Holy Spirit or the ego?

Questions and Answers
In Light of ACIM

By Rev Reja Janaki Joy Green

Graphic by ©Deposit Photos

The following is a question often asked by A Course in Miracle students:

QUESTION: “How do I know when I am actually hearing Guidance from my Right Mind, a.k.a. Holy Spirit and not the ego?”

ONE POSSIBLE ANSWER:

That’s the 64,000 dollar question. [Baby boomers will remember that TV Show. ;-] And the ANSWER for me is: “Know Thyself”.

When I listen to students of A Course in Miracles talk about the “Holy Spirit”, and when I listen to myself sometimes,  I notice that often there is a reference to HS as if IT were a Being outside of ourselves and separate from who we are.  Perhaps that is just a habit of ours, here in this seeming world of separate bodies.  The Course, however, reminds us several times:

CH 5 HEALING AND WHOLENESS, 9 The Holy Spirit is nothing more than your own right mind. He was also mine. The Bible says, “May the mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus,” and uses this as a blessing. It is the blessing of miracle-mindedness. It asks that you may think as I thought, joining with me in Christ-thinking.

Even though the above quote makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is our “own right mind”, and is present when we are “Christ-thinking”, the sentence before that quote makes it seem as though it comes from outside of us:

CH 5 HEALING AND WHOLENESS, 9 I told you that I could reach up and bring the Holy Spirit down to you, but I can bring Him to you only at your own invitation.

If the first quote were true, and of course it is, then this bringing down of the Holy Spirit is in a figurative sense, and not literal. Our Elder Brother can open the way to our “own right mind”, but he is reminding us that it must be at our own invitation. “The Holy Spirit’s Voice is as loud as your willingness to listen.” ACIM CH 8, 78

If our Elder Brother could open the way to our “own right mind”, that could only mean that our Minds are joined and that there is one MIND and that the communication within this MIND is universal and internal.

CH 18 THE DREAM AND THE REALITY, 56The body is a limit imposed on the universal communication which is an eternal property of mind. But the communication is internal. [It is not made up of different parts which reach each other.] Mind reaches to itself. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. [It encompasses everything.] It encompasses you entirely; you within it, and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever.

Thus the Holy Spirit is Mind reaching to itself, pulling itself up by its own boot straps. We might call it the cosmic REBOOT. When all else fails REBOOT and if that fails: “Read the Manual”. LOL

CH 26 THE TRANSITION, 49 Ideas are of the mind. What is projected out and seems to be external to the mind is not outside at all but an effect of what is in and has not left its source.

Again and again, one finds that our sense of identity is at the center of this Miraculous thought system offered through A Course in Miracles.  Every truth we believe is in direct relationship to who we think we are and who we  think our  brothers are and Who we think Jesus and God are. Minds communicate in ideas. Our Source gave of itself in the idea of us and we are also able to give of ourselves, which is our selfhood. The Course keeps reminding us that we are an idea, in full communication with all that ever was, which has never left its Source.

CH 15 THE PURPOSE OF TIME, 63 It is through us that peace will come. Join me in the idea of peace, for in ideas minds can communicate. If you would give yourself as your Father gives His Self, you will learn to understand selfhood. And therein is love’s meaning understood. But remember that understanding is of the mind and only of the mind. Knowledge is therefore of the mind, and its conditions are in the mind with it. If you were not only an idea and nothing else, you could not be in full communication with all that ever was. Yet as long as you prefer to be something else, or would attempt to be nothing else and something else together, the language of communication, which you know perfectly, you will not remember.

The Course is teaching  or reminding us, of a radical new perspective, which is based on this language of communication we have forgotten. We have forgotten that MIND extends to itself, being all there is. Love is all there is and what is all-encompassing can have no opposite. VIOLA! No separation, unless we choose to separate ourselves away from our Reality through judgment and unforgiveness – a.k.a. ‘wrong-mindedness’, a.k.a. the ego. We are adrift until we make the choice to ‘think’ with our CHRIST MIND.

CH 5 HEALING AND WHOLENESS, 11 The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind, which senses the knowledge that lies beyond perception. It came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the beginning of the Atonement at the same time. Before that, there was no need for healing and no one was comfortless.

In any given instant I could ask myself: Are my thoughts the loving Thoughts of God? Are my thoughts those of my Source, which is LOVE? Do I see no separation between myself and my brother?  “Every altar to God is part of your Soul because the light He created is one with Him.” ACIM CH 10, 33  Also, He tells us, “It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn. It is the final lesson that I learned, and God’s Sons are as equal as learners as they are as Souls.” ACIM CH 5, 20

Am I relating to the TRUTH within that KNOWS that I am whole and complete and still as God created me? Or am I relating to a separate self, with separate needs and desires?  One sense of Self dwells in eternity and abundance and the other in time and scarcity.  “Those who see themselves as whole make no demands.” ACIM LESSON 37, 2

In every instant I make that choice. Now is the only time there is. What am I choosing now? What am I identifying with? Is it the Voice for Love that sings within, waiting to be acknowledged and expressed or the dirge of the ego.

The original question was: How do I know when I am actually hearing Guidance from my Right Mind, a.k.a. “Holy Spirit”, and not the ego?

