Friday, August 5, 2011

An Introduction to A Cource In Miracles

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is a literary phenomenon that has affected the lives of many thousands of people. It is essentially a self-study curriculum that guides you toward shifting your focus from the external world of which you are at the effect of, to an internal world, where you are the cause of your own experience.

ACIM uses a theoretical approach combined with an experiential approach. It consists of a 622 page Text which describes the philosophical foundation upon which its thought system is based.

A 478 page Workbook for Students
365 daily lessons designed to train the student based upon the information within the text.
An 88 page Manual for Teachers
Answers many of the students frequently asked questions.
Clarification of terms used by ACIM.

It is recommended that students start with the Manual followed by simultaneously reading the Text and the Workbook, however, students should cover no more than one lesson and one section per day.

On one level, ACIM is a restatement of the core of wisdom found in every major world religion. However, the Course clearly identifies itself as a “teaching device” rather than as a religion. The Course makes no claim of superiority over any other teaching, but states that it is only one of many thousands of forms of “the universal course” that can be used for personal transformation. It does suggest, however, that students may progress faster by applying its principles in their daily lives.

The language of ACIM is extraordinarily rich and profound. The thought system of the Course is intellectually sophisticated and combines spiritual inspiration with deep psychological understanding of such phenomena as belief and defense systems, perception and identity.

ACIM is also practical. The daily Workbook lessons provide a systematic approach by which one can apply the principles of the Course. The lessons do not require a lot of time nor long practice periods, but they do require a willingness to question every value one has and to see things differently.

Read More

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Post Your Own ACIM Experiences HERE!!

Greetings fellow ACIM enthusiasts. All you have to do to share your own personal ACIM experience is post an ANONYMOUS comment under this post. We encourage you to share your own comments about the lessons, teachings, and transformational experiences you've had with A Course In Miracles.

Thank you!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Yesterday's Lesson: "I am under no laws but God's"

Amusingly, I was at a legal hearing in the morning. It went well too.

Take courage,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today I saw with my wife "The Adjustment Bureau"

I wasn't aware of what the story of the movie was actually about, only that the commercials suggested that it could have been a sci-fi story, not unlike Inception.

However, I was pleasantly surprised that it was a much simpler story.

I won't say what it's about; however, I will say that seeing it today coincided perfectly with today's lesson: Only God's plan for salvation will work.

Today's lesson is the 71st lesson, having (re)started the first lesson on January 1, 2011. The timing of the two is very reassuring and inspiring, considering that we were initially going to see Battle: Los Angeles. The reviews for TAB were a lot better, and last week we enjoyed another Matt Damon movie: Hereafter.

Take courage,

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Next 50 Lessons...

Just an update: I am indeed only reciting the next fifty lessons, starting with:
I am the light of the world. That is my only function. That is why I am here.
Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world. I would fulfill my function that I may be happy. I would remember this because I want to be happy.
The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness. I am the means God has appointed for the salvation of the world.

On to today's lesson now...

Take courage

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 51: After the First Fifty Lessons

I started again, on January 1, 2011.
My memory from last year was pretty good, but I've put in more time this year, in some ways.

Here are the first fifty lessons from memory:
[Start 16:09]
Nothing I see in this room means anything.
I have given everything I see in this room all the meaning that it has for me.
I do not understand anything I see in this room.
These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room.
I am never upset for the reason I think.
I am upset because I see something that is not there.
I see only the past.
My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
I see nothing as it is now.
My thoughts do not mean anything. This idea will help to release me from all that I now believe.
My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.
I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God.
God did not create a meaningless world.
My thoughts are images that I have made.
I have no neutral thoughts.
I see no neutral things.
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.
I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.
I am determined to see.
I am determined to see things differently.
I only see the perishable. I see nothing that will last. What I see is not real. What I see is form of vengeance.
I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.
I do not perceive my own best interests.
I do not know what anything is for.
My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.
Above all else I want to see.
Above all else I want to see things differently.
God is in everything I see.
God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.
I am not the victim of the world I see.
I have invented the world I see.
There is another way of looking at the world.
I could see peace instead of this.
My mind is part of God's. I am very holy.
My holiness envelops everything I see.
My holiness blesses the world.
There is nothing my holiness cannot do.
My holiness is my salvation.
I am blessed as a Son of God.
God goes with me wherever I go.
God is my strength. Vision is His Gift.
God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.
God is the light in which I see.
God is the Mind with which I think.
God is the Love in which I forgive.
God is the strength in which I trust.
There is nothing to fear.
God's Voice speaks to me all through the day.
I am sustained by the Love of God.

whew!! You'll notice that for about two or three of them, I wrote down the applied idea of the day, than just the Lesson title of the day.

