Thoughts on A Course in Miracles

Five Keys to Forgiveness Workshop

Amy crosslegged whiteA Course in Miracles teaches us a new definition of forgiveness.  This new definition offers us an entirely different way of understanding ourselves and our relationships.  As the introduction to ACIM states, the Course offers us a forgiveness practice as a way of “removing the blocks to the awareness of Love’s Presence” which naturally leads to giving and receiving miracles.

In the Five Keys to Forgiveness workshop, Amy Torres shares tools and tales for understanding forgiveness in new ways, and ideas for applying these principles in our daily lives.  We cover:

*  Forgiveness is an undoing process, removing loneliness, fear, blame, anger, guilt and shame

*  Forgiveness contains the spiritual law that “giving is receiving” and offers us endless abundance.

*  Forgiveness is a natural outcome of the willingness to be undone by following the spiritual guidance of your Inner Teacher, the Holy Spirit.

*  Forgiveness brings inner peace, renewed faith, and lasting happiness.

*  Forgiveness instills a sense of purpose and life is truly meaningful.

*  Forgiveness changes our relationship with time, our understanding of death, and results in miracles.

*  Forgiveness teaches us not to take ourselves personally and restores our True Self.  Undoing leads to awakening.

*  And much more, because forgiveness is a giving practice that just keeps on giving and giving and giving 🙂

(These bullet points are material we cover — the five keys are revealed during the workshop itself.)

Bring a notebook and pen. Wear comfortable clothes. Be prepared to remove your shoes.
You do not have to bring your A Course in Miracles book with you for the workshop.

Click here to watch Amy’s video on  Five Keys to Forgiveness

If you would like Amy to give this workshop in your area, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot com)

Also, you can watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  And check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice. 

 

 

 

Ask Amy: Death of Child

Guy QuestionQ: In a workshop, I heard you say that the loss of a child could be the best thing that ever happened. Initially I was shocked. I don’t see how a parent could ever think this, but being a Course student for five years, I keep an open mind. Can you explain?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA: Your question cuts to the quick, and therefore offers huge potential for healing. First, notice how ego changes what was said just a little bit, so little it seems inconsequential. The actual phrase used was, “Every moment, no exceptions, is the best moment of your life.” Ego distorts, misinterprets and misses the point – that’s its job. It does this to maintain its false identity.

Your open mind provides the space for the miracle. “It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound.” (T-31.V.17:3) The “best moment” is a timeless moment. The timeless moment is what the Course calls a holy instant.

“The holy instant is this instant and every instant. … Delay it not. For beyond the past and future, where you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance.” (T-15.IV.1:3-8)

The holy instant reveals you are not the body but the One Eternal Formless Self. There is no pain or loss here. There is no memory here. There is no personal identity here. There is no “untimely death” here. Jesus tells us 20 times in the Course, “Brother, there is no death.” and who is better qualified to assure us of this than he?

To the ego, this is outrageous and heartless. When in the throes of grief, this may seem impossible to grasp. But this is the perfect time to rely on the Holy Spirit. Give Him your tears, your shattered dreams, your rage, your guilt, your agony. This clears a space to receive the miracles that surely follow. You may or may not recognize them, depending on the openness of your mind. Either way, healing occurs.

The ego believes in loss; the Holy Spirit reminds you that you are Whole. The ego declares you are form; the Holy Spirit reminds you that you are Spirit. The ego wants you to witness to form: obviously you are a body. Jesus witnesses to Content: obviously you and your child are deathless Life. “The holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s most useful learning device for teaching you love’s meaning. For its purpose is to suspend judgment entirely.” (T-15.V.1:1-2)

A Course in Miracles is about shifting from the human point of view, which we take for granted as the only point of view, to recognizing what you really are. You are not a person; you are Spirit. God is not other than you; God is your Self. This is revealed in the holy instant, which offers us glimpses of Timelessness. Glimpses eventually stabilize as Vision. The Holy Spirit uses time for holy instants until they culminate in the Atonement – the final undoing; the recognition that the separation never occurred.

“There may come a time when you thank God for your difficulties,” says the contemporary mystic, Mooji, “because that pain led you to God.” The death of a child can be viewed as a devastating tragedy or an opportunity to awaken.

