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How do I re-focus my attention on the Holy Spirit part of my mind and away from the bodily/egoic part of my mind?
Question: I have worked with ACIM since 1985. I believe I have made a lot of progress but I have no one locally to discuss the teachings with. Right now I have a question about, for lack of a better term, focus. To make the shift in focus from what the body tells me to what I have hidden in my mind seems like an almost impossible task. My consciousness seems to always be with the body or ego. Is there a way to move away from the body focus to the Higher Self mind? I can understand ideas about this, but putting them to practice in actual experience is something else. I hope this makes sense because it is hard for me to put into words.
Answer: The Holy Spirit meets the mind at the state of consciousness it currently holds, and this is the context of mind training. Perception seems distorted because the sleeping mind is attempting to serve two masters simultaneously (love & fear), and thus consciousness initially seems very body-based. Application of miracle principles or transfer of training in mind is the way from an apparent intellectual understanding to an experience of true freedom beyond the body-based consciousness.
Very simply, the application to which I refer involves relinquishing the ego's purposes for the body (pride, pleasure, and attack) and embracing the Holy Spirit's Purpose for the body (communication). This is a change of mind, and because behaviors come from mental motivation, your behaviors will seem to change as well as you come to Purity of Heart. This application seems to be a “process” and may seem to take a lot of "time,” yet I assure you that willingness is most essential—not time. Time is neutral, and thus can be used to heal perception or to delay the healing. Resistance to Awakening can make the process seem slow, yet as the trust within grows, the process of collapsing time seems to accelerate.
Allow your mind the time to meditate and relax, making no attempt to organize or structure the practice. Let the mind soar to the State that deep down it longs to experience.
During your day allow yourself the time for the activities that come with a feeling of inner glee. These activities have for years been given less priority than those body survival activities the ego deems prudent. Many hobbies and interests and activities such as dining and exercise will begin to fade into the outskirts of consciousness as the Purpose of communication becomes the focus. That is how Awakening seems to happen: with a change of purpose the new Purpose replaces the old "purpose." The body is seen as a means which serves the End of Awakening. The body is thus no longer seen as a "receiver" of pleasure and affection and attention, but as an "instrument" for extending true ideas. As the mind embraces this new Purpose it begins to open to the experience that Giving and Receiving are identical. The mind outgrows the desire to get and possess and accumulate, and relaxes into its natural State of Rest and Peace.
As you meditate, start with a simple thought to focus your attention on: "I am not a body, I am free. I am still as God created Me." Let go all the swirls of body thoughts the flitter through your mind and sink below them. Frequent shorter practice periods are good at first, and later you will be drawn into the Silence when resistance has subsided. Whatever you do, do not force it. Proceed gently and without a feeling of resentment or coercion. If you notice your mind hopping onto various trains of thought, just hop off. It is good to notice and to hop off and being attentive to mind watching cannot be over emphasized.
With regards to cravings and desires that seem to be body-based, remember that the ego uses the body to perpetuate the belief in itself, in private minds and private thoughts. The Holy Spirit will teach you to use your mind and body to go beyond a private personal sense of self that is body-based. Letting the Voice for God speak and write and smile and hug through your mind, so to speak, is the only Purpose that will bring ceaseless Joy! This Purpose removes resistance to the Inner Silence, and in this Silence the mind transcends all awareness of the world and the body.
Love always, David