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Manual for Teachers: II.The Shift in Perception, P 1. 1-15-18

II. The Shift in Perception, P 1
1 Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. One need but say, “There is no gain at all to me in this” and he is healed. But to say this, one first must recognize certain facts. First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. If sickness is but a faulty problem-solving approach, it is a decision. And if it is a decision, it is the mind and not the body that makes it. The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision-maker. Terms like “instincts,” “reflexes” and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it.

Journal
True healing occurs at the level of the mind regardless of where we see the problem. We might feel sickness in our body, but that is an illusion. The sickness is in the mind, in the thoughts that we believe, and are then projected onto the body. Lesson 15 tells us that our thoughts are images we have made, and one of the images it makes is of illness.

So sickness is a decision, and therefore healing is a different decision, and decisions are made in the mind, not the body. Why would we make a decision for sickness? It must hold some value for us or we would not do so. Jesus talked in the last paragraph about our thinking process when it comes to sickness, and he says that it is an act of defiance and a way to protect our life, that is to keep the story going and the little self in place. It is also the way we punish us for our guilt.

Before I can change my mind about sickness, I must let go of these values I have placed on it. It is amazing how resistant we are to this. Sickness, suffering, and even death are a small price to pay for the delusions of a body and a separate will. But it is not impossible. Already, I feel these desires fall away.

I am not so determined to hold onto the idea that the body is the ruler of my little world as I once was. Nowadays, I never think of sickness as something that happens in the body. I absolutely know that it happens in the mind. So now a change in mind seems like a happy cure rather than a sacrifice.

Jesus says that the existence of the world as I perceive it depends on the body being the decision-maker. Well, OK, I am ready to perceive it differently and so I am not as resistant anymore. I far more readily give up my illnesses through devaluing them. “One need but say, “There is no gain at all to me in this” and he is healed.”

Yes, I see that this is true and as quickly as I can, I give the guilt in my mind to the Holy Spirit and I decide that there is no gain for me in being sick. It is amazing how fast I am free of the sickness. Sometimes right away, sometimes in much less time than I would have normally. I suppose it is all a matter of how wholehearted I am in my decision that the body is the decision maker.

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Study of Text, C 15: V. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships, P 3. 1-12-18

V. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships, P 3
3 You cannot love parts of reality and understand what love means. If you would love unlike to God, Who knows no special love, how can you understand it? To believe that special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation is salvation. For it is the complete equality of the Atonement in which salvation lies. How can you decide that special aspects of the Sonship can give you more than others? The past has taught you this. Yet the holy instant teaches you it is not so.

Journal
Typically, when Course students start realizing that they must give up the specialness in their relationships, they experience some fear, or a lot of fear, at the thought. We have given great value to this specialness. In fact, we think it is our salvation. What helps is to understand that it is not the love you are asked to forfeit; it is only the specialness, the neediness in the relationship that must go. It is the belief that this one person or these few people are essential to you and no one else can substitute for them. It is the belief that you cannot love another like you love these ones and that no one else can love you like they love you.

The problem is that we have muddled the love with the neediness to the degree that we can’t tell them apart and so we no longer know what love is, really. I say we because it is true for nearly all of us. For instance, when I was married, I loved my husband and that love was real and holy. But that was not the only thing the relationship represented for me. I also depended on him to provide for the family, at least his share of this responsibility. I expected him to be there for me when things were going wrong, if not to fix the problem, to at least give me a shoulder to cry on.

I expected him to love me alone, forsaking all others. I expected him to share his feelings and discuss his life choices with me. I wanted him to agree with me and take my side against others. I expected him to put the children and me first. I thought he would always make me feel special and needed and loved. There were a lot of needs and expectations in that relationship and I thought that getting these needs met by him meant he loved me. I also thought that if they weren’t met that I didn’t love him anymore. I don’t think I was a lot different in these beliefs than most other people are.

What I have come to understand through the study and practice of the Course is that none of those needs and expectations had anything to do with love. So if we take them away, and it is possible to do this, then what we have left is pure love, or at least as pure as it will ever be in the world. I think of that love and how it felt and it was wonderful. It was why I wanted to be with him in the first place, why it felt so good when I was with him. What if I loved everyone the way I loved him, loving without needs and expectations, just the pure love? Then when he wasn’t with me, I would not have suffered a sense of loss or loneliness because I would still feel that love.

