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Can you speak on the subject of death for those dying of a terminal illness?
Question: If you have the time could you expand on one of your articles on the subject of death? When we are young, death seems so far away. When we are old we just give into it as something inevitable. The situation changes somewhat when we face death or the threat of death due to illness such as cancer. It is most important for people battling with this sickness to unlearn and learn what reality is. Can you help?
Answer: Lessons 163 and 167 in the ACIM Workbook are excellent for exposing the belief in death, just as Lesson 136 is a gem for exposing the belief in sickness. Death and sickness are different names for the same belief: the belief in separation from God. The perceived world was made by the ego as a cover to protect and maintain this belief. The Holy Spirit uses the symbols of the world to undo this belief. Though sickness and death seem to involve symptoms and bodies, the symptoms and bodies are but effects of the false belief in separation. Yet what is not a real cause cannot have real effects, for only that which proceeds forth from God has Reality. Christ, Divine Love, is reality, for the Christ idea has not left its Source (God). Love remains eternal, and nothing can change eternal love.
The deceived mind appears to "battle" and "struggle" to maintain a tiny illusory identity apart from the whole of reality. It makes up a world of duality, of birth and death, of sickness and health, of pleasure and pain, to maintain a belief in private minds with private thoughts. Yet Divine Mind is One unified mind and cannot be divided or separated into parts. The whole transcends "the sum of the parts,” for the whole is a state of mind Which has no parts. The concept of parts dissolves in forgiveness, which sees that illusions are one. Forgiveness is the last concept, being the gateway to an experience of oneness that transcends all concepts.
As you proceed with the mind training ACIM offers (the unlearning of everything you think you think and believe you believe), you will begin to recognize that in every moment how you feel is life or death, health or sickness, love or fear. Every miracle is a moment of life and health and love, and every grievance or specific judgment is a moment of sickness and death and fear. The joy and freedom and happiness of the miracle will be the necessary incentive to allow the Holy Spirit to decide for God for you with everything. And as you learn to think with God consistently, you become consistently miracle-minded. You open to acceptance of the Atonement or correction. You see that you are God dependent and always will be, for God is our only source. The belief in separation is an impossibility, for God wills that Christ be one forever. Thy will is done.
Life is a state of mind. And what is unlearning but the peeling away of the onion of false belief so that the light of love may be recognized as all there is to behold? There is no death. God's child is life eternal.
Love & Blessings, David
Does the body need care or protection?
Question: You said something like, “When you really put your faith in God, you don't have to worry about making a living, health insurance, exercise, nutrition, etc.” (Didn't you also make a reference to having some debt at one time?) I thought God sees us only as Spirit and does not acknowledge our bodies. Is this correct? If he does not acknowledge the body or if the body is a way by which we think we can maintain our separation from God and others, why would God protect the body? He created us (Spirit) as perfect, not the body. Is that correct? Has He promised to protect the body as perfect if we have complete faith? How does it fit in when the body dies? Does God promise us that our bodies will come to no harm?
I am especially interested in learning how I can overcome/release a 7-year-old constant headache and multiple kinds of chronic pain. It would be easier for me to think more about Spirit and less about the body if pain did not demand so much attention by its constant presence.
Answer: Thanks for writing and for your desire for healing. My reference to debt in form was a Call to question and release all false ego "laws" (beliefs) such as economics, health insurance, exercise, nutrition, etc. I recommend ACIM WorkBook Lessons 50 & 76 for further study on this topic. For an in-depth discussion on sickness and healing I suggest Lesson 136.
God creates Spirit and therefore does not protect the body, for what God creates is invulnerable. In this world, when the mind becomes aligned with the Holy Spirit, the body needs no concern or special care. Yet this "protection of mind" requires careful mind watching. Lesson 136, paragraphs 17-20, address this topic directly. Attentiveness, mind watching, and surrender are all important as the only truly helpful "health insurance." True health begins and ends in the mind.
God's Promise is that of creating the Spirit Eternal. Nothing can change Eternal Love, and thus God's Promise can never BE broken.
