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

 

Posted in ACIM ARTICLES, QUESTIONS & ANSWERS. Comments Off on Holy Spirit or the ego?

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 the late 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/

The Name of God

WHAT IS THE NAME OF GOD
and of HIS SON

Scribe’s Vision in the Cave

 

[Scribe’s Vision in the Cave http://www.jcim.net/Music/helen_cave.mp3 ]

Article by Rev Reja Janaki Joy Green*
~*~*~*~*~*~

A Course student recently sent ACIM Original the following question:

“The lessons for today and yesterday make reference to the name of God and the name of the Son? is it that more will be revealed, or am I missing something?”

We thank God for these questions since they are our questions as well.  Since Minds are joined and HE tells us that there is only one thing going on, -MIND. IT within you and you within IT- then this question is within all of our minds, waiting to be answered by each of us, as we are all facets of the ONE.

In Lesson 183 “I call upon God’s Name and on my own.”  HE tells us Paragraph 1,”God’s Name is holy, but no holier than yours. To call upon His Name is but to call upon your own.”

In Lesson 184 “The Name of God is my inheritance” HE tells us in paragraph 12, “God has no name. And yet His Name becomes the final lesson that all things are one.”

If indeed ‘God has no name’ then naturally we would ask, “How could His Name become the final lesson?”

Perhaps HE is saying that God has no name as we are ‘perceiving’ and using names, much like ‘this world does not exist’ is actually saying, ‘this world does not exist as we are perceiving and using it.’?

What if HIS NAME were truly an experience of the I AM? Not a symbol of IT but the REALITY of IT. If a NAME stands for what IT is, then the NAME is saying: TAT TVAM ASI   Thou Art That

WIKI: Tat Tvam Asi (Sanskrit: तत् त्वम् असि or तत्त्वमसि), a Sanskrit sentence, translated variously as “That thou art,” “Thou art that,”…

This idea was inspired by this beautifully written an ARTICLE called “GOD IS NOT GOD’S NAME”    http://www.yhwh.com/gingn.html   Although the author is the first to tell us:

EXCERPT:

“The problem with God is not that He’s so far away that we can’t see Him. Rather, He is so close that we overlook Him. Our quest for God is just like fish in search of water. So don’t be surprised if you start to recognize God’s name everywhere.

Helping you do that is the purpose of this writing.

But God’s Real name is not in this document! How’s that for strange? Most of this document is about God’s personal name, which reveals His Real name, but God’s Real name can’t be written down in any book.”

ANOTHER  EXCERPT:

“So there you have it. God’s personal name, as we translate its meaning in English, is “I am that I am.” Here are some other ways it has been translated:

He who is

The self-existent one

He who is ever becoming what He is

Is-ness is is-ness

The article goes on to say that it is our NAME as well.”

EXCERPTS:

“You have been created in the image of YHWH. [I AM THAT I AM].

YHWH is everywhere. Every person you see is a walking, talking YHWH! We are continually reminded of His presence by those around us. When I can recognize YHWH’s Real name, I can indeed see Him everywhere.”

[This correlates to Lesson 30: “God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.”]

“YHWH has revealed His name to us. He has given it to us to use. What is even more, He has given it to us to be!”

[Lesson 184 paragraph 9: “Repeat His Name, and you acknowledge Him as sole Creator of reality. And you acknowledge also that His Son is part of Him, creating in His Name.”]

———————————————–

So, we learn in A Course in Miracles that:

**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.”~ACIM original edition ch18,VII,56**

I AM THAT I AM which is the NAME of GOD as well as His SON . The “I AM” is the ALL THAT “IS”.  And of beyond that, we cannot speak in words. ♥

========================================

*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 [example of mailings]. Rev. Reja Joy facilitates the Course in Miracles study group in Omaha and is ordained as a Community Miracles Center minister.  Rev Reja Joy facilitated the 2013 free ACIM DAILY Lesson Conference Calls along with Rev. Pamela Whitman.

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

Authentic Guidance ~ Q and A with Carmen

Good Questions 
Questions & Answers

By the late 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 presented again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is: http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

Q and A with Carmen

 

Good Questions 
Questions & Answers
By the late 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 presented again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is: http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

Posted in ACIM ARTICLES, 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 presented again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is: http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

Q and A with Carmen

 Good Questions 
Questions & Answers
By the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 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: HOLINESS ~ What does it MEAN? And what does it have to do with ME?!? 

 

Answer: MANY of us struggle with the idea that we are “holy” when repeatedly presented with that as an unalterable FACT throughout the Course and especially in some of the early Workbook lessons. (e.g. One of my favorites, “There is nothing my holiness cannot do.” Lesson 38)

I think that our resistance to the idea that we are holy is based on the concept of “holiness” that we are taught by mainstream religions, a concept that makes a separate class of people (the “saints” of all religions) special amongst us. The common understanding is that “holiness” is the exception, not the norm. And that it is something one has to “earn” by constantly fighting against temptation – an “earning” that proves our worthiness to become God’s “adopted children” (according to St. Paul). It is an incredibly difficult requirement for most humans to accomplish.

“Holiness” is not believed to be inherent in God’s creations. What God created must work for holiness. And failure is expected.

EXAMPLE, from the New Catholic Dictionary 

“Holiness (from Anglo-Saxon: perfect, or whole) – In the Old Testament the Hebrew, kadosch (holy), signified separation from the profane [they do not define “profane” anywhere in this dictionary], dedication to God’s service… Applied to God it sets forth His separation from, and opposition to all evil. Outside of God only that is holy which has some relation to Him. Holiness of creatures can be subjective, objective, or both. Subjective holiness in rational creatures consists essentially in sanctifying grace (separation from sin, possession of virtue). Objective holiness in any creature denotes its exclusive dedication to the service of God: priests by ordination, religious by vows, sacred vessels, vestments, etc., either by consecration or by blessing.”

Note that “holiness” is said to encompass the ideas of “separation from the [undefined] profane”, “opposition to evil” and “separation from sin” and (my personal favorite) being “holy” by virtue of an external and ritualized “consecration or by blessing” by an authorized human being (as in “holy water” and priestly vestments), none of which is readily accessible to ordinary human beings.

Is it any wonder, then, that we are resistant to the notion that WE are holy – by nature and by right?!? And unalterably? Hard to accept! But that is what the Course says again and again. So now let’s take a look at what one of my favorite Course expert has to say about “holiness”. From Robert Perry’s Glossary of Terms

“Holiness, Holy – A quality of divine innocence or purity, untainted by the slightest sin, guilt or impurity. A quality that comes from God to those things that are like Him. Holiness is the natural condition of God’s creations and is shared. It is characterized not by separation from the impure (as in some traditional notions), but by oneness with all things. It can never be tainted or lost, only obscured. Salvation comes through overlooking all unholiness and seeing again the native holiness in others and in oneself …”

Okay, now we’re not struggling to be “holy”; we just ARE holy, because we’re made by God and God can only make the WHOLE. It is now something that isn’t “earned” but merely RECOGNIZED (or re-membered, as Jesus says, quite literally and consciously re-attached to our sense of self) through our understanding that we are “one with all things”.

