Undoing the Ego


How to run harmonious A Course in Miracles study groups and classes.

Let’s start with the obvious: A spirit of cooperation is essential because “Salvation is a collaborative venture.” (T-4.VI.8:2)  Therefore, begin by invoking the Holy Spirit and placing the ACIM class or study group in His Hands. “The Holy Spirit speaks with unmistakable clarity and overwhelming appeal.” (ACIM Preface) Salvation is a collaborative venture

The teacher or facilitator of the group* can make a statement such as, “Holy Spirit, we place ourselves in Your Hands, please guide us.” Another suggestion is that the group can hold hands in a circle and recite a prayer from the Course, for example:

I am not alone, and I would not intrude the past
upon my Guest.
I have invited Him, and He is here.
I need do nothing except not to interfere.

This intention opens the way for loving communication.  The “Guest” refers to the Holy Spirit, Who invites us into the Eternal Present in which we encounter our True Identity.  It is the ego who keeps bouncing between past and future in order to avoid the One Self we really are. oval blue doveIn order for us to feel safe, and maintain a beautiful spirit of cooperation, it’s best to share experience rather than state opinions, lecture or pontificate. An ACIM class or study group is not a debating platform. Those of us who choose to practice A Course in Miracles resonate with its teachings. Sincere questions are welcome–argumentative ones are not. Nor is it a place to preach to the converted–quoting the Course at each other is not necessary or loving; usually it is just the ego showing off and taking charge. And please, do not give advice unless it is asked for. Rather than being “truly helpful,” this ego-driven urge to “help” is what I call “horribly helpful” and is rarely welcomed.

Using “I-talk” is the best way to “own our stuff.” Some of you are well-acquainted with “I-talk” and others are not. I-talk is using the first person (me, I, myself) when communicating. Paradoxically, rather than being narcissistic, “keeping it on me” undoes me and results in being more loving and attuned to others.

When responding to another, you can ask, “Do you just need us to listen? Or would you also like feedback?”

Each of you can request specific feedback by letting people know, “Right now I only need sympathy–no opinions.” Or, “Please share similar stories with me, but don’t comment on mine,” etc.  Or you can set up a “No Cross Talk” rule which means that people share and no one else comments on what was said. (This is not ideal in a class or study group, but can be a good experiment just to see what happens and how it feels to practice no cross talk. Out of this experiment may grow a customized approach to your group.)

See if you can express yourself in less words. There is a Buddhist saying, before you speak ask yourself, “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” Remember, less is more.  This is not about repression–far from it.  If something is charged up for you and you can observe that you are triggered with the Holy Spirit, than rather than spewing your projections (like projectile vomiting) onto others, or repressing them (like swallowing your own vomit) you can learn these practical ways of sharing in a way that does no harm, to others and therefore, yourself.

In general, it’s good for all of us to share our experience without pushing it on anyone else. Ways to do this include, “What’s coming up for me is … ” or in response to someone else, “I feel an inner pressure to comfort you (or encourage you, or clarify the teaching for you, etc.). The reason we would choose to describe the pure sensation, for example, “inner pressure,” is to own our experience without interpretation. The inner pressure is yours–it should not necessarily be shared, or taken as spiritual guidance to help another. Just observe your internal experience.  And do  your best to stay in the present moment, rather than getting into lengthy stories about your past (always a telltale sign that the ego has taken over).

The Holy Spirit doesn’t actually tell us what to do in the world–He simply shifts our perception from fear to Love, and the form in which Love is expressed is a symbol, or reflection, of God’s Love. We learn by practicing with each other. It doesn’t matter how the other person reacts or responds. All that matters is that you practice forgiveness by following the Holy Spirit’s guidance, which by definition means that you step back and get out of your own way. This does not result in people walking all over you; to the contrary, your presence will become calm, powerful, impersonal, and full of loving Authority.

You can also offer, “Here’s an experience from my life that I hope offers you comfort.” Or, “Let me know if I can be of help.” But before you go rushing in to offer help (which can often be a codependent reaction) it is much more healing to share pure body sensations. This invites a healthy habit in the group of observing without defining, and opens an inner space for the Holy Spirit to lead.

Last, but not least, protect each other’s privacy by practicing, “What we say here, stays here.” Respecting each other’s confidentiality heals wounds and ultimately results in dissolving the personal story that maintains ego identification.

