Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Course Note #68: Releasing Guilt

Hi there,
This morning was one of those mornings when I laid in bed feeling like I was never going to get it; feeling like I was never going to experience healing.  Lately my inner work has involved working with pockets of unworthiness (see previous blog). In lieu of this work, I was willing to let the thoughts of unworthiness rest, and I asked Holy Spirit to look at them with me.

            In the OMGIF session today I had planned to talk about letting go of guilt in family relationships.  After I prayed and asked HS to look at my thoughts with me, I was then prompted to look up passages on guilt in NTI.  First I came to a passage that said that the resistance to hearing guidance stems from a sense of unworthiness, and that unworthiness is born of guilt.

And then I was directed to this:
            “Your guilt comes from your judgment, and so at some point you must come face-to-face with the harshness of your judgment against yourself.  This may seem to be a very difficult time, as the feeling of guilt will be strong.  It will cry out that the judgment against yourself is correct.  But you must stand firm with Me, and trust this is not so.” (NTI Rev 3:1-3)
In recent weeks, I was led to realize deep-seated pockets of unworthiness, and now I am being told that this unworthiness comes from guilt, and that this guilt comes from self-judgment. Aha! 
We judge ourselves for being somehow inherently bad, and then we feel guilty for some imagined sin, and then we feel unworthy, and then we judge ourselves…it becomes a vicious cycle.
This is also addressed in NTI Acts 4: “Can you see how your own belief in your guilt and unworthiness seems to lead you onto the path of increased guilt and additional unworthiness?”  Yes!

            I love how HS guides me. Earlier in the week I was I was prompted to look at my feelings of guilt in certain family relationships, and then this morning this was tied into seeing the guilt within my mind.  Guilt is alive and well in most family relationships and so, they are a great classroom to see an outward picture of our inner guilt. When it comes to family relationships we may feel guilt for myriad of reasons, but prevalent is the judgment that we haven’t been good children, parents, siblings, etc.  The good news is that our guilt has nothing to do with what’s going on out there, it’s a choice that we’ve made today.

            This morning I had another realization about guilt.  Of course I’ve felt guilty about things, but I've never been able to relate to this existential sense of guilt that we humans ostensibly live with.  There’s a line in A Course in Miracles that has spoken to me for years:
“Of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them.”  I so didn’t relate to the word “guilt”, and so in my mind, I would change it to “thoughts”.  For the first time, I understand what this passage is really saying to me about guilt.  We think that our parents, the economy or the events in the latest news story are causing our pain and suffering, but here we’re told that we never considered that it was our belief in our guilt that is causing pain. 
Our relationships can reveal to us the guilt in our mind.  Recently someone told me a story about his frustration taking care of his aging parents.  I asked him if perhaps something deeper was going on.  He proceeded to tell me about how he worried his parents as a teenager because he didn’t come home on time, and so now he feels that he has to do everything perfectly in regard to them. 
“That’s it?  You feel guilty because you didn’t come home on time?”
“Yep. That’s it.”
We laughed as I asked him why he was feeling guilty about that almost fifty years later!  But we do it too, don’t we? We feel guilty about things we think we need to make up for from the past. 
In recent years, I have felt guilt about being the “bad” daughter because I haven’t visited my mother very often.  My mother has told me many times that I have nothing to feel guilty about, but nevertheless, it’s been there for years. 
And then what about the guilt many of us have felt in regard to parenting; which reminds me of my favorite cartoon:
“Here stands the adult child of a perfect parent.”  There was no one there! Ha!

In a way, the people we are in relationship with become scapegoats for our present choice to feel guilty and unworthy.  The problem is not what you or I did years ago, the problem lies in: why am I choosing guilt today? 
Feeling guilt in regard to my mother is not about my mother at all.  My mother doesn’t think I’m a bad daughter, or that I should feel guilty. So why am I holding onto it?  Because it’s a way to stay stuck, unworthy and wrong.  And so, it is the decision to feel guilty now that is the problem.  The Course answers this with: “Decide that God is right and you are wrong about yourself.”
We may not be able to undo whatever occurred in the past, but we can look at why we are choosing to hold onto guilt in the present. We’re not asked to deny our past, we are asked to look at it.  I love the line in the Course that tells us to look at our past, but not to dwell there.  Most of us have not only looked at our past, we’ve pitched a tent there!

