Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Proof of Heaven: A Book Review

Proof of Heaven—do not let the title fool you that this is a Christian tome about streets of gold and pearly gates. Eben Alexander, M.D., a well-respected neurosurgeon, saw many medical cases in which patients claimed to have seen deceased loved ones or heaven. He dismissed them all as chemical processes in the brain—until he had his own near-death experience while in a seven-day coma. Alexander states that while in his coma his neo-cortex was non-functional. The only thing keeping his body alive was his brain stem.

Alexander says he was a Christmas and Easter church-goer, and thought ideas of God were pleasant fantasies. In his coma, however, Alexander experienced angelic beings, and sounds and sights more beautiful than anything on earth. He gives a list of scientific explanations that he used to cite as reasons for these “delusions,” and refutes most of them because his neo-cortex was not functional and it’s the neo-cortex that processes such experiences. He also refutes other scientific versions in an appendix, with medical language that only a physician would understand.

Alexander was in a coma induced by bacterial meningitis, and his recovery was a medical miracle in itself. He should have died and his story alternates chapters between his medical condition that worsened day-by-day, and his concurrent experiences in the other realm.

While on the “other side,” which Alexander states is really a dimension that is right here, he had a female guide who took him on a tour of the universe. He’d always had a fascination with flying, astronomy and physics, and found that while out of body he gained instantaneous knowledge and understanding of how the universe works that would take him years to learn here.  He reports that he did not see any loved ones in the other dimension and had no personal identity as a neurosurgeon who had an earthly family to which he wanted to return. He feels his lack of a sense of personal self allowed him to go deeper into the experience than most others who have near-death experiences. While he thought he had not seen any loved ones, once out of his coma he was given a picture of his birth sister, whom he’d never met because he was adopted and she had died. He was shocked to find that she was the angelic guide who gave him the tour of the universe.  

Alexander states that our physical existence on earth is like a speck of dust compared to the vast reality of love beyond space and time. The reason we do not recognize true reality is that the brain filters it out of our consciousness. While Alexander used to think that consciousness was solely of the brain, he now knows that the brain has nothing to do with consciousness and our sense of existence goes on beyond the body. Again, he knows this because his neo-cortex, which allows for the organization of personal life information, was not functioning. He now feels that our society, while it has benefitted from technology, needs to regain its lost sense of the mystical. Without knowledge of our oneness with each other and all life, we are prone to random violence, escalating greed, global pollution and lack of purpose and meaning.

Alexander states his scientific mind never allowed him to believe a loving God exists. In fact, he calls the God he experienced “Om,” a feminine presence whose message is that love is all there is. “Om” felt like the primordial creative sound that pulses throughout the universe. This presence is available to everyone and has nothing to do with accepting religious tenets or being a good person. The main messages Alexander received were: all of us are loved and cherished; there is nothing to fear; we can never do anything wrong.

I have read a number of near-death accounts and what I like about Alexander’s is that his description of life beyond the body most closely resembles what is taught in A Course in Miracles (ACIM). ACIM is the only spiritual path that satisfactorily answered my questions about world suffering. Some of the areas in which Proof of Heaven sounds like it’s right from ACIM are:

Ø      The brain does not really think. It filters bits and pieces of information and formulates a story. This is what it decides is reality, all the while true reality lies outside its awareness. Our daily experiences are an illusion. However, love is the true reality and the love we have for our children, spouses, friends, pets, etc. never dies.

Ø      Time does not exist in reality. Time and space are only a function of the dualistic nature in the physical universe.

Ø      We are loved, innocent and there is nothing to fear.

Ø      We must choose love instead of fear because we are allowed to choose what we will experience.

Ø      The false belief in separation from God is the source of all anxiety and problems and the solution for every problem is recognizing that we are one with each other and God.

Ø      Physicality is characterized by defensiveness. There is no loss in Spirit, therefore nothing to defend.

Ø      Alexander described life as being like an egg and the creative aspect of God is the shell around the egg’s contents. However, he felt that while his consciousness was identified with all that is, he could never fully become one with Source. A Course in Miracles  likewise indicates that God is beyond consciousness.  

Proof of Heaven is both enlightening and entertaining and it is a must-read for anyone interested in life beyond the body. It is especially helpful for skeptics with a scientific bent, as it answers commonly-held criticisms scientists hold about consciousness and God.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Connecticut School Shooting and ACIM

My heart clutched with horror and grief when I heard about the Connecticut school shooting. I ached for the parents who lost their children, but, unable to tolerate that level of pain, I immediately surged forth with rage at political and societal factors I believed caused this tragic incident. I had plans to attend a Christmas gathering the next day and many of the attendees were of a different political persuasion than me. I found myself attacking them in my head. I hope one of your kids gets killed. Then maybe you won’t be so smug in your beliefs.

Appalled, I saw in myself the murderous thought system that A Course in Miracles says abides in all of us. I was no different than the shooter or the people I blamed for their “wrong” beliefs. Rage, boiling from within me, led me to wish death on loved ones! My rage was not caused by what appeared to happen in Connecticut. My rage was not caused by other people’s political agendas. My rage is my own, and I am the one who has to take responsibility for it.

A Course in Miracles tells us to pray to see things differently, so I did. The first words I heard were, “Lorri, there is no world! There is no world! There is no world! (W-132.6:2) (The miracle) looks on devastation and reminds the mind that what it sees is false.” (W-p.II.13.1:3) This calmed me down. Emotions are an ego device, designed to make the world seem real. They work well, for how can the world not be real when it feels so intense? The ego voice argued with the Holy Spirit. But if I don’t feel for the parents, if I don’t take political action to stop escalating gun violence, aren’t I being callous and complacent?

The Holy Spirit reminded me that action in the world, if we are guided to take such action, must be taken from a standpoint of love, not rage. Rage is a cover for fear and fear always stems from the ego thought system. My desire to point out my friends’ political insanity was clearly not coming from love. Our task as students of A Course in Miracles is to choose love over fear consistently. We have to choose Truth over illusion and not waver, because the second we believe in the false world we perceive, we’re in hell. Forgiveness is not callously denying the pain a brother thinks he is experiencing—it’s a blessing of sanity on an insane world. “(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)

A Course in Miracles says there is no cause for the Connecticut shooting, because it is a dream of death being projected from our sick minds. A dream is an illusion. ACIM says the entire world is in our minds. It’s not out there! The only way violence, disease, poverty and injustice are going to stop is by healing our minds, for the mind is the source of the belief in separation. We have invented a world of chaos, murder and suffering because we think we’re separate from God. We think we’re shameful and guilty, but because facing that shame is unbearable, we project it onto others. “Do not forget, however, to deny God will inevitably result in projection, and you will believe that others and not yourself have done this to you.” (T-10.V.2:1)

When we remember God, we know we are the holy Son of God who cannot suffer. I thought I had faced my belief in separation, but there were deeper levels I was still defended against. My rage at the shooting was evidence that I continued to believe I was a body, vulnerable and capable of being attacked. The random shootings in public places left me frightened and feeling bereft without God in this terrible, cruel world. As the Course says, “The world provides no safety. It is rooted in attack.” (W-153.1:2-3) Our only safety is in our relationship with God. Our only peace is in not returning attack for attack, but choosing to forgive. Then we will wake up from our nightmare and be restored to our oneness with each other and God.