You must embody what Safe Ways to Share says if you want it to work, just as we must practice A Course in Miracles and not just read it. Interestingly, the definition of “embody” is to be a living demonstration of an idea, quality, or feeling–in this case, forgiveness and its resulting miracles.

To teach is to demonstrate.
There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time.
From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. …
You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn through teaching. (M-Intro.2:1-3;6)

These guidelines are can be used in all your relationships, not just in a group. I highly recommend practicing them with everyone, everyday. Practicing emotionally responsible ways of communicating is a great undoing process. Feel free to ask me questions about this–you can email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com

* A class has a teacher who is the leader of that group and is the guide and protector of the group. This teacher should be humble and open to getting out of his/her way and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach the class–this is an ongoing process; the teacher does not have to be “perfect,” just honest, kind, with good boundaries, and hopefully, well-versed in the subject being taught.

A study group has no teacher, but instead is a group of people getting together to discuss a subject, in this case A Course in Miracles. Most study groups have a facilitator–someone who organizes the class schedule, contacts the participants, and facilitates the meeting by providing some guidance (e.g., “Let’s begin by invoking the Holy Spirit.” and “Here are the Safe Ways to Share used by this group.” etc.) without taking on the responsibility of teaching.

Many thanks to the Foundation for Inner Peace who provided the image for “Salvation is a collaborative venture” from their free series, ACIM Weekly Thought and to Harper Wood for her illustration of an ACIM study group.


Frosty the Buddha by Will Johnson

Will Johnson is one of my spiritual teachers, and I love how he uses the body to undo the body.  His wise and witty missive below embodies (forgive the pun) his philosophy and will enliven your practice of the Workbook for Students in A Course in Miracles (ACIM).  Enjoy!

snowmanAt the recent Urban Retreat in Victoria, which took place in the midst of an unseasonal winter storm (this is coastal British Columbia, after all; it’s not SUPPOSED to be cold and snowy), the image of Frosty the Buddha, the Bodhisattva of Alignment, was born. The aspect of our sitting posture that we first want to tend to when we sit down to meditate is the alignment of the upright spine, just as the Buddha suggests in his earliest instructional texts. Alignment–with its revelation that the gravitational field of the earth functions as a source of support for objects that are primarily aligned around a central, vertical axis–is a great benefactor and promoter of the dharma. It lets us relax and let go.

The first thing to remember about bringing alignment into your meditation posture is that it can’t be imposed from the outside in. It’s far more of an inside job. It needs to be felt into, first through kindling awareness of the sensations and feeling presence of the major segments of the body, and then through allowing these segments to begin spontaneously to self-adjust in relationship to one another. And this is where Frosty the Buddha comes in.

Consider the snowperson: three balls of snow of decreasing size, placed one directly on top of the other. Frosty’s lower body and base is the largest, providing a natural foundation for the upper segments. Frosty’s upper torso is much smaller in comparison, and his/her head is smaller still. And it doesn’t take a Buddha or the proverbial rocket scientist to know what every small child who has ever built a snowperson knows: if Frosty doesn’t want to self-decapitate, or lose the whole of his/her upper body, you better make sure that each of these snowballs is placed precisely one on top of the other. Indeed, Frosty’s very existence professes the wisdom of alignment.

So…, when you go to sit down, the first thing you might want to do is kindle the feeling awareness of the three major segments of the meditational body. Begin by paying attention to your largest foundational base which consists of your legs and pelvis, extending energetically even into your lower abdomen. Bring the sensations in every cell of this lower “snowball” to life (what the great 20th century meditation teacher U Ba Khin called “activating annica,” the bringing to felt awareness of the constantly changing vibratory experience of the body), and then feel this entire segment, as a unified field of sensation, all at once.

Now bring your awareness to your version of Frosty’s second snowball which forms your torso. Give yourself permission to activate the felt awareness of sensations, and then feel your entire torso all at once. And then do the same to your version and experience of Frosty’s head. As you sit in meditation, mindful of the image of the Bodhisattva of Alignment, feel how these three primary segments can be felt to start relating to each other, lining up, one on top of the other, naturally, effortlessly, spontaneously. Long live Frosty!

