Monday, December 27, 2010

Effortless Success

For several years I’ve been feeling Spirit’s push to speak and write publicly, and I’ve resisted, as it scares me to death. A CD I listened to suggested Toastmasters as a place to hone my speaking skills, so I scribbled a note to myself to google them.

Two days later I was at Borders Books and overheard a man talking about Toastmasters. He told me the meeting was the next night. A friend had asked me to go out that night, but something had told me not to go, so I had the night free.

I showed up at the meeting and the first person I met was a man with silver hair and wise, penetrating blue eyes. As I told him the serendipitous story of discovering his meeting, he said, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

That is a phrase my partner Rod and I use all the time. I knew instantly that Spirit had led me to Toastmasters.

A Course in Miracles tells us, “Once you accept His plan as the one function you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort.” (T-20.IV.) I’ve had that on my bathroom mirror for about three years, and have raged at God for not helping me more. “I’m trying to write this book and do what You want, and all I do is hit walls!” I thought my function was to be a writer and speaker, but I was mistaken. Our only function is to forgive the world, to realize that we’re dreaming. Our only function is to accept our true Identity as the one Self. THEN, everything else falls in place.

I had it backward. I started forgiving the belief that there’s a person named Lorri who is separate from God, left alone in this world to fend for herself. I forgave the belief in a book, in a career, and in marketing. Once I became truly committed to the one goal of forgiving everything as an illusion, things started falling in place.

A Course in Miracles says, “I need do nothing.” (T-18.VII.h) When we think we are the doers, then we unconsciously think we’re separate from God. However, when we make every decision with God, things become effortless, serendipitous meetings happen, and life becomes fun.

What are you trying to do on your own? What if you forgive the belief that there’s something you need to do? Can you forgive the belief in effort?

Here’s to an easy life! Love and Light, Lorri Coburn

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Candies

As I walked into my 93-year-old dad’s assisted living apartment, I noticed what appeared to be a smashed chocolate on the floor. “I hope that’s candy and not what I think it is.” As I cleaned it up (I put gloves on first, just in case) I took a whiff. “Oh, no! It’s the inedible brown stuff. How in the world did that get in the middle of the room?”

In the past I would have muttered a few choice words and gotten upset at how far my dad has declined. I would have complained about how life stinks and how much I hate it.

But applying the principles of A Course in Miracles has allowed me to laugh in the face of “crap,” both literally and figuratively. As I practice the mind training of the Workbook, I receive miracles daily. “(The miracle) looks on devastation and reminds the mind that what it sees is false.” (W-p.II.13.1:3)

I thank God for the Course every day, because the pain of this world has always been too great for me to handle. But when I look upon the world as a dream that I made up, I can hold to the love behind the images, and let go of the ugly and painful illusion.

A helpful mantra is, “I am never upset for the reason I think. I’m upset because I see something that is not there.” (W-5.h; W-6.h) The body of my dad, the form, is not real. Only the love that he represents is real. That’s why his body can slowly decay and he and I can both laugh at it. My dad is in touch with his Higher Self often—as I help him wipe his butt he starts giggling. “This is comical! Now you’re my mom and I’m the kid.” I am so grateful that my dad is a witness to the Holy Spirit’s vision of this world.

The Manual for Teachers tells us, The world will end in laughter, because it is a place of tears. Where there is laughter, who can longer weep?” (M-14.5:5-6)

Is there something you’d rather laugh at than cry about? Give it to the Right Mind, the Holy Spirit, to change your perception. You’ll be glad you did.

Blessings, Lorri Coburn

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Go Ahead! Eat Those Christmas Cookies!

Are you one of those people who feels guilty after every bite of a Christmas cookie? Do you already know that one of your New Year’s resolutions will be to lose the ten pounds you gained over Christmas?

What if you could eat all the goodies you like and wouldn’t gain any weight? Recently my friend Carol’s sister visited from out of town. Carol made several batches of cookies and her sister scarfed them all—humungous amounts. When her sister went home, she found that she’d actually lost weight. This is a person who has struggled with her weight and is about 50 pounds overweight. Carol noted that her sister had been eating the cookies with joy, rather than guilt.