As I forgave those who held different opinions, forgave myself, and forgave the entire Connecticut tragedy, the sense of separation lifted. As I continued to pray for guidance and healed perception, I was reminded that the body’s eyes see only the past. (Lesson 7) What appears to be happening in the world is over and done. Every single person that appeared to be killed or peripherally hurt in the Connecticut tragedy is an eternal, holy Child of God. If you want to give a true gift to them, pray in a manner such as: “I see the Christ in You. You are a holy Child of God. You cannot suffer. You are as God created You. You are safe at home in Heaven now.”

This is the Truth of their Being, and of your own. To join in suffering perpetuates the illusion, but to join in Truth is to make whole.

Merry Christ-mass! May the Christ Self be born in your awareness this season.

Love, Lorri

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Physical Healing with A Course in Miracles


Here is an hour radio episode in which I discuss physical healing with A Course in Miracles. I read from the book Gorgeous for God, by Lisa Natoli, an ACIM teacher who has had a positive influence on my spiritual growth. Her website is www.teachersofgod.org.

We discuss how healing occurs when we release the concept of linear time and move into the NOW. In the present moment you are spirit and you cannot be sick. When you learn to identify with your true identity as spirit, you shift dimensions and move outside of time and space. Miracles happen and you know that you are healed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Handling Health & Money Problems

Dear Miracle Musings Readers,

Here is a common question from the “Ask Lorri” section of my website, www.lorricoburn.com. Thought I’d pass it on, since so many of us struggle with health and money issues.

Hello, Lorri, Thanks for your mind-opening response to my questions. I have a couple more if you don't mind. The world is an illusion so how does one handle debts, poor health, etc.? We must still find a way to meet our earthly obligations in some way. How does one do this if there is no money to handle day to day living? I ponder things like this and hope you and your experience in acim can shed some light on these matters. Thank you. PS:  Just starting to read your book Breaking Free.  Herman

Hi, Herman,

Your question about handling earthly bills and poor health is a common one. A Course in Miracles tells us our only function is forgiveness, and we have to forgive the belief in death. All forms of lack stem from the belief in death. “Death is the central idea from which all illusions stem.”(Manual for Teachers, #27) “Death is a thought that takes on many forms, often unrecognized. It may appear as sadness, fear, anxiety or doubt; as anger, faithlessness and lack of trust; concern for bodies, envy, and all forms in which the wish to be as you are not may come to tempt you.” (Lesson 163) 

We have forgotten that we’re the holy Son of God who cannot possibly die. We have become afraid and projected an illusion in which we appear as bodies that can die. We think we can get sick, lose our homes, lose our loved ones, etc. However, when we forgive our illusions, miracles occur. We are guided by the Holy Spirit to do whatever it takes to pay our bills, protect our health, etc. “The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific.” (Ch. 11, Sec. VII) This may not look like the ego expects. We may not get as much money as we want or our health may not improve as fast as we want. But we can be sure that if we’re asking for help to forgive, we will get what we need to awaken. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to use our illusions to help us return our minds to God. We are already home with God, but we don’t know it. If we knew it, we wouldn’t have a care in the world.

Most of us put the cart before the horse. We want to get enough money, improve our health, or improve our relationships, and then we’ll trust God. When we turn that around and decide to forgive first, everything falls in place. A Course in Miracles is continually re-minding us that the only way out of our problems is forgiveness. We made the problems up, so we can’t fix them. Plus, they’re not real, so our attempts to fix them are keeping us stuck in the illusion. When we choose forgiveness, over and over and over, we discover the happiness we were looking for in perfect health or wealth.

A practical way to approach your bills and health is to pray, “Holy Spirit, help me to forgive my illusions. Help me to see things differently. Help me to release the beliefs in lack and separation from my Source.” The workbook lessons systematically train your mind to forgive. Forgiveness, when it becomes a habit, is the key to happiness (Lesson 121).

Thanks for reading Breaking Free. I’m sure it will help you understand what ACIM teaches.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Am I Making the World Up?

Here is a question that came from the “Ask Lorri” page of my website, www.lorricoburn.com

Hi, Lorri - My question is about the world around me. Is it a group illusion or is it completely something that I have made up? What I am most concerned about is other people. I am fairly new to the Course, but not all the concepts it teaches. Is the Course saying that everything is in my head, including other people? For example did I make you up? Did I make up my wife? Or, is ACIM simply saying my perception is falsely colored by my illusory experience and I am not seeing others as they really are? The rub I have is that if I am indeed making this all up I am doing a poor job of it, yet at the same time am pretty creative as I have written every screen play and painted every piece of art within the confines of my head. As you can see, I am a little confused. Thanks!

Hi, Ryan, Thanks for writing. This is a great question, and I can tell you have some background in metaphysical concepts.

You ask, “Is everything in my head and did I make you up and did I make up my wife?” Yes. You are also making up the body/personality construct called “Ryan,” with which you are temporarily identified. In the Oneness, there are no bodies and there is no physical form at all. Once there is form, there is two-ness, not oneness. There are two things, a subject and an object. So in ultimate Truth, there is only Love/God/Oneness/Mind, whatever label you want to give It.

Since Love/God/Oneness/Mind is All There Is, We are It. When Jesus said in the Bible, “I and the Father are One,” this is what he meant. He says it in A Course in Miracles more directly and more often, because now we are ready to hear it. Two thousand years ago they crucified him for telling the Truth, but now more and more of us are awakening to our true Identity as the Christ.

The Workbook lessons of the Course train your mind to accept this Identity. There are a number of them that speak directly to this, and most speak indirectly of it. For example, Lesson 191: I am the Holy Son of God Himself; Lesson 252: The Son of God is my Identity; Lesson 96: Salvation Comes from my One Self; and I Am as God Created Me, which is Lessons 94, 110, and 162. It is the only Workbook lesson that is repeated. It then is repeated in the reviews, so it is mentioned 144 times in the Course. “I Am as God Created Me” means you are the Christ. You are the Self, capital “S.”

Your identity as Ryan is a false projection from the mind. You are the Mind of God, but have chosen to project the idea of yourself into an illusory world and an illusory body. There is nothing outside of your Mind. When you do the Workbook lessons, and when you forgive every single thing, this Truth starts dawning on you. At first you get glimpses, then it becomes more consistent, until finally your True Identity becomes a permanent state in your awareness.

Your other question: Is ACIM simply saying my perception is falsely colored by my illusory experience and I am not seeing others as they really are?

ACIM is saying there is no world, period. This is the central thought the course attempts to teach. (Lesson 132). However, this is quite scary to the ego, so until our minds are ready to accept this we are led gently down the path of the right-minded perception of the world. This perception shows a world forgiven, innocent and illusory. We are aware that we are dreaming it all up. In this awareness, we see beyond bodies to the one Christ Self in each of us. There is one ego dream, and one Christ Self. The Course trains us to see all the apparent fragments as One. If you see someone as a body, you are not seeing him as he truly is. He is the Christ. In Lesson 158 we are told that Christ vision has one law—it sees no one as a body.

