Hi, Rhonda, Thanks for contacting me. Right now the primary curriculums available in schools are related to psychotherapy, so if you're looking for a degree other than a chaplain or ministerial degree, some type of psychology would be what you'd want.
As you ask guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will be directed to the best path for you. What I meant when I said psychotherapy didn't help as much was not that it didn't help at all. It actually helps quite a bit. However, there comes a point where psychotherapy can actually reinforce the negative ego, if we don't go beyond the ego to the higher Self.
In relationships, psychotherapy often relies on "healthy communication." But frequently the two people are not on the same page. One wants to talk things out, the other doesn't. This is also where forgiveness helped me more. Instead of getting what I wanted, I learned to forgive.
There is a movement in psychotherapy now toward mindfulness-based treatment. This is using the meditative practices of Buddhism. ACIM is a lot like Buddhism in that it has us observe the ego thoughts and feelings from a place of non-judgment. There is a group on Linked In that discusses this. This type of therapy is extremely helpful, as it goes beyond the small self to the higher Self.
You can study psychotherapy and ACIM at the same time, and ACIM will help avoid the traps of any world-based method, including psychotherapy.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to write again. I'm sure you'll find the path that's right for you.
Hi, Diane, I think you already love the illusion when you deny that anything but God/Love is real and has any power to affect you. If you think you're Diane, you're in denial of your True Self. If you dislike or hate Diane's personality traits, you're making Diane real, therefore you're making an illusion real. I find that when I see my own body/personality as an illusion, I then see every body as unreal. Then I don't judge and I feel connected to others in oneness.
I can see all form as one illusion, the one ego mind. No need to compare one illusion with another, as they're all the same. Also, there's no need to strive to replace one illusion with another. Take your house, for ex. As you align with love the perfect house will show up for you. Only the ego struggles against what it doesn't like and thinks it has to work to get a substitute. Likewise, only ego Diane struggles against depression. Your true Self knows depression is not real. It simply observes and forgives and then love is revealed.
Does this clarify it? If not, ask another question. Thanks, Lorri
Hi, Liz, Re: questions about the dream:
I hear what you're saying. Every student of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) says "what's the point?" when he finds out it's a dream, then goes through a period of not having motivation to take action in the world. It is a conundrum.
The Course is about asking the Holy Spirit for guidance. It's not about ceasing activity in the world, but being aware that it's a projection and being detached from the outcome. Even when we're having a good dream, it eventually goes bad. People die, get sick, attack each other, etc. When we are the observer/dreamer and know that only love is real, we take right-minded action. We extend love rather than project guilt. When the dream sours, we handle it so much better than when we try to fix the world out there. Perfection lies in forgiveness of our illusions. Once you forgive, you end up loving the things you previously hated, because love is all you can do.
The dream concept is a hall of mirrors, as you say. It's like the movie Inception, which portrays a dream within a dream within a dream. It's multiple parallel realities in play all at once.
For me, I am actually able to love my partner Rod more than I did before. I used to be extremely afraid of him dying. Knowing that he is a projection of my mind, just as the body called Lorri is a projection of my mind, helps me know I can never lose him. I love everyone more than before, and love the world/society more too. I still take action on lots of social justice issues. My mailbox is so crowded with them and that's the main reason I lost your email!
You seem grounded in your path of service, while still searching for the intellectual threads connecting all paths. The dream concept is jnana yoga, the path of the mind. Service, I believe, is karma yoga. We all need a bit of each path, but will resonate most with one of them. Any path that gets us to oneness and love is the right one for us. I needed the concept of the dream because the suffering of this world pulled me under. I couldn't handle it and couldn't love a God who would make such a world. I hated God. I wanted so much to do the devotional path of bhakti yoga, but didn't trust God. The intellectual understanding of the dream freed my heart to love again. I couldn't get there through service work or worshipping God.
Many people don't need the dream concept. All beliefs here are just concepts because truth is without concepts. God is/Love is, and nothing else exists. Duality arises in the physical world because to experience things in a body we need a subject and an object. The dream concept brings me to the idea that nothing but love exists, therefore there is nothing to fear.
15. Money Worries
Hello Lorri, I’m under tremendous financial stress and financial pressures because I lost my business and I’m going deeper and deeper in credit card debt. The good news is I have a sought-after product in my field but I have fell into a depression and have a lot of fear and have a hard time getting going again and getting things done. I know the course doesn’t cover credit card debt or losing a business but is there anyway to apply the course to these “real life” issues or to the “dream” I have found myself in? Thanks, Joe.
Dear Joe, Thanks for writing. Money problems can be really scary, yet, as you know, they are just one more form of fear that the ego uses to distract us from our only purpose: forgiveness and awakening to our true Self as the holy Son of God. You are on the right track when you recognize that you’ve made up the dream that you appear to be in. You aptly put the term “real life” issues in quotes, because they are not real. They are the belief in scarcity, in separation from Source. Money becomes our source, our special substitute for the love of God, because we think money is what brings us things we seem to need in the world. Actively forgiving our beliefs in lack, money, needs, and the world allow our right mind to take over. Then miracles happen and our seeming needs are automatically met. I like to simply say, “I forgive my belief in money. I forgive my belief in lack, etc.”
A practical affirmation for awakening from the dream might be:
“I forgive myself for making up a dream in which I am a victim. I am not the victim of the world I see, because I have invented the world I see. (Lessons 31 & 32). Holy Spirit, use this dream I have made for Your purpose. Help me to see this differently. Please inspire me to right thinking and right action. Thank you that my only function is to forgive the dream I made. I choose to remember my true Identity as the holy Son of God. Thank you that when I choose with You, Holy Spirit, all decisions are as right and easy as breathing. (T-14.IV.6) Thank you, also, that as I accept my one function of forgiveness, that there is nothing You will not arrange for me without my effort. (T-20.IV.8:4)”
You don’t have to use these exact words—use the words that resonate with you. The main thing is to keep turning our false perceptions over to the Holy Spirit to be corrected. He will do the rest.
Best of luck to you, Joe. Please feel free to write again if you need more clarification.
16. How Could a Loving God Allow Suffering? Why aren't Prayers Answered?
Thank you so much for your reply it is very helpful.
I do have another question about the Course. Does the Course explain why people don't get the needed things that they need and pray for like medical help? Why would a loving God allow the suffering?
I've studied the course in the past and I will most likely be somewhat familiar with your answer but the question that begs an answer is why bother to pray at all for anything? Thanks, Joe
Ch. 9, Sec II is called "The Answer to Prayer." It talks about how all prayer is answered, but when it seems not to be answered, it's because the person is not ready for true healing. If they got healed the threat to their ego identity would be worse than their illness. It seems strange, but we actually prefer our separate identities to merging into abstract oneness with God.