I made more a commitment this year to type out the lessons each day, and add the lesson of the current day. It helped. A few times, I tried doing it backwards, which was much harder, since the lessons are in a  logical order. Going forward, you can almost deduce the next lesson (or tease it out of memory). Going backwards, you have to induce it, and I felt it just took too much time.

Given the lessons are to save time, I stopped anything that was taking more time that asked.

As I may have mentioned before, I fairly new to practicing mind training, and being quiet and in the Now. Up to lesson 50, I found having a quiet mind difficult. If I waited too long into the night, I was too tired.

But yesterday, day fifty, I had a breakthrough. I got into a very conscious zone, where I was both very awake, very quiet, and very much at peace. The exercise was for ten minutes. I easily went for 20, and could have gone longer, but felt I had to emerge to be with my wife.

If I could recommend anything, try to get regular sleeping habits. It make the evening/before sleeping exercises easier, as you're not exhausted.

Over the next ten review days, I'll decide whether to keep reciting all the lessons from Lesson 1, or just start from Lesson 60 to the next review period. As you can see, it took 8 minutes to type out the first 50. That's 8 minutes out of the day that could be applied to the current batch of lessons, which are as logical a set as the first 50.

I'll make you aware.

Take courage,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Vision explained?

I believe it was on the lesson day for "There is nothing to fear," I was on a train to Hamilton. With eyes closed, drifting in and out of sleep, I had a beautiful crystal clear vision of a funnel of clouds with streams of light webbed in its walls. It was stunning. As soon I opened my eyes, still in wonder, I thought of my mom.

Mom-aside, today's lesson had an exercise of visualizing my mind as a vast circle surrounded by dark clouds, through which I would attempt to pass through. I couldn't but help to think that is what I saw on the train: the light of my mind surrounded by my grievances.


P.S. The vision was something like this: World Press 2008 1st Place Winner for Nature

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

66 Lessons Later

I've missed one day, and stayed on one lesson for two to get it right. 10 days were workbook-scheduled review days of the first 50 lessons. So, I'm on lesson 66 today instead of lesson 68. Not bad at all.

I approached the workbook differently this year, and it has had a substantial effect on my focus.

The original plan for practicing the workbook lessons was to do one lesson a week, for seven years. The intent was to really let each lesson sink in as a devotion to mastery.  But it was too slow—allowing for the ego to adapt and undo—and apparently, unnecessary. I adapted the intent of mastery in another way that has been working for me.

Before I started a new lesson for the day, I recited, from memory, the lessons of the previous days. I'll say them in my mind, out loud, or write or type them out. The result is that I can now recite all 56 distinct lessons, in order. (Again, ten lessons were workbook reviews of the first 50 lessons).

Similar to my familiarity of the textbook, which I've read numerous times, I find myself reflexively recalling certain lessons when relevant thinking arises in me.

As an exercise in memory, it's exciting to have all the lessons ideas with me at any time. But it's almost overwhelming to think I'll be reciting 100's of lessons daily.

As of today, one lesson and an idea related to another stand out.

Lesson 48: There is nothing to fear.
After working through the 47 lessons, this one actually had a noticeable and remarkable calming affect on me. I've declared similar statements before, but this time, there was a spark of genuine faith.

The other idea that has resonated with me is that we should evaluate each decision by one test: Will it make me happy? With this, a spark of genuine belief strengthens in me. But let me clarify what I mean by "happy."

This morning, on a subway train, I saw someone reading a paper. On a page facing me, there was an article with a headline to the effect of: "Low mortgage rates tempts home owners to refinance."

My reaction was two thoughts:
  1. By definition, temptations are negative—they may be selfishly gratifying in the short terms, but we're keenly aware they can backfire badly.
  2. Those home owners have no reason to be tempted if they're honest about all the facts. Either refinancing is a good idea or it is not.
Happiness is not a fleeting thing that comes with a promise of fear and pain later, as temptations do. So when I evaluate my choices of action, it's that much clearer to me that I want to make the decision that doesn't hide a lie that I'd have to keep looking over my shoulder to defend against.

A happy decision has no regrets. A happy decision is always in the opposite direction of procrastination. A happy decision is complete.