Love & Blessings, David
Are there seemingly "physical changes" that happen during the process of Awakening?
Question: Has awareness something to do with a state in which you are only a witness: peace, joy and silence? To enter this state I only have to close my eyes and I perceive a joy starting from my heart; it is a kind of love, but more like a peace full of love. The top of my head is expanded, and behind the head too. My head feels physically changed, although nothing can be seen from the outside, naturally. I can "see" feelings coming out at the height of the heart; after a while, if I observe them, they disappear. Sometimes I perceive a light which pervades me completely, which makes me SO happy. It is as if a lamp is turned on, but it's a light which I don't see with my physical eyes, I am seeing it with another sense organ which I never had before. I can’t explain it.
Now I have much more energy than before, and can even perceive a kind of vibration. I think I am taking energy from the air. All of this makes me feel "complete" in myself. I know it sounds weird, but it is what's really happening to me. I never read or heard of this kind of thing happening before, so it cannot be suggestion. Before all of this happened I asked God for liberation, although I didn't really know what it meant, and repeated the name of Jesus with all my heart and love, many many times. Now I don't need any more words to pray; I just go there.
Answer: How wonderful to hear of your transformative experiences! What you are experiencing is a very natural Awakening, and only the ego would attempt to look back on it and judge what seems to be occurring as "weird” things. It does SEEM as if there are physical changes during the process of shifting from horizontal (or ego) perception to vertical (or spirit-aligned) perception. All of the seeming physical changes are forms involving the body, and are within the realm of the imagination or perception. Nothing in form really changes since form is illusion, and a changing illusion means a changing nothing, and that means no physical change at all. Yet the expanded perceptions which seem to be in the top of or back of the head, at the height of the heart, and the ability to “watch” feelings come out from a point of detachment are all witnesses to the removal of the limits of belief. As the limits of belief about a body-based identity dissolve and are released, perceptual experiences reflect an ever-more expansive self concept. These self concepts are illusions as well, yet each one comes closer to the forgiven world or the Perspective of the Holy Spirit. Even this Perspective, the Dreamer of the dream, is an illusion, for in Reality there is nothing to forgive, but this is the last illusion which ends the dream entirely.
The Vision of Christ is the Light beyond all concepts, beliefs, and limits of the ego. Clearly you have had a glimpse of this Light in your awareness, witnessed by the words you expressed:
"Sometimes I perceive a light which pervades me completely, which makes me SO happy. It is as if a lamp would be turned on, but it's a light which I don't see with my physical eyes. It feels like I am seeing it with another sense organ which I never had before. I can’t explain it."
I rejoice with You as One in the Great Awakening!!! These expansive experiences herald the happy dream and the end of dreaming. All is calm ...all is bright. Thanks for sharing these experiences in awareness and expressing what you feel. Spiritual experiences are directly of Christ and God, transcending explanations and the need to explain. The ego wants to figure out what it can never Know. What is real cannot be described or explained ...only experienced. Words and images are symbols the Holy Spirit uses in Guiding the mind inward until the need for symbols has vanished with the Experience of Pure, Eternal Spirit. Such is a Silent Mind.
With overflowing Love, David
Will the time period in which we hold on to guilt get shorter as we practice?
Question: We are so used to carrying guilt and fear. Will that time period of carrying the load get shorter as we practice?
Answer: Yes, let's address this carefully, the idea of holding on to guilt, clinging to it very closely. The mind that believes in the ego is attracted to guilt, because the ego is guilt. There are aspects of the mind that the ego does not want to come into awareness, or the game will be over. That is why I encourage so many questions. The ego does not want certain questions to even be raised, for the answer will be apparent as soon as the question is asked. Asking questions was my path to God. I did not have a lot of support for it in the world, but Jesus says to learn this Course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden, or it will obscure your learning. So let's look at an example of this. God is pure oneness. The ego is the belief in opposites. The ego believes that there is an opposite to love. That is why this is a world of duality and opposites. The world reflects the ego belief. The ego teaches the sleeping mind that there is a difference between pleasure and pain, and everyone who walks this world believes they can tell the difference between pleasure and pain.
