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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I am not religious.

If I haven't offended anyone yet, this post should do the trick.

I *really* don't mean to be offensive...I only mean to get clear on a point that we've been dancing around together, and "undo some of my unconscious guilt" (see previous posts) by setting the record straight.

Like the title says (and it says something about you that you are even reading a blog with a title like this, by the way...) --

I am not religious.

How can that be, my reader(s) ask(s)?  I have all kinds of posts on this blog about Jesus and the Holy Spirit...I talk about receiving Guidance from Something not me and forgiveness and sin/guilt and...I use the G-O-D word a lot.

Okay, don't hate me yet.  I mean this with the utmost sincerity and respect for your belief system.  But here's the thing I need to say in order to say exactly why I'm not what I *maybe* seem to be:

Religions -- They offer specific rules to follow, codes of ethics, and stories that followers by and large consider true.  They teach there is a God "out there" or "up there," and almost all of them insist that their teachings are superior to other teachings.  They teach the use of ritual and make items and locations sacred.  Almost all of them teach people how to be better people, the pay off to all that hard work and restraint being a better after-life of some kind.  They also mostly teach that to not do the right things means you are bad, a sinner, an infidel, etc. and that your after-life is pretty much going to suck eggs.

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is not a set of rules to follow in the world.  It does not consider itself "special" as in "the only way to reach Heaven is my way" (in fact, it specifically says there are many paths).  It discourages the use of ritual, or at least encourages the student to notice when they've retreated into ritual (an ego device), even extending that caution to the "blue book" itself.

It does not prescribe churches or even groups, although people in the world use both forms as ways to extend their practice of it.  And yes, all those things I wrote above about religions can be found within the, for lack of a better word, ACIM Community. 

But ACIM is not a religion and has nothing to do with it other than the fact that the people in both camps are equal and have shared interests.  What is ACIM?  It a specific form of mind watching practice based on what I feel is a Calling within the One Mind to awaken.  What the heck does that gibberish mean?  Let's unpack this together.

  • "A Course In Miracles" -- This is just a book -- blue to be precise, hence my nickname "the blue book" -- that a couple people brought into this world in the early 70's.  It has a text (the symphonically presented teachings of metaphysics), a 365-day workbook, and a Teacher's Manual.
  • "Form" - this is a shell, or a shape, or a empty container that gets filled with some kind of content.  Content is the key here.  Content can be helpful or not helpful, good or bad, based on love or based on fear.
  • "Calling" - this is the Will of the unified One Mind that we are part of to know Itself totally.  As perceived by a sleeping mind, it feels like a pull towards something at a higher level of mind/heart.  We sleeping ones answer the Calling when we finally say --in whatever words -- "There must be a better way."  That's generally when we see the egoic reality we've been living has always led us to pain and suffering eventually.
  • "One Mind" -- this is the part of our mind that is joined with everything else.  No, I can't prove this scientifically. If you are interested in the thought-provoking science that seems to be pointing this direction, I would be preaching to the choir to dive into that subject.  Since I'm not here to prove anything to anyone or teach anyone anything -- I'm really teaching my Self what I want to learn (another long story) --  I'm off the hook on this one. :)
  • "Awaken" -- in our everyday reality (and in my apparent day job) this is equivalent to being de-hypnotized.  It's like returning from a trance in which a mistaken perception was believed as truth.  A more direct connotation is that there is "sleep" happening and that who or what is asleep is not aware of the truth...they are dreaming about something and think erroneously that the dream and the figures in the dream, including themselves, are the truth.

Okay, so we have this One Mind that has split and has fallen partly asleep (yet another long story) and that wants to wake up (although it also fears waking up, which leads to resistance...again, a long story).

Drum roll, please....

A Course In Miracles, then, is a particular 'form' or symbol in the dream that represents the content of the AWAKE part of the mind.  To put it very simplistically, practicing A Course In Miracles is like allowing a gentle, parental hand to gently wake you up from a long dream.  Many spiritually-identifiable "isms" can also be this gentle, parental hand for a Truth Seeker -- Buddhism, Catholicism, Sufism, etc.  The key is not the form (which itself is neutral and nothing and just part of the dream), but the content.  Where does the content come from?  YOU, the decision-maker.  YOU, the part of you that is seemingly split and is always choosing what to listen to -- either your Awake Mind or your Asleep Mind/ego.

Am I saying that, given this premise, it would be theoretically possible to Awaken reading a phone book?  Yes, I guess I am.  That's exactly, in fact, what I am saying.

Most of us need a little more help and encouragement and how-to steps than that, though.  But many people have awakened, no doubt, following whatever "religion" (i..e. form) that they either fell into or that called to them.  The key is Willingness.  Maybe it was just through practicing extraordinary kindness like the Dalai Lama.

But I am sure it only really happens that a mind awakens when they have become the "mystic" in some sense, who begins to read between the lines, so to speak, and see that heaven is not a place you end up when you die and that the "kingdom lies within."  Awakening is about transcending experience and the world of form and seeing that only LOVE is the Real Deal Truth.  And...they may never use or think those words at all.  The Truth is not a set of words.  It is the transcendent meaning beyond them.

I'm also sure that each awakened one had to fight the ego's resistance and face the fear and guilt in their minds so they could laugh at it.  Hence the stories about the Buddha's and Jesus's temptations.  YOU are the Buddha being tempted.  YOU are also Jesus.  Their promise to you is that YOU were there when they made the choice to Awaken, and now all YOU need to do in reality is accept this is true and that nothing else is.


