Spiritual Psychotherapy

ACIM w Amy, Comments on Lesson 9

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ACIM w Amy, Comments on Lesson 8

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ACIM w Amy, Comments on Lesson 7

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ACIM w Amy, Comments on Lesson 6

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ACIM w Amy, Comments on Lesson 5

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Naked Honesty 2

ACIM w Amy, Comments on Lesson 4

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Naked Honesty is Required

Shekinah, Divine Feminine & the Holy Spirit

Last night we had a guest from Israel in our Course in Miracles class.  About an hour into class, I referred to the Holy Spirit as “He” and she bolted upright with surprise!

“He?” she said, making sure she heard me right.

“Yes,” I answered, “The Course is written with Christian terminology.  It’s a genderless ‘He’ but the masculine is used.”

“Not in the Hebrew edition,” she said.

“What does the Hebrew edition say?” we asked.

“She,” was the answer.  And then a lightbulb went off in my mind: Shekinah–the Divine Feminine!

I suddenly remembered my interfaith seminary education where the concept of “Shekinah” was introduced to me by an African-American classmate (ironic since I was raised in a Jewish family but up until then knew nothing of Shekinah). 

So, I am no scholar when it comes to Shekinah, but this is what I’ve gathered from a bit of research:

Shekinah is the spark of the Divine within us, what A Course in Miracles calls the memory of God within us, aka, the Holy Spirit.

Shekinah and the Holy Spirit each seem to be a bridge to help us find Home–both are often presented visually with the symbol of a dove. Shakti is also an aspect of Divine Feminine, found in Hinduism, but it is more concrete as an activating force within the world of form.

Shakti is the life force within humans, animals, minerals, etc.  I’m sure the Divine Feminine goes by many other names offered by countless cultures (Kwan Yin, Yemaya, Green Tara, on and on).

The point is, as the Course teaches me, I don’t know anything.  But I can use everything I think I know in service of God’s Will with the Holy Spirit/Shekinah as my Guide.  I have ascribed meaning and interpretation to everything in the world, because I am the dreamer of the world.

When I allow my source of knowing to be from Beyond this world then Love becomes the only pronoun. 

Women, and sometimes men, often ask for inclusion of the feminine in A Course in Miracles language.  It is interesting to find out that “She” is used in the Hebrew translation of the Course to represent the Holy Spirit.  Remember, what is most important is that both “He” and “She” in A Course in Miracles are all-inclusive, therefore genderless.  A pronoun is necessary to communicate with us, but whether it is male or female is ultimately unimportant.  A Course in Miracles is not political–it is spiritual.

Spirituality, by definition, must be both female and male because the truth is we all are One.   Spirit is the ultimate equalizer.  Spirit is what truly empowers us.  Miracle principle #1: There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not “harder” or “bigger” than another.  They are all the same.  All expressions of love are maximal.  Because Love is maximal.  No matter what the representation of Love–Jesus, Mary, Holy Spirit, Shekinah–Love is maximal.  Love is the content which is constant, eternal.  Everything else is symbolized in form, which is ephemeral, ever-changing.

My background is in psychology, not the Bible nor the Torah.  And my resonance with A Course in Miracles has a lot to do with my desire to understand human nature non-judgmentally, with an open heart and an open mind.  The Course tells us that anything that upsets us is of our own making–we have chosen pain and victimhood.  So when women (or men) feel left out or devalued by the omission of the female pronoun in A Course in Miracles, it is an opportunity to examine how we are separating and devaluing ourselves.  Eleanor Roosevelt told us, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

The scribe of A Course in Miracles was Helen Schucman, a very accomplished professional woman.  Her partner, without whom she could not have fulfilled her task, was a man, Bill Thetford (who happened to be gay).  Ken Wapnick was instrumental in helping to organize the raw ACIM material, but Judy Skutch was the one who got it published.

Ken started the first ACIM teaching institute, with his wife, Gloria Wapnick.  And Marianne Williamson is the one who really popularized the  Course–on The Oprah Winfrey Show.  Everyone is included in God’s plan.  If we are excluding ourselves, and we are true Course students, it is incumbent upon us to take responsibility for self-exclusion and give that fear-based belief to our Higher Self: Shekinah/Holy Spirit.

Guan Yin by B Moussart

Sometimes students ask me, “Where is Mary in A Course in Miracles?”  I don’t know.  I don’t see Mother Mary or Mary Magdalene in
A Course in Miracles, but it doesn’t matter to me.  Because I know that if I want to commune with Mary or Mary, or Kwan Yin for that matter (the Buddhist Madonna, or Mother of All Buddhas) They are Right Here, Right Now.  All I have to do is tune in to Her and ask for Her Grace, Her Compassion, and Her Guidance.  Any spiritual teacher you desire is available to you–take the time to pray and meditate and you will find that out for yourself.

