What than a Who.  Let go of being somebody and discover no body.”

“Riffing with your Self is a One Note harmony.”

“Discover you are a Smile without a face.”

“Good things expire or can be discontinued. Perfection has no end date.”

Aum picture quote“Aum is the bridge back Home.”

“Sometimes giving up is the most powerful thing you can do.”

“Everything is taking care of Itself.  Such is the nature of Life.”

“The one who fears annihiliation is the one who does not exist.”

“The body is congealed thought.”

“Body health is not a measurement of spiritual unfolding.”

“I know nothing for I am No Thing.”

“A sweetness is entering into you, the likes of which you have never known before.”

When asked by a psychotherapy client, “Amy, how did you know when you were healthy?” I had to stop and ask Spirit for help!  In my own opinion at that time (1999), I was not healthy, and I kept sharing my doubts with my supervisors. Jesus came to my rescue and clearly said, “When you were not ashamed of feeling ashamed anymore.”

Another time, a client was upset because she arrived quite late for her session and only had 20 minutes left.  Again, I asked for help, and the words came, “Therapy time is concentrated time. Like concentrated orange juice. It’s very potent and super healing.  A little bit can go a long way.  We can accomplish in 20 minutes what would have taken 45 or 60. Not only that, during the week, between now and your next session, you will find that time is malleable and can manipulated and elongated and stretched or compressed depending on what you need in any given situation.  The work we do now will remain alive and present for you throughout your week.”  She was reassured and had a rich session. I then forgot all about this Message — until she came in the next week and excitedly reported to me that, indeed!, time was malleable and she had used this truth all week long 🙂

 

 

Abide in your smile

Copyright © 2014 – 2017 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

The Purpose of the Body

As Course in Miracles students, we are deeply questioning what most people take for granted. Jesus asks us to be very honest in exploring how the ego operates in order to find out who and what we really are.  In that spirit, Webinar #10 is to help you experientially understand the purpose of the body.  We begin by examining the ego’s purpose, in order to awaken your ability to use the body for the Holy Spirit’s Loving purpose of forgiveness and awakening instead.

We all take the cycle of birth and death for granted.  You, me, and everybody else, started off this human life believing that we were born through the body of our mother.  You were labeled with a name, to identify you as a person, and believed you were the physical form called the body.

Beginning in infancy, every body experiences physical pleasure and pain.  The body also experiences emotional and psychological pleasure and pain, which is called “somatizing” (morphing mental states into physical sensations).  Humans continue to be highly motivated by both pleasure and pain into adulthood–and guilt is often associated with both.  Spiritual teachers have referred to the body as the “pain body” and the “time body.”  When you combine pain and time, you get a ticking bomb!  In addition to the angst of our own personal lives, we see explosions of pain, anguish, rage, and terror throughout the world every day.

There’s rarely one among us who escapes the fear of death.  The human race tries to fend off mortality by nurturing roots through a clan, tribe, extended family, ethnic, racial, cultural and/or national  heritage, ownership of property, carrying on the family name through their children, honoring personal achievements by erecting monuments and awarding prizes, through competition and record setting, and even staking a claim to their spot on earth with a tombstone.

“The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built, to separate parts of his Self from other parts.” (W-5.1:1)  The ego dreamed up the idea of the body to solidify its concept of itself.  The body seems to prove that we, as people, exist.  The ego makes excellent use of the body as a multi-layered device:

* The ego’s grand plan was to make us Mind-less so we completely forgot our true Identity as a “Oneness joined as One” (T-25.I.7:1) in the formless, loving Mind of God.  Happily, “What is the same can not be different, and what is one can not have separate parts.” (T-25.I.7:7)

* The ego accomplishes this complete forgetting by hiding within the body, which blocks out our awareness of Being One Self in God’s Mind.  Mercifully, “The definition of reality is God’s, not yours.  He created it, and He knows what it is.  You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourself to oblivion.” (T-12.VIII.3:6-8)

*  The brain and sensory organs in the body serve to show us that the physical world is real.  The ego seemingly proves bodies are real through the five senses, but actually the five senses falsely witness to the ego’s own propaganda that it exists.  The brain is the ego’s organ of choice to interpret, judge and perceive.  Jesus explains, “First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. … The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision maker.  Terms like ‘instincts,’ ‘reflexes’ and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem.  They do not answer it.”  (M-5.II.1:4-9)

The Course teaches us to stop judging, interpreting, and perceiving:  “There is one thing that you have never done; you have not utterly forgotten the body.  It has perhaps faded at times from your sight, but it has not yet completely disappeared.  You are not asked to let this happen for more than an instant, yet it is in this instant that the miracle of Atonement happens.  Afterwards you will see the body again, but never quite the same.  And every instant that you spend without awareness of it gives you a different view of it when you return.”  (T-18.VII.2:1-5)

