Admitting I Felt Ungrateful Released Me

no-gratitudeFor many years, when the Course spoke of gratitude, something in me objected, because I felt that Jesus was accusing me of being ungrateful. Even though I knew better, there was still a deep feeling of uneasiness and resentment that I had done something wrong, I should be grateful that I was not being punished, and the payback was that I had to feel indebted.

Ego interpreted gratitude as being forced to say “thank you” when I did not want to; as being obligated to feel happy when I did not. Of course, I felt guilty that I was having this negative reaction to gratitude. How unspiritual could I get?

My guilt was compounded as many people in my life expressed heartfelt gratitude about God’s Love, their eyes filled with sincere tears, and I grew angrier and more ashamed of my ungrateful attitude. I did not want to feel ungrateful. But I had to admit that I did.

Still, I was a dedicated Course student and determined to apply its practices. Jesus tells us to be honest, to trust him, and to practice forgiveness, not just towards others, but also towards ourselves. I knew the Holy Spirit undoes everything the ego made IF I chose to give Him my beliefs. So I prayed.

I approach prayer conversationally, so I told Jesus, “I’m willing to give you my resistance to gratitude BUT FIRST…” and went into all the nasty details of my objections (there was some shouting and swearing involved). And what do you know? In return, He thanked me!

unconditional-loveIt was supremely healing to encounter this divine reversal: I gave Spirit all my ingratitude and received Gratitude in return. Emptied of all my grievances, all that was left was Unconditional Love.

Holy Spirit clarified that I was not ungrateful, just triggered by my interpretation of gratitude. He guided me to Lesson 14, “The idea for today is another step in learning to let go the thoughts you have written on the world, and see the Word of God in their place.” And He kindly suggested that I substitute the word “appreciation” for “gratitude” until the issue was entirely purified and the words didn’t matter anymore. Doing this helped me realize how very appreciative I am.

He also led me to Lesson 197, “It can be but my gratitude I earn,” which illuminates the spiritual law that giving is receiving. In other words, when I’m willing to live from the Light which I am, grateful-heart
my appreciation for others is based on the inner light we share, no matter what their opinions or behavior. “The world must thank you when you offer it release from your illusions. Yet your thanks belong to you as well, for its release can only mirror yours.”

Right about this time, someone told me the word “grateful” means “greatful” as in: we are full of Greatness. As I tried on this new definition for size, there was a holy instant of release in which Greatness extended Itself naturally, producing a profound relaxation which stilled my thoughts and spread through my muscles and limbs. As Lesson 155 promises, my forehead was serene; my eyes were quiet.

These days, I gratefully find myself here: “Today let us be thankful. We have come to gentler pathways and to smoother roads. There is no thought of turning back, and no implacable resistance to the truth. A bit of wavering remains, some small objections, and a little hesitance, but you can well be grateful for your gains, which are far greater than you realize.” (W-123: I thank my Father for His gifts to me.)

Let us appreciate these gains together. If you’re having trouble, remember, the quickest route to gratitude is admitting your ingratitude to the Holy Spirit and accepting His merciful release.

* * * * *

This article first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2016 issue of MiracleWorker UK magazine.  

Related essays: Is Thanksgiving Necessary?, Giving Thanks to You, Giving Thanks and Receiving Is Giving

Ask Amy: Oneness in Anxiety

Guy QuestionQ:  My mom and I were “one in anxiety” during my childhood. Even though I am now 63 years old, I notice that there is a hidden benefit in anxiety because it protects my loved ones.  Ego says that if I stop feeling anxious, I will abandon my family. I am really afraid of what I might do if I feel better. Can you help me see this differently?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  Your question addresses a deep, underlying deception that the ego plays on all of us, one way or another. Your phrase “one in anxiety” is very insightful because the ego mimics and distorts basic truths, like Oneness, to use for its own fearful purpose of usurping God’s Love.

Now that you have uncovered this core belief, you have also exposed the ego’s strategy to use anxiety as a “protective” bond between you and family members. Perhaps your family members are chronic worriers, ruminating, complaining and commiserating about worldly dangers. Ego tells you that if you disrupt this foundation of family “security,” you may just abandon them entirely! What might you do if you abandon anxiety instead?

