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Is it normal to experience resistance in the form of abdominal anxiety when working with ACIM?
I have been studying/reading the Course for a fairly long time (about 11 years). While I have made progress, I despair of ever really getting to the quiet, happy state so many students refer to. It took so long to calm the enraged feelings. I appear quiet and loving, but the tempest is so close. Years to stop being a victim. Years to bring jealousy and judgment to a much lesser enemy. I am grateful for this. But my abdominal anxiety increases when I do lessons and read the text. Do most students have this resistance, but whine less? I'm not sure if I'm asking for answers or for "special" support.
Thanks for your email and your devotion to awakening. The abdominal anxiety you speak of is indeed resistance, and the fear of love lies deep beneath the surface of consciousness. Many experience this fear as the fear of the unknown. While love has been denied from awareness, a self-concept image has been made, maintained, and accepted as the "known" and "familiar." In this world, the reality of love seems to have been replaced by a "reality" of dualistic perception, and the deceived mind is afraid to let go of that which it is accustomed to and familiar with. The undoing of the ego is what you are experiencing as you read the text and do the lessons, for the ego experiences its own undoing with great anxiety and when you identify with it you experience anxiety. This is a call to faith, a call to allow any upsetting emotion to surface and to move through it instead of attempting to stuff it or distract away from it. It does not matter if the upsetting emotion seems intense or merely irritating, for fear has no degree or direction and is always properly perceived as a call to what it masks: love.
The call to awaken and be glad is the call to leave every scrap of belief in this world behind, and remember what is, our natural state of being. That is the meaning of "I am calling you out of the world." Not one thought of the world is true. And yet our identity given by God is Christ, and Christ is eternally true. To the ego, awakening seems lonely and meaningless and filled with struggle, for there is no personal glory or gain in releasing the belief in separation. But peace is its own reward, and the peace of God is far beyond the personal perspective of the ego.
ACIM is a tool to open the mind to deep meditation. The lessons are designed to help train the mind to be still. Peace and stillness go together and cannot be found apart. As you deepen you will seem to question everything you believe, and as you are drawn into the silence you will approach a surrender point. This is the point of not knowing or understanding anything about the world of appearances, a point of "I do not know what anything is for." And through this point of humility, the truth is made welcome in awareness. In happy laughter is the truth plainly apparent as all there is. Truth is One and "dualistic perception" is laughable, for there is nothing that can be an "opposite" to what is forever One.
Mysticism is emptying the mind of everything it thinks it thinks and thinks it knows. Mysticism is seeing from the dreamer of the dream perspective. Peace and forgiveness are the feeling and perspective of nonjudgment, for what is the same cannot be different and what is one cannot have separate parts. It is impossible to reconcile dualistic perception with God, yet happily remembrance of God's Oneness is inevitable. Let nothing come before you that you would not release, and open to the call to stillness. Divine silence is our heart's state of desirelessness.
Love & Blessings,