I’d like to share my daily spiritual practices in the hope that something here may be useful to you. I am full on flat out passionate about the beauty and power of A Course in Miracles, and so all my days are now dedicated to practice in some way or other. This may sound like hard work, but it’s become natural and much easier than only having specific practice periods. The Holy Spirit is invited in continuously, and
‘He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way.’ (T-20.1V.8:5)
The following practices go hand in hand with my studying of the Text and doing the Lessons.
Joining minds with Jesus
This is my central practice, from which all else flows. I feel/know Jesus to be author of the Course, and if you study ACIM, or even have the book on your shelf, there will most likely be a resonance in you with his love and wisdom, as expressed through this teaching. Joining minds with Jesus is the most exquisite, tender, and riveting experience I have had while seeming to be kironJ. All it takes is a desire for this connection, this holy communion, and regular quiet times to allow our mind to open to his.
‘I will come in response to a single unequivocal call.’ (T-4.111.7:1)
A presence comes, the world fades…
Joining with Jesus’s mind is a way to transcend the ego, so of course the ego will be considerably threatened by this intention.
‘When you unite with me you are uniting without the ego, because I have renounced the ego in myself and therefore cannot unite with yours.’ (T-8.V.4:1,2)
It is a process; a little opening, Jesus’s strength becoming available, then ego protests, then withstanding the protest with the new strength, carrying on, choosing to keep opening, more strength…
This joining is the backdrop of my days and my greatest joy, and I am so utterly, on my knees grateful for this miraculous relationship, this holding, this safety, this knowing of our beloved brother.
De-cluttering our space, de-cluttering our mind
The Course says the world is ‘the outward picture of an inward condition.’ (T-21. Intro) What do our living rooms/kitchens/bedrooms/offices say about our minds? Are they clean and orderly, or dusty and cluttered?
Have you ever cleared out a cupboard, or tidied up a room, and felt an energy surge, a lightness in mood? De-cluttering is a decision to clear debris that is darkening our minds, even if we are only consciously aware of the physical reflection of that decision (I want a tidy bedroom…). It is a more powerful decision, however, if we realise that only our minds can be cluttered, because we are acknowledging the truth. With some debris cleared, our minds become more available to Spirit, and this will feel good! I have downsized, de-cluttered and simplified my living spaces with gusto over recent years, and it has brought such rest and peace to my mind. I go for the minimalist look, with no photos or pictures or ornaments. It gives me little to engage with on the outside, and reminds me to focus within.
Calming body drama
Perhaps many of us have ‘food stories’. This is mine, probably a common one. As a child food was just about the only feel-good factor that I experienced, an accessible source of comfort. As a teenager eating became a battleground because I put on weight so easily, bringing ideas of being unacceptable and disgusting. ‘
And then you hate it (the body), not for what it is, but for the uses you have made of it.’ (T-28.V1.3:3)
This conflict continued throughout my life, and is still there in milder form today. As a Course student I can understand it has been the ego at work, seducing me with seeming comfort and raging at me for giving in to temptation to overeat. Calming this drama has been a major lesson, and thankfully I am much more able to turn to ‘God’s Comforter’ these days. My diet is simple and healthy, with nothing to induce highs or lows – no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, mostly vegan and raw. It is a tremendous support in recognising how the ego tries to retain control through body appetites, and only in recognising this can I ‘choose again’.
Apart from the occasional social herb tea I only drink water, which may sound extreme, but I find it wonderfully freeing! I had no idea of the subtle ego gratification involved in hot/flavoured drinks until I stopped having them. Of course this is not the only way, but if you feel drawn to giving it a go I offer all encouragement. It may seem boring at first, and there may well be a detox effect if you normally have caffeinated drinks, but if you try it for a month you might find a miracle. The Holy Spirit will be with you in this, for sure.
Devotion not discipline
Changing our minds does require determination, and seems to call for great discipline, but it can be altogether easier if we open to the idea of devotion.
‘Do not underestimate the power of devotion of God’s Son, nor the power the god he worships has over him.’ (T-11.V1.5:1)
The Course is telling us that we are naturally devotional. In choosing a human experience we chose devotion to specialness and separation; we adore being an individual and exploring what we think this can do for us. We devote our time to careers, homes, and relationships with a selected few. We like our holidays and entertainments, and trying to make a good/successful life for ourselves. Such attention we give this, without any coercion at all. This is how devoted we can be!
So what if we offered our devotion to the Holy Spirit and asked to know true devotion to our Creator and to our brothers? What if we asked for help to study the Course with devotion, and allowed all thoughts of ‘I can’t understand it, it’s too challenging, boring, scary…’ to be replaced with a deeply satisfying and captivating devotion to the Love that comes through it? This kind of devotion will lead us to practice happily, and willingly, and the discipline to do it will simply be there.
Sleeping in Spirit
‘It (the Love of God) blesses you throughout the day, and watches through the night as silent guardian of your holy sleep.’ (W189)
If studying the Course still seems daunting, and devotion has yet to become apparent, here is a practice that is supremely simple and very effective. Try offering your night times to the Holy Spirit.
As you settle down in bed, hand over your mind to Him, and ask to be taken care of throughout the night. That’s it! The Holy Spirit then has permission to heal your mind while it is not distracted by the concerns of the world. A deeper sleep is likely to follow, and enthusiasm for your ACIM Lesson may well greet you in the morning. If you do wake in the night, keep taking your mind to the Holy Spirit, and this will bring peace.
Before we meet
‘The light in one awakens it in all. And when you see it in your brother, you are remembering for everyone.’ (T-21.1.10:6,7)
Before meeting with anyone, I join minds with all who will be there, seeing us in the Light, blessed by Spirit, having a holy encounter between equal brothers. If I don’t know all the people who will be coming, I simply have an intention to include everyone. This transforms my experience of the meeting, and I can feel the Holy Spirit at work in everything we say and do together. There is a sense of collaboration, and confidence in an outcome which benefits all.
Out and about – it’s not real
‘God’s Son can smile at last, on learning that it is not true.’ (W153)
Whenever I am traveling around, walking down the street or taking the tube, I use this time to practice the idea that there is no world. I look at what the body’s eyes are showing me, and give my mind Course thoughts such as ‘it’s not real, it’s an hallucination, this is a dream that I am dreaming’. ‘The real world is not like this. It has no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate.’ (T-13.V11.1:1-2)
I am not denying what the body’s eyes are seeing, but training the mind to look beyond physical appearances. I love this practice; something in me rejoices at putting these thoughts with the sights and sounds of the world. There is a ‘whoop of delight’ – at last I understand… it could never be real. Hallelujah! More and more I am seeing ‘form as form’, without interest in it. ‘Why should I perceive a thousand forms in what remains as one?’ (W262) I used to be an out and out nature lover, deeply affected by its ‘beauty‘, but now it leaves me unmoved. Is this a loss? Not at all! I feel released. The beauty of Jesus’s mind, which is the same beauty of my mind, and your mind, is so far beyond anything that the world can offer there is no comparison, and no doubt which I would rather appreciate and be with.
So here we are, back with Jesus’s mind. As I allow myself to go deeper and more continuously into this joining, our relationship has become a gateway into Universal Relationship. With Jesus, my mind goes to where it knows it belongs. The idea of being Spirit is less scary and unknown, and realising I am not an individual is more acceptable. The ego storms can be fierce, but I find peace at the centre of them by stubbornly staying with Jesus. Sometimes all I can manage is ‘I stick like glue to you’, repeating it over and over again like a child saying a nursery rhyme. I credit these 6 simple words with countless miracles, steadying me while demented ego thoughts are brought to the surface to be handed over to the Holy Spirit. I want all these thoughts to be replaced by loving Thoughts of God, and they will be, if I just keep practicing…
In finishing I would like to offer us a blessing : ‘may we know our brother ever more deeply and truly, may his magnificent Course lead us to our Self, gently and unswervingly, and may we support each other endlessly in our awakening.’
And the last word from Jesus, ‘I share with God the knowledge of the value He puts upon you. My devotion to you is of Him, being born of my knowledge of myself and Him. We cannot be separated.’ (T-8.6.9:1-3)