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Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Course in Miracles - 1

The Arches, Sentosa, Singapore

This posting is based on what I have learned from the "A Course in Miracles" seminar on the 18-19th Aug 2007 in Singapore by Dr Aaron Lim. This seminar comprises a series of 6 lectures conducted one weekend every two months. This is first weekend lecture of the series.

Warning: This posting contains opinions that may be considered unacceptable by some people. If you are easily offended by unconventional views about religion and spiritualism, then DO NOT READ FURTHER THAN HERE. If you do, then do it at your own risk! If you do not agree with the views expressed below, it does not mean that you have not 'arrived', rather it just mean that you 'do not agree'. Meanwhile, try to be open. There are lots to discover about ourselves when we are open. Do feel free to leave comments. BELIEVING IS NOT NECESSARY!
This is "A Course In Miracles" (ACIM). A miracle is usually defined as something we don't understand about. You will learn from this course to understand what a miracle is and eventually to realise that the miracle is yourself.
There is no pre-requisite for this course. You are required to read 2-3 pages of text and do one lesson a day for 365 days. After one year, you will transform, as your perception and understanding of the world change.
This is a required course. Only the time you choose to spend is voluntary. The course curriculum cannot be changed. Much as freewill means the ability of bringing the Light, you do not get to decide what the Light is. As much, you are also the Light.
The more time you put into this course, the more you will benefit, as the synapses in your brain gets connected more and more as you think about subject more. There are some of you here who are doing the course for the second time. I know of someone who is doing it for the 25th time. Doing ACIM over again is different each time, as you start the course with better understanding as the previous time. It is just like watching a movie. The movie remains the same, but each time your understanding of the movie gets better.
In the movie "The Secret", there was a lady who watched it for 62 times before she finally got the message.

This course is going on the second time in Singapore and several other times in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Malacca. As a teacher, I receive the benefits from teaching and receive it first.
ACIM will help you ascend spiritually and self-realised.
Self-realised = Self + Real-ised
Only Love is Real and Love manifests itself in many ways. It can be a gratitude or simply a smile.

Fear does not exist. It is there because of the lack of love. Much like shadow is there because of lack of Light. Bring in the Light and shadows disappear.
ACIM is not about religions. Belief is not necessary, but if you can, be open. Just wonder if there is truth in it. Even not believing is a belief itself. Much as having no religion is a religion itself. Anything new will take time to grow.
That is the beauty of the human mind. Only humans can watch over themselves. If you are not using this enough, then you are not living as fully as you should as a human being.
The relationships that we make and the skills that we learn in this embodiment comes and go. When we die, we cannot bring them along with us. This is because they are created by the unreal. However, we carry our consciousness along with us.
Love cannot be taught, as you are already 100% love. So, you cannot get away from it even if you try to. The Bible says, "Ye are God".
Those who know about God don't talk about God, as it is difficult to talk about. It is like two fishes in the ocean trying to talk about water. For whatever the fishes could discuss, water remains the same as water, oblivious to what is being discussed.
The understanding about God comes from the depth of the soul. It cannot come from the head. It has to be listened from your heart.
If you ask someone if they know their parents/spouse loves them, they will likely say "Yes". However, if you ask them if they feel their parents/spouse loves them, then some are not too sure.
The first question requires the person questioned to use the head, the second requires listening to the heart.
Merge with Love. One who has merged with Love is even no longer conscious that one is being loving. Have you ever praised someone for being kind and it surprised that person? And that person turned back and said, "Is it so? Is there another way of doing it?"
Substitution of words
Here I would like to go through some of the words that are used in ACIM. Some people think that ACIM is a Christian book. This is because they used words like "God", "atonement", "The Father"...etc. As some of you are from different religious faith, there are substitute words you can use that you may be more comfortable with.
Buddhists often say they don't believe in a God and that they don't have a God. That is not true. Perhaps Buddhists do not believe in a Middle Eastern perception of God (as from the Jewish faith, Christianity and Islam). However, if you substitute 'God' with 'Nature', then it is easier to make sense for the Buddhists.
There has to be God or "Nature". If there is no intelligence around, I can't talk all these to you and you would not be able to listen. Grass will not grow and the rain will not fall.
So changing religion is not necessary. More important is your understanding of God.
In the Bible, it says God sits on a "throne".
"Throne" = Three in one.
Three = Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit
Father = The first Thought = (Buddhist) Dharma Kaya
Son = The Form = (Buddhist) Nimana Kaya
Holy Spirit = The Connecting Energy = (Buddhist) Sambot Kaya
It is always from "thoughts" that "forms" are created. But when "forms" are examined in sub-atomic levels, there is no solid particles but merely clouds of energy. So are actually mostly 'space'!!!
That is why the Buddhists say, "Emptiness is form, form is emptiness".
The Bible says, "My Father and I are One", it means "When your Thoughts and your Form are merged".
When you are fully merged, you are fully enlightened. You have merged and "came home". "Buddha", comes from the word "Budd", which means the emotion of missing home. A Buddha is therefore one who has "come home". "Buddha" is title, not a name. The Buddha we commonly refer to was called Lord Buddha Siddharta Gautama.
Same as "Jesus Christ". It meant "Jesus the Christ". "Christ" is a title. "Christ" comes from the Greek "Christo", which means the annointed one. This is because St Paul was Greek. Remember there was no Christianity during the time of Jesus.
"Jesus" was pronounced as "Yea su" in old Hebrew.
His full name would be "Jesus ben Joseph". "ben" here means "son of".
From "Christa", we also get "Krishna".
From "Jawe", meaning "God" in old Hebrew, we get "Jehovah".
Salvation = Self-elevation
Nobody can be your salvation other than yourself. When undesirable events happen we hear comments like, "Why don't God do something?" The truth is that nobody can do something to ourselves than our own self.
Resurrection = Re-erection
That means going from Fear back to Love.
Atone = At-one
That means merging the thoughts and the form. Jesus said, "When your eyes are single, you know I am God". Here "I am" is also you. When we address ourselves like:

"I am a Michael"
"I am a man"
"I am a Chinese"
I am does not change. Only the false self, "Michael", "man", "Chinese" etc changed.
I am the truth = I am is the truth.
So everything in the Universe has only one name.
So, "atonement" means when you move from the the world of duality to unity. In the world of unity, there is no such thing as Fear, for Fear is merely an absence of Love. Love has no opposite.
"Sin" does not exist too, since God cannot be offended, as God cannot be threatened. What is real cannot be threatened, what is unreal does not exist. Herein lies the peace of God.
'Sin' is an error in thinking. Many religions have accummulated errors over the years. Sadly, many religions and institutions of worship used "sins" and fear to control their followers.
There was a case of this girl, who was brought up as a Catholic in the church where she learned about Adam and Eve. And that Eve is responsible for all the ills of the world. This thought made such an impression in her that she hated to be a girl. These hate eventually manifested in her as uterine cancer. I advised her to love herself. Just face the mirror by herself, touch her body and say she love her body. She started doing that, but by then the cancer has already taken advanced stages. Finally she succumbed to her illness and died last week.
"Sin" comes from the old days of archery. When the arrow hits the centre of the target, they will shout "Bulls eye". If it missed the centre, they will shout out "sin".
"Sin" = miss the mark (of Love).
God is perfect. All things are created from this perfection. All His creations are perfect. But do not confuse between "perfect" and "desirability". For instance, when a tree falls on a house, it is not desirable for the house occupants/owners, but to the termites, it is perfect. Understand that ordinarily, we are speaking only from the perspective as humans.
The Bible says there will be a second coming of Jesus. So did the Koran. But everyone of us has a second coming.
We all come from 100% love. Then there was a tiny mad idea. This tiny mad idea is to identify with the ego. That started exclusion of 'ourselves' with 'others'. First we began with identifying ourselves with our gender. Before that, during childhood, we didn't even care if we play naked in the rain with the other little boys and girls who are also naked. Then we identify ourselves with our race, religion, caste, educational levels, schools, ...etc. Then gradually, our world becomes smaller and smaller.
So now, we have to learn to remember that we are 100% Love. The Bible's context of "I am a jealous God", means "I am 100% Love, anything less is not ME."
[My note: I have on occasions found Christian misusing this phrase, saying that God is jealous and doesn't want you to believe in other religions.]
Remember = re-member. That is, to be a member or 100% Love again. This remembering is our "second coming".
To do so, we have to remove what is not our true self.
It is akin to a skilled sculptor like Michaelangelo. He did not just see a raw rock before he started, he saw David. He said that all he did was to remove all that is not David.