When we heal the guilt in our mind, we simultaneously heal our relationships.  Even if a family member has passed on, we can still heal that relationship because healing takes place in the mind.  It is time to be set free.  It is time to set our family members free.
Guilt is misperception of who we are in Truth.  We cannot know our Self through guilt.  We cannot really love our children, our parents or one another while feeling guilty.  Guilt is not Love.  Guilt and love cannot coexist.
 Healing occurs in the present.  We feel guilty about things that occurred in the past, but in the present we can make a new decision.  In this moment I have a choice, I can remain stuck in guilt and unworthiness, or I can choose healing.
As I pondered these thoughts today, I was once again guided to NTI Luke (paraphrase):

Acknowledge that you feel guilty and unworthy.
Remember you have decided to be healed.
Turn away from the voice of unworthiness and guilt.
Give all your attention to your willingness to be healed.
Trust in your willingness.
                                                                                                         (NTI Luke 4:31-37)

And so it is. 

So much more was shared on the audio about guilt and healing family relationships. It was recorded on 6/29/10 on Releasing Guilt.  It is 1 hour and 15 min.

MP3 File

Monday, June 28, 2010

Course Note #67: ANNOYED

This morning on the way to work my car was rear-ended.  At least at the moment anyway, it appears that my car and my body sustained minimal damage.  I found it funny that the license plate on the car that hit mine said: ANNOYD

I guess if one is going to ride around in the world with that message, then they would have to -> -> -> -> -> -> ->

I tell ya, I had to laugh when I saw that plate because it  reminded me of lesson 23 in A Course in Miracles: I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.
            “If the cause of the world you see is attack thoughts, you must learn that it is these thoughts you do not want.  There is no point in lamenting the world.  There is no point in trying to change the world.  It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect.  But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world.  Here you are changing the cause. The effects will change automatically."
            Reading this lesson reminded me of something else.  At the office building my chiropractic practice is in, we have a perpetual lack of adequate parking.  A few months ago, as I pulled into the lot, I saw a car that was parked in such a way that it took up 2 spaces instead of one.  Well yeah, I was ANNOYED.  I felt like leaving a note on the person’s car telling them that we have a parking problem and blah blah blah.  I didn’t do that of course, but I did feel like it. 
            A few weeks later, I come out to my car and there was a nasty note on my car complaining about the way I had parked.  My car was not taking up 2 spaces and, at the time, I really had to wonder about the mentality of someone who would leave such a rude note, especially considering it’s a professional office building. 
Later I felt my Inner Teacher remind me of the incident a few weeks earlier when I wanted to leave a note on someone’s car.
            “But I didn’t leave a note on the car, and if I had, it wouldn’t have been so rude!”
             I heard the Inner voice: “This person just acted out your own attack thoughts.”
            I literally laughed-out-loud when I heard that. 

Can anyone say: Busted!

            Anyway, I have a busy day ahead and need to get back to work.  My homework for today is this: Whenever an attack thought crosses my mind, and this includes thoughts of attacking and of being attacked, I will remember that:
I can escape from the world I see
by giving up attack thoughts
about ___________.

I am grateful this is so! Have a wonderful day everyone! Much Love to you.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Course Note #66: Let Go...

Hi There,

I am hearing the call to make a greater commitment to stay focused on my purpose, which is to walk in Love. 
I thought of the idea of letting go and letting God, and had a sense that I was to go deeper into the practice of those words. 

Over the years I’ve worked with the practice of letting go, and it never ceases to amaze me that there are always deeper depths to travail. What does it mean to “let go”? And just what am I supposed to let go of? These thoughts came to mind:

To let go is go is to recognize that the past is over. It can touch me not.

To let go is to place the future into the hands of God.

To let go is to step back in this moment and let Love lead the way

To let go is to recognize in this moment that I am in need of nothing but the truth.

To let go is to let all things be exactly as they are.

To let go is to give no thought to any worldly concerns.

To let go is to give no thought to my needs, wants or desires.

Seems like a lot of stuff to let go of but really, it’s very simple. It all boils down to letting go of thoughts about my self. All thoughts about me, myself and I, are mired in material conditions and appearances. All thoughts about my self keep me stuck in lack, limitation and fear. While mired in thoughts about my self, I cannot hear the voice of my True Self, which speaks only of the Truth of my being.