A Stanford University study had volunteers eat rich chocolate desserts. They then measured the immune function levels of the participants. Those who ate the desserts with total pleasure and no guilt had a surge in their immune functioning, while those who felt guilty saw their immunity levels decrease.

Your weight and physical health come from your mind, not what you eat. A Course in Miracles states, “At no single instant does the body exist at all.” (T-18.VII.3:1) The body is simply a projection of the mind. A Course in Miracles tells us that guilt is the root of all our problems. Guilt is the thought that makes us think we are bodies and separate from God. Once we let go of guilt, we recognize that we have no problems, because we are perfect, whole and one with God.

Last week I made a batch of turtles, those phenomenal cookies with pretzels, Rolos, and pecans. I ate the whole batch in four days. In the past, my guilt led me to believe that chocolate caused migraines, zits, irritability, and rage outbursts. I’ve learned that those were just false, guilty beliefs, so I didn’t get any of those symptoms.

However, I still felt guilty for eating so much sugar, so the guilt had to manifest somewhere. I stepped on the scale to discover that I had gained seven pounds. I freaked out, then remembered that it was just a false image. I realized it was the guilt finding another tricky avenue to express itself, one that I hadn’t expected since I don’t have weight problems. But the ego voice said, “You’re over 50 now, and you can’t get away with it anymore.”

I decided to be happy and not worry about the weight, knowing it would drop off if I just let go of the guilt. Three days later I stepped on the scale again and the seven pounds were gone.

ACIM tells us, “You think you must obey the ‘laws’ of medicine, of economics and of health. Protect the body, and you will be saved. These are not laws, but madness. The body is endangered by the mind that hurts itself.” (T-W-76.4:3-4; 5:1-2). It goes on to specifically mention the “laws” of nutrition, immunization, and medication. Since this entire world is an illusion, then, too, are all the thoughts we have about physical form.

You are not bound by your thoughts. In fact, your thoughts do not mean anything. (W-10.h) However, you will experience the effects of whatever thought system you choose—the ego’s system of fear and guilt, or the Holy Spirit’s vision of love. If you eat cookies and feel guilty, or if you believe that you have a body that gains weight easily, then you probably will gain weight or get sick. But you can ask the Holy Spirit to help you see things differently. With a loving perspective, you can actually enjoy the food you share with family and friends—without guilt—this Christmas.

So, go ahead and eat those Christmas cookies—just eat them with delight!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah! Love, Lorri Coburn

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stabbing Back

Has anyone ever viciously stabbed you in the back? I seem to have a pattern of betrayal by people who are close to me. Someone I had considered a close friend (I’ll call her Cathy) revealed confidential information about me. She insists she felt guided by the Holy Spirit to do this, while I think she was guided by her ego and it lied to her, pretending to be the Holy Spirit.

The betrayals keep happening, so I still haven’t learned the lesson. What’s the lesson? In my case it feels like I have to stop being so gullible and trust my gut about people who are not what they appear to be.

As A Course in Miracles states, “Trials are but lessons failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before had brought to you (T-31.VIII.3:1).”
If you’ve been betrayed, your lesson may mean something different to you than mine, because egos make the lessons personal. Underneath there’s only one cause of problems: that we see ourselves as separate from God, and hence from each other. And there’s only one lesson: to forgive and see the illusion for what it is.

The ego in me continues to resent this former friend, and then I feel guilty because I’m unloving and not being “spiritual.” What works is to pull back and see the episode from the observer position. I can see that Lorri-ego is mightily angry and calls this woman a “phony, two-faced b----.” I can see Cathy-ego denying her own hatred, projecting it onto me, and calling it love.

Here’s the kicker: both dream figures are equally unreal. There’s no Lorri and there’s no Cathy. There’s no Lorri who feels she got betrayed and there’s no Cathy who thinks she was acting in love. Lorri’s interpretation and Cathy’s interpretation are both ego stories and both are false, because nothing in this world of form is true. This does not mean that Cathy did not actually attack me at this level. It appears she did, but how I respond to it is the key.

