On Listening to the Holy Spirit

Here is what the Holy Spirit tells you when you listen: happiness is given; joy is given. You don’t have to do anything.

People hear this and panic. I have to go to work! I have to have sex! I have to have coffee! I have to floss! And vote! And so forth!

I appreciate those concerns. They are mine too, from time to time. From the perspective of a body, they are absolutely valid.

But you are not a body (W-pI.199.8:7).

Rather, you are creation brought forth by God in Creation, creating as you were created, thus bringing forth God.

The Holy Spirit has nothing else to teach you because there is nothing else you need to learn.

You are a cyclical process entangled with other like processes, all lawfully processing. It feels like you are a body, and that you are going to die, but in fact you are the reality in and through which the whole cosmos appears and disappears, over and over.

You are this: this this.

Therefore, don’t fight your body. It’s never the problem. It’s never the enemy. Your body knows what to do. Lungs don’t suddenly try to the kidney’s job. Your knees don’t suddenly turn into feet. Even death isn’t a big deal. Bodies know how to die.

There is an order to life, of which your body is an aspect, and it is okay to trust this order (and all its aspects) because it is a reflection of love. Love is not chaotic and disordered but perfectly just and balanced. It does not deviate.

Love is a law, not a feeling. It produces feelings but it is not itself a feeling. Nor is it a process, because time and space obey it.

The law of love is laid down by God; It is given by God; God is the Source of love and love is what God is. Beyond the perfection of love – its perfect justice, its perfect communion – is God, that which transcends our capacity even to imagine, let alone understand.

In these bodies in this world God – the love that exceeds our intellectual understanding – can only be approached by idols – statues, scriptures, paradoxes. But it cannot be realized that way; if it chooses to grace you it will and you will know it. And if it doesn’t, it’s okay, because in truth it has already graced you. Our perception of the divine gift is not a precondition of the gift because we are the gift.

God realizes God in you, and this – right now, this this – is exactly how God is experiencing God.

This is why a lot of spiritual teachers say that gratitude is always appropriate. Thankfulness is always a useful posture.

All this is what the Holy Spirit teaches us, over and over, until we get it. To listen to the Holy Spirit is simply to give attention to the part of our mind that can imagine God is love and, once imagined, accept it as real.

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  1. Dear Sean,

    Beautiful, thanks for addressing Love as so simple and so pure. Simple and pure in the sense of being a fact of life. One of the first things my Buddhist teacher told me was : “Love does not think.” You illustrated that beautifully! Again thx

    1. Thanks for reading & sharing Janine . . . hope all is well . . . “Love does not think” is a lovely way to see it . . .


  2. Hi Sean.
    Thanks for the reminder. I sincerely appreciate the messages you share.
    I have just finished reading Lesson 80, which turns out to be very timely, for me.
    I am struggling with whether or not I will get the COVID 19 shot. I want to get it for practical reasons, travel etc. yet, I don’t fully trust it and feel fearful about making the decision to do it.
    I believe I understand what this lesson teaches., though I also interpret it to mean that, no matter what, I cannot make a wrong decision.
    Would you kindly shed some light on my quandary, if you can make sense of it 🙃
    Thanks, Sean

    1. Hi Jen,

      I love lessons 79 and 80!

      All quandaries (vax or not vax? Quit job or keep job? etc) appear valid because we are confused about what we are. When we remember what we are, our problems go away because we only have one problem: we’ve forgotten what we actually are.

      We are NOT bodies having adventures in an unpredictable world, beings for whom COVID is a crisis with both personal and political ramifications. Or for whom a job is necessary for survival, let alone happiness.

      So one thing that happens in our ACIM practice is that our focus shifts a little, from the many problems the body appears to face, to the problem of mistaken identity. We want to know once and for all: what am I? Really and truly: what am I?

      When I am uncertain about vaccinations – or work, or relationships, or anything – the problem appears as a problem of vaccinations, work or relationship. Yet in truth, it’s the problem of forgetting what I am.

      This is why the many solutions to problems in the world (getting vaxxed or not, taking the new job or not) never fully and finally solve the underlying unhappiness and suffering. They aren’t the actual problem! Therefore, their solutions aren’t actual solutions.

      But still . . . should I get the vaxxed? Should I take the job?

      One way to approach the appearance of problems (or quandaries) like these is to literally ask the Holy Spirit to use the appearance to teach us that we are not bodies but free, are not condemned but guiltless, and need not suffer but can be happy, joyouse and free right now.

      Remember: the Holy Spirit is in you – IS you – a very real way. Therefore, when we turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance, we are not asking for supernatural intervention! We are accessing our own inner wisdom, which is a blend of knowledge, faith and common sense.

      The Holy Spirit wants you to be happy. Can you – in a space of stillness, however you reach that for yourself – allow your inner teacher, who IS you, to gently guide your inner student to the “right” answer?

      A couple possible challenges . . .

      Hearing what the Holy Spirit says can be difficult. It’s like a relationship with somebody who speaks quietly and sometimes seemingly cryptically. It’s closer to therapy than anything else I have experienced.

      Being present to that relationship is incredibly important to the relationship’s ability to be helpful. Showing up regularly, being super honest, being open to change . . . these are hallmarks of a healthy relationship with the Holy Spirit.

      Second, the Holy Spirit’s answer can often confound the ego. For example, the ego’s use of fear can lead to an overwhelming sense of “let’s play it safe.” And the Holy Spirit will say quietly, “do the scary thing because it will open up your heart a little and create new opportunities for healing in relationship.”

      And ego says – forgive me – fuck that.

      The Holy Spirit never argues with ego. It’s just that calm still voice inside that urges us to do the next loving thing. It wants us to be in loving relationship with our brothers and sisters because it is in relationship that love is brought forth, and healing abounds.

      It is in relationship that we are made happy, and can make others happy.

      So – again, like therapy – one has to be willing to trust the Holy Spirit and say, “okay – I will try this.”

      Good therapists don’t quit on us because we’re scared or because we take baby steps or because we don’t take their advice. They just keep gently working with us. It’s the same with the Holy Spirit; Holy Spirit never leaves us, never loses its commitment to our happiness, and never wavers in its clarity of how that happiness can be remembered.

      So it’s okay to make “mistakes.” From the perspective of love, there aren’t any mistakes. There is only love, and cries for love, and the response to both is the same: love.

      Therefore, it is okay for us to breathe and gently enter into the healing dialogue the Holy Spirit offers us.

      The specific answer to our specific problem WILL be given to us, but what it is doesn’t actually matter. It is always whatever helps us be more loving in the world, because “more loving” is how we remember that what we are in truth IS love, and therefore has no problems.

      In quiet and stillness ask the Holy Spirit what to do and let the answer be given, which it will be. Trust love; be happy; think of others. Follow the light, however dim it appears in the moment, and don’t worry. Everything is okay 🙂


  3. Thank you, Sean. Your reply resonated, deeply.


    PS: Now, to share something I find hilarious, in this process…I, inadvertently, wrote that I just finished reading lesson 80. In fact, it was lesson 76…hahaha…and your response led me to read lessons 79 and 80, which I absolutely needed to do.
    I love the way the Holy Spirit works.

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