Further, this mind believes that pleasure is to be pursued, and pain is to be avoided. It spends great efforts and energy at pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. All education of this world is in some way based on this premise. Now you see the convincing job that the Holy Spirit has, to convince your mind that pleasure and pain are the same. On the surface this seems crazy, but Jesus gives us the reason why they are the same: What serves a common purpose is the same. Pleasure and pain both reinforce the reality of the body and are a denial of the spirit. This is an example of an idea the ego never wants to reach awareness, because once you see it for what it is, you will see that all real pleasure, which I will call joy, comes from doing God's will. It is really very simple. As you experience more miracles, the joy of your heart bubbles up. It attracts you, it draws you to experience more miracles! The joy is coming from within your own heart. It is not coming from getting the job that you want. It is not coming from getting the soul-mate that you want. It is not coming from moving to the tropical islands, and many, many more illusions. The joy comes from your purpose. That is your direct connection with God. By listening to the Holy Spirit, you will experience joy. And the possibility of pain and pleasure fades away from your consciousness.
Perception is selective. Just as you can choose to listen to someone at a party, or listen to a favorite song being played by the band, or focus on how humid the room is, you can choose to aim your mind to the Holy Spirit. This is where the joy comes. There is no sacrifice!
The pleasures of this world are fleeting, transitory. If you look at this honestly, you will see that this is so. The pleasure of a delicious food, a pleasant scene, the pleasure of sexual orgasm, all have time limits. They start and they stop. They do not offer lasting joy. They are not really gifts, because they are offerings of the ego, and the ego wants you dead, which means remaining in amnesia about your Christ Self. So this relates to your question about why we hold onto things. The judgments of the world make some images attractive and the mind believes that they are valuable and does not want to let them go. It is still convinced that they are real, and therefore values outcomes that will bring about the things it still wants. They are like "fool's gold". They look very beautiful, but when you touch them or embrace them, they dissolve away, because they do not last.
How could it be that someone gets cancer who's so in touch with the Holy Spirit?
Question: I read the online version of the book "The Peace Of God Is My One Goal." I was surprised to learn that Barbara Varley developed cancer. How is it that a person that seemed to be so in touch with the Holy Spirit could develop such a thing? I am also an ACIM student and have been diagnosed with terminal cancer so I am interested in learning how this could be. I would think that Barbara, being so much in touch with the Holy Spirit, would be able to correct the wrong-mindedness and thereby remove the cancer. Having cancer is the result of wrong-mindedness isn't it? I quit all conventional medical advice and treatment in January 2000 because I believe sickness in the body is of the mind. The docs helped confirm this by telling me that the body would expire no matter what I did. I really need to understand this if possible.
Answer: Thanks for writing and thanks for your willingness to accept healing. This response will be very deep, yet if you ask the Holy Spirit for Help in interpretation He will lead you toward the inevitable Atonement which is ever available. It is not so much "having cancer is the result of wrong-mindedness" but perceiving cancer is a wrong-minded perception. Wrong-mindedness is the error (in mind) yet it "sees" the "problem" in form as a projection of the error. The error is the belief in separation, never the specifics the error seems to spawn. The Holy Spirit sees the impossibility of the "cause" in mind and looks not to effects. Forgiveness is accepted as the solution in mind when the problem (belief in separation) is brought to the solution Atonement. The form the error seems to take, i.e., cancer, is a wrong-minded attempt to see the error where the error is not.
Wrong-mindedness sees persons with symptoms, while right-mindedness sees the impossibility of "persons" with private minds and private thoughts. The symptoms are chosen to make the "cause of sickness" seem form related and are part of a defense mechanism to "protect" the belief in private minds and private thoughts. The Holy Spirit overlooks the false "cause,” looking past the defiled altar to the Light of the Atonement. It is literally impossible to "understand" or "figure out" the concept of a "sickness of body" for only the mind can be sick. The body is literally neutral and cannot be endowed with the attributes of the ego or the Spirit. The body, therefore, cannot be sick or well, for it is literally a symbol of the impossible, i.e., that a mind can be walled off and kept apart. This is why it is not meaningful to ask the Holy Spirit to heal the body. It is however possible to ask for a different perception of the body/world/cosmos for such is healing.
