The Path of No Path by Peter Russell

Spiritual teachers with non-dual leanings often say that there is no path to enlightenment. There is nowhere to get to; you are already enlightened, you just do not know it. There is no need for a technique or practice; they will only keep your mind trapped in the illusion of relative phenomena. Do not meditate; do nothing.

There certainly is a profound truth embedded in such statements. When awakening occurs, there is the realization that there really was nowhere else to get to, no higher state of consciousness to achieve. The world remains as it is, and your experience remains as it is. What shifts is your relationship to experience, or rather your non-relationship to it. The identification with a constructed sense of self is no longer there. “You” are not thinking, seeing, breathing; thinking, seeing, and breathing are just occurring. It is obvious that it always was this way; but all our wanting, striving, clinging, avoiding, and self-identification obscured this simple fact.

In this sense there is nothing to do. The very opposite: it is our doing that is the problem. When we let go of all attachments as to how things should or could be, we wake up to the truth of what is. Even the word enlightenment is misleading; it implies some other, “higher”, state of consciousness. This is what makes the statement “you are already enlightened” so confusing. But to say you are already awake, but not awake to your own wakefullness, or you are already aware, but not fully aware of awareness, makes more sense.

From the awakened perspective, it is true that there is nowhere to get to. This is why many teachers say: Do nothing. Stop. Don’t meditate. Don’t try and get somewhere other than where you already are. There is nowhere to go. Nothing to do. There is no path.

And yet… Many of these teachers did tread a path. Some spent years investigating the true nature of our apparent “I-ness”. Others followed a path of total surrender, or a deep deconstruction of experience. My own glimpses of the truth have come in periods of deep meditation, when the mind is totally relaxed and still. Then I see so clearly that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. And yet, if had not followed a path that allowed me to drop into a deep stillness and let go of my habitual mode of experience, I would not have fully appreciated this truth.

So from the unawake perspective—which is where I am most the time, and probably most of you are most the time—there are paths to follow. And, until such time as they are no longer needed, the paths that help the most are those that develop the skill of letting go, allowing the mind to relax, releasing all effort, all trying to get somewhere. So, do not meditate with an intent to reach some enlightened state of being. But do take time to let the “doing mind” die away, to sink into your own being. Take time to learn to do nothing.

I recently took Peter Russell’s online meditation class and highly recommend it.  Click here to explore Peter Russell’s teachings.

Ask Amy: Is ACIM Against Meditation?

Guy QuestionQ:  I’ve heard that the Course is against meditation.  Is that true?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  The Course is not against meditation.  Sometimes people misunderstand the passage where Jesus says, “Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary.” Taken out of context, that sentence might seem to be against meditation.

But in context, Jesus is telling us that fighting sin and temptation are actually ways of staying engaged with the ego. He explains that ritualistic meditation is counterproductive: “Routines as such are dangerous, because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up.” (M-16)  In other words, the ego is only too happy to cleverly take over meditation for its own goal of “doing” rather than surrendering to the much happier realization that “I need do nothing” but allow the Holy Spirit to completely take over.*

Throughout the entire Course, Jesus advises that we develop a taste for spending quiet time with God. There are many meditations throughout the 365 lessons in the workbook, but usually they are called exercises or practice periods (see www.facebook.com/acimeditations). The Workbook starts off with meditations that are just a minute or two and builds to a point where we are told that we will eagerly await being able to devote time solely to God. The Text and Manual for Teachers also have meditations, and they are called holy instants, recommendations to be still and listen, wait in silence, spend a quiet moment opening to His Correction and His Love, among other phrases.

