Spiritual Psychotherapy

Lesson 14 – God did not create a meaningless world.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

One of my favorite lessons!  I get a big kick out of facing my “personal repertory of horrors”.  When you’ve worked with the Course enough, the savagery of the ego is reduced to a “quaint absurdity”.

What God creates is not the world as we know it.  In the undoing process A Course in Miracles offers us, we get to see the story we have made up about the world and unwrite this story, revealing God’s Word underneath our make-believe.

We learn to let go of the thoughts we have written on the world … salvation is the exchange of our thoughts for God’s Thought.  The process leading to salvation can be difficult, painful and lead us directly into fear BUT this fear that seems so real is eclipsed in a holy instant with perfect safety and perfect peace.

We are given a powerful exercise to address the “horrors in the world” and our “personal repertory of horrors.”  We name each one and state that it is not real because the horror was not created by God — it was made up by us.  This can seem outrageous, absurd, indifferent and cruel.

How can Jesus ask us to deny the obvious horrors and the pain they cause when we are convinced that they are having a profound effect on the world (“some of them are shared illusions”) and ourselves personally (“others are part of your personal hell”)?  No matter how depraved this attitude seems to us, we are told, “It does not matter.  What God did not create can only be in your own mind apart from His.  Therefore, it has no meaning.”

In the text there is a line, “Seek not to change the world, choose to change your mind about the world.”  This lesson is training us to detach from the ego mind’s obsessive/compulsive thought that pain and suffering are real, and to allow the mind to telescope to a longer, wider perspective from which vantage point we suddenly see that the body is not real, therefore nothing the body seems to suffer from is real.

This is a process of dis-identification with the ego thought system which instantly restores Identification with God’s Mind.  It’s a worthy challenge.

Lesson 14
God did not create a meaningless world.

The idea for today is, of course, the reason why a meaningless world is impossible.  What God did not create does not exist.  And everything that does exist exists as He created it.  The world you see has nothing to do with reality.  It is of your own making, and it does not exist.

The exercises for today are to be practiced with eyes closed throughout.  The mind-searching period should be short, a minute at most.  Do not have more than three practice periods with today’s idea unless you find them comfortable.  If you do, it will be because you really understand what they are for.

The idea for today is another step in learning to let go the thoughts that you have written on the world, and see the Word of God in their place.  The early steps in this exchange, which can truly be called salvation, can be quite difficult and even quite painful.  Some of them will lead you directly into fear.  You will not be left there.  You will go far beyond it.  Our direction is toward perfect safety and perfect peace.

With eyes closed, think of all the horrors in the world that cross your mind.  Name each one as it occurs to you, and then deny its reality.  God did not create it, and so it is not real.  Say, for example:

God did not create that war, and it is not real.
God did not create that airplane crash, and so it is not real.
God did not create that disaster [specify], and so it is not real.

Suitable subjects for the application of today’s idea also include anything you are afraid might happen to you, or to anyone about whom you are concerned.  In each case, name the “disaster” quite specifically.  Do not use general terms.  For example, do not say, “God did not create illness,” but, “God did not create cancer,” or heart attacks, or whatever may arouse fear in you.

This is your personal repertory of horrors at which you are looking.  These things are part of the world you see.  Some of them are shared illusions, and others are part of your personal hell.  It does not matter.  What God did not create can only be in your own mind apart from His.  Therefore, it has no meaning.  In recognition of this fact, conclude the practice periods by repeating today’s idea:

God did not create a meaningless world.

The idea for today can, of course, be applied to anything that disturbs you during the day, aside from the practice periods.  Be very specific in applying it.  Say:

God did not create a meaningless world.
He did not create [specify the situation which is disturbing you], and so it is not real.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.


Lesson 13 – A meaningless world engenders fear.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

We are chopping up God’s Thought into languages and words.  This prevents us from having the Whole Concept in our mind.  Words are like letters on the Scrabble board — they do not mean anything in and of themselves until they are put together.