And the Answer is: Know ThySelf. If the guidance is aligned in the knowledge of Who you are in truth, that you are one with your Brother and one with your Source, then  it is a reflection of Love and Reality. Your next thought, and the one after that, and the one after that, are either from your Christ Mind, a.k.a. the Holy Spirit, a.k.a. Love,  and are healing or they come from a misperception of who you are, born of fear. When we feel that tinge of separateness in our heart and there is no peace, that’s not the Holy Spirit. That’s our call to choose once again. There is no judgment. Who you are hasn’t changed. You are always the sinless and guiltless Son of God and now you get to choose again in each new moment.

Ɲαɱα§ɫé ॐ

 

*Reverend Reja Joy Green is one of the founding members of the Course in Miracles Society [CIMS]; She is the CIMS webmaster, eMagazine editor and producer of the Daily Lesson Mailings [Daily Lesson Mailings]. Rev. Reja Joy facilitates the Course in Miracles study group in Omaha and is ordained as a Community Miracles Center minister.

As a registered Yoga Instructor, Rev. Reja Joy teaches through her RejaJoy-Yoga-Studio from the perspective of A Course in Miracles and hosts several social media groups for those who share this journey. Rev. Reja Joy currently resides with her loving husband Chris Green in Omaha, NE.

Course in Miracles Society (CIMS) is an international group of Course students and teachers organized to discover, authenticate and propagate the divine teachings of A Course in Miracles. As students, we seek to increase our knowledge of Jesus’ words and to deepen our experience of his teaching. As teachers, we work to circulate the message of A Course in Miracles throughout the world by our words, by our deeds and by the example of our lives.  Jcim.net

 

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Perception versus Knowledge

Questions and Answers

In Light of ACIM

 [as it appeared in the JAN FEB 2014 eMAGAZINE]

QUESTION: “How do we release our past conditioning which effects how we perceive everything in this world and keeps us stuck in illusion and away from knowledge?”

ANSWER: We begin with a definition of both perception and knowledge. This distinction will help us to understand the dynamics between them and their relationship to our Awakening. This Awakening is the release of our past conditioning.

Some people would define ‘perception’ as the end-result of the processing of our senses. For example, we process the feeling of the sun on our face by our sense of touch. The sun‘s rays touch our face and we process the sensation into a perception. We perceive its warmth.

Once we translate that sensation into a perception we relate it to our store of prior events which brings an understanding of what the perception is. We eventually come to comprehend that our sun which orbits our planet earth is radiating its light and warmth. However, is this later realization knowledge or ‘comprehension’?

Knowledge would likely be defined by most people as the end-result of the processing of our perceptions. In other words, we process the feeling of the sun on our face by our sense of touch into a perception. Then our mind analyzes the perception further into what we might consider as knowledge of the various attributes of the sun’s rays, the chemical processes on our skin, etc.

But, again, is this knowledge or is it merely ‘comprehension’?

In a remarkable book titled “GOD I AM: From Tragic to Magic”, channeled with the aid of Immanuel and St. Germain, scribe Peter O. Erbe writes:

“God can be known but not comprehended. Comprehension is perception with the mind. To perceive, I have to be apart from the perceived. This indicates division. Physicality is polarity. God is union, therefore not comprehensible by a polarized, that is divided, mind.”
“From within the realm of polarities we can only feel into the subject matter in a manner which induces the remembrance of an ancient knowing in our soul.” P. 17

And we find these complimentary thoughts from within A Course in Miracles:

12 God honored even the miscreations of His Children because they had made them, but He also blessed them with a way of thinking that could raise their perceptions until they became so lofty that they could reach almost back to Him. The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement. It represents a state of mind that comes close enough to one-mindedness that transfer to it is at last possible. Transfer depends on common elements in the old learning and the new situation to which it is transferred. Perception is not knowledge, but it can be transferred to knowledge or cross over into it. It might even be more helpful here to use the literal meaning of “carried” over since the last step is taken by God.  ACIM.OE.CH5.12 [bold emphasis is mine]

Perception can be lifted up and brought close to knowledge. Comprehension, of that which is perceived, gives way to that which cannot be perceived but only KNOWN. Oneness knows only Wholeness and Unity.

We are told that “From within the realm of polarities we can only feel into the subject matter…” which induces within us “the remembrance of an ancient knowing in our soul”.

From Chapter 21 of A Course in Miracles we find the following:

8 Listen-perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered. Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember from just this little part how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you. ACIM.OE.21.8

Recently in an ACIM Study Group, the discussion centered on how our perceptions stem from our prior conditioning and how very difficult it is to rid ourselves of what we have learned. This problem almost seems to be beyond healing and yet we are learning, in the Course, that healing is certain. Let’s look closely at the mechanism that is keeping us trapped within perception and away from Right Perception, which moves toward Knowing.

What is the nature of this TRAP?

“Repeated experience causes repeated judgment. This creates habits of perception. Habits of perception may be seen like grooves in the mind. The deeper the groove, the more fixed becomes our belief in what the groove contains. “ GOD I AM p.28

And the Course poignantly describes this dilemma as such:

6 The blind become accustomed to their world by their adjustments to it. They think they know their way about in it. They learned it, not through joyous lessons, but through the stern necessity of limits they believed they could not overcome. And still believing this, they hold those lessons dear and cling to them because they cannot see. They do not understand the lessons keep them blind. This they do not believe. And so they keep the world they learned to “see” in their imagination, believing that their choice is that or nothing. They hate the world they learned through pain. And everything they think is in it serves to remind them that they are incomplete and bitterly deprived. ACIM.OE.CH21.6

So we now see that our thoughts are trapped within the grooves of our mind, carved out by habits of perception. We could acquiesce to the way we think things are, believing there is no other choice, that it is this way or nothing. Or we could open our minds to a way to be released from bondage by believing that there is another way.