Please feel free to continue this inquiry with me; more questions may arise as your contemplation deepens.

Recommended Reading: Self-Concept versus Self (T-31.V); The Holy Instant and Special Relationships (T-15.V); The Bridge to the Real World (T-16.VI); This Is the Best Moment of Your Life by Amy Torres

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the Sept-Oct 2015 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.  To ask Amy a question, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

The Irresistible Attraction of Love for Love

Rest assured that the irresistible attraction of love for love is the strongest power within you. Whether you are in touch with it right now, or not, it will emerge eventually and restore your connection with God.

Chapter 12 of the ACIM Text is called The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum, and in it Jesus tells us, “When you want only love you will see nothing else.”

love light_Are you able to feel love for yourself?  Many, many people are self-critical and believe that self-love is conceited and selfish.  If this describes you, please know that chronic self-criticism is not helping you become a better person, achieve humility, or be selfless.

You may also have noticed that you seem to be in relationships with blamers, that is, people who blame you for everything.  Self-critical people and blamers fit together like hand in glove.  Often, the one who is blamed agrees that they are guilty of having done something wrong, yet, there is also an underlying feeling of injustice.

victim attackerYou may recognize the self-blamer and the blamer within yourself.  This is because the ego is a contradictory, paradoxical thought system which has made you the victim of yourself.  The way this works is that the ego keeps us endlessly distracted by two choices: victim or attacker.  Usually, you will identify with one more than the other — notice if you usually feel attacked or the victim of attack.  The ego has had great success with mesmerizing us with these two choices, however, eventually, it becomes clear that there is a third choice, a better way.

The third choice is unified love — no victim/no attacker.  The ego paradigm of guilt, punishment and death melts stairway to heaven exit rightaway as you see through the ego dream state to the One Self you truly are.  This can occur over many years of mind-shifting as your spiritual path builds conviction within you.  There can be significant spiritual experiences along the way which are best used to confirm that you are on The Path, following your Inner Teacher Home.

The One Self  appears to be many, in conflict, and, occasionally in love, but unaware that these billions of people on earth are all versions of Itself in diverse costumes.  When you want only love, you “get it” that the abused “you” is also the abuser “you” and there is a holy instant of release as you rise above the battleground and allow a miraculous shift in perception from eyesight to Vision, from image-making to Formless LoveLight.

Trump CardThis timeless, formless LoveLight is your God-Self.  The mighty magnetism of your God-Self is constantly attracting you to Love.  As powerful as belief in the ego is, it cannot come close to trumping the Love which is your true inner Self.

Nothing external is true.  No interpretations or judgments are true.  Death is not true.  Shapes and forms come and go in the shadowy dream world the ego has been calling real life, but the brilliant Light within you dissolves all that nonsense instantly — when you want only love.  Love is all-inclusive.  Treasured wounds and righteousness about enemies are seen as two sides of one coin … and the coin disappears back into the no-thingness from which it came.

Begin where you are at.  Lesson 153, In my defenselessness my safety lies, impacted my personal relationships so powerfully that I was freed from many terrors and weaknesses as I practiced it.  Something that helps that profoundly is easily embraced for years and years, until the original relationship with the Holy Spirit, your Inner Self, is re-discovered.

You can also try Lesson 153 for yourself. Or use any lesson or concept from A Course in Miracles that resonates with you as a mental touchstone to guide you back to timeless love, effortless joy and inner peace.  I often used phrases from the Text in exactly the same way as workbook lessons.  Trust your Inner Self, the Holy Spirit.  Then you will find that the irresistible attraction of love for love is a tidal wave of clarity, well-being and embrace of the Impersonal Self you can never abandon and which never abandons You.

Click here for a free companion piece on what to do when you have an Extra-Strength Ego.

 

Remember to Laugh

Amy crosslegged whiteLaughing is the application of ACIM principles.  It’s right there in Chapter 27:  “Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.” T-27.VIII.6:2-5

Dr. Bernie Siegel, the author of Love, Medicine and Miracles, has many stories to tell about the power of laughter.  There’s a whole school of yoga devoted to laughter.  Comedian John Cleese says, “Laughter is a force for democracy.” Cancer thriver, as Kris Carr calls herself, has laughed in the face of terminal disease.  Vice president Joe Biden shines light when he shares the tragic death of his wife and child.  How do we laugh when we’re least likely to feel like laughing?

