Workin’ the Workbook

Lesson 12 – I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

We, humanity, are experiencing a major perceptual distortion.  We have given the world all the attributes it has for us, whereas the world is actually completely meaningless.  The exercises are specifically instructing us to use our eyes to look around … and, occasionally, to close our eyes to better become aware of our thoughts.  Eyesight is not Vision.  But eyes, the windows to the soul, can be used for Vision’s Message to be communicated through us.

We are instructed to  find a measured rhythm as we look around in this lesson … again, as in Lesson 11, this reminds me of the Sufi turn, the spiritual practice of Rumi and, after him, the whirling dervishes.

Being in a rhythm quiets thinking.   Even a frenetic rock’n’roll drummer has a quiet mind as his body clicks into a groove of rhythm from his head through his heart, ears, arms, hands, legs, feet.

Internally his visceral organs must become, what is called in heart rhythm meditation, “coherent” or, in layman’s language, harmonized.  Good percussionists are unhurried, deep in their felt sense of the beat, be it fast or slow.

Then Lesson 12 goes on to say, a bad world, a good world, it’s all the same.  We may not understand how a good world experience could be the same as a bad one, but at least we can comprehend that “bad” suggests “good,” in another words, a dualistic experience.  God is beyond dual and non-dual … He simply Is.

And then, Lesson 12 says, “What is meaningless is neither good nor bad.  Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you?  If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be.  It is this you see in it.  It is this that is meaningless in truth.

Beneath your words is written the Word of God. The truth upsets you now, but when the words have been erased, you will see His.  That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.” [bold mine]  How comforting!  A click of recognition is felt within — Truth has true authority and feels liberating, not oppressive.  Beneath the meaning I have given the world is Real Meaning Itself.  As the Workbook works its undoing within us, God’s Message becomes clear.  Amen.

It occurs to me that in that tiny, mad moment when we thought we could separate from God’s mind, we made a blank canvas for ourselves.  A previous lesson has said our mind is actually blank.  Then we paint “meaning” onto this blank canvas “mind”  …  The blank canvas “mind” isn’t real – it’s just an idea.  The meaning we paint onto the blank canvas is not truly meaningful, it’s just a bunch of imaginary ideas aka fantasies sprouting forth from  the first tiny, mad idea that we could separate and be an autonomous god-self, encased in individual bodies …


I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

The importance of this idea lies in the fact that it contains a correction for a major perceptual distortion.  You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world.  All these attributes are given it by you.  The world is meaningless in itself.

These exercises are done with eyes open.  Look around you, this time quite slowly.  Try to pace yourself so that the slow shifting of your glance from one thing to another involves a fairly constant time interval.  Do not allow the time of the shift to become markedly longer or shorter, but try, instead, to keep a measure, even tempo throughout.  What you see does not matter.  You teach yourself this as you give whatever your glance rests on equal attention and equal time.  This is a beginning step in learning to give them all equal value.

As you look about you, say to yourself:

I think I see a fearful world, a dangerous world, a hostile world, a sad world, a wicked world, a crazy world,

and so on, using whatever descriptive terms happen to occur to you.  If terms which seem positive rather than negative occur to you, include them.  For example, you might think of “a good world,” or “a satisfying world.”  If such terms occur to you, use them along with the rest.  You may not yet understand why these “nice” adjectives belong in these exercises but remember that a “good world” implies a “bad” one, and “a satisfying world” implies an “unsatisfying” one.  All terms which cross your mind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises.  Their seeming quality does not matter.

Be sure that you do not alter the time intervals between applying today’s idea to what you think is pleasant and what you think is unpleasant.  For the purposes of these exercises, there is no difference between them.  At the end of the practice period, add:

But I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

What is meaningless is neither good nor bad.  Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you?  If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy.  But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be.  It is this you see in it.  It is this that is meaningless in truth.  Beneath your words is written the Word of God.  The truth upsets you now, but when the words have been erased, you will see His.  That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.

Three or four times is enough for practicing the idea for today.  Nor should the practice periods exceed a minute.  You may find even this is too long.  Terminate the exercises whenever you experience a sense of strain.

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.