The Course says, Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response. That is why analyzing the motives of others is hazardous to you. If you decide that someone is really trying to attack you or desert you or enslave you, you will respond as if he had actually done so, having made his error real to you. Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes (T-12.1:4-7; 3:3-4).
I am Spirit, Cathy is Spirit, and the world of form and matter is an illusion. When I forgive both dream figures, I feel peace. The minute I start thinking of myself as Lorri who was betrayed by Cathy, I feel lousy. If I see Cathy as a dream-figure ego who attacked out of her own fears, then I don’t get upset. Instead I can see it as her call for help.

Seeing us both as Spirit does not mean I’ll share personal information with Cathy again. It doesn’t mean Lorri has to be friends with her. That’s where holding the two levels of earth and heaven is helpful. You take your cues from the situation as it appears here, but also know the higher truth.

If someone has attacked you, can you step back and see it in a new light? There’s no “you” that can truly be attacked, for you are the Self, Spirit, who is just imagining and reviewing the events in this world.

Love and Light, Lorri Coburn

Don't Try to Fix Yourself

Chances are, since you’re reading this, you’ve been on a path of self-improvement. Chances are, too, that you’ve felt great frustration, and judged, blamed, and mentally whipped yourself for not doing better.

Well, there’s good news! You can stop trying to fix yourself. Chapter 18, Section VII, of A Course in Miracles is titled “I Need Do Nothing.” It’s my absolutely favorite section. We are handed the simple ticket to freedom: recognize that you’re not a body/personality/ego that has to improve anything. Know that you are Spirit. Turn your awareness over to the Higher Mind, the Holy Spirit, your Self, to guide you in every single decision.

That’s it. That’s all. In fact, it states that you will gain far more by truly accepting the idea that “I need do nothing,” than would be accomplished with hundreds of years of meditation.

Thank God! I’ve always been lousy at meditation. I used to read Hindu teachers and texts that said we need to meditate for thousands of years to finally gain enlightenment. I felt like totally giving up.

Why do we need do nothing? Because this world is a dream. It was over long ago and we’re just reviewing a journey that’s already done (W-158). This does not mean we literally sit on our behinds, just that we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit on every decision rather than trying to figure it out ourselves. When we’re analyzing or stressing about decisions, we can be sure we’re in ego.

When I was working as a psychotherapist I used hundreds of techniques to fix myself. I tried so hard to fix Lorri and always felt like I was back at square one. Then I started living with my partner Rod, and watched him simply set an intention and trust that it will be done. And it was. What? I was astounded! You mean he didn’t have to do inner child work, or cry and examine his every thought and feeling ad nauseum? He didn’t have to journal or go to workshops?

I decided that non-action could work for me, too, especially since the Course was telling me to go that route. Since I’ve been saying “I need do nothing,” it’s easier to simply watch Lorri being angry, irrational, or moody without judging her. It’s easier to recognize that ego Lorri is not Who I am, and I don’t need to do anything to let my true Self be revealed.

This is not to stay you should stop whatever methods you’re using to heal. But as you’re doing them, recognize that it’s not you, your small self, the ego, that is making the changes. All change is ultimately made through remembering Who we really are, the capital “S” Self, Who needs do nothing.

What problem have you been struggling with? What if you started saying, “I need do nothing except give this problem to the Holy Spirit to heal?”

I’d love to hear of the miracles that happen when you do this. Love and Blessings, Lorri Coburn

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don't Believe What You See

Ninety-one year old “Donna” lay on the floor in her own feces, unsure of where she was and if she’d been on the floor all night. Lately she had been wandering the halls, frantic about where her children were, and asking why they had dropped her off at this strange place (where she’d lived happily for several years).

Donna had been my 93-year-old dad’s constant companion at their assisted living center for the past four years. Recently they moved her into an Alzheimer’s nursing home, breaking both their hearts, as well as those of both families.

When I took my dad to see Donna, she moved toward him with outstretched arms, weeping, just like in the movies. They held each other, crying, and then curled up together in an armchair, unwilling to let go. As my dad noticed the conditions of the nursing home, the wheelchair-bound people hunched over in fetal positions, the aura of death and despair, Donna’s plaintiff cries wondering why she was abandoned there, he lamented, “This place is going to kill her.”