Biden considered suicide but came to find, “There will come a day, I promise you, and your parents, as well, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.”  He was speaking to the families of military veterans, but it goes for the rest of us as well.  It applies to anyone who has contemplated suicide or hurt inside in any way, for any reason.

“This is the great wake-up call, this is the great spiritual practice.  What am I going to do now?  Am I going to fold?,” asked Carr, author of Crazy, Sexy Cancer, who was given a death sentence but instead chose to keep smiling and become a peace revolutionary through a plant-based diet.

There is a saying, “Time heals all wounds.”  A Course in Miracles promises to save us time.  It teaches that miracles literally collapse time.  The miracle of laughter uses time for healing rather than brooding, simmering, panicking, collapsing, or seeking vengeance.

“The Holy Spirit uses time as He thinks best, and He is never wrong.  Psychotherapy under His direction is one of the means He uses to save time …” P-1.5:5-6

Laughter is psychotherapy.  Laughter is good medicine.  And when we just can’t bring ourselves to laugh, a wry comment, some dry humor, a small smile are better than nothing.  They are the equivalent of raising our eyes up from the ground and looking out towards the horizon.  There is some scientific evidence which shows that laughter, even when we force it, or fake it, stimulates chemical changes in the brain and body which are powerfully healing.

Of course, ACIM students learn that the only illness is mental illness and when we’re willing to change our minds, we find an inner peace that removes the wrinkles from our brow and puts a smile on our lips.  Remembering to laugh is choosing to forgive.  Lesson 121 is, “Forgiveness is the key to happiness,” and Lesson 122 follows with, “[Forgiveness] sparkles on your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day.”

At the root of physical and emotional pain is always psychological pain.  Whether our situation is dramatic or mundane, we deserve to exercise our option to choose light and laughter.  Remembering to laugh is an undoing process that takes us from our personal problems all the way back to the one problem the Course says is the only real problem: believing the tiny, mad idea that we are separate from God.  All we have to do to establish inner peace is choose again, choose to recognize the cosmic joke is on us, and forgive, forgive, forgive!

TIP:  Paradoxically, sometimes the only way to laugh is to stop laughing.  When I was going through a “dark night of the soul,” it was healing for me to stop laughing and smiling, because I blocked people from helping me with my constant good cheer.  They just assumed I was okay.  So if it seems to you that your smile is a defense, relax into your pain and allow that energy to move through you.  This is easier said than done, because becoming vulnerable when we’re frozen with self-protection takes time.  And certain emotions feel dangerous.  But if you sincerely want to heal, the Holy Spirit will show you how, and will help you find a healer with whom to do release work.  You will laugh again.  And each time you do, time will melt into timelessness until you remember Who you already are.

Get your laugh on — click here to watch the miraculously funny Trevor Noah.

Read previous, related issues of The Unlearning Classroom:

God Is In Your Smile
Forgiveness is Fear-Removal
What Is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is Understanding

 

Ask Amy: Are you the creator of your universe?

Guy QuestionQ:  After working with the Course for several years, I take from it the message that I am the creator of my universe.  A dear friend of mine was killed in Syria recently.  Did I create this?  If I did, I don’t know how I can live with myself.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  Rest assured, you did not create the killing of your dear friend in Syria.  Only the ego thinks in terms of guilty responsibility, magical powers of influence, and the loss of life.  Jesus, in his Course in Miracles, would never put you through this kind of psychological agony.

The idea that you are the creator of your universe is a common misconception among Course students.  The primary mistake lies in not understanding who you really are.  Typically, every human, and therefore, every reader of ACIM, begins with the assumption that he or she is a body, identified as male or female, labeled with a name, assigned a role as son or daughter, and so on.  These designations are nothing more than ego brainwashing, layering assumption on top of assumption that the body is “you.”

But you are not a body.  God’s Creation is an extension of the Creator Himself — consequently, you are Spirit, not human.  Therefore, when referring to yourself, know that You are Imageless, Formless, Timeless, and Unified as God’s One Son.  It is not the little ego “you” who creates; the ego “you” mistakenly dreams and that is all.  The real You creates the way God creates: You naturally and effortlessly emanate Loving Light.