*  The ego uses the body as a container for its guilt, and projects this guilt onto other people.  “The body is the means by which the ego tries to make the unholy relationship seem real.” (T-20.VII.5:1)  In the Course, Jesus refers to us as “the separated ones” and to our relationships as “special” and “unholy.”  The body is the ego’s symbol of separation.  Only our belief in the body makes it possible to have physical relationships which seem to express love, but actually maintain separate and special interests.  But don’t feel guilty about your relationships!  Jesus tells us, “Your question should not be, ‘How can I see my brother without the body?’ Ask only, ‘Do I really wish to see him sinless?’” (T-20.VII.9:1-2)

When we are willing to see our brother as sinless then perception of the body through eyesight becomes secondary to our ability to see our brothers’ innocence.  “By focusing on the good in him [your brother], 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)  In that way, we use the body for the Holy Spirit’s purpose as “the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity.” (W-5.4:1)

*  Last but not least, the body, by its inevitable demise, implies, quite convincingly, that we were alive.  Through the cycle of birth and death, the ego makes a case that life is worldly and material, defined within time and space.  We never pause to question birth, but in Reality there are no bodies to be born.  God creates His Creation and there is no place where the Father ends and the Son begins–we are truly a Oneness joined as One.

When we step back and let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, we learn that, “You have the vision that enables you to see the body not.  And as you look upon your brother, you will see an altar to your Father, holy as Heaven, glowing with radiant purity and sparkling with the shining lilies you laid upon it.  What can you value more than this?  Why do you think the body is a better home, a safer shelter for God’s Son?  Why would you rather look on it than on the truth?” (T-20.VIII.4:3-7).

Practice Lesson 223:  God is my life.  I have no life but His.  It begins, “I was mistaken when I thought I lived apart from God, a separate entity that moved in isolation, unattached, and housed within a body.  Now I know my life is God’s, I have no other home, and I do not exist apart from Him.  He has no Thoughts that are not part of me, and I have none but those which are of Him.” If this does not satisfy, or if you’re feeling plagued by a body issue, ask the Holy Spirit to use your body to undo your belief in the body.  You will likely be guided to work with someone who knows how to guide you in observing your physical sensations in order to release them. There are more and more spiritual practitioners (including myself) using many different methods to use our sensory apparatus to dissolve individuality.

If you liked “The Purpose of the Body,” you may also enjoy other essays in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You, including, “Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Spiritual Unfolding,” “Death Is Just a Belief,” “How to Take Yourself Less Personally” and “Flossing and Feldenkrais.”   Be sure to watch Webinar #10: The Purpose of the Body on YouTube 🙂  And you might be interested in my Facebook page devoted to body issues: http://facebook.com/acimbodyimage  For private sessions or if you have questions, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Spiritual Unfolding

sick teddy bearIt is a common misinterpretation of the Course to believe that body illness is an indication of giving in to the ego.*

Jesus is very clear in ACIM that the only illness is mental illness and that illness is believing we could separate from God and the guilt that perpetuates this mistaken belief.

There are places in A Course in Miracles that could be misinterpreted when read at a superficial level, but go deeper and it is clear: the only use for the body is to serve the Holy Spirit’s purpose of forgiveness. The form this takes is not for us to judge.

Physical “maladies” are of no consequence when we have peace of Mind. The body is a vessel for the Holy Spirit to send miracles through us. Miracles are mind-healing.

Mind-healing gives us peace of Mind. Taking care of the body is common sense and an outcome of Love, but simply the way we would maintenance the car or any other device we are using for a while. You are not your body. You are God’s Child, the Self.

It can seem very unfair to have an illness like COPD when, for instance, you were never a smoker.  Certainly, it could be linked to repressed emotions, but that’s only one of many possibilities. The ego’s world represents an insane thought system, so there are many reasons from an earthly point of view to account for illness. Don’t blame yourself, but do be accountable and look at your health situation with the Holy Spirit.

In my case, I was guided to do lots of work releasing deep feelings in psychotherapy. It’s a great way to open up, flow, and release hidden shame, guilt, anger, hatred, grief, aggression, etc.  It helps us come out of denial.  The work was so liberating for me, that I became a psychotherapist myself, and assisted many people in this same process.

