Forgive My Blog

How to get answers

Kim wrote:

I’m new to this site. How do I get answers about practising ACIM ?

Assuming you want answers from people in this group email list thing:

  1. Start a new email
  2. To:
  3. write your question, or the difficulty you are experiencing with study (I might not be the best person to advise here, I think ACIM is obvious and tend to forget that it isn’t obvious to everyone)
  4. add a suitable subject to summarise.
  5. send.

If you want J to answer your questions about practicing ACIM, then you should ask him.

I assume you’ve read The Disappearance of the Universe.

If I sound abrasive or any other form of unkindness, don’t take it personally. It’s about me, not about you.

Kim wrote:

loads of people struggle with some aspects, which is why teachers such as Gary, David Hoffmeister, etc teach, is it not ?

I don’t know. I’m not very good with “why” questions hahahaha

Very few are able to hear the Holy Spirit/J directly.

Is this true? I didn’t know that. I find it surprising. I guess it’s that thing: “many are called, few choose to listen”. Nobody wants to hear what J has to say. That’s the only criteria for hearing him - that you want to. People think they want to hear him but really what they want is the idol of J, a fantasy version of him who meets their specialness needs.

When I allow him to speak through me, most people do not like it. As Ken might say, nobody really wants to do this Course. It makes us aware of the decision making mind and its choice for the ego, and nobody wants that. Nobody wants to look at the ego. If anyone wanted to look at the ego, they would look, with or without the Course.

The challenge is not in getting access to J - after all there’s an entire book full of his attitude. The challenge is in being willing to hear him and do as he instructs (to look at the ego without condemnation).

If you are one of those, or have a perfect understanding of ACIM, perhaps you could be the one to answer my questions?

My understanding isn’t perfect (and neither is my hearing of J/Holy Spirit), but it’s good enough. J, you are in charge.

You are Innocence Itself; nothing but this is of any consequence whatsoever.

Hmmm okay. Let’s look at your questions.

all i want to know is what does a miracle look like, if anything, in perception?\

In other words, how would I be aware of a miracle ?

It feels like there’s something behind that question. A song of pain, wishing something special to happen?

Like the first section in the Text says, miracles as such do not matter. and they aren’t meant to be under conscious control. So it’s kind of funny. J makes this thing called “A Course in Miracles” tells us all about miracles and then says “hey don’t worry about it, you don’t need to pay attention to this”. He’s a bit of a bastard really.

Oh yeah he also says they are habits, completely natural. And this is how it is in my experience. Rather than seeking after “miracles”, one dwells in “miracle mindedness” which is the same as choosing the Holy Spirit as your teacher, which is the same as choosing against the ego/wrong mind in favour of the right mind. Of course, talking about that as a choice may seem misleading, because the choice is made by the decision maker, which in our insane state is out of our awareness. It is not a ‘choice’ in the way that we normally think about choices. The entire course speaks to this “decision maker” part of our mind, not to what we think of us “I”. the course doesn’t speak to the ego. And right minded teachers often end up doing the same thing, which is why they often don’t answer questions directly. The questions which came from the ego are often questions that if answered literally would not really help, yet they can inspire a helpful answer nonetheless, as any sign of the ego is a call for love, which a right minded teacher will recognise and respond to.

My friend was telling me the other day about something that happened in Gary’s online group thing. Someone asked a technical question about suicide, and Gary, rather than directly and simply answering the question, was instead incredibly loving and gentle, quick to remove all sense of guilt, and only to say that suicide isn’t a solution because you just come straight back here and you’ll have to learn a bunch of things all over again. My friend hearing the loving thought behind Gary’s answer, burst into tears. And in retelling the story to me, she wept again.

I’m not sure why i’ve gone on that tangent. though, now i think about it, that is actually a good example of a miracle, performed by Gary. Or should i say performed through Gary. You see, miracle workers aren’t really special. There’s no pride or glory in it.

Perhaps it is good to think of a miracle as a shift in perception, that sometimes results in a completely natural and unself-conscious expression of kindness that may or may not be noticed by others as such.

I can think of several miracle examlpes from today, but they are all deeply personal.

Related to this, how do I follow the Holy Spirits purpose, if I am not in touch with him ?