The request becomes "Help me see this differently" instead of "How could this be?" A miracle always comes with a feeling of peace and joy because of the Perspective Which simply sees the false as false. Forgiveness does not evaluate the error it was made to overlook. For error literally cannot BE understood–only forgiven.
Ask not to understand anything of the world, for the world was made to deny the Meaning and Understanding of Spirit. Yet release the need to understand the meaningless, and you recognize our Beloved Self as the Meaning the world could not conceal! Christ and sickness cannot co-exist, for Love has no opposite. Reel the error "in" so to speak and watch it dissolve in the Light. There is nothing apart from mind and in Truth nothing "outside" of Mind. Divine Mind is Everything, You within It and It within You. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever.
It is impossible to "manifest" an illness for the same reason it is impossible to "manifest" anything. Ideas leave not their source and "sickness" and the ego are the same error. When it is apparent that the ego has no real source it is also apparent that sickness is impossible. If sickness (belief in separation) does not come from God (Source) it therefore cannot be at all. This is the Divine Reason of Atonement and it is the awareness that mind is whole and has no "parts." Sickness was an insane attempt to divide the whole, yet this attempt is impossible. What God creates as One remains forever One.
Love & Blessings forever and ever, David
What does this ACIM quote mean, "It can be believed that the mind can miscreate in the body, or that the body can miscreate in the mind."
Question: I wonder if you could kindly elaborate on the thought expressed in the ACIM section that says, "it can be believed (erroneously) that the mind can miscreate in the body, or that the body can miscreate in the mind.”
I realize that the body does not create, but I don't understand the words, "the mind can miscreate in the body." It’s another way of saying that fearful thoughts create disease in the body. And what would be an example of believing that the body can miscreate in the mind?
Answer: Thanks for your questions. Yes, you are on the right track. It can be believed erroneously that the mind can miscreate in the body, and this is the attempt to project guilt onto the body. But since ideas leave not their source, it is the sleeping mind which continues to retain the guilt. Until the sleeping mind forgives, it cannot "get rid of" guilt. Through the attempt to project guilt the mind keeps it. Projection is really a defense mechanism through which the ego keeps the mind feeling guilty.
An example of believing that the body can miscreate in the mind is the belief that behaviors and actions can damage the mind. The thoughts: "your behavior has harmed your son's mind" or "those violent behaviors in that TV show can damage your child's mind" are two examples of this. Behavior is never causative, being a byproduct of thought. What you do comes from what you think. The lesson of forgiveness teaches that only mind is causative and that mind cannot create beyond itself. Mind reaches to itself. It does not go out. Within itself is everything, you within it and it within you. There is nothing else. Atonement shows that You are a Divine Mind, wholly Mind, and Purely Mind. You remain forever an Idea in the Mind of God. The Christ Idea!
Do you have any specific advice on how to correct the projection of cancer on my body?
Question: It took me way more than a year to get through the workbook, but it helped me understand a lot of things I had wondered about before I found ACIM. The part where it says “I need do nothing” seems hard to put faith in, because the workbook is telling me I need to do something like forgive. I am thinking this means that I need do nothing to be what I really am, as God created me. The forgiveness part seems to mean something different than what I thought forgiveness was.
I was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and was told the condition was terminal. The time has now passed when my body should no longer be "alive." I know “The I” cannot die. I think there is a problem or "error" my mind that is reflecting or "projecting" on my body that caused the cancer. I try to keep an open mind but obviously I am investing in illusions still. My body is a projection of my mind, I think. Do you have any specific advice on what I could do to correct this error/projection/ illusion? I am much less concerned about my body than I am about healing my mind.
Answer: You are, and forever remain, as God created You. The cancer is a symptom, a wrong-minded decision, designed to distract from acceptance of the Atonement. Atonement heals the mind which believed in private minds with private thoughts, and thus the Atonement is the ego's dread. For the Atonement is the Correction that proves the impossibility of error or ego. Healing is the experience of a mind which has surrendered the belief that it is possible to think apart from God.