Or we might liken the chopping of up God’s Thought to a jigsaw puzzle — we cannot see the whole picture until we bring the pieces back together into the Whole.  This occurred to me after re-reading the first paragraph of the lesson and I’m just blurting it out before I lose it.

The lesson says, “Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones.” [bold mine]  This touches my heart.

To be referred to as a “separated one” stirs a sense of being Loved inside of me.  Jesus knows about our intense anxiety, loneliness, and helplessness.  It is so comforting to sit with Our Mutual Friend (Holy Spirit) and just be together.

Next it says, “It represents a situation in which God and the ego “challenge” each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides.”  Ram Butler said many years ago in the Siddha Yoga Correspondence Course that “God is in the space between the thoughts.”

He may have been quoting Gurumayi, who, perhaps, was quoting Baba Muktananda.  Meaninglessness provides an empty space … if we choose not to pay attention to the ego’s scrawls and decide for the Holy Spirit … my heart feels a scroll-like design written upon it as I feel my way into this …

“It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognize the meaningless, and accept it without fear.” [bold mine]   Develop awareness without judgment, just with an ability to observe with interest and enjoy the outcome of That.  As we’re able to recognize the meaningless, we are Undone.  Meaninglessness changes back to Fearlessness.  Fearlessness, guiltlessness, sinlessness, Innocence 🙂

The lesson says that to the ego, illusions are safety devices, used to endow the world with attributes it does not have and images that do not exist.  Why would the ego need a safety device?  Because it is afraid of God.

Why is the ego afraid of God?  Because once we rediscover our awareness of God, the ego instantly evaporates.  The ego is simply an idea that is trying to block God out, as it plays at being God, so that it can believe it has succeeded at replacing God.

By the way, there is nothing offensive to God about the idea that the ego could replace Him, just as a father would simply be amused if he found his son dressed up in his oversized clothes playing “Daddy.”  We have simply psyched ourselves out and are paranoid about nothing.  There will be no punishment.  Through the undoing process of these lessons, you will find that out for yourself.


A meaningless world engenders fear.

Today’s idea is really another form of the preceding one, except that it is more specific as to the emotion aroused.  Actually, a meaningless world is impossible.  Nothing without meaning exists.  However, it does follow that you will not think you perceive something that has no meaning.  On the contrary, you will be particularly likely to think you do perceive it.

Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones.  It represents a situation in which God and the ego “challenge” each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides.  The ego rushes in frantically to establish its own ideas there, fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own impotence and unreality.  And on this alone it is correct.

It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognize the meaningless, and accept it without fear.  If you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes that it does not possess, and crowd it with images that do not exist.  To the ego illusions are safety devices, as they must also be to you who equate yourself with the ego.

The exercises for today, which should be done about three or four times for not more than a minute or so at most each time, are to be practiced in a somewhat different way from the preceding ones.  With eyes closed, repeat today’s idea to yourself.  Then open your eyes, and look about you slowly, saying:

I am looking at a meaningless world.

Repeat this statement to yourself as you look about.  Then close your eyes, and conclude with:

A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God.

You may find it difficult to avoid resistance, in one form or another, to this concluding statement.  Whatever form such resistance may take, remind yourself that you really are afraid of such a thought because of the “vengeance” of the “enemy.”  You are not expected to believe the statement at this point, and will probably dismiss it as preposterous.  Note carefully, however, any signs of overt or covert fear which is may arouse.

This is our first attempt at stating an explicit cause and effect relationship of a kind which you are very inexperienced in recognizing.  Do not dwell on the concluding statement, and try not even to think of it except during the practice periods.  That will suffice at present.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.


Lesson 12 – I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

We, humanity, are experiencing a major perceptual distortion.  We have given the world all the attributes it has for us, whereas the world is actually completely meaningless.  The exercises are specifically instructing us to use our eyes to look around … and, occasionally, to close our eyes to better become aware of our thoughts.  Eyesight is not Vision.  But eyes, the windows to the soul, can be used for Vision’s Message to be communicated through us.