Interestingly, forgiveness, the cornerstone of the Holy Spirit’s practice, can be considered an “outward” meditation. ACIM teacher Don Giacobbe, in his book, Christian Meditation Inspired by Yoga and A Course in Miracles, proposes, “Forgiveness is meditation applied outwardly toward others. … Forgiveness and meditation have a reciprocal relationship. Since forgiveness is meditation applied outwardly, the inverse is equally true: Meditation is forgiveness applied inwardly toward yourself.” How beautiful and profound to discover that the Course offers us both internal and external meditations to access direct experience of our Innocence which is our true nature. “For now we seek direct experience of truth alone.” (W-Pt.II.Intro)

It could be said that prayer and meditation are the same thing. Both require a willingness to release belief in the body and personal identity. If we can do this for just one moment, time collapses and “the memory of God shimmers across the wide horizons of our minds.”

The ego would have us form a special relationship with meditation so that the ego can feel expert and masterful. Jesus and the Holy Spirit would have us relinquish all control and discover that meditation is the doorway into our natural Self. When we do this, day and night becomes an ongoing mindful meditation as we find, “How quiet is the time you give to spend time with Him, beyond the world.” (W-164)

* Mooji’s video, “Is It Important to Devote Time to Meditation?” may help you understand.

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

Healing the T(error)ist Within

Jon Mundy kindly invited me to be his guest lecturer at his ongoing monthly class, Miracles in Manhattan, on the anniversary of 9/11.

Most of you know that I’m a New Yorker, born and bred. I was in the city at the time of the bombings and ACIM provided the Presence of Mind that saw me through.
In this class, we heal the past by using the lens of Peace to see through the original error that produces the terrorist within.

 

A Great Blessing – Saturday, Sept 10th

I’m so happy to be visiting New York City in September!  What a pleasure to be invited by Yasuko Kasaki, founder of CRS, to join her for a screening of an inspirational documentary called A Great Blessing.  Let’s view this astonishing film together, and afterwards let’s discuss the miracle potential of every situation.  What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?  2 – 5 pm with yummy sushi and snacks served after the movie.  Only $25 if you reserve in advance — call CRS at 212-677-8621 to register.  Seating is limited.   A Great Blessing

A Great Yogini

This is a mesmerizing story that Mooji tells and which you, too, may love and use well.

Yogini

The Yogini painted by Mooji

A great Yogini was deep in meditation.  Suddenly, beautiful and melodious sounds could be heard, appearing as if from nowhere and everywhere simultaneously.  It was like nothing she has ever heard.  She felt: this music is truly wonderful but it cannot be what I am, for I am here to hear it.  The music faded away.

Next appeared the most exquisite colors, like no painter could paint; nor could any flower display it for it was not of this earthly realm.  She thought, “This is, indeed, astonishingly beautiful.  However, it cannot be who I am nor can it be real for it cannot appear if I were not here to perceive it.”  This phenomenon, too, she ignored.  Shortly afterwards, it also vanished in the presence of her deep and unmoving silence.

Shortly after this, there appeared several beings shaped as if from pure light, floating through space and smiling lovingly at her in a welcoming manner.  She felt profoundly touched and filled with loving emotions but inwardly, she somehow kept her composure.  “How profound,” she felt, “but this also cannot be what Is the unchanging reality, for, were I not here, who would see them?”  As soon as this insight occurred, the figures vanished.

Her mind entered her heart and could no more produce any effects.

A deep silence prevailed as her mind merged inside her indivisible, unconquerable and essential being — a state know to the Yogis as Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

If you are ready, the tale of the Yogini can help you resist temptation when the ego uses spiritual experiences to try and maintain its hypnosis over your Mind.

 

Ask Amy: The Meaning of Emptiness

Guy QuestionQ:  What is the spiritual meaning of “emptiness” and how do I achieve it?

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  Emptiness, in a spiritual sense, means identity-less freedom. The ego tells us that to be identity-less is to not exist, and that emptiness is to have nothing, physically and emotionally. Actually, Emptiness is the ultimate discovery that you are not the body. A Course in Miracles tells us over and over again, “you are not a body, you are free, for you are still as God created you.”

Emptiness is an Advaita Vedanta/non-duality term. ACIM does not speak of God-Mind as Empty. But this is just a matter of semantics. The Course uses words like God, Mind, Christ, Self, Love, Timelessness, and many more, which point to the same Emptiness. Also, Jesus refers to holy instants and the Atonement.