The human condition is the grievance. The Atonement is its Solution. Since the belief in separation is a faulty perception, its Correction is a completely different Perspective for looking upon the cosmos. See nothing as apart from mind and the grievance has vanished. See wholeness and the grievance of "parts" is gone.
The ego is terrified of wholeness, yet happily You are not and could never be the ego. The ego seemed to make up a cosmos of "problems" to protect the "lie of self" from being uncovered. Yet it is literally impossible to be anything other than the Self God created Perfect and Whole and Eternal. The valuelessness of the body is becoming more apparent in your awareness. Let your mind rest in the Silence of "I Need Do Nothing" and bathe in our Perfection. Include all seeming aspects of perception in your rest, and allow all irritations and annoyances to rise into consciousness. Our peace of mind is the only experience to value now. Let it in, for it is now time. Recognition will dawn as you rest in God.
Showerings of Love be upon You always, David
By taking care of a sick body (my mother's), am I promoting the belief in sickness in our minds?
Question: I take care of the seeming body of the one who gave this seeming body birth (my mother). In so doing, am I promoting the illusion of sickness in myself and in my mother/brother? The body lies there, not communicating, not moving, eating, etc. Sometimes, but seldom, I have talked to her of who she is, when I am moved by the Spirit to do so. In those times the eyes lock on mine and seem to be connecting and resonating or absorbing, or something.
I seem to still be learning through my experiences with this brother who is/was my mother. Perhaps my brother is waiting for me to know that we are one. Sometimes my brother looks at me expectantly, seeming to be searching. Or perhaps my knowing will help my brother to know. Have you any answers for me?
Answer: Everything you think and say and do teaches all the universe what you desire, believe, think, feel, and perceive about yourself. Recently I wrote what Christ shares in ACIM about the holy encounter: "As you see him you will see yourself; as you treat him you will treat yourself; as you think of him you will think of yourself." Everyone is our brother/sister in Christ and is due immense gratitude because they mirror what is still held in mind and believed to be true and needs to be released. Your state of mind and your perception are always your choice. Only you decide what you desire, believe, think, feel, and perceive. There are no "external factors" in a decision of mind for there is literally nothing "outside" of mind. The question is not really "what to do?" but instead "what do you want to see?,” for what you want to see is what you believe you are. Every question is a question of identity, and while you believe in a make-believe self-concept that God did not create, your choices are limited. Your ability of choice is limited to either aligning with and choosing the ego's personal perspective or aligning with and choosing the Holy Spirit's Perspective. This is your range of choice and you have no other. Decide to accept Atonement and the concept of choice vanishes entirely, for in Heaven or Reality or Pure Oneness there is nothing to choose between. Decide for the miracle and you feel the peace of a mind that is whole and a glimpse of wholeness. Decide for the ego and you feel stuck in a frustration and conflict of trying to be something that you are not.
You wrote that you see a body that is not functioning and needs to be cared for. This is a mirror perception of what the ego mind believes is true. When you allow the Holy Spirit to share ideas through you, you perceive one whose eyes "...seem to be connecting and resonating or absorbing...." What does this tell you? It tells you that you have a function the Holy Spirit would have you fulfill by allowing Him to speak and smile through you. You have a Purpose to share true ideas, thus strengthening them in your awareness. What you teach is what you learn, and thinking is teaching. You are teaching all the time based on what you desire, believe, think, feel, and perceive about yourself.
Your function will carry you far beyond a bedside, far beyond your state, far beyond the time-space cosmos, for your function will carry you to the Gate of Heaven, the Atonement. You have a Light to shine. Do not hide this Light under a table. The opportunities are many and they are waiting only on your Answering God's Calling for you. You will be a teacher of God and will seem to speak to many in the years to come. And through this function you will find the experience of the Answer you have requested, for Who You Are is the Answer that everyone who walks this world seeks. Christ is the Answer! Love is the Answer! You will be given specific instructions and direction from the Holy Spirit once you are willing to hear them. There are many answers you have received but have not heard. The Holy Spirit is holding these answers you seek for you until you are ready to hear them. They all reside within your heart and await the readiness of mind to be heard.