Easier said than done, I know, which is why we have books and practices and switchbacks.


So I hope that has answered the issue of ACIM and the Jesus-talk.   I LOVE JESUS, but he's not better than your prophet and he doesn't save the world, because there isn't one.  I LOVE Jesus, but I know that's because Jesus is a symbol of LOVE in my mind. 

Here's another way to look at it:  Think of ACIM as a helpful antidote for a part of the dreaming mind that been steeped in, and identifies with, a tradition of Christianity where sins are really important and guilt is inevitable (as are crucifixion and sacrifice and death and punishment etc.)  It is a form that stays within the verbal, psychological, and religious lexicon of the West, but gradually manipulates it into more true-er reflections.  The mind is being unwound from the dream, or turned upright like a capsized boat.

It takes a wrong mind and rights it. 

Personally, although I grew up with Lutheran and Catholic family, I was never religious, even as a kid.  I was a seeker though, even as a kid.  And I felt the love that could sometimes (not usually, but occasionally) reach me through the stories.

Perhaps because I only skimmed the surface of these traditions I was able to relate to A Course In Miracles but not get bogged down too much in its words and symbolism.  Like many students, if it's your path, you feel its Truth, even when you can't understand what it's really trying to say.  It's not about the characters in the play or even the lessons they teach.  They are only important as stepping stones in your thinking.  Until you finally aren't thinking anymore and are just an open form that allows itself to be thunk by Love.

If talk of Jesus is offensive, and it is surprisingly hard for many ACIM students to deal with, consider it JAFL -- "Just Another Forgiveness Lesson"  (coined by the Disappearance of the Universe Yahoo group organized around Gary Renard's book about ACIM teachings).

And if that's too hard, but you really want to Awaken, try loving and forgiving every name and business in the phone book. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Puppets, Propaganda, and Big Girl Underpants

After yesterday's message from the Holy Spirit in my mind about letting Him carry me instead of the other way around, I have been contemplating the whole issue of needs (described in ocean of needs) and what it means to assume they've all been met. Needs are another word for "problems." Ken Wapnick, who worked closely beside Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford in the early days after A Course In Miracles had been scribed and who became its original teacher, has said, "Problems are propaganda for the ego."

This meditation has brought me around to another vision I had while walking.


ACIM describes the dream, or illusion, as consisting of just a "tiny tick of time." This is to show how inconsequential this illusion, or dream, is in the scope of eternity.  It was done and over in a flash, but we who still dream keep replaying it, over and over and over in our minds.

I saw the "tiny tick of time" like a little kaleidoscope-type-thing playing a crazy, scary, chaotic movie over and over.  Our Eternal Self is looking into the eye hole, and is mesmerized. The Self that we truly are believes it is IN the kaleidoscope...and what's more, it wants to think that because it has so much fear and guilt about the "tiny mad idea" it had, namely that we could be separate from God.

The tiny mad idea was like..."I can have more than everything...I can do it better than God....I can BE God to myself."  We're still "running away" in our mind from the guilt that silly thought engendered. We do this by keeping our minds glued to the meaningless activity in the kaleidoscope through our strong identification with it.

Interestingly, I could feel a shift in my sensations of identification...it was a way of identifying with the eternal Light Son of God looking into the kaleidoscope vs. identifying so strongly with the senseless bodies/going's on inside.

The real Truth is so darn scary to us....identifying with this Self...because the ego tells us all kinds of crap:   "God is mad as hell and out to get us."  "We killed God."  It also tries to convince us that the tiny mad idea was never a mistake and that we were actually right all along: "We're much better off being our own "god" in the illusion."

Which brings us back to problems. All those times we petition the Holy Spirit for some help in whatever crisis/problem we're facing...that's just a way for the ego to reinforce its "reality" in our mind.  We may even talk the talk to the Holy Spirit, as in, "hey, I know God is all there is and I'm not really here, but (there's that ego "but" again!) until I die and go to heaven (another lie), can you help me with this very real problem I'm having?" 

This is where the propaganda comes in. What we're really saying is politically-correct code for:  "LOOK at me and my separate self/life! Acknowledge ME!  This world I made is REAL, gosh darn it!  See how much REAL PAIN and SUFFERING it causes me?  It's REAL I tell you!  REAL, REAL, REAL!"

But that egotistical demand/statement (notice it's not a question or request at all at its most fundamental level) is hidden from us.  What we are aware of is something very different, where we look like the innocent one in need.  The me-identified-with-individual-ego-self/Holy Spirit surface-level conversation goes like this:

Me:  "Dear Holy Spirit -- Please, please help save my sick child. I'll do anything you wish...I know you and your Holy power, your Almightiness, can work miracles here [ego flattery]...you can raise the dead, so I know you can do this [laying it on thick].  I promise to be a very very good person, your servant, if you could just heal my child. [ego is eternally trying to strike bargains]  Please!"

Holy Spirit: "What child?"

Me:  "WTF?"

Here the H.S. is taking a stand for Truth, but we rarely hear it. We're too afraid still.

H.S.: "There is no world, there are no bodies.  You have one Problem and there is one Answer.  You are mistaken about Who You Are and think what never could have happened did. Wake up to the Love waiting for You, dear One."