As long as we perceive ourselves within the groove, we are attached to the groove and we continue to blame the groove, viewing it as the CAUSE of our suffering.

“The form always represents the effect, not the CAUSE. Treatment of the effect, being only a symptom, can only displace or shift the symptom.” GOD I AM p. 28

A Course in Miracles describes it as such:

8  Today we seek to change our minds about the source of sickness, for we seek a cure for all illusions, not another shift among them. ACIM.OE.LESSON140.8

By focusing on the ‘grooves’ of our learned perceptions, we stay stuck. More than that, we ‘stabilize’ these perceptions rather than release them. So we might ask how do we stop this vicious cycle? How do we release the habit of thinking the grooves are the CAUSE of our unhappiness and believing we are unable to behave differently and thus deepening the grooves. Are we only solidifying our perceptions by our beliefs? Can we pick ourselves up out of the grooves by our own bootstraps. In other words, REBOOT using perception?

Yes, and the answer is the KEY to Happiness -> True Perception without judgment!

“To perceive without stabilization of perception, however, it becomes imperative to abandon the judgment of that which is perceived, for it is judgment that stabilizes perception. Yeshwa’s advise: ‘Judge not by appearances’ may be understood better in this light. Evaluating, that is judging what we perceive results always in False Perception.

“The thought then, logically and consequently thought to its end, is this: where judgment is not, accusation is absent. Where accusation is not, guilt is absent. Where guilt is not, forgiveness has no purpose and a state without a need for forgiveness must, of necessity, be a state of pure Being, of innocence, a state of enlightenment.”  GOD I AM p.28

What is described here is Vision which is within us for the asking, or rather for the ‘allowing’. We were given this Vision at the same ‘time’ we chose to believe in the illusion of separation. We keep the grooves strong and in place and in fact deepen them by our insistence that correction lies in our perception and therefore ‘judgment’ of the grooves. The groove is not a CAUSE of our pain. It is the effect of our thinking that we are separate from our Source and alone.

We were given the Holy Spirit [our Right Mind] which is both able to ‘perceive’ and to ‘know’ and this is the bridge.

12What is a miracle but this remembering? And who is there in whom this memory lies not? The light in one awakens it in all. And when you see it in each other, you are remembering for everyone.  ACIM.OE.CH21.12

The MIRACLE is the Shift out of this way of ‘thinking’ and into allowing the Thoughts we think with God to enter our most Holy Minds, for they have never left it. They have only been covered up by our belief in fear, our belief in lack and our belief in the grooves! We don’t need to ‘think’ our way out of our rut. We simply need do nothing which allows Love to enter of Its own accord. The Course teaches that ‘Love waits on welcome, not on time.”

“So the answer to the question of how to leave the groove is to wake up to Reality, the very purpose of the soul’s sojourn through the world of matter.” GOD I AM. p. 29

“True Perception [Forgiveness] of this illusion will set us free from the bondage of this dream. It allows the miracle in to heal. A miracle is devoid of degrees. It cares not what we perceive our problem to be, how big or small – it matters not. For where we see many problems, it only knows of one: Separation from Oneness. And to the one problem, it can only bring one answer, provided the miracle is invited and allowed in. For what we call a miracle is nothing else but the truth rushing in if we surrender our defenses.” GOD I AM p.29
[bold emphasis is mine]

“Change can come in the twinkling of an eye.
When the Light catches you.
In that tiny moment, you are transformed.

And the radiance of Christ
Shines forth in reply
From within, and has made itself known,
And from the two is born
A new world.”

~ Words and Music by Lark Batteau [See MUSIC ARTICLE]

Truth will come rushing in when we choose Love, for that is what we ARE. With faith, we come to Know that change can truly come in the twinkling of an eye. ♥
Question and Answer segment written by Rev Reja Joy Green ~ CIMS eMagazine editor

ARTICLE on CIMS Website

Le s s o n  243
Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

1 I will be honest with myself today. I will not think that I already know what must remain beyond my present grasp. I will not think I understand the whole from bits of my perception, which are all that I can see. Today I recognize that this is so. And so I am relieved of judgment which I cannot make. Thus do I free myself and what I look upon, to be in peace as God created us.

2 Father, today I leave creation free to be itself. I honor all its parts, in which I am included. We are one because each part contains Your memory, and truth must shine in all of us as one.

ACIM.OE.WB.243

 


Forgiveness and Blaming the Victim


ACIM Q&A

Forgiveness and Blaming the Victim

BY REJA JOY GREEN
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Forgiveness-Not Blaming The Victim

The following is a question, posed on the new blog, “From Anxiety to Love: Finding Inner Peace with A Course in Miracles“. Corinne answered this question beautifully on her blog and a followup answer by Reja is below.

Question: “I don’t understand how forgiveness in the Course is different than blaming the victim. I know that abusive people can, and have, misused the Course and other spiritual teachings to act from ego and hurt others. However, I still see in the Course amongst its teachers that the person who was hurt must then forgive by “accepting that what you thought happened, didn’t” and realizing that one “chose to hurt oneself through the abuser” and other concepts.”