The idea that your perception is falsely colored by your illusory experience is partially correct, but A Course in Miracles takes that concept all the way. Not one single thing in form is true. There is no ego thought system. That is just a concept to help us understand. There is no dream. That is another concept. There is no individual self. Again, the only thing that’s real is God/Love/Mind/Oneness.

However, this is not death or nihilism, as the ego would define it. When we let go of the individual self, we move into a Love so grand and beautiful that we can’t describe it here. We are giving up nothing (the small self) for everything. We are not losing anything. You, your wife, and all your loved ones are thoughts in the Mind of God. They are thoughts of Love, and they are never lost. You are never lost. You are eternal Spirit, forever connected to the All.

It’s as if there’s a big pie, and the small self is one piece. You are exchanging your single piece for the whole pie. 

Your other question: Is it a group illusion?

Yes. There is one ego thought system as a whole. The ego does a poor job of everything. You personally are not making up the ego script, as that was a false idea that made up the dream world. It was over long ago, but in reality never happened. Part of the ego script is a dream figure called Ryan. If Ryan stays blind and doesn’t choose love or the Holy Spirit, Ryan is a robot. He is a puppet in the dream. Once Ryan asks for a new perception, asks the Holy Spirit to replace fear with love, Ryan is free. This is where Ryan slowly gains an understanding that he is the Christ, not a body.

Your responsibility is to choose Truth, to choose the Holy Spirit over the ego, or to choose love over fear. Only you can do this, and each seeming individual person has to do this for himself. Once he chooses rightly, he sees there never was a choice, because his mind has returned to choiceless Oneness. But until that time, it appears there is a choice, and it is one that has to be made if we are to awaken. We will not awaken if we try to make the world of form real, while simply saying bodies are unreal. Many people want to make the cosmos real, while stating we are spiritual beings within the universe. The Course tells us we are spiritual beings that are home with God, not in a universe of form. Part of awakening is realizing you’re not here. You are not in time and space because time and space are the ego thought system.
The Course says it’s all or nothing. You cannot keep one piece of it falsely, because you see either Truth or illusion. The two thought systems are completely incompatible. If you’re holding onto any bit of illusion, you’re in ego.

There is one answer to the ego’s thought system, which is the Holy Spirit’s right-minded perception, which is that the entire ego/world of form is unreal. The One Son of God appeared to fragment into billions of sons. There is only One Son, therefore it is a group illusion. At the same time, your particular identity as Ryan has to make the choice to return to your True Identity. As you become aware that you are not separate from anyone or anything, you will see that every person/thing is yourself. Lesson 60, which is a review of Lesson 48, “There is nothing to Fear,” states, “How safe the world will look to me when I can see it. It will not look anything like what I imagine I see now. Everyone and everything will lean toward me to bless me. I will recognize in everyone my dearest Friend.” Note that this verse says, “when I can see it.” We do not see truly with the body’s eyes. The body can only see other bodies and the world of illusion. Christ vision, which is outside time and space, sees Oneness. “Friend” is capitalized because it refers to the one Christ Self. When you wake up, you will see that everyone and everything is the Christ/God/Love/Mind. There is nothing else. When you see this, you will stop attacking and judging “other people,” because there are no other people. It is a beautiful experience. 

Everyone needs to ask the Holy Spirit for his own guidance. There are many different teachers of the Course, and there are different interpretations. For you, the perfect one is your own inner voice. What outside teachers say needs to be weighed against your inner guidance. A Course in Miracles tells us the curriculum is highly individualized, so the specific teachings and tools you need to get back home will be provided for you. In that light, take what I say if it works for you, or leave it if it doesn’t.

I hope this helps. You may need to read and re-read it. That’s what I did with the teachings I received from David Hoffmeister, www.teacherofteachers.net. I got confused often, then the light came on.

Let me know if you need further clarification.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Does the Holy Spirit Act in the World?

Question about ACIM: Hi Lorri, In Acim it is said that God did not create this world and God does not even know about this world and that Holy Spirit does not operate within this dream to help us improve it. How then can those miracles be explained which occur when \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"normal\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" religious people (not students of acim) pray for something and really unbelievable things occur as a result when God has answered their prayers. And in Bible it is also said that we must pray and ask if we want to get something. If God does not know about this world how are these then to explain? They could not come from our mind because we do could not even imagine beforehand what might happen.


Dear Soile,

Thanks for writing. You mention that in ACIM it says God does not know of this world and the Holy Spirit does not operate in the world. There are passages in ACIM that could be interpreted this way, but there are many passages that suggest that God does know of this world and the Holy Spirit does take action in the world.

There are different schools of thought about the interpretation of ACIM. The school of thought noted in your question could be called “pure non-duality.” It can be understood most simply by the idea “God is, and nothing else exists.” God is Oneness, and in Oneness there can be no other thing. For God to know of anything outside Itself, there would have to be two things. This would then be duality, rather than non-duality.

There is another school of thought called “qualified non-duality.” This idea suggests God is in everything, and everything is interconnected, therefore it is all One. It’s all one energy or substance, and we are one with each other. We just appear separate. This thought system believes that God is in form, while the pure non-duality system cites the passage, “God knows not form.” (T-30.III.4:5)

Duality is the idea that people are on earth and God is somewhere out there, separated from us. Duality is the condition of opposite states, such as light and dark, male and female, heaven and hell.

A Course in Miracles is written on all three levels, so whatever a person believes about God, he can find an answer in the Course. Often when we start studying the Course we believe we are individuals, separated from God, and we pray to God/Goddess for help. As we progress on our spiritual journey, we come to understand God is within us, and we are part of God. We no longer pray to someone out there, but we access God within. Further along in our understanding, many people grasp the concept that there is nothing but God, and we are It. This is an abstract concept that usually only comes when we have sufficiently cleared away ego blocks to its awareness. At this point we realize the ego, bodies, and the physical world do not, and have never, existed. The only prayer is one of joy and gratitude for eternal union with Love. We know we have no needs, for we are the Christ Self which is completely whole and home with God.

In the meantime, while we think we are separate individuals with separate bodies, A Course in Miracles suggests we pray to the Holy Spirit for our specific needs. Jesus, in writing the Course, knew that we do not believe we are whole. If we did, we’d have no need for help. The Course states, “His Voice (the Holy Spirit’s) will direct you very specifically. You will be told all you need to know.” (T-1.I.4) “The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. His answer is both many and one, as long as you believe that the one is many.” (T-11.VIII.5:5-6) Note that this answers both in duality and non-duality. It says as long as we think we’re people who have needs, we’ll be answered specifically. But it also suggests that when we awaken, we’ll realize we have no needs, for the One is not separated into many parts.

The Holy Spirit’s specific answers are what give us miracles, whether someone is an ACIM student or of another religious persuasion. The Holy Spirit is really your Higher Self, your inner connection to God. When you tap into that, miracles happen. It does not matter what religious rules you follow. If you believe in God’s love and help, you will receive them. The important thing is to believe.

