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How practical/practicable is this spiritual path for one who's fully employed and raising a family?
Question: Last December, David, you explained that you experience a consistent, gentle peace and a feeling of accepting all things exactly as they are. (I recall Jeshua teaches that we are holding grievances whenever we want something to be different than it is - hmm.)
Would I be correct guessing that you are fully comfortable doing only what is in front of you without one thought of what needs doing beyond the "now"? How practicable is this for students who are fully employed raising a family?
Answer: Thanks for your e-mail. My experience is indeed consistently peaceful. This peace is a natural state of mind flowing from the release of the belief in the future (and therefore any attempt to plan it) and the release of the attempt to control anything in the world. Without expectations are all things equally acceptable. In letting all things be exactly as they are there is a realization that while one is always responsible for one's state of mind, this responsibility does not include the ability to control situations, events, circumstances, persons, places, and things. In other words, the script of the world is written (is the past) and the remaining choice rests in selecting either the ego's personal perspective of the script or the Spirit's gentle Perspective of forgiveness, appreciating the simultaneous whole.
In your e-mail you are asking how practicable and how practical it is to just do what is in front of you in peace without a lot of thought about the future, particularly for a student with a family. I shall address this question and context from the perspective of unlearning error and undoing the ego. In ACIM, the insight is revealed that there was only one problem and that problem has already been corrected via the Holy Spirit. It is also revealed that one cannot recognize the answer or correction to the problem until the problem has first been recognized as it is. You were told in SOL "only the now is real." This is very literally true, and it is only the ego which sponsors the impossible belief that the "now" is wedged in between two very real "realities" called "past" and "future."
The ego's linear view of time sees the future as different from the past (ie., what has gone before is not the same as what is yet to come) and breaks time into separate persons, situations, events, increments, and segments which can be ordered or arranged in a linear fashion. From the ego's distorted perspective the fear and guilt of the past is repeated over and over and over again and there is no escape from the cycle. Yet the present moment is the only reality because it remains constant and completely untouched by the error of separation.
The present moment is so simple that it seems beyond the grasp of possibility for a deceived mind spinning in complexity. The world was merely a representation of an identity confusion, and thus the world was but a symbol of the deep seated belief that love and fear can co-exist. This belief was the problem and only in imagination was the impossible made to be perceived. The self-concept made to take the place of reality must therefore be unlearned or undone for Christ's vision to return to awareness. Christ's vision is the present moment, and perception was only the apparent darkness of images arranged in a line. The Holy Spirit sees the line as a point. The ego saw the point as a line. The Holy Spirit's Perspective sets you free. The ego's perspective seemed to imprison.
How practicable and practical is the Holy Spirit's perspective? That depends on whether you desire freedom or imprisonment. The miracle collapses the belief in linear time and brings the fruits of peace, happiness, freedom, and joy. The linear personal perspective attempts to reinforce an impossible identity as a "reality." Surrendering to the Holy Spirit's perspective has no cost whatsoever. There is absolutely no "price" to pay for peace of mind. It increasingly becomes evident that experiences of "trials and tribulations" come only in the attempt to resist and defend against the Holy Spirit's perspective. Yet the Holy Spirit's perspective is the Atonement or correction, and one's only responsibility is to accept is the Atonement for oneself. That is the utter simplicity of salvation.
What about the student who perceives a family to take care of? Can such a student hope to accept the Atonement and awaken to reality, or must the student aim for a less lofty goal? The question is not so much one of context or situation as it is a question of desire. The mind that made up the cosmos and perceives itself as existing in a dualistic linear time-space continuum is insane by definition. This false self-concept is unreal, and there are no degrees of unreality or hierarchies of illusion. Though some situations may seem more complex than others to the ego, it must be remembered that "situational thinking" is the problem. Only the ego's "situational thinking" produces a world in which separate situations seem to exist. Yet what but a gap of time and space appears to separate one situation from another? And if there were no gap, then there could be nothing but the whole. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the reminder that it is impossible to order and arrange illusory images no matter how many different arrangements they may seem to take, because there was but one illusion. And that illusion has already been Corrected.
Peter perceived himself as married with children, as having a family, when he was approached by Jesus. And thus Peter was called out of the world to follow the Christ within and proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven. Siddhartha left his father's palace and wife and child to seek the truth beyond the illusion of the birth-death cycle. Peter would later proclaim Jesus as "the Son of the Living God" and go forth preaching the gospel. Siddhartha became known as "the Buddha—the enlightened one." This is the question you must ask yourself: did these men abdicate their responsibilities or did they seek to accept their one responsibility? As you answer this question, you shall be answered in your heart.
Trust would settle every problem now. Trusting the Holy Spirit is not determined by the situation in which a mind believes itself. Whatever the apparent situation, help is available and accessible. The "little willingness" asked for by Christ to open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit is not limited by circumstances. If there appear to be earthly responsibilities and commitments which have been made, they will be handled with the compassion and love of the Holy Spirit's plan of forgiveness. This cannot be understood from a personal perspective, but be assured that all things work together for good and there are no exceptions. For under the Holy Spirit's teaching everyone must gain and there can be no loss.
A general rule of guidance can be stated this way: pray and listen and follow the Holy Spirit. Do just what you are given to do and be open to the "I need do nothing" solution of the stillness within. Question and raise to light all beliefs and thoughts which obscure the light from awareness. Bring the illusion to the truth. Be willing to change your mind and accept yourself as changeless mind. And be not concerned with the form in which the lesson of forgiveness appears to come.