Lesson 11 – My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

My personal thoughts are meaningless.  The previous lessons have systematically been showing me that.  My meaningless thoughts would, therefore, have to produce a meaningless outcome: world, people, beliefs.  A world without meaning could seem very scary when we’re still interested in actualizing our personal potential, when we’re still raising children … these are periods of life when the world is obviously meaningful to us.

We might experience this lesson with feelings of despair, disorientation, anxiety.  We might believe we’re being told to abandon our lives, though we are not.   Keep reading, I like to say.  There is more to be revealed and it is all filled with Love.

Then there comes a time when we’re satisfied enough with our accomplishments and have fulfilled our responsibilities that we’re ready to move into spiritual vision.  OR, we’re desperate enough, lonely enough, defeated enough that we’re willing to see another way.  Still, we may fight.  How can my thoughts determine the world I see?  I’m not that powerful.  And I don’t want that much responsibility.  Even so, we are invited to do the exercises if we feel Called by Spirit, despite resistance, disbelief, lack of comprehension, etc.

For maximum benefit, we are told, the eyes should move from one thing to another fairly rapidly, not lingering on anything and the words should be unhurried, even leisurely.  This reminds me of the Sufi turn.  The turn of Rumi and the whirling dervishes.  Leaving the eyes softly open and gazing outward at eye level, the feet do not move until God gently pushes us, as children on a swing.

And when we do start to turn, the eyes report a rapidity of motion, a pleasant vaguely stripe-y blur  that appears much faster than the pace of the body and feet.  The effort trains us to coordinate our thinking process with our eyesight process which leads us to true perception under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit.

Oh, how liberating to realize that my thoughts are meaningless but I am Guided and no longer have to think!

It would be best to be open to the One Wordless God-Thought pouring through me at all times.  Contrary to how that seems to the ego – that I am just a puppet, a slave to the Master’s Mind, it turns out that I’ve plugged into my Original Source and have restored power to my seemingly human system.  This does override the ego, but that turns out to be of no concern.

I feel more alive, at peace, happier, unafraid, and relaxed than ever before.


My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.

This is the first idea we have had that is related to a major phase of the correction process; the reversal of the thinking of the world.  It seems as if the world determines what you perceive.  Today’s idea introduces the concept that your thoughts determine the world you see.  Be glad indeed to practice the idea in its initial form, for in this idea is your release made sure.  The key to forgiveness lies in it.

The practice periods for today’s idea are to be undertaken somewhat differently from the previous ones.  Begin with your eyes closed, and repeat the idea slowly to yourself.  Then open your eyes, and look about, near and far, up and down,–anywhere.  During the minute or so to be spent in using the idea merely repeat it to yourself, being sure to do so without haste, and with no sense of urgency or effort.

To do these exercises for maximum benefit, the eyes should move from one thing to another fairly rapidly, since they should not linger on anything in particular.  The words, however, should be used in an unhurried, even leisurely fashion.  The introduction to this idea, in particular, should be practiced as casually as possible.  It contains the foundation for the peace, relaxation and freedom from worry that we are trying to achieve.  On concluding the exercises, close your eyes and repeat the idea once more slowly to yourself.

Three practice periods today will be sufficient.  However, if there is little or no uneasiness and an inclination to do more, as many as five may be undertaken.  More than this is not recommended.

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.


Lesson 10 – My thoughts do not mean anything.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Some of the intriguing sentences in this lesson are, “The emphasis is now on the lack of reality of what you think you think.” and

“To recognize this [that your mind is a blank] is to recognize nothingness when you think you see it.”

New students to the Course may find this scary and disorienting — trust that this is a good kind of scary and disorientation.

Let’s practice together.  Here goes:

My thought about not being a good Course student does not mean anything (ha ha). This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

My thought about pest control poisoning my front lawn, not to mention the entire planet, does not mean anything.  This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

My thought about … practicing this exercise is very relaxing … I’m having trouble stringing words together … again “little me” asks: Is this the return to a wonderfully un-thought-filled state?  Or is the ego lulling me to sleep?

My thought about the ego lulling me to sleep does not mean anything, tee hee.  This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

My thought about how mischievously adorable the cats are does not mean anything.  This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

This lesson helps me to recognize that what I call thinking is really not-thinking.  It is increasing understanding that each of “my thoughts” is just another brick in the ego wall which keeps me Mindless.