I would feel it within from myself and so I would never be without it. I would have that love when I was with anyone else or when I thought of anyone at all. Can you imagine how you feel when you think of someone you love with all your heart and completely unconditionally, and then imagine feeling that way all the time no matter the circumstances? You could feel that love when alone or when with the butcher or the postman or a complete stranger. Life would be sublime. Could you imagine being unkind or unthinking to someone you loved completely? If everyone allowed that kind of love the world would be a reflection of Heaven. We would be living in the holy instant.

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Study of Text, C 15: V. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships, P 2. 1-10-18

V. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships, P 2
2 The past is the ego’s chief learning device, for it is in the past that you learned to define your own needs and acquire methods for meeting them on your own terms. We have said that to limit love to part of the Sonship is to bring guilt into your relationships, and thus make them unreal. If you seek to separate out certain aspects of the totality and look to them to meet your imagined needs, you are attempting to use separation to save you. How, then, could guilt not enter? For separation is the source of guilt, and to appeal to it for salvation is to believe you are alone. To be alone is to be guilty. For to experience yourself as alone is to deny the Oneness of the Father and His Son, and thus to attack reality.

Journal
The past is the ego’s chief learning device. I easily see how that is true. As a child, probably as a baby, I learned that having my parent’s attention was vital and felt good. I learned that people in my family were more important than other people. I can remember my mom instructing us to take care of each other and stand up for each other, to defend family. I also learned what was required of me to keep my family’s loyalty and goodwill. Friends began to take on significance in my life as I entered school, and I learned that it was important to be part of a group. I learned what it takes to keep them loyal as well.

These things and more I learned as a child and they carried over into all my future relationships. Relationships became alliances and were more about survival than love; at least they were more about getting my needs met than about love. This is not to say that there was no love involved in the relationships. I love my children and I love my ex-husbands and my friends. But there was a strong need in these relationships and neediness is not love, and I have discovered that love becomes obscured by neediness.

All relationships defined by neediness are special. If someone loses their child, I feel compassion for them, but if I were to lose my child, I would feel like the world ended. I love lots of people, but I love my family more. This seems natural and normal to us because we pretty much all feel the same way. We all grew up learning the importance of family and that family is special and essential to us. If not, we transfer that need to others, friends or partners, our pets. But, special relationships are a source of guilt.

The reason this is so is that it is separation. I separate out the people in my life and designate which ones are most important to me and so which I love more. I learn which ones I need to meet my needs. I decide which ones matter the most. I decide which ones are against me, and therefore, are undeserving of my love. This separating out increases the guilt in my mind because it is an attack on God’s Wholeness. It makes me feel guilty and afraid even though I may not really know why or even that it is happening. It might just feel like low-level anxiety running in the background.

I have tried to love everyone the same and trying doesn’t seem to do the trick. I think that what I have to do is to notice when I don’t love someone and let the Holy Spirit work with my mind to heal it. I also think it helps a lot that I have reached a level of healing that allows me to desire love more than I ever have before. I am also more willing to love unconditionally and to love without exception. So my true desire to be the love I was created is coming forward. This desire is permission for the Holy Spirit to heal my mind.

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Manual for Teachers: 5.HOW IS HEALING ACCOMPLISHED? I.The Perceived Purpose of Sickness, P 1. 1-9-18

5. HOW IS HEALING ACCOMPLISHED?
1 Healing involves an understanding of what the illusion of sickness is for. Healing is impossible without this.

I. The Perceived Purpose of Sickness, P 1
1 Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? He must think it is a small price to pay for something of greater worth. For sickness is an election; a decision. It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength. When this occurs, real strength is seen as threat and health as danger. Sickness is a method, conceived in madness, for placing God’s Son on his Father’s throne. God is seen as outside, fierce and powerful, eager to keep all power for Himself. Only by His death can He be conquered by His Son.

Journal
This is so crazy! Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely believe that this is what is happening. But it is crazy. First, I choose sickness, I decide for it. And if that is not crazy enough, the reasoning behind this choice proves insanity. I think I am in competition for the throne. I think that I need to depose my Creator and take His place. No wonder I am afraid of God.