However, as a Course student, it is missing the point if we only work on the body level.  And to use body health as a measurement of spiritual unfolding is to disregard everything Jesus is teaching us. There is so much confusion around this, I started http://facebook.com/acimbodyimage. Visit there for more on this subject.  Also, watch this video from Mooji, which points “beyond the body” (as ACIM says) to Eternal Life:  Mooji on Eternal Life

* “Giving in to the ego” is a blatant indication that we believe we have to fight the ego, which is exactly what the ego wants. That would “make the error real”– to engage with the ego is to operate as if the ego exists, when the real solution is to give our fears to the Holy Spirit. Request to recognize What you already are, and remind yourself that you could “see Peace instead of this” (the seeming problem).  Open your mind and guidance will come in a form that serves you well at this point in time in your dream — that form might even be physical illness.  Remember, as Jesus tells us over and over again in ACIM:  we don’t know anything and we cannot judge anything.

If you liked “Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Spiritual Unfolding,” you may enjoy other essays in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You, including, “The Purpose of the Body,” “How to Take Yourself Less Personally,” “Death Is Just a Belief,” and “Flossing and Feldenkrais.”   Be sure to watch Webinar #10: The Purpose of the Body on YouTube 🙂  And check out my Facebook page devoted to body issues: http://facebook.com/acimbodyimage

 

How to Take Yourself Less Personally

It was wonderful seeing those of you who made it to the Five Keys to Forgiveness workshop in New York City. We looked at forgiveness from many different perspectives, deepened our understanding of what forgiveness means, how it works, and used exercises to practice and experience forgiveness.

Today, let’s continue our forgiveness work by looking at how the ego thinks. The ego is a fear-based thought system which relies on us taking everything personally. The ego loves for us to feel insulted, outraged, taken advantage of, walked all over, judgmental and self-righteous.  These attitudes are automatic and we have to bring them into awareness in order to become free of them.

One way of looking at forgiveness is that it teaches us detachment. Unlike dissociation or denial, detachment is a healthy way of observing the ego, free of emotional involvement.  Detachment helps us take ourself and others less personally.  It takes practice to allow detachment, and can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit, because it is a process of dis-identifying with the ego (personal sense of self) and re-identifying with God.

All the ego boils down to is a thought of separation, a “tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh” ~T-27.VIII.6:2.  We get to “choose again” in any given moment whether we want to take this idea of separation seriously, or find it humorous.  This is a potent turning point.  When we are willing to stop taking ourselves personally, we are willing to undo the projection that there is a self.  This is the moment when we choose to laugh!  And this willingness to laugh reveals that all tragedy is really tragicomedy (tragedy with a happy ending).

So how do we take ourselves less personally?

One, be willing to ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Two, give your thoughts to the Holy Spirit all day long.  Good ones, bad ones, just give everything to Spirit as often as you can remember.  This willingness to develop a relationship with God’s Holy Spirit naturally leads to Love.  This is the forgiveness practice ACIM offers us to help us recognize that what we thought our brother did to us has not occurred.

And three, choose again–allow a shift in perception to take place in your mind that permits any circumstance to be transformed into something laugh-worthy.  Then you will know that you are not the person you thought you were–you really are God’s beautiful child.  “How beautiful indeed are the Thoughts of God who live in His Light.” ~T-3.V.10:5

The undoing process will seem to take time and effort while we use this dream as an unlearning classroom, but in the moment of awakening all sense of suffering will simply evaporate.  Everybody is defending and attacking all the time, even if they don’t realize it (and especially if they don’t realize it) until that holy instant when we choose to “Be still and know that I am God.” ~T-4.Intro.2:2.

Tip:  Sometimes the way to take ourselves less personally is to allow ourselves to take whatever is bothering us very personally.  Paradoxically, it can really help to fully embrace and even exaggerate the upset feelings and thoughts we have, in order to bring them into consciousness.  This permits a full release.  Remember, you have to do this with the Holy Spirit as your guide, because the ego will never help free you from its thought system.  Next time, we’ll look more deeply into how to remember to laugh, especially if you’re in pain.

Can you think of an event in your life that seemed terribly important and/or  incredibly painful at the time it occurred, that you see differently now?  Take a few minutes to appreciate this shift in your perception.  If you would like to share your miracle, please email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com

If you liked “How to Take Yourself Less Personally,” you may enjoy other essays in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You, including, “The Purpose of the Body,” “Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Spiritual Unfolding,” “Death Is Just a Belief,” “Flossing and Feldenkrais” and “Coming Apart at the ‘Seems’.”  Be sure to watch Webinar #10: The Purpose of the Body on YouTube 🙂  And check out my Facebook page devoted to body issues: http://facebook.com/acimbodyimage

Copyright © 2012 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.

