Sunday, January 23, 2011

Course Note #91: Blinded by Beliefs

Lately, I have been receiving much inner prompting to look at false beliefs.  The obstacles to the awareness of Love are the false beliefs I hold about the world and myself. 
If we knew, and I mean really knew the truth about ourselves – I am as God created me – could we ever believe that we are guilty, unworthy, lacking, limited or any other of the myriad of beliefs we hold about other people and ourselves? 
A fundamental law of the universe is, like attracts like.  One reason why it is important to uncover false beliefs is because we attract and create experiences based on them.   If I have a belief alive and well in lack and limitation, then I will continue to create experiences of lack and limitation.  Even seeing lack and limitation in the world is based on my belief in it.  These false beliefs are made up of habitual thought patterns we have thought for so long that we are unaware of them, and yet they drive our lives.

I rarely remember my nightly dreams, and so when I do, I figure that it carries a message for me.  Recently I had a dream, and due to the elusive nature of dreams I won’t bore you with the details, but I woke up in the middle of the night pondering what it meant.  I recalled a conversation I once had in regard to dream interpretation where it was suggested that when attempting to interpret a dream, bring awareness to the feeling that the dream provokes.  Immediately I realized that my overall feeling in regard to the dream was that of feeling unlovable. 
The day before I had read a passage in NTI that said something like, if you believe that you are unlovable, a world without love is the world you will see.  It seemed to me that this dream came to reveal to me that on some level, I still carry this belief.  I’ll bet I’m not the only one.   
This morning my Inner Teacher took me through a class on looking deeper at these beliefs and how to let them go.  You may have had the experience of pulling weeds from your yard only to have them promptly return.  The false beliefs we hold onto are like weeds that come up again and again until we look for the source of the weeds. 
The weeds: the belief in guilt, unworthiness, lack and limitation; the belief that any thing outside of us holds our safety, security or our destruction, all stem from the same source – the belief in separation.   
As we look at the world through the lens of false beliefs, we see a world that is not really there.  We see a world of separation, strife and differences, instead of a world embraced by Love.  We have truly been blinded by our beliefs because through them, we cannot see the truth.

How do I let them go?

In the previous post on “Letting go of the belief in lack,” I shared a definition of the word belief: “a habit of mind in which trust and confidence is placed in a person, place or thing.”
Where have you placed your trust?  We may think that if we are spiritual or religious that we have fully placed our trust in God or the universe, but many of us are fooling ourselves.   
Call to mind the circumstances or situations that bring about a sense of frustration, worry or fear.  Maybe it’s around a change you want to make, or about finances, creativity or health.  The frustration you feel reveals that you have put your trust in something other than your true Self.   
Look at your plans for the future such as, how you will be taken care of.  The shake-up in the economy over the last few years has been an experiential lesson for many people to learn that a sense of security cannot be placed in jobs or retirement plans.  This doesn’t mean that you cannot plan for the future, however, where does your trust lie?  Being a small business owner I’ve long realized that my retirement plan must be: I place the future into the hands of God!
            Another way to do this is to notice which groups of people you identify with, the news stories you respond to and the charities you resonate to?  Why do I choose this over that?  This is a great way to see the belief in separation and differences, and how it plays out in your mind.

             The belief in separation (ego) is the voice in the mind that we think of as “my” thoughts.  This voice chatters incessantly about everything we see, say or do.  We usually don’t even hear this voice, and yet, we listen to it and believe everything it tells us even though most of what it tells us is all about how we are unworthy, lacking and not good enough.  Or, it chatters about how other people are unworthy, lacking and not good enough! 
            Thankfully, there is another Voice to can listen to – the Voice for Love, which is within.  Since this Voice for God is within my mind, obviously I cannot be separate from God.  Can a sunbeam be separate from the sun?  Yet this is the dilemma: I am a sunbeam thinking I am separate from the sun.