My body, my child's body, the doctors' bodies, the story of sickness that ties us all together in this drama...they are all made up.  We are watching a movie with puppet people...what's more, we are totally identified with the puppet bodies on strings, believing we are unique and separate from the other puppet bodies on strings.  But ultimately, nothing is happening. The play is just a re-enactment -- with different forms or symbols -- of the same original choice of the Mind to be separate.  It's like how Shakespeare's Hamlet gets made over as The Lion King....over and over and over.   This is why at a certain age of maturity you can get the feeling watching the news that you've seen this all  before.  You have. It's the ego's content being replayed in different forms. 

Of course, we can't allow ourselves yet to hear the Truth, because we still have so much fear.  Fortunately, the Holy Spirit holds the Truth in our mind, but also meets us where we think we are.

So back to me and my illusionary problems.  As I'm contemplating my "problem" I'm beginning to hear a deeper level of the conversation we -- my split mind that is ego and Holy Spirit -- are having.  I'm being strongly encouraged by Holy Spirit to let the problem go: 

H.S.  "Dear One...we're getting to a point where you really need to put on your "big girl underpants" so to speak. There's only one problem and its in the mind, not in the puppet show. So let's get to work...you may be surprised how much you are going to really love Peace and Joy compared to the pleasure/pain cycle you've been in." 

I can't truly forgive if I still believe its real and happening to me, Laura.  At some point, I need to embrace "the world is not real."  And that's just the start!  Then I can truly use the world and all the situations I find myself in as a classroom where I undo all the guilt...at lightening speed now that I'm finally out of reverse!.

There's a lot of posing that we egos do out there...talking about "it's all an illusion" and not believing it really.We do the best we can until we're motivated enough to let the Miracle in deeper.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ocean of needs

I'm at the beach for a few days with my boys having a mini vacation.  I actually spent yesterday in my hotel room working/writing, but this morning the prompt was strong.

H.S. "Go for a walk."

Me: "Ok, yeah, but I think I'll just have one more cup of coffee."

H.S. "You've waited long enough. Go for a walk."

Me: "Well, okay, you did mention something about a walk yesterday....okay, fine, I'll go."

It was before 10am when I left.  I took the street down to an intersection, hung a right, and then made my way to the sandy beach.  The sky was cloudy and gray (this is the Pacific Northwest afterall). It was cool but not uncomfortably so in my sweatshirt.  I eavesdropped on my thoughts as I walked along....

Me:  "I don't have the right shoes for this."

Me:  "I would like to sit down, but that sad lady over there is sitting on my log."

Me:  "Okay, I will try walking through this really deep sand, which will probably ruin my new shoes, but oh well...I need to get to that mini-log over there, since that sad looking lady is on mine."

Me: "Dammit, this is not a log at all...it's a barnacle parking lot.  I can't sit here, and *looks back* that darn lady still is using my log."

H.S.  "Go for a walk."


Me: "Fine. Since there's no where here to sit....thanks for leading me to a great place...not."

I headed down the beach, and all the yackity yack chatter in my head gradually subsided as I repeated my mantra, "I want the Peace of God...I want the Miracle...I want Truth...I want the Peace of God...I want the Miracle...I want Truth..."

Suddenly, I started really looking at the ocean before me.  I thought about how it is a symbol of beauty and divinity for so many people, but how that was not resonating for me right now.  I imagined going out into that ocean...how in my little boat its vastness would be overwhelming and how quickly the romance of it all would turn into a desperate desire to get back to shore.  The waves kept rolling in as I had these thoughts, and I felt a relentlessness about it all...one after another, over and over and over again these waves crash against the shore.  They've been doing it for a million years and will do it a million more...

Then the Holy Spirit spoke:

"That's what needs are like.  The ego serves up one need after another, over and over and over and over.  The ocean of need will never stop, for as soon as one need is seemingly met, another stronger one follows.  That's the nature of special relationships....looking to another (person, career, children, spouse, etc.) to fill a bottomless pit of need.  The system is set up so that the needs can never be met."

Okay, this is good. I get this. I am liking this walk now.

I keep going as I think about how this applies to me. I note all the little "preferences" I have in my life even down to trivial things like clothing, food, free time.  Then I think about the big ones...like I want to live near my children, I want work that pays me well, I want companionship, I want a beautiful place to live, I want...

H.S. has been watching this inventory list develop.  "Keep going..."

Me:  "Well, shoot.  You know, if you are holding me accountable for a lot of ego needs, I'd like to know exactly what you expect of me...I mean, give me a break. I have TRIED to have no needs...I have TRIED to go be all selfless.  Remember?  You told me I was being a martyr back then..remember?  That I wasn't opening to the abundance that is within, remember?  Man, there's no pleasing you!"

I stared at the sand in front of me, my left ear listening to the Need Ocean on one side and my right ear listening to the Holy Spirit.

H.S.:  "Kinda neat that you are surrounded by the foot prints of others...here you are taking the path between them.  Do you remember that nice story about the guy all upset that he was alone as  he walked the beach and then he talked to his angel, and was told he'd never been alone once, and he said, baloney, because I went back the way I came and there was only one set of foot prints, and the angel said, 'Yes, honey, that's because I was carrying you'?" 

Me: "Yes." *sigh*  (I expected a minor chastising for not remembering the same held true for me, and I was also annoyed at the seemingly abrupt change of subject.)

H.S:  "Well, the thing is -- you've been carrying Me for a long time now.  It was okay as a way to learn Trust, but this relationship has got to change. It's time for you to let Me carry YOU."

Okay, major vibrations started happening in me at this point like the Truth gong had been banged gustily.  I had never thought of it this way. I wondered what that would mean...to let myself be carried by the Holy Spirit (instead of the other way around)?  I immediately knew:

Loss of control.

