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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Where are you?" by Tom Carpenter

Tom Carpenter has been one of many helpful teachers to me.  Tom has an ability to hear Jesus who talks to him in his mind and answers all his and his wife Linda's questions.  Their dialogue from 1989-1992 became a book, Dialogue On Awakening. 

Tom, A Course in Miracles teacher, recently shared this article on Facebook that is a beautiful discussion about awaking from the dream.  Find more resources from Tom and Linda at www.tomandlindacarpenter.com.

WHERE ARE YOU? by Tom Carpenter

Understanding all the implications of what is meant by Jesus telling us that this world is a “dream,” a story we are telling about who we think we are, is most times hard to fathom.  He tells us that the world is not “real,” that it exists only in our imagination.  If this is true, if we are not “in” our story, if we are not “in” the body playing its role “in” the story, where are we?  Can we even find the answer to this question in the awareness of who is telling the story?

For most who are seeking the truth, we believe the answer will be found in remembering who we are.  I suggest that “who” we are  is made vastly more difficult to remember because we continue to insist that “where” we are is in a place that makes it impossible to know the answer.  We are told that we are beings of spirit, not confined to the limitations of the body or the world.  How are we to learn that this is true if we continue to make choices as though we “live” inside the confines of our story?  If we are ever to create an experience that our story is untrue we must begin to recognize that we are not “in” that story.

Jesus teaches us that the true justification for forgiving everything in the world is that it is not real.  How hard is that to accept?  How much easier would it be to accept if I began to regularly remind myself that “I,” the real me—and the real you—were not in the story we are telling?  How much easier will it be to remember there is nothing here to judge when I relieve myself of the burden of being attached to the fearful outcome of my thoughts as they are mirrored in my story of the world?

If we cannot know “where” we are from within the awareness that makes the world we see, how will we ever find it?  God placed the awareness of the Holy Spirit, the God created Self, in our Mind that we would always know exactly where, and who, we are.  Finding and nurturing this Presence is how we find our Self.

“Nurturing” the Presence means to use the awareness, the guidance, we find there, instead of “nurturing” the ego’s perception as we use it for our choices.  This means for all our choices, at least all that we can remember.  It is not there for us to use just when we are in “trouble,” or to relieve our pain.  It is to learn through practice that there is an entirely different way to think.  Continuing to rely on the ego’s judgment for mundane, non “spiritual” matters only strengthens our belief that there is some value in maintaining our separateness.

Using the God Self Awareness is what will allow a loving world to replace the one we now “see.”  Using the God Self Awareness will connect us to the whole Self and there will be no question “where” we have always been.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My story of opening to The Brothers, an Inner Teacher


A Course In Miracles teaches, we do not know our own best interests.  When we finally give up teaching ourselves and begin to make decisions with the Holy Spirit, it is not uncommon for major shifts in our lives to occur. It is not always easy in the beginning, and we can find ourselves disoriented without knowing how things will turn out. Our perception is being turned upside down, so some amount of fear is almost always part of the experience.

About a year and a half ago, I had an experience that I would never have chosen.  I can see now that it changed the seeming trajectory of my life and deepened my relationship to my spiritual path. 

I needed support for an issue I was working on, so I reached out to a hypnotherapist colleague who had become a close friend.  During what we both assumed would be a routine hypnotherapy session, I was put in contact with my guides or inner teachers.  This is a common hypnotherapy technique to help a person access their inner subconscious wisdom.

At once I began to experience a number of physical responses to a tremendous amount of energy that I suddenly felt coursing through me.  My throat felt like it was going to jump out of my neck by itself, and my hands and neck began moving involuntarily, up and down and back and forth. What had begun as a normal hypnosis session suddenly transitioned into a "channeling" session, as my Guides spoke through my voice, saying simply, "Ask us questions."

The first session lasted 45 minutes or so.  It came with all kinds of phenomena -- faces appearing over my face to my hypnotherapist, multiple voices/cadences, tremendous energy that we both could feel, involuntary movements.  I was still conscious and could hear what was happening, but it was as though I had stepped back and let something else choose my words. Pictures appeared in my mind at times to help me grasp a concept, and sometimes I felt like my memory/language database was being "searched" for an appropriate way to express the thought at hand.

After the session, I had an almost overwhelming mix of thoughts and emotions.  On the one hand, I was very resistant to the idea that I had been legitimately channeling, and I was both afraid and mortified at the thought that  my ego could be tricking me into a new form of specialness.  However, as a hypnotherapist myself, I was also curious to know more about the phenomena, which at the very least could be described as an expression of the subconscious I had never personally encountered before.  And finally, there was a deep knowing in me that I needed to remain open to this experience and allow things to unfold before I judged it.