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W-198: Only my condemnation injures me.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

We must deal with with the “effects” of the illusion as if they have happened until we are more willing and less afraid.  The Holy Spirit offers us the only illusion that works: forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a unifying principle that sweeps all other dreams away and breeds no others.  Though forgiveness is a dream too, it is where illusions end.  Forgiveness is the end of dreams, because it is a dream of waking.  Can you feel the magnitude, depth, breadth, Stillness of this?  As my mind accepts this Thought, all ego thinking stops.  For a moment, Quiet reigns, outside of time, perfectly peaceful, happy, complete.  🙂

LESSON 198

Only my condemnation injures me.

Injury is impossible. And yet illusion makes illusion. If you can condemn, you can be injured. For you have believed that you can injure, and the right you have established for yourself can be now used against you, till you lay it down as valueless, unwanted and unreal. Then does illusion cease to have effects, and those it seemed to have will be undone. Then are you free, for freedom is your gift, and you can now receive the gift you gave.

Condemn and you are made a prisoner. Forgive and you are freed. Such is the law that rules perception. It is not a law that knowledge understands, for freedom is a part of knowledge. To condemn is thus impossible in truth. What seems to be its influence and its effects have not occurred at all. Yet must we deal with them a while as if they had. Illusion makes illusion. Except one. Forgiveness is illusion that is answer to the rest.

Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others. All illusions save this one must multiply a thousandfold. But this is where illusions end. Forgiveness is the end of dreams, because it is a dream of waking. It is not itself the truth. Yet does it point to where the truth must be, and gives direction with the certainty of God Himself. It is a dream in which the Son of God awakens to his Self and to his Father, knowing They are One.

Forgiveness is the only road that leads out of disaster, past all suffering, and finally away from death. How could there be another way, when this one is the plan of God Himself? And why would you oppose it, quarrel with it, seek to find a thousand ways in which it must be wrong; a thousand other possibilities?

Is it not wiser to be glad you hold the answer to your problems in your hand? Is it not more intelligent to thank the One Who gives salvation, and accept His gift with gratitude? And is it not a kindness to yourself to hear His Voice and learn the simple lessons He would teach, instead of trying to dismiss His words, and substitute your own in place of His?

His words will work. His words will save. His words contain all hope, all blessing and all joy that ever can be found upon this earth. His words are born in God, and come to you with Heaven’s love upon them. Those who hear His words have heard the song of Heaven. For these are the words in which all merge as one at last. And as this one will fade away, the Word of God will come to take its place, for it will be remembered then and loved.

This world has many seeming separate haunts where mercy has no meaning, and attack appears as justified. Yet all are one; a place where death is offered to God’s Son and to his Father. You may think They have accepted. But if you will look again upon the place where you beheld Their blood, you will perceive a miracle instead. How foolish to believe that They could die! How foolish to believe you can attack! How mad to think that you could be condemned, and that the holy Son of God can die!

The stillness of your Self remains unmoved, untouched by thoughts like these, and unaware of any condemnation which could need forgiveness. Dreams of any kind are strange and alien to the truth. And what but truth could have a Thought which builds a bridge to it that brings illusions to the other side?

Today we practice letting freedom come to make its home with you. The truth bestows these words upon your mind, that you may find the key to light and let the darkness end:

Only my condemnation injures me.
Only my own forgiveness sets me free.

Do not forget today that there can be no form of suffering that fails to hide an unforgiving thought. Nor can there be a form of pain forgiveness cannot heal.

Accept the one illusion which proclaims there is no condemnation in God’s Son, and Heaven is remembered instantly; the world forgotten, all its weird beliefs forgotten with it, as the face of Christ appears unveiled at last in this one dream. This is the gift the Holy Spirit holds for you from God your Father. Let today be celebrated both on earth and in your holy home as well. Be kind to both, as you forgive the trespasses you thought them guilty of, and see your innocence shining upon you from the face of Christ.

Now is there silence all around the world. Now is there stillness where before there was a frantic rush of thoughts that made no sense. Now is there tranquil light across the face of earth, made quiet in a dreamless sleep. And now the Word of God alone remains upon it. Only that can be perceived an instant longer. Then are symbols done, and everything you ever thought you made completely vanished from the mind that God forever knows to be His only Son.

There is no condemnation in him. He is perfect in his holiness. He needs no thoughts of mercy. Who could give him gifts when everything is his? And who could dream of offering forgiveness to the Son of Sinlessness Itself, so like to Him Whose Son he is, that to behold the Son is to perceive no more, and only know the Father? In this vision of the Son, so brief that not an instant stands between this single sight and timelessness itself, you see the vision of yourself, and then you disappear forever into God.