I'm getting something out of these lessons (but of course, I want more).


Friday, January 1, 2010

2010: Nothing New But Opportunities

The 365th page of ACIM, which easily aligns with our cultural new-year resolution sentiments, begins the section VI. Setting the Goal.

The "January 1st" page, 366, continues with such guidance as:
In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is "What do I want to come of this [e.g., year]? What is it for? the clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome.
It goes on to state that a "clear-cut, positive goal" is needed "set at the outset."

I, like many I'm sure, like to set goals to start at calendar beginnings: the start of a week, month, or a year. It's a habit that ACIM's structure seems to take into consideration:
  • 31 text chapters for the 31 days of most months
  • Reading a page a day would keep you about a month early from yearly events like Christmas/New Year and Holy Week/Easter
  • 365 workbook lessons
While ACIM seems to accommodate, if not anticipate my use of time, it also clearly shows how I waste it. If I lose my focus, I wait until the next calendar beginning to reset it. For example, losing my focus on day 7, may have me waiting three weeks to restart.

ACIM never says that the 365 lesson must be started on the first of January. It merely states that the duration of the workbook lessons is one year. So I could start any day and finish on the same day the following year. But again, I believe ACIM was structured to anticipate this tendency of mine to align to cultural starts and ends.

The benefit has been a high familiarity with the first few chapters and topics of the text and manual. And this such high familiarity is strongly encouraged at the end of the first chapter of the textbook.

But I obviously have to move on and be more vigilant in finishing what I start.

Page 366 continues:
The absence of a criterion for outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible.

The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen. You will therefore make every effort to overlook what interferes with the accomplishment of your objective, and concentrate on everything that helps you meet it.

Thus part of my goal is to "Make this year different by making it all the same" (Text p.329). There is no new week, no new month, and no new year, just new opportunities. They come with each passing moment without regard to time.

Likewise, Lesson 1 of the workbook begins teaching just this sentiment of indiscrimination:
One thing is like another as far as the application of the idea is concerned.
When I let go of my self-imposed limits of when I can apply myself, then I can also let go of other behaviours and learn positive new ones.

Take courage,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Broken Meaningless Pieces [Backlog: Lesson 4/Chapter 28]

In chapter 28, the text describes the illusion of everyone as broken pieces of a single picture.

Time began when we, as a unified creation of God, decided (then forgot) to be the concept of a individual. We believed we broke apart from God and could think for ourselves, and think private, unshared thoughts. That we forgot about this decision was because of the fear we made at the same time.

An analogy could be that we were like a young child that broke a mirror and ran to hide in fear of our parents; except that we thought we broke our unity, and have been running ever since.

Perhaps the best (two-dimensional) description could be that we were a falling mirror or pane of glass, such that during the fall we reflected a distorted and disorienting view of the world. When we hit, we broke apart and spread out. Because of the ripple effect from the impact, some center pieces came to rest almost immediately, while the outer-edge pieces are still kinetically spreading apart. (I've always wondered if our constant population growth on Earth is really a sign of further fragmentation.)

C28:4:9:5: The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing.

Lesson four starts making the connection between the meaninglessness of all the separate things we see in the world and all the separate thoughts we have. The bottom line is that everything, whether perceived as real or imagined, is meaningless in its separateness.

You can see a table and have an impression of it. You can then think of the same table and have a different impression of it. These broken impressions (forms) that didn't come together as the one definitive view are meaningless apart. Not seeing "the whole picture" is our excuse for inaction or for mistakes.

Again, as part of the lesson, we need only acknowledge, or profess, that this is the case, that we are the cause of the fragmented world we see. We'll eventually be led to seeing in a different way that will show us the true meaning behind everything we see.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lesson 7 - "I only see the past" --Robert

The idea of this week is "I only see the past." This was an interesting concept to hold in mind, as this awareness seems to aid much of the anger and resentment we may accumulate through life. Here is an excerpt from the text:

"This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones.

It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything.
It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you.
It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see.
It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see.
It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think.
It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there."

This makes sense, and seems to sum up the previous 6 lessons as well. Seemingly it is the reason as to why nothing means anything, or why I don't understand all that I see. Also the reason for why I'm upset in certain situations. But of course, I don't take this at face value, but will adopt it once it makes sense in my life.

Fortunately for me I have not experienced much discord at all with this material, and it has been a very easy integration process. These concepts are not FULLY integrated however, but I do keep them in mind. This blog is part of my integration process, as repetition will help me recall these concepts that much more.

