Awakening

Press your tongue …

against the roof of your mouth, just above your teeth.

Yesterday, if you followed my instructions, you took three full breaths, beginning with an exhale. Now, let’s add an element that pulls your thoughts right out of your head. This relieves anxiety, headaches, brain fog and, as ACIM puts it, “the thoughts you think you think” .

It may feel awkward at first, but play around until you get it. That’s what I did, and if I can, so can you 🙂 Read through, and then try this:

Place your tongue against the roof of your mouth, just above your teeth. Once your tongue feels okay there, press gently. Breathe naturally several times and let the nonsense in your head drop into your mouth and continue downwards until all ego mind-stuff plonks out the bottom of your feet. Mother Earth composts it 🙂

Tip #1: Place the palms of your hands on your thighs (if you are sitting). If standing, press palms of hands on a tabletop or against a tree trunk, whatever works.

Tip #2: Plant the soles of your feet firmly on the floor (barefoot is best; wearing shoes is okay, if necessary). Legs are parallel (uncrossed), feet are hip-width apart.

Extra Credit: If you want to go further, incorporate yesterday’s breath, beginning with the “birthday candle” exhale. (Click here if you need a refresher.) * Yes, you’re actually pursing your lips and exhaling while keeping your tongue pressed to the roof of your mouth, just above your teeth.

Warning: We’re working towards dancing 🙂 Have you noticed that “dance” is in “abundance” and “Guidance”? Just a clue that discovering your Inner Dance will liberate you in so many ways!

(If you’d like some personal coaching, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com — my work is really blossoming now, and I have less time available for private sessions, but if you are sincere and motivated, get in touch.)

Admitting I Felt Ungrateful Released Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

Ask Amy: Oneness in Anxiety

Guy QuestionQ:  My mom and I were “one in anxiety” during my childhood. Even though I am now 63 years old, I notice that there is a hidden benefit in anxiety because it protects my loved ones.  Ego says that if I stop feeling anxious, I will abandon my family. I am really afraid of what I might do if I feel better. Can you help me see this differently?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  Your question addresses a deep, underlying deception that the ego plays on all of us, one way or another. Your phrase “one in anxiety” is very insightful because the ego mimics and distorts basic truths, like Oneness, to use for its own fearful purpose of usurping God’s Love.

Now that you have uncovered this core belief, you have also exposed the ego’s strategy to use anxiety as a “protective” bond between you and family members. Perhaps your family members are chronic worriers, ruminating, complaining and commiserating about worldly dangers. Ego tells you that if you disrupt this foundation of family “security,” you may just abandon them entirely! What might you do if you abandon anxiety instead?

“If you want peace, you must abandon the teacher of attack. The Teacher of peace will never abandon you.” (T-14.XI.14:1-2)

The truth is that as you abandon the ego, your Inner Teacher illuminates your life. As you permit the Holy Spirit to enlighten you, trust and faith increases. You discover you cannot NOT love your family. You may limit your conversations or visits with them, your behavior may change, but the natural Love which is your essence (and theirs too, even if they don’t know it) must imbue all your relationships because Love is all-encompassing.

“The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.” (T-Intro)

Share your fear and guilty feelings with the Holy Spirit. Hold nothing back. Explain you are afraid you will abandon your family entirely as you join with Him. Lean on Him; He is your Comforter and your Guide. As you trust your Inner Teacher, you will find you naturally follow Him. Following Spirit leads to miracles of release from the imprisoning thoughts which now bind you. Your family may remain exactly the same, but the shift in your perception will reveal we are all United, and that you can never abandon or harm another when your Source is One Love.

“The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have.” (T-14.VII.7:7)

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the Sept-Oct 2016 issue of Miracles magazine. Miracles is a well-loved staple in the ACIM community. For a subscription, email Jon@miraclesmagazine.org or call 845-496-9089.  Click here to purchase digital copies.  To ask Amy a question, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

Today’s Miracle: Bill Free and I got to interview Rupert Spira yesterday!

Watch for yourself, and let me know if you experience new clarity around Course ideas. I’m still on retreat and need to hustle to breakfast before the morning meditation, but would love to hear from you. Email me: miracles@amytorresacim.com

Today’s Miracle: Do We Choose Our Thoughts?

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

Today’s Miracle: The Body of Presence

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

Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Topic List:

Are You Sponge-able?

