Ask Amy

Ask Amy: Does God Want Me To Be Happy With Very Little?

Guy QuestionQ:  I stopped doing ACIM and have just come back to it.  One thing I am having such a hard time with is “letting go” to God because I am afraid that if I “give up” and “surrender” to God that means that He may want me to have a mediocre life and just be happy with very little.  I was raised Catholic and have sort of gotten stuck on this notion that to be good in God’s eyes, you have to be willing to be treated badly/take what life gives you and not be wealthy AND (this is the kicker) be happy about all those things!  If you have any thoughts on that, I’d appreciate it.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  Your question is relevant to many people.  It is a common fear that surrendering to God means to be happy with very little, and glad of it!  Many Course students are afraid that surrendering to the Holy Spirit’s guidance will result in being stripped of our creature comforts, and the people and places we love.

But most of us are not called to lead a life of austerity like Mother Teresa.  It is typical of the ego to expect deprivation and scarcity, because is exactly what the ego feeds on.  Let’s replace “surrender” with “open,” and “give up” with “give.”  In ACIM, Jesus advises you to give all of your fears to the Holy Spirit and open your mind to spiritual guidance.

Spiritual guidance is abundant, limitless Love.  As you give your fears to Spirit, it is like cleaning out a closet — you empty out all the extra junk you’ve been hoarding, and in the clearing a clean space is revealed.  As you empty your mind to Spirit, you become aware of a Loving Light shining within you.  You become more “you” than ever before — the Course says you become a happy learner, dreaming a happy dream as you transition into full awareness of your true Identity.

Your true Identity is Limitlessly Abundant.  In Chapter 1, we’re told, “Truth is always abundant.  Those who perceive and acknowledge that they have everything have no needs of any kind.  The purpose of the Atonement is to restore everything to you; or rather, to restore it to your awareness.  You were given everything when you were created, just as everyone was.”

As you accept Truth, you become more peaceful, filled with a sense of purpose, and truly happier (not in a forced, “I’m supposed to be happy with this scarcity because that’s noble” way).  The circumstances of your life won’t be as important, as you shift, miraculously, into your abundantly loving Inner Life.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the May-June 2013 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

Ask Amy: How Do I Forgive Myself When I Caused Another Pain?

Guy QuestionQ:  In the past I made a mistake (I used to think I sinned) that hurt another person.  The relationship is ruined and the person will not allow me to express any remorse for the mistake.  How do I forgive myself when I caused pain?  I know the past is gone (I see only the past is the lesson I am on) and I know the mistake did not occur except in my dream.  I don’t understand how forgiveness works in a situation like this.  Do I forgive the perceived situation or what?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  The wonderful thing about A Course in Miracles is that you do not have to understand how forgiveness works at all.  You are simply asked to give every belief you’ve ever held to the Holy Spirit to release and heal your judgments of the perceived situation.  As you open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, forgiveness occurs naturally, so you are not actually doing anything.  In Chapter 16, we are advised, “I need do nothing, except not to interfere.”

Try working with the exercises in Workbook Lesson 21, “I am determined to see things differently.”  Give every thought, idea, belief, opinion, and interpretation you have about your past mistake in detail to the Holy Spirit.  Either talk to Him or write a letter.  Then sit and listen — open your mind to Love.  You may have to do this many times.  Sometimes you will feel a sense of peace, your breath will come easier, something will release.  Other times, seemingly nothing happens, but the Course assures us a healing has occurred.

I’m glad you now see “sinning” as making a mistake.  That’s a sign that you are allowing the mind training ACIM offers us to heal your sense of guilt and separation.  The Preface states, “Since love is all there is, sin in the sight of the Holy Spirit is a mistake to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished.”

As far-fetched as it may seem, we truly cannot hurt another person.  What hurts is our interpretation of events.  The Course tells us we know nothing and that is true.  But it is still necessary to breathe through all our feelings in order to release them to Spirit and contact the Light which is always within us.  As you do this, your sense of Innocence will arise, and you will understand the entire situation through the Holy Spirit’s unified vision of Love.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the March-April 2013 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

Ask Amy: How to Deal with Abusive Relationships?

Guy QuestionQ:  When people in our lives will not stop abusing us, should we continue to try to love them and have our emotions hurt or stepped upon forever, or should we put an end to it?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  When A Course in Miracles talks about love, it is a love that has nothing to do with the personal self or the personality of the people around us.  This Love is a recognition of the Inner Light which we all share.  When people in our life are abusive, we need to request guidance from the Holy Spirit.  He will direct us in a loving way.

As you open to guidance from your Internal Teacher (the Holy Spirit), signposts will appear.  This may involve getting help from a psychotherapist, support groups, reading books on healthy relationships, learning new communication skills, or whatever it may be.

Forgiveness, redefined by Jesus in ACIM as recognizing that “what we thought our brother did to us has not occurred,” is the healing tool on which the Course is based.

Jesus tells us to observe the ego vigilantly and uncover its beliefs so that we can free ourselves of victimization (e.g., see the ACIM Workbook, which addresses ego grievances in Lesson 68 – 78, and special relationships in Chapters 15 – 18).  There is more to be revealed from your relationship with this person.  Conversate with the Holy Spirit on a regular basis and miracles must follow.

But remember that you cannot dictate the form the miracle takes.  Miracle principle #3 says, “Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love” and this must be combined with “I need do nothing except not to interfere (with the Holy Spirit’s guidance).”

There is a Sufi quote I love, “The Message is a call to those whose hour has come to awake, and it is a lullaby to those who are still meant to sleep.”  If you are awakening, and interested in your Inner Light, and the abusive person in your life is still meant to sleep and remain in darkness a while longer, that is okay.  Eventually your perception of this person as “abusive” will shift to seeing her as fearful and calling for Love.

You can ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the Light in her, even if she is unaware of that Light.  Being willing to “see” her Light will empower you.  You can do this from a distance, without being in physical or verbal contact with her.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the Jan-Feb 2013 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