Thoughts on A Course in Miracles

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

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

Healing the T(error)ist Within

Jon Mundy kindly invited me to be his guest lecturer at his ongoing monthly class, Miracles in Manhattan, on the anniversary of 9/11.

Most of you know that I’m a New Yorker, born and bred. I was in the city at the time of the bombings and ACIM provided the Presence of Mind that saw me through.
In this class, we heal the past by using the lens of Peace to see through the original error that produces the terrorist within.

 

A Great Blessing – Saturday, Sept 10th

I’m so happy to be visiting New York City in September!  What a pleasure to be invited by Yasuko Kasaki, founder of CRS, to join her for a screening of an inspirational documentary called A Great Blessing.  Let’s view this astonishing film together, and afterwards let’s discuss the miracle potential of every situation.  What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?  2 – 5 pm with yummy sushi and snacks served after the movie.  Only $25 if you reserve in advance — call CRS at 212-677-8621 to register.  Seating is limited.   A Great Blessing

The Spark Is Still As Pure As the Great Light

Hey Sparky!

It’s been a while since I wrote, and you’ve been on my mind the whole time. I’ve been immersed in the Thought that each and every one of us has the spark of God within us, and share this so you can feel the Light within yourself:

The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal. In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured. Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten. If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the rays are there unseen. Perceiving the spark will heal, but knowing the light will create. Yet in the returning the little light must be acknowledged first, for the separation was a descent from magnitude to littleness. But the spark is still as pure as the Great Light, because it is the remaining call of creation. Put all your faith in it, and God Himself will answer you. (T-10.IV.7&8)

Please re-read the quote slowly and thoroughly. Read it out loud. Tell yourself, “I am a lamp of God. I am the spark within a Great Ray which streams from the Great Light. I am willing to put all my faith into the spark that I may hear God Himself answer me.”

The spark is the umbilical cord back to God. The Great Ray is the bridge you cross to your Source, the Great Light. The lamp is your body when you give it to God to use for His Purpose. The ego uses the body for fear, anxiety, tension, and death. If you would like some practical mysticism for undoing the ego’s darkness and discovering your spark, join “Undoing Anxiety,” a free MiracleShare Academy webinar series. Just click the pic below.

ab5f4c2b-2c72-4e97-b93d-5c3107e5f644

 

 

Glowingly, Amy

God Is In Your Smile

“Find where your smile originates and you will find your Source.”  Holy Spirit beamed this thought into my open mind and Amy crosslegged whiteinstantly I became aware that a smile is not your lips, your tongue, your mouth, your teeth, your jaw.  A smile starts deeper than that and spreads beyond the face entirely.

In fact, during my advertising career years, when I was lucky enough to work with voiceover artists and celebrities in recording studios, I learned that you can hear a smile.  If the person reading the script is faking their smile, a smile is not communicated!

(FILES): This February 24, 2008 file phoTo digress a moment, Wesley Snipes once read some copy of mine before he was famous.  And it was an honor to write for Ossie Davis, whose voice raised thrills as he warmed up by practicing some of my lines aloud.  Both of them had beautiful smiles, by the way. Ossie Davis smile

As I was saying, a smile spreads beyond your face because a smile is actually your Inner Light.  Your smile is one of those obvious, but often overlooked, clues that God is in you since your smile isn’t mechanical, therefore it must be inspired!  I remember telling my psychotherapist at a very low point in my life when I felt that I couldn’t overcome the anxiety and depression that was paralyzing me at that time, “The worst part is that deep inside I know I’m naturally cheerful — it’s in my smile!

Early in the Course, Jesus says something very interesting, “You do not know your joy because you do not know your own Self-fullness. … The full appreciation of the mind’s Self-fullness makes selfishness impossible and extension inevitable.” (T-7.IX.4:2 & 6)  Smiling is a direct route to knowing your Self-fullness and feeling the full appreciation of your True Nature which arises instantly when you do so.

Have you ever noticed that smiles are contagious?  When someone smiles at you, or you at someone, usually both end up smiling.  This is because, “The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark.  It is everywhere and it is eternal.  In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured.  Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten.  If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the Rays are there unseen.”  (T-10.IV.7:5-6; 8:1-3)  Your smile can help you learn of the greater light if you follow it to the Light from which it originates.

I once knew someone who had Bell’s Palsy* which is a condition that affects the nerves in the face.  He was self-conscious John Sudworth bells palsy smilethat his smile became crooked and spent the rest of his life trying not to smile.  How sadly backwards.  It took an effort to stop smiling — and if, instead, he had smiled, he may very well have healed and reactivated the nerves and muscles of his face.  But even if he didn’t, his smile would have communicated Love which overrides any deformity.