H.S:  "Bingo!  The mind has told you lies about Me, so you don't Trust me to be good to you...yet."

Just then I noticed this yellow dog off in the distance.  A reflexive fear pang jolted me as my "dogs are dangerous" meme was activated.  I watched the activation process and noticed how quickly my mind served up the right tape out of the memory bank for "why"...that time when I was 7 that the big dog attacked my dad and me for no reason and I ended up with a wound on my leg.  For the last 2 years, however, I've lived with 3 big dogs, including one part wolf, and found out how funny, affectionate, and non-threatening they are...I remembered an early ACIM workbook lesson, "My thoughts are images that I have made."

Fear Dog was probably a quarter of a mile away when he took off at an amazing pace....aimed right for me.  "Okay, Fear Dog, do your worst," I said to myself as I kept walking, determined to let the encounter be whatever it would be without resisting it.  I told myself, a bit tongue in cheek, that not being bit by a wild dog with large teeth is just one of those pesky "needs/preferences."

Fear Dog never broke his speed, never veered off towards anyone or anything else. He was making a beeline for the only thing out there: Me.  I waited for the inevitable.  At the last second this Giant Yellow Amazing Angel Dog made the sharpest turn I've ever seen avoiding a head-on collision with my knees, but before it left, it nosed my hand and...yes...kissed me so gently.  And then it ran off like a bat out of hell.  *poof*

H.S:  "You know, it might be just like that with Me...if you would let Me carry you.  You could face your fear of Me and maybe, just maybe, I would just care for your every need so gently you would wonder why you were ever afraid of me before."

I hear H.S. but I'm still reeling from my encounter with Amazing Dog.  I notice how a part of my mind is saying..."oh you special dog you...come back, you cutey you!"  I hear "specialness" as a whisper in my mind, just barely audible above the roar of the relentless Need surf pounding the beach.

H.S.  "Keep walking."

I walk and walk and walk.  And walk.  I'm starting to think I should maybe try to find my hotel, but I'm not sure which one it is.  Way off in the distance, I see something, and figure that's got to be it.  I keep walking.

I think about how I can actually let the Holy Spirit carry me and what it means to let go of ego needs.  I get that they are unquenchable..I just don't know how to live in this world -- illusion or not -- without them.  I need food, I need air, I need lots of things.

H.S:  "The trick is not to try to be without needs.  The point is to assume they've all been met and then let me do the rest."

That thought is quickly brushed away by another:  "Man, this hotel is waaaaaaaaay far away! I really don't remember walking this far down the street, but maybe there is a weird angle to this beach or something, I wonder." I also start noticing resentment at H.S. creep in....as in, "if this is your way of guiding me home, it's about like what I expect." I meant that in a bad way.

H.S:  "Keep walking."

I get closer to this hotel, and now it looks like it is too big to be mine.  I can't wait any longer to find out, so I trudge through the deep sand and up a big dune (in my new, totally inappropriate shoes) and wade around in some tall grasses as I look off to the distance all around me.  My target is definitely NOT my hotel, and what's more, I seem to be in a park or something in a very remote location with absolutely no sign of my hotel or the numerous others that are clustered around where I'm staying.

Me:  "WTF?"

H.S:  "Guess you better turn around."

I'm feeling darn right resentful now.  "Look," I wail, "this is WHY I don't let you carry me.  You have no sense of direction! You just keep me ambling around in circles!  You make me look like a fool!"

*GONG*

H.S: "Now we're getting somewhere.  This hate/resentment/fear you are feeling for Me..this is good.  Now we can really talk.  You don't want to look like a fool, I hear you.  You are afraid that letting Me carry you will be like you/your life is a big huge balloon up in the air, and I'm the sharp needle that pops you, and then you go flying backwards as you spiral down making that gross farting noise.  Right?"

Me:  "Right!"

H.S:  "Well, what's wrong with that?"

Me:  (speechless and rolling my eyes)

*pause*

Me:  (Ok, the farting noise part was pretty funny...*giggle*)

Okay, wait...what IS wrong with that?

A new list of needs came up:  I need to be liked, I need to be respected by others, I need to be approved of by friends and family, I need people to understand me, I need to be able to relate with people and have them relate to me. I need to make people comfortable knowing me.  I need to help people.  I need to "save" people.  I need to be a good role model for people and my kids.  I need to take care of people. I need to fill other people's needs.

Like a burp, the last one came:  I need to pay off some kind of debt to the universe that I can never afford to pay.....

H.S: "Exactly.  The ego will keep ensuring that you always feel like you 'owe' the world something you can never ever deliver.  That's the flip side of the Need coin...an Ocean of Debt you can never afford to repay."

Wow.  I am going to have to think about this one for a while.  Lately, I've been told by the projection "out there" that I am not providing all the tangible and intangible things I owe.  It seems to have culminated in a Problem that needs to be solved, but maybe I am honing in on the core issue here, and that's because I'm finally getting to a point where I can listen without defending (going into ego) so that I can recognize the ego's voice for what it is, even when it seems to be coming through someone else's mouth.  Even better, I also heard that this "relationship has got to change" and now that suddenly seems very true, too.  The Holy Spirit was using the same mouth to speak to me about my relationship to Him.

Talk about channeling!