The best way I can relate to this week's lesson is by using my friend as an example yet again. This friend of 20 years, who "disappointed" me on my birthday did not do so out of malice, or contempt. I know this. And my only real reason for being upset with him is by seeing him only in the light of the past, instead of seeing him for all that he is in this moment of now.

My past associations with him, ie. 20 years of fairly regular birthday gifts, comes rushing to the forefront at the moment he breaks my expectation. My expectation of others is something I've worked on for years, and little by little, I remove these bonds of expectations from others, yet some still remain in key situations. So seeing the past when looking at him makes perfect sense... and it is only by seeing the past do my expectations manifest, and thus I set myself up for disappointment.

Essentially that kind of thought process lets the illusion control my emotional state, instead of just deciding to be happy regardless - and taking my power back from the illusion. I know which path is the correct one, but walking it consciously is not always that easy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lesson 6 - I am upset because of something that isn't there --Robert

"I am upset because I see something that is not there."

This is the current objective of lesson 6, which further builds on the concepts of lesson 5, which help us to understand or to relieve ourselves of our emotional disturbances. The disturbances of the mind which all too often cause an uncomfortable emotional state, and affect the way in which we experience this illusion. It's important to realize this, because "the machine can run away with itself" as I like to refer to it, meaning the mind / body machine... when left unchecked can delve into extreme areas of negativity that can be debilitating.

I am applying the concept of this lesson to the same experience as mentioned in lesson 5. The friend whom I'm upset with due to reasons that are not quite clear to me. Before I discuss the magnitude of this lesson, I will take a step back and mention an experience I had over the weekend.

As mentioned in the popular sci-fi movie "The Matrix" the Neo character is given a choice. To continue to experience the illusion as it is, without the answers he seeks, or to experience the illusion as an illusion, therefore shifting his perspective from within the matrix, to his physical body which is outside of the matrix. This rebirth of consciousness is quite profound, and unless experienced can go unnoticed. Well my matrix moment occurred over the weekend, in the form that I perceive as a gift from the universe. I will not go into depth as to what my experience was, suffice it to say that my perspective dramatically shifted from the body/mind consciousness level - to a much higher level allowing me to see this reality as the illusion it truly is.

My choice was different than Neo however - as my decision was to accept this level of understanding, to accept the connection and the experience for that it was, but for the love of those who are still within this reality, I choose to stay and connect with them in the same manor as before. However now with the heightened awareness that this world, and all the trials and tribulations of it is just a dream, an illusion (however real it seems). This choice has massive implications, and I'm now fully educated as to the choices that I make, and the cause and affect relationships that they will incur, knowing that this world is an illusion - and my choices affect the entire game, so to speak.

I can no longer claim ignorance to this knowing, and now the only work that remains is to correct the fragile, often disturbed, pre-programmed, and misguided ego attachments that remain. The path is clear, the work is ahead, and here I am, working through it.

Of course, the test of this knowing comes shortly after in the form of an emotionally disturbed friend, and his obviously inappropriate actions. Now how do I define myself in relation to this experience? Do I resent him for his human frailties, or do I take a different perspective on it...? I choose to continue to see this reality as an illusion, as my gift has shown me the way.

Therefore - with this knowing through this gift, and this experience of my friend to test my knowing... how do I appease the mind/body (little me) consciousness? For one, realize that this is an illusion, that my thoughts are meaningless in the illusion, the physicality of the illusion is also meaningless, and so are the actions of others. "I am upset because of something that isn't there." Amen.

Thanks for reading.


Lesson 5 - "I am never upset for the reason I think" --Robert

Although I have not spent much time with this lesson, initially I have found this lesson more difficult. Specifically because the text challenges us with a variety of forms of this idea, such as:

I am not angry at ___ for the reason I think.
I am not afraid of ___ for the reason I think.

There are no small upsets.
They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.

When acting out of bias - applying to one disturbance, and avoiding others, use:

I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go.
For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same.

And finally:

I am not worried about ___ for the reason I think.
I am not depressed about ___ for the reason I think.