In my muddle of emotion, I made the decision to stay open.  If I could reproduce the channeling, I would do so three more times before making up my mind.  I was adamant that if the expressions contradicted A Course In Miracles in any way, or if it became a "parlor game" (by which I meant if the content had more to do with telling the future and/or giving bossy orders about what to do, etc), or if it simply wasn't very helpful to me, I would stop.

Although we did not record that first session, there were many things expressed that were helpful, and over the last year and a half, the sessions have continued to be increasingly helpful.  My hypnotherapist colleague/friend became my life partner, and we have shared the journey of opening to this channel of wisdom. They carry words of wisdom, clarity about my current situation, as well as hidden introductions to my future lessons.  The words themselves feel more and more like pointers to an experience of Perfect Love they are inviting us to join them in.  My partner and I are often moved deeply by their sharing, and I have become convinced that the consciousness I have assumed I am could not be the source.  

So how are we to regard the issue of channeling? Jung theorized about the superego, a collective wisdom that we all share.  From an ACIM perspective, we are all channelers. To the degree we are driven by fear, we are channeling the one ego that takes many forms.  To the degree we have opened our minds, we are channeling the Holy Spirit.

The Brothers, which is how they said we could refer to them, said channeling in the specific form that I'm experiencing is a natural effect of an opening mind.  They are on the other side of time, where the journey has been completed.  I see Them as expressions of the One Self that we all are, and Their thoughts are helping to guide our way through the dream. They are Me and they are You.  They are bridges Who help clarify our studies and give us encouragement, both of which we all need on our path.

Part of why I share this story is to encourage others.  I was shown a helpful image of cake batter, and they showed me how, as the Mind opens, more of the Self/batter can pour through the dream into forms.  As it does, It takes whatever shapes (skills, healing abilities, preferences, etc) are available and most appropriate for learning.  They reassured us in this session (and in many others) that I wasn't special, and that many people were experiencing similarly mind-blowing phenomena now.  Knowing my skeptical and partly fearful mind, They also reassured us that they did not expect us to just hand over trust to them, but that over time there would be conviction based on experience that would lead us to certainty.

I would encourage this type of approach to anyone experiencing psychic or other types of phenomenon: Keep an open mind, but allow the results to bring you to faith.


The Brothers use logic, pointed questions, humor, and above all else, gentleness.  Most of their expression is very poetic.  I would like to share a short snippet of a session from February 3, 2010 that feels like an eloquent summary:

The liberation comes when you identify yourself, not with the body, predominantly, and allow your Self to show you who you are by relinquishment of the body’s dreams, the body’s definitions, the body’s limits. And in that sense, there is a stepping to the side of the personality and allowing through of The More. And so there you become natural, you become in service, you become teacher, you become searcher and finder. And you find yourself. 
You find yourself and you are not confused by all the other little puppets, and you know Who you see. You see Self. What has been thrown away, discarded, fled (from) is Self. And the body can never know this. And therefore, (you are) beginning to identify with a Self, the Self that is like a flowing river you cannot pin down. You cannot contain it. Once you do, you lose it.
This is essential at some point, and a seeker's process when they finally decide to find. And it is not easy, for the ego will tell you many reasons it cannot be true. It will cost you greatly. . . . . and yet that is a temporary experience. And it is as though all of time, leads to this one decision. . . . A choice. And that is a remembering of the love you hold for God.
We are wanting to give you an image. Feel yourself as a part of this river, that being in body has purpose as you allow that flow through you. To clear the flow, blockages need to be seen. And in the seeing of them, at least, and in body, the natural communication flows seamlessly through that experience, so that outer/inner that you distinguish today becomes less real. My inner dream, my outer dream, they are ALL my mind, and I am now identifying with this wise right (mind) and love, and allowing this flow to guide me, inner and outer same. . . . .
There is great peace in the surrender, and the trust comes from being in this peace. And it is a way that We, Who are you, Who are the Self, reach into you, through you, to the other separated selves of you to join you with you.


Friday, November 19, 2010

The matrix of illusion

My conviction in my practice of A Course in Miracles has not occurred quickly.  While I immediately resonated in a way I could not explain to an "authority" in the words in the book, I did not believe it.

I wanted more peace, however, and with that choice, I have been led over the years by some invisible "force" to many sources and experiences that would teach me to open my mind. 

