What is A Course in Miracles?

W-26: My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

mauve-sky-with-lightningThis is one of those lessons that is thunderous.  It reverberates through my mind with powerful claps because my memory of God is sparked by it.  It says, “The idea for today introduces the thought that you always attack yourself first.”

The ego mind scared itself into believing that we had separated from God’s mind and that in order to alleviate that fear we lashed out at God as if He had done something wrong (first projection).  This led to us believing that now we could be attacked in return.

First we believed we could be attacked by God–before we were even in a form.  We believed this while just an ego thought without the coverings and the veils of space and time and worlds and bodies.  Next we believed that our brothers could attack us … we were so delusional we thought our brothers were separate entities.  As if the fingers on our hand were separate entities independent of our hand, arm and body.

Every person we see “out there” is a piece of us.  We are all aspects of the same ego mind.  One aspect may be homeless and in the gutter, another may be English royalty, but both are facets of the same One.

This lesson helps us really comprehend that.  “And what would have effects through you must also have effects on you.  It is this law that will ultimately save you, but you are misusing it now.  You must therefore learn how it can be used for your own best interests, rather than against them.”

The practice today is worth writing out on paper.  Very deep and powerful.  We are asked to be specific in recounting what concerns us, what we fear could happen, and then to tell ourselves, “This thought is an attack on myself.”  What a relief!

If this is not the first time you’ve done the ACIM Workbook, you might want to partner W-26 with W-38 which provides a further antidote.  In 12-step they say the only person you can change is yourself.  ACIM goes beyond the person entirely and shows us that with God’s help, little “me” is naturally absorbed back into my True Self once and for all.

LESSON 26

My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.

It is surely obvious that if you can be attacked you are not invulnerable.  You see attack as a real threat.  That is because you believe that you can really attack.  And what would have effects through you must also have effects on you.  It is this law that will ultimately save you, but you are misusing it now.  You must therefore learn how it can be used for your own best interests, rather than against them.

Because your attack thoughts will be projected, you will fear attack.  And if you fear attack, you must believe that you are not invulnerable.  Attack thoughts therefore make you vulnerable in your own mind, which is where the attack thoughts are.  Attack thoughts and invulnerability cannot be accepted together.  They contradict each other.

The idea for today introduces the thought that you always attack yourself first.  If attack thoughts must entail the belief that you are vulnerable, their effect is to weaken you in your own eyes.  Thus they have attacked your perception of yourself.  And because you believe in them, you can no longer believe in yourself.  A false image of yourself has come to take the place of what you are.

Practice with today’s idea will help you to understand that vulnerability or invulnerability is the result of your own thoughts.  Nothing except your thoughts can attack you.  Nothing except your thoughts can make you think you are vulnerable.  And nothing except your thoughts can prove to you this is not so.

Six practice periods are required in applying today’s idea.  A full two minutes should be attempted for each of them, although the time may be reduced to a minute if the discomfort is too great.  Do not reduce it further.

The practice period should begin with repeating the idea for today, then closing your eyes and reviewing the unresolved questions whose outcomes are causing you concern.  The concern may take the form of depression, worry, anger, a sense of imposition, fear, foreboding or preoccupation.  Any problem as yet unsettled that tends to recur in your thoughts during the day is a suitable subject.  You will not be able to use very many for any one practice period, because a longer time than usual should be spent with each one.  Today’s idea should be applied as follows:

First, name the situation:

I am concerned about _____________.

Then go over every possible outcome that has occurred to you in that connection and which has caused you concern, referring to each one quite specifically, saying:

I am afraid _____________ will happen.

If you are doing the exercises properly, you should have some five or six distressing possibilities available for each situation you use, and quite possibly more.  It is much more helpful to cover a few situations thoroughly than to touch on a larger number.  As the list of anticipated outcomes for each situation continues, you will probably find some of them, especially those that occur to you toward the end, less acceptable to you.  Try, however, to treat them all alike to whatever extent you can.

After you have named each outcome of which you are afraid, tell yourself:

That thought is an attack upon myself.

Conclude each practice period by repeating today’s idea to yourself once more.

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

 

W-25: I do not know what anything is for.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

hands_making_love_heart_with_shining_lightJesus tells us in Lesson 25, “… the ego is not you.”  This means you are not the ego; you are not your body; you are not your personality; you are not a person.  In Chapter 6, we learn “When God created you He made you part of Him.”

Our goals have been centered around the person and the body, not our Self.  When we begin to experience clicks of recognition that we are not the person, but God’s Child (One Self), we want to withdraw our interest in worldly goals.  At first there is some inner conflict, but then it becomes clear that to Love and Be Loved because we are Love is our sole purpose and meaning.