Today we come still nearer to the end of everything that yet would stand between this vision and our sight. And we are glad that we have come this far, and recognize that He Who brought us here will not forsake us now. For He would give to us the gift that God has given us through Him today. Now is the time for your deliverance. The time has come. The time has come today.

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. 

 

W-196: It can be but myself I crucify.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Jesus is teaching my mind that I am not an ego.  I am not not-Love.  I am not a body.  The text teaches us that the lesson of the crucifixion was resurrection.  My mind is all that needs to ascend, ascend from the psychological denial and repression I have chosen–in other words, I choose to lift the heavy manhole cover I have placed over my mind. A cover which seems to attest to darkness and aloneness.  But just a tiny willingness to pry this cover up and peek through the opening reveals the Light of everlasting Day and Night, of ever-Present Allness which is true religion–unified woven Love.

LESSON 196

It can be but myself I crucify.

When this is firmly understood and kept in full awareness, you will not attempt to harm yourself, nor make your body slave to vengeance. You will not attack yourself, and you will realize that to attack another is but to attack yourself. You will be free of the insane belief that to attack a brother saves yourself. And you will understand his safety is your own, and in his healing you are healed.

Perhaps at first you will not understand how mercy, limitless and with all things held in its sure protection, can be found in the idea we practice for today. It may, in fact, appear to be a sign that punishment can never be escaped because the ego, under what it sees as threat, is quick to cite the truth to save its lies. Yet must it fail to understand the truth it uses thus. But you can learn to see these foolish applications, and deny the meaning they appear to have.

Thus do you also teach your mind that you are not an ego. For the ways in which the ego would distort the truth will not deceive you longer. You will not believe you are a body to be crucified. And you will see within today’s idea the light of resurrection, looking past all thoughts of crucifixion and of death, to thoughts of liberation and of life.

Today’s idea is one step we take in leading us from bondage to the state of perfect freedom. Let us take this step today, that we may quickly go the way salvation shows us, taking every step in its appointed sequence, as the mind relinquishes its burdens one by one. It is not time we need for this. It is but willingness. For what would seem to need a thousand years can easily be done in just one instant by the grace of God.

The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross. Perhaps it seemed to be salvation. Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real. And what is that but hell? Who could believe his Father is his deadly enemy, separate from him, and waiting to destroy his life and blot him from the universe, without the fear of hell upon his heart?

Such is the form of madness you believe, if you accept the fearful thought you can attack another and be free yourself. Until this form is changed, there is no hope. Until you see that this, at least, must be entirely impossible, how could there be escape? The fear of God is real to anyone who thinks this thought is true. And he will not perceive its foolishness, or even see that it is there, so that it would be possible to question it.

To question it at all, its form must first be changed at least as much as will permit fear of retaliation to abate, and the responsibility returned to some extent to you. From there you can at least consider if you want to go along this painful path. Until this shift has been accomplished, you can not perceive that it is but your thoughts that bring you fear, and your deliverance depends on you.

Our next steps will be easy, if you take this one today. From there we go ahead quite rapidly. For once you understand it is impossible that you be hurt except by your own thoughts, the fear of God must disappear. You cannot then believe that fear is caused without. And God, Whom you had thought to banish, can be welcomed back within the holy mind He never left.

Salvation’s song can certainly be heard in the idea we practice for today. If it can but be you you crucify, you did not hurt the world, and need not fear its vengeance and pursuit. Nor need you hide in terror from the deadly fear of God projection hides behind. The thing you dread the most is your salvation. You are strong, and it is strength you want. And you are free, and glad of freedom. You have sought to be both weak and bound, because you feared your strength and freedom. Yet salvation lies in them.

There is an instant in which terror seems to grip your mind so wholly that escape appears quite hopeless. When you realize, once and for all, that it is you you fear, the mind perceives itself as split. And this had been concealed while you believed attack could be directed outward, and returned from outside to within. It seemed to be an enemy outside you had to fear. And thus a god outside yourself became your mortal enemy; the source of fear.

Now, for an instant, is a murderer perceived within you, eager for your death, intent on plotting punishment for you until the time when it can kill at last. Yet in this instant is the time as well in which salvation comes. For fear of God has disappeared. And you can call on Him to save you from illusions by His Love, calling Him Father and yourself His Son. Pray that the instant may be soon,–today. Step back from fear, and make advance to love.

There is no Thought of God that does not go with you to help you reach that instant, and to go beyond it quickly, surely and forever. When the fear of God is gone, there are no obstacles that still remain between you and the holy peace of God. How kind and merciful is the idea we practice! Give it welcome, as you should, for it is your release. It is indeed but you your mind can try to crucify. Yet your redemption, too, will come from you.

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.