This section acknowledges your point, that many people continue to suffer and it seems like God is not answering them. God never allows us to suffer. We made up the world of suffering and the Holy Spirit is always trying to alleviate our suffering. The Holy Spirit aims at awakening us to our true nature as the Son of God. In this awareness, we need nothing. However, most of us still think we're bodies, and when we think we're bodies, we perceive lack, illness, and suffering. That's why the Course suggests we ask not for removal of bodily symptoms, rather to perceive things differently. To awaken we need to perceive our bodies as wholly unreal. If we don't believe in bodies, we can't be sick or suffer.
This is not possible for the ego mind. That's why we're encouraged to give it to the Holy Spirit, our Right Mind, which already knows the truth. The reason someone may not appear to be healed is because he's not ready to let go of his belief that he's a body. That is the most terrifying thing in the world to the ego. Death is easier than realizing that we're one with God and we're not these separate identities. If you watch your thoughts closely when you get glimpses of Truth, you'll probably notice that you quickly run away. We all do.
As for the question, "Why pray about anything?"--The Holy Spirit can use all of our illusions to lead us to Truth. In that way, we often do receive specific answers to prayers. As long as we think we're bodies, we'll think we have specific needs. The Song of Prayer describes the ladder of prayer, in which at the lowest rung we ask for things, the second rung we ask for well-being of ourselves and others, and at the highest rung we simply join in gratitude with God because we know we are whole and have no needs.
If this is not clear, then keep asking the Holy Spirit for clarity. He will teach you in the perfect way for you. Some of these concepts that are easy to me now took me years to understand. So keep at it and you will get the "aha" moment.
17. Why Do We Have a Dream of Suffering?
Hi again. Acim and people like Gary Renard keep saying we chose our script before we dreamed all of this and was wondering why any dream figure would choose a hard, pain and suffering filled life instead of all of us dreaming this as perfect people with perfect situations. Thank you. Ron
Good question. Since we are perfectly whole as Spirit, why, indeed would we dream up an illusion filled with pain and suffering? The Course says only the ego could ask this question, because only the ego believes the dream is real. When we accept our Identity as the holy Son of God, this question disappears. We know we are not here. There is no need for any dream, either a pleasure-filled one, or a painful one. Reality is the only thing that is worthy of the Son of God. Reality is pure Love, without opposite.
The ego script is the dream. It has many different forms to keep us believing there is a world out there that is attacking us. The dream is one of separation and opposing, competing forces. A dream in which we temporarily win or get what we want provides momentary pleasure, only to be stripped away by inevitable pain. The Course reminds us that both pleasure and pain keep us stuck in the illusion, because as we believe in either one of them, we are giving reality to something that is not there.
Remember, the world is not outside of you. It is in your mind. The world of suffering is a projection from the fear-based mind. The world seen with the Holy Spirit is still an illusion, but it is seen for the illusion it is. You know you are the dreamer. This is what ACIM calls “the happy dream.” The happy dream is not where you get everything you want, but where you know this world holds nothing that you want, and that you’re making it up. The mind that forgives the illusion of the world is at peace and is happy.
18. Who is Melchizedek?
Question about ACIM: Who is Melchizedek, high priest? How does the contemporary Drunvalo Melchizedek's teachings of the flower of life fit with ACIM?
Hi, Bridget, Thank you for writing. I do not know who Melchizedek is., but I think he's an ascended master. A Course in Miracles briefly mentions "Great Rays," "mighty companions," and teachers of teachers," who help us along our way, but in general, doesn't address ascended masters, archangels and the like. A Course in Miracles sticks with abstract ideas of eternal love without form. Bodies, including angelic bodies, are considered part of the illusion of the world of form. In ACIM there is the concept of the wrong ego mind and the right mind of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit looks on the entire cosmos with love and forgiveness, knowing that all of it is an illusion. The Holy Spirit can lead us home to God through symbols of love and forgiveness, such as angels and ascended masters.
For example, if we call on the Holy Spirit for help, an ascended master or an angel might show up. Once we find our way back to heaven, however, we won't need angels to help us. At that point, we know we're one with God.
19. If We are God....
hi.. enjoying your book immensely my question is.. you say we are god , so there is no entity we actually pray to or any creater who made us as spiritual beings? confused.. ron
Hi, Ron, Glad you’re enjoying the book. This is an intelligent question, so it means you’re getting it. It indeed is confusing when we first start understanding it, and the Course tells us we go through a period of disorientation as our old thought system breaks down and truth dawns on our minds.
Most of us were raised with the idea that God is some Being in Heaven, out there, that controls what happens on earth. We are not free, for we are at the mercy of God/Nature, or outside forces that pull our strings. When we are introduced to metaphysics we hear the idea that God is inside us, not out there. The next step is that we are God.
However, most of us still feel like we’re our bodies/personalities, so we automatically pray to a God that is something other than ourselves. I still catch myself doing this. And as long as we feel separate, it’s ok to do that, because at least we’re calling upon a greater Power.
A Course in Miracles is written on both the dualistic level and the non-dualistic level, so we can receive help wherever our mind is. The dualistic level is subject/object, me/you, God/me, etc. Two things. Form, physicality, by its very nature, must have another object to perceive. Space and time is the gap between two forms or two objects.
The non-dualistic level is Oneness, in which there is no opposite. In form, we can’t really grasp that, but in our minds, we can know and experience it. This is an intuitive leap, and your mind is starting to become aware of it, given your question. Logical thinking proceeds along the continuum of time—past, present, and future. Oneness simply is, without any space or time. Therefore, logical thinking cannot understand Oneness, but our minds intuitively know it’s true.
If there is only Oneness, how can there be a God out there? If there is only Oneness, how can there be a you or a me? If there is only Oneness, how can there be a me that needs to ask a God for things?
When you get to Oneness, you see that you could never have been born and you can never die. Duality is physicality that takes shape, seems to live awhile, then dies. Oneness is formless, eternal and changeless. This is where true freedom lies.
A suggestion to train your mind to the awareness of Oneness is this: when you find yourself praying to someone outside yourself, be it the Holy Spirit, God, etc., ask to see this differently. When you are asking the Holy Spirit or God to see this in Truth, you are really only calling on your own Higher Mind. The Holy Spirit and God are indeed You.
20. Going Through the Motions
Hi, Lorri, Since all is Mind, do we know we’re one with God, but still just go through the motions regarding illusions of money and illness? Thanks, Ron
Hi, Ron, That’s a good question. When we keep our mind stayed on God, it does become like we’re going through the motions, doing what life requires, but without getting upset or attached to outcomes. It’s like a part of us knows the Truth and can laugh at appearances, or at least not get disturbed.
