Beliefs

A belief is a man originated idea about how something works or what something means based on observation, knowledge and experience. And we need these beliefs to help us understand ourselves and the world around us. They determine the choices we make in life. They help hold a society together. But we can get into trouble when we refuse to revisit beliefs to see if they need to change. When we have been living with certain beliefs for so long, it is scary to consider letting them go or changing them when they no longer serve us. They have become part of our identity and give us a sense of security. They are the box in which we live.

Scientists used to believe that by the time you were an adult, your brain was set and could not change. We now understand that the brain is constantly changing as we go through life.
We used to believe women could not vote or work, now they do both.
We used to believe the world was flat but now believe it is round.
Some of you were told you were stupid, not worth much and you believed these things about yourself because they came from authority figures. But as an adult, you can choose to change them and believe you are a smart, capable person.

But there is one area we are usually told where beliefs are not allowed to change and that is religious beliefs. Even though there is plenty of evidence that some of these beliefs are wrong and no longer serve us, we continue to hang onto them because we have elevated them to Truth. We have built institutions around these beliefs so to change a few of them could cause too much controversy and disruption. We have associated these beliefs with God and so believe that if we change them, God is going to be displeased with us and punish us in some way. We are told not to question these beliefs because wise men from thousands of years ago received these beliefs from God so they cannot be changed. However, what we fail to understand is that beliefs are associated with the culture and historical time of when they originate. This is one of the reasons why beliefs need to change as the human civilization continues to advance in our knowledge and understanding of who we are, what our purpose is, who God is, and how we impact each other and the world around us. It is easy to confuse a belief with Truth, especially with religious beliefs, which is another reason why we refuse to change them.  A belief can be revisited and changed to adapt to new knowledge and experience. Truth, however, remains the same and next week I will write about how Truth differs from belief.

An old belief is like an old shoe. We so value its comfort that we fail to notice the hole in it.” Robert Brault

 

 

 

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The Root of Shame

Shame is a feeling and belief that there is something inherently wrong with you. It is not that you did something bad, it is that you are bad at the core of who you are. I used to believe that shame came out of the relationships people had with parents or other adults while growing up who failed to love them and spoke negative, hurtful words over them. And while I still believe that to be true, I now realize that there is an even deeper root for shame. It is the belief religion teaches us that we are born sinners, we come out of the womb with a sin nature. My belief about this started to change when I witnessed the birth of my grandchildren and realized that they were born in perfection. Beautiful beings of love. We are all created in the image of Creator God who is the source of all life. If we say we are born with a sin nature, it would mean that God is sin, not love. What we believe about ourselves will determine everything about us. I want to show you the following comparison about these two beliefs, born in sin versus born in love.

Looking outside of self for answers because no good thing resides in me, I need some type of a savior figure to save me from myself.
I am perfect and complete just as I am, created in the image of God which is love. I am “saved” when I realize and embrace this Truth and begin to live it out.

I am unable to love myself because I am not worthy of love due to my sin nature
I can freely love myself because as God’s child, I am worthy of love.

Sin is my identity, so this is what I am conscious of all the time, perpetuating my shame
Love is my identity, so this is what I am conscious of all the time, extending love to myself and others

I live with feelings of hopelessness, stuck in this condition of sin
I live with feelings of hopefulness, free to experience and enjoy my life

I continuously beat myself up when I do something I deem sinful
I love myself even when I make mistakes, it is an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience into a better person

We are often very fearful about giving up beliefs that we were raised in as being truth. In fact, the church and fellow Christians may attempt to shame you if you consider changing the beliefs you were taught. But I am at the place in my life where I realize, if a belief is not based in love, it cannot be from God and I need to have the courage to release it and embrace what resonates as Truth deep within my being.

 

 

A Season of Change

Now that I have completed the Course of Miracles blog series, I had to decide what I would blog on next. I decided to start off with this first blog with something personal. God has had me on a journey of change and transformation for several years now. Initially it was on the macro scale, changing my beliefs about so many different things that led to my book, God is Love. But two years ago, he asked me to leave Illinois where I had lived for the past 20 years. Leaving my home, business, children, grand-kids, church, friends and marriage behind to being a new life in California. Some days it felt overwhelming and I can honestly say I have shed more tears in the past two years than over my entire life. I have had to die to just about everything but through the process God is showing me who he created me to be and who He is within me.

