Questions and Answers
In Light of ACIM


QUESTION: "I've been doing this work for years, and honestly I've seen no major results apart from short glimpses. Am I doing it wrong?"

The most prevalent thing here is noticing. Sometimes it's heart breaking to be buying into my thoughts - especially when my thoughts start talking about my failure in ACIM, awakening, and failure to live an exuberant life all together. I can start seeing failure everywhere; I begin to project it on to everything. I watch myself buy into my ego knowing I should be in Holy Spirit. I watch myself read a piece of material - I become frustrated, I thrash around, apply myself, and end up quitting because I don't understand. I begin to see failure everywhere, and in my experience, It doesn't go away no matter how hard I push it out of my mind, no matter how many quotes of ACIM I push into it - no matter how many sleepless nights I play my failures over and over in my head, they just don't seem to go away.

My next step here is beautiful; I just have to notice. It's so, so important to recognize the beauty of my journey. And part of that beauty is recognizing the Ego. The ego is not bad, misjudging, unloving, uncaring; the ego does not bring bad thoughts into my mind, does not instill fear into my body; the ego simply speaks, and it's from not noticing that I begin to experience pain and failure. Byron Katie calls this an unquestioned thought, Jesus in the Course of Miracles calls this lack of vigilance, and I'm going to call it not noticing.

Notice when ego is speaking. Notice when ego says "You fail!", and simply hear it. Normally when I hear the ego telling me I've failed, I go in every direction to find Holy Spirit - I search for serenity, I repeat a mantra - I find a way to block the ego so I can hear Holy Spirit. And in case I haven't figured it out yet, it doesn't work. But, I don't ever take advice from anyone; I always test it for myself. And in my experience, when I am depressed and failing, whatever it is I'm doing isn't working. Pushing my ego away, "surrendering", to the Holy Spirit isn't working for me. Am I doing it wrong?

It's impossible to be doing it wrong. But again, don't take it from me, test this for yourself. In the meantime, there are ways I can discipline my mind that lead me to a joyful experience. There are ways to discipline my mind that open the blocks to love, and allow Holy Spirit - allow clarity; Gently, I can train my mind to allow my inner guide, intuition, and True Self to lead me. The very next step is the only step; my entire salvation - the next step is the same as the first step. Just notice.

The ego says "You fail!". Imagine for a second what happens, how you experience life after that attack. I can spend all night agreeing with the depressing experience, but it's time for a change. Let the ego say "You Fail!" and stop the story there. If I really can't let go of the story right now, and I just need to experiment on why this is or isn't true, that's fine. I'm not ready yet; I've had plenty of times where I wasn't ready, and I feverishly bought into my story. I've picked every side of my scab, and I've ran a movie of failure in my mind over and over. Just let me notice I'm not ready, and I guarantee I'll be ready when I'm ready, and not a moment sooner.


If I've experienced this scenario enough, I might have an incentive to let go for just a moment. For just a minute and step away from my story - not to worry, if this experiment doesn't work out, my story will be waiting for me, mockingly, just how I left it - and I can try something new; a different approach - Jesus calls this willingness in A Course of Miracles. And as Jesus says, it's the only requisite to starting the Course. If I'm unwilling, at the very least I can become willing to be willing. The only thing I have to do is say "I'm not willing right now. I will be willing when I am willing - not a moment too late or too soon.”

It's great if I get to this part in my journey. I really don't give myself credit enough of the time. Simply being willing is a mile from where I started. A time ago I didn't even hear "You fail!” Now I can hear "You fail!", and I can recognize I have a story to talk about. I even can notice that I want to repeat my story and make sure I have "valid" points. More than anything, I can notice that I don't want to let go of my story - and my "valid" points.

We're all spiritual gurus. We've all already done everything. Jesus talks about we are already awake - already out of the dream- and that's so true as I sit in my body right now. The only reason that it's not my experience is because of my awareness - my noticing. The only thing I need to do now is notice. It's a beautiful process. And if I feel I've noticed enough, I can dig a little deeper into my ego thoughts, and do a little more noticing.

Take the "You fail!" thought. Now, I understand there is a story, but I'm letting it aside for just a moment to try something different. What I am going to do is look at "You fail!” I want to notice, without judging myself, what it feels like. What comes up for me when I hear "You fail!"? I feel miserable, depressed. I feel like I’m stuck, or even masochistic. Whatever is coming up for me, now is when I let it come up without judging. That means I allow myself to be miserable, without insulting myself. Very gently, I allow the feelings to come up, and I lightly guide the insults away.

Now that I'm really in a place where I feel "You fail!", and I feel what I try so hard to cover, I can let the thought be. Let the thought sit open on the table. Feel everything it has to offer, all of the sweet, sweet sadness, and let it sit. Allow It, the thought, to remain without pushing it away, and without pulling it in. I allow the feelings without insulting myself. And I begin to slowly notice things.

I notice this gentleness is a new experience. I notice I’m scared it won’t work. I notice I’m slowly seeing more things. I begin to notice that right now, I'm truer to myself than I've experienced in a long time. I might notice that what I called "sadness" becoming just a warm feeling, slowly moving out of me. I allow myself to notice the effects of pushing my thoughts; how many times do I imagine myself failing? How many times do I fail in my head before I get a chance to do it in the real world? Do I even notice I play the same pictures in my head every time I think of failure? Eventually I might notice that the failure attack is gone. And in a minute, ten minutes, or ten days the attack might come back. And I will have the chance to welcome an old friend with open arms. I wonder to myself what I might notice this time. It becomes such a joy to be a "failure", such a joy to be me. In noticing, I develop a love for myself - an unconditional love; now I love myself, and I don't stop loving myself by blocking my thoughts. I don’t stop loving myself because I *think* I’m a failure. I learn I've always wanted to be a failure, I just didn't notice.

Nobody is ever lost on their journey, and it's simply impossible to be doing it wrong. All it takes is noticing, and you will no longer need my word for it; experience it yourself. Notice ego. Notice Holy Spirit. Notice happy, sad, excited, masochistic, spontaneous, boring, emotional, perverted, angry, and delusional - just notice. After a while you might notice you are not even the noticer. You become noticed. It starts to happen through you; You are a tool of the Holy Spirit; you are the Holy Spirit. Everything happens beautifully, on its own time, at its own pace. Simply, notice it.

*David Hemphill is a regular participant on the Weekly Text Conference call hosted by Rev Nyki Dobson, Rev Pamela Whitman, and Rev Reja Joy Green. David resides in Ardmore, Oklahoma alongside Rev Nyki, and is a senior in a public high school. He is a self acclaimed "active participant in life", and has one simple explanationDavid Hemphill for his behavior: "I know the difference from what hurts, and what doesn't." (Byron Katie). David started A Course in Miracles' Teaching on January, 28,2013, and he enjoys reading, sleeping, meditating, and of course, writing.     

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