Saturday, December 24, 2011

Course Note #134: I Let something New be Born in Me!

Happy Holidays!

            This holiday season may we pause for a moment to reflect on the many blessings that embrace our lives.  Each new day is a gift ~ a present ~ wrapped just for you.  And yet...most of us awaken each day to many gifts that we all too often leave unopened.
            All experiences contain a gift.  God is.  Love is.  God is in the present.  When I am not resting in the present, I am not resting in the Presence, and thus, I cannot receive the presents that the present holds.

            I’ve noticed that many of the Christmas stories that we have been brought up with tend to reveal a similar theme, that of transformation.  There was Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean-spirited and cold-hearted man who is transformed through the power of Love.
            George Bailey, sad and disheartened by the ways of the world, we watch as he returns to the remembrance that his is indeed, A Wonderful Life!
            With anticipation we see Rudolph overcome his fears and move on to lead his fellow reindeer.  And I mean really, we knew all along that the Grinch just could not steal Christmas!
              And then…there is the Christmas story: The angel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her of a new birth.   Mary represents the miraculous as she expands in consciousness to say, “Yes”.
            The characters in these beloved stories came to a point of decision, and yes, transformation.  Like them, we too may be facing such a fork in the road.  Will we constrict into old habits and old ways of thinking?  Or, will we take Mary’s lead and expand to say, "Yes! Something new can be born in me!"

            We stand on the threshold of new beginnings.  We are creating the future now.  May we decide to create something new, to begin again, to perhaps stand forth differently than we have in the past? 
           Let us seek to heal old wounds with family, friends and others who have touched our lives.  Let us be willing to love more fully, forgive more freely, appreciate more deeply, and to serve from our highest level of being.  Easier said than done of course, but this is our task.
            Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what we owned, accomplished, published or saved; what matters is whether or not we let Love transform us, and extend through us.  What do you want to carry into the New Year?  What do you want to create?  The time is now.
             Love whispers to you now:
This Christmas give Me everything
that would hurt you.
Let yourself be healed completely
that you may join with Me in healing.

Trust the process of life
to take you to your highest good.
Rest in the present
in peace.

Much Love to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Course Note #133: Four Preparations on the Path

Recently I was prompted to Peace Pilgram’s website, and specifically to her “Steps toward inner peace.”  There she talks about the preparations, purifications and relinquishments that are necessary on the spiritual path. 
            She came to a point in her life where she desired to dedicate her life to service, and prayed to God to please use her.  She realized that she could never go back to self-centered living.  She also realized this:
         “However, there’s a great deal of difference between being willing to give your life to service and actually giving your life, and for me, fifteen years of preparation and inner seeking lay between.”

            I was reminded of when I too, prayed a similar prayer.  And for me, it’s been twenty years of preparation, purification and relinquishment since then.  Around that time, a friend said that she was talking about me to another person and said that I was so spiritual, and that I was like that naturally and did not even have to work it.  I laughed-out-loud and said, I have to work really hard at it!  Here I am twenty years later still needing much vigilance.  I bring this up because spiritual work is hard work, and it is a process to be willing to relinquish the ego’s thought system.   
            Here I am reminded of a passage from The Way of Mastery, which says:

            “I have said many times that the world you see is nothing more than the effect of the thoughts you have held within the mind.  Therefore, awakening requires the act of vigilance and discipline.  The discipline to cultivate a way of living in which you observe your own thoughts, in which you listen to the words that are coming out of your mouth, in which you observe the feelings that are evoked within your body, the reactivity that seems to own you, and to see these things as innocent and simply self-caused.”

           In the previous blog I wrote about entering into a year of increased willingness to relinquish what is no longer needed.  When I came across these steps by Peace Pilgrim I was inspired to talk and write about the preparations, purifications and relinquishments that are required.  Here I will start with preparations, using her steps as a springboard for my own experiences regarding these steps.  As usual, much more is shared in the audio, but for the sake of brevity I will share highlights here.

Four Preparations

1.  Assume right attitude toward life.
            Peace Pilgrim says about this step: “Stop being an escapist or a surface-liver as these attitudes can only cause disharmony in your life.  Solve the problems that life sets before you, and you will find that solving them contributes to your inner growth.”

