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.

 

 

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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 25: The Justice of God

The title for chapter 25 is The Justice of God. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Link to Truth, The Savior from the Dark, Perception and Choice, The Light You Bring, The State of Sinlessness, The Special Function, The Rock of Salvation, Justice Returned to Love, and The Justice of Heaven.

Justice is a word we hear a lot in our society. When a crime is committed, when harm has been done to us in some way, when unfairness and discrimination occur, when genocide and terror occur, we cry out for individual and global justice. So, what exactly is justice, what is it we really want? I believe we want to be compensated for some type of loss we feel happened to us and we want the person who harmed us in some way to be punished for what they did. We want a winner and a loser. What was taken from us we want to be taken from the one who harmed us. We want them to feel the pain they caused us.  From our 3rd dimensional reality on planet earth, this makes perfect sense to us. However, from God’s perspective, justice looks very different.

When someone does something we deem “wrong,” something that harmed another person, we refer to that act as sin. We have been taught that sin deserves punishment and we call that justice. However, this course teaches that what we call sin, God calls a mistake and so the correct response is correction rather than punishment. Justice is taking the time to understand why this person did what they did and help them learn a better way to respond and interact with people. Justice is holding them accountable through love, understanding, correction, rehabilitation and forgiveness. “Is this a sin or a mistake, forgivable or not? Does he need help or condemnation? Is it your purpose that he be saved or damned? God is wholly fair to everyone. Vengeance is alien to Gods Mind because he knows of justice. To be just is to be fair, and not be vengeful. Fairness and vengeance are impossible, for each one contradicts the other and denies that it is real. It is extremely hard for those who still believe sin is meaningful to understand the Holy Spirits justice. And, they perceive the threat of what God knows as justice to be more destructive to themselves and to their world than vengeance, which they understand and love.”

We learned last week that we like to make ourselves “special” better than others by looking down and punishing those who do not meet our standards of what is right or wrong. All of us are capable of doing evil and harm to others, when put in circumstances that bring this out in us. This course teaches that we are all one, the one who harmed you is your brother and one of God’s creations. To take vengeance on them, to want to punish them, is to want to do these things to yourself. To want to take from them for what they took from you is not justice. “How can the special really understand that justice is the same for everyone? To take from one to give another must be an injustice to them both, since they are equal in the Holy Spirits sight. Their Father gave the same inheritance to both. Who would have more or less is not aware that he has everything. For love and justice are not different. Because they are the same does mercy stand at Gods right Hand and gives the Son of God the power to forgive himself of sin. Without love is justice prejudiced and weak. And love without justice is impossible. In justice, then, does love correct mistakes, but not in vengeance. For that would be unjust to the innocence.”

Everything is based on perception. Everything that happens is neutral until you decide what value, beliefs, thoughts and feelings you want to attach to it. What you perceive as an evil act done to you will appear very differently by the one who committed the act. “Perception is a choice of what you want yourself to be; the world you want to live in, and the state in which you think your mind will be content and satisfied. The Holy Spirit has the power to change the whole foundation of the world you see to something else. And when he chooses to avail himself of what is given him, then will he see each situation that he thought before was means to justify his anger turned to an event which justifies his love. He will hear plainly that the calls to war he heard before are really calls to peace. He will perceive that where he gave attack is but another alter where he can, with equal ease and far more happiness, bestow forgiveness.”

This understanding of justice from heavens perspective is very different from what I have been taught and practice. It seems impossible that we could ever get to the place in our world where we could apply this type of justice on a national or global scale. However, I do believe we could begin to incorporate it into our individual lives in how we treat those who we deem have harmed us in some way. And when enough of us can consistently do this, God’s justice will begin to permeate through our society.

A Course in Miracles Chapter 21: Reason and Perception

The title for chapter 21 is Reason and Perception. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Forgotten Song, The Responsibility for Sight, Faith, Belief and Vision, The Fear to Look Within, The Function of Reason, Reason versus Madness, The Last Unanswered Question, and The Inner Shift.

