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Is physical pain or suffering of any kind ever still experienced in Enlightenment? After Enlightenment, is it possible to fall back into the ego?
1) When one is enlightened, does one still experience physical pain as unpleasant? Does one experience pain or displeasure about ANYTHING? Another aspect of this question is: Once you awaken completely, are you still vulnerable to falling back into ways of the ego, or is it ALL gone for good?
2) Do you think the Holy Spirit would EVER guide one to harm or take the life of another being (ex: meat eating, killing ants in your kitchen, using violent force to stop a murderer, etc.)? And, by the way, do you eat meat, and if so, would you personally take an animal's life?
In Enlightenment all perceived pain has vanished, for what but wrong-mindedness seemed to produce the misperception called pain. Pain was the illusion that Christ could leave a Loving Creator's Mind. If pain is real there is no God. If God is real there is no pain. The latter is true because God has no opposite. Enlightenment entails no pain or displeasure about ANYTHING, for Enlightenment is Pure, Constant Happiness, Peace, Freedom, and Joy. Being Constant, Enlightenment knows not of change. The illusion of vulnerability and fluctuating emotions has gone as well. There is no ego to fall "back into." Spirit Abides ...in gentle Love. All pain is over Now and nothing remains but a blessing of Stillness.
The Holy Spirit is the reminder that Life is Eternal. The Present Moment is the gateway to Eternity. The world of images was a world of illusion. Images are therefore neutral to the Holy Spirit. They were "neutralized" the instant they seemed to arise. What does this mean in relation to your second question: You cannot kill what has never lived, and in the Holy Spirit's Perspective of forgiveness harm is impossible. Bodies were never born and never die because the world of images is the past. It is impossible to find beginnings and endings in a script that is already written and over long ago. There is no life in images. This is the meaning of "Hold no graven images before the Lord Thy God." All images were made to obscure the Truth from awareness, and they can only be forgiven as one illusion. If illusions could be divided up into living and dead, organic and inorganic, animate and inanimate, Enlightenment would be impossible. For what is Enlightenment but Pure Oneness, far beyond the possibility of division of any kind. The split mind was the illusion. Seek not to project the split mind to forms and call some forms alive and some forms dead. God knows not form. The split mind seemed to be the "killer" illusion, yet the Holy Spirit reminds the sleeping mind that what is whole and unified can never BE split. In Heaven, Mind is One Spirit, and even with regard to this world forgiveness reflects this Oneness. The forgiven world recognizes the unity of the healed mind and sees that there is nothing "outside" of this single mind which dreams softly a happy, gentle dream. The goal of ACIM is to dream softly of a sinless world. This goal is more than possible, it is inevitable!
As for my seeming diet, "eat what is served" is the Guidance I was given from the Holy Spirit many years ago. Join with your brother and let no concept come between the Love you share. This Guidance has not changed. "Dinner" is always a backdrop for sharing the Joy of the Living Moment. What the world calls "breathing" and "eating" and "drinking" and "sleeping" are really all the same in the Enlightened State. The Healed Perspective sees the sameness of all things because they all share the same Purpose: forgiveness. This Perspective is not "personal,” for in unified perception nothing is personal. God is no respecter of persons. I literally cannot "take" an animal's "life" because Life is Spirit and can only be extended or Given as God Gives. "Take" has no meaning in my mind and since animals have never "lived" it is impossible that they could "die." The belief expressed in the thought "personally take an animal's life" has many underlying assumptions that are false. In right-mindedness it is obvious that ideas are strengthened as they are given away or shared, and "taking" a "life" or anything at all has no meaning. All that I give is given to mySelf, and in giving there is no loss, no sacrifice, and nothing is ever taken away from wholeness and unity. The teacher of God does not want anything that cannot be given away. Such is the Joy of miracles! The thought seeds seem to be flung everywhere, yet there is never even a glance back to see where the seeds land. The seeds are never for an "other,” and since giving and receiving are the same the mind receives the gifts it gives. This is truly the feast you seek for underneath the ego's questions.
The only question that need be asked is a question that is not really silly at all: Am I ready to know that God's Will and My Own are the Same? God's Will for Me is for Perfect Happiness. And what but this Will is the Will of Christ? Happily, nothing can change Eternal Love.
Follow up question from another reader:
If none of our forms are real, "A Course in Miracles" (ACIM) students could go around killing people. I know God would still love us if we murdered but would a Course student do that? I see that mostly you want to show love and forgiveness to others but why bother if they are not real? You said it’s ok to eat animals because they aren’t real but aren’t people and animals the same? To kill a human would conceivably cause hurt to their family even if that person is just an image. Killing an animal could cause hurt to people that love animals even if they are in perceived form.
I have found this Course, but find it hard to love a world of illusion. Why bother to do anything? I fell in love with someone from my recent past. I was changed and mushy about how much love I felt for this person. He was everything and every one to me. I imagined marriage and children, things I never thought about before. He is in another relationship as am I. I can’t bear to hurt either of their feelings. I have been having visions of peoples’ hearts outside of their image and beautiful light around them. It felt like seeing through the eyes of God and there was no judgment. I became fearful, lost weight, and tried to push this person from my mind when I heard a voice say, “Are you ready to be forgiven?” I said, “Yes,” not knowing what it meant. The voice said, “Lyndsey will be gone.” I then felt something lift off the top of my head. I thought my feelings for the person I loved would improve but I don’t feel happy. I am afraid I am going mad. What was done to me?
Answer: Thanks for writing. Sounds like you've had some mind-opening experiences. It takes lots and lots of mind training/clearing before the world is experienced as illusion. What one does comes from what one thinks, so questions about behaviors like killing animals are about effects and not cause. ACIM is about forgiving the ego, the false "cause,” and the behaviors flow from mind. Purity of thought is a lofty goal indeed. The "Lyndsey will be gone" statement points to emptying all self-concepts through forgiveness so that only the awareness of Spirit remains. It is deep, and the ego panics at where it is all heading, though it is all glorious to the Spirit.