Your smile is not your lips, your tongue, your mouth, your teeth, your jaw!

Your smile is an ordinary miracle, capable of reminding you every day that God is within you and without you.  Your smile is the Light within you. When you smile, you radiate well-being and joy.  In other words, you are a conduit for healing miracles.  And when you become conscious that you have volunteered your body to fulfill the Holy Spirit’s loving purpose, your smile is reflected back to you a thousand times more than you smiled it!

A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as being spontaneous, natural, involuntary and it collapses time.  It defines a holy instant as a miniature of Heavewink with star in eyen — providing us with an experience of Timelessness.  String together enough miracles and holy instants and — poof! — you discover your Inner Light.  Why wait?

Let’s find where your smile originates right now and you will encounter your Self.  Take a moment and follow the trail of  your smile.  Does it actually start in your mouth?  Is it in your heart?  Your eyes?  Is it moving through you and emanating from you?  Right about now you could feel a shift in perception and realize that your smile is not only within you, but you are within God’s Smile!  The real you is a Smile without a face.

Abide in your smile“Father, Your Son is holy.  I am he on whom You smile in love and tenderness so dear and deep and still the universe smiles back on You, and shares Your Holiness.  How pure, how safe, how holy, then, are we, abiding in Your Smile, with all Your Love bestowed upon us, living one with You, in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete; in sinlessness so perfect that the Lord of Sinlessness conceives us as His Son, a universe of Thought completing Him.” (W-341)

Abiding in your own smile naturally leads to the discovery that you truly abide within Your Father’s Smile.  How many times does Jesus tell us in the Course that you are not the body, you are free, for you are still as God created you?  Well, it’s true!

While you identify as human, place yourself in the Holy Spirit’s Hands for guidance.  You will find yourself smiling more and more!  As you smile, you will realize that you are not human — you are Being.  And Being is Unaffected by what is not real.

As the Introduction to ACIM states: Nothing real can be threatened.  Nothing unreal exists.  Herein lies the peace of God.

* * * * *

You may also enjoy watching Service with a Smile! and reading Remember to Laugh, Happiness Is Your True Nature and This Is the Best Moment of Your Life.

* Click here to read about John Sudworth’s attitude towards Bell’s Palsy.

God Is In Your Smile was originally published April 26, 2015 and this is the newly revised and updated version.

To hear Amy speak about A Course in Miracles, watch her YouTube videosIf you’d like to ask Amy a question for her popular Ask Amy column in Miracles magazine, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com …  To receive blessings from Amy, read Sweet Dreams of Awakening.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice. 

Coming Apart at the “Seems”

A Course in Miracles tells us that everything we think we see is an illusion.  It says there is no world, there are no bodies, and life as we know it is merely a dream.  Grasping this intellectually is the first gulp. After we swallow, we still need to digest this sublime wisdom.

One simple and effective way of digesting this is what I call coming apart at the “seems,” a play on “coming apart at the seams.”  It’s a spiritual way of unraveling and falling apart which, paradoxically, reveals that you actually have it Together.

Who we areLet’s look at several instances of “seems” from the Course:

In Lesson 6: I am upset because I see something that is not there, we are told, “Today’s idea is useful for application to anything that seems* to upset you, and can profitably be used throughout the day for that purpose.”

Lesson 8 gives us a practice, “I seem to be thinking about [name of a person], about [name of an object], about [name of an emotion]. But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.”  Lesson 9 calmly points out, “It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems* to picture is not there.”

In Chapter 31 we read, “Whatever form temptation seems* to take, it always but reflects a wish to be a self that you are not.”

Lesson 68: Love holds no grievances, begins with this:  “You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems* to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him.”

After practicing Course principles for some time, my language changed to include the word “seems” on a regular basis.  It was the outcome of mind training.  For example, I would tell myself,

“I seem to be upset that my phone bill is outrageously high!”

“I seem to be angry that my yoga practice seems to keep throwing my back out.”

“The hurricane warnings seem to be scaring me because I still haven’t gotten flood insurance.”

“I seem to be a person and my body seems to have a stomach ache.”

“The world seems very real and the atrocities occurring in it seem highly disturbing.”

This one word “seems” had a potent ability to tune me in to my Inner Teacher.  “Seems” changed everything.  “Seems” slowed my thought process down and provided holy instants of illumination.  Light streamed through the reasons I thought I was upset and unveiled that I’m never upset for the reason I think (see Lesson 5).  “Seems” allowed me to see that I was defaulting to the ego as my teacher.  Then it became easy to choose again–choose the memory of God within me (the Holy Spirit) as my Guide.