What we project out into the world around us is like a mirror of what we are thinking and feeling inside. If we do not understand this we will look around at the world we live in and complain about everything we do not like and blame it on everyone but ourselves, expecting others to fix the problems. “Projection makes perception. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”

As long as I can remember I have been taught to embrace painful situations, that it is through these that we grow and mature. You all know the phrases, no pain no gain. Thank God for the hard times of your lives. If this is what you believe, this is what you will manifest in your life. Reading through this book has caused me to question this idea and change my belief that everything I need to learn to grow and mature can come through happy experiences. I have found this a much more enjoyable way to live. “There is no need to learn through pain. And gentle lessons are acquired joyously, and are remembered gladly. What gives you happiness you want to learn and not forget.”

We have been taught that we have little control over what happens to us and sometimes it does feel like this.  It is a hard concept to accept when “bad” things happen to us that it is because we asked for them. Yet this is what this course teaches. I am still working to fully understanding how this works. “I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked. Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. It is impossible the Son of God (mankind) be merely driven by events outside of him. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it.”

This chapter asks 5 interesting questions:

  1. Do I desire a world I rule instead of one that rules me?
  2. Do I desire a world where I am powerful instead of helpless?
  3. Do I desire a world in which I have no enemies and cannot sin?
  4. Is this what I would see? Do I want this?
  5. And do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth?

Unfortunately, many of us were taught through our society, families and religion that we have little control over our lives, that we are helpless to change anything and that we need to fear anyone who is “different” from us, turning them into enemies. This is what the ego teaches us to keep us in a state of apathy, helplessness and fear. It takes courage to honestly ask ourselves what we really do believe and why we continue to believe these things. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the Truth of God that we are magnificent, creative, powerful and loving people. How different the world will look when we choose to believe this. “Listen to what the ego says, and see what it directs you to see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are hopeless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. Do you not see that all your misery comes from the strange belief that you are powerless? If you choose to see a world without an enemy, in which you are not helpless, the means to see it will be given you.”

A Course in Miracles Chapter 12: The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

The title for chapter 12 is The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Judgment of the Holy Spirit, The Way to Remember God, The Investment in Reality, Seeking and Finding, The Sane Curriculum, the Vision of Christ, Looking Within, and The Attraction of Love for Love.

I like the way this chapter interprets fear. It defines fear as “an appeal for help, a call for love in unconscious recognition of what has been denied. Fear is a symptom of your own deep sense of loss.” We all innately know that we were created to receive and give love. However, the ego is afraid of love as it understands when love is fully known, the ego will cease to exist. Fear and love are the two root emotions and you cannot feel both simultaneously, so one or the other is always going to dominate. When you deny or minimize your fears, they will continue to hold you under their control. It is only when you are willing to face your fears and allow them to rise to the surface that the Holy Spirit can come in and dispel them. “If you raise what fear conceals to clear-cut unequivocal predominance, fear becomes meaningless. You have denied its power to conceal love, which was its only purpose. The Holy Spirits interpretation of fear does dispel it, for the awareness of truth cannot be denied. Thus, does the Holy Spirit replace fear with love and translate error into truth. The Holy Spirit cannot shine away what you keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him and He cannot take it from you. Learn how to offer the Holy Spirit everything you do not want.”

One of the concepts that this book discusses is the inner and outer world. This can be difficult to comprehend the first few times you hear it as it is in opposition to what we are taught and what our physical senses tell us. The ego perceives the world as outside of ourselves. This book states that everything we see outside is a reflection of what is happening inside of us, that we do not want to own, and so we project it outward onto the world around us. We feel anger but believe it is not okay to feel or show this anger so we will do and say things to cause the people around us to feel anger instead of us. Because we believe we are not lovable, we will do and say things to push people away from us and then turn around and complain about how lonely we are. We complain about the world around us; wars, prejudice, discrimination, violence without realizing that all of this is being created by us energetically projecting outward the parts of us we do not want to own. It is only when we are willing to go inward and accept all of us, the bad and the good without judgment, for we are all a combination of both, that we will begin to take responsibility for our actions and feel peace, love and acceptance for who we are. We will then start projecting this out into the world around us and the outer world will become a more peaceful, accepting, loving place to live. We create the reality we live in based on the thoughts, beliefs, feelings of our inner world being energetically projected out into the world around us. “He does not realize that he makes this world, for there is no world outside of him. Everything you perceive as the outside world is merely your attempt to maintain your ego identification. You have projected outward what is antagonistic of what is inward. That is why you must realize that your hatred is in your mind and not outside it before you can get rid of it, and why you must get rid of it before you can perceive the world as it really is.”

