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How do you live with a split mind, being in the world, but not of it?
Question: I am so grateful for your help in placing mundane issues (such as a leaky roof) into spiritual perspective. Although there are times where I feel I get lost in trying to understand just how it works. As long as we think we are here, we must pay bills, and we do enjoy the comfort of food, and electricity, and fresh water from our taps. I am an RN, ex trauma/ER nurse, who lost my job because I testified against a cop and an ER doc who abused a patient. I was forced to resign, and haven't worked as a nurse since. I finally got a job at our airport parking lot, and I work four ten-hour nights a week at minimum wage.
Some teach that ACIM is not concerned with physical healing. To me, if I think I made this body, then I can be healthy if I choose to be. Why, then, is it hard for me to translate that into other areas? I don't even know how to pray anymore. I don't know what is appropriate to ask for, or if I should even ask. But I do remember to laugh, and I do love. How do you live with this split mind, being in the world and not of the world, and what is it that I am not seeing that troubles me about it?
Answer: Your story can be a strong reminder that you have made spiritual "advances" toward accepting Atonement and Awakening from the dream of the world. What the world sees as material successes are spiritual delays, and what the world sees as material failures are glowing spiritual opportunities. You have grasped the power of choice and have applied it in some cases. What you are asking for is the incentive to make no exceptions in the application of the miracle to all cases. It is impossible to live with a split mind, for life is wholeness. It is also very literally impossible to be IN the world and not of it. The world is an outside covering of density and the Light within is Who You are, and there is a beautiful metaphor in the ACIM Workbook that describes this:
"Think of your mind as a vast circle, surrounded by a layer of heavy, dark clouds. You can see only the clouds, because you seem to be standing outside the circle and quite apart from it. From where you stand, you can see no reason to believe there is a brilliant light hidden by the clouds. The clouds seem to be the only reality. They seem to be all there is to see. Therefore, you do not attempt to go through them and past them, which is the only way in which you would be really convinced of their lack of substance." (W-69.4.2)
Everything you think you think, and think you see, IS the layer of heavy, dark clouds. The people, the places, the things, and the situations and circumstances of the world are the dark clouds of false belief and distorted perception. You are not truly IN these clouds, but believe you have a "life" and "existence" in them. Be not depressed by this, for there is a Way of looking upon them for a moment from within the circle with the Holy Spirit's light Perspective. You must go through the clouds to reach this Perspective within. And in this experience you will discover that it is impossible to be in the clouds but not of them.
Peace and happiness are nothing more than the release from the belief in compromise. For one cannot be Light and also be in darkness. Truth and illusion, love and fear, light and darkness have no meeting point and cannot be reconciled. Accept this simple fact and the seeming frustrations and doubts are gone forever. It is impossible to be something that is not Who You are. For God created Who You are, and nothing can change God's Creation in any way.
The seeming problems of the world can be summed up as one perceptual problem: distorted perception. You cannot see that all problems are already solved without seeing the problem AS IT IS. Problems are not many or legion—there is only one problem and it has already been solved by the Holy Spirit. Using the metaphor from above, the heavy, dark layer of clouds IS the problem. Therefore the problem is not an "income" problem or a "roof" problem or even a "survival of the body" problem—it is a problem of distorted perception. The approach to the awareness that there is only one problem is essential to forgiveness, for though forgiveness is already accomplished, it must be accepted exactly AS IT IS.
You wrote: "I don't even know how to pray anymore. I don't know what is 'appropriate' to ask for, or if I should even ask." You can relax because prayer is not something you have to know "how" to do. As long as you believe in the ego, in lack, in multiplicity, your prayers will be those of need. Once you have questioned the ego so completely that you have allowed it to be undone by the Holy Spirit, then you can truly pray: “Father, what is your Will for me?” And this prayer is Answered forever in the remembrance of Christ and God.
The Holy Spirit knows the prayer of your heart, and your prayer IS your desire. As you sow so shall you reap. Prayer is continuous and prayer is always Answered, although in distorted perception this does not always appear to be the case. Split desire seems to result in a split mind which attempts to serve two masters and thus perceives conflicting witnesses. Your deepest desire is to learn to forgive completely and to remember our Union with God. Because this IS your prayer, everything which seems to stand in the way or obstruct this forgiveness and Union with God is being raised into awareness and exposed, so that it may be released.
The world perceived through the ego's lens is split and backwards. It is split because the ego which made it is the belief that cause and effect can be split apart and different from each other. It is backwards because in the sleeping condition of self-deception, cause and effect appear to be reversed. It seems in distorted perception that there are real causes in the world, and that the mind (which is actually the cause of all) is at the mercy of unreal effects (the images of the world). Examples of this reversal are the thoughts "you make me angry,” "you hurt my feelings,” or even "I lost my job because I testified against a cop and an ER doc who abused a patient." Nothing perceived through this darkened glass is reliable, for the five senses report only fragmentation and separation.
The world cannot get any "better" or "worse,” because unreal effects (images) from an unreal cause (ego) are unreal. There are no such conditions as "good” unreality or "bad” unreality or "better” unreality or "worse” unreality. Time-space-matter is unreal. Spirit is real. The Holy Spirit is the Answer that discerns until there is no further need of discernment.
I shall use some examples from the parable of the "life of David" to illustrate what I am speaking about. There was a young man named David who was Called out of the world by Christ. He had grown up in America. He had attended college for 10 years. He had worked jobs and paid off his debts. By the time he reached his early thirties he had so opened his mind to miracles that he simply traveled from town to town, all around the country, sharing the words the Holy Spirit had Given him to speak. David was offered food and shelter as he was joyfully about his Father's Business, and whatever he seemed to need to fulfill his function was given to him without effort. In seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven all things were easily Given, and thus David learned to become completely dependent on God for everything. "Students" seemed to follow David for a time, yet he reached a point in which everything fused together and was experienced as One life. The personal perspective on the world had vanished, and it was now apparent that the story of David was just a parable of Awakening. The feeling of peace had become a living experience. The urge to seek was gone, for Christ was found.
In Purpose there are no wages, no possessions, no ownership, and nothing to protect or defend. In Purpose there is a feeling of timelessness. In Purpose there are no goals in form, and no expectations or agendas. In Purpose nothing is clung to, organized, or planned. All things are welcomed in the gentle Gaze of forgiveness. Everything is included in mind and nothing is seen as separate or apart. All things work together for good, for there is no attempt to judge or divide what is obviously whole and complete. Certainty of Purpose yields certainty. And contentment comes at last to a mind that is Still an instant. Nothing else could ever be.
God created Christ perfect. That which is perfect cannot be improved upon. The ego was the belief in lack, and self-improvement was the means it employed to perpetuate the belief. There comes a moment when the folly of the search becomes evident. In this moment the search is over. Peace and understanding go together and cannot be found apart. Yet understanding is the Light within and has nothing to do with the world. It is indeed impossible to understand the world, for the world is an impossible situation. In the end, Awakening is giving up the attempt at understanding the world and accepting Reality exactly AS IT IS.
Overflowing in Blessings of Love & Joy! David