With your meditating body playing with upright alignment and the ever present dance of balancing that ensues (everything that you feel continues to shift and change from moment to moment), you can truly start to relax, again just like Frosty (s/he also moonlights as the Bodhisattva of Relaxation), no resistance, no holding yourself up or bracing against gravity, just dropping your weight through an aligned body. And, then, in order to stay relaxed, amoeba-like movement can start occurring at every joint of the body, expanding, contracting, in response to breath’s endless wave.

At this point, Frosty, being the eminently wise manifestation that s/he is, realizes that s/he’s done her/his job and that now it’s time for you to move on from his/her static image as you continue on your meditative inquiry and your body keeps relaxing and coming ever more unfrozen, as you begin to soften and melt the tensions in the body and the contractions in the mind, as you keep allowing the current of the life force to animate you through subtle movement. Frosty is, after all, frozen, and the next instructions from these earliest texts of the Buddha point us in the direction of coming alive through our breath and, ultimately, feeling how breath can cause subtle motion throughout the entire length of a deeply relaxed body.

Frosty can’t allow these motions to occur, but you and I can. So, thank you, Frosty, for all your inspiration, your sound advice, your insistence that alignment is a great supporter and propellant of the dharma, your implicit promotion of relaxation, your vision that ultimately we all melt away. And thank you as well for your insight in knowing that it’s now time to summon your good friend, compatriot, and tag-team partner, the Bodhisattva of Resilient Motion, to step up, take over, and be our guide as we continue on our way.

Now who might that Bodhisattva be, and what might s/he look like? Hmmmmm…, well, how about the image of the little Buddha figure I recently saw stuck onto the dashboard of a friend’s car; the neck and head of the Buddha were on a coiled wire so the Buddha’s head was constantly bobbing, moving, really going to town…?

All the best and greetings of the season,
Will (and his good friend Frosty)

I Am Not My Hair

This year, as most of you know, I built a program called Workin’ the Workbook to support people in truly experiencing the Course in Miracles Workbook for Students. It wasn’t my decision–it happened through me. The Holy Spirit guided me to share my experience in order to encourage folks to face their fears with open minds and the guidance of the Holy Spirit within them. If I could do it, so can you! And as you heal, so do I. After all, miracles are here to heal just one mind–ours.

In the ACIM Manual for Teachers, it says, “The teacher of God accepts the words which are offered him, and give as he receives. He does not control the direction of his speaking. He listens and hears and speaks. A major hindrance in this aspect of his learning is the teacher of God’s fear about the validity of what he hears. And what he hears may be quite startling. It may also seems to be quiet irrelevant to the presented problem as he perceives it, and may, in fact, confront the teacher with a situation that appears to be very embarrassing to him.” (21. What Is the Role of Words in Healing?) This does not just apply to words, but to actions as well.

At about lesson 220, which concludes the undoing process of Part I of the Workbook, I knew I was to “undo” my hair. But what did that have to do with teaching the Workbook? Wouldn’t it confuse people? I recognized the ego’s voice in those doubting questions. Being a Course student, I’ve learned to disregard that voice, and take leaps of faith instead.

So, one day it was long and brunette. The next it was a boyish buzz cut. Then I stopped using hair color, and little by little the silver-gray underneath emerged. It was a good metaphor for the inner changes the ACIM Workbook practice produces. I could have experienced it as an “ugly duckling” process, but people kept complimenting me on the unique look of my hair! Eventually, my hair evolved from pepper to salt’n’pepper to salt.

Part II of the ACIM Workbook is the acceptance of true perception. My silvery hair created a shine around my head, a halo effect. I’ve become used to receiving spontaneous gifts of illumination, so I wasn’t surprised that what seemed like a potential loss of some kind turned out to be a gain.

As India Arie sings, “I am not my hair.” As ACIM sings, “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.” My new shining angel hair is simply the form one miracle in my life took this year. The real miracle was being willing to receive God’s Message. It is the same for all of us. Trust your Inner Voice and “Be not afraid 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)

I Think You’re Beautiful

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA few weeks ago I ran into a local Korean deli for a late afternoon snack.  It was my usual place, owned and operated by an elderly, hard-working, not-overly-friendly husband and wife team.

As I stood on line at the sandwhich counter, a man queued up behind me.  He looked a little rough around the edges, but that’s not unusual in New York City.  We stood there waiting and he smiled at me.  The New Yorker in me said, “Don’t encourage him,” but my Inner Smile burst forth spontaneously.