Many ACIM students, myself included, have learned much about our spirituality by understanding more about what scientists are discovering about the quantum world. The Course teaches that all our problems are "perceptual" ones.  In the quantum world, we see how that might be true from a scientific perspective.

While it seems like I am sitting on a couch, typing on a laptop, using fingers on a body, the fact is that science has found out there is no fixed matter.  At the quantum level, physicists are finding that there are potentials, vs. fixed matter.  There are relationships -- which are also at the core of A Course in Miracles -- between the observer and the observed.

It becomes easier to open to ACIM principles such as "there is no world" and "All minds are connected" and "everything is thought" and "when you heal yourself you heal the world" and "situations are relationships" when we consider the quantum world where the act of perceiving affects what is being perceived.  


Enjoy this 10-minute video which offers a lay-person's introduction to the implications of quantum-based scientific theories around the holographic nature of consciousness and the connection between the consciousness and our experience of matter. (PS: Watch with discernment...I don't agree with all the statements, but I think it's still valuable as an invitation to open the mind.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mooji talks about waking up

A Course in Miracles says that while there can never be a universal theology, there must be a universal experience. In other words, ACIM is like a structure of thinking to undo thinking and false identification. But there are many paths to the same experience.

Here is a teacher, known simply as Mooji, who uses different words to point people in the same direction inward. I didn't know about this teacher until today when a friend sent it to me. However, I had just put a photo of Sri Ramana Maharshi on my desktop...the same photo that is the upper right corner, and the guru that was Mooji's teacher's (papaji) teacher.

The synchronicity does not seem important other than as yet another pointer to the nature of the dream within the mind. The mind that wants to awaken.

Enjoy Mooji's description of dreaming...

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Hero of the Dream

I had an "aha" today as I was contemplating a relationship which has been rich as a classroom in Forgiveness. I had to stop to think about why I still had less-than-perfect peace, despite all the releasing I had done to-date. When I contemplated more deeply my values in the situation, I saw there was still an egoic motive involved.

"Laura" wanted something out of the situation and her Forgive-ee. Peace of mind was not enough for her. She wanted visibility, she wanted acceptance and approval, she wanted an outcome, she wanted a bouquet of pleasant events/encounters in her script. If forgiving was a big ice cream sundae, she wanted the cherry on top.

Sometimes I think that the path is so difficult because it asks so little of us. The Truth in the Holy Instant needs nothing but our non-interference.  But in this situation, the miracle was only desired half-heartedly, and so the healing was limited.  I saw how Laura was being very sly about the secret desires.  Part of her was too fearful to let go of the ego.

In the world, she was couching things to herself (and others) in such a way that her role in the situation seemed more than reasonable, the epitome of innocent and well-intentioned, irreproachable even. The ego (there is only one ego that we all share) is a master at this.

It was like a fog began to lift, as the insights -- the Light of Truth -- began to shine the false away.  The shift  felt more like a refreshing cleanse than a punishing stick, and I saw much more clearly how the little "I" -- the "Hero of the dream" -- was using the idea of Forgiveness in this situation to stay firmly entrenched as my identity. In fact, the ego had set up a perfect double-bind. Either:

  • a) Little "laura" would not see the "effects" of her forgiveness that she wanted and as a consequence would then feel she needed to "do" something to improve things (the ego loves the spiritual path if it means struggle) -- or --
  • b)if she did get the effects she wanted, little "laura" could feel like a super hero in the dream of the awakening -- "Ta da!! Able to conquer sleeping minds with a single miracle!"
In Chapter 27, "The Healing of the Dream" The Course in Miracles tells us about "the hero of the dream." This is all the little "I's" that the ego would have us believe we are and that the world and everything in it reinforces.
"The body's serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The 'hero' of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms, and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its 'hero' finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more; that it is cause and not effect. And you are its effect, and cannot be its cause.
Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream. But who reacts to figures in a dream unless he sees them as if they were real? The instant that he sees them as they are they have no more effects on him, because he understands he gave them their effects by causing them and making them seem real. "
The dream (the world, bodies, situations, everything we think is real) is set up to teach us that we are an effect, vulnerable and powerless and separate. The Course In Miracles teaches us the opposite -- that we are Real, the Cause, the Dreamer, at One with God and all the seemingly separated ones.  It is an either/or choice in perspective, because the two thought systems are mutually exclusive.

But as I live with this deepening understanding, more fear surfaces. I have watched my thoughts:

  • If "Laura" is unimportant, all would be meaningless!
  • It would be like living in a huge Void!
  • If what she does and how people are affected by what she does, or if what they think of her, even what she thinks of herself....If all of it no longer matters, then what in the heck does?"
The Answer, once it is truly welcome, shines brightly in my mind: Purpose.