Thank you so much Corinne. The explanation you’ve given on your blog which is here-> http://bitly.com/ACIMQandA-BlamingVictim will resonate with a lot of Course students, I’m sure.

What I’d love to do is hear from other Course in Miracle students on how they would answer this question as well.

I felt the challenge to ask within my Self for how I would have answered this question if it were posed to me and so this Article was born.

~*~

The first part of the question stated:

“I don’t understand how forgiveness in the Course is different than blaming the victim.”

From the wording of this first part of the question, there seems to be a perception that blame is not only possible but that blame is actually occurring in the name of ‘forgiveness’, which makes it seem as though the ‘victim’ is being unfairly treated. And from the perspective of separation, this makes sense.

However we, as students of A Course in Miracles [ACIM], are learning to choose a different kind of ‘perspective’.  And it’s a perspective to be used even here in this dream of physical space; even now, in our seeming experience of linear time. There IS NO OTHER Place or Time. The perspective of the Holy Spirit, of our Right Mind, of FORGIVENESS, will bring us to an experience of Peace and JOY ~  here and now! And this is the first step toward our awakening; the first step on this journey without distance to a goal that has never changed.

The whole crux of the solution then is to understand the perspective that ACIM is teaching us. And the answer is closer to us than our breath. It is truly our own BEING. It is the Love that we ARE.

When we choose to come from our Right Mind, which is actually a definition of ‘Forgiveness’,  then we are literally coming from the part of our Mind referred to as the Holy Spirit, Higher Self, or Guidance.  And this MIND shows us what is REALLY going on, past the limited perception of the ego which is based on separation. And that vision is what Forgiveness truly is.

From the perspective of LOVE [aka Holy Spirit, Higher Self, Guidance, whatever you may call it], blame is impossible. It’s impossible because there is no condemnation. And there is no condemnation because there is no belief in separation. The Course asks us many times who would we attack if we truly knew the ‘other‘ as our Self?

In order for attack to even take place we must first separate ourselves from the other. We must first think that we are different from them; that they are truly separate from us and then we decide whether they deserve either punishment or forgiveness.

From the alternate perspective of UNITY, there is not only no condemnation, there is no separation between the person ‘perceiving the other’ and the ‘other’. This alternate perspective allows us to ponder the idea that what is truly going on is so much more than what our limited minds are showing us. It allows for the idea that what our limited minds are showing us is not Reality. We are not different from our brothers. We are Spirit having a human experience and we are ALL facets of the ONE.

The Course is teaching us that MINDS are JOINED; That we share One Mind with God although we have divided that One mind in separate, warring parts that do not remember their Oneness. Our thoughts create the separation and then we react to it as if it were real.

The SHIFT away from the view that perpetuates ‘separation’ to one that allows the Reality of UNITY to come forward is the MIRACLE. The Course tells us that the miracle is when we remove the blocks to Love’s awareness. The Course tells us that everything that comes from Love is a Miracle.

Now, the next part of the question tells us that the questioner admits:

I still see in the Course amongst its teachers that the person who was hurt must then forgive by ‘accepting that what you thought happened, didn’t’….”

In this statement we first of all see that the person ‘was hurt’ and then the person who ‘was hurt’ is being told they MUST FORGIVE by denying that it happened. This truly sounds ludicrous and yet there is more here than meets the eye.

If we first look at the idea that the person is HURT, it is agreed that the appropriate reaction is NOT to deny this person’s experience. That would be something the Course calls:  ‘denying the DENIAL’ and the Course urges us NOT to do this. So what is DENIAL? DENIAL is occurring when anyone DENY’S their perfection. But our healing will never occur if we continue to deny that we are in DENIAL. J

Yes, the person is hurt. Or yes, I am hurt. We should not deny that feeling. But the HEALING of the DENIAL and the pain which the DENIAL causes is what the Course is teaching us. We hurt. Yes. But in Reality we are still as God created us. We are not the weak and vulnerable and separate person our egos want us to believe we are. That concept of ourselves can cause us to feel hurt but that is not who we are.

Actually, there is nothing outside of us. In reality there is One Mind and that Mind I share with God. Everything else is a call for help and healing, whether it’s from me or from the other person. Any concept of who I am that does not include my perfection and Eternal Being, is a concept supported by my vulnerable ego and will suffer pain.

The Course tells us “I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.” We learn this so beautifully in Lesson 281 as He teaches us this prayer:

1 Father, Your Son is perfect. When he thinks that he is hurt in any way, it is because he has forgotten who he is. And that he is as You created him. Your Thoughts can only bring me happiness. If ever I am sad or hurt or ill, I have forgotten what You think and put my little, meaningless ideas in place of where Your Thoughts belong and where They are. I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts. The Thoughts I think with You can only bless. The Thoughts I think with You alone are true.
ACIM Lesson 281

Nothing outside of us can hurt us or change our eternal Reality in any way. The Course is teaching us that we can ALWAYS choose again when we are in pain. No one can hurt us unless we give them the power to do so. In the very last few paragraphs of the Course, we are gently reminded that:

87 Trials are but lessons which you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before, you now can make a better one and thus escape all pain which what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again.” He would not leave one source of pain unhealed nor any image left to veil the truth. [He would remove all misery from you, whom God created altars unto joy.] He would not leave you comfortless, alone in dreams of hell, but would release your minds from everything that hides His face from you. His holiness is yours because He is the only power that is real in you. His strength is yours because He is the Self that God created as His only Son.    ACIM OrEd.Tx.31.87

This is what we are learning. It is the concept that, as soon as we are feeling anything but JOY, there’s a RED FLAG that is there, letting us know that we need to ‘choose again’ and this time we choose for Reality and not what we thought was going on.