Take Yourself Less Personally

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

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

Coming Apart at the “Seems”

Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Unfolding

The Spark Is Still As Pure As the Great Light

Flossing and Feldenkrais

A Course in Miracles and Body Image (Facebook page)

God Is In Your Smile

A Better Way to Say, “I Miss You”

This Is the Best Moment Of Your Life

Ask Amy: Forgiveness – Am I Doing It Right?

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

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.

 

Ask Amy: Is ACIM Against Meditation?

Guy QuestionQ:  I’ve heard that the Course is against meditation.  Is that true?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  The Course is not against meditation.  Sometimes people misunderstand the passage where Jesus says, “Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary.” Taken out of context, that sentence might seem to be against meditation.

But in context, Jesus is telling us that fighting sin and temptation are actually ways of staying engaged with the ego. He explains that ritualistic meditation is counterproductive: “Routines as such are dangerous, because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up.” (M-16)  In other words, the ego is only too happy to cleverly take over meditation for its own goal of “doing” rather than surrendering to the much happier realization that “I need do nothing” but allow the Holy Spirit to completely take over.*

Throughout the entire Course, Jesus advises that we develop a taste for spending quiet time with God. There are many meditations throughout the 365 lessons in the workbook, but usually they are called exercises or practice periods (see www.facebook.com/acimeditations). The Workbook starts off with meditations that are just a minute or two and builds to a point where we are told that we will eagerly await being able to devote time solely to God. The Text and Manual for Teachers also have meditations, and they are called holy instants, recommendations to be still and listen, wait in silence, spend a quiet moment opening to His Correction and His Love, among other phrases.

Interestingly, forgiveness, the cornerstone of the Holy Spirit’s practice, can be considered an “outward” meditation. ACIM teacher Don Giacobbe, in his book, Christian Meditation Inspired by Yoga and A Course in Miracles, proposes, “Forgiveness is meditation applied outwardly toward others. … Forgiveness and meditation have a reciprocal relationship. Since forgiveness is meditation applied outwardly, the inverse is equally true: Meditation is forgiveness applied inwardly toward yourself.” How beautiful and profound to discover that the Course offers us both internal and external meditations to access direct experience of our Innocence which is our true nature. “For now we seek direct experience of truth alone.” (W-Pt.II.Intro)

It could be said that prayer and meditation are the same thing. Both require a willingness to release belief in the body and personal identity. If we can do this for just one moment, time collapses and “the memory of God shimmers across the wide horizons of our minds.”

The ego would have us form a special relationship with meditation so that the ego can feel expert and masterful. Jesus and the Holy Spirit would have us relinquish all control and discover that meditation is the doorway into our natural Self. When we do this, day and night becomes an ongoing mindful meditation as we find, “How quiet is the time you give to spend time with Him, beyond the world.” (W-164)

* Mooji’s video, “Is It Important to Devote Time to Meditation?” may help you understand.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the July-August 2016 issue of Miracles magazine. Miracles is a well-loved staple in the ACIM community. For a subscription, email Jon@miraclesmagazine.org or call 845-496-9089.  Click here to purchase digital copies.  To ask Amy a question, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

A Great Yogini

This is a mesmerizing story that Mooji tells and which you, too, may love and use well.

Yogini

The Yogini painted by Mooji

A great Yogini was deep in meditation.  Suddenly, beautiful and melodious sounds could be heard, appearing as if from nowhere and everywhere simultaneously.  It was like nothing she has ever heard.  She felt: this music is truly wonderful but it cannot be what I am, for I am here to hear it.  The music faded away.

Next appeared the most exquisite colors, like no painter could paint; nor could any flower display it for it was not of this earthly realm.  She thought, “This is, indeed, astonishingly beautiful.  However, it cannot be who I am nor can it be real for it cannot appear if I were not here to perceive it.”  This phenomenon, too, she ignored.  Shortly afterwards, it also vanished in the presence of her deep and unmoving silence.

Shortly after this, there appeared several beings shaped as if from pure light, floating through space and smiling lovingly at her in a welcoming manner.  She felt profoundly touched and filled with loving emotions but inwardly, she somehow kept her composure.  “How profound,” she felt, “but this also cannot be what Is the unchanging reality, for, were I not here, who would see them?”  As soon as this insight occurred, the figures vanished.