Do the Course. (all the other responses in this thread are also helpful, like recommendations for supplementary materials, like the Q & A) The untrained mind can accomplish nothing. This training is a difficult process of correction and it takes time. Give yourself that time. Be kind to yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And it’s about changing your mind, not about changing your behaviour. Speech and behaviour are just an effect of the decisions made by the mind.

What do I need to do, and what do I leave to HS ?

You need do nothing except not to interfere.

I have found that, when you understand the Course’s thought system, and you are ready, you can see the difference between the ego and the Holy Spirit. And when you see that difference, and see that you are choosing the ego, your mind changes automaticaly. It’s not a difficult choice. The only reason we don’t choose the holy spirit instead of the ego is because we do not SEE what the ego is. We do not see what our current choice is. If we saw what we were choosing, we would stop choosing it, because it is mad mad mad. We don’t see what it is because its nature is disguised. The ego pretends to be what the Holy Spirit actually is. We fail to choose our Salvation because we confuse Salvation with death.

The Course is extremely well designed to untangle us. If you study the Text and do the excercises in the workbook (badly, and forgiving yourself), you will gradually be untangled. Depending on how tangled you started off (no judgement), it may take a while. Just keep going.

xx (this seems like an odd signoff, but i’m gonna roll with it)

Ugh more words (keeping me awake):

If you train your mind (using the Workbook) to think along the lines the Text sets fourth (that means you have to first STUDY the Text to understand the thought system), then you will think like the Holy Spirit/J. Whether or not a voice appears appears to speak to you will be irrelevant, because your mind will be that voice.

If the Course is too pure (cryptic) for you, study the teachings of Kenneth Wapnick until the Course makes sense.

If Ken is too dry (boring) for you, study Gary until you feel like you’ve heard it all a thousand times and want something more thorough.

Above all, forgive. Forgive yourself for wherever you appear to be on this path. There is no time. You are already Home.

Cristina wrote:

For most people, the Holy Spirit doesn’t speak in words (although the ego certainly does!) Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit “speaks” to you all through the day with ideas, thoughts, intuitions.

Yes this is absolutely right and thank you for making this point. As Ken says, sometimes it’s helpful to think of the ego and Holy Spirit as distinct entities, separate from yourself and they are often experienced that way, but the reality is, the Holy Spirit is you when you’re sane. The ego is you when you’re insane. When you think right minded thoughts, you are the Holy Spirit. (of course, that’s not your ultimate identity. I just mean within the illusion. Both the ego and the Holy Spirit are part of the split mind, which is an illusion. The only reality is Christ, God, Heaven.)

But ‘hearing’ the answer requires a degree of willingness and of stillness.

This has been my experience. My recent expansion has revolved around “willingness to hear”. The question is always about what I am willing to hear. The reason I do not hear perfectly is because of all the things I am not willing to hear. I’m not willing to hear them because they challenge me (the ego) in some way that would be too fearful.

I want to tell a bit of a story about this.

Early in my journey (long before I found the Course), I was doing The Work (as in, Byron Katie) a lot. I got so into it that I would often skip all the questions and just turn around every thought that came a long to see what all the options were. And I tried it in the reverse too. Whenever I found a self-judgement, I turned it around to judge someone else. I thought “this doesn’t feel true about me, but who else in my life might it be more true about?”. I’d been believing other people’s stories and judgements and projections, and just internalising them all. That’s what needed to be undone.

The whole excercise gave my mind a sort of flexibility. I was able to think many startling, surprising, unexpected things. Things that don’t fit with social norms, the status quo.

More recently, I started playing with Radical Honesty (under guidance). At first, telling the truth about the activities of one’s ego, is an act of extreme bravery. But bravery is like a muscle. When you use it it gets stronger. So I’m willing to say more and more radical things. And because the words in our minds are ultimately for speaking, the purpose of our speech changes our thoughts. So willingness to say radical things, becomes willingness to think radical things. And there is nothing more radical than the Course.

So my willingness to think (hear) radical thoughts, has progressed in stages. A lot of this email is that actually. A month ago I would not have been willing to write this. A lot of my radical thoughts come in the form of instructions I think because that’s how I learn best. But here’s the thing: I can’t hear an instruction that I would be unwilling to follow. That means that I always follow instructions. I always ‘follow through’ on whatever right minded thought comes to me. I only receive what I’m ready for.