He explains that holy instants help us step outside of time and glimpse Timelessness (Emptiness), because a glimpse is all we can handle, at first. The Atonement, which is the denial of all that is not Emptiness, undoes us completely so that we rest in God (Emptiness), our natural state. “In timelessness you rest, while time goes by without its touch upon you, for your rest can never change in any way at all.” (W-109)

As far as “achieving” Emptiness, that is unnecessary. Each of us is willfully unaware of ever-present Emptiness until grace or prayer begins the awakening process. Your question indicates the waking process has begun in you. The ego will try to “achieve” Emptiness, but this is just a ruse to maintain control. Emptiness does not need to be achieved, for It is what you already are.

That being said, some ways to discover Emptiness, are:

* Practice the ACIM workbook;

* Pray, in this way: “Help me recognize what I already am,” “Rid me of ego and replace me with You,” etc.;

* Read self-inquiry books, including Who Am I? by Ramana Maharshi, I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj and Wake Up and Roar by Papaji;

* Attend satsang. These days attending satsang is as easy as watching YouTubes of Mooji, Eckhart Tolle, Gangaji and many others. If you are willing to travel, you can experience the energy field of satsang in person.

“The way to correct distortions is to withdraw your faith in them and invest it only in what is true.” (T-3.II.6:1) This undoing process inevitably purges the ego, and all that remains is the real you–Emptiness.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the May-June 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

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life that you could save.

* * *

This poem by Mary Oliver helped save my life many years ago.  It can do the same for you, if you let it.  Thank you, Mary.

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

This poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer helped me be true to myself many years ago.  It can do the same for you, if you let it.  Thank you, Oriah.

The Spark Is Still As Pure As the Great Light

Hey Sparky!

It’s been a while since I wrote, and you’ve been on my mind the whole time. I’ve been immersed in the Thought that each and every one of us has the spark of God within us, and share this so you can feel the Light within yourself:

The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal. In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured. Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten. If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the rays are there unseen. Perceiving the spark will heal, but knowing the light will create. Yet in the returning the little light must be acknowledged first, for the separation was a descent from magnitude to littleness. But the spark is still as pure as the Great Light, because it is the remaining call of creation. Put all your faith in it, and God Himself will answer you. (T-10.IV.7&8)

Please re-read the quote slowly and thoroughly. Read it out loud. Tell yourself, “I am a lamp of God. I am the spark within a Great Ray which streams from the Great Light. I am willing to put all my faith into the spark that I may hear God Himself answer me.”

The spark is the umbilical cord back to God. The Great Ray is the bridge you cross to your Source, the Great Light. The lamp is your body when you give it to God to use for His Purpose. The ego uses the body for fear, anxiety, tension, and death. If you would like some practical mysticism for undoing the ego’s darkness and discovering your spark, join “Undoing Anxiety,” a free MiracleShare Academy webinar series. Just click the pic below.

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Glowingly, Amy

God Is In Your Smile

“Find where your smile originates and you will find your Source.”  Holy Spirit beamed this thought into my open mind and Amy crosslegged whiteinstantly I became aware that a smile is not your lips, your tongue, your mouth, your teeth, your jaw.  A smile starts deeper than that and spreads beyond the face entirely.

In fact, during my advertising career years, when I was lucky enough to work with voiceover artists and celebrities in recording studios, I learned that you can hear a smile.  If the person reading the script is faking their smile, a smile is not communicated!

(FILES): This February 24, 2008 file phoTo digress a moment, Wesley Snipes once read some copy of mine before he was famous.  And it was an honor to write for Ossie Davis, whose voice raised thrills as he warmed up by practicing some of my lines aloud.  Both of them had beautiful smiles, by the way. Ossie Davis smile

As I was saying, a smile spreads beyond your face because a smile is actually your Inner Light.  Your smile is one of those obvious, but often overlooked, clues that God is in you since your smile isn’t mechanical, therefore it must be inspired!  I remember telling my psychotherapist at a very low point in my life when I felt that I couldn’t overcome the anxiety and depression that was paralyzing me at that time, “The worst part is that deep inside I know I’m naturally cheerful — it’s in my smile!