In this world of opposites, thinking is not-thinking and thoughts are blockages to language-free real Thought (which is Unified Love).  My thoughts are an “oddly assorted procession” which seem to have great personal meaning to “me” but who am I really?  Lol.  Five practice periods, one minute each.

There is a powerful shift stirring in the mind.  I love how I don’t need to try to understand it.  And even if I think I understand it, that doesn’t matter.  All that matters is practicing.


My thoughts do not mean anything.

This idea applies to all the thoughts of which you are aware, or become aware in the practice periods.  The reason the idea is applicable to all of them is that they are not your real thoughts.  We have made this distinction before, and will do so again.  You have no basis for comparison as yet.  When you do, you will have no doubt that what you once believed were your thoughts did not mean anything.

This is the second time we have used this kind of idea.  The form is only slightly different.  This time the idea is introduced with “My thoughts” instead of  “These thoughts,” and no link is made overtly with the things around you.  The emphasis is now on the lack of reality of what you think you think.

This aspect of the correction process began with the idea that the thoughts of which you are aware are meaningless, outside rather than within; and then stressed their past rather than their present status.  Now we are emphasizing that the presence of these “thoughts” means that you are not thinking.  This is merely another way of repeating our earlier statement that your mind is really a blank.  To recognize this is to recognize nothingness when you think you see it.  As such, it is the prerequisite for vision.

Close your eyes for these exercises, and introduce them by repeating the idea for today quite slowly to yourself.  Then add:

This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

The exercises consist, as before, in searching your mind for all the thoughts that are available to you, without selection or judgment.  Try to avoid classification of any kind.  In fact, if you find it helpful to do so, you might imagine that you are watching an oddly assorted procession going by, which as little if any personal meaning to you.  As each one crosses your mind, say:

My thought about _______________ does not mean anything.
My thought about _______________ does not mean anything.

Today’s thought can obviously serve for any thought that distresses you at any time.  In addition, five practice periods are recommended, each involving no more than a minute or so of mind searching.  It is not recommended that this time period be extended, and it should be reduced to half a minute or less if you experience discomfort.  Remember, however, to repeat the idea slowly before applying it specifically, and also to add:

This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.

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.


Ask Amy: The Lessons Are Your Lifeline

Q: I really want to stick with my ACIM workbook lessons, but somehow I get interrupted, don’t follow through, and eventually just quit. This is the third time I made a commitment to do the workbook, and yet again I’m so disappointed in myself for giving up. Any ideas?

A: First of all, you’re not alone, many people fall off the wagon (giving in to ego resistance).

Rumi says, “Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving, it doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times. Come, come again, come.” Isn’t that reassuring?

For all you ACIM students who struggle with practicing the workbook lessons (you know who you are) here’s a shift in perception that may help. Rather than thinking of the lesson as something you should do, have to do, want to do but find yourself resisting, etc, throw yourself at the lesson as if you are drowning and the lesson is your lifeline!

Because, honestly, it is. Nothing is more important for your sanity than reaching for the Hand of God.

A sense of urgency will propel you towards your lesson. 

Throw your whole body into the lesson. How? Start by reaching for the book — not the lesson.  Have you ever noticed that the book, A Course in Miracles, has a comforting heft to it?  Yes, it has a weighty groundedness … paradoxical for a writing that will lift you right out of your life.

This great tome can by your physical savior as well as your spiritual savior.  So go ahead and place the book on your lap. Let it anchor you.  Feel how comforting this is.  Notice how, paradoxically, providing a physical anchor can help your mind spontaneously go quiet. Your body may disappear completely for the span of a meditative practice session.

And that will increase your natural inclination to practice, practice, practice … rather than trying to force yourself into it.

So, I strongly recommend that if you’re reading the Course from an app on your phone, laptop or computer that you switch to the BOOK.  Why?

A Course in Miracles is an object being used by Spirit to focus you on the Objectless. Take advantage of that.

Enjoy the smell of your book, the texture of the pages.  Personalize your book — give yourself permission to write and draw in it. Really make it yours. Use it, as a workbook should be used — to work and practice.