“Yet what is it except a game you play in which Identity can be denied?  You are as God created you.” (W-191)

The one collective ego mind (of which people appear to be individual fragments) is a terrorist dictatorship thought system.  The way out of this tyrannical, punitive, and vicious ego-mind cycle is to observe the ego with Jesus.  Then you discover the only reason the ego felt so real is that you believed in it, while forgetting it was nothing more than a passing idea in God’s Mind.

“In a split mind, identity must seem to be divided.” (T-27.II.11:1)

When you stop unconsciously denying your true Identity, it is revealed that as long as we seem to live in a world with others, the only sane choice is to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and be a miracle worker.  You will feel peaceful, comforted, liberated and illuminated, as you devote the body to serving God’s Will instead of reinforcing a false personal identity.

“It is impossible that God lose His Identity, for if He did, you would lose yours.” (T-14.XI.7:5)

Let us conclude with a prayer for your friend.  May he rest in God, at Home with his Father, enlightened and free in the recognition of his true Self.  Death can serve as one of the many doorways to Who we really are.  Happily for all of us, it is inevitable that everyone awaken to our God-Self, each in our own perfect moment.

“The word ‘inevitable’ is fearful to the ego, but joyous to the spirit.  God is inevitable, and you cannot avoid Him any more than He can avoid you.”  (T-4.I.9:10-11)

Note:  If you found this topic interesting, click here to read the Ask Amy column in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Miracles magazine, which delves into this same concept from a different angle.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the March-April 2015 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

W-84: Review of Lessons 67 & 68

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

I am Who I am.  I am That.  That I Am.  Am I.  Am.  Ma.  AmmA.  AbbA.  Aaaaah.

LESSON 84

There are the ideas for today’s review:

(67)  Love created me like itself.

I am in the likeness of my Creator.  I cannot suffer.  I cannot experience loss and I cannot die.  I am not a body.  I would recognize my reality today.  I will worship no idols, nor raise my own self-concept to replace my Self.  I am in the likeness of my Creator.  Love created me like itself.

You might find these specific forms helpful in applying the idea:

Let me not see an illusion of myself in this.
As I look on this, let me remember my Creator.
My Creator did not create this as I see it.

(68)  Love holds no grievances.

Grievances are completely alien to love.  Grievances attack love and keep its light obscure.  If I hold grievances I am attacking love, and therefore attacking my Self.  My Self thus becomes alien to me.  I am determined not to attack my Self today, so that I can remember Who I am.

These specific forms for applying this idea would be helpful:

This is no justification for denying my Self.
I will not use this to attack love.
Let this not tempt me to attack myself.

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

 

W-83: Review of Lessons 65 & 66

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think.  With God’s Guidance the thought arises, “Think nothing … let Me Think through you.”  Think nothing, let Me Think through you.  How quiet.  How beauty-filled.

How Perfectly Peaceful. … and then, being Thought-through produces a shift in perception from receiving as the tiny “me” ego-body to being the Thought Itself.

You don’t have to do anything but be willing to be aware of What Already Is.  And so it is!

LESSON 83

Today let us review these ideas:

(65)  My only function is the one God gave me.

I have no function but the one God gave me.  This recognition releases me from all conflict, because it means I cannot have conflicting goals.  With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think.  All doubt must disappear as I acknowledge that my only function is the one God gave me.

More specific applications of this idea might take these forms:

My perception of this does not change my function.
This does not give me a function other than the one God gave me.
Let me not use this to justify a function God did not give me.

(66)  My happiness and my function are one.

All things that come from God are one.  They come from Oneness, and must be received as one.  Fulfilling my function is my happiness because both come from the same Source.  And I must learn to recognize what makes me happy, if I would find happiness.

Some useful forms for specific applications of this idea are:

This cannot separate my happiness from my function.
The oneness of my happiness and my function remains wholly unaffected by this.
Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness apart from my function.

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

 

W-82: Review of Lessons 63 & 64

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

My forgiveness is the means by which the light of the world finds expression through me.  I would not forget my function, because I would remember my Self.  Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world. The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.  Forgiveness is light.  Forgiveness is healing.  Forgiveness is healing light.  For to give everything to God.  Give God my lonely, frightened delusions of separateness.  Give God my heart swollen with gladness and relief that I am His Son.  My widening, expanding, overflowing heart … consumed by the Cosmic Heart.  And so it is.