One of my friends put it this way: “Once you wake up, you then go around pretending like things are important, but you really don’t believe it anymore.” I find what he said to be my experience as well.
Life becomes more peaceful and pleasant. That’s the miracle.
21. Handling Intense Emotions
Hi, Lorri, How can I handle intense emotions? Thanks, Rita
Emotions are the primary way we slide into the illusion. The ego wants us to believe they are real and that we have to fix them or the problem they represent. The second we believe these, we've lost our True Self, because shame/fear/guilt pull us in.
The ACIM and Sedona method technique of observing emotions, then acknowledging what they really are, rather than trying to change them or change external circumstances, is the best technique I've ever found. There are literally thousands of techniques to change behavior & feelings but while they make us feel better for awhile, most ultimately keep us in the illusion. They improve the ego rather than release the ego.
Unless we make a conscious choice to step out of the illusion, to identify with the True Self, the ego will have us continue to improve the ego, spiritualize the ego, make the dream a happier place, etc.
Keeping the goal of BEING your True Self as your only goal, and taking responsibility for the part of you that wants to be upset and scared, is the best way to release ego. Let the shame come up, physically breathe it out of the body, and then remind yourself of Truth and your one goal. Or say, "I forgive myself for being angry. I forgive myself for thinking I'm Rita. I forgive myself for wanting to be scared and sad." Whatever way works best (and this can change daily) to remember the Truth.
In this way, solutions to earthly problems will spontaneously come into being. You have experienced this many times, but the ego wants you to forget it. You as Rita do not have to fix your problems. You have to let go of thinking you’re Rita so you can remember they're not real and have already been fixed.
22. What's the Point of Praying?
Hello again. I am really trying to understand since its been ingrained in our heads about God as a separate thing.. Have three more questions. What's the point of praying, how were we created, and what happens after bodily death ? I know you probably heard these questions before but I really like how you give answers .I appreciate your time and will help your site anyway I can Thank you, Ron
Hi, Ron, You ask, “Why even pray at all if there is no Creator out there?”
A Course in Miracles states in the 50 Miracle Principles that prayer is the medium of miracles. While we believe we are separate, prayer is the way we connect with our Higher Mind, the Holy Spirit within us. Prayer does not need to beseech; every thought is actually a prayer, since thoughts are what give rise to the world we see. When we think thoughts from the right-minded thought system of the Holy Spirit, such as “I am as God created me,” we see the real world, which is the forgiven world. When we think thoughts of separation, sickness and death we see the hateful world of the ego thought system.
The Song of Prayer pamphlet talks about the ladder of prayer. The first rung is beseeching God for things. The second rung is asking for help for others. The third and highest rung is simply communion without words. When we recognize our oneness with God/All, we are in a state of gratitude. There is nothing we need or want.
Thus, your question points to the highest rung, in which prayer is a constant state rather than a person praying to a higher Being. The ego takes the idea that there’s no one out there and feels hopeless. The Holy Spirit takes it as Oneness and joyful connection.
How were we created?
We think of creation in terms of linear time, being born at a point in time and dying at another point. Since time is simultaneous, there is no beginning and no ending. That means you were never created and will never die. The Course tells us that time was made up by the ego to justify separation and make bodies and the world appear real. It also says in Lesson 192 that we can’t conceive of creation because it has no counterpart here.
You, as Ron, may think, “I was born in _____.” That is a false appearance. “At no single instant does the body exist at all.” (T-18.VII) The body is simply a projection of the mind, a figment of the imagination. It may help to say, “I am not Ron; I am not a body. I am Spirit.” The more you say this, the more you turn your mind over to the Holy Spirit for correction. As with Oneness, this is an intuitive leap that cannot be understood by the logical mind. Keep practicing and one day the light will come on. Then you will never see the world the same again and you will be free.
What happens after bodily death?
There are many books that talk about people visiting heaven with near-death experiences, and many psychics give reports from deceased loved one on the other side. All these realms are still part of the illusion, as all form is unreal. However, heavenly realms can be seen as right-minded perception, for they reflect the love of God in form. They bring us comfort. The Course says in several places that whatever a person believes is true for him, and it is what he will project from his mind. A Christian is likely to find himself in heaven, a spiritualist may find himself in a pleasant astral plane, etc.
A Course in Miracles says “Heaven is here. There is no other place. Heaven is now. There is no other time.” (M-24) The Course says the body has never existed, so there is no death. “Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one.” (M-27) It also says, For death is total. Either all things die, or else they live and cannot die. No compromise is possible.” (W-163)
We come once again to an idea which the intellect cannot comprehend. Having made the idea of death, the ego cannot see beyond it. All things are in your mind. Your body called Ron is in your mind. All your loved ones are in your mind. When the body appears to die, the mind is still there, and all its thoughts are there as well.
One of the affirmations I use to understand this is, “I am the Mind of God outside of time and space.” You can use any affirmation you want, or just ask the Holy Spirit to illumine you in a way you can understand. It took me several years of going round and round with ego thinking before the light came on, and then it would go off and come back on. Even now I still get foggy, but am clear most of the time (even though that’s an illusion since there is no time).
Thanks again for writing. I love your questions. Thanks also for offering to help my website.
23. What is the Voice of the Holy Spirit Like?
I have been meaning to write for quite some time to thank you so much for your presentation here at the conference. I so enjoyed meeting you in person.
I have been reading your book and finding it very helpful and well-written. Your stories about yourself or your patients give so much meaning to the Course points that you are trying to make.
I also want to convey my very deepest sympathies in the loss of your father. I did listen to your talks after his passing and I must commend you for the depth of your sharing. So helpful for all of us who have or will experience this type of physical loss. Many thanks for your efforts along this line.
I also have a question.......
As I said, I've been reading your book and last night I came upon something (but of course today I can't remember where......)
In Dr. Robert Rosenthal's new book - From Plague to Miracles he refers to:
Moses = Voice of Holy Spirit
Pharoh = Ego
Hebrews = Decision Maker
My question is - in your book you make a similar comparison - but I can't remember to what/whom and where in the book.
If and when you have the opportunity to respond, I would greatly appreciate it.
Sending you love,
Hi, Marie, It's so nice to hear from you! I, too, enjoyed meeting you. I think what you're referring to is the example of The Lion King on p. 100.
Thanks for the compliments about the book and your condolences. I'm so grateful for the Course. Without it I would have been absolutely devastated by the loss of my dad. But with it, I'm filled with peace, joy and Truth. What a miracle!
Thanks for writing. I so enjoy sharing the Course, with you, the Christ.