In Chapter 5, Jesus tells us, “The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.”  You and I do not have to undo anything. We can leave undoing to the Holy Spirit. But we do have to choose to follow His Guidance.

open head w mechanical parts“Undoing” means uprooting the ego thought system.  This naturally leads to seeing through ego illusions to the Truth.  The ego thought system thrives on holding grievances. We do not have to try not to hold grievances. We simply need to become aware that we have chosen a “grievance” state of mind.  Once we realize that we are the dreamer of the ego dream of separation, and that grievances, guilt, fear, and punishment perpetuate the dream, then we can choose another teacher, the Holy Spirit, to undo our attachment to grievances.

Coming apart at the “seems,” for me, is the Holy Spirit’s undoing of “Amy.” Several years ago it came to me that I was thinning away, like the heel of a threadbare sock. The Course puts it this way:

“By focusing on the good in him, 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)

This is one of the happy outcomes of coming apart at the seams. As Shawn Colvin sings in her song, Round of Blues, “it’s a new breakthrough, it’s an old breakdown.” If you’re sick and tired of your old breakdown, let’s have a new breakthrough together by coming apart at the “seems” 🙂   To the ego this is terrifying, but when you allow yourself to move your attention from the ego to the Holy Spirit, you find merciful detachment from this convincing, but false, terror.  Freedom awaits.

A Course in Miracles gives us concrete tools to apply to this seemingly material world while we believe we’re in it.  If you’re ready to join me in coming apart at the “seems,” please feel free to insert “seems” into every situation and emotion in your life that seems to be upsetting you.  And let me know how it goes.  I’d love to hear from you. Email: miracles@amytorresacim.com

*Emphasis mine

You may also enjoy How to Take Yourself Less Personally.  If you need help practicing the Workbook lessons from A Course in Miracles, sign up for my online class, Workin’ the Workbook.

A Clean Slate 2016

It’s the first day of a new year — a clean slate.  clean slate with eraser

A clean slate is full of promise … and can be daunting, especially if you have tried and failed in the past.  So let’s apply the Course principle that there is no past, right now. Interestingly, the past and feeling guilty go hand in hand.

If you are willing to reassess a past failure as a worthy attempt, your heart is uplifted rather than downcast.  When your heart lifts, the chains of time are momentarily undone and the holy instant purifies your mind as you enjoy a glimpse of Heaven.  Maybe you have not paid enough attention when your heart lifts. Here’s your chance.

Say aloud, “On this clean slate let my true function be written for me.” and take a full inhale and exhale.  If your heart lifts, breathe through that feeling, enjoying it fully.  This connects you with your Inner Teacher, the Holy Spirit, the bridge to God.

If your heart sinks, know that you are feeling guilty in some way, and allow yourself to know more about what this sinking feeling represents. Don’t avoid it — plumb the depths with your trusty partner, the Holy Spirit, your Friend and Comforter.

As you become aware of the upsetting, disturbing, enraging, terrifying, shameful and destructive thoughts and feelings that result in your downcast heart, give them to the Holy Spirit.  Have a conversation with Him/Her.  Report your thoughts and describe your feelings aloud, giving each one to your Friend, your Inner Light, which cannot help but shine away inner darkness if you expose it in this way.

Now 2016 is truly a clean slate!

The phrase “a clean slate” is used in the audacious Lesson 65: My only function is the one God gave me.  Lesson 65 “offers you escape from all your perceived difficulties. It places the key to the door of peace, which you have closed upon yourself, in your own hands. It gives you the answer to all the searching you have done since time began.”

We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, if you began the Workbook on Lesson 1 today. But the truth is, any lesson can take you all the way Home if you surrender to it fully. That’s why I sometimes refer to every lesson as “Lesson One” because essentially they are all the same.

Happy Clean Slate!

Mooji: Thunderbolts of Truth and Blessings to ACIM Students

“At a certain stage it will stop seeming auspicious to be a person. It’s a kind of grace that few will appreciate.” ~Mooji

On a rainy Saturday in October, with a feeling of baptism in the air, Mooji met with me in the breathtaking Ramakrishna Yurt which is perched on the edge of a precipice and has a view that silences the ego mind instantly.

Sri Mooji is a true Master, the living Christ, and points to the simple truth that you are, also. If you desire the deepest Truth, this video is for you. Mooji and I speak about Course concepts and his insights reverberate like thunderbolts! See for yourself.