So I walk back, happy to let the walk be as long as it is.  What's the problem with a long walk, anyway.  Maybe I'm not being led in circles to nowhere....maybe I'm allowing a gradual winding down of my need for control.  So what if I'm going backwards half the time and making a gross farting noise?  Who is here to offend or please or impress anyway?  "Images I have made."  That's about it. 

The ocean is bluer than it was, the sky is clear, and the sun is out.  (Is this the same beach?) It's a long walk back...after what has been close to 3 hours, I'm starting to feel the muscles in my legs getting tired.  That actually feels pretty good.  I see cute families, cute older couples, cute kids.

A chubby guy with a giant mustached smile, all colorful and hanging loose in purply-colored tiedye, glances up at the lovely sunshine and says, "Can you believe it?"  I smile and say, "It's a Miracle!"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wish Fulfillment Part 2 - or The Ego Always Has a Big "But"

 In my experience, I seem to walk along the path at a modest incline for long stretches. I live my normal life and do my normal mind watching/forgiveness.  But I also do a lot of auto-pilot time. I lean back, feeling somehow accomplished about a storm I've weathered: "Everything seems to be going just fine, we're right on schedule, weather's good, gas tank's full...I think I will just step into the back cabin and take a nap."

So I'm humming along.  Sure, the ego pops up like a Jack-in-the-box on a regular basis, but I'm used to it. I don't have the same fear or frustration or need to be right etc etc etc anymore.  I'm pleased with myself (ego) because I have more peace than I used to have.  I somehow privately think (there's that bad word again) that I've reached some kind victory over the ego...it's like I've had a John Wayne moment, where I've drawn a line in the sand with my spurred boot: "Don't cross this line, Buster. This town's not big enough for the both of us."

But remember the ego doesn't really go for truces.  It's all or nothing with the ego...it's like how you can't be a little bit pregnant.  While its thought system is still active in me/you, it's going to pop up for you "out there."  And sometimes we experience it like the aren't-we-grateful-to-laugh-at-it-now Jack-in-the-box toy, and sometimes we experience it like it's the freakin' Terminator who is out to get us. In fact, the better you get at undoing it, the more viscious it gets.

It's when The Terminator shows up in our lives that we get to go through some great healing. (Never mind it feels like we're lost in a black hell and our guts are dissolving...that's what the caterpillar feels too.)  We grab for the radio mouthpiece and yell, "May day! May Day! We're going down!"  Maybe we even plead for the Holy Spirit to get us the hell out of this mess.

Of course, He is so damn predictable.  No urgency with Him, nope, not even if you are losing altitude at an amazing rate and you smell smoke coming from what appears to be flames over one of the engines.  He calmly tells us to look at our minds honestly.  "Excuse me," we say through clenched teeth, "do you really think this is the time for this!? Can't you bail me out and then we'll talk? We'll do lunch even?"

He just looks at you/me, patiently waiting.  He throws a glance over to the mirror  (i.e. what is appearing to happen "out there" including our interpretation and what it all "means") as though to say, it doesn't lie.  We ignore the plane instruments for a moment in stunned disbelief that He is not producing miracle water to put out the fire and instead is giving a lecture.  He adds,

"That's what's in between you and me.  Aren't you full of gratitude yet that your brothers and all the situations you find yourselves in are a 100% accurate, faithful projection of what has been repressed, buried, hidden under the rug in your mind?  The stuff you agreed to clean up with Me?  Go give the Terminator a big hug.  Honey, The Terminator is a symbol of YOU.  There's no one else here, and YOU are terrorizing yourself by looking at a neutral screen of nothing through the lens of fear." 

This is where the ego does the fastest costume change you've ever seen, shape shifting into your BFF (best friend forever)..the one friend that truly understands you.  It puts on its best righteous rage act and jumps in to intercede with you and the Holy Spirit in "your time of dire need."

"BUT!"

The ego always has a big but.  It's favorite ploy is convincing you that during a crisis you need all hands on deck, the more help the better.  Ego tells you that you now have a "partnership"....you, good ol' BFF me, that Holy Spirit character.  Ego will quickly take charge and do of bit of kiss-ass stuff with you to reel you in to its arms and completely away from Truth.  Then it will say in its cheeriest, chin-up way, "Let's get to work!  I will do all the heavy lifting..I know you've been through so much.....and you really deserve better...I'm here for you, darling."

It will enlist your help, so you feel really included and like you have moved out of victimhood (you haven't...you still think the world is being done to you, not by you.)  You are beginning to feel like your old self...capable, progress oriented, solution-focused. 

"First, we'd better analyze the situation to figure out what went wrong exactly." This is politically-correct code for "who/what we need to blame for it."

So there you go...once again you are off counting the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Even if early on, you wonder if you should be listening more to the Holy Spirit's counsel, the ego snaps you back with a quick image of that last time you really fucked up bad.

"As your BFF," the ego whispers, "I think you need to hear the truth...you really have a dark, shitty, unlovable side. Actually, I don't know how you've made it this far in your life with any friends or success, because we both know what an absolute faker/liar/cheat you are. And, yes, you and I know it's because your mother and father never loved you enough, and remember that time in 3rd grade where you were embarrassed by your teacher in front of the whole class...let's not even get into all that you went through in that train wreck of a 2nd failed marriage with that schmuck...but anyway..no one else cares about that..no one but me... So do yourself a favor, and let's work this out together, ok?  I'm here for you."

As all the images of past pain and future disaster reel through your mind, you give in to the call for action.

You form committees, conduct studies, run surveys, develop complicated score cards -- all in preparation for scoping out Life Plan 2.0 for redesigning/reorganizing your life in a better way so you can get what you deserve this time.