Each time A Course in Miracles is translated into other languages, it is translated back into English again before being published, to make sure the Course teaching is accurately retained.  Isn’t it beautiful and true that whether we say “She” or “He” the Holy Spirit remains the same Loving Memory of God in our mind?  We can count on the constancy of Love Itself.  There are no semantics, there is no discrimination within God’s Mind. God is empowering, God is empowerment. God is Love Power.  Know God and you will know Thyself, masculine, feminine and everything in-between.

Copyright © 2011 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

I Know You Really Love Me

For most of my life, I assumed there was something deep, dark and shameful about myself that would make people recoil in horror from me, if they really got to know me. This belief was unconscious, and it actually took a lot of work for me to admit this to myself. It was necessary, because I kept getting involved with people who didn’t value me. This included boyfriends, bosses, friends, family, casual acquaintances, and strangers. Even if they did value me, I was unable to accept their positive regard because secretly I believed I had some disgusting, unforgivable qualities which deserved repulsion.

These are strong words, I know. Disgusting, repulsion. And where do feelings like this come from? On a spiritual level, we all feel this way until we recognize what we already are — that is how the ego works.  Lesson 93 from A Course in Miracles is called “Light and joy and peace abide in me” and yet it begins, “You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin.  You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be repelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake.”  Under the dark cornerstone of the ego thought system shines the light and joy and peace you truly are.  But in order to reach this inner light, you must be honest with yourself first.

On a human level, there are all sorts of reasons to explain feelings of shame. For example, if our parents found changing our baby diapers disgusting, we could absorb deep feelings of shame and disgustingness. This happens automatically, at a pre-verbal stage of development, and we live with the deep, buried feeling that we are disgusting, dirty, smelly, etc. Obviously, there are many more emotional dynamics at play within families than just poopy diapers.

About 15 years ago, I had a revelation. I was in group therapy, feeling like a misfit, as did most people in the group (it makes me laugh now, but the majority of humans feel deeply misunderstood and alone). Someone had not shown up for group, and that person’s presence was still felt, even though he was not there. It occurred to me that even a person’s absence is presence … they are still part of the group even when not physically there. This got me thinking about a small dance performance I had done not long before. I was horribly nervous before going on, and a fellow dancer told me I must be imagining the audience was against me, but she wanted me to know that the audience was friendly and supportive–they were actually on my side and rooting for me.

These two ideas were spell-binding. I had never thought any of this through–and I had never danced publicly before–so the thought that the audience could be friendly was so reassuring and embracing that it did make sense if I let go of my own chronic self-criticism. I linked the idea that the audience was friendly with the idea that my presence is felt even in my absence and presto! transformation! My life changed forever.

I received the miracle A Course in Miracles teaches – a true shift in perception. Now I understood that whenever anyone behaved in a hostile or superior manner that underneath they really loved me – they were just projecting their own poor opinion of themselves and others, but that had nothing to do with my own lovableness. My mind opened and suddenly I saw myself and them through God’s eyes – I was lovable and they were lovable and that could never change.*

A Course in Miracles teaches “ideas leave not their source.” I had been living from the idea that I was a separate person in competition with others for love–the source of that idea is the ego. The miracle reconnected me with God as my Source and His Idea that we are Love. The only reason people ever think poorly of themselves or another is because they are afraid. The Course teaches there are only two states of mind: fear or Love. All fear is a call for Love. The Answer is always Love. As one of my favorite songs, Nature Boy, says, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”  And the Course agrees, “A miracle is a universal blessing from God through me to all my brothers.” (Miracle Principle #27)

Lessons 196 and 197 in A Course in Miracles are companion lessons. Lesson 196 teaches us that “It can be but myself I crucify” and Lesson 197 follows up with, “It can be but my gratitude I earn.” Lesson 197 assures us, “It does not matter if another thinks your gifts unworthy. In his mind there is a part that joins with yours in thanking you. It does not matter if your gifts seem lost and ineffectual. They are received where they are given.”

This simple message gives my life full purpose. I now know that I am generous, kind and loving — I feel the Truth of that. And because I place myself in God’s Hands and live in service of His Will – I am His channel – I can rest assured that all is in right order even if the person across from me doesn’t think so. The only mind that needs to change is my own.

Now I know that you really love me, because I love me, and we are the same One.  A Course in Miracles assures us, “A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware.” (Miracle Principle #45) and “Miracles are expressions of love, but they may not always have observable effects.” (Miracle Principle #35)

I offer you this practice: when you think that someone doesn’t like you, is out to get you, wants to win at your expense, is taking advantage, feels indifferently toward you, is outright rejecting you, or any variation of the above, send them the thought, “Deep down, in your heart of Hearts, I know you really love me!” Wait and see, something will change for the better. Let me know how it goes.

* “You are the work of God, and His work is wholly lovable and wholly loving. This is how a man must think of himself in his heart, because this is what he is.” ~ACIM, T-1.III.2:3-4

Read Five Steps to Cultivating Your Relationship with the Holy Spirit to feel truly loved by God :)

Copyright © 2011 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.