And here is one of the most telling descriptions in the Course of what that MEANS:

“I thank you, Father, knowing you will come to close each little gap that lies between the broken pieces of Your holy Son. Your Holiness, complete and perfect, lies in every one of them. And they ARE joined, because what is in one IS in them all. How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son! The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. For the Whole is in each one. And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part. Join not your brother’s dreams, but join with HIM, and where you join His Son, the Father IS.” T-28.IV.9 – 10.1

Soooo…your holiness and my holiness are part and parcel of our creation by God as an “aspect of the Son of God”, seen through physical eyes as a separate “broken piece” but, in fact, inseparable from not just the obviously sentient other aspects but also from even the tiniest of and most insignificant inanimate components of the world.

I am one with ALL of that. And it is one with me. So I cannot be broken, separated off or less than whole in ANY way.

From the Urtext: “God WOULD be mocked if ANY of his creations lacked holiness. The Creation IS whole. The mark of Wholeness is Holiness, not holes. The Sonship has no holes anywhere.”

This is one of those times in the early dictation where Jesus is “playing with words”, something he did for two reasons that he, himself, made clear elsewhere:

1) to show Bill (who loved word-play) that he was dear to Jesus; and

2) because it made things “easy to remember”.

(Helen, herself, clearly states in the notes that she doesn’t like these kinds of sayings, comparing them to doggerel, so not surprisingly, this and all similar, often humerous, sayings were deleted prior to publication.)

The point being that Jesus is associating “holiness” with its root word and source, “wholeness”. This urtext quote was immediately followed by the miracle principle that stresses the connection between our ability to perceive (or project) God’s creations’ natural state of “wholeness” and miracles:

“36. Wholeness is the perceptual content of the miracle…thus corrects (or atones for) the faulty perception of lack.” FIP Miracle Principle # 41

Ahha! Wholeness is the miracle’s correction for LACK! This is important because: “…’lack’…does not exist in the Creation of God, it is VERY apparent in the creations of man. It is, in fact, the essential difference.”

It is our perception of lack – i.e., limitation – in every form it takes that obscures our holiness/wholeness from our minds.

But the Holy Spirit – “The Great Transformer of perception” – will give us vision (once we’re open and willing to see our wholeness as reflected in the interconnectedness of all things) that…

“The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder, and a blade of grass a sign of God’s perfection. From the forgiven world, the Son of God is lifted easily into his home.” T-17.II.6.3 – 7.1

Bottom line: There are no holes in you. No limits. No gaps. No lacks. The perception of them in yourself – or in anyone else – in ANY form, is a denial of the truth of you. The acceptance of your oneness with the entirety of creation calls on the power of the entire universe to deny whatever illusions you have made from your erroneous perception of yourself as weak and alone or inadequate. And from that wholeness, you can rest in peace. And holiness. 

~*~

* 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/

 

Q and A with Carmen


Good Questions 

Questions & Answers

By the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the January 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: Does the Course give us any ideas about setting a New Year’s Resolution?

Answer: The Course says that clarifying our goal from the beginning (like at the beginning of a new year) determines the outcome we achieve (T-17.VI.2.3) .It would appear that ACIM actively approves of our making a New Year’s Resolution, at least those that are compatible with its principles.  And it even offers us some recommendations for our resolve:

“Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place,
so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening.
Make this year different, by making it all the SAME.
And let ALL your relationships be made holy FOR you.” 
Original version of T-15.XI.112

            Accepting the Holy Instant and letting our relationships be made holy for us are both statements that are clear and easily understood.  The third suggestion, however, about making this year different from all others by making everything the same requires a little more thought and consideration.  It took me years of study (yes, I am that slow) to understand what it means (at least, a meaning that works for me).

There is a section that deals with sameness that I think helps make its meaning clear:

But in this world, there are no simple facts
because what is the same and what is different remain unclear.
The one essential thing to make a choice at all is this distinction.
And herein lies the difference between the worlds.
In this one, choice is made impossible.
In the real world is choosing simplified.

Salvation stops just short of Heaven, for only perception needs salvation.
Heaven was never lost and so cannot be saved.
Yet who can make a choice between the wish for Heaven
and the wish for hell unless he recognizes they are not the same?
This difference is the learning goal this course has set.
It will not go beyond this aim. Its only purpose is to teach what is the same
and what is different, leaving room to make the only choice which can be made.

There is no basis for choice in this complex and over-complicated world.
For no one understands what is the same
and seems to choose where no choice really is.
The real world is the area of choice made real, not in the outcome
but in the perception of alternatives for choice.
That there is choice is an illusion.
Yet within this one lies the undoing of every illusion, not excepting this.

 Is not this like your special function, where the separation is undone
by change of purpose in what once was specialness and now is union?
All illusions are but one. And in the recognition this is so
lies the ability to give up all attempts to choose between them
and to make them different.
[How simple is the choice between two things so clearly unalike.]
original version of T-26.III.21-24

            Only perception needs salvation because Heaven was never lost.  And how do we stabilize our false perceptions?  We can’t.  But we can allow for a new perception – a perception based on truth.  A perception that makes way for truth.  The truth of our UNPERCEIVED YET ENTIRELY REAL unity as aspects of the completed picture of God’s Son:

Joining with Him in seeing is the way in which you learn to share with Him
the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge.
You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him
Whom God has given you teaches you how to recognize what you see.
It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone.
Seeing with Him will show you that all meaning, including yours,
comes not from double vision but from the gentle fusing
of everything into one meaning, one emotion, and one purpose.

original version of T-14.IV.30-31

            And how do we allow for that fusion to happen?  The best answer to that, in my opinion, is by doing the ACIM Workbook, allowing it to make us question ALL that we believe is true – especially in those early “undoing” lessons – in order to create a space in our unstable and conflicted minds for the Holy Spirit to fill with His higher truth.  And, in order to do that – as I pointed out about the Workbook last month – we must resist the seemingly overwhelming “need” to let that newly cleared space to be filled in by any other voice than HIS!

Allow the meaning of everything you see to be gently released from whatever it was that you ascribed to it before and let the Holy Spirit show you the only meaning that He ascribes to EVERYTHING: the healing of God’s Son.

~*~

* 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/

 

Q and A with Carmen

Carmen’s Good Questions
Q & A

By the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the December 2010 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: Starting the Workbook on January 1st is always a good idea but do you have any helpful hints for getting through it?

Answer:

Aside from the helpful hints that the Workbook, itself, gives us – that our understanding, agreement, etc., do not impede the process – I guess the most helpful things that I could add would be the following: 

 The first 50 lessons are called “the undoing lessons” for a very good reason.  They challenge us to question every value that we thought was certain, creating the mental space in our minds that is reuired before we will be open to the new and better thoughts the Worbook offers.  In that process of questioning everthing that we always thought before was true, we tend to get very uncomfortable.  Humans like being certain.  Uncertainty feel weak even though what brought us to the Corse in the first place was the realization on some level that it’s been our old “certainties” – the ego world’s foundational but completely erroneous beliefs – that were actually killing us.