            Of course the way to let go of false beliefs is to see them.  Mind watching is the practice of freedom.  Learning to watch the thoughts in the mind will reveal false beliefs, and with such awareness, I have an opportunity to choose again.   A Course in Miracles is filled with references to the importance of watching our mind.  In just two pages there are several references:

            “Watch your mind for the temptations of the ego…
“The habit of engaging with God and his creations is easily made if you actively refuse to let your minds slip away. 
“Side with Me consistently against this deception...
            “Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away and releasing the strength of God into everything you think and will and do.  Do not settle for anything less than this, and refuse to accept anything but this as your goal.  Watch your minds carefully for any beliefs that hinder it’s accomplishment and step away from them.
            “Love shines on you and must shine through you.  Your ego cannot prevent Love from shining on you, but it can prevent you from letting Love shine through you.” (ACIM O. E. T-4 62-66)
           
To be healed is to focus on one goal.  Mind watching involves looking at our thoughts so as to recognize which goal they are serving.  Who I really am, and who God really is, is beyond belief.  Holy Spirit can teach us to perceive beyond belief, but we must abide to the vine.   

Spirit Speaks:

When you prefer love to conflict,
you will begin to listen to Me.
 When you prefer oneness to separateness,
 you will ask Me how to think.
 When you are tired of loss, lack and suffering,
 you will give yourself to Me to be made complete.
 All this you can choose,
and in all this,
 I am with you.
                                                                                                NTI, Matthew 24:32-35


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This audio was recorded to an internet audience on 1-18-11 and is 47 min.
Uncovering the Obstacles to Love

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Course Note #90: Letting go of the Belief in Lack


            Due to the fact that we are asleep to who we are, we exist with a consciousness of lack, limitation and need.  With this belief in lack and need, we look out into the world and see those who have, and those who have-not.  Armed with this belief, we walk in the world as separate beings with separate needs, and special reasons about why we are in lack and need. 

Experiences of lack and need are not caused by anything but our belief in it.  As long as I hold onto this belief, I will continue to create the same experiences year-after-year, all the while wondering what I’m doing wrong.
While lack and limitation seem to be imposed on us by forces beyond our control, the truth is that lack exists only in our thoughts.  We want to resist this truth because it seems so obvious that the cause is “out there”.  Ultimately, however, it is liberating to realize that lack exists only in my mind, because the only thing I have the power to change is my mind!

Recently, as I was once again tempted to listen to the voice of lack and limitation, Holy Spirit urged me to look at my belief in lack.  Of course being in my mind, HS is privy to all my thoughts and so, spoke directly to me about particular thoughts regarding not only my life, but also the thoughts I have about people and conditions in the world. 
Spirit speaks:
“When those thoughts of lack and limitation come to mind, whether they have to do with your life or what you see in the world, immediately recognize them as stemming from a belief in lack, limitation and need.  As long as you hold onto this belief, you will continue to create experiences of lack, limitation and need. Be willing to let go of this belief and give it to Me.  I will correct it very gently and lead you home to Love.”

What seemed to be new in this conversation was the idea that I had a “belief” in lack and limitation.  For fun, I looked up the definition of “belief”: “a habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.”  How very interesting.  A belief in lack is simply a habit of putting my trust in the world instead of God.

            All I am being asked to do is give my willingness to let my beliefs be corrected.  I am finding this to be so exciting as I begin to see how everything that’s been plaguing me is really offering me the perfect opportunity to see what I have been holding on to.  As I practice watching my thoughts, the scales are beginning to fall from my eyes. Yes, I was blind, but now I see.
  
Lack exists only in my thoughts.

            Instead of lamenting my circumstances, it is exciting to discover that they can be used by Love to teach me that I am Love.  When I am willing to let everything be used for this purpose, then everything in my experience becomes an opportunity to simply extend the Love that I am. 
            When my purpose is only to extend Love, then I find the peace of God, no matter what is going on in my life.  Today, I am willing to use my mind differently.  Today, I am willing to use my mind to pray:

Holy Spirit,
I am willing to let go of my belief
in lack, limitation and need.

Today, I am willing to
           Surrender to the truth
that I am unlimited,
and I am free.

I let go,
and let You
heal my mind.         