You may also enjoy the conversation Bill Free and I had on his new internet radio show, Pure Presence.  If you missed it live, here’s the link: https://www.unity.fm/episode/PurePresence_100215

 

Six Recommendations Straight from the Holy Spirit

stairway to heavenImagine you are climbing a ladder to Heaven, rung by rung. Each rung gleams more resplendently as you draw nearer and nearer to Heavenly Light. You are open to receiving recommendations straight from the Holy Spirit.

His Light is almost blinding and you realize the Holy Spirit is not shining brighter – you are drawing nearer as His Magnetism becomes irresistible. And when you reach the top you realize there is no individual “you”…   Enlightenment!

A Course in Miracles offers a workbook practice to help you reach Enlightenment.  The practice reconnects you with your Internal Teacher, the Holy Spirit.  This connection changes everything.  As you follow Spirit Guidance you are liberated from fear and empowered by Love.  But … sticking with this guidance can be tricky, as the ego may very well kick up a fuss as it senses its ultimate demise.

oval blue doveThis is why the Holy Spirit offers some very clear recommendations so you can stay on-track.  As you stick with Spirit, you develop more focus, faith and trust in your own experience which then strengthens your connection to the Truth which is already in your mind.  Here are some basic recommendations from the Holy Spirit as given by Jesus in ACIM:

Recommendations Straight from the Holy Spirit

★ Develop the good habit of practicing your workbook lesson as close to awakening, and going to sleep, as possible.

★ There is also a purification process involved, so it’s natural to experience unpleasant side effects at times. But remember, when swimming pools are disinfected, first the muddy, murky sludge that has gathered at the bottom is churned up to the surface. Only after the filter has been going for a while does the water become clear. In the same way, you are cleansed and purified through the workbook practice. After a while fear and darkness dissolve, and all that remains is the loving light You Really Are.

★ All the workbook lessons should be done in an unhurried manner. A comfortable sense of leisure is essential. With our busy lives, this often seems impossible. But if you ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the time, He will give you that miracle. After all, we’re told at the very beginning of the ACIM Text, in the 50 miracle principles, that miracles collapse time. They are nothing if not practical!

★ As you practice the idea for the day, use it totally indiscriminately. Do not attempt to apply it to everything you see, for these exercises should not become ritualistic. Only be sure that nothing you see is specifically excluded. One thing is like another as far as the application of the idea is concerned. This is important because it impresses on the mind the first miracle principle: “There is no order of difficulty in miracles.” When this becomes real to us, there is nothing else to do but naturally and effortlessly spend our lives extending miracles.

★ “The curriculum is highly individualized, and all aspects are under the Holy Spirit’s particular care and guidance.” ACIM, M-29. Isn’t it comforting and inspiring to know that the Holy Spirit is working with you individually?*

★ Open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and feel His power surging Life and Love into you. Doing the workbook practice is like plugging in your cell phone – a powerful energy is charging you up! And there will be signs to boost your confidence along the way.

* There will come a day when you realize that you were working with the Holy Spirit, not He with you.  He helps you awaken to Reality, not dream a better dream.  When you choose His guidance, you are choosing against illusions and enlightenment is recognized as always here, always true. “The Holy Spirit must work through you to teach you He is in you.  This is an intermediary step towards the knowledge that you are in God because you are part of Him.” (T-7.IV.2:1-2)

For a long time, it seems as if your path is your own – very personal and filled with unique experiences. It is your particular set of experiences, relationships and understandings. This is because first you must become your self, and that readies you to realize your Self.  “A tiny moment of surprise, perhaps, will make you pause before you realize the world you see before you in the light reflects the truth you knew, and did not quite forget in wandering away in dreams.” (W-131: No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.)

Now, after taking in these six recommendations straight from the Holy Spirit, try it again: Imagine you are climbing a ladder to Heaven, rung by rung. Each rung gleams more resplendently as you draw nearer and nearer to Heavenly Light.  The Holy Spirit is not shining brighter – you are drawing nearer. And when you reach the top you realize there is no individual “you”… Enlightenment!

WtW Lauren crisp n clear

Workin’ the Workbook (WtW) is an online class that helps structure, clarify and support your Course in Miracles Workbook practice.  WtW also helps you persevere and stick with all 365 lessons. Many people quit before completing the Workbook and don’t get to experience the rewards of choosing the Holy Spirit rather than the ego.

You can begin at any lesson — start with Lesson 1 or resume where you left off.  The price is $37 a month (just a bit more than a dollar a day) and no one is turned away due to lack of funds (email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com to ask about scholarships).

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.