We understand the purpose of worldly things, like a cell phone is used to make contact with another person.  But that contact is not true Communication.  Communication is what the ego has tried to usurp, and Communication is what the Holy Spirit helps us restore.

Lesson 25 is a step in the direction of being willing to give up the goals we have established for everything.

“You cannot know the conflict until you fully understand the basic fact that the ego cannot know anything.  The Holy Spirit does not speak first, but He always answers.” (T-6.VI.3:1-2)

My practice today goes like this:

“I do not know what that door is for.  I do not know what this cat is for.  … I do not know what that machine-thing is for. … I do not know what that square is … I do not know what anything is for … because I do not know anything.”  There is a bit of irritation in the stomach … and then a long, full exhale of relief.

How relaxing to give up all my goals.  All my goals.   Life is now–not the ego’s version of the present, but the Timeless-Always-Now.  I do not know what anything is for when I’m looking with the ego’s eyes.  But place myself in Spirit’s hands and golden vision filters through the dream while “I” still seem to be a bit groggy.

LESSON 25

I do not know what anything is for.

Purpose is meaning.  Today’s idea explains why nothing you see means anything.  You do not know what it is for.  Therefore, it is meaningless to you.  Everything is for your own best interests.  That is what it is for; that is its purpose; that is what it means.  It is in recognizing this that your goals become unified.  It is in recognizing this that what you see is given meaning.

You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals.  These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you.  This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for.  As a result, you are bound to misuse it.  When you believe this, you will try to withdraw the goals you have assigned to the world, instead of attempting to reinforce them.

Another way of describing the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with “personal” interests.  Since you have no personal interests, your goals are really concerned with nothing.  In cherishing them, therefore, you have no goals at all.  And thus you do not know what anything is for.

Before you  can make sense out of the exercises for today, one more thought is necessary.  At the most superficial levels, you do recognize purpose.  Yet purpose cannot be understood at these levels.  For example, you do understand that a telephone is for the purpose of talking to someone who is not physically in your immediate vicinity.  What you do not understand is what you want to reach him for.  And it is this that makes your contact with him meaningful or not.

It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything.  The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than “good” or “bad,” is the only way to accomplish this.  The idea for today is a step in this direction.

Six practice periods, each of two-minutes duration, are required.   Each practice period should begin with a slow repetition of the idea for today, followed by looking about you and letting your glance rest on whatever happens to catch your eye, near or far, “important” or “unimportant,” “human” or “nonhuman.”  With your eyes resting on each subject you so select, say, for example:

I do not know what this chair is for.
I do not know what this pencil is for.
I do not know what this hand is for.

Say this quite slowly, without shifting your eyes from the subject until you have completed the statement about it.  Then move on to the next subject, and apply today’s idea as before.

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

W-23: I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

This lesson is riveting.  We are given the “only way out of fear that will ever succeed.”  And it cannot fail.  The cause of the world I see is my attack thoughts.  Period.  If I give up my attack thoughts, my perception of the world will change–this is the happy dream which the Course talks about in the Text.

First, we need to identify what has caused the world–choosing the ego thought system.  Second, we need to be willing to let go of our attachment to the ego thought system.  Third, God takes the final step for us and reveals the Light and Love which we already are.

One tricky point is that our thoughts of attacking someone or something else are exactly the same as our thoughts that someone or something (e.g., a tsunami) is attacking us.  We have to get the hang of understanding that an attack thought is an attack thought no matter which direction it is going … it still indicates we have chosen the ego.

And now, here comes one of the many Course definitions of “salvation.”  Salvation is escaping from the cause of the world.  Salvation is that moment of decision when we opt for the Holy Spirit’s Vision rather than ego-seeing, eyesight.  Then loveliness can light all of our images. 

Now get this:  “There is no point in lamenting the world.  There is no point in trying to change the world.  It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. [emphasis mine]”   What a huge relief.  I no longer have to lament the world.  I do not have to worry about Mother Nature and the countless ways we defile Her.  I do not have to hate myself for not being an organ donor, for not adopting every orphan child and animal out there, for not always recycling!

What’s more, I need to grasp that the world is an effect of my choice to think through the ego mind.  It is a narrow mind, filled with guilt and fear, and it believes it has separated from God. That’s what’s happening.  That is the cause of me picturing a world.  I am outpicturing, projecting an image outwards … an image of attack, hatred, fear, retribution, vengeance.  And the world I see is the effect of my thoughts.