We are instructed to  find a measured rhythm as we look around in this lesson … again, as in Lesson 11, this reminds me of the Sufi turn, the spiritual practice of Rumi and, after him, the whirling dervishes.

Being in a rhythm quiets thinking.   Even a frenetic rock’n’roll drummer has a quiet mind as his body clicks into a groove of rhythm from his head through his heart, ears, arms, hands, legs, feet.

Internally his visceral organs must become, what is called in heart rhythm meditation, “coherent” or, in layman’s language, harmonized.  Good percussionists are unhurried, deep in their felt sense of the beat, be it fast or slow.

Then Lesson 12 goes on to say, a bad world, a good world, it’s all the same.  We may not understand how a good world experience could be the same as a bad one, but at least we can comprehend that “bad” suggests “good,” in another words, a dualistic experience.  God is beyond dual and non-dual … He simply Is.

And then, Lesson 12 says, “What is meaningless is neither good nor bad.  Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you?  If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be.  It is this you see in it.  It is this that is meaningless in truth.

Beneath your words is written the Word of God. The truth upsets you now, but when the words have been erased, you will see His.  That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.” [bold mine]  How comforting!  A click of recognition is felt within — Truth has true authority and feels liberating, not oppressive.  Beneath the meaning I have given the world is Real Meaning Itself.  As the Workbook works its undoing within us, God’s Message becomes clear.  Amen.

It occurs to me that in that tiny, mad moment when we thought we could separate from God’s mind, we made a blank canvas for ourselves.  A previous lesson has said our mind is actually blank.  Then we paint “meaning” onto this blank canvas “mind”  …  The blank canvas “mind” isn’t real – it’s just an idea.  The meaning we paint onto the blank canvas is not truly meaningful, it’s just a bunch of imaginary ideas aka fantasies sprouting forth from  the first tiny, mad idea that we could separate and be an autonomous god-self, encased in individual bodies …


I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

The importance of this idea lies in the fact that it contains a correction for a major perceptual distortion.  You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world.  All these attributes are given it by you.  The world is meaningless in itself.

These exercises are done with eyes open.  Look around you, this time quite slowly.  Try to pace yourself so that the slow shifting of your glance from one thing to another involves a fairly constant time interval.  Do not allow the time of the shift to become markedly longer or shorter, but try, instead, to keep a measure, even tempo throughout.  What you see does not matter.  You teach yourself this as you give whatever your glance rests on equal attention and equal time.  This is a beginning step in learning to give them all equal value.

As you look about you, say to yourself:

I think I see a fearful world, a dangerous world, a hostile world, a sad world, a wicked world, a crazy world,

and so on, using whatever descriptive terms happen to occur to you.  If terms which seem positive rather than negative occur to you, include them.  For example, you might think of “a good world,” or “a satisfying world.”  If such terms occur to you, use them along with the rest.  You may not yet understand why these “nice” adjectives belong in these exercises but remember that a “good world” implies a “bad” one, and “a satisfying world” implies an “unsatisfying” one.  All terms which cross your mind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises.  Their seeming quality does not matter.

Be sure that you do not alter the time intervals between applying today’s idea to what you think is pleasant and what you think is unpleasant.  For the purposes of these exercises, there is no difference between them.  At the end of the practice period, add:

But I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

What is meaningless is neither good nor bad.  Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you?  If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy.  But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be.  It is this you see in it.  It is this that is meaningless in truth.  Beneath your words is written the Word of God.  The truth upsets you now, but when the words have been erased, you will see His.  That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.

Three or four times is enough for practicing the idea for today.  Nor should the practice periods exceed a minute.  You may find even this is too long.  Terminate the exercises whenever you experience a sense of strain.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.