There is no hierarchy, no order of difficulty, no world, no problems...i.e. nothing to fix. Therefore, every seemingly inconsequential task I do each day with the intention that Truth be allowed to Be -- every time I exchange my values in the world for the Holy Instant -- that moment is my purpose. It doesn't even matter whether I succeed or not, because it is the goal that gives it meaning. This is Atonement. It is the undoing of the ego, the one ego we all share.

As my values gradually drop away and leave Purpose as my only goal, there's more peace.  With more peace there is more trust. With more trust, fear is more easily released when it surfaces, and there is no more concern (or much less) for Laura's experience, which gently begins to fade in my awareness. And a latent joy begins to bubble up...a true happiness that has no cause in the world.

And when Laura returns to dominate my thoughts, that's okay too. I'm still too afraid to let Truth be the only Truth in my mind...for a while. But I can remember to laugh and not take it too seriously, because the end is given.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Prompts

A Course In Miracles says, "All are called, but few choose to listen." This resistance shows up many ways. When I feel stuck or bored, one of the things I'm learning to ask myself, "Is there a prompt I'm ignoring?"

What's a prompt? A prompt is like a stepping stone Home. It can sometimes appear as a invitation to "do" (open a book, call someone, go to a place, do a project) but it's always leading to an undoing.

We get them all kinds of ways. Someone says something that resonates deeply. We have a dream that sticks with us. We run into a friend and conversation turns into an impromptu plan. "Opportunity" gives our door a knock. We have a thought that seems to come from outside our mind, etc. Whatever form it takes, we feel a connection to it.

Usually I get a thought that seems to fly in from some outside Source. Sometimes it comes after I've consciously asked a question; often it seems to come randomly. It doesn't feel like it is part of a connected thread of thought. I don't know how it will work out, or where it is leading.

I still have fear around prompts. It took a long time to start this blog, for instance, because I ignored the prompt. Following prompts takes trust. Since their content is healing, they are naturally met with resistance. The ego will ignore, repress, and judge them. If that doesn't work, it will terrify with images about the future horror that will occur if we follow them.

It's taken experience to learn discernment between an ego thought and a prompt. The key I've learned is to always Ask and then wait and Listen. If I'm still not sure if my ego made it up, I notice whether I have any hidden motives around it. If I am really attached or opposed to the idea, I have learned to be careful. I release motives and attachments and negative charges and wait to see if the prompt returns. Often it disappears. Even so, the release was useful.

If the prompt feels scary or "too big" or urgent, those are earmarks of the ego. The ego loves to terrorize us and make us think that Healing is going to require very hard, difficult things of us (i.e. sacrifice) if we begin to listen and follow.

Not true. Stepping stones are by nature gentle when we accept them (but there can be fear until we trust).

Given enough time, the ego almost inevitably gives the prompt "meaning" along the way. It's always wrong, because it can't make sense of Truth. The steps we take are leading us to something more wonderful than the ego can ever know, since it was made to deny it. A humorous and humbling experience is to follow a prompt and think you know "why" or what it is leading to, only to find out that it was not that at all. The Real Why is always a shift in our own mind.

And it's ok if we get it "wrong" or miss prompts or consciously, even defiantly ignore them. Waking up is a journey, and we've all got the Holy Spirit Magellan on our side. He's very patient and never loses sight of the goal. We can pick His Hand up anytime we realize we've dropped it again, and simply start right back where we left off. We can not do this wrong!

I'm learning I don't know what anything means, or where the steps are leading. I only know that I'm being Led, and that there is great Joy in knowing only this.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

REAL-ize, don't ANAL-ize.

The ego is a terrible student. In fact, it is a complete, closed thought system that allows for no True learning or communication. It can allow nothing Real in. Its precarious existence is preserved in the dark shadows by keeping out the Light.

Ironically, the ego is also always our "study buddy" when we begin our spiritual lessons. As a superb shape-shifter, it's more than happy to step in with its white robe and lectern and be our teacher. It often tells us we are "quick studies" and leads us to believe we have mastered things easily. Or it tells us we are incompetent learners because we are not "getting it" quicker.

Most of our early time spent in spiritual practice is spent "not getting it while thinking we are." But the important thing to know is that is absolutely ok. Think about it: How helpful would any spiritual discipline be if we needed to be healed (i.e. without ego) to use it?

A humbling part of the journey is realizing how wrong we are about what we think we know. But we can remember that only the ego thinks it is bad to be humble. The Self knows it is freedom.