“If you want peace, you must abandon the teacher of attack. The Teacher of peace will never abandon you.” (T-14.XI.14:1-2)

The truth is that as you abandon the ego, your Inner Teacher illuminates your life. As you permit the Holy Spirit to enlighten you, trust and faith increases. You discover you cannot NOT love your family. You may limit your conversations or visits with them, your behavior may change, but the natural Love which is your essence (and theirs too, even if they don’t know it) must imbue all your relationships because Love is all-encompassing.

“The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.” (T-Intro)

Share your fear and guilty feelings with the Holy Spirit. Hold nothing back. Explain you are afraid you will abandon your family entirely as you join with Him. Lean on Him; He is your Comforter and your Guide. As you trust your Inner Teacher, you will find you naturally follow Him. Following Spirit leads to miracles of release from the imprisoning thoughts which now bind you. Your family may remain exactly the same, but the shift in your perception will reveal we are all United, and that you can never abandon or harm another when your Source is One Love.

“The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have.” (T-14.VII.7:7)

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the Sept-Oct 2016 issue of Miracles magazine. Miracles is a well-loved staple in the ACIM community. For a subscription, email Jon@miraclesmagazine.org or call 845-496-9089.  Click here to purchase digital copies.  To ask Amy a question, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

Today’s Miracle: Bill Free and I got to interview Rupert Spira yesterday!

Watch for yourself, and let me know if you experience new clarity around Course ideas. I’m still on retreat and need to hustle to breakfast before the morning meditation, but would love to hear from you. Email me: miracles@amytorresacim.com

Today’s Miracle: Keep that smile on your face!

True Story: I just called T-Mobile to check out why I was going to be charged for using the MiracleShare Q&A phone line. My customer service person, Wendy, explained very well. As we said goodbye, she said, “Keep that smile on your face, Amy!”

I know from my advertising days that a smile can be seen over the radio, but still, it was pretty incredible! I said, “You keep smiling too, Wendy!” and she replied, “From the moment you said hello, I could just tell that you are a happy person and it put a smile on my face, so I wanted to tell you to keep on smiling.”

Wow! Ordinary miracles rippling through the phone lines 🙂

“You made my day, Wendy!” I said (and that’s huge because each presenter on MiracleShare today has been making my day). Wendy replied, “You made my day, too!”  I guess that holy relationship stuff really works.

You’re smiling right now, aren’t you?

Today’s Miracle: I love your hair!

It’s my birthday and I’m entering Stater’s, my local supermarket, pushing my shopping cart and feelin’ good. As I step into the store, a beautiful very pregnant woman dressed all in white, with two angelic small children at her side, beams at me and says with true delight, “I love your hair!”

“Thank you!” I say, open to fully receiving her love and my whole body does a little happy dance as I spin off down Aisle 5 for some toilet paper.  As I look at the delectable array of tempting brands Quilted Northern, Charmin, Scott, and feel so grateful to live in a place with plumbing and great water pressure (I never take this for granted), a very handsome young man comes up to me and says, “I like your look! Your gray and white pants go so well with your hair! You look sharp.”

My Lord, it’s a very shiny bright happy birthday indeed.  Or, as I like to think of it, Unborn Day 🙂

You know, a person easily could have dismissed those comments, or misinterpreted them, or even been offended — if the ego was in charge. But see how wonderful it is to be 62 years of age with silvery white hair when, as A Course in Miracles puts it, “Around you angels hover lovingly” and “What was a place of death has become a living temple in a world of light.” (T-26)

Thank you, everyOne, for your beautiful birthday wishes. May you become aware of miracles rippling through your everyday life, starting right now!

Today’s Miracle: Do We Choose Our Thoughts?

This 16 minute video from Rupert Spira helps to clarify how ego thought functions and what Freedom really is.

Today’s Miracle: Hummingbird & Bird of Paradise

bird-of-paradiseWorking from home suits me perfectly, as does spontaneity. This morning, more than one student reached out to me, asking if I was available for a session. Yes, my calendar shows there is time in the day 🙂 So out I go, cell phone in hand, to my backyard.