Then the deli man handed me my sandwich and I went to get a bottle of water.

Lo and behold,  me and Mr. Rough-Around-the-Edges bumped into each other once more at the cash register.  He smiled again and this time said, “You’re beautiful.”

I easily could have taken this for a line, a come on, a rude intrusion.  But my Libran nature, I admit, has always welcomed compliments, and instead of ignoring him, “Thank you,” I said, “You’re beautiful, too.”  I hadn’t expected “You’re beautiful, too” to pop out.

It could have been a big mistake to tell a strange man he was beautiful, inviting all kinds of misunderstanding and an unwelcome escalation of sexual advances, but he was quite surprised.  Maybe even more surprised than I was.  There was a slowing down of time, a holy instant pause of quiet beauty as Love hung in the air between us.

Then, unexpectedly, the chronically grumpy wife behind the cash register, piped up in a thick Korean accent, “You don’t tell me I’m beautiful!”  She had a little smile on her face.

“You are beautiful,” the rough-around-the-edges guy said sincerely. “I just don’t want to get your husband angry!”

In response to his comment, her smile broadened.  Then,  as she took my money, she looked me in the eye and said, “You are beautiful.”

The Love was contagious.  “You’re beautiful!” I replied enthusiastically.

We all burst out laughing from sheer happiness!

A Course in Miracles teaches that, “There are no strangers in God’s creation,” and the Holy Spirit “sees no strangers; only dearly loved and loving friends.”

The moral of the story?  Dare to say nice things to strangers.  And receive the nice things they say to you.  You will heal exponentially, and miracles will ripple throughout the world.

Copyright © 2011 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Ask Amy: The Body As Repository for Unconscious Thought or Communication Link?

Guy QuestionQ:  I’ve been told by a couple of people that I need to get out of my head and into my FEELINGS and work on healing using the body as a “portal.”  I know you did a workshop recently that had to do with ACIM and the body.  I would like to gain insights and healing through/by using the body.  I’m also wondering how you’ve worked with your own body to grow spiritually, and how you meld that with ACIM’s view of “the body”?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA: I love how A Course in Miracles reverses (un-reverses, really) everything!  For instance, in order to be free of the body, we need to embrace the body.  Many of us are too much in our heads and benefit from bringing our body experience into our awareness and then integrating its energies into our daily lives.  In that way, anger, for example, is embraced as fire energy, and becomes a motivating force rather than a divisive one.

I think of the body as the repository for unconscious thoughts.  Body-oriented psychotherapy led to my spiritual awakening.  For me, and many of the clients with whom I’ve worked, breathing through feelings brings the ego into our conscious awareness and then we release guilt, fear, grief, shame, anger, pain, etc.

Giving our thoughts and feelings to the Holy Spirit is the ACIM forgiveness practice.  Definitions are dismantled. Judgment is dropped.  Assigning meaning is relinquished.  Sinking into bodily sensation takes us through the viscera, into the cellular structure, DNA and beyond … eventually we melt into pure Joining.  This usually takes practice because the ego will sense its demise and throw up resistance.

A portal is a gateway to knowledge.  The Holy Spirit can use the body as a vehicle for God’s Love to be extended in the world; a communication link through which miracles flow.  “The body is the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity,” is what we’re told in W-Pt II.5: What Is the Body? (which is worth reading and re-reading).

The body becomes a symbol of unity and forgiveness rather than personal identity and personal satisfaction.  We can maintain the body like a car, using it well until the time it is no longer necessary, and, little by little, dis-identifying with it.  Rather than “my” body, try saying “the” body.  This needs to be done with the Holy Spirit’s help or it becomes a particularly unworthy form of denial and dissociation, rather than true perception and loving detachment.

We are also told in more than 20 lessons in the Workbook, “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”  Yet Lesson 353 clearly directs us:

My eyes, my tongue, my hands, my feet todayJesus-washing-feet-12
Have but one purpose; to be given Christ
To use to bless the world with miracles.

ACIM explains that we each have an individualized curriculum, and once we are willing to choose the Holy Spirit’s purpose for our body, His wisdom will prevail in the form that best suits you.  For me, I often experience the present memory of God throviolet lightugh yoga and chakra work.

There is a feeling that God’s Loving Light pours in through my crown chakra, circulates within the body and then radiates through my limbs and skin, brightening my presence which then shines on my brothers.