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 11: God or the Ego

The title for chapter 11 is God or the Ego. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Gifts of Fatherhood, The Invitation to Healing, From Darkness to Light, The Inheritance of God’s Son, The “Dynamics” of the Ego, Waking to Redemption, The Condition of Reality and The Problem and the Answer.

This chapter talks about how our perceptions of truth and reality are based on our experiences which then lead to our beliefs. In Christianity, we are encouraged to understand and accept truth as it was taught and passed down to us through the history of the church. We are not encouraged to question the traditional Easter story or consider anything beyond the literal interpretation we have been taught. This is the week leading up to Easter, sometimes called the passion week in Christianity. Most of you know the story of what happens to Jesus during this week where he goes from being adored on Palm Sunday, to the night he was betrayed in the garden, to the trial, the crucifixion and then to the resurrection. I have always been taught the literal interpretation of this event, that it had to do with sin, sacrifice, forgiveness and eternal life. In this chapter it looks at this week with a higher, spiritual understanding. From this perspective, the crucifixion represents the ego and the resurrection represents Christs victory over the ego through love.

Let me start by focusing on the crucifixion. Jesus spent his life preaching a message of love that was rejected by both the religious and political authorities at that time who represent the ego. They were motivated by fear; that the people would choose Jesus over them, that they could lose their power, that life as they controlled it could change if they could not find a way to get rid of Jesus. They projected their fears onto Jesus by attacking him with words of judgement, hatred and condemnation, inflicting physical pain onto his body. They required a sacrifice, Jesus over the other criminal had to die. Jesus hung on the cross, later buried, symbolic of the ego in complete control with all the power and about to declare victory over the message of love Jesus had taught.

But 3 days later, love won. Jesus was alive, walking and eating with the people in his community. A life that had looked dead was renewed. The one who lived his life in daily communion with God transcended the power of the ego. The darkness of the grave turned into the glorious light of God’s presence.

“The love of God surrounds his son whom the god of crucifixion condemns. Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you. For the undoing of the crucifixion of Gods son is the work of the redemption in which everyone has a part of equal value. The resurrection is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego, not by attack but by transcendence. For Christ does rise above the ego and all its works, and ascends to the Father and his Kingdom. Believe in the resurrection because it has been accomplished, and it has been accomplished in you. For we ascend unto the Father together, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, for such is the nature of Gods Son as his Father created him.”

“Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit.”

A Course in Miracles Chapter 6 The Lessons of Love

The title for chapter 6 is The Lessons of Love. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Message of the Crucifixion, The Alternative to Projection, The Relinquishment of Attack, The Only Answer, and The Lessons of the Holy Spirit.

This will be a challenging chapter to read for those of you raised in traditional Christian thought as I was. We have been taught to understand the crucifixion as Jesus being punished and becoming a sacrifice for our sins. In this book, Jesus states that, “The crucifixion was not a form of punishment. Those who interpreted it as this were understanding it from a place of fear.”  Jesus teaches that the crucifixion was a teaching moment for us to realize what happens when we project our anger onto another person by assaulting them. It was the result of two clearly opposed thought systems, the ego and the Son of God. The ego represented those who hated what Jesus was doing and teaching and felt threatened by him so attacked him. The Son of God represented Jesus who only walked in love, doing nothing wrong and when attacked, did not fight back. “The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are. If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the “wrath of God’ as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry. These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament although its gospel is really, only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they could never have quoted me as saying, I come not to bring peace but a sword. This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught.”