A Course in Miracles states that miracles remain at the level of perception, where they are needed. What that means is when we think we are separate from God, we need miracles to help us get home. However, there is no world outside of our mind, therefore in truth, there is no world for the Holy Spirit to help us with. That's why some teachings emphasize that the Holy Spirit does not take action in the world. When we know that we are the mind of God, outside of time and space, we need nothing. Perception and miracles happen in the world of form. Yet God is formless, changeless and eternal. This is pure non-duality, and this is outside of time and space.  

I hope this answers your question. Feel free to contact me again if you need clarification. Don’t worry if this is confusing. It took me years to grasp these concepts, and I still get confused at times.



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Let Freedom Ring

Dear Miracle Musings Readers, The United States’ Declaration of Independence teaches us freedom is the “pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.” Is that true? Yes, if you define “life, liberty and happiness” outside the box of form. A Course in Miracles teaches freedom is of the mind, and has nothing to do with form.

We can have a great barbeque planned and then it rains. Or it’s too hot. Or we get food poisoning, or our beloved is killed in a car wreck on the way to the picnic. Once in awhile it appears perfect and we feel free—temporarily.

Ultimately, however, there is no freedom in the body. But we indeed are free, when we look in the right place. Here is a letter from a reader that shows where freedom truly lies. Please feel free to ask your ACIM questions on my website, http://www.lorricoburn.com/.

Happy Independence Day!

Lorri Coburn

hi.. enjoying your book immensely my question is.. you say we are god , so there is no entity we actually pray to or any creator who made us as spiritual beings? confused.. ron

Hi, Ron, Glad you’re enjoying the book. This is an intelligent question, so it means you’re getting it. It indeed is confusing when we first start understanding, and the Course tells us we go through a period of disorientation as the ego thought system breaks down and Truth dawns on our minds.

Most Westerners were raised with the idea that God is some Being in Heaven, out there, that controls and creates what happens on earth. We are at the mercy of God/Nature, or outside forces that pull our strings. We’re told we have free will to choose God, or else we burn in hell. When we are introduced to metaphysics we hear the idea that God is inside us, not out there. The next idea is that we are God.

However, most of us still feel like we’re our bodies/personalities, so we automatically pray to a God that is something other than ourselves. I still catch myself doing this. And as long as we feel separate, it’s ok to do that, and important to do that, because we must choose love, even if we think it’s outside us.

A Course in Miracles is written on both the dualistic and non-dualistic levels, so we can receive help wherever our thinking is. The dualistic level is subject/object, me/you, God/me, etc. Two separate things. Form, physicality, by its very nature, must have another object to perceive. Space and time is the gap between two forms or two objects.

The non-dualistic level is Oneness, in which there is no opposite. In form, we can’t really grasp that, but in our minds, we can know and experience it. This is an intuitive leap, and your mind is starting to become aware of it, given your question. Logical thinking proceeds along the continuum of time—past, present, and future. Oneness simply is, without any space or time. Therefore, logical thinking cannot understand Oneness, but our minds intuitively know it’s true.

If there is only Oneness, how can there be a God out there? If there is only Oneness, how can there be a you or a me? If there is only Oneness, how can there be a me that needs to ask a God for things?

When you get to Oneness, you see that you could never have been born and you can never die. Duality is physicality that takes shape, seems to live awhile, then dies. Oneness is formless, eternal and changeless. This is where true freedom lies.

A suggestion to train your mind to the awareness of Oneness is this: when you find yourself praying to someone outside yourself, be it the Holy Spirit, God, etc., ask to see this differently. When you are asking the Holy Spirit or God to see this in Truth, you are really only calling on your own Higher Mind. The Holy Spirit and God are indeed You. This is not your false ego self, rather your true Higher Self.

Wishing you awareness of your true freedom.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grieving While Recognizing Truth

Grieving While Recognizing Truth

Many of you know that my dad recently made his transition. The other day we had his memorial service and I fell headlong into the ego illusion of loss and separation. I felt like I was Lorri who had lost her dad, and I despaired, unable to find my way back to Truth. It was the first family gathering we’d had since my dad passed, and the absence of his body hurt really bad.

How do we operate at this level while the right part of our mind recognizes the world is an illusion? Prior to the memorial, I had sobbed intermittently. The first week after he passed the tears flowed like rain and I had no control over them. But the difference between then and yesterday was significant. Yesterday I attached thoughts of judgment to the tears. “Dad’s not here and this is awful.” There are two false thoughts there: first, that he wasn’t’ there, and second, that it was awful. Previously I had quickly dismissed those thoughts as untrue. I had been able to cry and let the body do its thing, while remembering there is only Love and oneness. I saw the crying as the body’s release of tension, without attaching false ideas to it.

Since I was stuck in the illusion yesterday, I asked my Dad to show me he was there. My Michigan sisters and I had ordered an arrangement with a variety of colorful and differently shaped plants. My siblings could then take a plant home as a memorial. When my sister from Pennsylvania saw the plant for her she cried out, “Oh, this is just like my tiny plant at home! I have talked to it, watered it, and named it ‘Grace,’ but it just won’t grow! It’s like Daddy has come and given me the full plant in all its glory!”

My first thought when I saw her plant was, “That’s not one of the plants we ordered. I don’t know where that one came from.” I checked with my other sisters, and they, too, said we had not ordered that type of plant. It was unusual, one I’d never seen, and I’ve grown a lot of houseplants in my day.

So my dad ordered the plant and was there after all.

Where do these synchronicities come from? The Right Mind, the Holy Spirit, the Mind that is One. That Mind nudged the florist to add that plant, which nudged my Michigan sister to hand that specific plant to our Pennsylvania sister, which answered the plea I’d sent to my dad an hour earlier to please let me know he was still around.

A Course in Miracles tells us that the entire cosmos, all form, is an illusion. It says, “And the last (illusion) to be overcome will be death. Of course! Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one.” (M-27. 6:1-4)

Even though I sunk into the ego world of despair and loss, I made a desperate, tearful plea and was answered. The Course tells us we are always answered in a form that we will understand, and the plant, since I’m a gardener, was a perfect answer for me.

Where are you entertaining false ideas of loss and separation? Ask for an answer, and the Holy Spirit will bring one to you.