Today I wanted to answer questions people have had about the divorce. I was married for 38 years and like most marriages it was a mixture of good and bad times. My husband has borderline personality disorder. I felt like I was living with 2 very different men. The good Dan was a loving, caring person, it was the one the public saw and the one I loved. The bad Dan  was a verbally and emotionally abusive person, the one I feared. I never knew when the switch would occur or what had precipitated it. People ask me why I did not leave sooner so here are my reasons:

  1. I believed that if I just prayed and believed enough God would heal our marriage. We are told to never give up on our marriage. We are told that God hates divorce and we need to obey God. I played the role of good Christian wife very well.
  2. I did not want my children growing up in a divorced family
  3. I feared what people would think about me
  4. I did not want to disrespect my husband in public so few people knew what the marriage was really like.
  5. Over the years I had accepted my situation, learned how to minimize things, make excuses, and justify things. Easier to remain with what I knew than to venture out into something new.
  6. Dan had always been the main financial provider, I did not know how I could financially survive on my own.

I am forever grateful for the friends and family who gave me the courage to admit the truth and file for divorce. I have never regretted the decision. I feel like a new person and am excited about the future God has planned for me. He has given me a supportive church family here, new friendships and is blessing my business. My divorce will be final on October 5, and I will be celebrating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 31: The Final Vision

The title for chapter 31 is The Final Vision. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Simplicity of Salvation, Walking with Christ, The Self-Accused, The Real Alternative, Self-Concept versus Self, Recognizing the Spirit, The Savior’s Vision, and Choose Once Again.

This is the last chapter of the Course of Miracles and summarizes what has been taught throughout this book. It brings us to the beginning of when people first came to earth and forgot who they were and the God who loved and created them. “The world began with one strange lesson, powerful enough to render God forgotten, and His Son an alien to himself, in exile from the home where God Himself established him.” People were then given a choice.
1.  Continue living in the illusion that they are alone and separated from God, living a life led by fear and the ego.
2. Remember and believe the Truth that they are not alone and choose to reconnect with God, living a life led by love and the Holy Spirit.
The choice you make, will create the world you live in each day.

And yet, for many people, it is a difficult choice to make. When you have lived a life where everything is based in fear; beliefs, relationships, religions, governments, an entire society based in fear, it becomes very normal to you and you no longer see it as an illusion but as truth.  And so even though there is a part of you that yearns for love and knows there must be something better than what you now have, your security has been placed in the fear based systems of which you live. To surrender the life you know is a very scary prospect. People would rather live with what is predictable and safe, than risk change or what they perceive as the unknown. “Let us be still an instant, and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception that we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away.” This statement is the path that will lead you out of fear and into love. The willingness to surrender all and deny yourself of everything you thought was truth, so you can clearly see the face of Christ within you.  It is the journey God took me on that I wrote about in my book, God is Love, A Spiritual Journey from Fear to Love.

We are taught to look for God outside of ourselves. Find him in religion, beliefs, rituals, nature, gurus or spiritual experiences. And you will learn about God in many of these. However, there is a difference between having knowledge about God and having a relationship with God. This course teaches that Jesus taught us that a relationship with God is found within, the Kingdom of God is within you.  We are also taught to look for ourselves outside of ourselves. That our identity is in what we do, the roles we play in life. This book states that we find ourselves in who God says we are. You are a child of God, an eternal spiritual being, forever connected to God and this is your true identity. ACIM teaches that you both find God within yourself and find yourself within God. “Seek not another signpost in the world that seems to point to still another road. The search for different pathways in the world is but the search for different forms of truth. And this would keep the truth from being reached. But you forgot His Presence and remembered not His Love. All roads that lead away from what you are will lead you to confusion and despair. You cannot escape from what you are. Nowhere but where He is can you be found.”

“In joyous welcome is my hand (Jesus) outstretched to every brother who would join with me in reaching past temptation, and who looks with fixed determination toward the light that shines beyond in perfect constancy. I give You thanks for what my brothers are. And as each one elects to join with me, the song of thanks from earth to Heaven grows from tiny scattered threads of melody to one inclusive chorus from a world redeemed from hell, and giving thanks to you. And now we say Amen. For Christ has come to dwell in the abode You set for Him before time was, in calm eternity. The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. Not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ from anyone. Thy Will is done, compete and perfectly, and all creation recognized You, and knows You as the only Source it has. Clear in Your likeness does the light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You. For we have reached where all of us are one, and we are home, where You would have us be.”

A Course in Miracles Chapter 30: The New Beginning

The title for chapter 30 is The New Beginning. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Rules for Decision, Freedom of Will, Beyond All Idols, The Truth Behind Illusions, The Only Purpose, The Justification for Forgiveness, The New Interpretation, and Changeless Reality.