Since I heard the news that Donna was placed in the nursing home, I had gotten migraines, asthma, and a backache for three days. Doing affirmations from A Course in Miracles over and over helped somewhat, but I couldn’t shake the tension. On the fourth morning a friend called me, distraught over her own slide into ego-land. Her MRI had shown increased arthritis in her back, more bulging discs, and she’d missed three days of work because she couldn’t concentrate from the pain.

I asked her if she wanted to hear the answer Spirit popped into my head. “Sure,” she said. “You place pathetic faith in what your eyes and ears report,” (W-151.3:5) I replied. “Those MRI films are literally false images. They are not true. They’re part of the script the ego wrote in the tiny mad idea, and you don’t have to believe them.” She answered, “So there’s no truth to years of degenerative back disease either?” “Nope. You have a choice whether or not to think those lying images are real.”

As soon as I relayed what Spirit gave me, I began to literally breathe easier and I could feel tension dissipate from my back. I relaxed for the first time since I’d gotten the news about Donna. Spirit was telling me that the images of my dad and Donna being separated were not true. Deep down I really understood that “the purpose of the world you see is to obscure your function of forgiveness, and provide you with a justification for forgetting it. It is the temptation to abandon God and His Son by taking on a physical appearance.” (W-64.1:2-3)

These images are so darned painful because their purpose is to make us forget Truth. Donna and my dad are children of God, whole and complete. They are not these mere bodies that suffer and die. I also realized it was up to me to choose forgiveness, which I did. It gave me the miracle of peace and allowed me to hold the truth that this world’s images are false. A Course in Miracles tells us, “The miracle establishes that you dream a dream, and that its content is not true.” (T-28.II.7:1)

A few days later my friend called me back and said when she came home from work that night her husband commented that she seemed a lot better. “Did you guys pray for me at the Course meeting? I felt something because minds are joined.” I told her we had prayed and discussed that our function as miracle workers is to hold the truth and deny false images for those who are temporarily unable to do so for themselves.

It worked with my dad, too. When I called him to ask how he was feeling about Donna, he said, “A lot better. I think she’s handling this with grace and that makes me love her that much more.” The night before she had been able to say, “Bye, Honey. See you later,” without getting upset. My dad took this piece and ignored the rest.

What false images are deceiving your mind and upsetting you? Are you aware that you could see peace instead of this? (W-34.h) When you make the choice for forgiveness, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Blessings, Lorri Coburn

Monday, December 6, 2010

Death is an Illusion

It’s a sight no parent should ever see—her child in a coffin.

Recently I attended the funeral viewing for a 12-year-old little girl. She wore a pink sweater, and, because she had been handicapped, her sweetly crossed, diminutive hands looked like those of a six-year-old.

The child’s mother, “Jill,” was a friend of mine from A Course in Miracles group. I had just run into her two weeks earlier at Whole Foods after not seeing her for several years. We were joyous to see each other and hugged three times. I always related to her because she had lost custody of her children and I had lost custody of my daughter. She had gotten custody back, and it made my day. She was remarried, very happy, and said her spiritual path was her family, dog and horse. She pulled out pictures of her kids, including her step-kids and husband.

Three days later tragedy struck. When I got the email, I cried out, “Oh, Sh--! Oh, My God! Oh, No!” I told my partner Rod that Jill’s daughter had died in a freak accident and he said, “Look at you! You’re going right into the illusion.” That may sound harsh, but it was the best thing I could have heard.

This past year I have been diligently following the Course’s dictum that my only function is forgiveness (W-62-66), which in Course terms means that this world is not real and I have to forgive myself for believing in it if I want to be enlightened. I have been applying the thought, “Nothing I see means anything,” which is the very first workbook lesson, to everything, including the things that are dear to me.