24. Dealing with the Pain of Cancer
Hi. am enjoying your you tube messages re acim. my question is.. it sounds easy to say cancer is an illusion and its all in the mind but how does one cope with the constant pain and emotional distress? All forms are unreal but the pain is not.. look forward to your reply.. Herman
Dear Herman, Thank you for writing. Physical pain can be one of the hardest illusions to rise above. As you mention, it’s very easy to say it’s all an illusion. Putting this idea into practice, while it can be done in a holy instant, usually takes most of us a lot of effort and time. That’s why we turn all of our false thoughts over to the Holy Spirit for correction. We can’t do this alone, because the “I” that I think I am is the ego.
The body was made to distract us from our true Identity, and physical pain pulls us into the body in an intense way. When you say all forms are unreal but the pain is not, that’s the ego thought system. Thoughts from the ego thought system are part of the world of form. These thoughts are completely unreal. The Course often says, “Thoughts leave not their Source.” The Holy Son of God is a Thought in the Mind of God, and there can be no suffering there. Lesson 191 tells us that until we accept our true Identity, we will appear to suffer. Once we accept it, however, which is the entire goal of ACIM, we will know “I am the holy Son of God Himself. I cannot suffer, cannot be in pain; I cannot suffer loss, nor fail to do all that salvation asks.”
As you catch yourself having false thoughts, you may want to replace them with this affirmation. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in dealing with the pain. He will direct you specifically. He may direct you to just take pain medication and forgive the need to do that. You can take pain meds and still correct your thoughts. We don’t have to be perfect; we just have to keep forgiving our illusions. The Holy Spirit may direct you to lessons in the Course such as 135 & 136, which discuss the illusory nature of the body and how the body is nothing. The body is a projection of the mind, and when we realize the body is completely apart from us, it is seen as healed. All healing, including the perception of pain, is in the mind. There are many cases where people have been able to ease their mind, and pain eases in turn.
Lesson 190 states, “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.” The ego wants us to believe pain is real, but this lesson gives an alternative. Lesson 330, “I will not hurt myself again today,” says, “Why should we attack our minds, and give them images of pain?” You are the Mind of God. You are not a body.
Again, all of this is easier said than done, which is why we have the Holy Spirit’s help.
Herman, I join with you in knowing that YOU are the Christ Self. You are not small self Herman, you are the Holy Son of God. May you forgive all identification with this world and its pain, and know your wholeness.
25. Does the Holy Spirit Act in the World?
Question about ACIM: Hi Lorri, In Acim it is said that God did not create this world and God does not even know about this world and that Holy Spirit does not operate within this dream to help us improve it. How then can those miracles be explained which occur when \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"normal\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" religious people (not students of acim) pray for something and really unbelievable things occur as a result when God has answered their prayers. And in Bible it is also said that we must pray and ask if we want to get something. If God does not know about this world how are these then to explain? They could not come from our mind because we do could not even imagine beforehand what might happen.
Thanks for writing. You mention that in ACIM it says God does not know of this world and the Holy Spirit does not operate in the world. There are passages in ACIM that could be interpreted this way, but there are many passages that suggest that God does know of this world and the Holy Spirit does take action in the world.
There are different schools of thought about the interpretation of ACIM. The school of thought noted in your question could be called “pure non-duality.” It can be understood most simply by the idea “God is, and nothing else exists.” God is Oneness, and in Oneness there can be no other thing. For God to know of anything outside Itself, there would have to be two things. This would then be duality, rather than non-duality.
There is another school of thought called “qualified non-duality.” This idea suggests God is in everything, and everything is interconnected, therefore it is all One. It’s all one energy or substance, and we are one with each other. We just appear separate. This thought system believes that God is in form, while the pure non-duality system cites the passage, “God knows not form.” (T-30.III.4:5)
Duality is the idea that people are on earth and God is somewhere out there, separated from us. Duality is the condition of opposite states, such as light and dark, male and female, heaven and hell.
A Course in Miracles is written on all three levels, so whatever a person believes about God, he can find an answer in the Course. Often when we start studying the Course we believe we are individuals, separated from God, and we pray to God/Goddess for help. As we progress on our spiritual journey, we come to understand God is within us, and we are part of God. We no longer pray to someone out there, but we access God within. Further along in our understanding, many people grasp the concept that there is nothing but God, and we are It. This is an abstract concept that usually only comes when we have sufficiently cleared away ego blocks to its awareness. At this point we realize the ego, bodies, and the physical world do not, and have never, existed. The only prayer is one of joy and gratitude for eternal union with Love. We know we have no needs, for we are the Christ Self which is completely whole and home with God.
In the meantime, while we think we are separate individuals with separate bodies, A Course in Miracles suggests we pray to the Holy Spirit for our specific needs. Jesus, in writing the Course, knew that we do not believe we are whole. If we did, we’d have no need for help. The Course states, “His Voice (the Holy Spirit’s) will direct you very specifically. You will be told all you need to know.” (T-1.I.4) “The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. His answer is both many and one, as long as you believe that the one is many.” (T-11.VIII.5:5-6) Note that this answers both in duality and non-duality. It says as long as we think we’re people who have needs, we’ll be answered specifically. But it also suggests that when we awaken, we’ll realize we have no needs, for the One is not separated into many parts.
The Holy Spirit’s specific answers are what give us miracles, whether someone is an ACIM student or of another religious persuasion. The Holy Spirit is really your Higher Self, your inner connection to God. When you tap into that, miracles happen. It does not matter what religious rules you follow. If you believe in God’s love and help, you will receive them. The important thing is to believe.
A Course in Miracles states that miracles remain at the level of perception, where they are needed. What that means is when we think we are separate from God, we need miracles to help us get home. However, there is no world outside of our mind, therefore in truth, there is no world for the Holy Spirit to help us with. That's why some teachings emphasize that the Holy Spirit does not take action in the world. When we know that we are the mind of God, outside of time and space, we need nothing. Perception and miracles happen in the world of form. Yet God is formless, changeless and eternal. This is pure non-duality, and this is outside of time and space.
I hope this answers your question. Feel free to contact me again if you need clarification. Don’t worry if this is confusing. It took me years to grasp these concepts, and I still get confused at times.
26. Am I Making Up the World?
Lorri - My question is about the world around me. Is it a group illusion or is it completely something that I have made up? What I am most concerned about is other people. I am fairly new to the Course, but not all the concepts it teaches. Is the Course saying that everything is in my head, including other people? For example did I make you up? Did I make up my wife? Or, is ACIM simply saying my perception is falsely colored by my illusory experience and I am not seeing others as they really are? The rub I have is that if I am indeed making this all up I am doing a poor job of it, yet at the same time am pretty creative as I have written every screen play and painted every piece of art within the confines of my head. As you can see, I am a little confused. Thanks!
Hi, Ryan, Thanks for writing. This is a great question, and I can tell you have some background in metaphysical concepts.