Never mind the fact that you can see the rats fleeing from the lower quarters, which makes you stop a moment --"Why is the deck suddenly uphill?" --and then you have to force yourself to try not to think about the fact that the ship is sinking and the fact that a part of you, too, is sinking as you acknowledge the deja vu pang you are having.  You've been in this movie before a few (*cough* million) times it seems...everyone gets really cold and wet every single time.

"BUT!" The ego's on to the fact you are on to it, so it keeps hurling one distracting image after another at you, past, present, and future stories of sin, guilt, and fear.

These are periods of dis-comfort (to put it mildly) usually, but that's when we get pretty darn motivated, so there's the good side.

And here's another good side:  Nothing gained/reclaimed before in past storms has been lost, and so there's more Self present to help us through.  We are more able to watch the ego's antics as a witness.  At some point in our journey, even if we vacillate a bit, we pray not so much for a fix for the mess, but for the miracle (correction).  We surprise ourselves even as we feel ourselves truly wanting the Truth just because it's ..well...True, dammit.

The Holy Spirit has never left, not even after we told it it was, in essence, dead weight and "why don't you go hang out in a church where people who aren't actually in NEED OF HELP can be comforted by your perky but totally impractical slogans about love and oneness."  He is never offended, never impatient.  He waits.

And then sometimes, as witness, we find something.  Maybe we are resting from our latest tantrum and we just stumble into it -- it's like an old pair of worn out shoes, our favorite comfy indulgence. The enlighten-ing mind sees it for the garbage it is, false and limiting, and knows it needs to go.  Whatever it is, dropping it is chipping away at the biggy...."The world/my individual self is real."

Since it is on the table here, blame is a toy we can't afford at some point...not blame aimed at the stock market, our past, the person in front of us, or even ourselves.

Such stuff gets too heavy to haul around anymore, so we get more and more honest about our belief inventory. We just keep shedding the false, more and more of it.  Or we don't, and we stay put for a while and that's okay.  But eventually the non-compromising nature of the Ego Vs Holy Spirit choice we're in motivates to climb some more.  We turn the volume down on the ego's "buts" in order to pick our butts up and make the next switchback.

The Holy Spirit uses our "little willingness" to lead us gradually through this sorting out/letting go process, because there is tremendous fear underneath.  Ultimately, everything has to be questioned, which is why the mirror is a blessing in the Holy Spirit's hands. The world that was imagined by the ego as a wish fulfillment dream -- like a video game where sin, guilt, and fear always win, sending you back to level 1 over and over and over -- becomes a path Home once we've allowed the Purpose to be switched for us.

Along the way, every way "I" identify myself, every single goal, every single belief, every single value, gets questioned until there's nothing left but Truth.  We're talking baseball, hot dogs, motherhood, and apple pie.  We're talking the stock market, democracy, competition, history, gravity, quantum physics. We're talking children, husbands, parents, bodies, souls, heaven, and hell.

Everything.  But not all at once like ripping off a band-aid.  And gently, always gently.

With more Trust these days than I used to have, I can say I have found that it was my ego's way of leading me down the Spiritual path that has caused the suffering that makes you want to die to get away from it.  The Holy Spirit's way is just uncomfortable/messy/awkward, but no one ever died from feeling awkward.  The ego loves to keep you looking poised and "put together" for all the shadow people "out there," but the Holy Spirit unravels the mask quickly.  It can be painful even to watch yourself fall apart, while we still are chipping at the big block of guilt, like I still am.

But pain and suffering are different, I think.  I may be in pain...today, tomorrow, next week.  But I'm not identified with it and defined by it.  I can even shock the hell out of myself and discover that I can be at Peace even in pain. That's a tell-tale sign of the Miracle doing its good work.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Trust

I'm having one of those times... so I have been spending a lot of time mentally just watching thoughts and asking the Holy Spirit to help me learn and forgive (i.e. deny what is not real...the world is not happening to me, it is happening because of a secret wish founded on fear, etc).   "I need do nothing" has been my mantra, as in "well, there you go...this would be a good time to practice what you blogged about, huh self?"  Ok, I have a point!

So I'm driving my kids to the beach and feel an inner prompt to make a turn I hadn't intended. I make the turn and sit at a stop light.  There's a building on the corner with a billboard.  I get to stare at it for the duration of a red light, and had there not been traffic behind me, I might have made it TWO red lights: 

"Joy is having Trust in God."

Indeed.  We can't "fix" it...we have to sit in it, watch the hate/fear/frustration/sadness/boredom etc etc etc that it seems to provoke, and let the Holy Spirit use it to undo us.  And that takes Trust.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wish fulfillment

A Course In Miracles is not for the faint of heart.  Or maybe a better way to put it is that -- if you basically like your life, it's probably not for you.  Or yet another way to say it is -- if you are looking for a spiritual path that will help you help yourself in the world and help make the world better, again, maybe this is not your path.

Or maybe it is. I don't know.  It wasn't the path I personally thought I wanted way back when, but it suckered me in... :)

Maybe you will suddenly be given ACIM by someone and it will seem to follow you around the house until you open it. Or maybe you will get a subtle hint...like the blue book will fall off a bookshelf on your head while you are looking for something helpful on Spirit Guides or Angels in Barnes & Noble.  Or maybe you will suddenly look twice at the doorstop you've been using for years to prop open the door to the back porch, and for some reason today you notice it says "A Course Of Miracles" on the spine, and isn't that amazing, because you could really use one, a miracle that is, right now.