NOTE:  Since I wrote this article, it has become clear that That which brightens “my” presence, is the Presence the little “me” ego-mind/time-body lives within.  “I am” is the name that precedes all names and forms.   In other words, that which lives in the body is that which the body lives within.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the Nov-Dec 2013 issue of Miracles magazine.  Miracles is a well-loved  staple in the ACIM community.  To get a subscription, email Jon@miraclesmagazine.org or call 845-496-9089.  To ask Amy a question, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

Giving Thanks

Thank you for being one of my readers.
My heart overflows with appreciation for you,
and the path of awakening we share.

The holiday version of thanksgiving is coming up this week in the USA, and for many it is a time of loneliness, alienation, overeating, and post-Thanksgiving stupefaction.  And those are the lucky ones, because in their misery lies the opportunity to choose again.

Then there are those who have “Family First” magnets on their refrigerators.  The ones who think life is good, place their nuclear family members first, extended family second, God and country third, and who blindly accept the hierarchy of illusions along with their identity as a mere person.

And then there’s you, an ACIM student, who may have fallen into one or both of the above categories until you found yourself on a spiritual path that leads to awakening in spite of your ego self.

The Course explains that we have descended a twisted stairway that leads away from Heaven.  Thankfully, Jesus lets us know, Yet any instant it is possible to have all this undone.  How can you know whether you chose the stairs to Heaven or the way to hell?  Quite easily.  How do you feel?  Is peace in your awareness?  Are you certain which way to go?  And are you sure the goal of Heaven can be reached?  If not, you walk alone.  Ask, then, your Friend to join with you, and give you certainty of where you go. (T-23.II.22:5-13)

Let’s take a few breaths together, right now, and join minds with the Holy Spirit.  Let your breath come easily, until you feel yourself Being Breathed.  Now, open to receive the Message of Love your Friend always communicates.  Feel that?  A surge of peace, a heartbeat of certainty, and the fragrance of your Real Home.

Family gatherings are one of the ego’s favorite booby traps, but this year you come prepared–not with turkey, stuffing and ego judgments, but with your true purpose: to be a vessel for Love.  Underneath all worldly distractions, we are the same One.  This One is Love and “has” Everything.

So if you feel your buttons getting pushed during the holiday, make Thanksgiving part of your spiritual practice this year.  Turn to your Friend and ask for Peace.  Take a few breaths, feel yourself Being Breathed, and allow miracles to flow through you.

Remember, you are never alone.  The more reminders you build into your life that you are Spirit and Spirit is within you, the more you move through the world as living prayer: you are as God created you.

Let me know how it goes.  And thank you for choosing The Unlearning Classroom as one of your reminders.

Love & Blessings~

giving thanks

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

The Purpose of the Body

As Course in Miracles students, we are deeply questioning what most people take for granted. Jesus asks us to be very honest in exploring how the ego operates in order to find out who and what we really are.  In that spirit, Webinar #10 is to help you experientially understand the purpose of the body.  We begin by examining the ego’s purpose, in order to awaken your ability to use the body for the Holy Spirit’s Loving purpose of forgiveness and awakening instead.

We all take the cycle of birth and death for granted.  You, me, and everybody else, started off this human life believing that we were born through the body of our mother.  You were labeled with a name, to identify you as a person, and believed you were the physical form called the body.

Beginning in infancy, every body experiences physical pleasure and pain.  The body also experiences emotional and psychological pleasure and pain, which is called “somatizing” (morphing mental states into physical sensations).  Humans continue to be highly motivated by both pleasure and pain into adulthood–and guilt is often associated with both.  Spiritual teachers have referred to the body as the “pain body” and the “time body.”  When you combine pain and time, you get a ticking bomb!  In addition to the angst of our own personal lives, we see explosions of pain, anguish, rage, and terror throughout the world every day.

There’s rarely one among us who escapes the fear of death.  The human race tries to fend off mortality by nurturing roots through a clan, tribe, extended family, ethnic, racial, cultural and/or national  heritage, ownership of property, carrying on the family name through their children, honoring personal achievements by erecting monuments and awarding prizes, through competition and record setting, and even staking a claim to their spot on earth with a tombstone.