Her mind entered her heart and could no more produce any effects.

A deep silence prevailed as her mind merged inside her indivisible, unconquerable and essential being — a state know to the Yogis as Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

If you are ready, the tale of the Yogini can help you resist temptation when the ego uses spiritual experiences to try and maintain its hypnosis over your Mind.

 

Reasons to Keep Faith Even If You Don’t Hear God

The reason people get terribly discouraged when they pray and don’t hear God is because it seems as if God is not answering them. In order to keep faith, we have to open our minds to the idea that just because we believe “God doesn’t care about me” or “God doesn’t exist” doesn’t mean it’s true.

Here are five reasons to keep faith even though, right now, you think you can’t hear God:

1. God hears you even if you don’t hear Him.

In How You Can Talk With God, Paramahansa Yogananda tells us, “The trouble is not with Him, but with us. Our intuitive telephonic system is out of order. God is calling us and speaking to us, but we do not hear Him.” Even if you are convinced that God has not heard you because you specifically asked, and even begged, for something and did not get it, all that proves is that you were directing God to do what you thought best — rather than asking God for His guidance. We have to remain open to the possibility that what we think is best is not necessarily so. Our solutions may not be the Answer. Extend a little willingness to trust that God has heard you, even if you haven’t heard His reply – yet.

2. You have your fingers in your ears.

We don’t realize that we are deliberately plugging up our hearing, which, of course, interferes with receiving God’s messages to us. In order to hear God, whose call is there for us continuously, all day and all night long, we need to open ourselves to Him by releasing our desires, longings, and demands. The way to do this is to give everything to God. When we give God our desires, our wishes, our fears and sorrows, our resentments and jealousies, we are releasing blockages which clear our “ears” and makes it possible to “hear” Him.

3. Your eyes are closed.

A Course in Miracles tells us, “You believe that what your physical eyes cannot see does not exist. This leads to a denial of spiritual sight.” Many spiritual paths speak of a third eye. Located in the space between the eyebrows is the sixth chakra, the energy center of enlightened vision, which brings the body’s eyes together into one single eye — a spiritual eye which gives us God’s Vision. God speaks to us with symbols. It may be an inner voice, or visions, or a coincidence which is more than coincidence. Open your mind and ears and eyes will start to reveal Him to you. You can google “spiritual eye meditation” to find a specific exercise to help you open your spiritual eye.

4. You are asleep.

In the bible, the Adam and Eve story tells us that Adam fell into a deep sleep, but nowhere does it say that he awoke from this sleep. Again, more than one spiritual path tells us that this world is a dream or an illusion. A common reason that we think we can’t hear God is that we are in a deep, hypnotic sleep, utterly convinced that our dream is reality, when actually God is a reality beyond our human comprehension.

A compelling paragraph from A Course in Miracles states, “You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. Is it your decision to do so? You recognize from your own experience that what you see in dreams you think is real while you are asleep. Yet the instant you waken you realize that everything that seemed to happen in the dream did not happen at all. You do not think this strange, even though all the laws of what you awaken to were violated while you slept. Is it not possible that you merely shifted from one dream to another, without really waking?”

The question becomes, how can we awaken, and in that awakening hear what God has been whispering in our sleepy ear the entire time? There are many ways. One is to quiet the mind through meditation. Another is to ask God to guide us in His way without setting our own agenda. The main thing is to listen receptively.

5. Your seeds are germinating underground.

God is Love Itself, and you are God’s child. Trust that any time you turn to God that you are developing a relationship with Him. He is aware of you always. You are just learning how to recognize His communication, which comes in many varied forms and symbols. Every time you turn to God you plant a seed of love in the ground. They are germinating. The buds will poke out from the earth and start to rise toward heaven — your seeds will blossom. Let yourself believe this and you will find that God’s Voice was with you all along.

These are five reasons to keep faith even though you can’t hear God in this moment. Open your heart, open your mind, and let God surprise you. When we think too much we block our ability to receive God’s Thoughts. Try to relax, be it meditating, cleaning the house, fishing, or taking a bath – something calming that takes you out of your worried thoughts, and chances are better that God will reveal Himself in the very moment you least expect it.

You may also enjoy Five Steps to Cultivating Your Relationship with the Holy Spirit.  If you would like coaching to help you tune in to God, I am available for spiritual guidance. Just email miracles@amytorresacim.com