            With this step, I was immediately reminded of the first two stages in the “development of trust” as outlined in the manual of A Course in Miracles
            Many have gone through experiences in their lives where it seems as if all hell is breaking loose – a time where it seems like we are loosing what we value, perhaps a job, relationship, etc.  This is a time when the universe seems to be directing us into new directions.
            The Course calls this “a period of undoing”, one which need not be painful, but often is because is seems that things we find valuable are being taken away.  Yet it is also a time where we can learn that these changes are necessary and helpful.  Once we learn this we go to the next stage, “a period of sorting out”.  We are told that this stage is always somewhat difficult because through life experiences, we are being taught the difference between what is valuable and what is valueless.

               “It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful.”
                The Inner Teacher uses the fabric of our very lives to teach us, and as we realize this, life becomes more interesting, meaningful and fun.  Everything can be used for healing.

SQT ~1~

Accept all things given
as a gift from our Holy Spirit
for the purpose of peace
and awakening to love.

2.  Live good beliefs.

            Peace Pilgrim says: “The laws governing human conduct apply as rigidly as the law of gravity. …Since many of these laws are already common belief, you can begin by putting into practice all the good things you believe.  No life can be in harmony unless belief and practice are in harmony.”

            The workbook of the Course came to mind for me here, as it was an incredible preparation period for me which spanned three years, as I was guided to do it twice and each time took exactly 14 months.
            Through the practice of the workbook we are being shown the ego thought system of guilt, attack and fear, and we are introduced to the Inner Teacher who then can help us specifically to undo the ego. We are told: "The purpose of the workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world.”
            It tells us not to decide for ourselves that the lessons apply to some situations and not others.  I’m sure I am not the only one who has had thoughts like:
           “Well I can see how remembering that “I am sustained by the Love of God” may be helpful if I am feeling in the dumps, but what-on-earth does it have to do with this horrible financial situation!?” 
            When mesmerized by the world of form we might not see that the lessons are applicable, but with willingness to actually apply the lessons, not just to some situations, but to all situations, we see their efficacy. 
            In fact, when I read this step, I immediately thought of this lesson I am sustained by the Love of God.  “Here is the answer to every problem that will confront you, today and tomorrow and throughout time.”
            “I am sustained by the Love of God” is a great belief to live by, one that I have personally found to be the workbook lesson for the self-employed! And my friend Teddy says that it is God’s diet plan! Ha!

3.  Find your place in the Life Pattern.

            Peace Pilgrim says: “You have a part in the scheme of things.  What that part is you can know only from within yourself.  You can seek it in receptive silence.”

            Several things came up for me when I reflected on this step.  First, I was directed again toward the manual, to section 9: Are Changes Required in the Life Situation of God’s Teachers?
               When we embark on the spiritual path we may anticipate great changes, or we may be fearful of great changes occurring, and fear is often more likely.  Twenty years ago when I became incredibly inspired to dedicate my life to service, I can still recall the trepidation I felt as I wondered if I was going to be asked to so something I didn’t really want to do, or if I would have to give up relationships or something else I valued.
              Fortunately though, I had realized by then that I had lived the first 33 years of my life without God, and at that point, a year with God had made a major difference – I was not going back!
            In this section in the manual of the Course, we are told that our training is always highly individualized, and that the majority are given a slowly-evolving training program.  So let’s not beat up on ourselves for noticing that these steps of preparation, purification and relinquishment require decades, and maybe lifetimes!

            Twenty years ago, and still today, a daily prayer for me was this prayer from ACIM:

I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Love that sent me.
I do not have worry about what to say or what
to do, because Love that sent me,
will direct me.
I am content to be where I am, knowing
that Love goes with me.
I will be healed as I let Love teach me to heal.

            Through this I was led to a deeper calling.  If you who are reading this have been wondering what you are meant to do in the world and what your true purpose is, simply be willing to ask: How Can I Serve Today? 
            As we act on how we are inspired to serve today, then we are guided to the next step, and then the next.  My true calling, my true passion is doing what I am doing right here today, letting Holy Spirit speak to me and through me about who I really am.