Simple? Easier said than done, no doubt. How do I practice this?
Well, the first clue that I’m thinking about my self, are feelings of fear, lack, limitation, inadequacy, or unworthiness. Once I’m aware of this, I don’t need to struggle with the thoughts, or beat myself up about them, nor do I need to resist them. I simply look at them, and then take a moment to rest in truth. Truth reminds me that I am still as Love created me.

The practice of letting go is done daily, hourly, and even moment-by-moment. I feel the call to vigilantly practice letting go of personal desires, wants and needs, and simply rest in the thought that I am in need of nothing but the truth. Lesson 251 states in part:

I sought for many things, and found despair.
Now do I seek but one, for in that one is all I need.
Now I see that I need only truth.
In that, all needs are satisfied, all cravings end,
all hopes are finally fulfilled.
Now I have everything that I could need.
Now I have everything that I could want.
And now at last I find myself at peace.
And for that peace, I give thanks.

Today I will be still...and listen. Amen.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Course Note #65: Pockets of Unworthiness

When I was in my early 20s, I walked into a metaphysical bookstore and saw a tape set entitled: “Stop Feeling Not Good Enough”.   I recognized in that moment that this was a predominant feeling in my life, and so I bought the tapes. 

            One of the greatest gifts I’ve gained through practice and study of A Course in Miracles is that I have come to value myself as worthy child of God.  Of course I have those moments of feeling unworthy and not good enough, but now I have the tools to quickly move out of it.
            I have been feeling guided to make a lifestyle change that I have been resisting. Last week I was reading a book on the subject and received the message that whatever it is that is holding me back from making a decision toward this change, is going to also hold me back in other areas of my life, and that in fact, it has been.
            In the moment as I read this, I knew that it was true.  That night, it seemed that all through the night I heard: What is holding me back? What is holding me back?  And then, in the middle of the night I heard the Inner Voice say: Unworthiness.
I felt to write and speak about this because many of us are aware of those times when we feel unworthy and like a miserable failure, but what about those times when we feel fairly good about ourselves?  It was sort of an “Aha!” moment when I heard that it was unworthiness that is holding me back because I was not aware of it. 
In ways that I cannot fully explain, I have been feeling great resistance this past year.  I realized on this day that the root of my resistance lies in deep-seated feelings of unworthiness.
            We’ve heard that healing is sort of like peeling off the layers of an onion, and it is.  Healing is a process of uncovering those obstacles to the awareness that we are Love.  I can see that in my early 20s I felt unworthy in the whole of my life, and now I play it out in pockets of my life.
            The Course tells us that we have a lack, scarcity consciousness, which is basically an offshoot of believing that we’re separated from our Source.  We may experience this consciousness in the world as lack of money, health, love, self-worth, etc.  Yet, these areas of lack are merely projections of the scarcity and limitation we feel within.   
            Holy Spirit is the Voice of Worthiness and through much vigilance and practice, I’ve become increasingly willing to listen to this Voice.  I now recognize that the areas in my life where I feel a sense of lack, frustration and struggle, are those places where I am more willing to listen to and believe “my” thoughts than to listen to the Voice of worthiness.  I now see more than ever before that the answer to lack in any form is to increase my willingness to be healed.

            The word “sickness” as it’s used in NTI and the Course, is not about bodily illness as much as it is about the ego thoughts of lack, limitation and fear.  It’s all those thoughts that deny the truth of our Being. 
When I first came across these teachings in NTI on “sickness” I had an aversion to the term.  One day my Inner Teacher told me, through the pages of NTI, that I needed to:

Acknowledge that you are sick.
Remember you have decided to be healed.
Turn away from the voice of sickness.
Give all your attention to your willingness to be healed.
Trust in your willingness.
            The morning after receiving my middle-of-the-night message on unworthiness, I was once again prompted to NTI Luke. 
“You are looking at yourself now and seeing what you believe is your unworthiness.  As you compare yourself to others, you note that you are not good enough.  You do not give enough or practice enough.  In your own judgment, you are never enough.
            “I have asked you to trust that you are worthy.  I have asked you to let your sickness rest. I have promised that we will look at your sickness together, and I have asked you to nurse your willingness with gratitude.
            “Now is the time for gratitude and rest.” 

            What does it mean to let your sickness rest?  Well, if my sickness is the thoughts in my mind, then I must let the thoughts in my mind rest.   When I think of “rest” I think of “stop”.  In practice, as I hear the thoughts of unworthiness, I stop in the moment with this thought, “I rest in God.”