So, we have to remove the fear, anger...etc that are not our true self from ourselves. Whatever, turbulence we have within us, we carry it with us. It does not come from the outside.

There is a story of this person who went on a little boat to the middle of a lake to meditate so that nobody can disturb him. He had enough of disturbances from other people when he was meditating on land. So he meditated on the boat in the middle of a tranquil lake. Then halfway, there was a loud knock on the boat and he shouted in anguish, "who is it!". When he opened his eyes, he realised it was a stray boat who had accidentally drifted onto his boat. So even when no one was there to antagonise this man, he still felt there was someone else around antagonising him.


Question from the audience:

Q: Where do my thoughts start? Which thoughts are my thoughts? Which are the ones that I have received and which are the ones that I originated?

A: If you are fully enlightened, all thoughts are your thoughts. That's why psychics can read your thoughts, because it is all in a common pool. Everything is I am to the fully enlightened person. So choose your thoughts carefully. Ask if your thoughts are less than loving. If they are less than less than loving, then let go of it.

We attract the thoughts that we are. eg. A fearful person will attract fearful thoughts.

Anything that is helping me remember who I am, I don't want that thing. You got to choose things that add on to your loving. 100% Love is my goal.

Incidentally, I was stopped by the immigration when I came into Singapore. It was because the immigration officer had miscalculated the number of days I came into Singapore. He thought I had stayed here for longer than 60 days, over the last three months, when I had only stayed for 2 days. Anyway, it was a misunderstanding. In the end, there was no issue. But it made me think that this is a job I do not want. In a job like an immigration officer, it is very hard to learn to be loving as he is suspicious of everyone that is passing through his way. So there are some jobs I would rather not take, because it doesn't teach me to be more loving.


Q: But someone has to do it...?

A: Then let someone else do it lah. [Laughter]

[My thoughts: While I understand the questioner's logic, I think we cannot think for others. We can only choose what we want for ourselves. There is no right and wrong, but merely choice and consequences.]

Q: Then why are the memories in our past embodiments removed?

A: They are not removed. They are all there. Just that the brain in our body has a limitation. It is a way of protecting us in this embodiment. Imagine if you can remember vividly some of the gruesome experiences you have done in your previous embodiment! That may not be very pleasant. So, memories of past embodiments are of no use to us. Head can't get all your answers. When we are enlightened, we will be able to remember them like a movie.

Q: So why are some 'unenligthened ones' able to remember parts of their past embodiments' experiences?

They remember events that are incidental to their existences. Events that had made fundamental changes to their lives.

Q: When do we know if it is our intuition or it is our fear?

A: These days we hear from the news about terrorism and about Muslim extremists. Often, they will show the arrested or suspected terrorists as men with turbans and beards. So, after some time an image of terrorists as men with turbans and beards are formed sub-consciously. So once, as I was at an airport about to board a plane, there were six young Muslim men in turban and beards. My first thought was for them not to be in the same plane. But as thoughts have it, they went into the same plane as I did. Not only that, they were seated next to me. So as passengers seated next to each other, we had a chat. As it turned out, we had a very pleasant conversation. This is when fear took over, not intuition.

On the contrary, have you ever avoided someone immaculately dressed with a three-piece suit? That when you see him coming in the distance, you walk away somewhere to hide? There is nothing physically intimidating and yet you don't have a comfortable feeling about this man. This is intuition. There is something amiss, but you are not sure what.

Once you recognise your fears, confront them. Then you will realise that the fear is not as big as you think it is.

Fear and anger and stay in a person for a long time when not confronted. There was a case of a girl who was raped by her brother-in-law when she was 14 years old. Clouded with guilt, she kept it to herself. Then when she was a little older, she couldn't keep it any more and decided to tell her sister. Her sister on hearing her, defended her husband and insisted that what the girl uttered was not true. Instead her sister accused the girl of being jealous of her, since she was married and the girl was not. Naturally, the girl was shattered! She had no one else that she can tell her plight at that time, so she kept the anger inside her and hated the brother-in-law. This went on for many years. It has even affected her married life.

Now in her 50s, she still hated the brother-in-law. I then advised her to confront the issue and forgive her brother-in-law. Just turned up give him hug and say "I love you". She thought it was impossible to do. "How can I ever forgive and let go of my hate?" she thought. Then she said she will never be able to do it.

