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Switch to Forum Live View We need do nothing vs. addiction??
6 years ago  ::  Jun 08, 2008 - 7:58AM #1
JimCIM
Posts: 45
Before I went to bed last night I copied and pasted a page and a half of excerpts from the various posts here.
I find my memory is being refreshed regarding some too easily forgotten points about ACIM. I hoped by reading them before sleep that they would better stay with me. (I have a question about ACIM & sleep for later).

Most of what I extracted to read were things like "I look and watch everything--all my feelings..." and "I think the key is continuing vigilance for the ego -- simply continuing to step back and look....". "I choose again, I choose again, I choose again. All day long". I had the thought that if I'd just remember tomorrow that my day would have more time spent in 'listening to Spirit" if I just remembered the ways to do that which so many members offered.

Although I won't quote all my extractions, I got something valuable from everyone who posted. So in that respect I hope EVERYONE will keep sharing.

For some reason though I awoke this morning (Sunday) and the thought came to me, what about people who have problems with drugs and alcohol....addictions? I'm not addicted to substances but maybe to trying to get down pat the "steps" to do to make today more ACIM "productive". Anyhow whatever addiction, isn't there a  need to stop abusing substances before they can benefit from the decision to withdraw judgement and be guided by Jesus or the Holy Spirit. This seems to contradict "I need do nothing". "Into His Presence would I enter now" doesn't seem to fly or something. The technique of "I choose again, I choose again...all day long" seems tedious but I'm asking about it because I intended to wake up and be vigilant for a more Spirit filled day today.

I'd like some feedback please about ACIM and addictions. Can you get addicted to ACIM?

Jim
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 09, 2008 - 3:21PM #2
RichardAtTahoe
Posts: 5
[QUOTE=JimCIM;550456]I'd like some feedback please about ACIM and addictions. Can you get addicted to ACIM?

Jim[/QUOTE]

Good afternoon,

I can't speak for all addicts or all Course students, but a special relationship is a special relationship, whether with alcohol or the Course. In a very real way, the "hole" which we think we can fill with either is the same. At the same time, in a different context, my sponsor (AA) used to say, in comparing the addictions of alcohol and food, that there's no law against fat driving.

I no longer try to fill the hole with alcohol, and that's a start. I'm not ready to give up the Course just yet, but it is not the well man who needs a doctor.

Richard
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 09, 2008 - 5:13PM #3
Bob_Bennett
Posts: 916
You see a conflict between "I need do nothing" and being addicted.   Let's split up 'nothing' into no thing, and then say "I need do no thing" and that now includes not doing drugs.

The Course isn't about behavior in the sense of any given behavior being morally right or wrong, since it is all taking place within a dream that is illusory.  Rather, the Course is about our thought system, and the teaching to ask the HolY Spirit for guidance.  Presumably, the holy spirit would tell the addict to give up the substance abuse at the appropriate pace as part of getting the Course.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 12:49AM #4
Inthisholyinstant
Posts: 35
[QUOTE=Bob_Bennett;553012] Presumably, the holy spirit would tell the addict to give up the substance abuse at the appropriate pace as part of getting the Course.[/QUOTE]


Thank you Bob for this statement.  This has been my precise experience with addiction and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the matter.  It has not been so much the controlling of the behavior as it has been letting it fall away according to the gentle and forgiving presence of the Holy Spirit within my mind as I travel this journey of awakening to truth.

It is my current experience that just as in any special relationship when it is sincerely turned over to the Holy Spirit for interpretation the whole relationship takes on a new meaning and valuable lessons do occur along the way even when total abstinance has yet to be reached.

I have learned more from my addictive behaviors by asking the question Jesus asks us to ask: "What is this for?"

To this I see many more lights shining upon my own internal ego based resistence to surrendering my hold onto self separation from my brother and thus from the Kingdom of Heaven and our beloved Father.

T-24.I.8  "The fear of God and of your brother comes from each unrecognized belief in specialness. 2 For you demand your brother bow to it against his will. 3 And God Himself must honor it or suffer vengeance. 4 Every twinge of malice, or stab of hate or wish to separate arises here. 5 For here the purpose that you and your brother share becomes obscured from both of you. 6 You would oppose this course because it teaches you you and your brother are alike. 7 You have no purpose that is not the same, and none your Father does not share with you. 8 For your relationship has been made clean of special goals. 9 And would you now defeat the goal of holiness that Heaven gave it? 10 What perspective can the special have that does not change with every seeming blow, each slight, or fancied judgment on itself?"