            How do we nurse our willingness? NTI goes on to say: “Be grateful that you have been willing to bring your sickness to Me.  Rest, as we look at your sickness together.  For it cannot be healed if it is hidden from healing.  Let all things serve the purpose of healing.  We must look at it together if you are to be healed.”
            In the Course, Holy Spirit tells us: I cannot take what you won’t give me.  See, if I am unwilling to acknowledge that I have sick thoughts, I cannot be helped.  The way I nurse my willingness to be healed, is to be willing to look at everything as an opportunity to look at the thoughts in my mind.  And then I can notice: Am I resisting what is?  Or am I resting in the willingness to be healed?

Maybe 10 or more years ago I was on a morning walk thinking about various things going on in my life when I said, “Holy Spirit, I have all these things going on in my life.  What should I focus on first?”  Immediately I heard, “Focus on the kingdom of heaven and all will be added unto you.”   Since that day, I receive that message in some form, multiple times a week.  The other day I was reading various things and received the message three times in a short period.  And then I opened NTI to this: 

“So a part of your healing process is to let loose the judgment you have already put upon yourself.  What comes first is first.  But when what comes first is changed, all that follows must change also.”

As I read this, in the forefront of my mind was the message, seek first the kingdom within.  Ah…when I seek first the kingdom, it is first, and then all that follows from that decision must change also.  But when judgment of myself comes first, then everything I see is seen through the lens of unworthiness.  When I focus on the Kingdom, which is the truth of who I am, then everything I see is seen through the lens of worthiness.  What comes first is first.  Wow.

The next morning I happened to meditate on this section, and suddenly I started to think grievance thoughts about a few people.  Since I was in meditation, I said to myself, “Sheryl, let those thoughts go.”  Then I heard, “No, look at them.”
In a split second, I saw that my grievances toward these people stemmed from my judgments about me, and immediately the grievances were gone.
When looking at anyone or anything through the lens of self-judgment, everything I see is colored by that judgment.  What comes first is first.  When I seek first the kingdom, when I focus first on the truth of my worthiness, when I listen to the Holy Spirit, which is the Voice of Worth, then I cannot see what isn’t there.

The other day as I was pondering this unworthiness idea, I opened NTI to a story about a woman who explained her ailment and her sense of worthlessness to Jesus:
“I tell you,” he whispered.  “You are not worthless.  You are like a jewel that shines bright before the eyes of God, only you have been unaware of your brightness.  Go home.  In silence, ask this brightness to make itself known to you.  It will, and it will bring with it great energy and love and joy. Go now and ask.  You will receive.”    (NTI Mark 5 v21:34)

As I read this, my eyes focused on “go home.”  I thought of the lesson in the Course, “I will be still an instant and go home.”

                   In the silence we go home.  What I did in that moment, and you may want to join with me now, Stop.  Rest your thoughts.  Ask that you may be aware of the Light within.  You have asked, and you will receive.

             Then it says, “The woman did as Jesus asked.  And through her faith and vigilance, her ailment went away.”
I love the word “vigilance”.  We must practice what we are taught.  As we practice listening to the Voice of Worthiness, we will come to experience the extension of our worth in the world.  It was through the woman’s faith and vigilance that her ailment went away.  This says to me that she may not have been aware of her brightness the first time she went home to the silence, but as she continued, she experienced healing.
In the Course it says something like, you’re problem is not that you can’t concentrate. Your problem is that you believe that no one, including yourself, is worth consistent effort.  Yeah, busted.  We come to know our worth through the consistent effort of letting our thoughts of sickness rest, and nursing our willingness to be healed. 
To really live in the willingness and the brightness of who and what we are.  We must be able to hear the Voice within that speaks of our worth.

You are worthy.
Do no let doubt tell you that you are not.
Feel grateful for your willingness.
It will herald all healing for you.

“Sickness must be seen to be healed, so show your sickness to Me.  But do not forget that it is only sickness, and through your rest, I come to heal.”
Thank you!

Note: The excerpts in this post from NTI are found in Luke 4 – 8.

I gave a talk on “Pockets of Unworthiness” on 6-6-10. It is 1 hr 22 min.
MP3 File

On 6-8-10 I gave another talk on this subject. It is 1 hr, 17 min.
Freedom from Unworthiness

MP3 File