Early in the Course, Jesus says something very interesting, “You do not know your joy because you do not know your own Self-fullness. … The full appreciation of the mind’s Self-fullness makes selfishness impossible and extension inevitable.” (T-7.IX.4:2 & 6)  Smiling is a direct route to knowing your Self-fullness and feeling the full appreciation of your True Nature which arises instantly when you do so.

Have you ever noticed that smiles are contagious?  When someone smiles at you, or you at someone, usually both end up smiling.  This is because, “The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark.  It is everywhere and it is eternal.  In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured.  Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten.  If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the Rays are there unseen.”  (T-10.IV.7:5-6; 8:1-3)  Your smile can help you learn of the greater light if you follow it to the Light from which it originates.

I once knew someone who had Bell’s Palsy* which is a condition that affects the nerves in the face.  He was self-conscious John Sudworth bells palsy smilethat his smile became crooked and spent the rest of his life trying not to smile.  How sadly backwards.  It took an effort to stop smiling — and if, instead, he had smiled, he may very well have healed and reactivated the nerves and muscles of his face.  But even if he didn’t, his smile would have communicated Love which overrides any deformity.

Your smile is not your lips, your tongue, your mouth, your teeth, your jaw!

Your smile is an ordinary miracle, capable of reminding you every day that God is within you and without you.  Your smile is the Light within you. When you smile, you radiate well-being and joy.  In other words, you are a conduit for healing miracles.  And when you become conscious that you have volunteered your body to fulfill the Holy Spirit’s loving purpose, your smile is reflected back to you a thousand times more than you smiled it!

A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as being spontaneous, natural, involuntary and it collapses time.  It defines a holy instant as a miniature of Heavewink with star in eyen — providing us with an experience of Timelessness.  String together enough miracles and holy instants and — poof! — you discover your Inner Light.  Why wait?

Let’s find where your smile originates right now and you will encounter your Self.  Take a moment and follow the trail of  your smile.  Does it actually start in your mouth?  Is it in your heart?  Your eyes?  Is it moving through you and emanating from you?  Right about now you could feel a shift in perception and realize that your smile is not only within you, but you are within God’s Smile!  The real you is a Smile without a face.

Abide in your smile“Father, Your Son is holy.  I am he on whom You smile in love and tenderness so dear and deep and still the universe smiles back on You, and shares Your Holiness.  How pure, how safe, how holy, then, are we, abiding in Your Smile, with all Your Love bestowed upon us, living one with You, in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete; in sinlessness so perfect that the Lord of Sinlessness conceives us as His Son, a universe of Thought completing Him.” (W-341)

Abiding in your own smile naturally leads to the discovery that you truly abide within Your Father’s Smile.  How many times does Jesus tell us in the Course that you are not the body, you are free, for you are still as God created you?  Well, it’s true!

While you identify as human, place yourself in the Holy Spirit’s Hands for guidance.  You will find yourself smiling more and more!  As you smile, you will realize that you are not human — you are Being.  And Being is Unaffected by what is not real.

As the Introduction to ACIM states: Nothing real can be threatened.  Nothing unreal exists.  Herein lies the peace of God.

* * * * *

You may also enjoy watching Service with a Smile! and reading Remember to Laugh, Happiness Is Your True Nature and This Is the Best Moment of Your Life.

* Click here to read about John Sudworth’s attitude towards Bell’s Palsy.

God Is In Your Smile was originally published April 26, 2015 and this is the newly revised and updated version.

To hear Amy speak about A Course in Miracles, watch her YouTube videosIf you’d like to ask Amy a question for her popular Ask Amy column in Miracles magazine, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com …  To receive blessings from Amy, read Sweet Dreams of Awakening.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.