4.  Simplify life to bring inner and outer well-being into harmony.

            Peace Pilgrim says: “Many lives are cluttered not only with unnecessary possessions but also with meaningless activities.   Cluttered lives are out-of-harmony lives and require simplification.”

            In my self-help junkie days I learned about making goals and setting affirmations, and how this process could be used to change various aspects of my life.  Even then I recognized that there were not enough hours in the day to chant affirmations about all the things I wanted to fix!  What a revelation it was when I finally got to A Course in Miracles to learn that I could let go of all those useless goals and focus on one goal – God.
I have found that the very best way to simplify my life is to recognize that I need focus on only one goal, one purpose, one desire: Know thy Self as Love created it, unlimited and free.
As we are willing to do this, to seek first the Kingdom, then automatically we step into all four of these preparations to living in inner peace. 

I absolutely love what Peace had to say here: “Your lower self sees you as the center of the universe – your higher Self sees you as a cell in the body of humanity.”
It’s with ego that we get caught up in what we’re meant to do or achieve, or focused on me, me, me. 
Rest in today: How can I serve today?  How can I be truly helpful in this moment?  In this way, Love can use us as a cell in the body of humanity to serve one another. 


In my next talk, I will be talking about purification.[i]  In this audio I share quite a bit more on living these steps. 



* SQT, Single Quiet thoughts can be found at:

[i] I will be speaking on this on Sunday, 12/18/11 at Acimgather.  Visit my website, and click on ‘lectures’ for information on how to listen in.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Course Note #132: Time to let go of the old!

             In the Manual of A Course in Miracles there is a section on “The Development of Trust”.  It came to my awareness in August of 2007 that I was in the third stage, “a period of relinquishment” and had entered that stage around January of that same year.  Now that we’re coming up on 2012, I have been in this stage for going on five years. 
            It’s been a fascinating journey in these last 5 years, as Holy Spirit has used the fabric of my very life to lead me through this idea of “relinquishment”. 
“The third stage to which one must go can be called “a period of relinquishment.”  If this is interpreted as giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict.  Few escape this distress entirely.  There is, however, no point in sorting out the valuable from the valueless unless the next obvious step is taken.  The third step is rarely if ever begun until the second is complete.  Therefore, the period of overlap is apt to be one in which the one feels called upon to sacrifice his own best interests on behalf of truth.  He has not realized as yet how wholly impossible such a demand would be.  He can learn this only as he actually does give up the valueless.  Through this he learns that where he anticipated grief he finds a happy light-heartedness instead; where he thought something was asked of him he finds a gift bestowed on him.” (ACIM M-4.I.A.5)
            I have definitely experienced “enormous conflict” and feeling like I had to sacrifice what I wanted in behalf in truth, in even the letting go of mundane lifestyle habits.  So as I began to see that I was really being asked to let go of self-will and all that goes along with that, like my attachments and my thinking, well now, “enormous conflict” is an understatement.
            And yet, in the areas that I have surrendered, I did see that I gave up nothing but an attachment to form.  The truth is, we surrender to the true Self, which is who we really are, and so who we really are is not going to lead us to do something that we don’t want to do, this Self leads us to know our joy.

In 2007 and early 2008, I was being urged to give up certain behavioral habits.  At that time, I was guided to the passage in the Bible regarding not being able to put new wine in old wineskins because if new wine is poured into old wineskins the skins will burst and thus the wine will be wasted.
            My inner teacher has used these teachings at various times over the past 5 years to teach me this: “I cannot pour new power into you if you are unwilling to give up old ways of being, old attitudes and old habitual thought patterns.”
First, I was guided to give up certain habits, and then for the last few years I have been guided to look deeper than ever before at the ego thought system, and how it is kept alive through the thoughts that we think. 

In August of 2009, actually while at our first “be the love” event, in the middle of the night I heard, “Now is the time to study NTI.”  And so, I began to do just that.  Off-and-on for a period of a couple years I was led consistently to NTI Luke.  Last year, I realized why, it’s basically a guidebook to navigate through this period of relinquishment!   When I was prompted to read the “overview of contents”, I had this Aha! Moment.
“NTI Luke – Focuses on judgment and separation-based thinking as obstacles that must be let go in order to realize enlightenment.  Helps the reader to question the value he places on his own judgment and thinking so he will increase his willingness to let them go.”