You ask, “Is everything in my head and did I make you up and did I make up my wife?” Yes. You are also making up the body/personality construct called “Ryan,” with which you are temporarily identified. In the Oneness, there are no bodies and there is no physical form at all. Once there is form, there is two-ness, not oneness. There are two things, a subject and an object. So in ultimate Truth, there is only Love/God/Oneness/Mind, whatever label you want to give It.
Since Love/God/Oneness/Mind is All There Is, We are It. When Jesus said in the Bible, “I and the Father are One,” this is what he meant. He says it in A Course in Miracles more directly and more often, because now we are ready to hear it. Two thousand years ago they crucified him for telling the Truth, but now more and more of us are awakening to our true Identity as the Christ.
The Workbook lessons of the Course train your mind to accept this Identity. There are a number of them that speak directly to this, and most speak indirectly of it. For example, Lesson 191: I am the Holy Son of God Himself; Lesson 252: The Son of God is my Identity; Lesson 96: Salvation Comes from my One Self; and I Am as God Created Me, which is Lessons 94, 110, and 162. It is the only Workbook lesson that is repeated. It then is repeated in the reviews, so it is mentioned 144 times in the Course. “I Am as God Created Me” means you are the Christ. You are the Self, capital “S.”
Your identity as Ryan is a false projection from the mind. You are the Mind of God, but have chosen to project the idea of yourself into an illusory world and an illusory body. There is nothing outside of your Mind. When you do the Workbook lessons, and when you forgive every single thing, this Truth starts dawning on you. At first you get glimpses, then it becomes more consistent, until finally your True Identity becomes a permanent state in your awareness.
Your other question: Is ACIM simply saying my perception is falsely colored by my illusory experience and I am not seeing others as they really are?
ACIM is saying there is no world, period. This is the central thought the course attempts to teach. (Lesson 132). However, this is quite scary to the ego, so until our minds are ready to accept this we are led gently down the path of the right-minded perception of the world. This perception shows a world forgiven, innocent and illusory. We are aware that we are dreaming it all up. In this awareness, we see beyond bodies to the one Christ Self in each of us. There is one ego dream, and one Christ Self. The Course trains us to see all the apparent fragments as One. If you see someone as a body, you are not seeing him as he truly is. He is the Christ. In Lesson 158 we are told that Christ vision has one law—it sees no one as a body.
The idea that your perception is falsely colored by your illusory experience is partially correct, but A Course in Miracles takes that concept all the way. Not one single thing in form is true. There is no ego thought system. That is just a concept to help us understand. There is no dream. That is another concept. There is no individual self. Again, the only thing that’s real is God/Love/Mind/Oneness.
However, this is not death or nihilism, as the ego would define it. When we let go of the individual self, we move into a Love so grand and beautiful that we can’t describe it here. We are giving up nothing (the small self) for everything. We are not losing anything. You, your wife, and all your loved ones are thoughts in the Mind of God. They are thoughts of Love, and they are never lost. You are never lost. You are eternal Spirit, forever connected to the All.
It’s as if there’s a big pie, and the small self is one piece. You are exchanging your single piece for the whole pie.
Your other question: Is it a group illusion?
Yes. There is one ego thought system as a whole. The ego does a poor job of everything. You personally are not making up the ego script, as that was a false idea that made up the dream world. It was over long ago, but in reality never happened. Part of the ego script is a dream figure called Ryan. If Ryan stays blind and doesn’t choose love or the Holy Spirit, Ryan is a robot. He is a puppet in the dream. Once Ryan asks for a new perception, asks the Holy Spirit to replace fear with love, Ryan is free. This is where Ryan slowly gains an understanding that he is the Christ, not a body.
Your responsibility is to choose Truth, to choose the Holy Spirit over the ego, or to choose love over fear. Only you can do this, and each seeming individual person has to do this for himself. Once he chooses rightly, he sees there never was a choice, because his mind has returned to choiceless Oneness. But until that time, it appears there is a choice, and it is one that has to be made if we are to awaken. We will not awaken if we try to make the world of form real, while simply saying bodies are unreal. Many people want to make the cosmos real, while stating we are spiritual beings within the universe. The Course tells us we are spiritual beings that are home with God, not in a universe of form. Part of awakening is realizing you’re not here. You are not in time and space because time and space are the ego thought system.
The Course says it’s all or nothing. You cannot keep one piece of it falsely, because you see either Truth or illusion. The two thought systems are completely incompatible. If you’re holding onto any bit of illusion, you’re in ego.
There is one answer to the ego’s thought system, which is the Holy Spirit’s right-minded perception, which is that the entire ego/world of form is unreal. The One Son of God appeared to fragment into billions of sons. There is only One Son, therefore it is a group illusion. At the same time, your particular identity as Ryan has to make the choice to return to your True Identity. As you become aware that you are not separate from anyone or anything, you will see that every person/thing is yourself. Lesson 60, which is a review of Lesson 48, “There is nothing to Fear,” states, “How safe the world will look to me when I can see it. It will not look anything like what I imagine I see now. Everyone and everything will lean toward me to bless me. I will recognize in everyone my dearest Friend.” Note that this verse says, “when I can see it.” We do not see truly with the body’s eyes. The body can only see other bodies and the world of illusion. Christ vision, which is outside time and space, sees Oneness. “Friend” is capitalized because it refers to the one Christ Self. When you wake up, you will see that everyone and everything is the Christ/God/Love/Mind. There is nothing else. When you see this, you will stop attacking and judging “other people,” because there are no other people. It is a beautiful experience.
Everyone needs to ask the Holy Spirit for his own guidance. There are many different teachers of the Course, and there are different interpretations. For you, the perfect one is your own inner voice. What outside teachers say needs to be weighed against your inner guidance. A Course in Miracles tells us the curriculum is highly individualized, so the specific teachings and tools you need to get back home will be provided for you. In that light, take what I say if it works for you, or leave it if it doesn’t.
I hope this helps. You may need to read and re-read it. That’s what I did with the teachings I received from David Hoffmeister, www.teacherofteachers.net. I got confused often, then the light came on.
Let me know if you need further clarification.
27. What is the Final State?
Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful reply. It does clear the water quite a bit. You touched on something that I have been concerned with not just with the Course, but in other non-dual spiritual paths, annihilation. It is a frightening concept. As I'm sure you know many Christians associate hell with annihilation, they cease to exist. Knowing God is working for good, and is love itself, the annihilation would not be a punishment but nonetheless is our ultimate destiny to become starry eyed ghosts who themselves become "love" or "God"? I understand that much of our personalities are ego driven but in the final state do we all become the same? Couldn't God's love manifest itself in a myriad of ways and allow for individuality? Could you comment please on the final state? Again, thanks.