Lug it around with you. Before electronic devices, Course students carried the book around with them. Sure, some of us xerox-ed pages, or copied them into notebooks. It was revolutionary when those mini-lesson cards came out and many a back pocket crushed the day’s lesson into oblivion — mine were well worn, for sure.

But even though carrying the Course around piecemeal was more convenient, I found hugging the book to my chest while riding the subway was a perfect reminder that I was safe, and I was here to Love and Be Loved.

It’s worth repeating: the ACIM book has a heft and a weight to it that will calm and comfort you, as it lifts you up.

Bond with your book!  Make your ACIM book your shamanic touchstone.  When you don’t need it anymore, it will drop away effortlessly.  In the meantime, as long you still have emotional attachments, make the Course one of them in an overt, physical way. It’s a whole lot easier to remember to do your lesson when you love your book — and it’s staring you in the face 🙂

P.S. You can check out my ecourse, Workin’ the Workbook – it was developed to help students deepen their workbook practice and follow through!

Do you do your lesson in bed? Part 2: Evenings

A few weeks ago, you may have read my blogpost about doing your Course in Miracles workbook lesson in bed first thing in the morning.  If you missed it, click here.

I promised I would follow up with the evening method for practicing your lesson.  Here it is, simple and sweet:

If you’re beat at the end of the day, laying down in bed to do your lesson is not advised.  You know the minute your head hits the pillow, you’ll be out like a light.

Practice the lesson sitting in a chair, or cross-legged on your yoga mat — whatever position suits you best.  Then slip immediately into bed and drift into sleep with the lesson permeating your mind.

For those of you who feel anxious or fidgety when you get into bed, and have trouble falling asleep, your ACIM lesson can soothe you.  Keep your book on your nightstand for convenience.

I prefer holding the actual book my hands, rather than reading from my tablet or phone. A Course in Miracles is a weighty book, literally!  Holding it in your hands is grounding (which relieves anxiety and agitation) and comforting (stills obsessive thinking).

Plus, studies have shown that the light shining from an electronic device sends a signal to your brain that it’s daytime, which interferes with your “time to get sleepy” hormones.

Read the lesson, practice the exercise, allow a sense of well being to spread through you, and call it a day.  If you’d like some icing on top, read the blessing distilled from the lesson in Sweet Dreams of Awakening.  It’s like having the blankets tucked under your chin, and then being kissed on the forehead by God.

Do you do your lesson in bed? Part 1: Mornings

If not, you should.  Keep A Course in Miracles on your nightstand.

First thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth, as you emerge from sleep, even with your eyes still closed, feel around for the book.

Make sure to bookmark your lesson the day before, so you can go straight to it.

Flip open to the page, and while you’re still groggy, read and effortlessly absorb the mystical wisdom that Jesus is offering you.  Your mental defenses are low while you’re groggy, easily allowing Grace to flow through while you’re still in your pjs 🙂

Because you’re sleepy-relaxed, it’s much easier for you to be a Truth-sponge without ego-interference. This is the proper use of your body — to be a well-attuned communication device. Then you are a clear channel for the Holy Spirit to transmit Love, Peace and Joy through.

Now you’ve started your day out right!

Jesus tells us, “Morning and evening we will practice thus.” (W-92)  He says, “For morning and evening review.” (W-111-120)  He promises, “Morning and evening do we gladly give a quarter of an hour to the search in which the end of hell is guaranteed.” (W-122)

Next time, we can talk about doing your lesson in bed just before you fall asleep … the risk being that you might fall asleep before you complete the lesson 🙂

If you could use a helping hand with sustaining your ACIM Workbook practice, please check out my e-course, Workin’ the Workbook.

For two more weeks, you get one month free.  Sign up now to make sure you get the discount, and begin 2017 with Lesson 1.

Let Workin’ the Workbook help you stick with all 365 lessons — which will be the best New Year’s Resolution you ever make.  Usually, the program costs $37 a month on an ongoing basis, and you can take it for as long as you like.  That’s just about a dollar a day.  Some people have taken three years to move through the lessons at their own pace.  Others do a lesson a day for 365 days.  Most people fall somewhere in between.

There is no other ACIM Workbook course out there that is a VIDEO e-course and is as comprehensive as this one — including an entire Bonus Room full of spiritual goodies.