That’s where the next part of this question comes in:  Once the person perceives themselves as hurt, it was thought that they must then

– “forgive by ‘accepting that what you thought happened, didn’t’….”

There’s that pesky word ‘FORGIVE’ again.

Forgive, in the Course’s use of the word, does not mean that we make some action or thought real and then forgive it so we can be absolved or the other person can feel better.

Forgive means to ‘see’ the action or thought with our Right Mind. It means to see it with the Mind of Christ. We will then know what is Really going on.  What ‘didn’t happen’ is anything that could change our Eternal Reality as LOVE. Nothing can change that. When we identify with WHO we Truly ARE, nothing of substance has changed.

Yes, we make mistakes while we are coming from the perspective of separation and ego, but what is REAL cannot be changed by those mistakes. It’s as if they never happened.  You thought that someone hurt you but they cannot. The only thing that can be hurt is a limited sense of who you are, which is the ego.

The Course tells us that our mission here is to demonstrate that we are not an EGO. And we demonstrate that by Knowing that no matter what anyone says or thinks or does they cannot change my Reality as a perfect Son of God nor change their Reality as a perfect Son of God.
“It didn’t happen”.  😉

The last part of this questions is:

“..and realizing that one “chose to hurt oneself through the abuser” and other concepts.”

When we use this new ‘perspective’, that we are learning as Course students, and view the ‘abuser’ we do not see anyone different from ourselves. We don’t continue to perpetuate the idea of separation which is not Real. They are the Son of God as we are. And they are either coming from Love or calling for Love, as we are. While they are calling for love, their Reality as the Son of God hasn’t change. That is their Eternal Being. It hasn’t changed even when it is not recognized by themselves or by others. The Love that you ARE waits on welcome, not on time. It will NEVER change.

Only our Thoughts can hurt us in anyway. How we ‘see’ our brother and how we ‘see’ ourselves will either be through the eyes of illusion and separation or through the eyes of Christ/Holy Spirit/Love. And this is our choice. We choose to hurt ourselves if we are choosing to ‘see’ our brother as an abuser and if we ‘see’ ourselves as someone who can be abused.

If I see someone as an abuser then I must be coming from the perspective of ‘separation’. If I am ‘hurt’ then I must be coming from the perspective of ‘separation’.

It all comes down to who I identify with and the Course is teaching us that we are LOVE. Nothing we have thought about ourselves has changed our True Identity as the Perfect Son of God. Nothing we have thought of anyone else has changed their identity as the Perfect Son of God.

When we keep coming back to Forgiveness, which is ‘seeing’ with Right Perception; with the eyes of Christ/Love, then all things fall into place. “Love doesn’t conquer all things but it does set all things right.”

Nothing REAL can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

~Reja Janaki Joy Green
Omaha, NE

Offer of Assistance in ACIM ~ Q and A with Carmen

Good Questions
Questions & Answers

By Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~

[As it appears in the July 2011 Newsletter]

There is nothing I like more than a good question about the Course.  And by “good question”, I mean a thought provoking one – a question that makes me reassess what I currently believe and perhaps come to see it in a new light. As a result, we have a very interactive study group of Course students here in Louisville where everyone is encouraged to share their insights and questions. It is also a very diverse group with people from widely varying religious backgrounds so we get a lot of very insightful questions and I’ve been making a note of them for the last 16 years.

Question:You have offered your experience of calling upon Jesus for guidance and assistance in our weekly study group.  Is His offer of assistance specifically referenced in ACIM?  If so, can you point me to the sections where Jesus makes reference to this? Thanks!  ~Logan McC
Answer:  Is it referenced in ACIM?  Oh gosh YES!

ALL of the functions later ascribed to the Holy Spirit in ACIM are initially ascribed to Jesus, personally, in the early chapters, ESPECIALLY His offer of help and guidance.

The popular reasoning for that shift from Jesus to the Holy Spirit as our Guide is that the Holy Spirit is a “higher” form of spiritual Help and Guidance and Jesus was encouraging us to “progress” on to that level, gently and gradually during the process of the dictation.

My own theory, however, is that Helen was way too uncomfortable with the intense intimacy of that kind of relationship with Jesus as a personal entity (a well-attested to conflict for Helen) and so she was far more comfortable with “distancing” those functions “up” to the much more impersonal, symbolic and abstract Holy Spirit. (Jesus speaks directly to Helen’s preference for the abstract in the Urtext as a limitation on her ability to comprehend the concrete and practical.) But, seeing Helen’s resistance, and ever the gentle and helpful “older brother”, Jesus just accommodated her.  And through her struggle with Jesus’ help, apparently Jesus found a way to help many of us!

There are dozens of references to Jesus offering to be our guide and role model even in the heavily edited Foundation for Inner Peace [FIP] version but the most direct ones are in the Original Edition and most especially in Helen’s notes and Urtext.

Jesus tells Helen to ask Him about everything she must decide: from what to wear to work, to when to stop channeling His dictation, to where to shop for her new coat – and even a very particular diamond broach!

The “personal” note where Jesus calls Himself “The Higher Shopping Service” is my personal favorite of all these references because it so clearly demonstrates both His sense of humor and His practical understanding through personal experience of just what it is to be a human.