Lesson 11 – My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

My personal thoughts are meaningless.  The previous lessons have systematically been showing me that.  My meaningless thoughts would, therefore, have to produce a meaningless outcome: world, people, beliefs.  A world without meaning could seem very scary when we’re still interested in actualizing our personal potential, when we’re still raising children … these are periods of life when the world is obviously meaningful to us.

We might experience this lesson with feelings of despair, disorientation, anxiety.  We might believe we’re being told to abandon our lives, though we are not.   Keep reading, I like to say.  There is more to be revealed and it is all filled with Love.

Then there comes a time when we’re satisfied enough with our accomplishments and have fulfilled our responsibilities that we’re ready to move into spiritual vision.  OR, we’re desperate enough, lonely enough, defeated enough that we’re willing to see another way.  Still, we may fight.  How can my thoughts determine the world I see?  I’m not that powerful.  And I don’t want that much responsibility.  Even so, we are invited to do the exercises if we feel Called by Spirit, despite resistance, disbelief, lack of comprehension, etc.

For maximum benefit, we are told, the eyes should move from one thing to another fairly rapidly, not lingering on anything and the words should be unhurried, even leisurely.  This reminds me of the Sufi turn.  The turn of Rumi and the whirling dervishes.  Leaving the eyes softly open and at gazing outward at eye level, the feet do not move until God gently pushes us, as children on a swing.

And when we do start to turn, the eyes report a rapidity of motion, a pleasant vaguely stripe-y blur  that appears much faster than the pace of the body and feet.  The effort trains us to coordinate our thinking process with our eyesight process which leads us to true perception under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit.

Oh, how liberating to realize that my thoughts are meaningless but I am Guided and no longer have to think!

It would be best to be open to the One Wordless God-Thought pouring through me at all times.  Contrary to how that seems to the ego – that I am just a puppet, a slave to the Master’s Mind, it turns out that I’ve plugged in to my Original Source and have restored power to my seemingly human system.  This does override the ego, but that turns out to be of no concern.

I feel more alive, at peace, happier, unafraid, and relaxed than ever before.


My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.

This is the first idea we have had that is related to a major phase of the correction process; the reversal of the thinking of the world.  It seems as if the world determines what you perceive.  Today’s idea introduces the concept that your thoughts determine the world you see.  Be glad indeed to practice the idea in its initial form, for in this idea is your release made sure.  The key to forgiveness lies in it.

The practice periods for today’s idea are to be undertaken somewhat differently from the previous ones.  Begin with your eyes closed, and repeat the idea slowly to yourself.  Then open your eyes, and look about, near and far, up and down,–anywhere.  During the minute or so to be spent in using the idea merely repeat it to yourself, being sure to do so without haste, and with no sense of urgency or effort.

To do these exercises for maximum benefit, the eyes should move from one thing to another fairly rapidly, since they should not linger on anything in particular.  The words, however, should be used in an unhurried, even leisurely fashion.  The introduction to this idea, in particular, should be practiced as casually as possible.  It contains the foundation for the peace, relaxation and freedom from worry that we are trying to achieve.  On concluding the exercises, close your eyes and repeat the idea once more slowly to yourself.

Three practice periods today will be sufficient.  However, if there is little or no uneasiness and an inclination to do more, as many as five may be undertaken.  More than this is not recommended.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.


Lesson 10 – My thoughts do not mean anything.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Some of the intriguing sentences in this lesson are, “The emphasis is now on the lack of reality of what you think you think.” and

“To recognize this [that your mind is a blank] is to recognize nothingness when you think you see it.”

New students to the Course may find this scary and disorienting — trust that this is a good kind of scary and disorientation.

Let’s practice together.  Here goes:

My thought about not being a good Course student do not mean anything (ha ha). This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

My thought about pest control poisoning my front lawn, not to mention the entire planet, does not mean anything.  This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

My thought about … practicing this exercise is very relaxing … I’m having trouble stringing words together … again “little me” asks: Is this the return to a wonderfully un-thought-filled state?  Or is the ego lulling me to sleep?