For the holiday season — up until midnight Pacific time on Dec 31st, make the best decision of your life: receive the e-course with all its bonuses for only 11 payments, and have access to Workin’ the Workbook for as long as it takes you to complete the ACIM Workbook. And if you find it’s not for you, you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Let me tuck you in …

“And let me sleep sure of my safety, certain of Your care, and happily aware I am Your Son. As evening comes, let all my thoughts be still of You and of Your Love.” (W-232: Be in my mind, my Father, through the day.)

Jesus pulls no punches — in ACIM he tells us to connect with God just before falling asleep and immediately on awakening as a regular practice.

When we do, sure enough, we notice that God is in our mind through the day. My book, Sweet Dreams of Awakening: 365 Good Night Blessings, is designed to support your practice by:

  • Making it easy to join with God just before falling asleep
  • Using your sleep for spiritual awakening, which increases your ability to practice each day
  • Soothing your nervous system and strengthening your spiritual antenna
  • Reinforcing your daily workbook lesson
  • Last but not least, tenderly tucking you in each night

Jon Mundy says of the blessings, “They are like tiny mystery schools, unlocking spiritual wisdom and inviting the mind to be receptive to enlightenment.”

What more precious gift could you give this holiday season?  Just click here to give this beautiful book as a gift to someone you love (including yourself).



So easy to overlook the obvious, isn’t it?


Have you invited the Holy Spirit to join you this holiday season?
Consciously ask Him to be your Guest, and you will find, “I need do nothing, except not to interfere.” That’s a pretty famous phrase from the Course — it’s in Chapter 16, section I, which also talks about true empathy.
Doing nothing means you “let the Holy Spirit relate through you” — luminously glowing as “you” with relatives, friends, and people you are stuck with on long lines :). Even if they are griping, you can quietly shine (as long as you don’t interfere with your Inner Guide).
It’s easier not to interfere when you place your mind in the Holy Spirit’s Hands. One way is to let your eyes softly slide back towards your brain and brain-in-hs-handsmelt sideways to your ears — sigh with relief as you feel your entire frontal lobe and skull relax … and … thoughts evaporate!  Now it’s impossible to judge the usual suspects who get on your nerves 🙂
“To empathize does not mean to join in suffering, for that is what you must refuse to understand.” True empathy gives you the strength to offer sympathy, if appropriate, while refusing to tune into the ego thought system.
True empathy is a cure for codependency and narcissism. True empathy is the power of Love flowing through you … IF you invite the Holy Spirit to use your personality and body as a conduit for Love.
Science has something new to say about empathy, which could help you commit to your spiritual practice. If you’re interested, read Self-Control Is Just Empathy with Your Future Self.  And, of course, my online class, Workin’ the Workbook, is custom-tailored to help you stick with and get the most out of your ACIM Workbook practice. If you haven’t already signed up, just click here for details and to register. ONLY through Dec 2016, the price is super-discounted.
Front cover left back cover rightAnd if you need a gift idea, I’m so thankful that people say my book, Sweet Dreams ​​​​​​​of Awakening: 365 Good Night Blessings is a beautiful gift — click here to see for yourself. One lovely woman told me she reads it aloud to her granddaughter every evening before she falls asleep.
As always, feel free to email me questions, comments, miracles. My heart sings when we connect: miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

A Clean Slate 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now 2016 is truly a clean slate!

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

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

Happy Clean Slate!

Review I: Introduction

This is the first review in the A Course in Miracles Workbook.  It covers the first 50 lessons in sets of five.  Jesus tells us this is designed to emphasize the relationships among the first 50 ideas in the lessons in order to appreciate the cohesiveness of the God’s thought system which is where they are leading us.

If any of the five ideas in any given review lesson appeal more than the others, make that the focus of your day.

“The purpose of your learning is to enable you to bring the quiet with you, and to heal distress and turmoil.”  At first, we learn in solitude, but the purpose of this practice is to build up an ability to stay with Peace no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.  As we dis-identify as a person-body, this becomes easier and easier because we are discovering we are Peace.

Jesus puts it this way, “You will yet learn that peace is part of you, and requires only that you be there to embrace any situation in which you are.  And finally you will learn that there is no limit to where you are, so that your peace is everywhere, as you are.”

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