            I rest in gratitude for all the self-created experiences of lack and limitation because they have served to teach me so much about trust – trust in God, trust in my Self, and trust in the healing process. 
            I am free to experience lack and limitation for as long as I want to, and I am free to experience freedom, whenever I choose to do so.  I have spent many years creating lack and limitation experiences, and now, I am willing to choose again.  I am willing to live joyously from the desire to know myself as God created me, unlimited and free!
           
As you go about your life this week, may you rest in this thought from The Song of Prayer:

            The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need. In prayer you overlook your specific needs as you see them, and let them go into God’s Hands.  There they become your gifts to God, as you would have no other gods before his Love.  It is to Love you go in prayer.  Prayer is an offering; a giving up of yourself to be at one with Love.

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This audio was recorded to an internet audience on 1/9/11 and is 49 min.
Letting go of the Belief in Lack 


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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Course Note #89: Healing from the Inside Out

This is the time of year when we tend to make New Year resolutions about things we want to change.  In my twenties I read motivational books that taught me about setting goals.  I’ll never forget the first time I tried it.  I wrote down everything I wanted to achieve in the coming year, and it the end of the year I had achieved every single goal! Eureka! I had discovered the secret of the universe!

After awhile, however, this practice no longer seemed as effective.  I found that I was setting the same goals year-after-year, achieving them and setting them at higher levels.  Then as time moved on, I noticed that my New Year goals were not only the same as those in years past, but they weren’t even being accomplished.  The whole process became frustrating because at the time, I did not understand why this goal setting thing no longer worked for me.
            Ultimately I realized that the reason certain practices work for a while is because they are meeting us where we are at that time.  Initially, goal setting was a way for me to see the power of the mind.  When it no longer worked, I was being led to go deeper.

Most of our New Year resolutions and goals are about a myriad of things, but the top three usually involve: bodies, bank accounts, and relationships.  Let me stop here and say that there is nothing wrong with wanting to change something about ourselves, or our lives, but what has caused so much frustration for many of us is that, we seek to change the outside while totally ignoring the inside. 

            One year as I was thinking about this whole idea of goals and resolutions, I happened to open A Course in Miracles to lesson 71, which tells me that only God’s plan for salvation will work.  With the thought of goals in mind, I began to think about the self-improvement projects most of us have, and thought:

Ah…only God’s plan for losing weight will work. 
Only God’s plan for earning money will work. 
Only God’s plan for finding love will work. 
Only God’s plan for healing anything will work.

            I laughed as those thoughts came to mind because they were a reminder of where my focus needed to be.  In a nutshell, God’s plan is to look at cause (inside) rather than effect (outside).  Which reminds me of a favorite Course teaching: Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.
           
            The ego’s plan for freedom, which is synonymous with “my” plan, maintains that if someone or some external circumstance changed, then all would be well.  In this way, the source of freedom is always seen as being outside my own mind.  
And so, in our quest for healing, we seek to find another diet, another person, place or thing that will finally offer success.  Borrowing the words of a famous song, we look for Love in all the wrong places, continuing on year-after-year fulfilling the ego’s mission of “seek but do not find.” 
            When it comes to wanting to change, please don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we cannot do things like start a new exercise plan or a new spiritual practice or whatever, but going within first, will lead you to a practice or experience that will be most helpful to you.  The idea is to stop seeking for salvation where it is not, and begin to seek it where it is.     
            Definitely the things I have been guided to from within have been just what I needed, everything from books, experiences, teachings to new lifestyle changes.  As I wrote about recently, with a continued focus on healing the inside, I spontaneously started getting up at 5:30 in the morning to go to the gym.
            I am willing to cease with trying to changes things, and instead, simply trust the healing process.  Pause for a moment, and entertain the thought that whatever is going on in your life right now is a perfect opportunity to learn more about yourself.

This past year on a greater level than ever before, I have learned that Spirit Within can use all those things that I think I need to change, to take me deeper into myself where true healing is.  Ego, which is the voice of the false self, would have me constantly look at what is wrong as a distraction from truth.  Indeed, I can be hypnotized by these distractions, which is why vigilance to looking at the thoughts in my mind is required.
 