 And the first instinct of us humans when we’re confused is to seek help.  My hint is to seek for that help where it can truly be found, not in other humans (like me) but to the only true teacher that the Course, itself, says is infallible: the Holy Spirit.

For while humans who’ve done the Workbook can, of course, be of service to us, the only Mind that really knows the whole plan for our own “customized curricullum” is not restricted by the limitations that exist on every human mind.

Whenever we’re confused, we want that feeling to stop.  NOW!  We want to fill the void uncertainty created. And the world has been very successful in teaching us that we should seek our answers OUTSIDE.

But the whole point of the ACIM Worbook is to present BETTER ideas than the ego’s world has to offer.

And so, my single most helpful hint to you – just as with the Text – is to seek your peace of mind in answers from a higher place than any other source.  The Workbook was DESIGNED to open us up.  Let its only true teacher fulfill His function by asking HIM to fill you up.

This is not to say that other human teachers aren’t useful, too.  But while their higher experience with the process was perfect for them, the Holy Spirit knows what works best for YOU.

This is not a “one size fits all” process, dear soul.  To get your perfect fit, ask the Expert.  First.

And don’t forget that if you could do the Workbook perfectly, you wouldn’t need it in the first place.  So please be gentle with yourself.  The temptation to go into guilt goes in the exact opposite direction of the instruction of your perfect path.

And just know that EVERY effort you make (even the ones you think are “small” or worse, “imperfect”) is blessing not only you, but the entire world.  And millions of your brothers will be joining you…

Know that you have my gratitude for this gift you’re offering me – forever. 

THANK YOU

          Carmen

* 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/

 

Q and A with Carmen

 Good Questions
Questions & Answers

By the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the  November 2010 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: This may seem silly but, as we approach the holiday season, I always get a little depressed.  Thanksgiving is a massive hassle. Christmas never lives up to its ideal. I never seem to be able to keep my New Year’s Resolution so I just get down on myself every time I think about making one. And then there’s the long, dreary winter that follows. Do you have any practical suggestions of how to deal with “seasonal depression” based on the Course?

Answer: I don’t think that is a silly question at all.  It’s a very human one (and the Course was written for human beings).

             In answer, I’ll let the Course, itself, speak to your question:

 “Neither time nor season means anything in eternity.

But here, it is the Holy Spirit’s function to use them both,

NOT as the ego uses them.”  T-15.X.1.3-4

             This quote is speaking specifically about Christmas, but I don’t think Jesus meant to limit its meaning only to that one season.  So – for myself – I have personally emphasized the need to go to the Holy Spirit with each season (and individual holiday/holy day) to ask HIM how to see it in alignment with his purpose of helping me to awaken.  And that simple practice has changed EVERYTHING about how I perceive – and act upon – the seasons!  Therefore my feelings have changed, too.

             For instance, we have just passed Halloween and its companion holiday, All Saints Day.  The Holy Spirit has given me new interpretations of both which have completely redirected how I relate to each of them. 

             All Saints (November 1st) is intended to honor the “blessed dead” – those who have passed here before us that have(at least, in the eyes of some) mastered the process of becoming loving expressions of our Father here on earth.  The Holy Spirit showed me that instead of dogmas or rituals (or singling out certain people as “special” or “better than” me), to use that day to recommit to reconnecting with souls that are more highly purified than I am yet, people the Course describes as “ascended masters”, people who are still available to help me (I don’t have to “reinvent that wheel” as others have already done so and, therefore, can genuinely help me with it, too). In point of fact, they WANT to help me; I just have to LET them.  All Saints Day is now – for me – a welcome reminder of that fact.  Plus it’s a day marked on my calendar as a handy reminder that help is available whenever I ask.

             Halloween literally is All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints, and it exists because people thought that on the day before the “blessed dead” were to be honored, the souls that had passed in a state of anger would attack the living, wreaking evil retribution and trying to stop their holy celebrations.  And so people would leave out tasty foods to bribe the evil spirit off or post scary masks and images in order to drive them off. (Hence, “Trick or Treat”.)  But the modern way of celebrating Halloween has totally lost sight of its intent.  Even so, the Holy Spirit has turned the new, more fanciful method of its celebration into a very helpful practice for me.  I now use it as an opportunity to do my own INTERNAL “trick or treats” by looking WITH the Holy Spirit at all the “ghosts” – the parts of my long dead past  for which I fear retribution – still genuinely haunt me; at the “monsters” that seem so powerful to me that they still seem to make me feel so small that they can block my path; at the lurid mists of illnesses that some part of me still cherishes.

             The point is that every single holiday and season has an inner, hidden meaning that, once understood and utilized, has incredible spiritual meaning – a meaning that has the power to feed us once we’re willing.  And constant spiritual nourishment leaves no room for any depression.

             And so Thanksgiving becomes just that: an opportunity to express my gratitude.  Not just to God but to every person that I know and love.  (My practice this year according to my instruction in meditation is to express that gratitude in writing to at least one beloved person each day from now through the holiday.)  How could I possibly feel depressed when contemplating dozens of incredible lists of just how much I am blessed?

             Christmas is no longer about celebrating what happened 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.  It’s about birthing the Christ Mind in me by seeing it first in OTHERS.  And calling It forth through that recognition! And it’s about giving now, not receiving (even though I still love getting presents, now they’re the icing, not the cake).  So every gift I give – whatever the form – is really about the content: an expression of the love of God for another that just appears to be coming through me.  And in affirming my ability to give the love of God to others, I am also expanding my capacity to receive it as my own.  That simple shift in intention around the Christmas tradition has changed EVERYTHING in my experience of it!

             And I, too, have given up on making my New Year’s resolution.  On my own.  As the end of each year approaches now, I sit down with the Holy Spirit and ask HIM what my goal for the coming year should be.  Then each time that I’m tempted to break it, I remember that it was His gift (and the Holy Spirit always maintains the gifts He gives, so it isn’t my “job” to enforce it, just allow it).  And He makes smooth my path, leaving no stone for me to trip on.

             As for the long dreary winter, I no longer perceive it that way.  Now it is a very special and hopeful time. I see it as a season with abundant opportunities to get as quiet within myself as Mother Nature is without.  (The perfect motivation for doing the Workbook one more time.) Just as it is for all living things, it is a time for purification and regeneration in preparation and strengthening for the blooming of my internal spirit that I will EXPECT to accomplish in the spring when I, too, am resurrected – or, at least, a few tiny steps closer to it – at Eastertide.

 May this holiday season – and the time to follow – be your BEST time EVER!

Carmen

* 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/

 

Q and A with Carmen

Good Questions
Questions & Answers

By the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the October 2010 Newsletter]
This month’s article isn’t so much an answer to a question as a response to a call for help. But it is such a common – and timely – call for help that it feels like it could be helpful to others who might be reading this, if not for themselves then for someone they know and care about. 

 Just by way of explanation, the “God box” that she refers to at the outset is a beautiful box that we use in our ACIM study group as a visual aid to the injunction of giving everything that hurts us to the Holy Spirit; we pass the box around the circle and each participant “sees” their problem going into the box as a
GIFT OF WILLINGNESS into Spirit’s Hands and then we collectively pray for each other to just let their problem GO.