Throughout your day you are making decisions. Some you are conscious of and some you are not. And every decision you make, no matter how small or large, is going to affect you and those around you. This chapter talks about the importance of being aware of every decision you make so you can create the kind of life you really want to live. “Throughout the day, at any time you think of it and have a quiet moment for reflection, tell yourself again the kind of day you want; the feelings you would have, the things you want to happen to you, and the things you would experience.”

“You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. For they are made with idols or with God.” An idol is anything that puts a limitation on yourself or on God. It can be a belief, law, rule, an illusion you believe to be true, etc. You are taught that limitations and boundaries are important because they protect you. However, when they come from man rather than God, they become idols and keep you bound as you become fearful of living without them. “All idols are the false ideas you made to fill the gap you think arose between yourself and what is true. The wearying, dissatisfying gods you made are blown-up children’s toys. A child is frightened when a wooden head springs up as a closed box is opened suddenly, or when a soft and silent wooly bear begins to squeak as he takes hold of it. The rules he made for boxes and for bears have failed him, and have broken this “control” of what surrounds him. And he is afraid, because he thought the rules protected him. Now must he learn the boxes and the bears did not deceive him, broke no rules, nor mean his world is made chaotic and unsafe. He was mistaken. He misunderstood what made him safe, and thought that it had left. Reality observes the laws of God, and not the rules you set. It is His laws that guarantee your safety. You do not want whatever you believe an idol gives.”

When making decisions people put limitations on what they think they can do or what they believe God can do. Your will and God’s are one, as God lives his life through you. When you unite your will with God’s you no longer struggle over decision making because you are now led by the Holy Spirit. “God would not have His Son made prisoner to what he does not want.  And to oppose Him is to make a choice against yourself and choose that you be bound. For what is done to him whom God so loves is done to God Himself. Think not He wills to bind you, who has made you co-creator of the universe along with Him.  He would but keep your will forever and forever limitless.”

People put more faith in their idols than in their relationship with God. You believe you are missing something, you are flawed, and so you look for people or things to fill this perceived emptiness inside which become your idols. Reality is there is nothing wrong with you other than your misunderstanding of who you really are. You are a beloved child of God. And because God is limitless, so are you. “Idols are limits. Decide for idols and you ask for loss. Behind the search for every idol lies the yearning for completion. To seek a special person or a thing to add to you to make yourself complete, can only mean that you believe some form is missing. It is not form you seek. What form can be a substitute for God the Fathers Love? What form can take the place of all the love in the Divinity of God the Son?”

May your love for God and your relationship with God make you complete and be the reason behind every decision you make.

Next week will be the final blog from the Course of Miracles.

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 29: The Awakening

The title for chapter 29 is The Awakening. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Closing of the Gap, The Coming of the Guest, God’s Witnesses, Dream Roles, The Changeless Dwelling Place, Forgiveness and the End of Time, Seek Not Outside Yourself, The Anti-Christ, and The Forgiving Dream. This chapter is about our awakening from being led by people, fears, and beliefs that no longer serve us, to being led by God through the Holy Spirit.

“There is no time, no place, no state where God is absent. There is nothing to be feared.” I found this an interesting verse to contemplate. Because God is love and God is everywhere, there is no reason to fear. And yet, humans continue to live with fear. I believe our greatest fear is that we fear being loved by God. We do not feel we deserve God’s extravagant love. We want to know there is a way out, just in case we need it, in case we do something that could turn God against us. This is based in the false teaching that we are to fear God, that God is a judgmental, angry being. “Be wary, then let Him not come too close, and leave a gap between you and His Love, through which you can escape if there be need for you to flee. Think you the Father lost Himself when He created you? Was He made weak because He shared His Love?  See how eagerly He comes, and steps aside from heavy shadows that have hidden Him, and shines on you in gratitude and love.” There is no fear in God for God is love.

This chapter talks about how you are to seek truth within, rather than outside of yourself, because the presence of God is within. Too many people rely on others to tell them what to do, what to believe, and are led astray because they lack discernment and the confidence to hear God for themselves. When you seek for it outside of yourself it refers to this as an idol. “All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you, and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within, and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes His place. Look not to idols. An idol is a false impression or a false belief, some form of anti-Christ, that constitutes a gap between the Christ and what you see.  Whenever you feel fear in any form, and you are fearful if you do not feel a deep content, a certainty of help, a calm assurance Heaven goes with you; be sure you made an idol, and believe it will betray you. An idol is established by belief, and when it is withdrawn the idol “dies.” You are taught to live your life by man made beliefs whether they come from society, religion, media or other sources. But a belief is not truth, therefore it is an idol. Truth comes from the higher spiritual laws of God that govern life. They are received through the Spirit, have no fear associated with them, and will resonate deep within you.