I now see that my inner teacher has led me step-by-step, not just in the last five years, but all through my life, to the understanding of just what it is that I am to relinquish – my attachment to the false self, and specifically, to “my” thinking, which is the voice of this self. 
And still, I can see how certain behavioral habits are being used, even now, to show me my attachments to form and consequently, my unwillingness to fully surrender.  I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about this in the coming year!

Supposedly, we live our lives in 9-year cycles that begin on our birthday. I have been feeling this energy to let go of old things for quite a while now, and lo and behold, on 12/2/2011 I enter into year 9, which is a year of letting go of old things, in order to move into new beginnings in the following year.

Recently when I taught on “Distractions, Practice and Devotion” I was prompted, once again, to Holy Spirit’s interpretation, through NTI, of the wineskins passages.  It seems that everywhere I turn in the last few weeks, I am receiving the message to let go of the old!

So first, let’s look at NTI Luke, Chapter 5:

“Old habits must be let go, for old habits will not usher in a new day.  With old habits, all things remain the same.  But with new habits, all things are possible.  I have come to teach you new habits.  You will learn these habits by practicing them as I ask.  Remember Me, and practice.”

I’d like to comment on this idea of “habits”.  When I first received guidance from this passage in the Bible, and later from NTI, as I said, HS was speaking to me about lifestyle habits, but also used those habits to teach me more about habitual thought patterns. 
Great spiritual literature like ACIM, NTI and the Bible meet us where we are at any point in our spiritual evolution, which is why these books can be read over-and-over again at various times in our lives, and seem to teach us totally new things. 

Ultimately, these same teachings were used to reveal to me that the only habit that I really need to relinquish is the habit of listening to ego, the false self.

With old habits, all things remain the same.  Until we change habits, nothing changes, and I’m sure you too, have seen the truth of this.  Even so, ego uses our behavioral habits to keep us focused on changing things “out there” rather than looking at the real problem – listening to ego.
I love how my inner teacher has used habits in form to really teach me about the habit of listening to the stories in the mind, listening to the voice that crucifies, listening to the voice that judges every thing we think, say, see or do.  Once we really break this habit, most likely, all the others will take care of themselves. 

 “Let go of old habits and old ways of thinking.  They have not served you.  To hold onto the old is to create a future like the past.  That is not useful to you now.  Listen to My Word.  Hear what I say.  Practice it.  Then you will know what to do.”  (NTI Matthew 9v14-17)

I also want to share a section from NTI Acts, Chapter 3 that speaks to me so poignantly as well:
“Do not worry about the mistakes you have made.  They are based on ignorance, not reality.  Be happy that you have been mistaken!  Be joyous that there is another way to see!  This is what it means to repent.  To repent is to choose again.  To repent is to decide to turn from the ways of ignorance and turn to the Voice of Knowledge.  This is a joyous decision, for this is the decision that changes all things.  This decision that you have made is a decision to listen to another Voice.  It is the decision to let go of the thoughts you have listened to until now and to listen to another Voice, the one that comes from God.  This decision is a decision to change habits you have had until now.  It is a decision to see yourself through new eyes, eyes that are based on a foundation of truth.”

Even after all these years of feeling truly guided, I never cease to be amazed by it.  Recently I wrote about being guided to the teachings in NTI on becoming an empty shell, which is essentially about learning to not listen to the “thinking mind” that chatters incessantly about nothing.  And then being led to The Teachings of the Inner Ramana, which through its teaching on mantra and surrender, has given me tools to navigate through the next step.

So on the eve of my birthday, which will take me into a year of letting go of the old, I rest in gratitude for the help that is always here.