Yesterday the radical instruction was to write a very honest email to both of my parents (they were never really together. I was raised by mum), and invite them both to meet me at the same time. I think I wouldn’t have been willing/ready to do that a week ago. It would have been scary. But now it’s excillerating.

That’s another word for willingness. Readiness - the question is always about what we are ready for. What we can accept without fear or guilt. Most of us only discover ACIM when we have already decided on some level that forgiveness is the way. That’s readiness.

I have some radical thoughts because I’m ready for radical thoughts. I am not afraid.

Helen Schucman heard the whole Course, because she was able to do so without fear or guilt. She was ready.

Now I feel self-conscious. Like I’m ranting in a way that may be unwelcome. I’m gonna get breakfast and come back to this.

More comes (and it’s getting to things that are now uncomfortable to share, but I am willing/ready):

When people come and seek my councel, it is often trivial for me to identify specific things they are unwilling/unready to say, do or think. And by looking at those things with J, they can grow.

And this is how I see the Course. It’s an entire book full of things we are unwilling to think! Including a workbook full of exercises we are unwilling to do with full understanding and sincerity. And by looking at that with J, we grow.

Our relationship with the Course shows us where our blocks are (so we can forgive them).

Cristina wrote:

We’re one enormous mind projecting this illusory world of perception and so within this world

This reminds me of a favourite paragraph from the Course:

T-1.I.25 Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement. Atonement works all the time and in all the dimensions of time.

I see this. The Atonement is. Everyone is always playing their part in it perfectly. No-one is outside of it.

This interlocking chain concept is related to how the forgiven (those who accept the Atonement for themselves) end up forgiving ‘others’ and almost unintentionally inspiring further forgiveness. Hence:

T-1.I.27:2 It is the privilege of the forgiven to forgive.

When this is seen, there is no conflict, no striving. The plan is perfect.

If there’s one things that ‘brings us all together’ it’s that we’re in a (seeming) hurry to (seemingly) get Home!

That is not my experience. When you really trust the Plan, you don’t wish that it would go faster. Hurry comes from fear. Wishing for a different plan than God’s - a faster one.

It’s that thing from DU about drive (‘whether it’s sex drive or a drive to work’).

There’s also, “only infinite patience yields immediate results”.

The ego avoids mindfulness by either rushing, or apethy/distraction. Depending on which defense our ego favours, we seem to need correction in a different direction. Gary was ‘lazy’ so Arten and Pursah sort of cracked the wip over him a bit. I had the opposite problem, so I’ve had to learn to slow down, stop, rest.

The point is, being in a hurry to get home isn’t what leads you home. Only choosing against the ego does. In my understanding, the single limiting factor to the sort of ‘rate’ of ‘progress’ is willingness/readiness. And willingness cannot be forced. You cannot make yourself willing.

I have watched the gradual advance of my willingness (which seems to be an irreversible process - I never become less willing) for years now, and it seems deterministic. I can’t predict or control it. It just unfolds according to a schedule I am not privy to.

Anyone wanting to go faster than they are going, is a fool (no judgement). The fast lane is only fun* for a mind that has been substantially purified. For anyone else it would be terrifying.

To be purified, a mind must be freed of unconscious guilt. How do we do that? Forgiveness.

You thought the answer would be something different. Nope. It’s all about forgiveness. It’s all about looking at our hateful, condemning attitudes, and allowing J to show us another way of seeing.

*and I use the word ‘fun’ very loosely. It’s been really interesting to watch how my idea of a good time has changed. The ego’s idea of a good time is having it’s specialness needs met. There’s a great youtube video by Ken in which he talks about how “The Course takes all the fun out of life”

These days, me and my Coursey friend’s idea of fun, is finding some previously hidden cornerstone of the ego’s thought system, and lifting it in hopes of finding something truly rotten underneath. We go looking for phrases that make us wince. Or that reveal new special hate relationships.

This would not be helpful if we were not using everything we find for forgiveness.

A quick example would be (and I’m a little uncomfortable sharing this, but I think it’s helpful), we’ve gone from discussing murder, which now ceases to horrify, to asking ourselves “which countries we think we could do without” - and bouncing ideas for how to remove unwanted ones from the world. See, fun.