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 28: The Undoing of Fear

The title for chapter 28 is The Undoing of Fear. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Present Memory, Reversing Effect and Cause, The Agreement to Join, The Greater Joining, The Alternate to Dreams of Fear, The Secret Vows, and The Ark of Safety.

In the concept of time we all live in, there is always a past. We cannot physically return to the past but its effects remain with us reenacted through our thoughts, feelings and actions in the present. For many people, the past contains fearful memories of painful things that happened to them or what they inflicted on others. This chapter talks about how we can choose to continue to live with these fearful memories or we can allow the Holy Spirit to release them out of us. The only reason we continue to have the fearful memories is because we choose to. We believe they keep us safe, protect us from further harm, reminding us that the world is not a safe place and if we are not careful, harm can come to us again. “And if memory seems to serve to cherish ancient hate, and gives you pictures of injustices and hurts that you were saving, this is what you asked its message be and that it is. All of the strange associations made to keep the past alive, the present dead, are stored within it, waiting your command that they be brought to you, and lived again. Nor will the call to wakening be heard, because it seems to be the call to fear.” The call to awaken and give up the fearful memories can be just as fearful as the memories themselves. For you have lived with memories a long time, and to let them go would feel like you are removing your defense system leaving you feeling fearful and defenseless.  When we choose to release the memories, there is nothing for fear to attach itself to. “The Holy Spirits use of memory is quite apart from time. He does not seek to use it as a means to keep the past, but rather as a way to let it go. How instantly the memory of God arises in the mind that has no fear to keep the memory away! Its own remembering has gone. There is no past to keep its fearful image in the way of glad awakening to present peace.”

The chapter also talks about the “gap” that is between sickness and healing. It is up to us how large or small we want this gap to be. The remembering of the fearful memories contributes to the sickness in the body and creates our illusion that we are alone and separated from others. It is God’s desire that this gap be healed and will be healed when we realize we are not alone, we are all apart of each other and of God. “I thank you Father, knowing You will come to close each little gap that lies between the broken pieces of Your holy son. Your Holiness, complete and perfect, lies in every one of them. And they are joined because what is in one is in them all. How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of Gods Son! The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. For the whole is in each one. And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part. The beautiful relationship you have with all your brothers is a part of you because it is a part of God Himself. But miracles are the result when you do not insist on seeing in the gap what is not there. Your willingness to let illusions go is all the Healer of Gods Son requires. He will place the miracle of healing where the seeds of sickness were. And there will be no loss, but only gain.”

“Where fear has gone there love must come, because there are but these alternatives. Where one appears, the other disappears. And which you share becomes the only one you have. You have the one that you accept, because it is the only one you which to have.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 27: The Healing of the Dream

The title for chapter 27 is The Healing of the Dream. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Picture of Crucifixion, The Fear of Healing, Beyond all Symbols, The Quiet Answer, The Healing Example, The Witnesses to Sin, The Dreamer of the Dream, and The Hero of the Dream.

This course teaches a different way to view the body than what we have traditionally been taught. I am going to discuss two of these examples in this blog today. You are spiritual beings living in a physical body. Your spirit is real because it is eternal and the body is temporary because it gets left behind and decays when you die. The ego wants your focus to remain on your physical body so you will not become spiritually mature, for when you do, the ego will lose its power over you.  “The body seeks in many ways to prove it is autonomous and real. It puts things on itself that it has bought with little metal discs or paper strips the world proclaims as valuable and real.” You adorn your bodies with clothing and accessories. You seek both pleasure and pain in your bodies to prove they are real. “Pain demonstrates the body must be real. It is a loud, obscuring voice whose shrieks would silence what the Holy Spirit says, and keep His words from your awareness. Pain compels attention, drawing it away from Him and focusing upon itself. Its purpose is the same as pleasure, for they both are means to make the body real.”

The body serves as a physical manifestation of how you treat others and how others have treated you.  When you have been harmed by others through any type of physical or emotional abuse/attack, you will initially internalize this pain. You will most likely repress the feelings, nurse the anger, desire vengeance of some type. You may view yourself as being the “better” person because you did not initiate the harm. You may set yourself up against this other person and see them as an enemy. The longer you do this, the more you increase the chance of the initial pain and your reaction to it manifesting as physical and mental illness and disease within your body. “The sick remain accusers. They cannot forgive their brothers and themselves as well.”

This chapter states that healing is available to all who ask but not everyone wants healing. “Is healing frightening? To many, yes. Your damaged body shows that you must be protected from him, the one who hurt you. Who then fears healing? Only those to whom their brothers sacrifice and pain are seen to represent their own serenity. The only thing that is required for a healing is a lack of fear. The fearful are not healed, and cannot heal. If you are afraid of healing, then it cannot come through you.”