Then one morning at 3am in the morning, I got a surprised call from her. She yelled that she is free, fully liberated. She had finally confronted her bro-in-law, gave him a hug and say she loves him. Now that freed her from anguish and guilt after all these years. Her life went on much better after that. Whatever it had done to her bro-in-law need not matter. Forgiveness was a matter for her to move on, it has nothing to with the bro-in-law.

Similarly, can you tell a dirty and smelly person "I love you"?

Mother Teresa said of the people she is helping that she did not see sick people, she just can see Christs in distress. She didn't go round to convert people she met into Catholics. As she was in India, she clasped her palms against each other in namaste just like Hindus do and bowed to people she met. Her love is unconditional and beyond form.

Pope John Paul II said, "I love you" to his assasin in the jail.

Jesus said, " Father forgive them for they do not know...", when he was tortured by the Jews.

A miracle is an expression of Love. Some people think that a miracle must be something incredulous and happened against all odds.

Eg. When a aeroplane crashed killing all others except you. God saved you, but what about the rest? Why did God discriminate? So do not justify your stuff and think that you are more chosen. It's all an ego trip.

Q: So, is ego important?

A: Yes, it is in the physical world. Ego is the personality. Personality is important within limits. In the same extent that shadows can be beautiful. Without shadows we would not be able to see the beauty of many things.

New Age Beliefs?

Some New Age beliefs like to think that you have a guardian angel that follows you around. If you believe, then so it is. Would you like an angel to follow you everywhere. Yes, angels do exist, but do you think there is an angel that follows you everywhere? Where is the privacy?

Some people say they would like to be born as angels in their next embodiment. But why? I would rather be born as a human being. It is a rare privilege to be born a human. Angels cannot ascend and cannot be fully enlightened?

Q: Why?

A: Because they are Angels. (A different consciousness.)

Q: What are these different consciousness?

A: In the Bible, Jesus said, "The house of my Father has many mansions." These 'mansions' are the many different levels of conciousness in the world of illusion. There are 31 planes of existence. We are in plane 5, and we can see only another plane which is plane 2 for animals. Hell is the plane below our current existence. So to us, plane 4 is Hell.

Lucifer was banished to hell. He is a fallen angel from Plane 12 to Plane 11 is Hell to Lucifer. But Plane 11 is still 3 levels higher than KuanYin, whom some considered as 'God'. So it is all relative.

To be fully enlightened, you leave the House of my Father - which is the world of illusions.

Ego survives on the deluded mind. Some say EGO stands for Edging God Out.

It is said that there are as many Buddhas as there are the sands along the Ganges River. Do you think any of these Buddhas will not have done something to help us if they could? They didn't because there is nothing they can do. We have to help ourselves!

Beings of great consciousness will not show themselves to you, because it will cause new issues for you, as you may get attached to them. So don't confuse the message from the messenger. Jesus is one of such messenger. We need only to focus on his message.

[Laughter from the audience]

So don't count on guardian angels or angels. Only count on yourself. All these "Angel talk" is not going to help you. Usually this happens to people who has a comfortable life and money in their pocket.

Same with Feng Shui, past life regression and Reiki. Don't spend your time on such things. All you have to do is just to learn to be more loving.

[My note: As a Reiki practitioner, we are taught that we can only heal with love. Through Reiki, many practitioners have seen their lives transformed. So while I understand that Dr Aaron is discouraging people from spending time on frivolous New Age activities to feel the fallacy of 'spiritual superiority', I think any activity that encourages one to be loving would be worthwhile one's time spent.]

Q: Then why some people still go for past life regression?

A: What is the purpose of knowing what happened in your past embodiments? What if you happened to have committed mass murders? It won't help you to be more loving. Many past lives that are read, curiously happened to be prominent lives, like being a King or Queen. One common one is having been the Queen of Shiba. [Laughter]

All these are 'spiritual ego'.

Religious ego are easy to see. eg. Saying that one religion is superior to another or more chosen.

Spiritual ego comes more well disguised. It is about something that I have that you don't. This will stop your growth. It is also futile trying to intellectualised whether there is a God or there isn't. Neither will it be useful finding out about past embodiments.

There is the story about the Buddha crossing the river in India. Halfway across the river, he saw a yogi crossing the river, by walking on water.

He asked the yogi, "How long did you learn to walk on water?"

Yogi: "Twenty years."

