Unlearning Classroom

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~
Amy

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

Homework
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.

 

How to Deal with Your Worst Moments, Especially When They Seem to Go On Forever

What makes a “worst moment”?  It boils down to pain.  Pain can be physical (sensation), emotional (loss, helplessness, despair), or psychological (fear).  Much more common than a “worst moment” is the dread of a worst moment.  I call this “futurizing.”

When pain is unbearable we pass out (literally black out, go unconscious) or check out (this ranges from not hearing people talking to us to having a psychotic break — losing touch with worldly reality).  This level of pain is rare, and this reaction is relatively rare.  When you relentlessly worry about and imagine upcoming pain, you’re futurizing.  You’re not living – you’re holding your breath, walking on eggshells, and dreading what the future will bring even though it is highly unlikely.

“The worst thing you’ll ever have to face in life is a thought, a sensation, a feeling, a sound, a smell, happening in THIS moment,” says spiritual teacher Jeff  Foster.

When you actually take a look at your pain, rather than avoid it or try to deaden it, pain breaks out into thoughts, sensations, feelings, sounds, smells, tastes, sights–anything the five senses have to offer.

Is your pain unbearable right now?  If it was, you couldn’t be reading this essay.

Moment by moment, pain, be it physical, emotional, or psychological, is not only bearable, but potentially the moment when your perception shifts and you realize what seemed to be “the worst” was actually the opening you had been waiting for.

Peace comes when you realize that you’ve been making yourself god by taking your fears seriously.  Fears that the pain you have now will never stop, fears that you’ll never meet someone and have a family, fears that you’ll never get a good job (or you’ll lose the job you have), fears that you won’t be able to pay the bills, fears that you’ll never realize your potential, fears that your health will fail and you won’t be able to take care of yourself and those you love, fears that you’ll be at the mercy of unkind people, or people who are incompetent, fears that you can’t overcome your addictions.  Fears, fears, fears.  It’s best to get well-acquainted with your own, so that you can stop futurizing and choose to enter the present moment.

This moment, now, is where peace is.

There’s an opening, a holy instant, where time dissolves into timelessness, and the “you” you thought you were melts away.  Here lies freedom.  And this moment is available right now.  Feel it?  There’s no time like the present to recognize what you really are.  Turn your attention to Truth.  You don’t have to know how.  You don’t have to do anything.  Just stop playing god, and instead, “… spend a quiet moment opening your mind to His correction, and His love”* now.

You may also find The Challenge of Physical Pain and Disability a useful read.

*A Course in Miracles, Workbook for Students, Lesson 126

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Ask Amy: How Does God Know What’s Best for Us If He Doesn’t Even Know We’re Here?

Guy QuestionQ:  I think I’m having a little crisis.  How does God know what is best for us if he doesn’t even know we are here?  How can I have trust/faith with this notion?  Another ACIM teacher told me “But the Holy Spirit knows you are here.”  What do you think, Amy?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  It is true that A Course in Miracles explains that God doesn’t know we’re here.  Many ACIM students find this scary and even devastating.  It begins to make sense, and actually feel comforting and liberating, when we realize that God doesn’t know we’re “here” because we’re not “here” — we’re with Him in Heaven.

Heaven is a metaphor for being eternally alive and unified in the formless Mind of God.  We are God’s Creation, and we are always joined together in a Limitless Life of Creating and Being Love.

Remember, the metaphysics of the Course teach us that this world, our bodies and belief that we are separate people with personal lives is only a dream!  Once we accept that we are dreaming (and, in fact, that we are the dreamer of this dream) then it makes sense that God doesn’t know we’re here because we’ve never left Him.  Just because we dream that we have separated from the Wholeness of His Mind, doesn’t make it so.

“You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality.  Is it your decision to do so?” (T-10.I.2:1)

God’s Holy Spirit lives within us as a memory of our True Self.  The Holy Spirit can be visualized as Light, like a lighthouse illuminating the way Home.  When we decide to awaken to reality, we feel motivated to look towards the Holy Spirit’s Light more and more.  Following His Loving guidance strengthens our trust and faith.