This is why I am here.
 I am here to help you make this change
from believing in the false to
 listening to the Voice of what is true.
 This is the decision of your joy. 
This is your path. 
This is your way.
 And I will help you,
until you do not need this help anymore.
                         (NTI Acts 3)


Thank you Holy Spirit,

To You Who is
my true Self.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Course Note #131: Mind-watching through painful experiences

Recently I heard a story about a man who owned a factory.  Suddenly, or so it seemed, the machines in the factory were breaking down and employees were having accidents.  The owner kept trying to figure out what was going, and his mind was caught up in thinking about how to solve the problem.  A rival company had made an offer to buy his business, and he was thinking of selling because it had become such a headache.
One night he went to the factory at midnight.  He took a chair up to the top floor of the factory and sat down to watch. As he watched the factory from above, he saw vandals and saboteurs enter the factory.   He watched as they did things to the machinery that would cause breakdowns and accidents to occur.  He later found out that the rival company had sent the intruders to encourage him to sell his business.

The point of the story is that he didn’t solve the problem by thinking about it and trying to figure out a solution, he solved the problem by simply watching from above.

As we watch the mind from above with Holy Spirit, and see the saboteurs and intruders that cause us pain, we realize that they are just our thoughts.  When we believe the story running through the mind that tells us something outside of us as causing our pain, then, we cannot hear the voice of Truth because we’re mesmerized by the thoughts that tell us we have a reason to be in pain.  Pain is part of the story.

Awhile back, my mind was caught up in such a story, and it was around this time that my inner teacher introduced me to the practice of mantra and surrender as taught in The Teachings of Inner Ramana.  If you’ve been reading my blog, then you are privy to how much I have gained from the incident because in my willingness to stop listening to the story, I learned practices that are taking me deeper within. 

In fact, recently I woke up one morning and heard thoughts about that story and immediately had this thought, "OMG, I am so bored with this story!”  I had to laugh.  Now when thoughts about that particular story come up, I immediately see that the thoughts are truly meaningless, as are the thoughts about all the stories that try to run through the mind.
 This morning I had a deep meditation, and then went on a walk with my dog.  During most of the walk I focused on the mantra practice, but then thoughts began to come up about my childhood, thoughts that I had not heard in a very long time.  I saw the meaninglessness of the thoughts, and thought, “Sheesh! I’m going to be 55 in a few days. It’s definitely time to let go of that story.”  It was obvious that ego, the voice of separation, was just throwing a curve ball into my peaceful mind.  I returned to my mantra practice instead of listening to a story, and soon, the story dissolved back into the nothingness from which it came. 

In this blog I will be sharing from a message from the “Be watchful with Me” series called: “Mind-watching through pain”.*

When a time of pain comes upon you, Holy Spirit in this message asks us to pay careful attention to the thoughts that rise through the pain, such as:

I am victim.
I am afraid.
Something is wrong with me.
There is no God.
I hate myself.
There is only loss.

                   I can certainly relate to having thought all of these thoughts in various moments of emotional pain, and I can certainly recall the desire to believe them as true.  I am thankful that I know now that such thoughts come from the voice that speaks from who I am not. 

                 HS: “Watch the thoughts that arise, and remain aware that you need not accept these thoughts.  In observing the thoughts that come up through the pain, without slipping into accepting the thoughts, you release many false thoughts from the mind.”

The way the word “accept” is being used here is synonymous with the word believe, as in believing that the thoughts are true.  I feel to make this clarification because there is a difference between accepting thoughts as true, and accepting that right now the thoughts of fear or loss are in my mind.  When I see the thoughts in the mind, and recognize that they are the cause of my pain, I can then give willingness to let them go to healing; but to believe them and accept them as true, is to keep them.  In keeping a tight hold on such thoughts I continue to create experiences of pain.

When we are willing to do this mindful work, we begin to wake from our slumber.  I now find it amazing that an incident that occurred in my life that caused me much emotional pain, is something I now see as a gift that has led me to deeper healing.  It was through my willingness to let go of the painful thoughts that seemed to bombard me that I allowed myself to be guided to see thoughts of victimization and unworthiness that were triggered by the incident.  I gained a deeper look within.  And thus, I came to a deeper understanding of acceptance (see course note #111 and 115).  Then I was guided to the practices of mantra and surrender, which are without a doubt, the most helpful and powerful tools I have come across.