So Jesus says if I change my thoughts I will change my mind.  I will literally switch over from the limited edition ego mind 🙂 to the Full Edition.  We see a world but we don’t see ourselves as the image maker of the world.  We call that arrogance, to claim we could make a world–isn’t that a brilliant way of avoiding the Truth?

This led to a discussion between me and Scott about the law of attraction.  Scott said that he read a book on the subject a while back and found that “there was no traction in the law of attraction” for him.  He didn’t feel drawn to the teachings–he had an innate sense of this lesson: I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts, which originated during his 12-year-old lacrosse experience (see blogpost “W-21: I am determined to see things differently” posted on Jan 21, 2015).

There’s been some public concern about the law of attraction being used for greedy manifestation without spirituality.  True law of attraction taps into a higher vibration that guarantees the highest good of all.

My sense of the law of attraction is that the undoing process can bring us to the point when a piece of God’s mind said, “Let’s try being separate from God.  Let’s try duality.  Let’s try felt experience and gross form” and that this pure moment was free of fear, attack, hatred, guilt, death, etc.  This was still within eternity and could be achieved playfully in endless ways … this is my sense of what the law of attraction provides: a way to write our dream script in all variety of gorgeous, abundant, brilliant, peaceful, harmonious ways, just for the fun of it.

Playing at God’s feet, so to speak, and awakening refreshed when we feel like it.  Some of us want to pause here and have some fun in the world.  Some of us are ready to go Home.  What’s interesting to me is that Helen wasn’t thinking about the law of attraction when she scribed the Course–Jesus didn’t offer her an alternative to living in the world for manifestation purposes.  He offered her an alternative thought system–a doorway Home because that must be what she asked for whether she always knew it consciously or not.

LESSON 23

I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.

The idea for today contains the only way out of fear that will ever succeed.  Nothing else will work; everything else is meaningless.  But this way cannot fail.  Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see.  It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.

If the cause of the world you see is attack thoughts, you must learn that it is these thoughts which you do  not want.  There is no point in lamenting the world.  There is no point in trying to change the world.  It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect.  But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world.  Here you are changing the cause.  The effect will change automatically.

The world you see is a vengeful world, and everything in it is a symbol of vengeance.  Each of your perceptions of  “external reality” is a pictorial representation of your own attack thoughts.  One can well ask if this can be called seeing.  Is not fantasy a better word for such a process, and hallucination a more appropriate term for the result?

You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image maker.  You cannot be saved from the world, but you can escape from its cause.  This is what salvation means, for where is the world you see when its cause is gone?  Vision already holds a replacement for everything you think you see now.  Loveliness can light your images, and so transform them that you will love them, even though they were made of hate.  For you will not be making them alone.

The idea for today introduces the thought that you are not trapped in the world you see, because its cause can be changed.  This change requires, first, that the cause be identified and then let go, so that it can be replaced.  The first two steps in this process require your cooperation.  The final one does not.  Your images have already been replaced.  By taking the first two steps, you will see that this is so.

Besides using it throughout the day as the need arises, five practice periods are required in applying today’s idea.  As you look about you, repeat the idea slowly to yourself first, and then close your eyes and devote about a minute to searching your mind for as many attack thoughts as occur to you.  As each one crosses your mind say:

I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts about _________.

Hold each attack thought in mind as you say this, and then dismiss that thought and go on to the next.

In the practice periods, be sure to include both your thoughts of attacking and of being attacked.  Their effects are exactly the same because they are exactly the same.  You do not recognize this as yet, and you are asked at this time only to treat them as the same in today’s practice periods.  We are still at the stage of identifying the cause of the world you see.  When you finally learn that thoughts of attack and of being attacked are not different, you will be ready to let the cause go.

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

 

Why Subscribe to Workin’ the Workbook?

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

You can begin at any lesson — start with Lesson 1 or resume where you left off.  The price is $37 a month (just a bit more than a dollar a day) and no one is turned away due to lack of funds (email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com to ask about scholarships).  The classroom is open to you for as long as it takes to finish all 365 lessons.

Most importantly, WtW encourages you to trust your personal experience. Messages and signs that you might overlook will be illuminated as WtW helps you recognize symbols of God’s Love and Light.

As you do the workbook practice, you will find it easier to connect with your Internal Teacher, the Holy Spirit, and recognize His guidance. You will develop more focus, faith and trust as your own experience strengthens the Truth which is already in your mind.  Here are some basic recommendations from the Holy Spirit as given by Jesus in ACIM:

Recommendations from the Holy Spirit

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

★ All the workbook lessons should be done in an unhurried manner. A comfortable sense of leisure is essential.

