08 Jan 2016 Comments Off on Coming Apart at the “Seems”
A Course in Miracles tells us that everything we think we see is an illusion. It says there is no world, there are no bodies, and life as we know it is merely a dream. Grasping this intellectually is the first gulp. After we swallow, we still need to digest this sublime wisdom.
One simple and effective way of digesting this is what I call coming apart at the “seems,” a play on “coming apart at the seams.” It’s a spiritual way of falling apart which, paradoxically, reveals that you actually have it Together.
Let’s look at several instances of “seems” from the Course:
In Lesson 6: I am upset because I see something that is not there, we are told, “Today’s idea is useful for application to anything that seems* to upset you, and can profitably be used throughout the day for that purpose.”
Lesson 8 gives us a practice, “I seem to be thinking about [name of a person], about [name of an object], about [name of an emotion]. But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.” Lesson 9 calmly points out, “It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems* to picture is not there.”
In Chapter 31 we read, “Whatever form temptation seems* to take, it always but reflects a wish to be a self that you are not.”
Lesson 68: Love holds no grievances, begins with this: “You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems* to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him.”
After practicing Course principles for some time, my language changed to include the word “seems” on a regular basis. It was the outcome of mind training. For example, I would tell myself,
“I seem to be upset that my phone bill is outrageously high!”
“I seem to be angry that my yoga practice seems to keep throwing my back out.”
“The hurricane warnings seem to be scaring me because I still haven’t gotten flood insurance.”
“I seem to be a person and my body seems to have a stomach ache.”
“The world seems very real and the atrocities occurring in it seem highly disturbing.”
This one word “seems” had a potent ability to tune me in to my Inner Teacher. “Seems” changed everything. “Seems” slowed my thought process down and provided holy instants of illumination. Light streamed through the reasons I thought I was upset and unveiled that I’m never upset for the reason I think (see Lesson 5). “Seems” allowed me to see that I was defaulting to the ego as my teacher. Then it became easy to choose again–choose the memory of God within me (the Holy Spirit) as my Guide.
In Chapter 5, Jesus tells us, “The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.” You and I do not have to undo anything. We can leave undoing to the Holy Spirit. But we do have to choose to follow His Guidance.
“Undoing” means uprooting the ego thought system. This naturally leads to seeing through ego illusions to the Truth. The ego thought system thrives on holding grievances. We do not have to try not to hold grievances. We simply need to become aware that we have chosen a “grievance” state of mind. Once we realize that we are the dreamer of the ego dream of separation, and that grievances, guilt, fear, and punishment perpetuate the dream, then we can choose another teacher, the Holy Spirit, to undo our attachment to grievances.
Coming apart at the “seems,” for me, is the Holy Spirit’s undoing of “Amy.” Several years ago it came to me that I was thinning away, like the heel of a threadbare sock. The Course puts it this way:
“By focusing on the good in him, 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)
This is one of the happy outcomes of coming apart at the seams. As Shawn Colvin sings in her song, Round of Blues, “it’s a new breakthrough, it’s an old breakdown.” If you’re sick and tired of your old breakdown, let’s have a new breakthrough together by coming apart at the “seems” 🙂 To the ego this is terrifying, but when you allow yourself to move your attention from the ego to the Holy Spirit, you find merciful detachment from this convincing, but false, terror. Freedom awaits.
A Course in Miracles gives us concrete tools to apply to this seemingly material world while we believe we’re in it. If you’re ready to join me in coming apart at the “seems,” please feel free to insert “seems” into every situation and emotion in your life that seems to be upsetting you. And let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you.