Question: Please put my husband and me in the “God box”….it’s about his job….nail the lid shut and remind me to ask the Holy Spirit to see this another way and show me what to do.

          Answer:  You’re already doing the first thing you need to do, dear. You are calling on Spirit and placing IT at the center of this situation. Remember that EVERYTHING given to the Holy Spirit is turned to good. There simply are NO exceptions!

            Know now that you are SAFE, that there is NOTHING to fear. Because simply to reject the sense of DANGER that is ALWAYS of the ego IS to ask for your miracle!

            And consciously CHOOSE to put yourself under the complete protection of the Laws of God – which GUARANTEE that there is NO loss in this (or in anything else, for that matter) – whenever you notice yourself going into fear again.  (Lesson 76, “I am under no laws but God’s” is particularly helpful here as is its partner lesson, “I am entitled to miracles,” which immediately follows it – not by accident, by the way.)

            Fear, itself, is magnetic (just like love) and so it DRAWS that which is feared. Acknowledge the fear each time it arises and then GIVE IT AWAY to the Holy Spirit, expecting His answer to show you WHY your fear is utterly groundless.  And then PROVING to you that it is in precisely the perfect form that will SHOW you beyond the shadow of a doubt that the reason you feared IS false.

            We are NOT bound by the world’s economy. But we must first be willing to be SHOWN that fact by merely claiming the completion and abundance that is our rightful inheritance as a part of God’s perfect Sonship.  The Course promises us that we are SAFE – even HERE, where chaos reigns. “Trials are but lessons.”  NOW is a perfect opportunity to LEARN that your trust in the Course has NOT been misplaced.

            AND remember that we are told that we need not trust the Holy Spirit any farther than what He will SHOW us He can do for us – things that are so amazing that we will KNOW for a FACT we couldn’t do it for ourselves!  (T-25.VIII.9.3)

            Reject fear by claiming your safety.  I have personally seen the most unimaginable results from this one simple practice, love, and it works EVERY single time! Just claim that promise, sweet soul, and hold onto it with all your might.

And THEN, with Spirit’s guidance, find some place in your life that is already so abundant that you can FEARLESSLY give it away to others who are in need of it.

            THEN the Holy Spirit will offer you a miracle for every one you let Him do THROUGH you.  (T-14.XI.10.10)  So just remember:

            “You cannot perform a miracle for YOURSELF because miracles are a way of GIVING acceptance AND receiving it. In time the giving comes first, though they are simultaneous in eternity, where they cannot BE separated. When you have learned that they ARE the same, the need for time is over.”   T-9.VI.6.3-5

            ACCEPT your REALITY of COMPLETE and UNBROKEN abundance BY setting the process of receiving your miracle HERE in motion BY GIVING A MIRACLE to one who Spirit knows CAN accept it. And then EXPECT a miracle (and not a disaster) in return!

Holding you both in my heart and in the Light! And KNOWING that you’ll be MORE than fine – in ALL ways!

Carmen

~~*~~

* 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/

Q and A with Carmen

Good Questions
Questions & Answers

By the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the September 2010 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: While I understand that fear isn’t real intellectually, I’m still having a hard time dealing with fear emotionally.  Do you have any thoughts to share that might help me?

Answer:     That is an absolutely crucial and huge question – with, what I expect, is a uniquely personal answer. But I have prayed about how to answer it and share these thoughts which have worked best for me:

            The first thing to remember is that it is our habitual response – usually supported by our culture, our pride, and even our own bodies – to try to master fear. For the most part, the attempt to “master fear” is to repress or to deny it, leaving its source undiscovered and, therefore, unhealed. So the “mastery of fear” is futile and (according to the Course) counterproductive to the Atonement. The proper course for healing, ACIM says, is not through the “mastery of fear” (which is impossible) but through the mastery of love, instead. But what exactly does that mean?

            All fear is premised on ONE belief: that I am alone and on my own. In other words, separate from God, therefore, unlike the way that He created me. And so any thought to “master fear” is to affirm not only that there is something real to fear but that something not of God has the power to harm something that He created – that there is a force more powerful than God; a will opposed to – and able to – dominate His Will. Absurd.

            To me, to “master love” is to train myself into the habit of consciously reaffirming my choice to be connected to Love (my favorite prayer is: “I let Love decide.”), no matter what appears to be before me – One fear at a time. “Big” or “small” doesn’t matter. And from that one simple different perspective than what the ego’s world has taught me, I can look with fearless clarity on the source of fear to let it be dissolved in Light.

            For me, it’s been a process of “baby steps” toward Love – of testing my connection to the power that created “the universe of universes”, and then just judging by the results (which are far more convincing than any words); A gradual – and organic – path of learning that I am safe, no matter what seems before me (Or within me, for that matter.)

            Or, to paraphrase the introduction of The Rules for Decision: “Decisions [of whether or not to go into fear] are continuous. You do not always know when you are making them. But, with a little practice in the ones you recognize, a set begins to form which sees you through the rest. It is not wise to let yourself become preoccupied with every step you take. The proper set, adopted consciously each time you [FEAR], will put you well ahead.”

            This is “the purification process” – the testing of what ACIM says – its truly “practical application” – One fear at a time. Until the last temptation to believe that anything not of God could hurt me – and nothing of God ever would – must simply fade away as the tiny, mad idea that is its premise becomes increasingly crystal clear and then is eventually rejected altogether.

            The results prove that you and I are safe. So safe that eventually, with your and my experience of that safety through our conscious (intellectual) reconnectimg to Love, you and I can get it emotionally that there is nothing at all to fear and then we’re almost home.

            But in the meanwhile, though, we must remember that it is unwise to “become preoccupied with every step” for that will lead us back to guilt and fear. So please be gentle with yourself along the journey. Each tiny choice for Love is progress!  For not even the smallest effort is wasted, ever.

            Just trust in that. And, if you have the time, please read Lesson 109, “I rest in God.” It has always been incredibly helpful to me in my own personal times of crisis.

            I pray this has been helpful to you. Your progress, dear, is also mine!

~~*~~

* 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/

Q and A with Carmen

 Good Questions 
Questions & Answers
By the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the July 2010 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:  Why are there no commandments in the Course?”

AnswerA. I know that it is really a jarring experience for anyone raised in a traditional Judeo-Christian or Muslim tradition to encounter a spiritual thought system like the Course that has no clear-cut list of “do’s” and “don’t’s”.  Those of us raised in those religions grow up with the simple clarity provided by a structure of rules that draw a comfortable and obviously demarcated “fence” around our lives. 

 
Having no commandments, the Course can FEEL a little too “permissive” to be helpful – or even somewhat “scary”, especially in the beginning.  (The personal responsibility that comes with so much freedom is something that can psychologically overwhelm a mind that takes very clear behavioral boundaries for granted.)
 