Buddha: "Oh. I do it with only five cents" [Laughter]

So it is futile spending time to learn the things you can do cheaper and easier.

There are also no 'lessons' to learn in life. Our purpose in life is only to learn to 're-member'. Express lovingness. Do that and you feel powerful.

The Universe is based on the creation of spiritual power. Everything is spiritual if you have a spiritual mind.

[End of Day 1 of the seminar]

Day 2 Reading and Exercise

The following paragraphs were brought up for clarifications:

Page 3, Para 5: Miracles are habits, and should be voluntary. They should not be under conscious control. Consciously selected miracles can be misguided.

Concious control here refers to discrimination and thinking in duality. eg. Helping another person because he is of the same religious faith, and exclude others.

Page 4, Para 14: Miracles bear witness to truth. They are convincing because they arise from conviction. Without conviction, they deteororiate into magic, which is mindless and therefore destructive; or rather, the uncreative use of the mind.

Miracles are all expressions of Love.

Truth here indicates that only Love exists.

Conviction is your natural self.

Magic here means 'superstitutions'. Superstitutions stop one from growing spiritually.

Q: What is 'maximal' service?

A: 'Maximal' here means you can't go more than 100% Love.

Q: What is 'revelation'?

A: To reveal who you really are.

Q: What is the difference between 'illusion' and 'delusion'?

A: Illusion is on the 'outside', delusion is from the 'inside'. However, when one is no longer deluded, there is no more 'inside' or 'outside'.

Q: In Lession 2 of the book, we have an exercise where we are supposed to attached a meaning to a list of objects. One of them in Darkness. How are we going to do that as Darkness does not really exist?

A: As we put meaning to new things, we make new discoveries. Gallileo discovered that the world is round, which nobody agreed with him at the time. Then came Newton who discovered gravity. Then Einstein who discovered quantum physics, that there is no such thing as gravity and that what we know as gravity is merely when time and space got warped. For a time some scientists think that they can't calculate quantum physics because we can't see it. Then came Steve Hawkins who discovered that there is light everywhere, even in Blackholes.

So even in Darkness there is light, so when you attached meaning to it, it exists. It is like shadows, they have a purpose too. Shadows have beauty, without which we can't see the beauty of many pictures.

Q: In the New Age practice, it is said that we can cast a white Light upon ourselves to protect ourselves. What do you think of this practice?

There is no need to do that. Your best protecton is when you are filled with Light (Love). You can cast white Light onto yourself, but that is not permanent. It won't last very long.

"When your eyes are single, your body will be filled with light..."

That's why Hindus dot their forehead as a symbol for this single eye.

The Bible says, "... When your body is filled with Light, people will see you from afar,... like a beacon on a hill, they will come to see you."

Jesus said "Everything I can do you can also do, and more..."

["How so?" I wondered.]

Jesus didn't have a mobile phone that he can contact anyone around the world that has one. He couldn't fly from one place to another. Now we have aeroplanes...etc.

When Buddha reached enlightened, people could see it on his face and they asked him, "What happened to you?"

He replied, "I have awakened".

Awaken comes from 'Awake', which comes from 'aware'.

That's the state of Nirvana. Nirvana is not a place you go to. It is akin to feeling the air-con in a car from place to place. You can feel the same air-con feeling even as the car moves from Singapore to Penang.


"You are greater in the eyes of the Father, yet smaller creatures do not have such problems"
Trees in nature just grow to be glorious trees. Whether you picnic or park your car under the shade of its canopy, it will just grow to be as glorious as it can be. It doesn't care what you do under its shade.
The weekend lecture ended here. These notes are here to help those cannot attend the ACIM course, but who would like to be guided in their reading of the book. Many of the terms are explained by stories that we encounter in our daily life. This is so that we can relate to them and understand tbe book better when we read. However, if you can attend the lecture, it is better to do so. Notes are only words and words have more limitations than lectures where questions pertinent to the audience can be discussed in the right context.
Some of the examples that are repeated from Dr Aaron's other lectures are not mentioned here again. To access those examples, you can read the notes from
105 Universal Laws and Spiritual Parenting..

Next lecture: 20-21 Oct 2007 (Sat/Sun) 10.30am-5.30pm, at Singapore Council for Women Organisations (SCWO), 96 Waterloo Street.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your thoughts. indeed it has given me a deeper understanding of the true meaning in the word miracle. fantastic entry michael. cheers, mashietasan.