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

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

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

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

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

For a long time, it seems as if your path is your own–very personal and filled with unique experiences. It is your particular set of experiences, relationships and understandings. This is because first you must become your self, and that readies you to realize your Self.

Imagine you are climbing a ladder to Heaven, rung by rung. Each rung is brightened with more and more light, as you draw nearer and nearer to Heavenly Light. The Holy Spirit is not shining brighter – you are drawing nearer. And when you reach the top you realize there is no individual “you”– there is one unified Us 🙂

WtW Lauren crisp n clear

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

Ask Amy: Insight Into Prayer: ACIM and Ho’oponopono

Guy QuestionQ:  I pray that we would know the Peace of God, but I have mixed feelings … for those I see as suffering in some way, I take responsibility by saying, “I’m sorry; please forgive me; thank you; I love you.”  Can you offer some insight about prayer practice?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  Let’s begin with what A Course in Miracles means by prayer.  In Chapter 3, we’re told, “… the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness …  The prayer for forgiveness is nothing more than a request that you may be able to recognize what you already have.” (T-3.V.6:1-5)  You can apply this to your brothers simply by requesting that they recognize what they already have — which is timeless, formless, unified Love.

In The Song of Prayer, an essential supplement to ACIM, it says, “Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving.  It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness.” (S-I.5:1-2)  Holiness belies suffering.

It may seem harsh or unrealistic to point this out, but suffering is only seen by the ego.  Since ACIM is teaching us to identify the voice of the ego in order to be free of it, it is necessary to clarify your thought process.  You’re not being asked to pretend or lie — if you see human suffering and your heart yearns to help in some way, prayer is a great choice.  However, the way you pray makes all the difference.

Jesus is uncompromising in explaining that seeing suffering is not compassionate, and what we consider worldly problems are not only absurd, but unreal.  Still, we are using the world as a classroom to discover that we are delusional and hallucinating, and prayer uncovers the Answer.

Your mixed feelings indicate you are lacking faith that God can provide the Peace of God.  Your desire to take responsibility is an indication of playing ego god.  As a Course student, look very honestly at your motivation for saying, “I’m sorry; please forgive me; thank you; I love you.” which is the Hawaiian practice of ho’oponopono.

According to www.ancienthuna.com, “Ho’oponopono means to make right.  Essentially, it means to make it right with the ancestors, or to make right with the people with whom you have relationships.  We call this the Hawaiian Code of Forgiveness, and it’s an important thought, because when we forgive others, who are we forgiving?  Ourselves, of course.”  Ho’oponopono is a valid spiritual path.

The Course also teaches that it is only yourself that needs to be forgiven, and that the only  mind that needs healing is your own.  The telltale sign that your choice to use ho’oponopono is ego-driven is that you have mixed feelings.  Inner conflict is always of the ego.

If you were practicing with your Inner Teacher, your prayer would be that everyone recognize what they already have and what they already are.  As a Course student, your prayer method is to step back and let the Holy Spirit lead the way.  Say, “Holy Spirit, help me recognize what I already am, and, in so doing, save the entire world.”

Then you come to realize the world is not real and you have been dreaming!  Prayer is both a process of discovering your true Identity, and a state of Being in which you live as your true Identity.  Forgiveness helps you undo all belief in individuality and discover you are prayer.

Through the prayer process, you come to realize that by imposing a personal sense of responsibility you actually reinforce the very suffering you wish to heal.  Rather, you need do nothing except to allow the Holy Spirit to use you as a conduit for His loving, light-filled miracles.

If you would like to pray together, watch Five Keys to Forgiveness on YouTube.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the Sept-Oct 2014 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

A True Declaration of Independence

fireworks purple goldLet’s transform Independence Day, the July 4th holiday, into a mystical holy day by looking closely at what Jesus calls “independence” in A Course in Miracles.

In Chapter 4 of the Text, he offers us this prayer:

The Kingdom is perfectly united and perfectly protected, and the ego will not prevail against it.  Amen.

He says that it is a declaration of independence, and that we will find it very helpful if we understand it fully.

Here’s my translation for fuller understanding:  The Kingdom is our true Home. At Home we are all joined in one perfect, formless union.  We are perfectly protected at Home because as the Oneness we really are, there is nobody to attack, threaten or endanger anybody else.  The ego cannot defeat God’s Kingdom because the ego is a figment of our imagination, while our Home shines timelessly with absolute loving light.  And so it is!