But the essence of commandments is controlling behavior – which is an effect – and NOT addressing the cause – the split in will (in other words, a split mind), at all:
 
            “Correcting at the behavioral level can shift the error from the first [willing two conflicting actions] to the second type [doing what you “should” in spite of it not being what you want to do] of strain described above, but will NOT obliterate the fear.”  T-2.VI.5.10
 
So while commandments may restrict negative human behaviors temporarily (and that’s a good thing), they force a constant need for control (not so good – it’s very stressful, in fact) because the CAUSE is obscured and overlooked.  And the ego just loves control, which is a defense, for just that very reason!
 
And so commandments are, at best, a temporary – and, at worst, a superficial – solution to the problem. 
 
Dealing with the cause is all that really works, however.  And that’s why ACIM focuses on the cause, not its effects.  And that is sure to cause the ego fits! (I am chuckling softly here at the self-recognition that last sentence brought to mind.)
 
And that, in turn, is why the closest thing to a “commandment” in the Course is its endorsement of “The Golden Rule”.  But even that has a qualifier:
 
            “Consider the Golden Rule again.  You are asked to behave towards others as you would have them behave toward you.  This means that the perception of both must be accurate, since the Golden Rule is the order for appropriate behavior.  You can’t behave appropriately unless you perceive accurately, because appropriate behavior DEPENDS on lack of level confusion.  The presence of level confusion always results in variable reality testing, and hence variability in behavioral appropriateness.”  the original form of  T-1.III.6
 
Without accurate (or healed) perception – which is the major goal of ACIM – even the Golden Rule falls short of yielding genuinely appropriate (i.e., consistently loving) behavior!  Rather, the mind and will must be changed at a far more fundamental level than mere behaviors.  And that change is challenging (and daunting) work.  That’s why there is so much resistance to it. 
 
And it’s also why commandments feel so comfortable even though:
 
            “It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary. All such attempts will ultimately succeed because of their purpose. Yet the means are tedious and very time consuming, for all of them look to the FUTURE for release from a state of present unworthiness and inadequacy.
            Your way will be different, not in purpose, but in means.”  T-18.VII.4.8 – 15.1
 
The Course gives us those means.  Not more – or even better – rules and regulations.  But it gives us the simple truth of reality, instead, so we can see (and choose) more truly.  Trusting that we are no longer spiritual children but finally ready to mature beyond the “need” for a heavenly parent’s list of do’s and don’t’s.
 
 And please be gentle with yourself, dear reader, in this process for just like learning to walk, some stumbles are almost certain.  But our goal is GUARANTEED!  (I rest in that.)

~~*~~

* 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 the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the June 2010 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:

“There are so many spiritual teachers to choose between and some of their teachings seem to conflict. Do you have any advice on how to discern between them?”

Answer:

What a great question! (And also what a delicate one, as well.)

I will share with you what has helped me in my own learning to discern whose teachings will be most helpful for me.

One of the things (and it took me years to learn) is that there are no “perfect” people for the Holy Spirit to use as teachers.

Just like you and me, dear soul, even the “big” teachers are still learning, too. Some faster than others. Some with purer hearts than others. But ALL of them are flawed, one way or another (or they just would not be in form, would they?)

And it is also important to remember that the Plan of the Atonement is so all-inclusive and yet completely gentle that each and every teacher is responding to a call from a specific set of hungry minds that can best hear the truth as it is expressed by that particular teacher’s method of explaining it.
(I call that group of people specific to each teacher their “divinely ordained target market”.)

Plus, in my own internal struggles with this question through the years, I have gotten some very specific guidance on how to discern a genuine teacher of truth that might also be helpful to you.

TIP #1: Are they empowering their students or are they “special”, claiming some unique connection to Spirit that isn’t available to EVERYONE?

It is a really bad sign if someone is claiming the latter simply because it goes against everything the Course has to say about authentic teachers – THEY teach in order to EQUALIZE.

And Spirit is simply never partial!

 

TIP #2: While not expected to have perfected any one of them yet, is a teacher clearly demonstrating the 10 Characteristics of a Teacher of God listed in the Course’s Manual? 

And those traits are:  Trust (of both God and their brothers), Honesty (what they do is consistent with what they teach), Tolerance, Gentleness, Joy, Defenselessness, Generosity, Patience, Faithfulness and Open-Mindedness.

The Manual is like the photograph on the cover of a jigsaw puzzle box – it shows what the “completed picture” looks like – in other words, how to recognize what the Course’s goal for YOU actually is by seeing its demonstration by an authentically advanced teacher.

TIP #3:  Can they be questioned or are they upset or angered by it? Are they open (“Open-Minded”) to new or different information or do they reject (or ridicule) a questioner?

If the really good teachers have anything in common, in my opinion, it is that they must first be consistently devoted and committed life-long STUDENTS.

And a good student not only allows for questions but actually welcomes them as a precious gift – a way to refine their own understanding – a highly useful learning tool that, not incidentally, actually serves to  underscore their innate equality with their brothers and reaffirms their actual status as the HOLY SPIRIT’s student.

And it might be helpful to remember that absolutely everyone, who is actually growing, will “graduate” from one human teacher to another human teacher as the student authentically progresses (and the teacher being graduated FROM should be happy for their students’ progression). And this process will be both natural and true until the student is ready to go straight to the Ultimate Teacher – the Holy Spirit – for themselves, once they feel confident enough to do so. This would be the natural result of a state of mind that is hopefully achieved through the love and encouragement of all their former (merely human) spiritual teachers.

That is why I try to keep reminding people that the Holy Spirit is their best and truest Teacher and that I am (along with ALL the other dedicated teachers) merely one of His MANY helpers for them until they are comfortable that they are able to recognize their own personal, INTERNAL Guidance.

The Course says that the Holy Spirit will bring to each teacher the particular souls that they can help. That fact MEANS that there will be many valid teachers with particular “divinely ordained target markets”. So don’t worry or feel guilty if a particularly popular teacher doesn’t seem to be speaking to you. It just means that you’re not in their “demographic”. Nothing more than that.

Anyway, by way of summation, just trust, dear soul, that your own path is absolutely perfect (and so is everyone else’s) and put aside any doubt or guilt and just begin taking your own first steps toward learning how to TRUST that you, too, have the God-given capacity to discern your OWN Internal Guidance.

(That’s really the only lesson that a genuine teacher of God teaches, anyway.)

~~*~~

* 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/

 

Q and A with Carmen


Good Questions 

Questions & Answers

By the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the May 2010 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 isalso 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 am confused by how some Course students and teachers use the term “magic” in relation to miracles of physical healing.  Can you help clarify what ACIM means by “magic”?


