On Projecting Our Inner Teacher

A Course in Miracles teaches – in no insignificant way – that the Holy Spirit is our Teacher (see, for example, T-5.III.10:1, T-7.VII.7:2, T-8.VIII.9:10 and T-16.I.5:6). This is a liberating idea because the Holy Spirit is a symbol of our healed mind, the condition in which it remembers perfectly its oneness with God. Thus, the Holy Spirit is not a separate being external to us who intervenes when asked, but is within us – is us – in a real and practical way.

In order to learn, we have to decide to learn. We have to want to learn. And we are all at different stages of that process. Some of us think we know it all already and some of us aren’t even asking any questions yet. Knowing where we are with respect to learning is a very personal process and it can’t be rushed or overlooked. It is on this basis that we will begin to give serious attention to real learning, real undoing. In a sense, A Course in Miracles aims to bring us to that place, where we can choose the Holy Spirit as our inner teacher.

It can be helpful to adopt an interim teacher in this process – someone (or something perhaps) that will stand in for the Holy Spirit, and help us bridge that space between unwillingness and willingness.

This is in the nature of projection! We are projecting our responsibility to learn onto somebody else and asking them to carry it for a little while. Therapists work very hard with this issue. It is not inherently unhealthy so long as the one upon whom the projection is made is aware of it and is working to undo it.

I think of Tara Singh as my teacher of A Course in Miracles. In doing so, I project onto him my holiness, my sacredness, my responsibility for decision and so forth. This is not an error because Tara Singh did not accept those projections! He knew they were there but he simply looked beyond them to our fundamental equality as creations of God. He was very skillful and attentive in bringing students to a place of decision, but he did not decide for them.

When we discover a teacher who wants only to undo our need for her or him, then we are in the presence of real grace. It is a rare quality!

I also project a great deal onto the bluets this year! I don’t think anybody else is walking around calling bluets their ACIM teacher, though of course I may be mistaken. If you have some of these pretty little flowers available, go sit with them a while. See if you are ready to be their student!

The bluets have intelligence and presence but it falls outside the brain and the world as the ego sees and thinks of it. They are creative and generous and loving but in a radically simple way. When you see their love, it is almost too much to bear. And the thought that you are not separate from them but might express the way they do . . . it brings you to silence. It brings you to stillness.

The bluets can be my teacher because they do not want anything from me! That is the sign of a true teacher – she does not want your money or your praise or your attention or anything. She is just giving of what was given to her, because she knows that the expression of God’s Love is all there is. And so you are blessed by that knowledge, and work through the details in a way that makes sense to where you are at at this particular time and place until you learn there is nothing to learn and never was.

What I am saying is that giving attention to just where we are projecting our inner teacher can be very helpful. Is it working? Are we being led home or directed outward? Is our learning in the nature of a sacrifice or a joyful acceptance of all that is? Learning is a kind of dance that happens away from what is time-bound and matter-bound. Are you hearing that song? Are you feeling that flow?

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  1. Hello Sean! This is Lavina.

    Thank you for sharing your deep insights about the Inner Teacher. I resonate with your thoughts. From my experience I know that when we have not found the appropriate teacher for whatever it is we need a lot of help in, we spend a lot of time trying to ‘please’ the outside teacher. Spiritually, I have left organizations and groups simply because so much effort was being placed on pleasing the teacher. I have always felt true teachers are not concerned about the world. They do not even actually talk about the world much. Their teachings go beyond the world so they have no investments or desires to be pleased and plied with gifts financially and otherwise. Ultimately, ofcourse, I must train myself to find my answers from my own meditation and contemplation. In Hinduism the Holy Spirit is considered to be The Divine Feminine, The Mother, who is manifested as the Universe and as Nature. She is the Creative Principle. A lot of the Indian saints including Aurobindo, placed their whole life on The Mother. Jesus refers to The Holy Spirit as ‘He’ in ACIM simply because he had a certain mind-set that this teaching would appeal to and this mind set basically comprised of Christians steeped in the present beliefs, but in “The Aquarius Gospel of Jesus the Christ” the Holy Spirit is referred to as “She” and “Holy Breath” variously. For me, everything is God so the line between ‘within’ and ‘without’ get a bit blurred. Evil/ego are illusions and manifestations of separated mind. These are all words ofcourse till one experiences Joy through focusing on God Alone. Any other distractions brings pain and suffering. So while I would hold a True Teacher of God with the highest respect, I would definitely use the grace of the teacher to bridge the gap between me and Spirit whether that teacher be of human form or spirit form.