Before Jill's daughter died, I had told Rod that one of the major things that still grabs me and pulls me into believing the dream is the death of loved ones, especially when a mother loses her child. I knew I was faced with a decision for the Right Mind, the Holy Spirit’s loving view of this world, or the wrong mind, the ego’s enchantment with death and despair. I was determined to discipline the mind and choose Truth instead of illusion. I firmly held the idea that Jill is not a mother who has lost her child, but the Self who cannot be hurt and has never separated from God. Her daughter is not a child who died tragically, but the Self, safe in the arms of God. There is no death. The Son of God is free. (W-163.h)

A Course in Miracles tells us, “Do not side with sickness (death) in the presence of a Son of God even if he believes in it, for your acceptance of God in him acknowledges the Love of God he has forgotten. Your recognition of him as part of God reminds him of the truth about himself, which he is denying.” (T-10.III.3:4-5) The best way I can help Jill is to keep my mind clear about Who she is, not to see her as “poor Jill.” This does not mean to deny or minimize her devastating grief, rather to know that Who she really is goes beyond that.

I used to fear that if I held the Truth and stopped crying and engaging in the illusion that I’d be callous. I had prided myself on being a good psychotherapist, who could empathize with anyone. Today I choose to compassionately approach situations with the Course’s answer: (Forgiveness) looks on them with quiet eyes and merely says to them, “My brother, what you think is not the truth.” (W-134.7:5)

My psychotherapy training would say, “But she has to wail and grieve and take several years before she gets over this, and, really, she’ll never get over it!” However, Jill can choose with the Holy Spirit and change her mind NOW. Yes, as long as she has a false identity, that she’s an individual separate from God, that she is a mother who has lost her child, she will grieve intensely. And the body may need to heave and cry to release the shock. But when Jill accepts that she is whole and cannot possibly be separated from her child or from God, she will be at peace. And that choice is available to her at every moment—she does not have to grieve several years before she obtains it.

Are you identifying yourself as someone who has lost a loved one and is separate from him/her? Who are YOU, really? Are you the one Self, or a frightened, individual, alone in this painful world? I invite you to choose the Truth of Who you really are.

Blessings, Lorri Coburn

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An Economic Miracle

What if multiple sources of clean, free energy were discovered today? Do we realize what that would do to the world economy? How it would foster equality, peace and justice?

We hear that our economic recovery will be a long, hard road. But does it have to be? What if a miracle were to take place and clean energy were to transform the world?

Two years ago we witnessed a miracle in the election of not only a black man, but a man of high consciousness, a truly honest politician, as president. And this only 43 years since he would have been arrested had he tried to vote in Selma, Alabama.

We have seen other miracles as well. Who would have thought the Berlin Wall would have come down, or that the Internet would change the entire structure of the world, creating whole new categories of jobs and possibilities? Time seems to be speeding up as our consciousness evolves. This is because with higher consciousness we increase our ability to rapidly manifest that which we hold in light, as well as the dark things that we focus on. A Course in Miracles states that time isn’t real, that time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which figures come and go as if by magic (W-p.I.158.4:1). Jesus also says, “When you perform a miracle, I will arrange time and space to adjust to it.” (T-2.V.A.11:3)

Therefore, let us create the miracles of peace, economic justice, and a clean planet. What we can imagine has already happened, since physics proves that all events are occurring simultaneously. It’s up to us to shift our consciousness to love, which is what makes the miracles appear.

Will you join me in surrounding our President, our planet, the world economic situation, and all beings in Love and Light? As ACIM says, “Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outward picture of an inward condition. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.” (

The world and all physical form will pass away, and Love, which is the only thing that’s real, is all that will remain. Let Love be all that we see reflected in our world now.

Love and Light, Lorri Coburn

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Spiritual Trap

I fell into a spiritual trap recently—for the hundredth time. In my quest for enlightenment, I somehow got the idea that I have to be perfect. Perfectly non-judgmental, always forgiving, and never showing a trace of anger, fear or sadness. After all, we spiritual seekers know this world is an illusion, and if we’re reacting to it we’re not awake.

But, as usual, I had it all backwards. An old friend of mine recently viciously betrayed me with severe consequences at this earthly level. Doing forgiveness work has tremendously decreased my reactivity and allowed me to awaken some more. I didn’t fall into hating him, and I moved through the trauma relatively quickly, while in the past I would have ended up on antidepressants.