Answer: Great question!  A lot of Course students seem to be confused on the distinction ACIM makes between “magic” and “miracles” – a confusion that is apparently so common that the Course, itself, refers to it as “the magic-miracle confusion”.  As a start, let’s look at what the Course has to say about “magic”:           

1. ACIM says that magic rests on “the belief that there is a creative ability in matter which the mind cannot control.”   (T-2.IV.2.8) and…           

2. Magic also refers to “the powers which the ego ascribes to itself.”  (T-4.II.9.1)Both of these statements on “magic” are amplified in the Workbook Lesson 50:

            “In this world, you believe you are sustained by everything but God. Your faith is placed in the most trivial and insane symbols; pills, money, “protective” clothing, influence, prestige, being liked, knowing the “right” people, and an endless list of forms of nothingness that you endow with magical powers.          All these things are your replacements for the Love of God. All these things are cherished to ensure a body identification. They are songs of praise to the ego.”   (W-50, paragraphs 1 & 2)

            The first statement about magic is completely clear.  It says that “magic” is when we believe that the power in matter is greater than the power of our minds.  So, as Lesson 50 says, we believe that there is a power in pills that heals and a power in germs that can harm – or even kill – us.  That belief makes us “victims” to physical matter and is the complete reverse of the truth in us, i.e., the utterly supreme power of our own minds.  There simply is no power in things beyond the power our minds GIVE it.           

Simply put, Jesus’ miracles of physical healing two millennia ago were for the express purpose of showing that, as a man, …I demonstrated both the powerlessness of the body AND the power of the mind…”.  Proving the power of mind over matter isn’t “magic”; it’s miracles.

         The second statement is a little less clear in what it’s saying but the elaboration in Lesson 50 explains it quite well. Magic, as “the powers which the ego ascribes to itself”, are those attributes that appear to make our egos “special”, i.e., our personal resources like money, areas at which we excel, like high I.Q’s, etc.

         “Magic” sees specialness in one’s self or in other people, giving some people powers that other people seem to lack instead of seeing those resources as a means for EQUALIZING ourselves and our brothers.

          The primary source of confusion about miracles of physical healing and some Course students’ belief that they are “magic” seems to stem from a conflation of what the Course says about magic with Sigmund Freud’s theory about “magical thinking” (a belief in God that he identified as “infantile”) coming from a way of thinking that we develop as children – seeing our parents as all-powerful beings due to their seemingly god-like ability to fulfill our needs upon request – and that desire and ability to fulfill our every need being projected onto some heavenly being people call “god”.  In actuality, that is exactly what the Course says that God would do for us should we allow it.  (T-14.XI.7.3)

          The utter dependence upon God (that could easily be equated with Jesus’ injunction to “be as a little child”) is precisely what the Course encourages in its students despite the fact that, in Freud’s estimation, that state of mind is childish.  Ironic, isn’t it? 

           But then, in the urtext of the Course we find that (in Jesus’ own evaluation of Freud’s work), “Freud could not divorce miracles from magic.”  And some of ACIM’s students clearly still seem to share in Freud’s confusion.

~*~

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 the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the April 2010 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 isalso 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: One of the hardest things for me to deal with in the Course is its seeming rejection of everything of the world. I’m really into nature and seem to be closest to God in my garden. That seems to be a conflict for me. Any thoughts that might help me?

Answer: This was a very big deal for me, too, in my resistance to getting the Course. I, too, feel closest to God in nature and I can’t imagine joy without the spectrum of color or the diversity of textures and forms we see there, especially at this time of year when everything around us is coming into a new budding of life. And I found an answer that works for me only just recently on a discussion board online.

And that answer was that it wasn’t really the colors of the flowers or the smells of the growing plants or even the beauty of the sky and water that I really loved. It was the FEELINGS that that they draw from me I cherish!

Also I would like to say that, unlike what seems to be the prevailing sentiment in the Course community, I do not dismiss the world entirely as “just a mere illusion”. How can it be only that when the Course itself says:

How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son!” T-28.IV.9.4

And the Course only uses some form of the word, “recognize”, when it is referring to truth and KNOWLEDGE! The Course says – repeatedly – the world AS WE SEE IT is an illusion, yes. But it is also, in my belief, our collective CREATION, albeit, a very imperfect one. And I believe that, as such, we are to USE the horrors in it as an outer reflection of our inner state of mind, finding the source of that pain and lack within our minds and giving it over to the Holy Spirit for total healing. In other words, forgiveness:

“Forgiveness turns the world of sin into a world of glory, wonderful to see. Each flower shines in light, and every bird sings of the joy of Heaven. There is no sadness and there is no parting here, for everything is TOTALLY forgiven. And what has been forgiven MUST join, for nothing stands BETWEEN, to keep them separate and apart. ” T-26.IV.2

And, once the sources of pain in our minds have been identified – all the ways separation and lack have manifested before our eyes – and rejected, then the earth will be TRANSLATED into a perfect creation and continue on in reality in some way or manner beyond my ability to imagine but that is, as the Course says, “totally satisfying”. For it is not the forms of the world that you and I are actually so attached to. Rather it is the FEELINGS of love and joining we experience here. And those are real. Eternal. Heaven.

“Fantasies become totally unnecessary as the wholly satisfying nature of reality becomes apparent.” T-1.VII.3.11

And I rest in that.

Here are some of my other favorite Course quotes that you, too, might find of comfort:

“…the Kingdom is attained through the Atonement, which creates it in you. The word “create” is appropriate here, because once what YOU have made is undone by the Holy Spirit, the blessed residue IS restored, and therefore continues in creation. from
T-5.V.2.1-2

“Not even what the Son of God made in insanity could be without a hidden spark of beauty which gentleness could release. All this beauty will rise to bless your sight as you look upon the world with forgiving eyes.” T-17.II.5.5 -6.1

And my favorite quote of all:

“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

Enjoy your Spring!

~*~

  * 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 the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the March 2010 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 isalso 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: The Course places such an emphasis on meditation and prayer but I find it is just so hard to get really quiet in meditaiton because my mind is FILLED with random thoughts. Any suggestions?

Answer:

Ah, “monkey mind” is just SO familiar to all of us on the spiritual path! Here’s what helped me learn how to “tame” it.

 

Psychological studies have shown recently that only 5% of our thoughts are conscious while the remaining 95% of our thoughts are repressed into the subconscious meaning that a person can control their conscious mind 100% and still have a stampede of mental activity going on – and that stampeding horde is literally set free when we attempt to relax our mind (in either prayer or meditation).What to do in the meanwhile?  Try defining “meditation” a little more broadly for starters. Absolutely everyone I’ve ever asked, “Is there something you do that makes time stand still for you? Like walking or painting or playing music?” has answered with a resounding “YES!”  Well, in essence that’s a form of meditation, a way that comes naturally and easily to YOU.  Start there.  Begin your walk or other activity with your intention to be open to whatever the Holy Spirit wants to communicate with you in the coming moments.  I think you’ll be amazed at the results you’ll get.

So what to do? Pay attentioin to the thoughts that come up instead of JUST rejecting them, for one, understanding tht they’re coming up into your mind simply BECAUSE they’re Unattended.
Cleaning up the thoughts that arise from a “freed” subconscious eventually leads to a simpler state of mind, one that can relax AND be quiet because it’s no longer a mental prison for a virtual circus of undealt-with thoughts!

AND you’ll be both learning what getting quiet actually feels like – so you’ll be more capable of discerning what interferes with it – plus getting motivated to do it more frequently.

I hope this info has been helpful to you!

~*~

* 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 the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 2010 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.  Here is another of my favorite ones:

 

Question: Am I crazy or are there messages in today’s movies that are very much like those in the Course?