HS: “Use your pain to free yourself, by choosing release from the thoughts that are the basis and cause of all pain.”

Let your pain be a gift that sets you free from the prison you have made for yourself.  It is truly our thoughts that enslave us.  Even though we need not grow through pain, we often do as we hold onto ideas that cause pain. 

“It is time to look within at the darkness that blinds you to your awareness of Life.  You will see many things, all of which are false.  Hold My hand, and know it is your own truth that you hold to as we look together at all you are not.”  (NTI 2 Timothy 1v1)

            NTI 2 Timothy has been incredibly instrumental in helping me do this.  Through my work with the teachings, I have discovered that when I have been really willing to look at the pain, it’s not that painful!  I mean it is for a moment…but pain becomes joy as we look at it from above the battleground, with the vision of Holy Spirit, and there we can release it to Love for healing.

“The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.  Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it.  From there will your perspective be quite different.  Here in the midst of it, it does seem real.”  (ACIM T-23.IV.4:5)

          It can be difficult to practice mind-watching when going through emotional pain, because it is a time when we can become more self-absorbed, and stuck in our story.  But be willing to entertain the willingness to let the pain become a gift.

Take this moment to be quiet
and to ask Me
to look at your pain with you. 
I am with you always,
but through inviting Me
 you acknowledge My presence within you.

In peace we will experience your pain together.
Through peace,
 we will joyously let it go.

Healing is your only purpose.
Do not be distracted.
You enjoy the process as you come to recognize its reward,
and the reward you recognize is
That Which you truly Are.
                   (NTI 2 Timothy 4v16-22)

To enjoy additional audios on this mind-watching visit: and click on "audio Library" 

The audio was recorded on 9/11/11 and is 53 min.
and delves into more than I have shared here.


    MP3 File

* The message can be found in its entirety at: in the monthly archives dated 1/19/2007.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Course Note #130: Living a Thanks-in-Advance Life!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Yes, there is Much to be Grateful for.

A few years ago while reading the biblical account of Jesus feeding five thousand people with a few loaves and fish, I was struck by the fact that he first gave thanks to God, and then, he proceeded to feed the people. Not only was there enough to feed them, but there were many basketfuls left over!
If I were in that situation it would probably go something like this: “Oh My God!  There are 5,000 hungry people here, and I have only 4 loaves and 4 fish! What do I do? God, can you help me out here?” 
Suddenly, loaves and fish rain down from the sky, enough to feed everyone. “Wow! Thank you!”
This is how most of us live our lives: Thanks-after-the-fact.  Coming from a consciousness of lack and need, we don’t trust that our needs will be met, and when they are, it seems like a gift from God. 
The biblical example, however, reveals how to live a Thanks-in-Advance life.  We have already been given all that we need to live a full, abundant and meaningful life.  You may not think that this is true if you currently have more bills than money, or covet something sparkly and new.  The truth is that we don’t know what would make us truly happy.  We can learn to live our lives with a consciousness of gratitude and trust, and then Life has a way of leading us to how we can best serve in the world, and supplying what we need to do so.   

There are two ways of looking at the world: Through the eyes of fear, anger and “there’s not enough!” or through the vision of appreciation, acceptance and trust.  We will see out there that which we feel within. If anger and fear encompass our thoughts, then we see a world that shows us many things to be angry about and fearful of.
The good news is that if trust and thanksgiving embrace our mind, we look upon a world that shows us many things to be grateful for. What would you see? The choice is yours.

Let’s apply this to needing a job. The mind filled with fear may tell you that you need a job for security and to pay your bills; or it may tell you that there are no jobs to be had.
How would a heart filled with Thanksgiving see it?  I am thankful that I have been given what I need to serve, may Love show me how I can be used today.  

Let Love Guide You.

To a certain degree, abundance and poverty have nothing to do with the numbers in your bank account, but have everything to do with thought. Thoughts of gratitude recognize inner riches and abundance, while thoughts of complaint and “I don’t have enough” are poverty.  Looking at the world through the eyes of Trust and Love changes the way we live – it opens the door to seeing what was there all along. 
Living a Thanks-in-Advance life is about remembering that as Love created you, you have everything, right now!