“The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built, to separate parts of his Self from other parts.” (W-5.1:1)  The ego dreamed up the idea of the body to solidify its concept of itself.  The body seems to prove that we, as people, exist.  The ego makes excellent use of the body as a multi-layered device:

* The ego’s grand plan was to make us Mind-less so we completely forgot our true Identity as a “Oneness joined as One” (T-25.I.7:1) in the formless, loving Mind of God.  Happily, “What is the same can not be different, and what is one can not have separate parts.” (T-25.I.7:7)

* The ego accomplishes this complete forgetting by hiding within the body, which blocks out our awareness of Being One Self in God’s Mind.  Mercifully, “The definition of reality is God’s, not yours.  He created it, and He knows what it is.  You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourself to oblivion.” (T-12.VIII.3:6-8)

*  The brain and sensory organs in the body serve to show us that the physical world is real.  The ego seemingly proves bodies are real through the five senses, but actually the five senses falsely witness to the ego’s own propaganda that it exists.  The brain is the ego’s organ of choice to interpret, judge and perceive.  Jesus explains, “First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. … The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision maker.  Terms like ‘instincts,’ ‘reflexes’ and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem.  They do not answer it.”  (M-5.II.1:4-9)

The Course teaches us to stop judging, interpreting, and perceiving:  “There is one thing that you have never done; you have not utterly forgotten the body.  It has perhaps faded at times from your sight, but it has not yet completely disappeared.  You are not asked to let this happen for more than an instant, yet it is in this instant that the miracle of Atonement happens.  Afterwards you will see the body again, but never quite the same.  And every instant that you spend without awareness of it gives you a different view of it when you return.”  (T-18.VII.2:1-5)

*  The ego uses the body as a container for its guilt, and projects this guilt onto other people.  “The body is the means by which the ego tries to make the unholy relationship seem real.” (T-20.VII.5:1)  In the Course, Jesus refers to us as “the separated ones” and to our relationships as “special” and “unholy.”  The body is the ego’s symbol of separation.  Only our belief in the body makes it possible to have physical relationships which seem to express love, but actually maintain separate and special interests.  But don’t feel guilty about your relationships!  Jesus tells us, “Your question should not be, ‘How can I see my brother without the body?’ Ask only, ‘Do I really wish to see him sinless?’” (T-20.VII.9:1-2)

When we are willing to see our brother as sinless then perception of the body through eyesight becomes secondary to our ability to see our brothers’ innocence.  “By focusing on the good in him [your brother], 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)  In that way, we use the body for the Holy Spirit’s purpose as “the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity.” (W-5.4:1)

*  Last but not least, the body, by its inevitable demise, implies, quite convincingly, that we were alive.  Through the cycle of birth and death, the ego makes a case that life is worldly and material, defined within time and space.  We never pause to question birth, but in Reality there are no bodies to be born.  God creates His Creation and there is no place where the Father ends and the Son begins–we are truly a Oneness joined as One.

When we step back and let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, we learn that, “You have the vision that enables you to see the body not.  And as you look upon your brother, you will see an altar to your Father, holy as Heaven, glowing with radiant purity and sparkling with the shining lilies you laid upon it.  What can you value more than this?  Why do you think the body is a better home, a safer shelter for God’s Son?  Why would you rather look on it than on the truth?” (T-20.VIII.4:3-7).

Practice Lesson 223:  God is my life.  I have no life but His.  It begins, “I was mistaken when I thought I lived apart from God, a separate entity that moved in isolation, unattached, and housed within a body.  Now I know my life is God’s, I have no other home, and I do not exist apart from Him.  He has no Thoughts that are not part of me, and I have none but those which are of Him.” If this does not satisfy, or if you’re feeling plagued by a body issue, ask the Holy Spirit to use your body to undo your belief in the body.  You will likely be guided to work with someone who knows how to guide you in observing your physical sensations in order to release them. There are more and more spiritual practitioners (including myself) using many different methods to use our sensory apparatus to dissolve individuality.

If you liked “The Purpose of the Body,” you may also enjoy other essays in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You, including, “Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Spiritual Unfolding,” “Death Is Just a Belief,” “How to Take Yourself Less Personally” and “Flossing and Feldenkrais.”   Be sure to watch Webinar #10: The Purpose of the Body on YouTube 🙂  And you might be interested in my Facebook page devoted to body issues: http://facebook.com/acimbodyimage  For private sessions or if you have questions, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Seattle ACIM Workshop, Nov 9th & 10th: How to Hear the Call to Joy

“When the ego was made, God placed in the mind the Call to joy.
This Call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at its sound.”