My thought about the ego lulling me to sleep does not mean anything, tee hee.  This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

My thought about how mischievously adorable the cats are does not mean anything.  This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

This lesson helps me to recognize that what I call thinking is really not-thinking.  It is helping me to understand that each of “my thoughts” is just another brick in the ego wall which keeps me Mindless.

In this world of opposites, thinking is not-thinking and thoughts are blockages to language-free real Thought (which is Unified Love).  My thoughts are an “oddly assorted procession” which seem to have great personal meaning to “me” but who am I really?  Lol.  Five practice periods, one minute each.

There is a powerful shift stirring in the mind.  I love how I don’t need to try to understand it.  And even if I think I understand it, that doesn’t matter.  All that matters is practicing.


My thoughts do not mean anything.

This idea applies to all the thoughts of which you are aware, or become aware in the practice periods.  The reason the idea is applicable to all of them is that they are not your real thoughts.  We have made this distinction before, and will do so again.  You have no basis for comparison as yet.  When you do, you will have no doubt that what you once believed were your thoughts did not mean anything.

This is the second time we have used this kind of idea.  The form is only slightly different.  This time the idea is introduced with “My thoughts” instead of  “These thoughts,” and no link is made overtly with the things around you.  The emphasis is now on the lack of reality of what you think you think.

This aspect of the correction process began with the idea that the thoughts of which you are aware are meaningless, outside rather than within; and then stressed their past rather than their present status.  Now we are emphasizing that the presence of these “thoughts” means that you are not thinking.  This is merely another way of repeating our earlier statement that your mind is really a blank.  To recognize this is to recognize nothingness when you think you see it.  As such, it is the prerequisite for vision.

Close your eyes for these exercises, and introduce them by repeating the idea for today quite slowly to yourself.  Then add:

This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

The exercises consist, as before, in searching your mind for all the thoughts that are available to you, without selection or judgment.  Try to avoid classification of any kind.  In fact, if you find it helpful to do so, you might imagine that you are watching an oddly assorted procession going by, which as little if any personal meaning to you.  As each one crosses your mind, say:

My thought about _______________ does not mean anything.
My thought about _______________ does not mean anything.

Today’s thought can obviously serve for any thought that distresses you at any time.  In addition, five practice periods are recommended, each involving no more than a minute or so of mind searching.  It is not recommended that this time period be extended, and it should be reduced to half a minute or less if you experience discomfort.  Remember, however, to repeat the idea slowly before applying it specifically, and also to add:

This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.


Giving Thanks to You!

Thank you for receiving my Light,
and reflecting this Light back to me.

thank you beach

“When a mind has only light,
it knows only light.

Its own radiance shines all around it,
and extends out into the darkness of other minds,
transforming them into majesty.

The Majesty of God is there,
for you to recognize and appreciate and know.

Recognizing the Majesty of God as your brother
is to accept your own inheritance.

God gives only equally.
If you recognize His gift in anyone,
you have acknowledged what He has given you.

Nothing is so easy to recognize as truth.
This is the recognition that is immediate, clear and natural.”

For me, every day is Thanksgiving.  I don’t equate giving thanks one day a year based on a very short-lived respite between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth Plantation in 1621 with real gratitude.

True thanks is the immediate, clear and natural response when your only purpose is choosing to see the Light in others, no matter what their personality or behavior.  Admittedly, for most of us, Thanksgiving does provide ample opportunities to practice applying this truth 😉

Let me know how seeing the Light in your brothers goes this holiday.  Email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com.

To receive my free e-newsletter as a beacon of Light in your inbox, just put your contact info in the “Love and miracles are your essence. Want some?” box — above and to the right.

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!



Amy purple coat starburst

Related essays: Is Thanksgiving Necessary?, Giving ThanksReceiving Is Giving, and Admitting I Felt Ungrateful Released Me

Receiving Is Giving

It used to be easier for me to give than to receive. There were rewards for giving. People were happy when I gave them what they wanted–be it a cup of tea, a comforting hug, a pep talk, some sympathy, money, loaning my car, etc. And I felt needed, useful.