    As always, I feel blessed to be able to share in your space.

    Namaste! :))

    1. Thank you, Lavina. That’s a good point – our desire to appease or please the external teacher is a sign that we are probably still seeking the more helpful teacher.

      The teacher who does not need anything from us is a rare gift.

      Yes, the western tradition has had a hard time finding a place for the feminine that reflects strength and wisdom. Even the masculinity of God as “He” can be problematic. Holy Spirit as feminine is very helpful. I actually like “holy breath” very much as spirit comes from the Latin “spiritus” which means breath. That has always seemed a useful way to think about this abstract – yet so real and helpful – idea.

      And yes – absolutely – one’s respect for the true teacher reflects gratitude for the bridging of the gap.

      Thank you!


      1. Thank you Sean for responding. You’re such a Gift!
        BTW is there any way that I can come to know through my email that you have responded to a comment I make on your post? If I had not come back here I would have missed seeing your response.

        Lavina :))

        1. Short answer: no.
          Slightly longer answer: there once was, but it involved some technical stuff (wordpress plugins) that I didn’t like working with because they messed up the functionality in other areas of the site. I try to keep things as simple as possible in that aspect so I can focus on writing. So you know . . . sorry!

          But as a rule, I rarely get a comment that I don’t reply to, even it’s just a little smiley face. Every little bit of love helps!

          ~ Sean

  2. Hello Sean,
    As all your writing, this post is again a real pleasure for me to read.
    There is a little comment too.
    In the second paragraph you write about “learning” [In order to learn, we have to decide to learn. We have to want to learn.] You also write about undoing, in the same paragraph. I understand your using the word learning as un-learning, un-doing, in the Tarasinghian sense of the word (which is compliant with ACIM). For Tara Singh it was important to realize, to decide, that for the serious student the time for learning is over. No more learning. But, as I assume you mean at the core, seeing. As the Course says: I decide to see things differently. This implies of course some unlearning, which is the “learning”, the discrimination. So my suggestion for the first sentence of the quoted paragraph would be: In order to see, we have to decide to see. We have to want to see. The last part can perhaps be omitted: when the decision is there, the wanting is not necessary anymore (the wanting is mostly of the brain).
    What the bluets (which species or variety precisely, for there different ones, each with their own shade of blue?) are doing for you, the chicory (also blue) does for me, or, rather, did. When I studied and experienced Bach flower remedies, the chicory with its heavenly blue flowers had the effect on me, that I would kneel down for the plant, when I met one during my bicycle tours. I was (and still are) in complete awe and love for these flowers, could only be grateful and was silenced. I didn’t “learn” anymore, forgot all learning, in the silence something else could blossom.
    Touching what you write about your bluet experiences (Course blues?)!
    Cordially, Rob

    1. Hi Rob,

      I love that word – “Tarasinghian”!

      Yes – I think your revision of that paragraph is helpful and more accurate. I think decision ends wanting, but before decision, wanting is still present and can be helpful in the sense that if I see my want clearly and without judgment it can move me toward decision.

      I say that carefully – I know we are cutting the semantics finely – but does that make sense?

      I am thinking of something Tara Singh said in Dialogues on A Course in Miracles with respect to perfection (which is always present, always with us): “Whenever you become aware of perfection, that which made you aware of it sees that everything you did is what brought you there, to that point. You see that everything you did – the mistakes, everything – was necessary” (312).

      Something in blue always moves me. Roadside chicory is a big favorite as well.

      Re: bluets: I am pretty sure it is Houstonia caerulea of the Rubiaceae family. Are there flower remedies that include them?

      Yes. The bluets bring me to silence; what in me loves wordiness pulls me back.

      Thank you so much, Rob.


      1. Hi Sean, as a matter of fact there does exist a flower essence remedy made of bluets (Houstonia caerulea), especially for grieving – did you expect that? I just found out, so I have no experience with it. It is a product from Bright Mind Flower Essences.

        Love, Rob

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