So what is the catch? Most of us want to be happy–or claim we do. Then what is preventing you from hearing the Call to joy? … It is your belief in the separate self; it is your belief that you are the body. Happily, “God has given you the means for undoing what you have made. Listen, and you will learn how to remember what you are.”

Let us come together in Truth, satsang, and open our minds to our True Identity. “In this decision lie joy and peace and the glory of creation.” If you are sincere about questioning every belief you have ever held, you will allow satsang to burn away what you are not and reveal the Light which is always within you. In a powerful hybrid of A Course in Miracles special relationship work, Gestalt psychotherapy, yogic self-inquiry, and organic movement, you will have a chance to accelerate the undoing process that leads you back to where you already are.

“Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as their own.
We will attempt to reach this state today, with self-deception laid aside, and with an honest willingness to value but the truly valuable and the real.”

Lucky & Sharon’s Sanctuary
Saturday, Nov 9th & Sunday, Nov 10th
10 am – 4 pm
1215 NE 188th St, Shoreline, WA

$150 including
Lucky’s home-cooked free lunch!

To register, visit www.amytorresacim.com/call-to-joy Amy Torres is an interfaith minister, Gestalt psychotherapist, yoga instructor, and writes the popular Course in Miracles e-newsletter, The Unlearning Classroom, to which you can subscribe for free at www.amytorresacim.com. You can also read her column Ask Amy in Miracles magazine, read her articles on EzineArticles.com, watch her videos on YouTube, follow her on Facebook, and subscribe to her online class, Workin’ the Workbook, which supports all 365 lessons from the ACIM Workbook.

Note: All quotes are from A Course in Miracles.

Spiritual Translation

The other day, a student reminded me of something I said that had stuck with him and been truly helpful.  Of course, I had forgotten all about it!  Here’s the blogpost he was referring to:

When I first started studying A Course in Miracles in 1997, I grappled with the new definition of “forgiveness”* that Jesus offers us. One day, the old English usage of “for to give” popped into my head.

For to give fear to Love
For to give guilt to Innocence
For to give pain to Peace

Then I remembered a lyric from the song, A Horse with No Name by America (not Neil Young 🙂 ):

In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain

This pop song, which I had mindlessly sung countless times when it was a hit in 1972, was suddenly offering me a spiritual solution to the riddle of forgiveness.

Didn’t Jesus spent forty days in the desert remembering his Name, that is, his true Identity? And once his true Identity was revealed, so was his Oneness with all his brothers and every living thing, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral. In fact, there ain’t no one for to give you no pain once you awaken to the Truth that we are all One.

The lyric from A Horse with No Name was biblical, mystical–an ancient nomadic sojourn of a twentieth century cowboy using an awkward yet mesmerizing grammatical construction, for to give, that spontaneously inspired me to translate everything.

For to give dreams to Reality
For to give illusions to Truth
For to give separation to Unity

One of the nicknames ACIM uses for the Holy Spirit is the Translator. Once the Holy Spirit became my Spiritual Psychotherapist and Guide, I embarked on a whole new level of translation! Up until then, as a psychotherapist, one potent tool in my healing kit was the idea of translating emotional language from its surface meaning down into the underlying messages.

Psychotherapy is an art, because it is customized to each person’s deep psychological needs and beliefs. I already loved the creativity involved in unraveling dysfunctional behavior through a process of emotional translation. How exciting to discover that A Course in Miracles offered a translation process that frees us from the ego entirely!

For to give my Amy-identity to the Holy Spirit, Who,
in turn, gives me Love and reveals my God-Identity.

This internal translation process kept working inside my head all day, every day, to this very day. And my inner conviction about the Course’s Message keeps growing.

For to give sleep to Awakening
For to give ignorance to Knowledge
For to give nightmares to Happy Dreams
For to give time to Eternity
For to give space to Infinity
For to give fragmentation to Wholeness
For to give death to Life

Make your own “for to give” list. Feel free to borrow from mine. Let me know if you come up with some good ones. And if this “technique” illuminates the ACIM forgiveness practice for you in a new way, please share. Email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com

* Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. ~ACIM Workbook, 1. What Is Forgiveness?

