Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book: The Universe is a Dream

I just wrote a review of a most amazing graphic book, The Universe is a Dream, by Alexander Marchand. Alexander uses comics to illustrate the complex thought system of A Course in Miracles in a simple, yet compelling manner. He even makes physics concepts understandable. If you are new to A Course in Miracles, it would be extremely helpful to read this book before you tackle the Course itself.

You can check out Alexander's book and the review here:


Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Course in Miracles on Health and Nutrition

Here is an article I wrote for CoSozo magazine, Christine Andrew's wonderful publication on alternative wellness. It outlines how A Course in Miracles views health, wellness, and nutritional supplements.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Basic Principles of ACIM: The Wizard of Oz

The following is an excerpt from my book Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free. It is currently being published and will be available soon.

The central teaching of A Course in Miracles is that we are home with God right now, asleep to our true nature and dreaming about life on earth. We are like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, dreaming a horrific nightmare that we are lost and cant find our way home. Like Dorothy, we long for home, also called heaven (or Kansas). Even though Dorothy thinks Oz is a beautiful place, she keeps trying to find her way home. When Dorothy awakens, she finds she is indeed at home with her loved ones. Moment to moment we have the opportunity to click our heels and go home, to choose between love and fear, between the truth that we are still with God or the illusion that we have separated from Him. The Course refers to this as the choice between the egos way of thinking and the Holy Spirits view of the world.
This world, since it is filled with fear, is an illusion, as God creates only love. All problems arise from one error, the mistaken belief that we are separated and alone and that God has abandoned us. This false belief appears to cut us off from our Source, much like a kink in a water hose prevents the source of water from flowing to its destination. We are unable to receive Gods love when there are kinks in our thinking. Forgiveness is the primary tool that opens us to the flow of love and peace. Forgiveness is stressed over and over in ACIM as the main way we find our way back home.
A Course in Miracles states that God is pure Love, and as Love would never create hell or punish his beloved children. Because this earth is a dream, and dream occurrences arent real, no one has ever sinned. However, in the illusion we see ourselves as flawed individuals, guilty of numerous sins. We think ugly thoughts and do ugly things. But that comes from our false self, the ego, and therefore it is not real. The ultimate truth is that only God and Love, which are the same thing, exist. Love is actually another name for God.
We are taught in the Bible that mans sin keeps him from God, so God had to send Jesus to die in atonement. However, ACIM says that Jesus did not die as a sacrificial atonement for mans sins, because God was never angry with us to begin with. Since we have never separated from God, there is no sin to be atoned for. Its all our bad dream. Jesus willingly chose to be crucified to teach us that the body and death are not real. He did not suffer on the cross because He knew He wasnt his body, and his mind was solely identified with God.

Endless Goals

Have you spent years trying to improve your life, only to end up frustrated? I’ve heard many people say, “Oh, no! Not that same issue again! It always seems to come back to my mother, or that trauma I had as a child!” Why do I keep having trouble with money, my job, or my weight?

When I was working as a psychotherapist I had the expectation that at some point, all childhood-related  issues would feel resolved. We’d be fully formed adults with no more problems. But the opposite seemed to happen--the proverbial layers of the onion never ended. It was as if the onion was a universe within a universe within a universe.

Why is it that we keep going round and round and round? A Course in Miracles gives us the answer, stating that the nature of the ego is to feed us endless lists of goals and tasks. Once one goal is accomplished, we are on to the next one, ad infinitum. We are satisfied momentarily, only to be frustrated the next.

A Course in Miracles tells us, “Although you are one Self, you experience yourself as two...Until you have accepted this, you will attempt an endless list of goals you cannot reach.” (Workbook, p. 169)

The ego wants us to stay unaware of our true Self, for in our recognition of the one Self comes the death of the ego. We are not our ego selves, the small selves preoccupied with problems and barriers. We are the Self, peaceful and joyous. This Self is productive without thinking, loving without judging, alive and free without trying. But we’ve forgotten What we are, thanks to the ego’s distractions. When we get quiet and calm down our thoughts, our forgotten Self surfaces on its own. It’s there all along, but we are too busy solving problems to be aware of it.

Once we understand that it is the nature of the ego to fool us into forgetting our Self, we can let the ego go rather than follow a road that never ends. Simply watch the ego shenanigans at work, and make a decision to not buy into them. The ego dissipates when we do not feed it.