And how am I going to do this? I am going to get sick, suffer and then die. Ha! Take that, God! And you can’t stop me. My choice for sickness is now seen as strength that gets me what I want, and health as dangerous as it keeps me enslaved to God. I’m also going to bang my head on the floor and hold my breath until I turn blue or until you admit defeat and die, God. Jeez.

Well, I am not as insane as I used to be. I can see this and see the absurdity of it. I have suffered for my folly, and I want to stop. I have even gotten in touch with my love of God, though I occasionally let myself become aware of my fear of God. Still, I am beginning to heal mentally, and so I am interested in healing in all other ways including physically.

So I accept the fact that sickness is a choice I make. Until that fact is accepted, there is little I can do to turn this behavior around. I would still keep getting sick and thinking that it just happened to me, and how unfair it all is. I have had proof that sickness is a choice, lots of proof, and yet I still fall back on the idea that sickness has value. It is just an old way of thinking, a bad habit that I need to break.

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Study of Text, C 15: V. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships, P 1. 1-8-18

V. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships, P 1
1 The holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s most useful learning device for teaching you love’s meaning. For its purpose is to suspend judgment entirely. Judgment always rests on the past, for past experience is the basis on which you judge. Judgment becomes impossible without the past, for without it you do not understand anything. You would make no attempt to judge, because it would be quite apparent to you that you do not understand what anything means. You are afraid of this because you believe that without the ego, all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.

Journal
This is a perfect paragraph for me this morning as I am doing the lessons again and am on Lesson 8, “My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.” Because of this practice, I am keenly aware of this phenomenon. A few moments ago, I noticed my tub was slow to drain, and immediately, I had a cascade of thoughts about this, which led me to make a decision about calling the plumber this morning. I had worry thoughts, anger thoughts, and resentment thoughts.

Here are some of the thoughts I had. The plumbers were supposed to have come out already and given me an estimate on fixing this problem once and for all and they didn’t. Now I might have to get them out to unclog things before they do the job. I already paid them $500.00 last month to come out repeatedly and maybe this is going to start all over again this month. What if the cost for the job is more than I have? Should I try a different plumbing company?

All of these are judgments and all of them are a preoccupation with the past. And I can’t have peace of mind and have these judgments. I notice that it is hard for me to take my mind off of possible scenarios, all of which are based on past thoughts and all of which are judgments. But I want the holy instant, and I know that worry and irritability are not going to get that for me. I know that nothing good is going to come from dwelling on past thoughts and getting irritated because I am not getting my way.

So I am looking at this paragraph carefully. Jesus says that the holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s most useful learning device for teaching you love’s meaning. Ok. I want this and I am willing to do what is required in order to have it. Jesus says that in order to have it, I must suspend judgment entirely and that judgment rests on past experience. That was how I judged, looking at what happened before and letting that experience guide my thoughts about the present.

So, I will let go of all thoughts about my past experience with this plumbing problem. I will empty my mind of those thoughts and begin with a blank slate. Right now, what is happening? Nothing. What might happen? I don’t know. If something happens with my plumbing what will I do about it? I don’t know. What I feel right now is peace. The ego doesn’t like this and keeps suggesting possibilities, but I keep turning away from that.

I have done this before, where I let go of deciding for myself and it has worked out very well. It flies in the face of what we think of as common sense, and the ego mind becomes frantic to find solutions. But I have seen that it is possible to stay calm and unaffected by the ego mind. I have had experiences where the solution fell easily into my mind at the moment I needed it.

I don’t know what all of these plumbing problems mean, and I am not using my ego mind to figure it out. Jesus says that I am afraid to let go of past thoughts and to let go of ego thinking about the problem because I believe that without the ego, all would be chaos. Oh yes, that is exactly what the ego mind thinks. But Jesus assures me that without the ego all would be love. I am willing to trust my elder brother on this.