Hi, Ryan, The ego likes to talk of a “final state,” as if it is an end to everything. God is eternal and ever-extending. There is no final state. You are enlightened and in heaven NOW. We go on forever and ever in God’s love.
Miracles and forgiveness give us glimpses of Truth in this world. They are so incredibly beautiful compared to our ego world, that when we experience them we dance with joy and love. The ego loves to tell us we’ll no longer exist, we’ll no longer have the things we want, and we’ll no longer have our personal identities. Therefore, we’ll have lost everything. The ego lies. Don’t listen to those fears. You never lose anyone or anything.
A Course in Miracles says the real world is the alternative to the world we see with the body’s eyes. It’s what’s seen with the spiritual eye, Christ consciousness. The real world is the happy dream. It’s illusory too, but so close to pure heaven that it’s just a blip away. If you read Stalking the Wild Pendulum by Itzhak Bentov, you’ll learn the physics that says we’re blipping in and out of existence 14 times per second. That means we’re in heaven (the final state, so to speak) 14 times per second. It happens so fast we don’t even know it. The more we still the mind and take the focus off the body, the more aware we become of being in heaven already. Heaven is a state of mind, not a place. ACIM corroborates this with the phrase, “Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all.” (Lesson 188)
You ask, “Couldn't God's love manifest itself in a myriad of ways and allow for individuality?”
The states of love, peace, joy contain within them a myriad of qualities. While the forms of these qualities are transient and illusory, the qualities themselves go on eternally. Beauty, appreciation, kindness, generosity, honesty, caring, etc., are all expressions of states of being. When we love a person we love them not for their body, but for their playfulness, wisdom, or cute personality quirks. These are formless qualities that don’t go away when bodies die.
The thoughts of love are forever. There is no separation. There is totality. There is wholeness and oneness, and that includes the reflections of love in the illusory world. The Christ Mind that is home with God is total Oneness. When that Mind chooses to extend love, it can imagine form, but form is always just an “image,” an “imagination.” Form is always an illusion, because form must change/die and by nature is dualistic. Love has no object and no opposite.
I don’t really know what Truth is; I can only tell you what my experience has been so far. I used to actually want nihilism because I was in so much pain. I absolutely hated the world, the body and myself. As I let go of thinking I was the small self called “Lorri,” my awareness that I AM love, joy and peace has increased. At the same time, I love and cherish “Lorri” more than ever. I know that the body/personality construct called Lorri is an illusion, but the thought of Lorri is a thought of Love in the mind of God. Therefore she/I am eternal. Everything is thought, since form is unreal.
I am now aware fairly consistently that I AM the Christ Self. You could also call this “God.” (Story Waters has a book called You are God. Get Over It!) This state of being is not attached to my body’s form or anyone else’s form. I AM love, peace and joy and can look on all the separate fragments of the illusion as one illusion. When I see one illusion, I see the whole, unbroken and forgiven. This is the happy dream, where I see the real world in place of separation and dualism, and I’m aware I’m dreaming.
What brought this shift about for me was my dad’s death, or, better said, transition from his body. He and I were/are very close. “My dad” was/is my symbol of unconditional love. He is an example of a thought of Love in the Mind of God. “My dad” is even more alive for me than ever, because he is with me all the time. When I thought he was his body, there was separation. I could only be with him if our bodies were together. And the separation was even more painful as he declined with dementia. Even though his body is now ashes, he is alive forever. The concept of “my” dad is an illusion, because “my” dad means he’s not “your” dad and that’s separation. There is absolutely no separation in Truth. However, the experience of “my dad” has merged into the allness of total Love. It’s “my” dad and it’s beyond “my” dad. The littleness of “my” dad has fallen away and is embraced by a greater Love that contains my dad and everything. I don’t want to go back to just “my” dad, because what I have now is even better.
When we view the appearance of form from the place of love, we know it’s not real. When I saw my dad’s dead body, it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. The Course says that in the holy instant there are no bodies. That also means there is no form. But God is Love, ever-extending. Love can be extended to the thought of form. There are many beautiful things in form and they are reflections of Love/God. They are illusions, because form is never real, but they can reflect light.
A Course in Miracles speaks to this: How can you who are so holy suffer? All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing. I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance. They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt. They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal. (T-5.IV.8:1-6)
You ask: “in the final state do we all become the same?” We become everyone and everything. Every awesome person is you. Every beautiful thing in nature is you. You don’t lose all the great qualities of Ryan; you gain all the great qualities of everyone. It’s like what parents say when their daughter gets married: “I’m not losing a daughter; I’m gaining a son.” Every person, seen with love, is an individual expression of the One, and everyone is valuable. The body is not valuable, but the idea of the person is. When a couple decides to have a baby from love, that baby is an extension of love.
The Course talks about God being changeless. The ego takes this concept and calls it “all the same.” How could the beauty and joy of God, as reflected in so many incredibly beautiful people and things, go backward to being monochromatic? That’s just an ego thought of nihilism; it’s the ego using the Course against you. It’s suggestive of how boring it would be if we sat around in heaven strumming our harps for eternity. Boredom is a false idea of the ego. The creativity of Spirit is always joyful and eternal. The changeless states of beauty, love, joy, and peace, expressed in infinite ways, are God. The form is not God, but the state is.
I needed the thought system of pure non-duality because I needed the world to not be real. The world was way too painful for me and I could not get over all the suffering I saw. A Course in Miracles healed me. It told me that suffering and the world was not real. Phew! I was so relieved. Now I can extend love to the world of form. It’s a projection from my mind, so I’m going to love it. All there is is Love, therefore all I can do/be is Love. The choice for love over hate has transformed me.
Thank you so much for asking this question, Ryan. I had been pondering this before you wrote. You are a beautiful extension of my mind that showed up to help bring clarification.
28. Handling Money & Health Problems
Hello, Lorri, Thanks for your mind-opening response to my questions. I have a couple more if you don't mind. The world is an illusion so how does one handle debts, poor health etc? We must still find a way to meet our earthly obligations in some way. How does one do this if there is no money to handle day to day living. I ponder things like this and hope you and your experience in acim can shed some light on these matters. Thank you. PS: Just starting to read your book Breaking Free. Herman
Your question about handling earthly bills and poor health is a common one. A Course in Miracles tells us our only function is forgiveness, and we have to forgive the belief in death. All forms of lack stem from the belief in death. “Death is the central idea from which all illusions stem.”(Manual for Teachers, #27) “Death is a thought that takes on many forms, often unrecognized. It may appear as sadness, fear, anxiety or doubt; as anger, faithlessness and lack of trust; concern for bodies, envy, and all forms in which the wish to be as you are not may come to tempt you.” (Lesson 163)
We have forgotten that we’re the holy Son of God who cannot possibly die. We have become afraid and projected an illusion in which we are bodies that can die. We think we can get sick, lose our homes, lose our loved ones, etc. When we forgive our illusions, miracles occur. We are guided by the Holy Spirit to do whatever it takes to pay our bills, protect our health, etc. This may not look like the ego expects. We may not get as much money as we want, the partner we want, or the job we want. But we can be sure that if we’re asking for help to forgive, that we will get what we need to awaken. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to use our illusions to help us return our minds to God. We are already home with God, but we don’t know it. If we knew it, we wouldn’t have a care in the world.