However, after studying A Course in Miracles for a while (along with 12-step work and psychotherapy), I began to realize that giving on human terms was supporting conditional love rather than unconditional love. It was also enabling me to maintain control rather than developing faith in relying on my Inner Teacher.

“The bringer of miracles has need that you receive them first, and thus become the joyous giver of what you have received.” W-192

In the above quote, the “bringer of miracles” refers to the Holy Spirit, your Inner Teacher. Miracle principle #5, at the very beginning of the Text, states that miracles “should be involuntary. They should not be under conscious control.”  This is because miracles are being channeled through you by the Holy Spirit when you open to His joyous guidance.

As long as you select and direct who you love, who you are nice to, who you are generous with, who you pray for and what kind of healing you want, you are allowing the ego to play god instead of relaxing into God’s plan for salvation. God’s plan is communicated to you and through you when you allow yourself to receive the Love, Peace and Joy which is your true nature by opening as a clear conduit for miracles.

You cannot do this if you are constantly giving.  Constant giving is controlling and lacks humility.  It is busy egoic action and ultimately remains divisive and limiting.  You must open to receive what the Holy Spirit has to give you with no agenda whatsoever.  This is the path to an ongoing flow of miracles.  And remember, miracles are not for human gratification.  The purpose of miracles is to remind you of Who you really are–Spirit.

Listen to Corinne Zupko interview me on “Receiving Is Giving” (scroll down to the bottom right side for the 2014, 2015, 2016 Conference Bundle).


Other Thanksgiving essays: Is Thanksgiving Necessary?, Giving Thanks to You, Giving Thanks and Admitting I Felt Ungrateful Released Me

Overcoming Overwhelm — the spiritual way :)

From October 2015 through December 2016, I felt overwhelmed, energetically compressed, and in need of help. My spiritual life continued to be a beacon of light throughout this time, but I still needed some practical, yet spiritual, guidance … and the Holy Spirit always comes through (even if it seems to take longer than we would like!).  Listen to the interview below, to hear the guidance that helped me, and is sure to be useful to you, too.

Flossing and Feldenkrais: One Good Habit Can Change Everything

pink backgroundNot only does flossing do the obvious and maintain the health of my gums, but it also is one of those habits that reinforces the power of good self-care.  For many years I knew I should floss my teeth, but I didn’t.

And it was discouraging that for some reason I just couldn’t manage to cultivate this healthy habit which I knew would save me from unnecessary pain and expense down the road.  The dentist told me.  My father told me (he’d learned the hard way).  I told myself.  One day I confided to my psychotherapist that when I started flossing my teeth, my whole life would change.  It sounded kinda crazy, but I knew it was true!

One day it finally happened.  I flossed.  And then the next day I flossed.  And the next.  And I’ve pretty much been flossing since.  Did my life change?  Yes, it did.  And I’m not sure which came first, the flossing or the self-discipline, but when it finally happened, several good habits fell into place.  My confidence increased.  My self-acceptance increased.  My gums stopped bleeding 🙂  My yoga practice became more regular.  I achieved a whole new level of self-love and self-care.

Flossing was a simple, ordinary thing.  The basic practicality of it appealed to me.  Being special had been important in my home and it had created too much pressure for me.  I longed to be ordinary, enjoy ordinary pleasures and feel easy with other people.  Flossing was my practical spirituality.

So where does Feldenkrais come in?  Over the years, I’ve had many back issues and tried many healing modalities including tai chi, cranio-sacral therapy, yoga, Alexander technique, rolfing, Trager, and Feldenkrais, to name a few.  I loved them all, and Feldenkrais was particularly delicious because listening to my body was really all I was asked to do.