Answer:

No, dear heart, you’re not crazy. (Unless I am, too. 😉

To be awake in this world is a bit of a burden because you want to wake up everyone – but you can’t. Truth feels like attack until someone’s READY to hear it and that’s why we call people “crazy” for speaking the obvious (and the inescapable) truth. But art has a way of presenting hard-to-digest truths in a way that is palatable – and the Holy Spirit clearly uses that human quality to reach us.WHY THE SUDDEN WEALTH OF SPIRITUAL INFORMATION NOW?

We are “a people apart”, not separated from others by traditions, politics or blood but simply by the ability to see what is right in front of us.

There is a psychological sub-study called Semiotics which is specifically focused on how and why people filter out “inconvenient” knowledge. The only thing that can break down those barriers is usually some kind of crisis bad enough to make a person willing to change simply because it’s either that or die.  But art (like movies) can get around those barriers and filters!

Do the most creative minds among us have a direct line to the Highest Source of intelligence? Yes! (That’s why truly creative innovations are called inspiration which literally means “of the spirit”.)

Spielberg, Lucas, Luc Bessom and even James Cameron can see and hear and tell us truths that are presented in such an artful way that they CAN get past the outer layers of our mental filtration systems – go AROUND the walls we build for our own self-protection – and they show us what could be if we were willing to crawl out from behind our barricades. God bless ’em!!!

I don’t know if you’re asking about a particular movie but I just saw “Avatar” a couple of weeks ago. Despite lousy critical reviews, everyone seems stunned by that movie’s vast and lasting appeal. But it really is very simple:

It’s a “return to the Garden” parable — something that we each long for with all our hearts – a reconnection in a tangible way to both each other and our world, a simplification of needless complexities, a sense of meaning and real belonging.

Cameron uses color (I noticed this particularly because I dabble in color drawings) to reach around our heads and get a death-grip on our hearts. The human scenes are SO familiar and yet so grey and drab (and heartless) and in such an incredible contrast to the startling vibrancy of the rainbow pallet that lights the natives’ world like flaming jewels. Brilliant, indeed!

(Any psychologist will tell you that much of the appeal of art is its ability to get past our protective walls by entrancing our intellects with color.)

And the simple message of Avatar is that we are all connected in completely real and tangible though unseen ways. And the message is getting across: they have noted a new psychological pattern for people who have seen the movie and are now depressed (wittily dubbing it “The Avatar Blues” 😉 and not wanting to go back to the grey world of their normal lives – some are even suicidal. And bless their hearts, they don’t know WHY.

But YOU know why. And so do I. The world we’ve made is an abomination – a total perversion of our nature – and it is bringing humanity right to that place where you get willing to change or die.

How do I look on such a sight and still stay sane – and even HAPPY?!? Because I know that it’s ALL under “intelligent management”, as David Wilcock likes to say. NOTHING is by accident. This, too, is part of a grand design. And I’ve had enough experience of that “management” to know two things with all my heart:

#1. It’s real. And it has very real effects. All we have to do is be open to the possibility it’s real and then it will SHOW us far beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt.

and #2. It’s totally benign. It’s wants us safe and happy and wholly fulfilled in alignment with our true AND  individual natures. But the most sacred part of that nature is free will (so it can NOT force itself upon us).

Beyond those two things, for me, the specifics do not matter. And I can accept everyone where ever they’re at knowing that their process – for them – is absolutely PERFECT.

I don’t know if this has helped you or if it has answered your question entirely but know that I feel very blessed that you used this as a reason to get connected.

Yours is a very clear and precious being and the universe is dedicated to using EVERY means at its disposal to help you learn exactly that. Including movies!

Another related idea is this:

This certainly is the “Information Age”, if it is anything! Sometimes I feel like a sponge – thirsty to absorb everything – NOW. 😉

And yes it won’t last forever (if much longer at all) and so it behooves us to be very dedicated to learning all that we can asap.~*~

One of the maxims about esoteric (hidden) knowledge is that those in power always attempt to wipe it out because it so empowers the “little” people, so it is hidden for most of human history in order to protect it from being destroyed. The second part of that maxim, though, is that the knowledge DOES come to light just before it is needed.

A sobering thought…

But whatever is coming in the coming years, dear heart, the thing that I hold onto is that it is ALL for our own GOOD (somehow) – that it is about teaching us how powerful we really are. And in discovering that power we will also realize that we can return to the Garden in a very real sense WHENEVER we choose to do so.

I find that a comforting thought…

* 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 the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the January 2010 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.  Here is another of my favorite ones:

 

 

 

 

Question: Does life have to be a struggle?

Answer: Everyone knows what it’s like to “be in the flow” (and loves it). The strain in our existence comes from trying to solve or fix what is before us on our own (intellectually). The ego finds that methodology very rewarding (and the adrenalin rushes can be addicting 😉 because it LOVES to “win” (i.e., look good to other egos). LOL

Plus, the idea that we’re meant to struggle is a message the world holds dear so it supports it by rewarding those who do so if with nothing more than a pat on the back for having “tried”.

Before the Course, my whole identity was tied up to being “Miss Fix It” – the go-to-girl in dramatic circumstances – and so my ego was highly insulted by the idea in ACIM that my “little part” was just to ASK for Help. (I remember feeling very threatened by the very suggestion. ;-)… See More

But I also had to own the fact that most (if not all) of my “fabulous” solutions, while they might have fixed the obvious problem, created multiple NEW complications that would have been impossible to foresee (science calls this very familiar human phenomenon the Law of Unintended Consequences). lol

The Course says that everything we do when we are out of our natural environment (i.e., connecting with God) becomes a strain (and I’m assuming that that is what you mean when you use the word, struggle, here). Jesus even made a joke out of this in the urtext when he made a pun using the idea “that the only inevitable things are death and taxes” in one of the miracle principles, making sure that Helen and Bill knew that one of he meanings of “tax” was “strain”.

The fact that giving up the “need” for strain and stress in life on earth gives rise to so much resistance in us comes from nothing more, I think, than what the Course, itself, says. And that is that we have chosen to make our lives complicated and stressful IN ORDER TO avoid the simple truth that’s all around us (and within us).

The struggle is an avoidance mechanism – a delaying tactic of the ego – a way to keep our minds so completely preoccupied with trivia that we have an excuse to overlook what really matters: seeing the extension of God/love that is our brothers and ourselves.

Competition and struggle are very deeply ingrained in the modern psyche (in no small measure due to the unquestioning acceptance of the Darwinian ideal of “survival of the fittest”). Everyone is trained to “prove” themselves – to prove their value and right to live. And then along comes the Course and throws a monkey wrench into that sense of value. lol

Does life have to be a struggle? More importantly, SHOULD it? No. By connecting with the One Mind – the “field of infinite information” if you’re a hyperdimensional physicist – makes life into a constant flow – easy, spontaneous, unconflicted, i.e., joyful.

Am I there all the time? No. But this former full-time drama queen is now only a part-time princess.