Like everyone else, like the most enlightened masters, we all have our stuff to deal with down here. There will always be someone who will challenge our ideas of forgiveness, and abundance, or what we percieve as "right living." I had a situation over the weekend where a particularly anti-social friend of mine was invited to my birthday, and as usual - was a pillar of anti-socialism. Not only that - after 20 years of knowing him, he didn't bring a gift! Not that the materialism is important - but the act of giving and receiving was denied, on a day reserved for that. So now do I look at this person, and analyze - well I know it's not a financial reason, so then what would it be? Normally - regardless of his actions I'd buy him a gift on his birthday just to experience the act of giving. However, now being married - questions of abundance come to mind. So do I stay with this feeling of lack, this feeling of disappointment, that if left unchecked could lead to resentment? No... so I apply the concepts and here are my results.

I am not upset at my friend for the reason I think.
I am not depressed about my friend for the reason I think.
I am not afraid of judgement for the reason I think.
There are no small disturbances to my peace of mind, this is one of them and they are all equal.

Intellectually, and I realize that on some level it is permeating my belief system, but I have yet to move from knowing these concepts to experiencing them fully. I can apply this exercise on an intellectual level, but I am not sure how well it helps to resolve my emotional disturbances. I will continue with it, and keep you posted.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lesson 4 - "These thoughts do not mean anything" - Robert

The lesson for this week was "These thoughts do not mean anything." I actually stayed with this lesson a bit longer than usual. I beleive Aaron has already moved onto Lesson 5, and will be posting some content shortly. However, I've liked and stayed with this particular lesson for a few reasons.

1 - Validation - I am validated in my understanding that now my previously learned concepts and ideas, or thoughts, are in themselves meaningless. I had learned this or come to this realization over several years of work, and refinement of self, but never fully adopted the idea. This validation aids my adoption, and helps me understand the dychotomy.

2 - Self Acceptance - I find that this particular exercise really helps me with my own personal self acceptance. We all struggle with this, if we didn't struggle with our identities, we wouldn't be here. What do I mean? You have a soul, its objectives, a mind with its objectives, and your body with its needs. If you haven't experienced this conflict you're not paying attention. That being said, I really like this lesson because it helps me "normalize" my thoughts to a neutral state. Relinquishing my need to prioritize, or judge my thoughts as "good" or "bad" and just accept what is.

3 - Viable skill - This particular lesson can be used as a viable skill in times of distress. Those times when the mental chatter doesn't stop, and you're letting the machine run away with itself... perpetually judging itself or others as the mind often does. This lesson and skill can be used to help shutdown the mind machine, as the mind seems to focus on what it percieves as "urgent" thoughts, instead of important ones.

I am thankful that we're now blogging our experiences with this text and these lessons, because it really helps me go back and review, and remind myself to integrate these concepts into daily life. Without these concepts in this form, or similar forms - life would be much more problematic.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some sanity within a dream

I had, what some would call, a bad dream. By ACIM, it could be said that all dreams controlled by us, however seemingly pleasant, are "bad." But I can safely say that since studying ACIM, I've not had a bad dream that didn't have some idea injected that brought some relative sanity to the seeming experience.

In the midst of this fearful dream, came the calming idea that the mechanics of miracles is a process akin to what is seen in splitting the atom (, step 7): a neutral idea is sent into a "fissile" person.

Rather than waking up totally dispirited, I awoke with this idea, perhaps, as preface to the Answer to the problem I raised in the dream.

I've been admitting my inability to understand anything, as practiced in the first five lessons, and admitting that I'm not aware of what to do for my own peace, as guided in the text.

Both are coming to my aid in how I'm hearing what's being said to me by loved ones. Despair would be too easy without this help in letting go my own judgement.

I believe this is making me more open to truly non-threatening—neutral—ideas, and making me a more fissile person. I want this reaction to start soon.


(I have a back-log of notes on lessons three and four...stay tuned.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lesson 3 - "I do not understand all that I see" - Robert

I have spent some time this week reflecting on and applying this concept. The time that I have is usually on the subway. It's a great place that requires your time, but not your effort or attention - giving you an opportunity to do anything you choose. Here's where I usually get a chance to practice these concepts, although I do occasionally apply them as I remember throughout the day. What I like about working on this website is that it's truly a way to physically interact with the learning process, and as I think about the work and content on this site, it reminds me to apply the concepts from ACIM as well.

The concept for Lesson 3 is "I do not understand all that I see." This idea as written previously by Aaron, has to do with the idea that there is a plan for all of this. All of this that we see around us, all that we know is in accordance with a plan. Some people can relate to the word plan, better than words like fate, or destiny... or perhaps divine providence. But essentially the idea attempts to suspend your understanding of all that you see, in such a way as to allow room for another set of pending understandings. This lesson does not deal the pending understanding for all that you see, instead simply attempt the exercise. Well... that's what I did.