My point is this:  A Course In Miracles is not a path to a better world.  It's a Path leading out of the dream, which is the only place the world exists (or seems to).  None of us want to hear this at first. Actually most of us just gloss over that part for many years as we "study" it.  Because of its premise, it is frustratingly non-committal about what we should "do" when we hit the rough patches in our lives except for the one consistent thing:  Go back to the mind and bring Jesus/Holy Spirit/Self/Truth with you and just look without judgment.  When you really really really want to do something or feel really really guilty and think you should do something -- this can seem irrationally passive. Wrong even.  Maddening even!

But honestly, it's not that it's passive that makes us so irked. (i.e. angry/fearful) Deep down it's that it is so darn radical, and the truth of the matter, it is taking something away from us that we've chosen.  Not from the One "I" who we are in the Truth, but from the individual ego self that we identify with (wrongly) in the illusion.  Remember the ego is the part of the split mind that thinks we're here, the world is here, and God is separate from us, and that keeps us thinking we have a clue about anything, which keeps us judging which keeps us stuck in guilt, which keeps us choosing separation, yadda yadda yadda...around the circle to nowhere we go.

And that gets me to my real point....

After a while we start to put 2 and 2 and 2 together..and X and LMNOP...and all the other spiritual beliefs we carry around.  We've been a collector for years and yet we find that if we're honest, they don't add up or make sense together, which to be useful, and Truthy, they really should do.  At some point, we get so weary of tripping over our own feet, that we decide we better lighten our load.  We put all the spiritual "truths" we've collected on the table...we spread them out and look at each one.  We see if we can put them together in any kind of coherent puzzle and if so, what kind of picture the puzzle creates.

If I believe it because it's True (or at least points the right direction) then it should fit in this puzzle somewhere! We assure ourselves of this declaration for good reason.  Now we're being logical for once.  Or more accurately, we are maturing spiritually, and it's time to give up our toys.

Here's a typical scenario....

I bring out the puzzle piece that says "I am Love"...then I pull out the puzzle piece "God created me" ...ahh, yes...those feel good.  I've had them a long time.

I pull out the piece "I am here to experience the world"  and the puzzle piece "God has created a beautiful world."  Those feel good too.  Old friends.

Then maybe I go get a glass of water, and as I'm walking through the living room, I catch a glimpse of news.  CNN is reporting the latest death tolls of some war or some famine, or maybe the local channel is reporting on some murder or some rape....or maybe it's not the news, but a political talk show, and the conservative host is arguing with the evil, commie liberal -- or the liberal host is arguing with the evil, fascist conservative......

Huh.

I go back to my spiritual puzzle pieces, and I take a sip of water and just look.  I make a new puzzle piece out of cardboard...it says, "the world is full of chaos, death, destruction, hate, greed, violence etc."

*sip*

I feel the anxiety rising.  (What the heck?)  I stay with it, though.  I push around "God is LOVE" and "God created the World" and "I am Love" and nose them up against, "the world is full of chaos, death, destruction, hate, greed, violence, etc."

Ok, dammit, these do not all fit together!

I push them all around the table some more...I try to match them up somehow.  Maybe scoosh the too-big parts into the too-small parts to make a compromise "fit"?  Maybe make a new piece that tries to connect them both. "God is LOVE and I am LOVE and the world is actually a really LOVING place, no matter all the murder and mahem, which is just ME getting to Experience the dark so I can learn from contrast."

Wow.  That fits but sounds kinda funky.  Like if God is LOVE, then I have to be LOVE (how can something create something it is not)... but this last one I made (or read somewhere) is hard to make sense of.  Why would perfect Love need to learn anything? Also, learning implies there's subject/object...I'm way too far advanced to think God's a white guy with a beard looking down on me, "the other." I feel we are truly One.  This piece just seems to compromise in every direction and it sort of fits, but not very cleanly.

And this "not fitting" is becoming more of a problem as I grow in spiritual wisdom.  Without connecting them, I am a bit splintered...schizophrenic even. On Mondays I'm nice and wise, and on Wednesdays I'm mean and evil.  I am on a pendulum, and I feel like Cybil!

Alright...the only thing left to do is to consider that maybe, just maybe, I need to give up a puzzle piece.  How about "God is Love"?  Eek. No way.  If I give that up, why even put this stupid puzzle together at all?  Besides that feels right, and sometimes in my darkest hours it is the only thing I have to hold onto!  Lots of teachings and gurus that are smarter than me about all of this have come to this conclusion.  I'll keep this one because I've experienced enough to know this is True.

How about "I am Love" ... well shoot.  If God is LOVE and if I exist at all,  how the heck could He create something not like himself?  That would make Him imperfect, at which point he's not God at all. Nope, that's illogical.  So I must be Love, or at least what's real about me must be. I'm keeping that one.

Well, all I'm left with is "God created the world."  Hmmm........

*sip*

I put my chin on the table for a long think.  As I stare at my puzzle pieces through my water glass, I notice how they warp and seem to change.  What is "the world"?   I remember how quantum physicists have said that at the tiniest level of micro reality, there is no tangible matter to be found.  NO matter.  Again, what is "the world"?  What is my body, my perceptions, my life?  Then I remember that Einstein says even time is a "collective hallucination."  So no time, no matter.  Huh.

I take the piece "God created the world" and I throw it away.  I make a new piece, "There is no world."  Ding ding ding!  Now all the pieces suddenly go together!!!