Most of us, including me, put the cart before the horse. We want to get enough money, improve our health, or improve our relationships, and then we’ll trust God. When we turn that around and decide to forgive first, everything falls in place. A Course in Miracles is continually re-minding us that the only way out of our problems is forgiveness. We made the problems up, so we can’t fix them. Plus, they’re not real, so our attempts to fix them are keeping us stuck in the illusion. When we choose forgiveness, over and over and over, we discover the happiness we were looking for in perfect health or wealth.
A practical way to approach your bills and health is to pray, “Holy Spirit, help me to forgive my illusions. Help me to see things differently. Help me to release the beliefs in lack and separation from my Source.” The workbook lessons systematically train your mind to forgive. Forgiveness, when it becomes a habit, is the key to happiness (Lesson 121).
Thanks for reading Breaking Free. I’m sure it will help you understand what ACIM teaches.
29. Do We Bring on Illness?
Lorri, I can read and email just a little. I truly love your book
Do you think we ourselves bring upon us illnesses and not the devil as church people say? But also acim I think says the script is written for us before we come here? I'm so confused. Mari
I do think we bring on illness by believing in the ego thought system, and that we decided on that before we came here. However, once we realize that we made that decision from the ego thought system, we can change our mind, give it to the Holy Spirit, and be healed. We don’t have to feel guilty about making ourselves sick, because that’s the entire reason we made bodies. We thought up bodies so we could feel separate from God.
“The script is written” can mean that the ending is certain: we all make it back home to God.
Just keep turning your thoughts over to the Holy Spirit. A Course in Miracles tells us we don’t have to suffer because of what we used to believe. Just because we brought on illness, doesn’t mean we are stuck with it. Just choose God’s love now. Affirm, “I am a Holy Child of God, therefore I am innocent and loved.” Keep your mind focused only on God’s love. That will heal you.
30. What is My Higher Self?
Lorri, This is in response to your latest musing on independence.
"Be still and know that I am God, your true self."
Your Invisible Power, by Ernest Holmes
When I first read this sentence it took my breath away. Everything stopped. I felt peaceful. At one with all. It made life seem so simple. Then my other self got involved. A little fear crept in. My mind started saying, it can't be that simple. I started twisting in my skin.
So, I have been trying to figure out what the problem is. So far, part of it is a feeling of loneliness. There is no other to lean on. In moments of loss, rage or confusion I must ask the Higher Mind within for help. It's hard to separate from my human craziness to know that truth. To speak from that truth. To act from that truth. Even as I write this I feel the twisting and turning inside.
So I must be holding on to something.
It's exciting. It's simple. It's the answer I have been seeking since I was young. I was lead to believe that only a minister/priest could access divine power, divine information and peace of God for me.
I picked up this small book several years ago on the free book table in a thrift store. Every time I read it I get a deeper understanding. I feel so fortunate. I have found that valuable answers to spiritual questions can come to me easily, without effort. Without the benefit of traditional clergy.
Thank you for your Musings. Pat
Hi, Pat, This is great, and it is Truth, plain and simple in a nutshell. You recognize it and it's wonderful that you are aware of the small self fighting it. ACIM says often that it's simple.
I've been getting this same revelation, so am grateful for your confirmation. The past few days I've thought of how I don't trust "God" and was told that God is "My Christ Self, my Higher Self." This I DO trust. The concept of God as a bully from my fundamental upbringing has died hard.
I've had the same thing you've mentioned, about realizing there is no other to lean on. It is scary when I think I'm my small self. But I like Lesson 47, "God is the strength in which I trust." It says when we're leaning on our ego strength, we indeed have reason to be afraid.
Thanks for sharing this awakening journey, my friend. I see you as your Self.
31. Does Forgiveness Condone Abuse?
HELLO, I HAVE READ YOUR BOOK BREAKING FREE AND IT’S GREAT. I HAVE A QUESTION ON FORGIVENESS. UNDERSTANDING THAT THE WORLD IS AN ILLUSION, I STILL FIND IT HARD TO DEAL WITH THE PEOPLE I HAVE FORGIVEN. DO WE HAVE TO MAKE LIKE EVERYTHING THEY DID WAS OK? OR JUST FORGIVE AND NOT DEAL WITH THEM ANYMORE? IT’S TOUGH FOR ME BECAUSE IT IS A FAMILY MATTER. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK. LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR REPLY. THANK YOU, HERM
Hi, Herm, Forgiveness does not condone what someone did. It simply lets it go. Abuse is never okay and should not be justified.
The way A Course in Miracles takes forgiveness one step further is to see this world as a dream we have made up. Therefore, your family member is a figure in your dream. You, Herm, are actually a figure in your dream, too, because YOU are the one Self, not the small self called “Herm.” When you ask the Holy Spirit to help you see things differently, you forgive on a whole different level. It’s an intuitive leap to understand that the dream never happened. Therefore, in truth, you’re not forgiving anyone. However, the ego cannot do this. Only your Wise Mind, the Holy Spirit within you, knows this. That’s why you call on It for help.
Regarding whether you associate with this family member or not, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. There is no set rule. At times you may be directed to speak to this person and at other times, not. We are not expected to be doormats for abuse, so if the pattern is one in which the person is mean, thieving, lying, etc., it’s unlikely the Holy Spirit would suggest that you interact with him/her. However, we are always taught to look at what we are projecting onto the other person that we don’t want to see in ourselves. If someone still irritates us, there is something within ourselves we are having difficulty seeing. Again, the answer is to ask the Holy Spirit something like, “What do I need to see about myself?” For example, if this person hurt you and it’s still hard to fully let it go, you could look at where you’re still hurting yourself. Once the issue within you is resolved, the person will not bother you anymore.
I’ve had situations where it wasn’t something the other person was doing anymore that upset me, but I felt guilty for not wanting to associate with her. When I forgave myself for not wanted to be around her, the irritation went away. Other times I’ve noticed that a friend was acting in a whiny, victim-like manner and I got irritated. When I asked for help, I noticed that I, myself, was feeling like a victim in a different area of my own life. It had been hard to see because my friend’s issue was not exactly the same as mine.
Hope this helps. Thank you for the compliment on the book. I’m glad it’s getting out there and assisting people.