To call it a backyard actually does it a disservice, as it is more of a Zen sanctuary, with a swimming pool that looks like a curvaceous pond, and a small forest of trees on a hill which cloisters the garden, giving it privacy.

I climb into a zero-gravity lounge chair and commune with God, opening as a clear conduit to do my job as a miracle worker (in its formal capacity — being a miracle worker or the recipient of miracles, when needed, is a full time endeavor).

A hummingbird buzzes through the air, the blue sky surrounding it crackles with vitality. As I turn my head to follow the hummingbird’s flight, a huge bird of paradise blossom fills my view. The California sun glitters brightly as my phone rings, and the work of recognizing our True Nature continues with the beautiful soul on the other end.

Today’s Miracle: The Body of Presence

What a joy to discover Ellen Emmet’s work, dissolving the identification with the body.

Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.

How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You

How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You was originally a workshop which I gave at  the “Who Are You Really?” Course in Miracles conference in Cleveland, Ohio in 2012. Little by little, it has grown into a library of articles, essays, video, a Facebook page and other stuff (as it keeps growing).

The topics (see list below) include how to use the body to practice forgiveness, facing fears about death, not having to have perfect body health to spiritually awaken, how falling apart can be the best thing you can do, and more.

Here are some tantalizing quotes about the body from A Course in Miracles:

“And you have done a stranger thing than you yet realize.  You have displaced your guilt to your body from your mind.”  ~T-18.VI.2:5-6

But luckily, ” … the body is a learning device for the mind.”  ~T-2.IV.3:1

So, “The body is beautiful or ugly, peaceful or savage, helpful or harmful, according to the use to which it is put.”  ~T-8.VII.4:3

Reassuringly, “Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly.”  ~T-8.VIII.9:8

Last but not least, “The body is the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity.”  ~W-5. What Is the Body?

Topic List:

Are You Sponge-able?

Take Yourself Less Personally

The Purpose of the Body (essay) and The Purpose of the Body (video)

Death Is Just A Belief (essay) and A Happy Conversation About Death – Interview with Jon Mundy (video)

Coming Apart at the “Seems”

Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Unfolding

The Spark Is Still As Pure As the Great Light

Flossing and Feldenkrais

A Course in Miracles and Body Image (Facebook page)

God Is In Your Smile

A Better Way to Say, “I Miss You”

This Is the Best Moment Of Your Life

Ask Amy: Forgiveness – Am I Doing It Right?

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ACIMBodyImage/

Living the Language of Love, Harmony & Beauty (work-in-progress)

ACIM teaches us that the Holy Spirit’s purpose for the body is to use it as a vehicle for learning, as a communication device.  After many years of working with the Course, the body feels less like “me” and more like a beloved car–a great vehicle in which to get around; a “thing” that I do my best to treat well and maintenance regularly.

In my personal curriculum, yoga has been one way the Holy Spirit has reached my mind through the classroom of my body.  Through my personal trials and tribulations with the body, I have tried all kinds of alternative healing.

On the physical side, there’s been cranio-sacral therapy, myofascial release, visceral manipulation, Feldenkrais, every kind of massage you can name (yes, I’m a massage junkie).  Body-oriented psychotherapy has included what I call expressive-release work (see bioenergetics based on Wilhelm Reich’s work, emotional somatic healing, and EMDR (uses eye movement).

Spiritually there’s been qi gong, tai chi, Afro-Cuban motion, belly dance, Indonesian latihan, EFT and much more.

How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You is a fascinating subject, especially since the Course tells us the body isn’t even real.  But while we identify with the body, happily there is a way to use it for true healing, miracles, and the Holy Spirit’s pure loving purpose. I call this practical mysticism and embodied spirituality.

 

Today’s Miracle: Warm Kitties

blissful-brothersWaking up as the sun rose, two warm kitties dozing on my bed, I watched the sky gently fill with morning pink suffused with gold.

Birds chattered from time to time, and when they did, my cats switched from sleepy to alert in an instant.

Smudges, the orange creamsicle, came and purred in my lap for 20 minutes or so.  Then he moved and Awesy, the oreo cookie, took his place but positioned himself a bit higher, on my chest, and gazed into my eyes.

So blessed, so loved, so timelessly present.