Over the years, I have asked for guidance from both Jesus and the Holy Spirit and I just personally prefer to go to Jesus because of His delightful sense of humor – He can correct my errors bluntly but make me laugh at myself simultaneously – while the guidance from the Holy Spirit seems more dry and matter-of-fact, that being the primary distinction between them.  BUT it is also my belief that Jesus cautions us to not attempt to go too quickly to the Holy Spirit before He’s helped us actually recognize our fears:

T-4.III.7. It has never really entered your mind to give up every idea you ever had that opposes knowledge. 2 You retain thousands of little scraps of fear that prevent the Holy One from entering. 3 Light cannot penetrate through the walls you make to block it, and it is forever unwilling to destroy what you have made. 4 No one can see through a wall, but I can step around it.

It is my belief that this is the explanation why so many ACIM students have so much difficulty in distinguishing between the Holy Spirit’s Voice and their own egos’ – they have skipped over this major step of clearing the fear that blocks the Holy Spirit with the tender and patient help of Jesus.

There are specific references in the early versions to things as down-to-earth and specific as even asking Jesus about whom to marry, how to resolve personal and professional counseling situations, and even customized “prescriptions” relating to physical symptoms.

But if you’re asking for something to cite from the standard FIP, here’s just a small selection:

T-1.II.4. “No man cometh unto the Father but by me” does not mean that I am in any way separate or different from you except in time, and time does not really exist. 2 The statement is more meaningful in terms of a vertical rather than a horizontal axis. 3 You stand below me and I stand below God. 4 In the process of “rising up,” I am higher because without me the distance between God and man would be too great for you to encompass. 5 I bridge the distance as an elder brother to you on the one hand, and as a Son of God on the other. 6 My devotion to my brothers has placed me in charge of the Sonship, which I render complete because I share it.

T-1.III.1. I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. 2 When you offer a miracle to any of my brothers, you do it to <yourself> and me. 3 The reason you come before me is that I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily. 4 My part in the Atonement is the cancelling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. 5 When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. 6 As you share my unwillingness to accept error in yourself and others, you must join the great crusade to correct it; listen to my voice, learn to undo error and act to correct it. 7 The power to work miracles belongs to you. 8 I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing.

T-1.II.5. Revelations are indirectly inspired by me because I am close to the Holy Spirit, and alert to the revelation-readiness of my brothers. 2 I can thus bring down to them more than they can draw down to themselves. [Jesus is claiming here to be the means for us to reach revelation.]

T-1.III.4. I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. 2 You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you. 3 Ask me which miracles you should perform. 4 This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication.

T-1.III.8. That the miracle may have effects on your brothers that you may not recognize is not your concern. 2 The miracle will always bless <you>. 3 Miracles you are not asked to perform have not lost their value. 4 They are still expressions of your own state of grace, but the action aspect of the miracle should be controlled by me because of my complete awareness of the whole plan. 5 The impersonal nature of miracle-mindedness ensures your grace, but only I am in a position to know where they can be bestowed.

T-1.IV.4.6 I assure you that I will witness for anyone who lets me, and to whatever extent he permits it. 7 Your witnessing demonstrates your belief, and thus strengthens it. 8 Those who witness for me are expressing, through their miracles, that they have abandoned the belief in deprivation in favor of the abundance they have learned belongs to them.

T-1.VII.5.4 I have been careful to clarify my role in the Atonement without either over- or understating it. 5 I am also trying to do the same with yours. 6 I have stressed that awe is not an appropriate reaction to me because of our inherent equality. 7 Some of the later steps in this course, however, involve a more direct approach to God Himself. 8 It would be unwise to start on these steps without careful preparation, or awe will be confused with fear, and the experience will be more traumatic than beatific. 9 Healing is of God in the end. 10 The means are being carefully explained to you. 11 Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you, but to reach it the means are needed. [See T-1.II.5.2 above.]

T-2.II.1. You can do anything I ask. 2 I have asked you to perform miracles…

T-2.V.A.11. (1) 3 When you perform a miracle, I will arrange both time and space to adjust to it.

T-2.VI.1.3 My control can take over everything that does not matter, while my guidance can direct everything that does, if you so choose.

T-2.VI.4.9 Before you choose to do anything, ask me if your choice is in accord with mine. 10 If you are sure that it is, there will be no fear.

T-3.IV.7.3 I was a man who remembered spirit and its knowledge. 4 As a man I did not attempt to counteract error with knowledge, but to correct error from the bottom up. 5 I demonstrated both the powerlessness of the body and the power of the mind. 6 By uniting my will with that of my Creator, I naturally remembered spirit and its real purpose. 7 I cannot unite your will with God’s for you, but I can erase all misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under my guidance. 8 Only your misperceptions stand in your way. 9 Without them your choice is certain. 10 Sane perception induces sane choosing. 11 I cannot choose for you, but I can help you make your own right choice.

T-4.IV.11.   I do not attack your ego. 2 I do work with your higher mind, the home of the Holy Spirit, whether you are asleep or awake, just as your ego does with your lower mind, which is its home. 3 I am your vigilance in this, because you are too confused to recognize your own hope. 4 I am not mistaken. 5 Your mind will elect to join with mine, and together we are invincible.

T-4.VI.6.     My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. 2 Your mission is very simple. 3 You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God’s channels wrongly. 4 The Holy One shares my trust, and accepts my Atonement decisions because my will is never out of accord with His. 5 I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. 6 This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now complete it through others. 7 My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.