Because I love the results I get from being in te flow so much more than I live the adrenalin rushes. And because my ego is much smaller now that it isn’t what I turn to first. And sometimes – when I’m feeling bored with how simple living here can be – I take a jog down memory lane and play the struggle game (just for fun ;-).

I didn’t mean to write a thesis here, Kim, but your topic is HUGELY important (so please forgive my running on – it just flowed lol).

~*~

* 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 the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the December 2009 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.  Here is another of my favorite ones:

 

Question: What exactly is the ego? How do I recognize it? And how do I deal with it?

Answer: There is a line in the Original Edition (Bill Thetford’s first edit of the typed manuscript that Helen Schucman took in dictation of the Voice) that for some reason was deleted from the FIP editions that is the clearest and simplest explanation of what ACIM means whenever it is speaking about the ego. And that line reads:

The ego IS the belief of the mind that it is completely on its own.”*

So, the ego is nothing more that the subconscious belief that you are entirely separate and on your own. And that belief gives rise to a whole range of complex and automatic reactions to your environment based on that one, single premise. The belief that you are completely on your own, separate from everyone and everything you see (and, most importantly, separate from God), makes you react in self-defensive (self-protective) ways whenever you are presented with a choice. That complex of automatic and unexamined defensive reactions is the seemingly separate “entity” that the Course refers to as the ego.

This belief (and its resulting “network” of automatic responses) leads to choices based upon separateness which in turn lead to experiences of separation, forming a self-reinforcing feedback loop of even stronger belief and ever more extreme new experiences.  And those experiences are always of exclusion, rejection and loss that “prove” the reality of that one original belief. And so we create a wall of defenses, mostly subconsciously. This is what the Course is talking about when it refers to the “wall” comprised of a “thousand shards of meannesss”** – the thousands of hurts from the past that make us want to defend ourselves as separate beings from separate “others” with separate interests. And it is this that the Course asks us to question. (See Lessons 1-7.)

And the Course says it will lead us to NEW experiences – experiences through which we will ultimately learn the happy news that we are NOT alone, separate OR unsafe.***

Ego (from Latin, first person pronoun) definition: me, myself, I – alone, separate and independent. And the thought that “I” could have different and separate interests from you (any “you”) makes me hold “you” off at a distance. Makes me think “I” can win at your expense. Tells me that openness and honesty (the truth) will cost me something, somehow. For a defined and separate “you” presents a myriad of threats to limited “me”.

And so: “PRESENT joining IS your dread.” CH.26.IX.70 Because, “All choices in the world depend on this; – You choose BETWEEN your brother and yourself, and you will gain as much as he will lose, and what you lose is what is given him. How utterly OPPOSED to truth is this, when what the lesson’s purpose is to teach that what your brother loses YOU have lost, and what he gains is what is given YOU.” CH.31.IV.40

And the gentle but constant examination of that premise of separate interests behind our every choice is the undoing of the ego. Doing the Course really is that simple. Truly.

~*~

* 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

Can the Course help us deal with addictions lovingly?

Q.  My brother is addicted to some hard drugs and his mood swings are very violent and scary to me.  Can the Course help me to deal with this lovingly?

A. Dear Soul, we were created to be fixated on God (love). So “addiction” was built into us in our creation (see Original Edition of ACIM, “The Eternal Fixation”). Some addictions are more self-destructive than others but they’re basically all the same: a call for the love that we have rejected (“lost”) when we turned our backs on God (love).

Your brother is just calling for love, dear heart. How can you give it to him in a way that he can accept it? I don’t know. No individual human does. But the Holy Spirit DOES and He can tell you what to do to be truly helpful to your brother.

Know that there are no accidents, hon. Your brother CHOSE to have you in his life. Perhaps because his soul knew that you’d find the way to connect with the one true Healer FOR him…. Read More

You have the ability right now to free him from ALL guilt about his addiction (it is guilt that is holding it fixed in place). Lesson 78 might be of help to you.

And please remember two things while you are trying to deal with this: no effort is ever wasted (even if it looks as though it might) and YOU will be blessed with a miracle with every one you let the Holy Spirit do THROUGH you.  Handy, that last one, because you have addictions. too, just more socially acceptable ones or at least less obvious than your brother’s.  But no guilt in that fact either, dear, we’re ALL addicts one way or another.  Our healing begins when we just accept that and simply choose to start redirecting those urges toward learning to GIVE the very same thing that we ALL crave.  Love.

God bless you both!  God bless us all.

In love, Carmen Cameron*

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Carmen Cameron is one of the founding members of CIMS and presenter at the 2009 ACIM Conference.

* 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

Questions & Answers

By the late Carmen Cameron*
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[as it appeared in the November 2009 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.  Here is one of my favorite ones:

 

Question: The Course clearly appeals to people from very diverse religious backgrounds. Why do you think that is?

First and Foremost: A God you can love wholeheartedly

The diverse appeal of A Course in Miracles is due in very large measure to the way it completely reshapes our relationship with God. We do not have to earn our way back into our Heavenly Father’s love because we never lost it!

That’s what Jesus himself was saying when he gave us the parable of the Prodigal Son and the Lord’s Prayer. Like the Prodigal Son, a child of God need only to change her direction back to home, and God the Father will run to meet her with open arms.

The appeal of the truth of ACIM is very great, undoubtedly, but even before we can get to an understanding of that truth, the appeal of a completely loving God is what kindles most student’s motivation to learn and then maintains our momentum home.

Second: The desire for peace

You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness. You never really WANTED peace before, so there was no point in being told how to achieve it.”

The horror of nuclear destruction shocked a generation about the potential costs of war. Instant video news coverage and graphic Hollywood productions shoved the routine horror of war in the world’s face. All romantic nonsense about the glory of military combat could be questioned, and rejected.

For the first time in history the instructions for peace could be heard by a significant slice of the population, for the simple reason that people of all nations were ready to listen. A Course in Miracles is a comprehensive “how-to” manual for genuine peace.

Third: Eliminate the (often corrupt) middlemen

Eastern traditions and ideas have been percolating around the Western world for several hundred years taking root. A new generation coming of age in the 1960’s flocked to the promise of a direct personal connection to the transcendent world, and to God. The stale preaching of worn out doctrines by hypocritical clergy were not enough to satisfy a growing hunger for the divine.

A Course in Miracles presents itself as a truth to be tested and experienced, not as dogma to be blindly accepted. A revolt against the guardian priests was gaining strength.

Fourth: The inner world

Some sixty years after Freud popularized the idea of the unconscious mind, an educated public was ready to take it seriously and to go exploring. Saints and sages throughout the ages had know of this secret, and wrote about it, but it has been just recently that the terrible fear of the unknown depths relaxed its grip on the public consciousness.

A Course in Miracles provides a comprehensive set of spiritual exercises designed to deal with the dark nightmares that haunt our minds, and it lends us the courage to face them.

A perfect storm

These factors combined at the perfect time and in just the right place to make A Course in Miracles possible. The Course came as an answer to the heartfelt cries for help from the people of a war-weary world. The Course appeals to people from very diverse religious backgrounds because the Course promises what everyone wants deep down.

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* 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/