32. Paying Bills and Other Worldly Affairs
Hi Lorri, I have another question for you. When we say I am as god created me and not a body, some people seem to take this as not having to care or do anything regarding the world such as paying the bills, helping others etc. I look forward to your take on this question. Thank you for your time and great site. Ron
Hi, Ron, If people are taking the statement “I am not a body,” and using it to avoid responsibilities, they are misusing the message. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, Chapter 18, Sec. VII, “I Need Do Nothing.” This refers to the fact that we should ask the Holy Spirit for guidance on every single issue. Then we do what the Holy Spirit says. This becomes effortless, because we are being moved by our higher Mind. We will be told what work to do, what job to take, etc. to pay our bills. Lesson 135 also talks about not making plans on our own, rather letting the Holy Spirit tell us how to lead our day. And the Manual for Teachers, #16, “How should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?” says the same thing. We ask, listen, and do what we’re told.
As we surrender every decision to the Holy Spirit, we start waking up. We start realizing we’re not these bodies. We also realize that bodies are puppets that only look like they have choices to make. We let go of struggling and know our lives are completely taken care of, and then we know “we need do nothing.” Our only job is to accept atonement for ourselves, that is, to accept our true identity as the Son of God. Then earthly tasks get done, seemingly on their own.
For example, the body does the dishes, goes to work and pays the bills. The ego takes credit for this, saying, “I’m going to do the dishes. I went to work. I’ve got to pay my bills.” But when you are awake, you just watch the body do its thing, and you know you’re not the body. The ego mind cannot understand this. It is an intuitive leap as you awaken, and it will happen for you if you do the workbook lessons of A Course in Miracles. It is the most freeing thing ever.
“I need do nothing,” means I need do nothing to be whole, complete and saved from the dream I made. I am not a body, I am free, and I need do nothing to attain that. I don’t need to burn off karma, atone for my sins, accept Jesus as my savior, or be a good person to receive all of God’s love. The only thing I need to do is believe that I am the Son of God, and receive it.
33. Reaching Enlightenment
Hi, Lorri.. have another question for you..acim says when we return to our original state we will experience complete oneness with God.. what exactly does that mean? when the body dies? when we reach enlightenment in our worldly illusion? can you help sort this out?. thank you, ron.. ps loved ur book, ordering my friends to buy it..
Hi, Ron, Hope you are doing well.
In Lesson 188 the Course tells us, “Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all.” This means that we are already enlightened. The ego is not, and can never be enlightened, but we are not the ego. We are the holy Son of God Himself, right here, right now. When we accept Atonement for ourselves, that is, accept our true Identity as the Son of God, we automatically know we’re enlightened. Enlightened means “in light.” The ego is in a state of darkness; the Son of God is always in the Light. In the Manual for Teachers, #24 it states, “Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past, and total lack of interest in the future. Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time.” Heaven is not a place we go when we die; it is a state of mind available to us immediately, at all times.
We do not have to wait for the body to die before we become enlightened. When we think we see bodies, we are seeing an illusion. When your mind is healed, you will see that bodies, trees, pavement, etc. are all equal illusions. You will see the light beyond them and know that you are already home. As the Course says, “You are at home in God, dreaming of exile, but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. Is it your choice to do so?” (T-10.I.2:1-2)
The choice is for truth over illusion. When we are determined to see (Lesson 20) we will see. When we want truth and nothing else, that is what we get. We are one with God right now. Our original, natural state is without a body. In fact, that is our current state, but we just think we have bodies. At first this seems like mumbo-jumbo, but the more you awaken, the more it becomes your reality, even while you seem to be in the illusion.
34. Born-Again Family Members
Question about ACIM: I have been studying ACIM for several years. I was raised Catholic. My son is a hard-core born-again Christian. We cannot seem to find common ground with which to even discuss my beliefs. He ridicules me and the Course, and accuses me of bringing Satan into our home. I have taken to just not discussing spiritual beliefs at all, but I wonder if you have any thoughts on it? Bill
Thanks for writing. Lesson 193 states, “All things are lessons God would have me learn.” The one lesson for all forms of distress is forgiveness. You have probably already attempted to forgive this situation, and, if so, keep giving it to the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see this differently. Pay attention to whether there’s a part of you that would like your son to change his mind, just as he wants to convert you. If so, then you’re making the illusion real. Your son is perfect just as he is. He’s already home, as we all are. The apparent conflict between you is an ego trap to pull you into believing in attack and separation.
The body/personality called “Bill” is a figure in the dream, as is the body/personality of your son. Neither one means anything. Your true identity is the Christ Self. As the Christ, you know there is nothing outside of you. There is nothing to fix, and all appearances of problems are simply opportunities to choose again. Choose to see the entire cosmos as one illusion.
Your decision to not discuss spiritual beliefs appears wise and is probably the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This outward behavior can now support the inward change of mind about the situation. Mind is always the causal factor. When you no longer give credence to beliefs in differences, attack and separation, this situation cannot cause distress. This is easier said than done, but it becomes easy when given to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not see a problem between you and your son. The Holy Spirit does not see any problems at all because all form is illusory.
Many blessings to you and your son.
34. Do We Lose Individual Identity when We Awaken?
Hi Lorri, Are we one Mind when we return to God? No personalities from our illusion of time on earth? Different ACIM mentors say so many different things re death of the body. You seem the most versed in this matter so we appreciate any comments you can make on this issue. Thank you, Ron.
Hi, Ron, Yes, when we return to God there is only one Mind. This is terrifying to the ego, which made up the idea of separateness. Think of it this way: the ego wants us to feel separate and scared, so it invents bodies with different personality traits. Spirit can’t die; only bodies can die. For example, if you love someone, according to the ego, when s/he dies you’ve lost him forever. If s/he gets Alzheimers, you lose the person s/he was. When you know that you and s/he are one, there is no loss. The Course states, “In you is all of heaven. Every leaf that falls is given life in you. Each bird that ever sang will sing again in you. And every flower that ever bloomed has saved its perfume and its loveliness for you.” (T-25.IV.5:1-4)
When you know you are one with someone else, all their wonderful traits become yours as well. Every good thing that happens to them is a gift to you as well. Love is one and we all participate in that oneness. Therefore, there is no loss.
We were all one in the Mind of God, then we chose to fragment into billions of separate parts. In fragmentation comes separation, which entails loss. When we return to the Mind of God we are simply returning to our original state of joy and love. However, the goal of the Course is not this state, but peace of mind while we appear to be here. We don’t need to worry about losing our identities—that’s just an ego trap to keep us from experiencing heaven here and now.
The Mind of God contains everything. That means we do not lose anything. All love, joy, beauty, and connectedness remain forever. This is what the Course means when it says, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” (T-in.)