There are many in the 12 step movement who would disagree with me but I have personally found greater results in my my recovery from the destructive aspects of addiction by honoring the perspective the Holy Spirit provides rather than the self declaration of an "identity" as an addict but rather as a son of God choosing uncommon special relationships with substances for the express purpose of manifesting barriers to the awareness of Love's Presence.  In this way I begin to see that I am not an addict at heart but rather a spirit of God free and limitless bound only to the tethers I aquiesce to in obediance to the thought system of the ego.

And Jim I would say that yes the Course can indeed become an addiction in the manner of how you demand of yourself certain behaviors and practices in a special attempt to garner certain ego ordained results that being of ego are inherently apart from the the goal of Atonement established by Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

T-16.VI.1  "The search for the special relationship is the sign that you equate yourself with the ego and not with God. 2 For the special relationship has value only to the ego. 3 To the ego, unless a relationship has special value it has no meaning, for it perceives all love as special. 4 Yet this cannot be natural, for it is unlike the relationship of God and His Son, and all relationships that are unlike this one be unnatural. 5 For God created love as He would have it be, and gave it as it is. 6 Love has no meaning except as its Creator defined it by His Will. 7 It is impossible to define it otherwise and understand it."


T-25.I.3  "Perception is a choice of what you want yourself to be; the world you want to live in, and the state in which you think your mind will be content and satisfied. 2 It chooses where you think your safety lies, at your decision. 3 It reveals yourself to you as you would have you be. 4 And always is it faithful to your purpose, from which it never separates, nor gives the slightest witness unto anything the purpose in your mind upholdeth not. 5 Perception is a part of what it is your purpose to behold, for means and end are never separate. 6 And thus you learn what seems to have a life apart has none."

This last passage I see as testement to the dynamics of the answer of "What is this for?"  If my addiction is a means to separate myself in specialness from others then even if I am totally abstinant my abstinance is but a testament to my special hatred for those unlike myself.  And if I still find myself not complete in my abstinence I can through the eyes of the Holy Spirit see my struggle for freedom from the specialness of addiction as equal to the struggle for freedom from ego that all my brothers share along with me. 

"What you believe is true for you."

I pray this post contributes well to the topic at hand.

Peace and Blessings

Ru'el
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 7:22AM #5
JimCIM
Posts: 45
To: Richard, Bob and Ru'el, I thank you all. I hope expressing my gratitude doesn't end the gentle kindness I perceive in your replies. Words like "appropriate pace" and "demand of yoursef" speak well of how I'm driving myself crazy trying to be "vigilant" about ACIM. Not doing well in relationships with other people generated this idea if only I could do this course better. Intense lonliness resulting in looking for a comptible body to share life with. Gosh, when I first posted here only a week ago, I never expected it would go in this direction. I'll stop here for now grateful that your words express hope and not add more demands with exclamation marks.  Jim
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 11, 2008 - 1:32AM #6
miraclestudies
Posts: 51
Chiming in here -- I think it's important to recognize that what we call chemical addiction, or substance addiction, is just one form of a special relationship. I see that has been recognized in the discussion, but I just want to emphasize that all special relationships are dependency relationships, and all of them are an attempt to substitute some form in the dream of separation for the Love of God.

What the hell! -- as long as we think we're bodies living in a world of separate bodies and things, we're all chemically dependent. Dependency on water is a form of chemical dependency as is dependency on oxygen. The special relationship underneath those forms of chemical addition is our relationship with the idea that we are a body, which equates to our special love affair with being a separate self.

As mind which has chosen wrongly, all special relationships derive from our relationship with the ego; and the ego is merely the idea that not only are we a self separate from God/Christ (One Undivided spiritual reality) but that we have discovered a substitute for the Love of God.

So, the world of special relationships is a mess! What else would we expect from the idea that we can survive apart from God and His Love?! Someone dying of meth addiction portrays that mess rather graphically in our perception. Wars, murder and torture portray it graphically, but so does any physical suffering -- suffering which comes from the belief in separation, therefore the belief in the reality of the body -- basically, the reality of me, me, me; me and mine.