But this kind of joke is only funny when you are sure that anger is never justified. Hate cannot be justified. A mild twinge of annoyance cannot be justified. Unforgiveness in any form is wholely without reason. And that the Atonement must include everyone without exception or it would not be the Atonement.

This reminds me of (I’m embarrassed by the length of this rant, and by each segue) of when I went to a workshop just to forgive a specific Course teacher. When he asked for people to share experiences I blurted out that I had a special hate relationship with him. Afterwards he came to talk to me and asked “What did I DO!?”

I had to explain to him that I wasn’t going to justify my unforgiveness of him. Unforgiveness cannot be justified.

Uh, yeah, I guess I can stop here. Before the self-attack really kicks in.

Thank you Cristina for great inspiration. And Kim of course for starting us all off.

I now feel very awkward.

Ugh there’s more, about gentleness, and guilt and fear.

In the beginning, there is an identity as a good person. And we start off with such a strong unconscious belief in our own guilt, that if we ever suspect that we aren’t good, we would be terribly afraid. And so it is important to be very very gentle with oneself. Ever so ever so kind.

Later, when the thought system of sin, guilt and fear is taken less seriously, it is safe to take the kid gloves off and go looking for trouble.

But in the beginning, it is better (kinder) not to see too much at once. So all those people who we might judge as doing the Course wrong, are doing it right for them. And all those who aren’t doing it at all, are also doing it right for them.

And I still have more. This idea of “being in a hurry to get home” has got me really ‘riled up’ but in a good way. It’s like a really jucy something something. Such a great learning opportunity.

Initially perhaps we are motivated by the thought of Heaven. The Christian idea of heaven is a sort of ‘reward for goody goodies’ (and the Christian Jesus is a ‘special victim idol’). We think that if we do our forgiveness, we get to be in heaven. But that’s not really how it works. Forgiveness undoes our belief in guilt. And it is our belief in guilt that we are miserable about. So changing our mind about it directly undoes misery. Not in some future scenario bestowed by some mystical creator. It happens now. As someone with ADHD, I really like my rewards to be immediate.

Eventually, when we run out of places to hide our belief in guilt, there will be nothing to keep us in this world. That’s when we return to “Heaven”. But until then, there’s really no reason to even think about the idea of Heaven much except as a part of our forgiveness/prayer, in which we realise that Heaven is where we all truly are. But as a carrot to motivate forgiveness, it is not really helpful.

I used to be very enthusiastic about enlightenment, since i first heard of it actually. A few years into studying the Course, that shifted and I didn’t feel in a hurry anymore. My process with the Course had undone the guilt and fear that had been driving me to do the Course. It was guilt and fear that made enlightenment so important.

So I stopped doing the Course in such an intense way, for years. I had no doubt I’d come back to it when it was time. There is no other path for me. The Course is simple and direct, like me.

Cristina wrote:

The difference with the Course is that it will lead us Home the fastest in seeming time. Therefore when we embrace this path, we are choosing at some level to wake up quickly.

Yes, this is an interesting point. While I recognise all roads lead to rome, on a practical level I have less and less time for people who aren’t Course students.

The Course is direct, because it examines the ego in great depth and detail, leaving nowhere for it to hide.

And DU sets a high bar, redirecting us wayward children back to where our mind needs to be, addressing the most common ways we escape from skillfull use of the Course.

But to even get to the point where we could read something like DU without fear, we have to have already given up a degree of guilt.

So I would say, what unites us is that we (or rather our decision making mind) have entertained doubt about guilt.

And once you start changing your mind, you’re on a fast track, even before you find ACIM.

I see the “quickness” as an effect of miracle mindedness. quickness is miraculous. With the miracle, we no longer need time. The miracle is the direct way. I sometimes think of ACIM as “Buddhism with cheat codes”. I may be being unfair to buddhism, but it feels like, I can’t be bothered waiting for all that silly karma stuff, not when there’s another way.

ACIM feels like a huge cheat. We are cheating the ego out of its pound of flesh. I’m all down with that.

It’s like, “What? you mean I get to have everything I need right now without having to pay for it?”

Those who have given up guilt say “hell yes, sign me up”. Those with guilt and fear say “There must be a catch. This must be the devil’s work.”