Frania Zins, the brilliant Feldenkrais practitioner who treated me, taught me that running my tongue around each of my teeth slowly and thoroughly would release my spine.  It was extraordinary.  I would lie on her table and while I waited for her to begin, I would trace my teeth with my tongue and feel my vertebrae lengthen as my back muscles released and relaxed.

As my back improved, I happily returned to my busy life and forgot all about Feldenkrais.  Until I added oral irrigation to my dental hygiene.  One day I went for my cleaning and the oral hygienist was fresh out of school and full of enthusiasm!  I got a big smile and a dose of love while she cleaned my teeth.  We passionately discussed oral hygiene, since I had learned long ago that it was crucial for me and rarely did I have the opportunity to relish my personal advances with someone so interested.

As we talked she recommended a little-known product called “Shower Floss” that I could get at the local Ace store.  She said it was really a waterpick that you attach to a shower head and then you could spray and splash to your heart’s content without spattering your bathroom mirror!

I ran out and got me some “Shower Floss” and to my surprise, as I ran the water carefully around each and every tooth, front and back, I felt my back completely relaxing and elongating.  Never was dental care so fully pleasurable.  Flossing had actually led me to a form of “WaKrais” (I just stole that from “Watsu” which is water shiatsu–worth another essay 🙂 ).   Now I actually look forward to “flossing”!  My back is thanking me every day.

What does flossing and Feldenkrais have to do with A Course in Miracles and “How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You”?  Combining those two had to be God-given.  What an unlikely pair.  And how perfectly they fit together.  Only my willingness to take guidance from the Holy Spirit could result in such unexpected delight.  As God’s Messenger, it is my purpose for the body is to be a clear channel for receiving and transmitting His miracles.  The miracle always heals the receiver first and then emanates through her.  Try it yourself and let me know what happens for you!

* If you liked this essay, you may enjoy others in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You.

Five Steps to Cultivating Your Relationship with the Holy Spirit

Cultivating your relationship with the Holy Spirit is the simplest, most natural thing in the world. It is the most satisfying relationship you will ever have, and it will result in all your human relationships improving immensely. Though it may seem elusive, this relationship is right here, right now. The key to making contact with the Holy Spirit is letting go of the ego self, or what the Course calls, “undoing,” “unlearning” and “forgiveness.”

Here are five steps to cultivating your relationship with the Holy Spirit that always work–even if you don’t discern results for a while.

1. Be willing. Another way of saying this is, “Step back and let the Holy Spirit lead the way.” Willingness is pretty easy, because even if you are not willing, you can be willing to be willing. That’s good enough. Just to be sure you really mean it, say aloud, “Holy Spirit, I am willing to be in relationship with You. Help me develop our relationship.” Breathe. Fully exhale … then allow a sweet inhale to come.  Then say it again–as many times as feels right.

Feel encouraged, because A Course in Miracles promises that you cannot fail. “Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see.” (T-21.II.)

Think of “willingness” as connecting your will with God’s Will–like plugging into a Power Source, just as you do with electrical appliances and your cell phone. Willingness grows naturally after that, because once you’re connected to God’s Will, you are connected to an unstoppable Loving Force. A tiny, sincere willingness begins the process of cultivating your relationship with the Holy Spirit.

antennae drawing2. Tune In. Once you’ve stated your willingness to yourself and the Holy Spirit, consciously choose to tune in. Just as you would adjust the dial on a radio to get clear reception, do the same in your own mind. Focus your attention on the memory of God within you–it is there. The Course calls this memory the Holy Spirit. Draw your attention to something within you that Knows. This can happen quickly–in a holy instant. Trust that your intention is enough to help you tune in, even if it feels like nothing happened.

Lesson 124 tells us, “Your benefit will not be less if you believe that nothing happens.  You may not be ready to accept the gain today.  Yet sometime, somewhere, it will come to you, nor will you fail to recognize it when it dawns with certainty upon your mind.”  In the Preface, Jesus tells us that “return to God [is] not only possible, but inevitable,” and in Chapter 4, “God is inevitable, and you cannot avoid Him anymore than He can avoid you.”  And there are many more assurances of this kind throughout A Course in Miracles.