And so:
Look well to this day,
for it is life,
the very Best of Life!

In its brief course lie all
the realities and truth of existence,
the Joy of Growth,
the Splendor of Action,
the Glory of Power!

For yesterday is but a memory,
and tomorrow, only a vision
but Today well lived
makes every yesterday a memory of happiness,
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well therefore to this day.
                                                                     Ancient Sanskrit poem

On 11-19-09 I gave a 50 minute talk on this topic. In it, I cover much more than I have written here.  Enjoy!
Living a Thanks-in-Advance Life!
MP3 File

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Course Note #129: Distractions, Practice & Devotion

              Do you ever beat up on yourself for being distracted and forgetting to practice?  Actually, I don’t do it near as much as I used to, nevertheless, it is something that I can fall into, although now, it’s much easier to step out of as I recognize that I am listening to ego.  Ego loves to beat up on you for being what it deems, a bad spiritual student! – telling you that you should be nice and loving, all the time.
            The thing is though, A Course in Miracles is not about being nice and loving, all the time, it’s about looking at the ego.  So we can see why the ego would rather have us focus on how other people or ourselves are not being “nice and loving”, because looking at ego is the way to let go of it.

            I’ve been feeling lately that I am moving into the “next step”, and have been guided to study the teachings in NTI on the empty shell (see previous blogs).  It seems that I’ve had days where I have been more distracted as I move into this deeper level of practice.
            I’m reminded of a passage in ACIM where it says that when you respond with love, your ego will react viciously.  You know how it is, you have a very loving or peaceful moment, and the next thing you know you’re screaming at someone in a parking lot!  And as one of my friends says, “Yeah, the church parking lot!”  LOL. 
            It’s been many years since I’ve had one of those episodes, but what I recognize in my own practice at this time is that, the more I desire to know my Self as Love, and to extend that Love, the ego does become vicious. 
            A friend was talking to me about her recent ego sneak attacks and said, “Ego finds the loose thread and tugs at it until we separate.”  So true.  Ego knows what our weaknesses are, because ego is who we think we are!  By watching the mind and observing ego in action, we begin to recognize that this voice is not who we are, and we learn to stop listening to it.  As long as we think this voice of separation is who we are, it’s easy for it to distract and attack us. 
While I have used many practices over the years, I have found the mantra practice to be such a wonderful tool to break away from listening to this voice.  Just this morning, I let the mantra take me deep into stillness, something I had never experienced until I started this practice.  Later, on a morning walk, it was again helpful to quiet the mind.  I feel such gratitude to have been guided to this practice.

In my talk on Sunday I talked about distractions, practice and devotion, and I’ll share some of that here.


            “There are many distractions that come to keep your mind from Me.  Remember that distractions are temptations put forth by your resistance, and resist the distraction instead.  I have said before that it is not important what you do, but why you do it.  This is an invitation to do all things for Me.  If each distraction becomes an opportunity to hear My Voice, you are doing well on the path to healing.”  (NTI Luke13v22-30)

               This past week I’ve found myself distracted by thoughts about the future, internet conversations and assorted other things.  In my recognition that I am allowing ego distraction, I was then able to use the distractions as opportunities to look at ego in my mind. 
When we are asked to “resist the distraction”, this doesn’t mean necessarily that we resist the activity that we see as a distraction, but once looked at with Holy Spirit, we may be guided away from that activity or, we may be guided simply to see it differently.


            This was up for me this week as I noticed that some days I remember to practice the mantra throughout the day, and on other days I forget.  Willingness is everything.  In the moment that I notice that I have forgotten to practice, I give my willingness to remember more.  It’s ego that tells us we must do more, Holy Spirit asks us to practice when we remember.  I often pray in this way:

Holy Spirit,
I give you permission to remind me throughout the day
to remember You.


Holy Spirit,
I give you permission to correct errors in my mind
throughout the day.

            I find that when I do this, I do remember to practice more frequently throughout the day.