At first I found it interesting that my subconscious would rush forth and identify everything for me every time I applied the idea from the lesson. I got used to that, and simply just immersed myself in the experience of "not understanding." I took on a bit of a blank stare as I allowed myself to forget, or not consciously identify the various components of my environment. I did find a rhythm though and found it quite pleasant as the burden of knowledge was lifted. The burden of having to know everything you look at, and just be.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Lesson 2 - Personal Experience --Robert

Lesson 2 - "I have given everything I see [...] all the meaning that it has for me."

My personal experiences with Lesson 2 of ACIM have varied quite a bit. Although I believe I understand holistically what this lesson's aims are, I find that the illusion itself seems to pull me back in. A more responsible way of saying that would be, I let myself get pulled back into the illusion. As I read through Aaron's further comments regarding this lesson, it dawned on me that yes we only do react to our interpretations, a subtle explanation that I had overlooked at times. There is no definitive truth to an event, only what is, and our perceptions / interpretations of it. I can see why so many arguments have resulted from the lack of adoption of this one concept. How many wars could have been averted if this one idea was apart of our mainstream curriculum?

I have been learning of this concept and have understood it long before attempting to complete lesson 2 of this material. Through Taoist teachings they often state "Nothing has any meaning, save the meaning you give it." Other spiritual texts and teachers such as Dan Millman have often stated this as well in their own way.

Through my own experiences of learning Kung Fu, this concept also holds very true, and can be seen from a real application point of view, with the resulting effects being quite dangerous if this lesson is not learned well.

From a martial point of view, if I observe a particular position or integrated action from my opponent and view this as a simple "guard" and believe this, I will act in a way which may not respect the placement of his body. The result could be the strike which in essence was hidden from my perceptions. To correct this, I must not only hold in mind my initial perceptions of the event, but also hold in context the other possibilities that this event might hold. The result is that I am more aware of the series of possibilities that could manifest from this situation, and thus my depth and breadth of awareness expands. This is not only needed in martial arts, but in all aspects of life and can be critical to our growth.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chapter 19 gets me excited.

This is my version of a explanation, just a status change.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September/Chapter/Manual-Question 15 on Lesson Three | One Plan

While Lesson 2, and now 3, is part of the plan that we believe in and put into action, chapter 15, in natural progression, talks about the plan in general:
C15:3:11:1–2: If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be given you. Yet think not you can substitute your plan for His.
More talk about the plan continues in section four, paragraphs three and four.

So, by declaring through Lesson 3 that we do not understand anything we see (i.e., by giving up our plan) we're in a position to learn how to gain understanding through lack of judgment:
C15:5:1:3–5: Judgment always rests on the past, for past experience is the basis on which you jugde. Judgment becomes impossible without the past, for without it you do not understand anything. You would make no attempt to judge, because it would be quite apparent to you that you do not understand what anything means.
With the purpose of seeing everything as it is now, we're striving through Lesson 3 to let go of our past interpretations/assumptions of past experiences, which we are imposing on everything we see under the guise of "understanding."

In a state without understanding, we're in a position to be taught anew what we are actually seeing.

Manual question 15 elaborates on our sense of judgment vs what true judgment is.


Monday, September 14, 2009

September/Chapter/Manual-Question 14 on Lesson Two

The course is often described as an aid to unlearn everything we believe to be true. What we have chosen to learn has formed our view of everything we see and is used as a means to form our view of what we have yet to see.

Lesson two is the second step of unlearning the use of judgement, which is based on past experiences, to understand what we are seeing. It is the practice of honestly looking at any and all things as they are now, and admitting that we have uniquely defined what we see by our own individual and private (i.e., hidden) measures.

As with every chapter, chapter 14, in part, reemphasizes the honesty theory behind the lesson:
C14:11:3:2–8: Learning has been accomplished before its effects are manifest. Learning is therefore in the past, but its influence determines the present by giving it whatever meaning it holds for you. Your learning gives the present no meaning at all. Nothing you have ever learned can help you understand the present, or teach you how to undo the past. Your past is what you have taught yourself. Let it all go. Do not attempt to understand any event or anything or anyone in its "light," for the darkness in which you try to see can only obscure.
How we "let it all go" is to reaffirm the aim, and to state both the goal and the plan for overcoming it:
C14:11:6:6–9: [The aim:] When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself: [the goal] I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.
Lesson 2 is part of the plan that we believe in and put into action.