Lesson 26 puts it like this, “My home awaits me.  I will hasten there.  If I so choose, I can depart this world entirely.  It is not death which makes this possible, but it is change of mind about the purpose of the world.  If I believe it has a value as I see it now, so will it still remain for me.  But if I see no value in the world as I behold it, nothing that I want to keep as mine or search for as a goal, it will depart from me.  For I have not sought for illusions to replace the truth.

Father, my home awaits my glad return.  Your Arms are open and I hear Your Voice.  What need have I to linger in a place of vain desires and of shattered dreams, when Heaven can so easily be mine?”

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the July-Aug 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

Special Relationships

blue hands“Everyone on earth has formed special relationships, and although this is not so in Heaven, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring a touch of Heaven to them here.” (T-15.V.8:1)

A Course in Miracles students are often very afraid that their special relationships will be torn from them if they put ACIM principles into practice.  Or they mistakenly believe they are supposed to stop having special relationships and, finding this impossible, beat themselves up for continuing to relate to certain people in their lives as special and more important than others.  Rest assured that Jesus will neither tear away your special relationships, nor expect you to give them up.  All he asks is that we give our belief in special relationships to the Holy Spirit.

“Bring, then, all forms of suffering to Him Who knows that every one is like the rest.  He sees no differences where none exists, and He will teach you how each one is caused.” (T-27.VIII.12:1-2)

When we unconsciously believe in specialness, which is the source of the “life” we lead, we project that belief outward, and are convinced there are people in a world ruled by a cruel ego-god.  Even if we have a poor opinion of ourselves, even if we are atheists, even if we are obviously the innocent victims of other people’s viciousness, we are still unconsciously subscribing to the tiny, mad idea that we are special–different from God and from our brothers.

“Specialness is the idea of sin* made real.”  (T-24.II.3:1)

orb web spider eating its webWe start on the personal level, looking within the ego self we think we are, working with what seems to be our individual sense of sin and guilt (even if it seems the “other guy” is guilty–not us).  Little by little, as we learn to practice forgiveness, and clear the guilt from our personal relationships, we discover there is nothing personal to forgive.  First it seems as though we draw our projections back into our personal selves, like a spider devouring its own web.  This leads to a miraculous shift in perception and we realize that “I” is one ego mind, all-inclusive of every single brother in the whole wide world.

“And you will understand that miracles reflect this simple statement, ‘I have done this thing, and it is this I would undo.’” (T-27.VIII.11:6)

This “I” is the original thought of separation itself–what we now call “ego.”  The “undoing” is a  change of mind from believing in specialness (that we could leave God’s Mind to be “my self”) to a gentle laugh at the absurdity of such an impossible idea.  And here are all special relationships left behind, not with grief and mourning, but with joy and liberation from a false identity that bred only war, slaughter, and revenge.

“We had a wish that God would fail to have the Son whom He created for Himself.  We wanted God to change Himself, and be what we would make of Him.  And we believed that our insane desires were the truth.  Now we are glad that this is all undone, and we no longer think illusions true.  The memory of God is shimmering across the wide horizons of our minds.  A moment more, and it will rise again.  A moment more, and we who are God’s Sons are safely home, where He would have us be.” (W-pII.Intro.9:1-7)

heaven horizon

* “Sin” in A Course in Miracles means the belief in separation and serves the ego brilliantly in that the ego views sin as an unforgiveable crime to be punished. The Holy Spirit disarms the ego’s purpose for sin by reframing sin as a mistake, a mere error to be corrected and healed with unconditional Love.  Thus, we release the ego’s plan for salvation (sin, guilt and fear; kill or be killed) and embrace God’s plan for salvation instead (Sameness, Innocence and Unity; Love and Be Loved).

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.