Jesus also clarifies that the Bible says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” but it should be, “The Kingdom of Heaven is you.”  In Chapter 5, we learn, “God is not in you in a literal sense; you are part of Him.”  Reminding ourselves that we are the Kingdom of Heaven helps us dis-identify as individual people and reconnect with Spirit.  Effortlessly, we rise above the battleground of the world.  Transcending the human identity doesn’t require a fight–just a change of mind.

This change of mind is affirmed in Lesson 31, “I am not the victim of the world I see” which explains that this idea is “the introduction to your declaration of release.”  As you grasp that you are not the victim of the world you see, you “remind yourself that you are making a declaration of independence in the name of your own freedom.  And in your freedom lies the freedom of the world.”  At first, this seems unrealistic, but with practice, miracles shift your perception from person to Presence.

Paradoxically, we come to realize our true independence relies on our complete and utter dependence on God!  Chapter 11 reveals, “Your whole creative function lies in your complete dependence on God, Whose function He shares with you.  By His willingness to share it, He became as dependent on you as you are on Him. … The belief in ego autonomy is costing you the knowledge of your dependence on God, in which your freedom lies.”

Another way of understanding this is that Jesus was able to lead because he was following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  As Lesson 169 puts it, “The Son of God has merely disappeared into his Father, as his Father has in him.  The world has never been at all.  Eternity remains a constant state.”  The ego wants to be a self-governing entity, but the truth is, God “has included you in His Autonomy” and that is true freedom.

Happy Independence Day, Mighty Companions!

You might also enjoy:   How The Homeless Made Me Feel At Home

If you need help practicing the Workbook lessons from A Course in Miracles, sign up for my online class, Workin’ the Workbook.

You Can Learn to Awaken

Did you know that A Course in Miracles is a gentle alarm clock for a part of your mind which has deliberately hypnotized itself into a deep, deep sleep?  This sleeping part of your mind is called the ego.  But you are not the ego.  You are God’s ever-present, never-sleeping Child.

When I began studying A Course in Miracles, I had no idea I was sleeping.  Even though it said over and over that we are dreaming, it took years to filter through my many layers of unconscious denial and blossom into right-minded comprehension.  In the meantime, like most ACIM students, I was approaching the Course as a person, and applying its forgiveness practice to my relationships.

As I willingly chose to give all my relationships and self-concepts to the Holy Spirit, He stripped me down to practically nothing … and I found myself at a crossroads: to continue believing I was a person, or to awaken to the truth that I was not a body, I was free, I was still as God created me.

Ego doubt whispered that this kind of freedom was out of reach, that only saints and avatars  reached Self-realization.  “Sure,” it said, “Dedicated yogis, Indian sadhus and Tibetan monks have a small chance of awakening.  But you?  Ha ha ha ha ha!” Yet Jesus kept explaining that I was already awake, and the only reason I didn’t know this was due to my own active interference with that Knowledge.

The wonderful thing about willingness is that it snowballs into full faith.  The ego could roar menacingly, whisper sweetly, and laugh demonically, but it could no longer convince me that its dream was Reality.  I want you to be this clear and certain, too.

Let’s take a moment together, right now, to absorb this truth.  You are awake.  You are God’s Creation.  You are Beingness Being Itself, right now.  This only seems far-fetched and impossible to “reach” when you actively resist Knowing your True Identity.  Let’s face it.  The real reason we actively resist is not fear.  It is that we want to play God.

There is nothing wrong with this.  But as we all find out sooner or later, playing ego god is a very painful choice. “Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.  Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be another way.  As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point.” (T-2.III.3:5-7)   Hopefully, this essay activates your turning point.

Once you tire of playing God, awakening occurs naturally.  First there is some tossing and turning.  Then a bit of blinking.  There comes a sleepy insistence on “five more minutes.”  And then an Aliveness, an Awareness, and a simple Joy of Being takes over.  What seemed so real fades away in a holy instant.  What is Real prevails.  “Pain is but sleep; joy is awakening.” (W-190)

What a comfort to have Jesus tell us, “You are not yet awake, but you can learn how to awaken.”  And then he holds your hand every step of the way.  Every lesson in the Workbook gives you a daily instruction.  Chapter 30 guides you with Rules for Decision.  The Manual for Teachers devotes section 16 to how you should spend your day.  And all the pages in between are overflowing with the Holy Spirit’s Direction.  Make no mistake.  You can learn through the ACIM unlearning process if you so choose.