That's the classic 5-step achievement process.


September/Chapter/Manual-Question 13 on Lesson Two

Continuing on the subject of honesty:
C13:4:3:7–8:  You have been as selective in your questioning as in your perception. An open mind is more honest than this.
An open mind is without judgement, and our judgements are all rooted in our past memories, however inaccurate. So lesson two requires us, through indiscrimination, to overcome our past-based judgements, so we can begin to see things as they are now without the frame of reference of our individual memories.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September/Chapter/Manual-Question 12 on Lesson 2

Another Manual description of the meaninglessness of adjectives in our perception:
M12:6:6:6–9: Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God's teachers. They watch the dream figures come and go, shift and change, suffer and die. Yet they are not deceived by what they see. They recognize that to behold a dream figure as sick and separate is no more real than to regard it as healthy and beautiful.

Another Chapter description of how we give meaning to everything we see:
C12:1:1:4–5: Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response.

Lesson 2 is a step in acknowledging how active and self(ego)-directed our perception is:
C12:7:5:1–2: You see what you expect, and you expect what you invite. Your perception is the result of your invitation, coming to you as you sent for it.

I'll deviate with a quote from the Preface of ACIM that introduces all these ideas:
The world we see merely reflects our own internal frame of reference—the dominant ideas, wishes and emotions in our minds. "Projection makes perception" (Text, p.445). We look inside first, decide the kind of world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it. We make it true by our interpretations of what it is we are seeing.
These are not new ideas, as we learn them in basic psychology courses. Scientific study acknowledges this because it recognizes human bias as inevitable, and that reality must both have a universal frame of reference and also be universally experienced. Thus, if anyone cannot reproduce a seemingly experienced cause and effect, then we don't accept the scientific premise as true.

Lesson two is an exercise in honesty.


It's all about the perception | September/Chapter 11

Some of my favourite quotes about perception that, again, mirror lesson two:

11:6:1:1–4: It is impossible not to believe what you see, but it is equally impossible to see what you do not believe. Perceptions are built up on the basis of experience, and experience leads to beliefs. It is not until beliefs are fixed that perceptions stabilize. In effect, then, what you believe you do see.

11:6:3:4–6: Yet different experiences lead to different beliefs, and with them different perceptions. For perceptions are learned with beliefs, and experience does teach. I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lesson Two on September 10th | No Adjectives

I have given everything I see [...] all the meaning that it has for me.

By reading the text's chapter 10 today, I saw that lesson two is described in the chapter's introduction (paragraph 2, line 7): "Every response you make to everything you perceive is up to you, because your mind determines your perception of it."

Furthermore, by reading the Manual's tenth question, the benefits of mastering the lesson is described.


In the description of the lesson, indiscrimination is emphasized. To help yourself better align to the lesson's purpose, refrain from calling out characteristics that reinforce uniqueness.

For example, the lesson description says: "The the subjects simply as you see them. Try to apply the exercise with equal ease to a body or a button, a fly or a floor, an arm or an apple."

Note there are no adjectives, like an old body, or a blue button, or a red apple. Adjectives are an aspect of the illusion of differences. This is not to say we should avoid adjectives in our day-to-day lives, but we should be careful to recognize that when we do use them, we are calling out our need for the lesson itself.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lessons 1 and 2 as described on September 8

As I read the chapter corresponding to the day of the month, today's textbook chapter and manual-for-teachers question are both the eighth.

Both very well give the theoretical background to Lessons 1 and 2---particularly the eighth question in the manual.

Give the eighth question a read. Afterwards, read the textbook's chapter eight, section seven, paragraph 14, lines one through four (p.154).

They describe the nature of perception as we made it and use it. Thus lessons one and two begin the undoing/unlearning process of what perception is for.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Indiscrimination | Unforgiving World

Total indiscrimination is the requirement of the lesson. One must let go of all judgement, which is selectiveness.

Yesterday, Abby and I were out on a photo-shoot in a park by King and Church. Photography can be used as an exercise of selectivity, but as is the case with any thing "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

A few years ago, I learned of a set of zen-based workshops, one of which Abby eventually took (Miksang), that taught us another means of what ACIM was getting at.

Abby takes both selective and non-selective photos now; but it has also allowed me to be a selective and non-selective photo subject.

While I pose, sometimes I look at the lens other times I look out at the scenery before me. I'm looking at something to focus on to keep my pose steady.