The seeking for specialness is the seeking for someone or something which seems to be other than myself in order to fulfill myself. As an ego who believes he's separate from the Love of God, I have an intense sense of emptiness and lack. And so I go about trying to fill up that emptiness -- trying to satisfy that sense of lack. I do that by seeking out other bodies, but also by filling my body with food, or ingesting a drug, or by collecting objects or attempting to amass wealth -- also by attempting to achieve social status or political power in some form. I seek to fill the emptiness with fame and fortune or with a needle or sex. It doesn't matter -- the goal is to find a substitute for the Love of God that I must believe I'm lacking as long as I believe I'm an ego inhabiting a body separate from other bodies and from Heaven.

The fulfillment we all seek -- all of us who identify as separate -- lies within, not without. It's always been there in our mind, but we have blocked it out. We look outward rather than inward.

And so Jesus says to us in the Introduction to the ACIM Text that it's not about discovering the meaning of love, but about removing the very obstacles (specialness) that we have placed in the way of our awareness of the love that has always been with us.

Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home (W-pI.188.1).

That paragraph only make sense if you read it with the understanding that you are not a body, but mind (an aspect of spirit), and that as mind you are not separate from what seem to be other minds; nor is the mind we all share really separate from the Mind of God. It is that truth of non-separation the the Holy Spirit retains for us, and which Jesus manifests to us in our mind.

Finally, what the Course calls the "Holy Spirit" is not some kind of entity telling us what to do in the dream. The Holy Spirit, of Whom Jesus is a more personal manifestation, represents a way of thinking and perceiving. He is a Thought in our mind -- a thought system that begins with the premise of the Atonement principle that separation from God (therefore specialness) is not only impossible, but can never ever lead to genuine love, peace and happiness.

But that's what the world is about and that's what we are about -- chasing around trying to find a substitute for the Love of God in a dream that we are separate from God.

Peace won't ever be found in the world; not in society and  politics, and not in relationships of any kind, whether with bodies, drugs, money, status, power, food, or any form. It can only be found in our mind, and it is thought -- content -- not form. Likewise, love will never be found in a  relationship of any kind, whether with another body or something else that seems to be "other." The whole idea of "relationship" is based on the belief in separation. Love can only be found in our mind, and when it is found, it embraces everyone, not in terms of form -- not physically or sexually -- but spiritually. No one is excluded from the embrace of the Love of God or from the embrace of forgiveness which is the Holy Spirit's reflection of the Love of God in our seemingly separated mind.

Peace, then, be unto everyone who becomes a teacher of peace. For peace is the acknowledgment of perfect purity, from which no one is excluded. Within its holy circle is everyone whom God created as His Son. Joy is its unifying attribute, with no one left outside to suffer guilt alone. The power of God draws everyone to its safe embrace of love and union. Stand quietly within this circle, and attract all tortured minds to join with you in the safety of its peace and holiness. Abide with me within it, as teachers of Atonement, not of guilt (T-14.V.8).

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6 years ago  ::  Jun 11, 2008 - 8:58AM #7
JimCIM
Posts: 45
Joe, your replies are very helpful. (Now I ask myself, can I say that without asking the Holy Spirit to heal the idea that I need helpful messages?). Am I experiencing level confusion or something? What the heck would we do all day except just turning our ego thoughts over to the Holy Spirit? Do you understand my question, Joe? Heck,
we wouldn't call a friend because.....I might feel I need their help (or they might need mine). Something is not gelling here for me. Obviously, we feel in the need for supportive connections (like here), do we just acknowledge
that I feel like "a help needing body" and speak my mind? Otherwise, we would be constantly "undoing" what we are thinking all day long? Why should I write anything on this website if in the beginning of typing I realize I'm feeling in need. It sounds like I would delay typing and "undo" my idea that I need to ask for help. (Remember Joe you are writing to a "civil engineer" who is hard wired to nearly always think analytically. I just don't get it.   Jim
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 11, 2008 - 8:58AM #8
JimCIM
Posts: 45
Joe, your replies are very helpful. (Now I ask myself, can I say that without asking the Holy Spirit to heal the idea that I need helpful messages?). Am I experiencing level confusion or something? What the heck would we do all day except just turning our ego thoughts over to the Holy Spirit? Do you understand my question, Joe? Heck,
we wouldn't call a friend because.....I might feel I need their help (or they might need mine). Something is not gelling here for me. Obviously, we feel in the need for supportive connections (like here), do we just acknowledge
that I feel like "a help needing body" and speak my mind? Otherwise, we would be constantly "undoing" what we are thinking all day long? Why should I write anything on this website if in the beginning of typing I realize I'm feeling in need. It sounds like I would delay typing and "undo" my idea that I need to ask for help. (Remember Joe you are writing to a "civil engineer" who is hard wired to nearly always think analytically. I just don't get it.   Jim
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 11, 2008 - 1:23PM #9
jjesseph
Posts: 178
Jim, maybe it would be a good idea for you to spend a little more time reading the Course rather than focusing so much on what is being posted here -- that is, assuming that you're not reading the Course on a regular basis now. Rather than copying posts from this forum and concentrating on them, how about reading the Course and concentrating on what it says? For instance, you might try reading that section in Chapter 18 entitled "I need do nothing." That section is about letting go of bodily preoccupation in favor of entering the holy instant where Jesus and the Holy Spirit inform your perceptions and therefore serve to guide your actions. It's not saying that we actually should not do anything, but that what we do should flow from the quiet center within where we are in touch with the Divine Guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Here's the last paragraph of that section:

Yet there will always be this place of rest to which you can return. And you will be more aware of this quiet centre of the storm than all its raging activity. This quiet centre, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this centre will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this centre, from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it (T-18.VII.8).

The Course is not silly and when it seems not to be making sense it is simply that we have somehow misunderstood or confused ourselves. At that point, in addition to asking how someone else understands it, I think it helps to go back to the Course and study it some more to see what it is actually saying. For instance, it can be very confusing just to take one statement like "I need do nothing" and start speculating about it. But reading the whole section will probably bring clarity.

A discussion group like this is only valuable if it helps you to better read the Course for yourself and practice it. The other value a group has is that it serves as yet one more classroom in forgiveness. Remember that no one here is a graduate of the Course who is able to actually live it from moment to moment without exception. Furthermore, we all have our blind spots and areas of misunderstanding. We're all beginners. Some of us learn by asking questions and some of us learn by attempting to answer questions. But nobody here is a replacement for your own Inner Teacher. As Helen wrote in the Preface to the Course: "Its only purpose is to provide a way in which some people will be able to find their own Internal Teacher."

Also, the fact that we're caught up in special relationships and dependency is not to be judged as "bad" and therefore to be avoided. The point of the Course is to be able to look honestly and objectively at what's going on with us without judgment. We look without judgment when we invite Jesus into the process, or when we're right minded.

As far as interpersonal relationships are concerned, it's not a question of avoiding them, but of allowing the Holy Spirit and Jesus to give them a different purpose -- the purpose of forgiveness. Relationships in our dream are the curriculum when we allow the dream to become a classroom in forgiveness.

As for spending the day in observing and undoing the ego, yes, that's the point. But there's another part of that, which is that when we step back from the ego we allow Jesus or the Holy Spirit to be our guide in the dream. We don't become immobilized. Rather, we are mobilized by love and forgiveness rather than specialness. But most of the time we're going to continue to come from the ego, at least in the early years with the Course (like, maybe the first twenty or thirty! -- or maybe the first two or three lifetimes!). So, we continue to act out ego motivations, but now we have the ability to step back and look at what we're doing and why. That's the beginning of changing our mind -- changing our inner teacher, which is what the "miracle" is all about.

Your part is only to remember this; you do not want anything you value to come of a relationship. You choose neither to hurt it nor to heal it in your own way. You do not know what healing is. All you have learned of empathy is from the past. And there is nothing from the past that you would share, for there is nothing from the past that you would keep. Do not use empathy to make the past real, and so perpetuate it. Step gently aside, and let healing be done for you. Keep but one thought in mind and do not lose sight of it, however tempted you may be to judge any situation, and to determine your response by judging it. Focus your mind only on this: I am not alone, and I would not intrude the past upon my Guest. I have invited Him, and He is here. I need do nothing except not to interfere (T-16.I.3).

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6 years ago  ::  Jun 11, 2008 - 3:01PM #10
JimCIM
Posts: 45
I sure appreciate you taking the time to reply, Joe. I will indeed start reading ACIM again as I have been reading books constantly BUT mostly books about ACIM like Wapmick's 2 books on kindness and now your book also. It seems like I'm going through a period of "time" of great anxiety and so I turn this angst over to the Holy Spirit right now. I can't put your book down, Joe, it's superb (I'm highlighting it of course HA) so I'll just have to divide up my time to be sure to include ACIM book itself. HA. I read the Text from beginning to end once and probably can honestly say two or three times, those being more by  topic. I'll start with some of the sections you recommended. Jim
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