I used to spin my wheels on Forgiveness. Something would happen at work or at home, and I'd experience guilt or anger or fear or sadness, etc. I would say to myself all the right words...."I forgive X for what he has not done." I would pick apart the situation and uncover what I thought were "reasons" (self esteem issues, misunderstandings, conflicting desires, immature beliefs, etc etc etc in him and/or in me) for the occurrence. Finally, I would picture him over and over in my mind as innocent. I would try to remember all the kind things he'd said or done before. I would think about what I wanted between us and try to "project" that good quality between us into the future.

That all sounds reasonable, right? It wasn't. It was actually the ego's interpretation of Forgiveness. I was using Forgiveness to "fix" something. I was, in fact, making the error real.

Like everyone, I still wanted my life of relationships and goals and my individual identity to be better, less painful. I was taking the form of ACIM (its words and concepts) and using the ego's content (intention). I was falling for the ego's deception of turning the one abstract Problem into specifics "out there." Another way to say it is that I was just not ready to undo the belief I've separated from God and created myself. I was not offering willingness at that level and was still in dress rehearsal for the real thing.

Eventually, things shifted for me. Now I see Forgiveness as a Light of Truth that shines in my mind and does all the work. When a "problem" seems to pop up, it's a gift. More of the dark unconscious is coming to the surface, and my only job is to remember the Truth. Sometimes that is easy and peace comes right away. Sometimes it takes more contemplation.

On the trickier subjects, I set the table in my mind -- with good china, sparkling crystal, and brilliant candles -- and prepare for a nice relaxing feast. I invite all the players to the table...the images of people, problems, and feelings. I ask them, "What is this about?" I find out what I am "buying" by holding on to the situation. It's always a lie. It's basis is always in the belief that God has condemned me.

Once I see what I'm buying, I know I don't want it anymore. With that decision, I have unlocked the door to Forgiveness. Then I go back to the Light of Truth, and I let the two concepts sit. "I need do nothing." The Light itself dissipates the darkness. I just wait and pour the wine....

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mirror, Mirror

"A human being is part of the whole, called by us the 'Universe' - a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of consciousness."
Albert Einstein
The Mind is seemingly separated into all of us "individuals." Each of us believe we exist in a body and that we have private minds from everyone else. In actuality, as Einstein alluded, there is only One of us here. The One mind is split -- part is awake (the Christ/Holy Spirit), and part is asleep (ego) and is dreaming a dream of separation.

Within the dream, each of us carry both the Christ mind and the ego. Within our delusional walled-off existence, our thoughts are like messengers that we send out to the projection to bring us back "proof" of what we believe. The world we think we see is, therefore, a mirror. We actually give the world all the meaning it has for us. Since most of us reside in ego most of the time, the projection reflects all of our attack thoughts and self doubt. This shows up in our daily lives as Problems. The forms vary -- relationship troubles or sickness or war or poverty or hang nails or depression or lack of self-worth, etc. -- but the content is always based on guilt and fear. We react to it, become afraid and angry at it, and most laughably, we try to change it...and all the while it is simply representing our thoughts back to us.

A Course In Miracles, like Buddhism, is a mind training discipline to help us unwind ourselves out of the illusion of fear/guilt/attack. In the beginning, we are like fish trying to identify water. The ego's "reality" seems very real and serious to us. The Course has us start where we are. Everything that triggers us "out there" is used for a new healing purpose. Whereas before, we used it to keep us right (and stuck), we begin to realize that there is nothing that can take our peace away from us, because there is nothing outside our own mind.

Acceleration happens when we finally start to see that we are choosing the ego because we want to be separate. Once we can see this choice we're making (cause) and the suffering and pain it always leads to (effect), we are free to make a new choice. When we're hooked by something "out there," we stop blaming the world. We realize we've chosen it at some level, and we ask the awakened part of our mind to help us see things a different way. When we offer up that willingness, a correction of thought occurs. Knot by knot, we are being gently unraveled from the tangled mess the ego calls "reality."

Eventually we find that all we once valued in the world is empty...and that all we really want now is Peace. We let the Holy Spirit choose for us, because we know that is the way. We spend more time out of ego and knowing that Perfect Love is the only Truth. When we slip into old patterns, we feel the difference acutely and quickly allow our minds to be healed.

Gradually, the mirror is polished....and the projection begins to witness as a gentle reflection of Love.

On Waking Up is back: A New Beginning

I started sharing ideas at On Waking Up in 2010, almost 7 years ago now. Prior to that I'd studied A Course in Miracles for many years...