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Manual for Teachers: X. Open-Mindedness, P 3. 1-5-18

X. Open-Mindedness, P 3
3 You may have noticed that the list of attributes of God’s teachers does not include things that are the Son of God’s inheritance. Terms like love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge and eternal truth do not appear in this context. They would be most inappropriate here. What God has given is so far beyond our curriculum that learning but disappears in its presence. Yet while its presence is obscured, the focus properly belongs on the curriculum. It is the function of God’s teachers to bring true learning to the world. Properly speaking it is unlearning that they bring, for that is “true learning” in the world. It is given to the teachers of God to bring the glad tidings of complete forgiveness to the world. Blessed indeed are they, for they are the bringers of salvation.

Journal

I can accurately say that I am sinless and perfect and already awakened, and while that is all true, it may not be the most helpful thing in the moment. I am here in this fantasy because regardless of how true those attributes are I don’t really believe them. I am wrong about that but as Jesus says, what I believe is true for me.

Right now the focus properly belongs on the curriculum of forgiveness, that is, the undoing of all that I do believe right now. This is my part in bringing salvation to me and to all the world. Then, I can say with complete honesty that I am sinless and perfect and awakened, only there will be no reason to say it because there will be no thought of a possible opposite.

Unlearning is our goal now and it is pretty simple to tell what needs to be unlearned. I only need to notice what is going on in the world to see that there is unlearning to be done and to notice my reaction to what I see to know my part in the unlearning process. If I have an emotional response to what I see then I have something to forgive.

If I am wishing I had done better in the past there is forgiveness work to be done. If I am worried about something that might happen there is forgiveness work to be done. If I am sad or depressed, if I am angry or fearful or if I feel guilty, then there is forgiveness work to be done. These emotional responses to specific incidences point to unforgiveness and let me know that I still have some belief that needs to be undone.

This work is “true learning” in the world. Once this is done or rather undone, the truth will be revealed. It does not need our help and we do not need to learn anything about the truth. The truth did not go anywhere because we chose to believe something else. As soon as we unlearn the false the truth is simply apparent.

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Study of Text, C 15: IV. Practicing the Holy Instant, P 9, 1-4-18

IV. Practicing the Holy Instant, P 9
9 The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. Innocence is not of your making. It is given you the instant you would have it. Atonement would not be if there were no need for it. You will not be able to accept perfect communication as long as you would hide it from yourself. For what you would hide is hidden from you. In your practice, then, try only to be vigilant against deception, and seek not to protect the thoughts you would keep to yourself. Let the Holy Spirit’s purity shine them away, and bring all your awareness to the readiness for purity He offers you. Thus will He make you ready to acknowledge that you are host to God, and hostage to no one and to nothing.

Journal

There are two important messages in this paragraph. This is the first.

The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep.

As long as my mind is split, and if I still see myself as part of this illusion, then my mind is split, I will have thoughts that are not pure. That is to be expected. My part in this is to be willing to let them go. I must notice when I am deliberately defending them from the Holy Spirit. One way we do this is to pretend that we are not aware of some of these untrue thoughts. We hide them from ourselves.

I have been practicing mind-watching for a long time now. I have gotten to be pretty proficient at noticing thoughts and letting them be corrected. Because of this practice, I am a lot more peaceful than I used to be. What I am discovering as I make a fearless and searching moral inventory of myself is that I have some beliefs that needed to be seen. Since these beliefs are in my mind and therefore available to me, it must be that I was hiding it even from myself. Ah well, as Jesus says, there would be no Atonement if there was not a need for it.

Here is the second important idea in this lesson.

Innocence is not of your making.

I don’t have to do anything to become innocent. I am that, already. There is absolutely nothing I can do to destroy my innocence, though I can act and think in a way that keeps it from my awareness. I only need to be vigilant for all in my mind that is not innocence and allow it to be purified.

This very act of hiding thoughts that I would keep to myself breaks communication. Without full communication with the Holy Spirit, I feel orphaned though I may not be consciously aware of why I feel that way. I used to be so thoroughly caught up in my story that most of my efforts were directed toward improving the story; even my spiritual work was for that purpose.

What I came to realize is that my life is not about my life. It is about using this life to undo the illusion altogether. Now I understand why I do this work. I do it so that I can finally return my full awareness to God. A Course in Miracles offers us only one thing, forgiveness. But, as Jesus says, that is enough. I search out the hidden places in my mind and let the light of purity shine them away and this is forgiveness. It will lead me past forgiveness and into God.

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