“You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake.  There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him, because you will awaken.  Your dreams contain many of the ego’s symbols and they confuse you.  Yet that was only because you were asleep and did not know.  When you wake you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you.  Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you, because they are beautiful and true.” (T-6.IV.6:2-7)

You are beautiful and true,
and this Truth can spontaneously arise in you right now!

If you need help practicing the Workbook lessons from A Course in Miracles, sign up for my online class, Workin’ the Workbook.  My book, Sweet Dreams of Awakening, helps you use your sleeping hours for awakening.

Healing Sexual Abuse through A Course in Miracles

Ken Wapnick has an invaluable question and answer section at www.facimoutreach.org.  Below is his explanation of how to heal sexual abuse through the forgiveness practice offered by A Course in Miracles.

Q:  I am in my first year with A Course in Miracles. I was sexually molested as a child. The severe shame I feel from this has made relationships difficult. With each new failure to keep or maintain a relationship, they seem to become progressively more difficult. I don’t mind being in the constant process of forgiving the perpetrators. But my life struggle seems to be in sustaining forgiveness of myself. Is there any way I can address this specifically in my renewed relationship with God?

IM000631.JPGA: It is your ego that has convinced you that the shame you feel now is the result of those traumatic and shameful abusive experiences of your childhood. That way, the problem remains in the past, never really capable of being undone. But you are not alone in thinking this way. This is the purpose of the world, to keep our focus away from the real problem in the mind, the original and only source of guilt and shame, and on events in our lives that have happened to us and cannot be reversed.

This is not to say that those childhood experiences were not horrific or that you don’t continue to be haunted by thoughts related to those experiences. But what the Course offers you now is another way in the present of looking at all of that so that it need not maintain the grip on your life and your mind that it has up until now.

The guilt buried deep in our mind over the thought that we would want to and could separate ourselves from love is the real source of all of our shame. And it is a shame so severe that we believe that we do not deserve to be loved, that a lifetime beginning with abuse by those who are responsible for us is a fitting punishment for our “crime” of assaulting love. We carry the belief that we are somehow fatally flawed and that is the real cause of our shame.

But we never go back and look at that source of shame in our mind, where with the gentle support of Jesus, God’s symbol of love in our mind, we might begin to question the validity of that original self-accusation. Instead, we shift our focus to the world of bodies and the shame associated with being helpless and abused by others over whom we have no power or control. And then this seems to be the shame that poisons our whole life, and all the relationships we embark upon in search of the love that is missing that we yearn for. But the good news of the Course is that the problem is not where we are seeing it, in the world of bodies, but rather in our minds, where the solution — forgiveness — is as well.

And so this is where your renewed relationship with God and His representative, Jesus, and his Course, offers hope. For as you are willing to uncover the deeper ontological guilt and shame that your lifetime of personal shame is pointing to, looking at it with Jesus’ love beside you, you will gradually allow yourself to recognize that there is nothing to be ashamed of. For with his love there with you, you will begin to recognize that you have not abandoned or betrayed love, and love has not abandoned or betrayed you.

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Thank you, Ken, for the clarity and power of your prolific teachings on A Course in Miracles which have made being a Course student much easier for so many of us.

A Course in Miracles and Yoga

J meditatingA Course in Miracles offers us a highly individualized curriculum where we use the body as a learning device under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Yoga is one of the classrooms the Holy Spirit offers me, to use my body for spiritual purposes. ACIM provides a mind-training; therefore, all of its practices are in thought-form, or ideas. This can be challenging, since the body demands our attention all day long. Yoga offers a body-based sadhana, or spiritual practice, using the body and breath to reconnect with God’s Mind. This way, instead of letting the body run the show, we have concrete techniques so that the body serves the Mind.

“The body, valueless and hardly worth the least defense, need merely be perceived as quite apart from you, and it becomes a healthy, serviceable instrument through which the mind can operate until its usefulness is over.” W-135.

Most of us think of yoga as a physical practice, but the physical movements or asanas, known as hatha yoga, is but one of five yoga systems.  (Hindu philosophy speaks of hatha yoga, raja yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, and karma yoga. Each of these systems can be used autonomously to realize God, or they can be used in combination.)

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means “to yoke” or “join” as in union with our brothers and communion with God.  Swami Satchidananda defines yoga as “the science of mind” and explains that “the mind is a veil woven with thoughts.”  Yoga is a system that helps us harness the mind, because as long as the ego mind gives us the runaround, we’ll remain unaware of the One Mind in which we all truly live.