Healing requires that you forgive those you perceive have hurt you in some way. “Who forgives is healed. Forgiveness is not real unless it brings a healing to your brother and yourself.  You are healed because you wished him well. Your health is a result of your desire to see your brother with no blood upon his hands nor guilt upon his heart made heavy with the proof of sin. And in his healing, lies the proof that he has truly pardoned, and retains no trace of condemnation that he still would hold against himself or any living thing.” As you offer healing and forgiveness to those who harmed you, you yourself receive healing as you are no longer repressing all the pain but have released it to God and so both the hurt and the one who attacked are healed. “No one can ask another to be healed. But he can let himself be healed, and thus offer the other what he has received. Who can bestow upon another what he does not have? And who can share what he denies himself?”

And so, the body can be turned around and used for something positive. Healing is a sign of redemption, that what someone meant for harm can be turned around for good. What someone meant to bring division between people can bring unification. “Into this empty space, is Heaven free to be remembered. The body can become a sign of life, a promise of redemption. Let it have a healing purpose. Let it receive the power to represent an endless life, forever un-attacked.”

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 26: The Transition

The title for chapter 26 is The Transition. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The “Sacrifice” of Oneness, Many Forms; One Correction, The Borderland, Where Sin Has Left, The Little Hindrance, The Appointed Friend, The Laws of Healing, The Immediacy of Salvation, For They Have Come, and The End of Injustice.

This chapter is about how to transition from living a life where you want to attack others, to living a life where love and unity prevail. As I have shared in past blogs, we are conditioned to believe that in every situation there is a winner and a loser, that someone needs to sacrifice something for someone else to get what they want. Then we live in fear, trying to make sure that the one who loses is them rather than us. We perceive life as being unfair and this creates anger within us so we go on the attack to defend ourselves. This course teaches that this thinking comes from our perceptions about what we believe. When we change our beliefs to align with Truth, our perception changes and we can see the situation from a heavenly perspective. “In the dynamics of attack is sacrifice a key idea. It is the pivot upon which all compromise, all desperate attempts to strike a bargain, and all conflicts achieve a seeming balance. It is the symbol of the central theme that somebody must lose. When you perceive it as unfair, you think that a response of anger now is just. Unfairness and attack are one mistake, so firmly joined that where one is perceived the other must be seen. Confused perception will block knowledge.  Projection of the cause of sacrifice is at the root of everything perceived to be unfair.”

There is a space in time between when we perceive we are hurt and when we choose to offer forgiveness. This chapter refers to this as the borderline. “Here is the meeting place where thoughts are brought together; where conflicting values meet and all illusions are laid down beside the truth, where they’re judged to be untrue. Here is every thought made pure and wholly simple.” Once something has happened to us it is no longer in the present and has moved to the past. However, when we keep reliving it over and over, either through the thoughts in our own head or verbally repeating to others what that person did to us, we keep it in the present. It is up to us how long we want to remain in the borderline state. The Holy Spirit awaits our decision and will bring salvation the moment we decide to release the hurt. “Now you are shifting back and forth between the past and present. Sometimes the past seems real, as if it were the present. Voices from the past are heard and then are doubted. You are like to one who still hallucinates, but lacks conviction in what he perceives. This is the borderland between the worlds, the bridge between the past and present. Here the shadow of the past remains, but still a present light is dimly recognized. Delay is senseless. The working out of all correction takes no time at all.”

“Forgiveness is the great release from time. It is the key to learning that the past is over. A dreadful instant in a distant past, now perfectly corrected, is of no concern nor value. What was a place of death has now become a living temple in a world of light. Let the dead and gone be peacefully forgotten. Resurrection has come to take its place. Forgiveness turns the world of sin into a world of glory wonderful to see. Each flower shines in light, and every bird sings of the joy of Heaven. Forgive the past and let it go, for it is gone.”

There is a big difference between belief and Truth and it is easy to confuse the two. We use our intellectual reasoning and knowledge to create logical conclusions and beliefs based on our own experience which then forms our perception of what life is about and how we interpret everything that happens to us. On its own it appears to be truth. However, Truth does not come from logic, mental reasoning or experience. It is a feeling deep within you that resonates with your spirit when you connect with it. It is difficult to know Truth when you are hanging onto human based beliefs. It is only when you release these beliefs that you are open to receive and resonate with Truth. “Perception changes, yet Truth is unchanged. It cannot be perceived, but only known. What is perceived takes many forms, but none has meaning. Brought to Truth, its senselessness is quite apparent. Kept apart from Truth, it seems to have a meaning and to be real.”