I close with a quote from the Bible: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." Is your brother/mother flesh or Spirit? Remember, as you see your brother/mother you will see yourself. And remember that the Way God created You is Reality: Perfect, Eternal, Innocent, Loving, Spirit Which has no opposite.
Love Always, David
Does one's diet have any importance?
Question: I just don't understand society’s “health” obsession: what foods to eat, water cures, taking of supplements, vitamins, minerals, and so forth. Am I missing something?
Answer: It is the diet of ego thoughts that seem to fatten or reinforce the self-concept and block awareness of the Christ. Nothing in form is causative. All laws of nutrition are of the ego (see lesson 76 in the Workbook). Food, like all the images of the world, is an unreal effect of an unreal "cause." The ego wants the mind to see the split within the world, and dualistic thoughts seems to project a dualistic world. The ego sponsors divisions and categories like organic vs inorganic, good nutrition and bad nutrition, high or low calorie diets, high and low fiber, whatever. The list is endless. Nutrition is like all magic in that, to the ego, it seems to work; it can seem to produce changes. Yet what is unreal is not capable of change at all. What is the same cannot be different, and what is one cannot have separate parts. The unreal is one error, and only a change of mind brings healing. Nothing in form ever really changes, for all form is the past.
Release the belief that the past and future are different, and the concept of diet and all its specifics are released forever. Such is Atonement. Atonement sees that the separation from God never happened, for God and Christ, Cause and Effect are One and can never be divided. Glory to God for the Oneness of Being! Healing is the acceptance of the Correction to the perceived split in the mind. The true workings of the mind are reflected in the following passage from the beginning of ACIM Chapter 27, “Reason and Perception”:
Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. T-21.In.1:1-8
The concept of diet, like all false concepts, reflects a belief that anything of the world causes anything. They are effects only, and false effects at that. And the Holy Spirit looks not to effects, having judged their "cause", which is ego, as unreal. Bring all thoughts of false causation to the Holy Spirit, and instantly they are gone. For only That Which comes from God is real. Happily, Christ comes from God, and the I Am Presence is real. Rejoice in the truth of our Being: "I am as God created Me."
Blessings always, David
How can one surrender to God? (From a former drug addict.)
Question: I am beginning a treatment program for chemical dependency. I have gone to 12-step meetings for years, and when I first started I had a very limited God concept. Now, after practicing ACIM, my God concept seems far too complicated, and I feel like I must let go. How can one surrender to God? It does not seem to be simple.
Answer: It rapidly becomes apparent that the "human condition" was one of ego dependency. But ego thoughts only seem to veil the truth of One Self. Our true Christ Self is untouched by illusion. You wrote: "my God concept now seems far too complicated, and I feel like I must let go. " You are right on, for holding in awareness any concept, including a God concept, with the exception of complete forgiveness - the final concept - is a block to true release.
“How can one surrender to God?,” and “How is forgiveness accepted?” These are the same question, and the Answer is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a decision and all that is asked of you is willingness to decide for God. Each moment you do this is a miracle, and with total willingness, the need for time and miracles is over. Application of ACIM, with the willingness not to make exceptions to the Workbook Lessons, is what you might call "practice." And each moment, if accepted for the Holy Spirit's Purpose, is a full opportunity for simply letting go. I am joined with you in this Purpose and we cannot fail. For God's Will is done. Nothing can change eternal Love.
With each willing moment a momentum seems to grow, and confidence and certainty about the Holy Spirit's Guidance seem to grow as well. This momentum is like a tidal wave of Love. And as the last sands of ego are washed away, it is obvious that Love is all there is. The belief in opposites has been undone! Be open to this happy and true thought with each step you are Guided to take on the road to Recovery or Recognition of Spirit.
It has been said: "let go, and let God.” This is sound advice. Leave the "how" to the Holy Spirit, for means and ends are one to Him. Only be willing. More you cannot do. The rest will be given you.
I Love You! David