3. Establish Connection. Now that you’ve tuned in, it’s time to establish a lasting connection with your Internal Teacher, as Helen Schucman, the scribe of ACIM, referred to the Holy Spirit. How? Notice what comes to you … what ideas enter your mind? Ideas will probably not be logical, linear thoughts. For me, establishing connection has a lot to do with body language.

AmyonrugThroughout the day, I often find that lengthening up my spine creates space between my vertebrae, which invites my head to align over my shoulders (rather than poking forward) and results in the crown of my head tingling. This tingling is a receptive feeling which naturally leads to connection with the Holy Spirit. Tingling is my kinesthetic equivalent to what other people call, “seeing energy or auras.” I feel energy.

ACIM doesn’t talk about energy, but it does speak of an “individualized curriculum” where each student has their own unique process of awakening. The process simply reminds us that there is more than meets the eye, and returns us to our “spiritual eye” so to speak. In Chapter 2 we’re told, “Spiritual vision can literally not see error, and merely looks for Atonement” (which is the undoing of error, the Holy Spirit’s Correction to the ego’s mistake). For me, feeling energy is clearly undoing my identification with the seeming solidity of flesh and blood as my identity.Rumi lisa dietrich

4. Open to Guidance. Now that your connection is established, open to Guidance. If “connection” could be visualized as holding hands with Spirit, then Guidance is receiving direction. Let your Internal Teacher lead you by the hand.

kids fall downAgain, for me, at times this has been physical. Doing the Sufi turn, like the whirling dervishes do, has unwound me many times. But if this seems too esoteric, remember as little kids most of us spun around recklessly until, giggling and dizzy, we collapsed on the ground. Don’t rule out anything as a spiritual practice. I’ve also often had the experience of speaking or writing something that was beyond me … the minute the words came out, it was clear they contained wisdom that was not little Amy’s.

And, of course, there are the wonderful synchronicities that occur in mundane circumstances. Just driving in the car, I’ve received many messages–songs on the car radio, license plates with telegraphic messages, road signs, and more. These often reinforce something I’ve suspected I need to do, but haven’t quite had the courage to follow through. It’s not taking the action that is important–it is being reminded that I have nothing to fear because the peace of God lives within me.

5. Stop & Listen. Even though God is an unstoppable force, we have to stop blocking Him before He can flow through us. In order for the Holy Spirit to lead the way, we need to stop. Stop “doing,” stop talking, stop directing, stop tensing, stop clenching and bunting and resisting–for just one moment. A moment is all it takes for Timelessness to replace time (in other words, to allow the holy instant to arise).

blurryMost people have trouble with this until they get the hang of it. It is a fear/control issue. One way to sidestep the fear is to gaze out into the distance and “trance.” This is also something we all did as children. Let your eyes de-focus. Allow the world to grow blurry and recede … there is Something Else in your mind … let it appear. Now listen. Open your mind and receive what is already yours. Receive the Love, Peace and Joy that is always within you. Just for a moment, release control by suspending all judgment. The ongoing Beingness which you already are will arise naturally.

Over and over again, the Course tells us to listen. “Listen today and you will hear a Voice which will resound throughout the world through you.” (Song of Prayer); “Listen and you will learn how to remember what you are.” (T-10.V.11:7); one of my favorites, “Be not afraid today to circumvent the voices of the world. Walk lightly past their meaningless persuasion. Hear them not. Be still today and listen to the truth.” (Lesson 106); and last, but not least, “If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen.”

This last quote leads us right back to #1: Be willing. Cultivating a relationship with your Holy Spirit is a circular, right-minded process that defies ego logic and can never fail. Give these five steps a try, and let me know how it goes for you.

You may enjoy these related videos:  The Holy Relationship and Your Relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Also, you may enjoy Reasons to Keep Faith Even If You Don’t Hear God.  If you would like coaching, click here