T-4.VI.7.     I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception He can bridge the little gap. [Again, Jesus is saying he is the bridge – the intermediary – between us and the Holy Spirit’s Help, at least in the beginning] …7 Because you are the Kingdom of God I can lead you back to your own creations.

T-4.VI.8.     As you come closer to a brother you approach me, and as you withdraw from him I become distant to you. 2 Salvation is a collaborative venture. 3 It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me.

T-4.VII.8.7 The truly helpful are God’s miracle workers, whom I direct until we are all united in the joy of the Kingdom. 8 I will direct you to wherever you can be truly helpful, and to whoever can follow my guidance through you.

And finally:

T-5.II.3.7 The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense. 8 His is the Voice that calls you back to where you were before and will be again. 9 It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other. 10 It takes effort and great willingness to learn. 11 It is the final lesson that I learned

“The final lesson that [Jesus] learned”…learning to distinguish the Holy Spirit’s Voice and listening to no other…how vain then would it be to think that I could learn to do that on my own WITHOUT his help! Thankfully, Jesus offers us his help in doing so.  Repeatedly.

I truly hope that this was helpful, Logan.  God bless!

~*~

* Carmen Cameron, who is a founding member of Course in Miracles Society, has been teaching classes in A Course in Miracles since 1994.  She was a presenter at the 2009 Miracles Conference in San Francisco and presented again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is: http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

Authentic Guidance ~ Q and A with Carmen

Good Questions 
Questions & Answers

By Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~
[As it appears in the May 2011 Newsletter] 
There is nothing I like more than a good question about the Course.  And by “good question”, I mean a thought provoking one – a question that makes me reassess what I currently believe and perhaps come to see it in a new light. As a result, we have a very interactive study group of Course students here in Louisville where everyone is encouraged to share their insights and questions. It is also a very diverse group with people from widely varying religious backgrounds so we get a lot of very insightful questions and I’ve been making a note of them for the last 15 years.  
Question:Can two people receive authentic guidance on an issue even if that guidance is completely opposite for each?
Answer: I’ve gotten that question many times over the years (especially from couples).  And the short answer is YES!Remember that the Course is a customized curriculum.  Each person that comes to it is learning different lessons and in a different order.  So two (or more) people may each be told by the Holy Spirit to follow what seems like a conflicting path simply because they each have a different lesson to learn.

This is true even if their (or our) guidance isn’t really from the Holy Spirit but from the ego mind, instead.

So, two very sincere ACIM students may feel guided to vote for different candidates for president, for instance.  One student needs to learn the lessons that come from taking responsibility for the outcomes from their choice of the winner and the other has lessons that may center on how they deal with supporting the loser wholeheartedly.

The more important question though is how we respond to situations in which our guidance isn’t the same as the guidance of those we are closely associated with.  For if their choice has brought up a negative reaction in us, the lesson is ours, isn’t it?

I sincerely pray that this is of help to you and God bless you on your perfect journey, always.

~*~

Carmen Cameron, who is a founding member of Course in Miracles Society, has been teaching classes in A Course in Miracles since 1994.  She was a presenter at the 2009 Miracles Conference in San Francisco and is scheduled to present again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is:  http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

Q and A with Carmen

 

Good Questions 
Questions & Answers
By Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 [as it appeared in the April 2011 Newsletter] 

 There is nothing I like more than a good question about the Course.  And by “good question”, I mean a thought provoking one – a question that makes me reassess what I currently believe and perhaps come to see it in a new light. As a result, we have a very interactive study group of Course students here in Louisville where everyone is encouraged to share their insights and questions. It is also a very diverse group with people from widely varying religious backgrounds so we get a lot of very insightful questions and I’ve been making a note of them for the last 15 years. 

 

Question: It’s springtime – my favorite time of year – and yet, as we approach what should be happiest of seasons, Easter, so many events going on in the world are still anxiety-inducing.  Natural disasters, man-made tragedies and the horrors of war seem to be getting worse instead of better.  Do you have a way to see what’s going on with peace of mind?I know that, as a spiritual person, I’m not supposed to be into things but the Course says that the Holy Spirit knows that I need things while I am here just to survive until I learn to go beyond this level of existence.  Things are really tight for me right now and it’s becoming a big distraction to my spiritual progress.
Any ideas?
 
Answer: I can share with you what works for me to trade a sense of crucifixion into the hope of resurrection.

“May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese greeting that is considered to be a curse by the human ego but a blessing by the soul for we learn best, the Course explains to us, through extreme examples. (T-6.in.2.1 acim-oe)  And the present isn’t anything if not extreme.

The earth will end, not in its destruction, the Course says, but in ITS TRANLATION INTO HEAVEN.
(T-11.VIII.1.8)  Hard for us to imagine, isn’t it, that all the carnage around the world is actually an integral part of that translation?   But in that I trust.

The Course  originally spoke of “the celestial speed-up” as being totally about temporal events.  It said that time, itself, was running out and so it was urgent in the eyes of Spirit that we learn more quickly.  It said, in fact, that that was the very reason why we were given the Course.  The timing wasn’t accidental.  There ARE no accidents in salvation!  (M-3.1.6)

For if there ever was a perfect time for bringing up every unforgiving thought we hold in our minds, that time is NOW.