All of us get into the habit of projection and do not always realize when or why we are doing this. To project is to take the parts of yourself that you do not like and project them onto someone else so you no longer feel or own them. While it may appear to be an attack on the other person, it is actually an attack on yourself. Your inability to fully love every part of who you are. This is a game the ego loves to play. It perpetuates the belief that you are separated from self and others. As long as you continue to believe that you are separated from God, you will fear retaliation and abandonment and believe in attack and rejection. Since this is what you perceive, it is what you will teach, learn and identify yourself with. ACIM teaches that “Everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are. The way out of two opposing thought systems is to clearly choose one and relinquish the other. This will replace conflict with peace in your mind. The Holy Spirit sorts out the true from the false in your mind, and teaches you to judge every thought you allow to enter it (take every thought captive) in the light of what God put there. Whatever is in accord with this light, He retains, to strengthen the Kingdom in you. What is partly in accord with it He accepts and purifies. But what is out of accord entirely He rejects by judging against. This is how He keeps the Kingdom perfectly consistent and perfectly unified. Remember however, that what the Holy Spirit rejects, the ego accepts. This is because they are in fundamental disagreement about everything, being in fundamental disagreement about what you are.” The Holy Spirit sees you as wholly perfect and lovable so there is no need to project anything. Instead, the Holy Spirit takes the belief that this is who you are, and extends that out to others by sharing your love and nonjudgmental attitude with people and seeing all people as equal and one with each other and with creator God. “You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists and only this is real”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Time to Reflect

Earth is like a school that provides you with many opportunities to learn life lessons. However, when you cling to what you have always done and believed, you leave less room for God to come in and transform you.When you study the message of Jesus, it is one of transformation, change, growth, maturity, letting go of fear and learning to trust God. It is important that we take time to reflect and purge as needed to make room for more of everything God wants to bring into our lives in the new year. The end of the year is a great time to do this. Some of you have had a great year and are eagerly awaiting 2017, while others of you have had a difficult year and are not so sure 2017 is going to be any better. Either way, taking the time to reflect on the past year can be very helpful; what worked, what failed, what you learned and how you grew in different areas of your life. You can then take this information and use it to help you set new goals for the coming year.

For myself, I divide my life into the following areas: spiritual, physical, personal, social/relationships, business and financial. When I was raising our kids, I also had a family category. At the end of each year I look back on the goals I had set for myself in each of these areas and see how many of them I accomplished, what I learned and how I grew from the year’s experiences. When you do this, you want to be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up for things not accomplished or perceived failures. Each new year is an opportunity to forgive yourself, release the things that did not work and start over. I then look to the next year coming and adjust my goals for what I want to accomplish. I spend some time in prayer and meditation seeking the Holy Spirit for guidance in what God’s will is for my life and what I need to do to bring it about.

Do not fear the coming year. You get to participate in how it turns out through the choices you make and how you choose to respond rather than react to the world, people and circumstances around you. Your beliefs determine your thoughts which determine your emotions and actions. Choose wisely and 2017 can be your best year ever!

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Why was there no room at the inn? The story is told over and over again each Christmas, yet we may often miss this important point. The “inn” represents the seething mind, the mind that is involved in the things of the world. Very seldom does this mind-the intellectual mind, the worldy mind, the personal ego mind,- have room for the Christ. This mind is preoccupied with the things of the world. This is the responsibility each of us has to make room in the manger of our life for the Christ.

The shepherds, our thoughts, are “keeping watch over their flock by night.” The angel of the Lord is at hand to announce the coming of the King in our consciousness. Let us walk together motivated, blessed, healed, and enlightened by the Christ light that is born in us today. Let us rejoice with the heavenly host: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.”

Christ is the one light “that enlightens every man.” The Christ is personal, real, and complete within each one of us. Christmas is a personal experience; it is the celebration of the birth of the Christ light within us.

May peace on earth be permanent, complete, eternal. Our greatest gift to others is the recognition of the Christ within ourself and the sharing of the Christ with them. Let us continue to expand our own spiritual consciousness; let us keep ourself immaculate for the conception of Christ within us; let us constantly give birth and expression in our pure virgin mind to a life of nobility, gentleness, purity, simplicity, joy Truth, faith and love. This understanding that we seek to share with all people flows out now into all the world and blesses all mankind with eternal Christmas.

Excerpt from “The Way of The Christ” by Donald Curtis

Merry Christmas
from Joyce at Holistic Healing Consulting

www.holistichealingconsulting.com