Hatha Yoga
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAHatha yoga is the physical movement of yoga, the asanas, or postures. The Rishis of five thousand years ago inadvertently “invented” hatha yoga when they surfaced from deep meditation and felt stiff. The stretching they did to limber up was based on what they saw around them in nature: they mimicked animals, mountains, and trees to loosen up and invigorate the body. Nowadays, hatha yoga is used as preparation for meditation. It can also be seen as a moving meditation in itself. When the movements are linked to the breath, and smooth transitions melt one pose into the next, the mind is smoothed also. By relaxing and strengthening the body, we calm the mind and are more able to harness our thoughts and concentrate, which leads to meditation.

ACIM is not strict about a formal ongoing meditation practice. “Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary. All such attempts will ultimately succeed because of their purpose. Yet the means are tedious and very time consuming, for all of them look to the future for release from a state of present unworthiness and inadequacy.” T-18.VII.4:9-11. Yoga is an unhurried, ancient practice based, to some extent, on an accumulation of good karma. It takes time to balance chakras, activate kundalini energy, and transcend the sheaths of the koshas.2 The Course is a refreshing counterbalance to yoga in this way: ACIM promises us over and over again that it will save us time. It provides a structured practice of meditation in the Workbook Lessons, but after that, we are on our own, listening to our Inner Teacher and using the Holy Instant to connect with Universal Mind as often as possible, and in our own way.

Bhakti Yoga
gopis n krishnaBhakti yoga is a path of selfless devotion to God. Krishna’s gopis exemplified bhakti yoga. Gopi mean “cow- herding girl.” The story goes that when Krishna played his flute, gopi women dropped what they were doing, whether it was cooking, tending to the cows, or washing clothes. Everything would be left in the middle and the gopis would abandon their families to dance ecstatically around Krishna as he seduced them with his flute. At night, Krishna would visit every gopi, in a unique form just for her, and make love to her. Bhakti yoga has a quality of unreserved love and passion for God, a full faith that recognizes that God comes first above all others.

Mirabai, the thirteenth century mystic poet, valued her spiritual marriage to Krishna over her family’s arranged marriage for her. She spurned convention, surrendered entirely to her passion for Lord Krishna, and experienced Love alternately through knowing It, and yearning for It.

A Course in Miracles asks us for the same level of devotion. Lesson 157.5, “Into His Presence would I enter now” expresses it this way, “From this day forth, your ministry takes on a genuine devotion, and a glow that travels from your fingertips to those you touch, and blesses those you look upon.”

Jnana Yoga
acim book coverJnana yoga uses the study of scripture as a means to comprehend our true Self. What starts out as an intellectual pursuit deepens into a felt experience. Jnana uses inquiry to uncover meaning beneath meaning beyond meaning until the Self is revealed. The great sage and realized master Ramana Maharshi taught through the question, “Who am I?” This question, aimed at everything, takes us back to the Witness, the Observer, the Decision-Maker (in Ken Wapnick’s parlance). “It undoes the veils that the ego has interposed between its little slice of mind and its Source.

Jnana yoga helps us return to the decision-making part of our mind by stripping away the false self, layer by layer. “This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God.” T-3.II.5:6. Ultimately, the Course tells us to “Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.” W-189; but, until we reach that point, immersing ourselves in scripture can be the royal road Home. Rather than be lost in the ego’s unconscious, we saturate ourselves in the Holy Spirit’s teachings.

Karma Yoga
happy crowdKarma yoga is the yoga of taking action in the world through selfless service. It is a pure practice of brotherhood. It is the natural expression of the miracle, seeing Christ in everyone indiscriminately.  It is the application of the Course concept of “generalization,” which, essentially, recognizes that all actions should be equally loving toward all people, places and things, because we are all the same. “You will recognize that you have learned there is no order of difficulty in miracles when you apply them to all situations. There is no situation to which miracles do not apply, and by applying them to all situations, you will gain the real world.” T-12.VII.1:3-4.  And the way to do this is to see Christ in each other.

Raja Yoga
Patanjali, the sage who compiled the Yoga Sutras, lays out the path of raja yoga. Raja means royal and is considered a complete system. Its goal is to improve our concentration so we can move all our attention toward our Being in order to become that Being. Raja yoga is also called ashtanga yoga because of the eight limbs on which the system rests:

crown_chakra_poster-r31596d0ab74c4af2819dd4bc933ed9ef_w2q_525They are 1) Yamas, outward morality, consisting of non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, self- discipline and non-coveting 2) Niyamas, inner ethics, consisting of cleanliness, contentment, purification of body, mind and nervous system, study of metaphysical principles and self-examination, contemplation of God 3) Postures, or asanas 4) Control of breath and life currents, or pranayama 5) Withdrawal of the senses in order to turn within, or pratyahara 6) Concentration, or dharana 7) Meditation, or dhyana: prolonged periods of concentration which becomes contemplation and 8) Holy Trance, or samadhi, what the Course would call revelation, a direct experience of God.