We are not “here” by accident.  We chose to be here.  Not only did we choose to be here, we were CHOSEN.  Chosen by our willingness.  Our willingness to learn.

Right now – with all the misery that surround us in the world – the earth has become, in essence, “the Harvard University” for producing masters. And it is offering us the opportunity for incredible – and rapid – learning “the peace of God which surpasseth [human] understanding” that comes from learning the truth that nothing not of God can hurt us.  (T-2.II.1.5)  And the entire universe is not only watching, it is supporting us with all its power – a power and support that’s ours but for the asking!  (Be willing to ask.)

There has never been a more potent time in human history for learning that we are safe.  That there is nothing in this world with the power to harm us UNLESS we give it the power to do so!  That the Son of God – of Whom each of us is an equally loved and protected aspect – sees the world through forgiving eyes  And what He sees is not only beautiful, it is PERFECT.

It is impossible for us to be where we are NOT supposed to be.  You and I are supposed to be here.  Now.  We chose it.  And we were chosen FOR it.  Like Helen was chosen to scribe the Course BECAUSE she would do it, you and I were chosen to be here at this pivotal point in human evolution BECAUSE YOU AND I CAN DO IT.

Do what?!?

We are here to re-member our true identity.  We are here to manifest the Christ.  We are here to claim our individual Resurrection.  By changing our minds about WHO WE ARE.  And in so doing, recognize our dominion over all things(Lesson 38, paragraph 5, sentence 5)

And our resurrection from crucifying OURSELVES!

May this be the most blessed spring-time of your life, dear soul.  And mine.  As we begin – together – to just ALLOW the Vision of Christ to translate the world to Heaven FOR us!

Suggested readings from the Workook that are very helpful:

LESSON 48.  There is nothing to fear.      LESSON 76.  I am under no laws but God’s.

LESSON 77.  I am entitled to miracles.     LESSON 194.  I place the future in the Hands of God.

LESSON 338.  I am affected only by my thoughts.

            It needs but this to let salvation come to all the world. For in this single thought is everyone released at last from fear. Now has he learned that no one frightens him, and nothing can endanger him. He has no enemies, and he is safe from all external things.  His thoughts can frighten him, but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love. He crucified himself. Yet God has planned that His beloved Son will be redeemed.

Lesson 348.     I have no cause for anger or for fear,

                        For You surround me. And in every need

                        That I perceive, Your grace suffices me.

~*~

Carmen Cameron, who is a founding member of Course in Miracles Society, has been teaching classes in A Course in Miracles since 1994.  She was a presenter at the 2009 Miracles Conference in San Francisco and is scheduled to present again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is:  http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

Posted in QUESTIONS & ANSWERS. Comments Off on Q and A with Carmen

Q and A with Carmen

Good Questions 
Questions & Answers

By Carmen Cameron*

 [as it appeared in the March 2011 Newsletter]

There is nothing I like more than a good question about the Course.  And by “good question”, I mean a thought provoking one – a question that makes me reassess what I currently believe and perhaps come to see it in a new light. As a result, we have a very interactive study group of Course students here in Louisville where everyone is encouraged to share their insights and questions. It is also a very diverse group with people from widely varying religious backgrounds so we get a lot of very insightful questions and I’ve been making a note of them for the last 15 years. 

 Question: I know that, as a spiritual person, I’m not supposed to be into things but the Course says that the Holy Spirit knows that I need things while I am here just to survive until I learn to go beyond this level of existence.  Things are really tight for me right now and it’s becoming a big distraction to my spiritual progress.  Any ideas?

Answer: Have you ever heard about “The Higher Shopping Service“?

It’s a service Jesus offered Helen and Bill and it’s available to ALL of us. (And I’ve found it to be downright miraculous since living on such a mini budget these last few years so it would be helpful to you, too, while you’re kinda’ short. 🙂

Jesus says he’ll help find the things he knows we need – along with “a reasonable amount of whims”, as well (his words, not mine) – AT THE PRICE THAT WE CAN AFFORD so that a) he can prove to us that he exists and hasn’t left us (as he promised), and b) to save us time dealing with the worry and frustrations so we can spend more time in doing what we’re here to learn to do (just extend the love of God to each other :-).

Using THSS always results in a win-win outcome, miraculously.  Using it proves to us that we’re not alone and we’re being heard and cared for.  And eventually, it makes us feel so safe and secure that very little can shake our peace, distracting us from loving life.  And each other.

It’s really cool!  I’ve had things I need just show up (often left right on my doorstep).  I’ve had a gazillion experiences of finding the perfect thing at the unbelievably low price I could afford (comfortably)!  And I’m far from being alone in learning that THSS is not only real, it’s DEPENDABLE.  (And fun – ‘cuz you just never know HOW that perfect item will turn up, and it’s often in such a way that telling the story almost sounds like fiction! lol )

Over the years since learning of THSS, our group has extended it to a broader “reach” into:
– the higher relationship counseling service
– the higher career counseling service
– the higher whatever-you-need-in-the-moment service.

Maybe you’re in the place to need THSS just because it’s time for you to learn how safe you are (if you already haven’t, that is 😉

Loving you, sweet child of God.  You are beloved!

                                                                  ~*~

Carmen Cameron, who is a founding member of Course in Miracles Society, has been teaching classes in A Course in Miracles since 1994.  She was a presenter at the 2009 Miracles Conference in San Francisco and is scheduled to present again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is:  http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

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