You decide, but I warn you: you may get sucked in with me.
Don’t expect this article to make sense. Once the obsession with God has taken hold, knowing “why” does not matter. I often say, “Why is a whyld goose chase.” The ego is whyly. Wily means skilled at gaining an advantage, especially deceitfully. Therefore, the ego loves to distract us with a seemingly important question: “Why?” Say it three times and you’ve got a lament, “Why? Why? Why? Poor me.”
“Why” takes us down rabbit holes. “Why” is almost always a diversion tactic. Rather than ask why, allow yourself to flow. At first, flowing may seem impossible. But don’t take your inner stiffness, gripping, clenching, frozenness, or whatever your psychological defenses may produce physically, too seriously. Your ticket out of chronic sensibility is not taking yourself too seriously. After all, A Course in Miracles does explicitly say, “Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh.”
Now, let me discern between loving yourself, which does require self-examination, close attention, and compassion for the challenges of your personal life, and righteous self-centeredness. Loving yourself is necessary for emotional and psychological healing. This is the mind-healing that A Course in Miracles points us towards. You will probably be guided to a psychotherapist, minister, support group, certain books, some form of movement, such as walking or yoga, and other means of worldly healing. And this is serious business at times. That’s okay. Righteous self-centeredness just makes you myopic and self-aggrandizing (even if you appear weak and in pain; even if you appear strong and healthy).
In Chapter 15, The Holy Instant (the one Course students call the Christmas chapter), Jesus advises us, “Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you.” An obsession with God is one way to accept his advice. ACIM uses a new definition of forgiveness (watch http://bit.ly/keystoforgiveness) to help us make everything the same. We use our relationships with people, and also things and ideas (money and sex are two good examples) to discover they are idols, substitutes for God. When we are seized by the better idea that no idols will ever satisfy and nothing will ever substitute for God, the healthy obsession with God begins.
Hilda Charlton was a spiritual teacher in New York City in the 1980s. She was obsessed with God. She threw donation checks in her dresser drawer and, rather than depositing them, forgot about them. Her disciples would find them uncashed. She sometimes tried to go with friends to the movies, but could no longer sit through a film. She was obsessed with God. Her hands and feet were guided by God. She was moved where she needed to go, and did the work she was meant to do. Entertainment was no longer entertaining, and money was always available even when she ignored it. She used to give sermons at St. John the Divine in New York City. She also wrote a beautiful book, Saints Alive, that gave me answers to questions I didn’t even have, long before A Course in Miracles came my way.
Irina Tweedie was also obsessed with God. In her case, the God-obsession was obscured beneath a pleasant life of privilege. She was happy … but something she could not name was missing. After her husband died prematurely, she traveled to India. She was in her 50s and had led a well-to-do life. But she found herself giving away almost all of her money to poverty stricken villagers in her guru’s province. She never regretted it. You can read her account in Daughter of Fire: A Diary of a Spiritual Training with a Sufi Master.
I was relieved when I heard of Hilda and Irina, because I was obsessed with God, too. Lesson 76 in the Course tells us flat out: “There are no laws but God’s.” You are under no law but God’s. If you are taken with this thought, you can count on your God-obsession increasing, expanding and extending. Talking about it is probably not a good idea. Letting the God-obsession live through you is the way to experience making this year different by making it all the same.
God-obsession draws you into your Inner Guidance, your recognition of the Voice for God within you (which is usually a soundless directive, so no worries if you are not hearing something. In my case, words come to me. They pop into my head and usually come out of my mouth in conversation or are written through my hands in articles like this. They are ideas, not ego thoughts. One way to discern this is though they may heal you personally, they are not self-serving).
When you are obsessed with God, your actions may appear strange. Your logic may seem illogical. Your social life often disappears. You don’t understand your own choices, because they are not your own. But you still have free will. I was once guided to slap a woman across the face because she was in a feedback loop of hysterical crying that was not serving anyone well. I chose to disregard that Inner Guidance because I did not want to deal with the social consequences of taking that action. Even a slap is harmless when delivered for the highest good of all. But I lacked the stomach to deliver the Message at that time. Still, it was a great Inner Message for me because I was shown that even violence can be used by the Holy Spirit for healing. That Idea was a refreshing Zen slap!
About 18 years ago, I realized that I was “obsessed with God.” It was a healthy obsession which grew out of my immersion in A Course in Miracles. God was in my thoughts day and night. I looked “normal” and behaved “normally” but I was no longer alone in my thought process. God was constantly with “me.” Trust grew. Conviction strengthened. Fearlessness increased. Miracles and blessings occurred daily.
I went through several periods of disorientation as my personal identity was uprooted but remained completely functional. My personality still threw ego thoughts at “me” but interest in them waned as surrender to the Creator prevailed. In other words, the personality and its demands became less and less riveting as God illuminated my mind. This undoing process continues to this day. In fact, this past year has been particularly challenging in several personal categories (money, health, relationships) yet even as my personality is uprooted at deep levels, my connection with God strengthens. Many people believe that your personality is perfected as you discover your True Self. No, my friends, the personality is never perfected. It was made to be imperfect. But now that it is used by the Holy Spirit, you will undoubtedly find yourself more generous, more aware, more fearless.
People are afraid that an obsession with God means they are having a psychotic break from reality, or that they will need to renounce their lives and become a monk or nun. It’s the opposite. A healthy obsession with God returns you to your right mind which puts you on the path to true Reality. You naturally become a shining demonstration of Truth, usually in the midst of your usual life. Most people are not called to celibacy or a life of solitude, although if you are, it will be perfect for you.
Helen Schucman, the scribe of ACIM, stayed with her husband and remained in New York for the rest of her born days. Bill Thetford, the co-scribe of ACIM, moved to California in the last years of his life. This was not something he expected, but it turned out to be great for him (read Carol Howe’s book, Never Forget to Laugh: Personal Reflections of Bill Thetford and Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick).
The key element to a holy, healthy obsession is tuning in to your Internal Teacher. A Course in Miracles calls the Internal Teacher the Holy Spirit. It goes by many names and can be found on countless spiritual paths. Eventually the Internal Teacher makes Itself obsolete, as “you” disappear back into the nothingness from which you came, and Truth Presides. Until then, the body is used as a communication device for you to receive and transmit the Love and Light you are.
The ACIM Workbook for Students is a perfect practice for cultivating a healthy obsession with God. You can do it on your own, but if you’d like support and hand-holding, check out my extensive, home-grown ecourse: https://amytorresacim.com/workbook (which includes cross-references to the Text, company while you meditate, and much more).
And if your ego gets in the way of you fully obsessing about God, get my 33 Ego Busters: Instant Relief from Ego Attacks! here: bit.ly/egobusters