My husband and I recently saw the movie Tron. In the movie, the creator of Tron realized that all his life he had been seeking for perfection, but in his quest, he missed the perfection that was already there.
            We, too, do this.  We seek for something that we already are.  In this amazing universe, we have been given the freedom to experience ourselves as we are not – we are not beings of lack and limitation.  We can learn to use our mind differently as we consciously desire to experience ourselves as we are, and thus let that desire create new experiences. 
           
Healing on the inside is not the fast track to change, but it is the only way to lasting change.  “Slow and steady won the race,” said the turtle to the hare.

Today I am willing to let Spirit use the very fabric of my life to return me to the remembrance that I am Love.
 Holy Spirit,
I have indeed looked for Love in
all the wrong places, and now,
I would seek it where it is.

Today,
I give you all that has me
 distracted and hypnotized,
that it may be used by You
to set me Free.
Amen. 

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The audio was recorded to an internet audience on 12/26/10 
Healing from the Inside out

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Course Note #88: What Will the New Year Hold?

The New Year will hold the same as years past without an intervention in the present.  Standing on the threshold of yet another New Year, I am reminded of these words by Louise Fletcher:

I wish there were some wonderful place
called the Land of Beginning Again,
where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door,
never to be put on again.

            There is such a place as the “Land of Beginning Again,” it’s called, now.  If you want to know what the future holds, forget about it, and instead, look at the thoughts in your mind.  Your thoughts do create your future, and it’s being created right now. 
           
I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that I have some of the same problems today as I had yesterday, and I recognize that it’s because I think the same seemingly innocuous thoughts – thoughts that keep me stuck year-after-year. 
I like this analogy:  The mind is like a tree, and the birds that fly into the tree are like thoughts.  It’s not necessary to watch the birds that fly in and out of the tree, watch the birds that build a nest.  Which thoughts have built a nest in your mind?  Do you know?
            One way to work with this is to begin with an area in your life where you frequently feel frustration, struggle and confusion.  Let’s say that it has to do with frustration about lack of money.  As you begin to watch the thoughts in your mind, you will find a nest built of thoughts of lack, limitation and unworthiness. 
We think many different thoughts in a day, but through awareness we discover that they fall into a few categories: fear, lack, guilt and unworthiness.  We have thought the same thoughts for so long that we don’t even hear them, nevertheless, they continue to create our experiences. 
As Love created me, I lack nothing, but when I am mesmerized by the world and let that sight dictate what I want or need, I fall back into the sleep of forgetfulness.  As I slumber, the self I think I am, chatters incessantly about what I should have, do or be, and I continue on with its mission of seek but do not find. 

The practice of mind watching can ultimately set you free because it facilitates a new level of awareness, which allows for intervention in the present.  Healing occurs in the present because that’s where healing is.  God is in the present.  Holding onto mistakes from the past and worries about the future keep us absent from the present, and thus, absent from the Presence of God.
            When absent from the present, the future becomes continuous with the past.  We can learn to pause in today, and recognize that we don’t know what tomorrow holds, and so we don’t know what we will want or need.  In recognition that I don’t know what the New Year holds, I can rest and listen to the Voice that does know. 
In A Course in Miracles we are asked to let the thought “I place the future in the Hands of God,” rule our mind, and become a habit in our problem-solving repertoire.
            Perhaps the habit that is currently in your problem-solving repertoire is something like this, “Oh My God!  What am I going to do?”
            Within the feeling of fear you can pause and remember, Ah…I can let go of fear and worry.  I can simply rest in now – in the Presence of Love, and place the future there.
           
We can make this New Year different by giving everything – every event, circumstance and relationship, the same purpose, that of being used by Holy Spirit to wake us up to the truth that we are free now.
And so, as you go about your life in the ensuing New Year, become willing to seek a future different from the past.  Practice allowing the future to be continuous with now.

Holy Spirit,
Reveal to me a new perception
of myself.
I have been mistaken about who I am,
and now I choose the present to be free.
Today,
I leave the future in your hands,
and leave behind my past mistakes.
Guide me in Your Holy Light.
Amen.

Happy New Year!

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The audio was recorded to an internet audience on 1/2/11 and is 51 min.
What will the New Year Hold?


MP3 File