As the Course says in the Clarification of Terms, “A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary.” ACIM also has a curriculum, and uses a text, workbook, and manual for teachers as its “limbs,” which, when used vigilantly, integrate its teachings and deepen our learning. The ACIM curriculum is not aimed at teaching Love or samadhi because that is beyond what can be taught and is naturally revealed as we remove the blocks to the awareness of Love’s presence.

The Yoga of ACIM
Though I was introduced to yoga first, along the way it became clear to me that ACIM is my path. The lack of ceremony and ritual, the lack of deities and complicated practices, suits me. I have a gypsy nature, which finds the “no baggage” dancing girl via bettina casimir clarkstyle of the Holy Spirit alluring. Still, it comes naturally for me to practice ACIM hatha yoga, where I find my mind often goes pleasantly blank and I spontaneously experience the peace of God. And ACIM bhakti yoga emerged effortlessly too, as it became natural to devote the fruits of my practice to God. ACIM jnana yoga is the pleasure of reading and re-reading the Course, experiencing a deeper and deeper understanding as I do, as well as cultivating the relationship with my guru, my inner teacher, the Holy Spirit. ACIM raja yoga is applying the practices, the Workbook lessons, and allowing the Course to work through me as an integrated whole. ACIM karma yoga is seeing Christ in my brother.

lotus headstandIt’s fun to reverse my upside-down perception simply by doing a headstand, and to evoke the holy instant by chanting “aum.” It’s fun “to let my words be chosen for me by ceasing to decide for myself what I’m going to say” (paraphrased from M-21). Recently, I heard myself giving a guided meditation to my yoga class during savasana inviting them to contact a glowing light within them that is always there, allowing it to permeate their bodies and then extend, radiating Its light through them, so that their very presence was a source of healing to all they came in contact with the rest of the day. “The light is in you,” I said, not realizing it was a line from Chapter 18, channeling straight through me. “You need do nothing except not to interfere,” I continued, transmitting Chapter 16 from the True Empathy section. The Light flowed through me on Its way to them.

In concluding, I say to you, “Namaste. The divine Light in me bows to the divine Light in you” or, in ACIM– speak, “You are one Self with me, united with our Creator in this Self. I honor you because of What I am, and What He is, Who loves us both as One.” Lesson 95.15:3.

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1 These are five well-known yogic systems. Kundalini yoga, tantric yoga, and kriya yoga are also frequently studied and applied, and the list goes on.

2 Yoga is a vast subject and there are countless books and online resources to explore karma, the chakras, kundalini energy and the koshas, as
well as many other esoteric topics, if you are so inclined. David Hoffmeister has an interesting chart in his book, Awakening Through A Course in Miracles, that maps the ego mind and the layers are remarkably similar to the koshas.

 

Copyright 2009 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

On This Clean Slate Let My True Function Be Written for Me

love blackboard

It’s almost January 1st.  Time for a new beginning.

And where better to start than the loving classroom of A Course in Miracles?  To bring in the new year right-mindedly, I’d like to share with you some phrases from the Course that are so simple and beautiful they lift the heart, bring tears to the eyes, and open the doorway to Heaven.

In one of the early lessons, Lesson 12, we’re told, “If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy.”  It goes on to say, ” … you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be.  … Beneath your words is written the Word of God.  The truth upsets you now, but when your words have been erased, you will see His.”

Lesson 65 gives us an exercise to help us discover the function God gave us, “On this clean slate let my true function be written for me.

And Lesson 276, “The Word of God is given me to speak” asks and answers, “What is the Word of God?  My Son is pure and holy as Myself.

The Course explains that the entire ego thought system is based on guilt.  When we allow God’s Word to be written, we discover our Innocence.  This Innocence has nothing to do with naivete, purity or the body.  It is the Innocence of Unity.  What is Unified cannot be guilty of anything for It is Joined in an Absolute Loving State of Mind.  It is a return to Love.

Ask yourself, “What is the Word of God?”  Then answer, “I am pure and holy as God Himself.”  This year, open to receive the Loving Message God has for you.  How powerful and beautiful to be a clean slate …

If you are interested in using the ACIM Workbook practice as a means to awakening, perhaps you’d like to join us in Workin’ the WorkbookClick here to find out more.