Lorri Coburn

~We are always answered, but when it seems we’re not, often guilt is blocking the perception of oneness. I do phone/skype spiritual coaching with those who are committed to releasing ego illusions. If the Holy Spirit guides you, contact me by replying to this email or at info@lorricoburn.com.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Only Self Help Idea that Truly Works

My coaching client “Rachel” was frantic as she said, “My unemployment runs out in 12 weeks. I’m afraid I’ll end up on a park bench.” This sounds like a lot of people these days, as our economy is in its longest downturn since The Great Depression of the 1930’s. The irony is that Rachel has a law degree, another Master’s degree, and is engaging and competent. She could easily get a job making $1,000/week, but she is a spiritually evolved person who would rather make little money than sell her soul doing something she hates. Rachel started listing all the types of jobs she could get, then got frustrated about not attracting the one job she really wants, which is sharing intuitive readings. She is gifted and spot-on but has difficulty charging for spiritual work, which is an issue many spiritual healers have. Fear of all kinds, including lack of money, pulls us into the illusion of this false world. We’re caught in the web before we can even think, and all awareness of our True Self is gone. But the more we practice remembering our Higher Self, choosing to BE that Self instead of the ego, the easier it is to return to, and stay, in our Being. I asked Rachel who was afraid of being homeless, her ego self or her Higher Self? She immediately knew that her Higher Self is always ok and knows every detail in life is taken care of. We discussed how she is actually choosing her fear, because she is choosing to think she’s Rachel. Only she can make that choice, and only she can choose otherwise. “But I still have to be responsible and make a living!” she protested. I hear that a lot from clients. I replied, “Only the dream-figure Rachel thinks she has to make a living. You are not in the dream. You are Mind, outside the dream looking in, and You are safe. Your only job is to remember Who You are.” We did some exercises to release her attachment to the small self, and later she emailed me about how her consciousness was shifting. A Course in Miracles says, “My only function is the one God gave me.” (W-p.I.65.h) Our one function is to forgive the dream we made up, this world of lack. Money problems, such as Rachel appears to have, are illusions. Our only task here is to remember we are the holy Son of God, the Christ Self, the One. When we do this, our projections reflect a world of love instead of fear. The Course reminds 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.8:4) When we let go and let God, miracles happen. Rachel’s job is not to find a job, but to forgive the belief that she’s Rachel who has to find a job. Forgiving our dream is the only idea that truly works to heal us. There are thousands of self-help techniques that make the ego feel better for awhile. They salve the wound, but they don’t remove the cause of the wound, which is our mistaken identity. Where are you holding on to your small identity? The ego is scared to let go into the Allness of God, but truly, when we let go we’re letting go of nothing and moving into everything. All you need do is say, “I forgive myself for wanting this dream. I forgive myself for wanting my small self instead of Love. Holy Spirit, help me see this differently,” etc. When we truly only want the peace of God, that is what we perceive. May you know yourself as your Self. Blessings, Lorri Coburn P.S. If you are interested in an intuitive reading from Rachel, please contact me. (I am not getting remuneration from this.)When she and I first began working together, my dad was transitioning. He came to her to pass on an important message and she could not sleep until she emailed me. She did not know anything about my dad, but the details she gave confirmed it. This helped me tremendously in handling his transition, and I am so grateful. ~I am engaging a limited number of clients interested in spiritual awakening coaching. This is for those who are committed to completely releasing ego and awakening from the dream. If the Holy Spirit leads you in this direction, please contact me by responding to this email or at info@lorricoburn.com. You can get more information on coaching on my website at www.lorricoburn.com.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Love & Beauty in Death

My dad’s body had the yellow-gray pallor of death. His mouth hung ajar and one eye was slightly open, glazed. He had taken his last breath a half hour before and he was dead. Or was he? His Spirit hung in the room palpably. I could feel him. I embraced his head and wept, yet oddly felt calm. It was if he was whispering to me, “It’s ok. I love you. I’m here.” It was my job to call the undertaker, but I couldn’t. He was still there. It would be like burying someone alive. My brother, sister, partner and I sat in his room next to the body, reminiscing for four hours. Each one of us said we could feel him there, silently joining in the conversation. An interesting thing about death is that once the body drops, we can often forgive everything in an instant. Why is this? A Course in Miracles says it’s because the body was never real to begin with. “The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built, to separate parts of his Self from other parts. The body is a dream.” (W-p.II.5.1:1; 3:1) Somewhere in our psyche we know this is true, that no one is contained by a body. The One Higher Self, of which each of us is a fragment of the whole, cannot be separate from Itself. Love is what’s real behind the form, and Love is the only thing that’s eternal. That’s what I felt when my dad dropped his body. Love. Pure Love, unfettered by a fence, a barrier called a body. When we experience the unreality of the body, it can be easier to forgive. The body’s gone, but we still love the person. When the body is present, we have expectations and get angry when they’re not met. I was often irritated because I wanted my dad to get up and go to the bathroom without me having to remind or help him. Without the body, that’s not an issue. After he passed, my dad’s body had the grotesque appearance of the dead. But he appeared radiant. He glowed. As I stood next to his dead body, I thought of the lines in A Course in Miracles: “Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you? In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely.” (T-17.II.1:1-2) Is there a loved one you feel separated from, either by death or other means? Imagine him or her here, right now. S/he is here. You cannot, and have not, lost them. May you feel loved and blessed. Lorri Coburn ~I do spiritual coaching to help clients connect with their loved ones, “dead” or alive. Lack of connection is usually a block from our own guilt. This can be removed with forgiveness. Please email me at info@lorricoburn.com if you are interested in spiritual coaching.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The #1 Relationship Mistake Women Make

Women are pretty smart…most of the time. But in this area they’re pretty dumb. In my 25-year psychotherapy practice I found that many women simply do not understand how important it is to take care of their man sexually.

It’s the age-old conflict between men and women. Men don’t get enough sex and women don’t get enough love. Since we’ve become liberated, which has led to exhaustion from the demands of a career on top of running a household, we’ve felt the need to let some priorities go. But sex should never be one of them.

With all due respect to men, they do indeed think with their other head. Especially if that head is hungry. When you’ve gone all day without a meal, are you concerned with the nightly news or with grabbing the fastest thing to make your belly stop growling?

Likewise, men have to have sex. I used to tell my clients that for men, sex is as important as food. Sometimes more important. Think of it this way, Ladies: “The way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach, it’s through his penis. Keep your man happy in the bedroom and he’ll worship you forever.” That’s the main piece of sex advice I gave to my daughter, but I wrote it in a letter so she wouldn’t turn all shades of red.

Women often protest about taking care of their man sexually. “He won’t do the things I ask him to do, so why should I do this for him? I don’t have two children—I have three when you count my husband. He’s insensitive to my feelings and won’t talk to me, so I shouldn’t have to take care of his needs. He’s a dog, anyway, and he’ll want sex twice a day.”

This is where we women need to get wise and be the bigger person. When we feel resentful, it’s hard to be tender. But the rewards are worth it. If we compare having sex with our man to a stock market investment, the return on investment is whopping. Men are hard-wired to take care of their women and families. However, if they are angry they’ll go off by themselves. A man needs sex to feel like a man, and when he feels like a man he’s more likely to perform like a man, not just in the bedroom, but all around the house. Most men don’t need sex every day. They seem like they do because they’re always hungry, but when they feel full, they won’t beg for more.

Many men express their warmth best through sex. Women wish men would talk to them like their girlfriends do, but that’s rare and idealistic. Should we judge men for this, or love them anyway? We hurt ourselves when we place demands on others and get mad at them for not meeting our expectations. We think we’re justified when we judge him as a dog who wants too much sex, but we’re offended when he judges us as withholding. We need to forgive our differences and move on. Forgiveness allows us to rise above the battleground. When we stay in a power struggle, each party clawing to be on top, we both lose.