When we let go of the ego, our issues resolve effortlessly. We complete projects more easily, without effort and strain. Problems drop away. We get more done with less stress. It’s the mystical, magical nature of our True Identity, which delights us continuously with its prowess.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Course in Miracles Perspective on the Arizona Shooting

The recent event in Arizona, in which a gunman shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others, jolts us to the core. When tragedy strikes, we need an explanation to stem our horrific grief, so we turn to religion and philosophy to understand man’s inhumanity to man.

Here is how A Course in Miracles explains such heinous crimes.

We were created as part of God, and we are still at home in God, but dreaming a nightmare of life on earth. A Course in Miracles states, “You are at home, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality.” (Text, p. 182) Here on earth we feel separated from God—scared, angry, filled with loss and grief, always waiting for death’s ax to fall. There is only One of us, but because we feel separate we see more than six billion separate bodies.

To wake up from our dream of death, we need to remember our true Identity as the one Self, extended from God. We do that by forgiving the gut-wrenching tragedies that we see on earth, as well as by forgiving all appearances. All forms, those that seem good, and those that seem bad, are part of one big illusion.

In the instant that we thought we could be separate from God, time and space appeared. In that instant, all possible scenarios occurred, all universes, all potentialities, all individual bodies and lives. Physics shows us that time and space are relative and have no independent existence without an observer. We are that observer, making worlds and bodies pop in and out of existence. We are mind/spirit and everything is happening in our mind. Our mind is like a film projector, projecting images of a scary and painful world.

In the thought of separation, a person named Gabrielle Giffords was dreamed up, as were all possible persons. The scenario in which the person called Gabrielle Giffords was shot was also dreamed up. This is called the ego’s thought system, the wrong mind.

God’s counterpart to the ego thought system is the right-minded thought system of the Holy Spirit. It looks on this world with compassion, knowing it is simply an illusion. It looks on time and events as a trick, as an unreal movie being projected from a frightened mind. It reminds us gently that we are safe in the arms of God and need not fear the images of the world. A Course in Miracles tells us, “The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved.” (Workbook, p. 141)

The Holy Spirit teaches us to forgive ourselves for believing in separation. In doing so, we access the part of our mind that is still connected to God. As we do this, we see that the spirit of Gabrielle Giffords cannot die, cannot be hurt, nor can there be other separate people who can be killed. We start to see Gabrielle Giffords as a part of our own mind. We start seeing with the mind of God and see only Spirit, not bodies.

This is just a thumbnail sketch of something that A Course in Miracles takes 1300 pages to teach us. In the past, events such as happened in Arizona left me suicidal and in abject despair. It may sound crazy at first, but when you practice the workbook lessons of A Course in Miracles, you attain a peace not of this world. I have experienced it, as have many of my fellow Course students. We are meant to be joyous and free, not shackled by the chains of an illusion we invented.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Basic Principles of ACIM: There Is No Death

The following is an excerpt from my book, Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free. It will be available in the next few months, as it is under publication.

“There is no death!  What seems so is transition.
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call ‘Death.’”

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end?  Without the idea of death there is no world. 
All dreams will end with this one.  (M-27.1: 1-2; 6: 3-4)

It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes. Certainly war provokes terror, and fear of death and bodily destruction are at their peak. Soldiers pray for safety and loved ones at home pray for their safe return. Impending death brings to many panic and a sense of aloneness. However, we can connect with a power of love greater than us, which allows us to find our way to peace. Feeling this connection has brought peace to many in the midst of war. There is a sense of gentle calm that things are ok no matter what happens.

One of my clients, John, found peace during the Vietnam War by carrying the Prayer of St. Joseph with him. He carries it with him to this day, grateful for how it helped him. John describes an intriguing incident when his buddy Dan was severely wounded by shrapnel in his leg. Dan went into shock and asked John if the bees were still around. John, puzzled, said, “Bees, what bees?’  “The bees that stung my leg,” Dan replied. John was awed by the power of the mind to trick itself, and feels it saved Dan’s life. John believes a lot of soldiers died of blood loss, for in their terror upon seeing their wounds, blood rushed to the wounded area. Dan’s body, however, believing it had bee stings instead of gaping holes, did not send massive amounts of blood to the area. As John was reading The Disappearance of the Universe he kept recalling Dan’s illusory bee stings. Therefore, the idea that we make all the events in our own dream made sense to him.

Whether the problem is war, as in John and Dan’s case, or something seemingly less serious, the answer is the same. When we remember our oneness with God, the problem will no longer be a problem. When we remember it is a dream, we can no longer be upset with it. The more we remember that we are at home in Heaven now, the more we will experience serenity.

Copyright, 2011, Lorri Coburn