“The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. He sees for you, and unless you look with Him He cannot see. The vision of Christ is not for Him alone, but for Him with you. Bring, therefore, all your dark and secret thoughts to Him, and look upon them with Him. He holds the light, and you the darkness. They cannot coexist when both of You together look on them. His judgment must prevail, and He will give it to you as you join your perception to His.”  ~T-14.VII6:1-11


This Is the Best Moment of Your Life

You may be surprised to hear it, but right now, no matter how you are feeling, whatever your circumstances, this very moment is the best moment of your life.  For me, this understanding began at the level of my personal self and, at some point, uncovered a timeless revelation.

I believe it was Louise Hay who taught me to approach every day as the best day of my life. She understood that whether the ego deemed it a “good” day or a “bad” day, every day could be considered the “best” day if I was willing to open my mind and not judge anything. At some point, spontaneously, I realized every moment is the best moment, when there is no interpretation.

sunset deep purple pinkIt was so liberating, empowering, and relaxing to choose to appreciate in any given moment that “this is the best moment of my life.” For the obvious moments, like watching a sunset, the beauty of the moment was enhanced. For the less obvious moments, like sickness of a loved one, a quiet strength and unexpected calm emerged in me, transforming the atmosphere with shining, unspoken, Love.

“This is the best moment of my life”* became a touchstone.  Sitting with a cat purring in my lap, listening to my lover read to me, feeling the breeze on my skin, catching the aroma of gardenias in my garden, hearing the cricket symphony after the rain – each of these “best moments” were heightened and intensified as I tuned in to their golden quality as they were happening.

And then there was the sweet sound of people who trusted me crying on my shoulder, releasing the grief and sorrow of their lives, sharing their fears, anxiety, and even panic; telling me of their despair, of the heavy depression they dragged around each day.  They gave me their loneliness, their sense of being ostracized, persecuted, abused and ignored.  Some felt invisible, disposable, insignificant.  Others hated themselves, believed they deserved punishment, were worthless.  Each of these holy encounters I deemed “the best moment of my life.”  My willingness to join with the Holy Spirit made their holiness obvious.  Eventually it was realized that the little “me” was a dream figure and not the one experiencing the “best moment.”

The Holy Spirit helps us look from above the battleground** and the view from there is exalted.  Below, in the dreaming mind, puppets seem to act out senseless roles in a drama of death and destruction, betrayal and revenge.  They believe in a fantasy that has no truth in it at all.  Seeing from above is the best moment of your life — what A Course in Miracles calls the holy instant.  And this view is always available – to all of us, as Spirit!

You can never have this moment alone, because you must be in holy relationship with Spirit in order to recognize that you are as God created you – Formlessly One with Him always.  Your True Self is simply an extension of that Formless One called God.  Claim every moment as the best moment of your life by choosing to be in holy relationship with the Holy Spirit.

The willingness to admit we know nothing, and the willingness to release all judgment, gives every moment the openness to funnel Love from Love’s Source.  Being a vessel for Love makes obvious that we are that very Love.  “Behold the great projection,” says Jesus in A Course in Miracles.  Behold it in order to release the mind from its grip.  The ego is just a tiny idea in a conscious mind that has the power to choose again.  So choose again and discover your true Self.

Abide In Your Smile magnet

* A Course in Miracles uses the term “holy instant” to describe what spontaneously came to me as “the best moment” … more on the holy instant can be found in Webinar 9: The Holy Relationship (holy instants and holy encounters).

** “The lovely light of your relationship [with the Holy Spirit] is like the Love of God.  It cannot yet assume the holy function God gave His Son, for your forgiveness of your brother is not complete as yet, and so it cannot be extended to all creation.  Each form of murder and attack that still attracts you and that you do not recognize for what it is, limits the healing and the miracles you have the power to extend to all.  Yet does the Holy Spirit understand how to increase your little gifts and make them mighty.  Also He understands how your relationship is raised above the battleground, in it no more.  This is your part; to realize that murder in any form is not your will.  The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.  Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it.  From there will your perspective be quite different.”  (T-23.IV.4:1-7; 5:1-2)

You might also enjoy reading Gatita Sparkles, Gatita’s Metamorphosis Into The Lady, and A Better Way to Say “I Miss You”.

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.