I consider myself a feminist, but I’m also a realist. Tit for tat does not work in relationships. In general, men need more sex than women, in spite of tv shows like Sex in the City, which suggest otherwise. If we want to save our marriages, the bedroom is the first place to start.

Lorri Coburn, MSW, received her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan in 1981. She had a psychotherapy practice for 25 years and now is an interfaith minister who writes and speaks on spirituality, relationships, and forgiveness. She is the author of Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free. She is currently working on her second book on forgiveness in relationships. www.lorricoburn.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Love and Betrayal

“You are a slime bag! You’ve sunk as low as you can go! What the hell has happened to you?” I raged inside, fuming over the legal charges my former lover, Kent, had brought against me. I obsessed, “Why? Why? Why? Why couldn’t you just talk to me instead of going to an f-ing court?”

For the next four years I alternated between feeling furious and forgiving Kent. Why did he have to end our relationship with hatred? Who had he become? I swore in anger and wept in grief.

I study A Course in Miracles, (ACIM) whose primary principle is forgiveness. The Course suggests that we turn over our thoughts to the Holy Spirit, which can also be called our inner voice, our Higher Self. Some things we just can’t forgive on our own, and Kent’s betrayal was one of these. The feelings ran too raw and too deep.

I practiced, “Holy Spirit, Help me see this differently. I choose forgiveness. I am not the victim of Kent.” As I held the intention to forgive, the ideas of ACIM began to sink in. A Course in Miracles tells us that our world is a reflection of our thoughts, so Kent’s legal action merely reflected my inner guilt. Indeed, I had felt guilty about my relationship with him for many years. Our relationship began in sordid circumstances, so I felt guilty about that. I felt guilty about still loving him when I was in a good relationship with another man I loved. It began to dawn on me that Kent’s legal charges were not so much about him hating me, as me hating myself.

A Course in Miracles tells us that we don’t realize it, but we are actually making other people act out for us. They merely do what we would have them do. This is a tall order when someone kicks you in the teeth. The Course also reminds us that the guilt we are aware of is only the tip of the iceberg. It took me four years to see it, but as I practiced forgiving Kent, I awakened. The process of looking at my guilt was excruciating. On the courtroom stand I sobbed and sobbed, unable to stop myself. I thought the judge must think I was an unstable idiot, but he gave me a good recommendation.

I would never have seen the depth of this guilt had Kent not brought legal action. I had been involved in a vicious custody battle for my daughter years before, but apparently had not expiated the inner guilt enough. I needed another court battle to see the bottomless hatred of the ego thought system. I actually thought I loved myself. Once I looked at the guilt I could release it, but I couldn’t heal what I didn’t know was there.

Kent was what A Course in Miracles calls my savior. He was my angel in disguise, showing me blocks that needed to be cleared away for me to love myself. Forgiving Kent transferred to forgiving me. The miracle is that I no longer blame Kent for what he did to me, or, as the Course would say, what he didn’t do. I am free. Thank you, Kent.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Love and Loss in Hollywood: Dear John

Boy meets girl. It’s love at first sight. They’re wrenched apart. They reunite.

What is it about this dramatic motif that pulls us in? Why is the theme of love and loss a perennial favorite in Hollywood? We know how the movies are going to end, yet we watch them with first-time wonder.

Dear John was a 2010 box office hit that critics panned but viewers loved. It is a touching love story based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel, illustrating the heart-wrenching decisions we make in the face of difficult life circumstances.

John and Savannah fall in love on spring break and she must return to college while he has a year to go in the Army special forces. Tragedy strikes with 9/11 and John decides to extend his tour of duty against Savannah’s protests. She initially stands by her man and waits, but as time stretches with no return date, she sends him a “Dear John” letter. She’s decided to marry another man who has cancer, so his child, whose mother has abandoned him, will be cared for.

Dear John pulls us in because it reflects the archetypes that move our souls and give our lives meaning. Archetypes are human behavior patterns that cross cultural boundaries, such as the lover, warrior, mother and father. As we watch Dear John we recognize our own struggles with loss and love and the conflicts that opposing archetypes represent.

As lovers, Savannah and John desperately want to be together but John’s warrior nature compels him to re-up in the Army following his country’s worst military trauma since Vietnam. Savannah’s love for John propels her to wait for an extended period, but her feelings for another man, her need to be needed and her mothering instinct take over. The man who woos Savannah knows she loves John in a way she’ll never love him, but his fatherly drive to protect his child overrides his desire to be number one in Savannah’s life.

While many accept life’s losses and struggles as “just the way it is,” others cry out in rage at the injustice of life. Philosophers have speculated about the meaning of life since time began, each coming up with a different explanation. Religions explain away tragedies with various ideas about God’s love for, disappointment with, or indifference to man.

In the past 40 years a new thought system has arisen called A Course in Miracles. It synthesizes Eastern spirituality and Western Christianity and philosophy with Freudian psychology. It is a comprehensive thought system that explains human behavior and the meaning of life. A Course in Miracles says we are dreaming our lives and everything is in our mind, with no external reality. Our mind is like a film projector, projecting what it thinks onto the screen of the world. The mind has two opposing sets of beliefs, the wrong mind of loss and separation, and the right mind of wholeness and oneness. We are always choosing between the wrong mind and the right mind, between fear and love.

When the mind believes in loss and separation, it projects a world of bodies whose needs conflict with each other. No two bodies have exactly the same drives and needs, so loss is inevitable. However, because we are mind, we are simply dreaming of separation. The right mind knows we are all one and there is no separation. It compels our inherent longing to return to our oneness. It’s that wistful feeling of wanting to go home we all have.

Our archetypal roles get played out alternately by the right and wrong minds. The ego, our small self personality, is part of the wrong mind. Our egos are always afraid because the ego script is “damned if you do; damned if you don’t.” Invariably, our inner archetypal drives conflict with opposing drives within ourselves and our loved ones. Hence, we experience loss and turmoil, which is the essence of drama. Savannah and John fall in love because they feel one with each other. When we fall in love, we see the perfection that is possible in truth, but not possible at the level of bodies. As they continue in their relationship, their separate ego needs compete for attention, and loss ensues, in spite of their love for each other. Happiness can never be permanent in the world of bodies, because bodies must separate and die.

A Course in Miracles provides a way out of this dilemma. It re-minds us that we are dreaming and cannot be separate. Whether or not bodies are together, minds are always joined. This is exemplified by John and Savannah’s enduring love, in their minds, regardless whether he is half a world away at war, or whether she marries another man. Loss pulls at our heart strings and creates a yearning to reunite with the beloved. If we stay in the wrong mind, we continue to feel loss and separation. If we choose the right mind, we feel our oneness no matter what.

Forgiveness is the tool to awaken the truth that we can never lose the ones we love. Forgiveness is a conscious choice to join rather than separate, regardless of how someone has hurt us. Dear John speaks to our hearts, as John and Savannah are reunited when they forgive.