            “You will seem to have many temptations.  You will seem to forget My thoughts completely for a time.  Do not let that distress you.  The thinking you do apart from Me cannot hurt you.  It can only delay your healing for a little while. So when you have forgotten, shake off the past… Now is a new moment!  You help yourself by choosing My thoughts again now.”  (NTI Luke 10v1-24)

                Healing occurs in the present.  In any present moment that we remember to let go of ego, and instead, listen to the voice of Truth, in that moment, we have stepped forward once again. 
In any moment that we fall into berating ourselves, a helpful hint: Remember that you are listening to ego – choose again.  We can learn to listen to the Voice that does not crucify.


“A great leader has compassion, and you are the leader within your mind.  Be gentle with yourself in your own awakening… Listen within for the gentle Voice that encourages.  Let that be your example.  Be with yourself as that Voice is with you, and you lead yourself steadily to your own awakening.”  (NTI Hebrews 5)

          I love this passage because before I ever began a study of NTI, my Inner Teacher had spoken to me frequently about being a leader in my own mind.  This came from a passage in the Bible: 2 Corinthians 10:5, which asks us to take every thought and purpose captive, and lead it into alignment with Love.

            A question came up from someone asking how we could lead ourselves to awakening?  These teachings speak to our willingness to let go of ego.  Holy Spirit cannot take from us what we are unwilling to release. 
In any moment that we recognize that we fell back in to the ego, in that moment, we are awake.  Before we awaken fully, we have many moments of awakening.  Anytime we choose to listen to the Inner Voice that encourages, that is a moment of awakening.
When you notice that you’ve fallen back into ego, in that moment, you are awake. 

For you do not notice slumber when you are deep within it.
 If you are noticing now,
 now must be a state of awakening. 
Rejoice, and use now to practice awakening. 
                                   (NTI Hebrews 5v11-14)

               Look at all the years we didn’t even know that we were sleeping; we didn’t even know that we were doing it to ourselves ~ Now we know. 
               Ah ha!  I don’t have to use my slip back into ego as an opportunity to berate myself; instead, I can use it to remind myself that I am waking up.
             So often in spiritual communities we see, what I like to call, spiritual tyranny.  People are judged by themselves or others, for being angry, upset, judgmental, afraid, sad or worried… Ego loves to do this, but it is just more ego. 

A Course in Miracles is not a book that teaches us how to love,
 more profoundly, it teaches us why we don’t.

               Whenever we use now to recognize that we are mesmerized by form, and we see that we are mesmerized, even if we choose to not turn away, at least we are now aware of what we are doing.  Let us remember all the years when we didn’t have a clue that we were dreaming our own nightmares!

            “The guilt [unworthiness, fear…] that you feel feels eternal within your soul, but it is not.  These feelings rise repeatedly to your awareness for one reason: It rises as a reminder of your desire to heal. 
              “You have not healed yourself because you do not fully recognize your desire to heal.  You remain somewhat distracted by dreams.  But your attention is turning from the distraction you have made to the desire for the remembrance of God.”  (NTI Hebrews 10v1-7)

              That’s why we read and listen to spiritual material; that’s why we have the desire to go deeper within…because we have chosen the desire to remember our truth.  What a switch it is for me now to be able to see that feelings of guilt, lack or unworthiness are opportunities for me to remember that I am now willing to let go of false beliefs and desires.  It’s so life-changing to truly see that all the stuff we do to ourselves can be used for spiritual practice.  I see the desire to know my Self as Love created it, unlimited and free, is growing everyday.


                  In The Teachings of the Inner Ramana, devotion is defined as the practice of slowing the mind and pulling focus inward.  We can do this with the mantra, with prayer, with meditation and contemplation. As I end, I’d like to share a “Single Quiet Thought”*


Devotion is an act of silence.
It is a decision
to stop the flow of thoughts
and return to the wisdom of stillness.

Thoughts shall start again,
and your attention will drift to them,
if you are interested.

But if you are also interested in devotion,
you can again make the decision
to return to the Heart.

In this decision,
thoughts are not fed.
That which is not fed
must eventually die.

~From our Holy Spirit

The Audio was recorded on 11-20-11 and is 57 min.
In it, I share so much more about what to do when we
forget to practice than I was able to share here.


    MP3 File

* Single Quiet thoughts can be found at: