Listen to Ellen & Jane's teachings recorded from ACIM Gather on PalTalk
February 2nd 2006
Bringing in the Divine - The Unseen Guest
When we make a commitment to our self to be peaceful, to extend love and loving-ness, we sincerely wish to keep that commitment. Yet, before we know it, a thought, or an event, rises up in life and we are triggered into feeling justified about our anger or about being less than generous.
A coach provides us with guidance and focus as we develop and hone our skills. The ideal coach is one who is a Master.
Avatars are Masters. They are perfect examples of being and extending unconditional love.
When we slip, when we become angry or despondent or move out of love, we tend to justify and defend our upset. We are, in fact, much too tolerant of these justifications. Having Jesus beside us beaming acceptance and love when we are about to throw a tantrum, brings out the part of us that seems more willing to choose again.
Would an Avatar point a finger at us or use shame to motivate us? No. They would send us compassion and unconditional Love. They would invite us to choose again. They would remind us to laugh! Having our 'unseen Guest' with us means we are less willing to give in to lower level feelings and more willing to practice being loving and kind.
This exercise is about bringing the Divine, the Avatar, the Master, into our world - bringing Them into our mundane, moment-to-moment life. This exercise invites us to consider Them as a coach, as a pristine example of love, as a powerful, gentle reminder of our spiritual goal and as a Friend who reminds us to laugh.
February 9th, 2006
Refer to: I; Reality and Subjectivity, pages 220-227
RE-CONTEXTUALIZING (Part One) – Circumstances of your Birth
What does re-contextualizing mean? Let us begin to define its root word. The following are two dictionary definitions of CONTEXT: 1. The part of a text or statement that surrounds a particular word or passage and determines its meaning. 2. The circumstances in which an event occurs; a setting.
Viewing an event, person or belief from a broader, more inclusive setting - in other words, taking it from one context to another - is re-contextualizing. Re-contextualizing is a word that Dr. Hawkins developed. This descriptor expresses the removal of our judgment, stance or position about an event, person, or belief.
Take, for example, the death of a loved one. This event can be re-contextualized from a catastrophic life crisis to an event which offers us great spiritual opportunities for growth. The loss of one dear to us may be the catalyst which shows us the impermanence of life and hence is an opportunity to release attachment(s), and/or it may be a medium that assists us in the search for life's hidden and deeper meaning.
Having the willingness to perceive a person, event or belief from a different context, literally changes our experience of the person or event. Our fifth exercise (Parts One and Two) is focused on how to bring about this kind of perception.
To successfully re-contextualize, we need to take on the attitude "There must be another way". This attitude springs from a willingness to change and takes us out of the 'I-know' way of thinking and places us in an open, 'willing-to-experience' stance. By doing this we gradually begin to train our minds to a non-judgmental perspective.
Re-contextualizing is a most powerful tool. And although it seems new, the experience of having something placed in a different context is one we all know. It occurs automatically when we have forgiven our self or let go of our judgments of another.
Putting any life-event in a spiritual context is a fundamental practice. By using it constantly, every person and situation is seen as an opportunity to remove the blocks to Love. When you realize that a circumstance, or a thought about a circumstance, leads us to express or feel judgment - either minor or major judgment - its applicability becomes self evident. While re-contextualizing is fairly simple to execute, it is the practice and use of it that makes it potent. So let us apply our first exercise in re-contextualizing.
This week we are going to practice 'seeing the bigger picture'. This is the beginning, the foundational lesson of re-contextualizing. We will have many others. Contemplate the circumstances of your birth and childhood. Let us take one sweeping panoramic view of our beginnings in this life - a view of the setting of our life experience.
Our birth and childhood experiences including the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical tend to provide the focus for how we perceive and judge our self and the world. It is exactly because this focus is so fixed that it can be 'invisible' to us.
How is this new understanding impacting you? For example, where there was resentment, what has replaced it? Is there a shift in mourning or sadness about your early life? Consider your relationships with parents and siblings. Review your new perspective. Where have you shifted? How have you shifted?
February 23rd, 2006
Refer to: I; Reality and Subjectivity, pages 220-227
RE-CONTEXTUALIZING (Part Two) – Circumstances of your Birth
Remember as with exercise five, to successfully re-contextualize, take on the attitude that there is another way to look at this. Doing this arises from the willingness to change. It takes us out of the 'I-know' way of thinking and places us in an open mind.
Putting any life-event in a spiritual context is a fundamental practice. Use it constantly, so that every person or situation is viewed as an opportunity to remove the blocks to Love. A circumstance, or even a thought about a circumstance, leads us to express or feel judgment. To be without attachment or positionalities, it becomes imperative to let go of our judgments.
While re-contextualizing is fairly simple to execute, it is the practice and use of it that releases our minds.
After practicing our previous exercise, which focused on your primary family, did you find it easier to go through the physical, mental and social, aspects of your childhood?
Consider your relationships with your body and mind. Consider how you saw yourself in relation to others in the family or in your neighborhood or in your schooling experience. Again, notice how removing the stance of being a victim of your body or of your life events at that time, releases you.
Review your new perspective. Where have you shifted? How have you shifted? Do use your watching the mind skills to let this whole new recontextualization unfold in yourself.
Do you have a different understanding about your beginnings now? What has changed in you? What has replaced those emotions?
March 2nd, 2006
Refer to Dr. Hawkins, Eye of the I, pp. 99, Further Observations; Thought and Ideation, Cassette 1b, 15 minutes in
Watching the Emotions
We are told to surrender our thoughts to God, to surrender everything to The Infinite Creator. It is important to discover that surrendering to Peace and Love and Joy is not a loss, but a gain. Once we know this, no one need prod us or encourage us again. We will not think that we need to develop skills or to practice them because instead, we will RUSH to surrender. So let us move towards rushing Home.
A huge part of our work together will be based on developing the skill of watching our thoughts. We started this practice in Exercise Two. We are now going to extend it.
Watching consciousness without judging, without attaching to the drama, without being bedazzled, reveals the self we 'think' we are. It is a self we have not examined. It is a self filled with beliefs that, once seen, will literally drop away.
Watching the mind encourages this dropping-away process because our whole self concept, and thus world concept, begins to unravel when we practice it. The unraveling takes as long as it takes and depends upon many factors [See Dr. D Hawkins work at www.veritaspub.com link to Veritas] but it does occur and with obvious changes in our experiences of our self and our world.
For some, like Ramana Maharshi, who as a teenager, asked himself what would happen to 'him' when his body died, the unraveling is immediate, profound, and everlasting. For others, perhaps like you or me, this unraveling is a life-long endeavor.
This practice noticing your feelings is the natural extension of watching your thoughts. For some, watching thoughts is an alien thing to attempt. When they look inside, they are not obviously dominated by thoughts, but instead are primarily aware of their feeling states. To them the exercise of watching their thoughts is confusing and frustrating.
If this is so for you, carrying out a practice of watching feelings can reveal the lightening fast thoughts, which precede the feeling-states. This exercise will assist those of you who experience life from a feeling context. For those that are primarily aware of thoughts and thinking-ness, this exercise will assist you in unveiling the mental and emotional connections.
Watching the thoughts, watching the emotions, allows me to let go being attached and glamorized by feelings. As I practice this watching, then I know I am not my thoughts or feelings and so I can just let them go. I know I am not my mind, I have a mind. I know I am not my thoughts, I have thoughts. I know I am not my feelings, I have feelings.
This week, pay particular attention to the emotions that result from the thoughts arising in your mind. A part of your mind records everything. Find that part - the recording, the watcher - and be with it. Thoughts and feelings arise from the field of consciousness, in the place you call your mind, and every nuance, every experience, is recorded. Be the camera to your own thought system. When a thought triggers an emotion, use your budding skill from Exercise two of allowing thoughts to rise up and fall away, to let go of the emotion as well. Practice letting the feelings be of you, rather than believing they are you.
Each emotional knot that is loosened in our minds reveals the inner Peace and Joy already present. We need do nothing to cultivate the Peace and Joy except remove the blocks to its awareness. Watching feelings is simple. It is most important to remind your self of the simplicity of this task. We all know how to watch. We watch sports events, we watch television, or we watch our child at play. That is it. That is how to watch our emotions.
This exercise moves you from an intellectual understanding, to an experiencing of the truth. One stance feeds the ego, and strengthens it, while the other stance allows the ego to fall away.