True to Hollywood, there is a happy movie ending, but many of us never see our old flames again. Yet in our souls, in the lovers archetype, part of us knows separation is an illusory dream of the ego. Loss cannot be real when minds are together. When we choose our right mind of love we are whole.

Loss is always resolved, just not always Hollywood style.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Urinating Marines Deserve More Forgiveness, Fewer Sanctions

As Marines urinate on the dead enemy’s bodies, we hear the outcry, “This is uncivilized, un-American, an abomination!”

This is hypocrisy at its finest. It’s ok to kill, but desecrating bodies that no longer feel anything is an outrage.

War is never civilized. It is ugly. It is down to the bones mean. We send our kids over to kill the enemy, and when they join in a task well-done, they are crucified. These Marines were enacting a bonding ritual that strengthens their comradeship. For them to kill, as we command them to, they need to be tough, to see the enemy as worthless. They have to pull together. They crush the enemy together, and finish the job by pissing on him when it’s done. A Marine needs to know the guy covering his back is willing to go all the way.

War is animalistic. Animals mark their territory by urinating. When these Marines act in accord with their nature, and follow orders to kill, it is not they who are wrong. We are wrong to unjustly punish them.

In different circumstances, that one act of urination unseen, these Marines would be hailed as heroes. These young men are highly skilled snipers, not your average Joe. They endured grueling training: don’t flinch when being bitten by bugs; hold bodily functions; and lie perfectly still for hours. They accomplished their mission for our country. But because they got carried away, albeit in an unsettling manner, their careers may be ruined.

Every one of us is capable of heinous behavior, but we don’t like to admit it. Instead, we project our guilt onto others. We make an enemy to carry our shame so we don’t have to look at it. These young men are being scapegoated so the rest of us can maintain the illusion of our innocence. The public outcry is the result of our inability to look at our own shadow sides.

We prefer to ruin the reputations of these Marines rather than look at our hypocrisy. But, we cry, we would not be as barbarous as they. A Course in Miracles calls this the false face of innocence. We are filled with attack thoughts, but the face we present to the world is one of purity. War is a necessary evil, we must kill the enemy, but we would never pee on his dead body.

The Geneva Convention guidelines prohibit certain wartime behaviors, and this does indeed bring an ounce of civility into an impossible, uncivilized situation. The protocols are designed to bring humanitarian treatment to war victims. However, the bodies the Marines urinated on were already dead. What the Marines did was unseemly, but their actions must be held in the light that extreme conditions beget extreme behaviors. Before we haul them down, let us remember the merciful adage from A Course in Miracles, how we judge another is how we judge ourselves deep down. These fine young men, while requiring consequences and correction, deserve our understanding and forgiveness.

(The face of innocence is one of the ego dynamics I write about in Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free. Go to www.lorricoburn.com to preview the book.)

Blessings, Lorri

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Soul's Code: Book Review

The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and CallingThe Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling by James Hillman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was going to contact Dr. James Hillman and thank him for his wonderful book, and found that he died this past summer. I wish I would have read this book 20 years ago. It echoes many sentiments I have felt about my psychotherapy clients, the ones who were labeled "crazy" when they were simply following their soul's calling. Hillman draws on Jungian archetypal therapy to explain what he calls the acorn theory. We all have an acorn that demands to become an oak, regardless of convention. When that acorn does not fit societal norms or parental expectations, we are given a psychiatric label, called obstinate or resistant, or medicated to bring us back into line.

Hillman shares many fascinating stories about famous people who refused to be put in a box. Violinist Yehudi Menuhin wanted a violin for his fourth birthday, and was given a toy violin. Menuhin states, "I burst into sobs, threw it on the ground and would have nothing more to do with it." Hillman explains, "The daimon (acorn, soul's calling) does not want to be treated as a child; it is not a child." Indeed, it is our inner wisdom, the drive to wholeness, which is routinely dismissed in our society.

I remember a case I had in which the identified patient began literally screaming, and the family wanted her hospitalized. She was simply screaming to be heard, and the family did not want to hear what she had to say. In fact, she was calling out the family dysfunction, so it was easier for the family to label her crazy than to listen to what she was saying.

In my own case, several therapists called me dysfunctional, when I was simply following my soul's calling. I knew deep down that I did not fit the categories they were putting me in, but also knew they did not have a clue about the depth of the drive I felt. I tried to supress this drive for 20 years and it would not let me go. Reading this book made me realize I'm not obsessed, fixated, codependent, or any other of the psychiatric labels traditional psychiatry would pin on me. Now that I have stopped judging myself, I feel whole. I honor my soul's quest rather than running from it.

We all have something we dream of doing, but few of us follow our dreams. Hillman's book reminds us that we will never be happy until we pay attention to our inner urgings. One of my favorite quotes is "Don't die with your dreams inside you." I believe it's from Wayne Dyer.

View all my reviews

Review of book: Paulo Coelho: A Warrior's Life

 Paulo Coelho: A Warrior's Life - The Authorized BiographyPaulo Coelho: A Warrior's Life - The Authorized Biography by Fernando Morais

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paulo Coelho has sold 100 million books in the metaphysical spiritual genre, written in the style of light novels or fables. His most famous one is The Alchemist, which I loved. Since I've read most of his books, I wanted to see how much of his personal life was contained in them. I found out that many of the magical/sorcery experiences he's had actually are things he's experienced in real life. In addition, his experiences with being forcibly hospitalized as a young adult, for what his parents called mental illness and I would call just not fitting in, figure into his books.

Coelho is a passionate, deep, unconventional man with a profound sense of the mystery of life. Those who feel practices like tarot, rituals, and searching for hidden meanings are silly, however, might not like his books.

I was surprised to find that his books are extremely popular in Russia.

The biography, which was authorized, was fascinating, but the writer gave to many details, so it moved too slowly.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012: The End of the World?

Apocalyptic wars. tsunamis, and plagues? The end of the world on December 21, 2012? An era of prolonged peace following the War of Armageddon?

Prophecies and predictions abound regarding the year 2012. What does the spiritual teaching of A Course in Miracles have to say about it?

Nothing. 2012 is not mentioned. A Course in Miracles concerns itself only with the mind that is outside of time and space, and 2012 is a year in linear time.

What is this mind outside of time and space? It’s our mind. It’s what we are. A Course in Miracles tells us that we are mind that’s dreaming up a world of form. We’re asleep, dreaming a nightmare of an earth filled with terror, much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. The lions and tigers and bears along the yellow brick road are the dire predictions of doom, death and destruction. We’ve been dreaming up the end of the world for millennia, long before 2012 arrived.

The world we are dreaming appears as a place of scarcity through violent wars and more subtle wars of unfair trade. Countries grab land and resources from other locales, because we believe there’s not enough to go around. We believe in separation instead of the oneness of humanity, and are afraid that if we don’t steal what we want, we’ll never get it.

The good news is that the mind that dreams of terror can also dream of peace. There is a part of our mind, called the right mind, which is pure Love. This part is connected to all living beings and knows our togetherness. It’s the part of us that aspires to world peace, kindness and goodness.