However, the trap I fell into was judging myself for grieving. I shut off the tears and intellectualized my feelings. “I know on the soul level he loves me and did this to help me with enlightenment. We’re still together in truth, on the soul level, so it’s all ok. I shouldn’t be feeling this way because I’m just buying into the dream, the story, the illusion.”

Yes, the truth is that it’s already healed because it never really happened, since this life’s a dream. This betrayal is just a passing story and we love each other deeply. Most of the time I do feel this peace. Most of the time I get it. But at other times it just plain hurts like hell. I miss my friend, feel grief-stricken that he hates me, and get afraid that I have to wait until after death to reunite and heal this situation.

How harshly we judge ourselves for having human emotions! I finally climbed out of the trap by crying and letting the tears be there without comment. There are so many references in A Course in Miracles that indicate that when we are sad, afraid or angry that we are mistaken and caught in the dream. This can feel like we are denied permission to have emotions, and then we heap guilt upon ourselves for having them.

We need to forgive ourselves for still having feelings, because only by accepting and loving ourselves as we are do we get to the other side where there is no sorrow. We will never get to truth by condemning ourselves for how we feel or for how long it’s taking to get over our issues. Our Self, with a capital “S,” loves our small ego self without judgment, and by receiving this love, we remember our Self.

Where are you judging your feelings, saying, “I shouldn’t feel this way.”? What issue do you get mad at yourself for still having? Can you just forgive and love yourself for where you’re at?

--Course students, if you know of any verses that seem to give us permission to feel, would you pass them on to me? The Course speaks often of non-duality, the pure Truth level where there’s only joy, peace and love. Thus, it can seem like we’re being chided for feeling bad. That’s not the intent of the Course, but the ego loves to use Truth to bash us when we’re down.

Love and Light, Lorri Coburn

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Forgiveness is a Choice

Eva Kor was the tender age of ten when she was marched into a cattle car along with her family and thrown into a Nazi concentration camp. Because she was a twin, she was of particular interest to Dr. Mengele, the infamous “angel of death.” She and her twin sister were subjected to medical experiments, stripped and left naked for hours, given injections of harmful substances, probed and measured. Almost three thousand twin children died as a result of the abuse, but Eva and her sister, along with 200 other children, were rescued by the Soviet army at the end of the war.

Following her sister’s death in 1993, Eva felt compelled to understand what had become of the other children in the camp with her. She was led to Dr. Hans Munch, who had been an experimental doctor in Auschwitz. She was surprised to find that he felt deep remorse for what he’d done, and she came to forgive him. This led to an arduous, soul-searching decision to also forgive Dr. Mengele.

I heard a profoundly moving interview with Eva, in which she stated that she realized that only she could set herself free from her tormented memories. And, the only way she could set herself free was by making a choice to forgive. This did not mean that she approved of what Dr. Mengele did, rather that she chose to let it go and go on with her life. She states that an incredible burden was lifted from her.

Today Eva Kor teaches forgiveness worldwide, and has inspired countless people. She is the founder of a Holocaust museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, which was set on fire by a hate monger in 2003. She has also received a great deal of criticism from people who claim she is letting Nazis off the hook. Isn’t it interesting that the ego would condemn Eva for choosing love?

Forgiveness is the central teaching in A Course in Miracles. The Course tells us that “forgiveness is the key to happiness and offers everything I want.” (W-121.h, 122.h)

If Eva can forgive someone like Dr. Mengele, then we can forgive our attackers. But how in the world do we do that when we’re filled with hatred or anger? How can it be as simple as a choice? This is where the Course helps us out, reminding us that “God is the love in which I forgive, and God is the strength in which I trust.” (W-46.h, 47.h) There is no way we can do this on our own. Our part is to make the decision to forgive, then turn it over to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. If we hold the intention, it will be done.

How long will you take to make the decision that will set you free? How about now?

Holding you in Love and Light and seeing you free, Lorri Coburn

There is a documentary film about Eva’s life and here is a link to a PBS report and video clip of her.