For one shot, instead of focusing on something that seemed separate from me, I broadened my perspective to everything and thought: "I'm one with everything." The view became quite flat, as though I was looking at a billboard or projection. "Nothing I saw in that place meant anything."

In learning to deny the separateness between Abby and me, I imagine seeing me through her eyes. If nothing I physically see of Abby (i.e., "proof" of separateness) means anything, then the reality of our unity is available to give me truer perspective.

Multiply that with anyone else physically around me, and I could have a 360ยบ view of my physical self.


I'm always saddened by the unforgiving condemnation of people (Chris Brown, today) by television commentators. Apparent acts and their apparent effects that don't mean anything are just mistakes in judgement of both the condemned and those condemning.

By seeing everything as not meaning anything, we take the step to learning how to forgive.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Lesson One - An Experience of the meaningless --Robert

"Nothing I see in this room [on this street, from this window,
in this place] means anything."

After a long day of seemingly achieving all of my objectives, completely caught up in the illusion around me, I managed to bring myself back to lesson one as I rode home on the subway. I caught myself as a matter of fact, reflecting on all the discussions of the day, all of the perceptions I've enhanced, and all of the praise I had received. It was a particularly good day from a work perspective, and I was given a few compliments.

As I reflected upon this, I looked at someone on the subway, she was an older women, perhaps in her 50's. Life has left its mark on her face, as she stared down at her hands, and it was then that I realized... what does this matter? It doesn't mean anything. I looked around me, and saw the various people on the subway, each fully immersed in their own process, each at a different stage of development. Some were the flashy business types, while others were the older working folk... and yet others still you wondered if they had a job at all. Each struggling in their own way, each managing the cause and effect relationships in their lives to the best of their abilities... and then I'm gently reminded... it doesn't matter, it doesn't really mean anything.

These people, these vessels for something more, each playing out the role of their life script, each learning and experiencing what they need to. Each working out their own emotional issues, or attempting to find solace from a frightening existence. But in truth... it doesn't mean anything.

When you look at the big picture, when you understand that life itself is eternal, what does all of this toil and trouble really matter? It doesn't. We've created the illusions, each for our own purpose, each to remember ourselves through new eyes. So do the physical objects, or people actually mean anything of themselves? No they don't. The only meaning anything has is the meaning you give it.

First Comment on Lesson One

Nothing that I see [...] means anything.

In the mornings I like to listen to the talk radio show Metro Morning, on CBC Radio 1.

I'll prepare for the day with the show audible in the background---or, mostly audible.

Occasionally, a sustained sound from outside will drown out what I can hear from the radio.

If I'm interested or engrossed in what is being discussed, I'll make an effort to be as quiet as I can be, while continuing my morning chores. So, to have the show drowned out can be irritating---generally speaking, I can't rewind the radio show.

That happened this morning, and very quickly I invoked, the lesson to say to myself: "Don't sweat it." It doesn't matter.

The point being, because of my familiarity with the course, I've slightly generalized lesson one. One sense is no different from another in that it is an interpreter of experience. The effective difference is merely the greater value we tend to place on sight over hearing, smell and touch.

The course doesn't exclude physically blind people, so realize that: Nothing that I hear [...] means anything, can be equally effective, if you value your hearing more than sight at any given moment. And the Text supports this generalization (just had and lost the reference in my mind).

I'm not encouraging you to purposefully attempt to generalize any lesson, however.

Practice the lesson as instructed. Beyond the morning and evening exercise prescribed in lesson one, feel free to casually adapt and apply the lesson during the day if it suddenly occurs to you to do so. Just don't force yourself to generalize or adapt the lesson. Later lessons will expand the range/focus of your perception.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Welcome to the site. This method of communication was chosen because of it's ease of use, and its capability to allow frequent updates, commentary, and feedback to be integrated in a meaningful way. The purpose of this site is essentially to capture the on-going experiences I and my friend Aaron are having regarding the ACIM material.

I have heard this material simply referred to as "the course," while others are more familiar with ACIM, or by it's full name - "A Course in Miracles." I myself am no expert on the subject, but perhaps this effort will lead me down that path. Aaron is far more familiar with the material than myself, however I've listened to the audio version in it's complete form, and have read other supplementary materials.

Essentially this site will capture our on going experiences with the "Course" material on a week by week basis, as we describe each exercise and their effects on our mental processes. Let's begin...