When we access our right mind, the world of terror can indeed cease to exist. A Course in Miracles tells us once we see we’re dreaming up the world, we can choose what type of world we want to dream. But first we have to recognize we’re the dreamers. We have to admit we’re just like Dorothy.

When Dorothy awoke from her coma, she insisted that Oz was a real place. It felt real because the wicked witch and the wizard evoked intense emotions. Feelings make us believe the world outside of our mind is real.

So will the world end in 2012? Yes, the world of hatred, lack and ugliness will end if we choose love over fear. And that can happen in any holy instant, not just in 2012. How do we choose love? We make a mental decision to forgive the dream: “I choose to see love instead of fear. I choose a new perception of the world. I choose to awaken from the dream I made up.” Your right mind then takes over and you dream what A Course in Miracles calls “the happy dream.”

I write more about A Course in Miracles in my book, Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free. It’s available on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and my website, www.lorricoburn.com.

Happy New Year and sweet dreams in 2012.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Watching a Loved One Die

I knew the day would come. But now that it’s here I’m still devastated.

My dad sat at the slot machine, bewildered, pointing to the row of four fruits, asking what they meant. He tried to touch the machine next to him, thinking it would make his machine work. He didn’t know which buttons to push, so he just pushed all of them. “I don’t know what to do,” he said, plaintively, his eyes beseeching me for answers.

I’ve been taking my dad to the casino for the past eight years, every week since he lost his driver’s license. Tears stream as I write this, knowing I won’t be taking him back.
He won $335, the most he’s ever won since I’ve been taking him. I guess that’s a fitting way to go out. But he didn’t even realize he’d won big—he was just confused.

My dad’s dementia has been a huge forgiveness issue for me. It’s made the lessons of A Course in Miracles all the more pertinent, as I witness his body slowly waste away. It’s a general lesson in the non-importance of the body. Our society tries to keep these bodies alive at all costs, completely missing the point that the body is not the home of Spirit. I’ve been taught the body is a sacred miracle. To that I respond, “Have you been to a nursing home lately?”

A Course in Miracles tells us that we are mind, not bodies. It “re-minds” us to “remember always that you cannot be anywhere except in the Mind of God. When you forget this, you will despair and you will attack. (T-9.VIII.5) This has been of great comfort to me as I watch my dad, my hero, reduced to pooping his pants several times a day, no longer able to complete a coherent sentence, and unable to formulate a four-letter Scrabble word. He used to regularly use all seven tiles.

I let the tears flow, but still remind myself I’m seeing an illusion. When I think we are these bodies, I am attacking my true Identity. It’s all in the mind and I am projecting a world of loss and separation in which it appears that my beloved father can struggle and die. I am grateful that the Course tells me that a loving God did not create this scenario. Instead, I’m dreaming it and can change my mind with the Holy Spirit’s help.

One of my favorite lessons from the Workbook is # 284: I Can Elect to Change All Thoughts that Hurt. It reads, “Loss is not loss when properly perceived. Pain is impossible. There is no grief with any cause at all. And suffering of any kind is nothing but a dream. This is the truth.”

As I repeat this over and over, Truth dawns in my awareness. I can never lose my dad. Minds are joined, bodies are not. The form of my dad’s body (and mine) has never been real, but the reflection of love is what’s real behind the form. Indeed, love is the only thing that’s real. He and I will always be connected, for he and I are one.

I write more about how we can wake up from the nightmare of loss in Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free. You can read previews or order it from my website or from Amazon. www.lorricoburn.com

May your losses be transformed into love. Blessings, Lorri Coburn

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Toss Your Resolutions

You know you’re going to break them. You do it every year. So why not try your resolutions the Course in Miracles way? What’s that? The easy way. You forgive yourself for your flaws, and then your Higher Self breaks through and effortlessly takes care of the problem. When we are in the flow of divine love, change is easy, delightful and carefree.

Usually New Year’s resolutions involve putting your nose to the grindstone and giving something up. Most resolutions come from a withering sense of failure. Our determination to change only lasts awhile, until we are beset with recurring self-criticism. Permanent change doesn’t come from pumping ourselves up with affirmations and visualizations focused on obtaining things. Those can help move us along, but the only lasting change comes from loving ourselves. But how do we love ourselves when at our core there is massive self-hatred? Our self-hatred goes way deeper than we even realize. The self-loathing we are conscious of is only the tip of the iceberg. Affirmations are done consciously but they often don’t attend to the unconscious maliciousness that’s running the show. Affirmations to be healthier and wealthier may make us feel better for awhile, but then the subconscious snake springs forth to bite us. Many of us have worked for years on our financial prosperity, our health, and our relationships with minimal progress. That’s because we use positive energy to combat negative energy. In this world of duality, where there are always opposite sides to every condition, both sides have to eventually show up. We stay positive, positive, positive only to get frustrated and give up.

A Course in Miracles gets us around this trap, this never-ending cycle of positive and negative swings. The primary tool is to forgive ourselves for thinking we are small, separate selves, born to die, struggling every day to make our way in a difficult world. We are dreaming we’ve lost our connection to God, but we can wake up. We are the holy children of God and we don’t have to sacrifice and struggle. When we forget who we are, the One Self, we think we’re flawed, lacking, and alone. This makes us scared and we do all sorts of things to ward off our fears. We are afraid of not having enough money, so we make a resolution to put more money into our IRA. We are afraid of getting sick, so we resolve to cut out sugar. We are afraid our relationship will fail, so we resolve to stop saying mean things.

Then we break our resolutions and feel worse than before. The only thing we ever need to do is forgive ourselves for forgetting who we are. Then everything else falls in place. A Course in Miracles reminds us in Lesson 96, “Although you are one Self, you experience yourself as two; as both good and evil, loving and hating, mind and body. This sense of being split into opposites induces feelings of acute and constant conflict, and leads to frantic attempts to reconcile the contradictory aspects of this self-perception.” Hence, we affirm, visualize and make affirmations to change our circumstances in a desperate attempt to improve ourselves. But those things won’t bring lasting healing because attempts to change the body or the world are a denial of Truth. “Until you have accepted this (that you are Spirit only, not both Spirit and a body) you will attempt an endless list of goals you cannot reach. If you are spirit, then the body must be meaningless to your reality.”

How do we forgive ourselves? Forgiveness is an attitude, so we can do it through anything that reminds us of our True Nature. We can say, “I forgive myself for identifying with my small self. Holy Spirit, help me to see my True Self. I choose love instead of fear.” Forgiveness does not attempt to change the outer world, but to change the mind that is dreaming it is a body in a fearful world. Then problems that appear to be outside of ourselves automatically clear up. When we ask the Holy Spirit to change our perceptions, the world will appear to change, because we have chosen love instead of fear.

This year be kind to yourself. Forgive those New Year’s resolutions before you make or break them. Your only task is to recognize your divinity, fully own it, and let the Holy Spirit take care of the details. This is the easy way. Plus it’s the only way that ultimately works.

There’s more information about finding your True Self in my book Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free. It is available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon and at www.lorricoburn.com.

By Lorri Coburn, MSW