LESSON 82

We will review these ideas today:

(63)  The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.

My forgiveness is the means by which the light of the world finds expression through me.  My forgiveness is the means by which I become aware of the light of the world in me.  My forgiveness is the means by which the world is healed, together with myself.  Let me, then, forgive the world, that it may be healed along with me.

Suggestions for specific forms for applying this idea are:

Let peace extend from my mind to yours, [name].
I share the light of the  world with you, [name].
Through my forgiveness I can see this as it is.

(64)  Let me not forget my function.

I would not forget my function, because I would remember my Self.  I cannot fulfill my function if I forget it.  And unless I fulfill my function, I will not experience the joy that God intends for me.

Suitable forms of this idea include:

Let me not use this to hide my function from me.
I would use this as an opportunity to fulfill my function.
This may threaten my ego, but cannot change my function in any way.

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

 

W-81: Review of Lessons 61 & 62

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Behind the mask of your ego-face shines the light of Who You Really Are.  Good disguise!

LESSON 81

Our ideas for review today are:

(61)  I am the light of the world.

How holy am I, who have been given the function of lighting up the world!  Let me be still before my holiness.  In its calm light let all my conflicts disappear.  In its peace let me remember Who I am.

Some specific forms for applying this idea when special difficulties seem to arise might be:

Let me not obscure the light of the world in me.
Let the light of the world shine through this appearance.
This shadow will vanish before the light.

(62)  Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.

It is through accepting my function that I will see the light in me.  And in this light will my function stand clear and perfectly unambiguous before my sight.  My acceptance does not depend on my recognizing what my function is, for I do not yet understand forgiveness.  Yet I will trust that, in the light, I will see it as it is.

Specific forms for using this idea might include:

Let this help me learn what forgiveness means.
Let me not separate my function from my will.
I will not use this for an alien purpose.

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

 

W-80: Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Once the problem has been identified, something glorious happens … it is seen that there never was a real problem.  In that sense, the solution is inherent within the problem because when looked at closely, there is no problem to be found.

There was a bad dream that ended long ago, but that was a fantasy, not a real problem.

Close your eyes and receive your reward.  One problem, one solution.  Salvation is accomplished.  Peace is at hand.  Enjoy:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSouws7cE-A

LESSON 80

Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

If you are willing to recognize your problems, you will recognize that you have no problems.  Your one central problem has been answered, and you have no other.  Therefore, you must be at peace.  Salvation thus depends on recognizing this one problem, and understanding that it has been solved.  One problem, one solution.  Salvation is accomplished.  Freedom from conflict has been given you.  Accept that fact, and you are ready to take your rightful place in God’s plan for salvation.

Your only problem has been solved!  Repeat this over and over to yourself today, with gratitude and conviction.  You have recognized your only problem, opening the way for the Holy Spirit to give you God’s answer.  You have laid deception aside, and seen the light of truth.  You have accepted salvation for yourself by bringing the problem to the answer.  And you can recognize the answer, because the problem has been identified.

You are entitled to peace today.  A problem that has been resolved cannot trouble you.  Only be certain you do not forget that all problems are the same.  Their many forms will not deceive you while you remember this.  One problem, one solution.  Accept the peace this simple statement brings.

In our longer practice periods today, we will claim the peace that must be ours when the problem and the answer have been brought together.  The problem must be gone, because God’s answer cannot fail.  Having recognized one, you have recognized the other.  The solution is inherent in the problem.  You are answered, and have accepted the answer.  You are saved.

Now let the peace that your acceptance brings be given you.  Close your eyes, and receive your reward.  Recognize that your problems have been solved.  Recognize that you are out of conflict; free and at peace.  Above all, remember that you have one problem, and that the problem has one solution.  It is in this that the simplicity of salvation lies.  It is because of this that it is guaranteed to work.

Assure yourself often today that your problems have been solved.  Repeat the idea with deep conviction, as frequently as possible.  And be particularly sure to apply the idea for today to any specific problem that may arise.  Say quickly:

Let me recognize this problem has been solved.

Let us be determined not to collect grievances today.  Let us be determined to be free of problems that do not exist.  The means is simple honesty.  Do not deceive yourself about what the problem is, and you must recognize it has been solved.

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