But there's one problem, one MAJOR problem.  If God didn't create the world, then what the heck is happening here?  Why do I think I'm in a world, in a body, with a past and future, with family and a job, and a laptop and a blog...why?  Why is there a CNN and why are there stories about murder on it?  Well, there ARE good things, too, I remind myself.  "Yeah but," I retort, "I can't believe God is more schizo than I am...making flowers, rainbows, and purple unicorns on all the even days and war, starvation, and disease on odd days.  No way."

*sip* *gulp*

(Is it getting hot in here?)

If God didn't create the world, I must have.  And the only reason to do something is because you want it for some reason.  It seems like a good deal at the time.  It seems to give you something "better" than you had before.

Aye, here's the proverbial rub.

The world then is a "wish fulfillment" dream of an ego that thinks it separated (or accomplished the impossible).  And to give the dream up and awaken, I have to give the ego up as my reality and identify with that Love, that Love that must possess me, not the other way around.  Getting to the chase, if I give the ego up, it means I give the idea of a little individual self up.   I stop believing in the story of Laura.

Whoa, the rub is getting rubbier.

I spin what's left of my water in my glass, and I watch the perceptions I receive through it get fuzzier.  Perceptions change. The world is morphing and fading in my mind, as am I.  Is the cup 1/2 full or empty?  Neither..there IS no cup.

And now I finally complete the puzzle.  I can own the piece I was afraid to look at before, so now the gentle, gradual unlearning can really begin.  It is all so radical but simple...I see that I have never wanted the Truth.  I wanted "me."  But I'm softening to the idea now...a glimmer of willingness is dawning.  And that's the first step.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Once upon a time, Laura went to see a Faith Healer

Years ago, at 29, I was tired from holding up the disaster I called "my life." Thinking back, I was "doing" all the right things, and it was exhausting.  I was reading books on self help, positive thinking, healing wounds, how to find the work you love, etc etc.  I was working out regularly, attending lectures on angels and the spiritual dimension, taking college classes so I could figure out "what I want to do when I grow up."  I was conscious of my co-dependence and I was consciously facing it as I learned to live alone. I'd even found my spiritual community (I thought) and regularly connected with "like-minded" people.

But I was still feeling adrift without a rudder, heart-broken, and very lonely...and oh so tired.The quaint but often misguided adage -- "when Life hands you lemons, make lemonade" -- wasn't working. Not if I were totally honest.  In the privacy of my empty apartment, I'd face myself and admit I was still not one of those "happy people, out there!" that I envied.  I'd sampled everything on the Self Help buffet line, and nothing worked for me.  After binging on self-pity, anger at God, and wine, I'd pick myself up and try again.  I'll work harder, I'd vow, to think positive, connect, improve myself, "forgive," etc etc. (Oh my...there are so many lessons about the ego here we could go into, but, lucky you!, that's not why I'm writing today.)


For several months, I visited a psychic lady I met at a bookstore.  I gave her money, and she spoon fed me hope.  One day, our professional relationship took a step towards friendship.  So hungry for attention -- and secretly hopeful that God had finally sent me an angel to deliver "the answer" I was searching for -- my heart quickened when she invited me to go with her to West Seattle to visit an Hispanic healer.  He had a reputation and was making a "rare" appearance in the states, she claimed. I knew she mostly just needed a ride, and she knew enough about me to know I had time on my hands and a working car.  But, like a hungry stray dog, I was happy to get a bone, so I agreed to pick her up later that afternoon.


The setting sun blinded us as we crossed the West Seattle bridge.  Soon we arrived at a small nondescript building, no bigger than a good-sized house in the middle of what seemed to be a poorer, working class neighborhood.  Its clapboards needed paint, and the lawn was overgrown.  As we parked along the side of the street, I felt my heart beat faster in anticipation.  Many other cars, most of them older and beat up, surrounded the little, unassuming building.  My friend and I walked in through the open door, and, as we crossed the threshold, I felt like we’d been transported to another time in old Mexico.   


Whole families of elderly, the very young, and working age adults had staked out temporary homes among the pews. I suddenly understood the term “congregation” for the air was relaxed and real and everyone seemed to feel free to be themselves in a way that made me aware of how foreign that was for me. I’m quite sure there could not have been any actual chickens milling around, pecking for seeds among the feet of the young and old, but I see them in my memory, and the colorful, hacienda-like atmosphere certainly invited them.  I felt like the only guiding rule of etiquette was Live and Let Live.  

A part of me gave an involuntary sigh of release.   Remembering my early years in a small town Lutheran church, scratchy in my yellow polyester dress and too-small black patent-leather shoes, something in me melted a little to know that little bored and restless kids were not getting chastised for slumping in their pews here. In fact, kids of all sizes were roaming around without boundaries, like my imagined chickens, while grandparents tried to slow them down to give them sandwiches or hugs.  Mothers and fathers looked on with eyes that seemed to see something very far away.  More than the old people, they seemed to be weighted down with heavy troubles and were letting the music lull them into an overdue rest.   
I was relieved to find our healer looked normal, without any flowing robe or white suit with jewelry or unfashionably big hair.  He seemed middle-aged to me, but the warmth in his eyes and smile were deceptively young.  He sat at a piano in front and sang in Spanish as he played, gazing all the while at the souls who'd come to him for miscellaneous miracles. As the only Gringos, my friend and I tried to skulk into seats at the back of the church. I startled, half sheepishly/half honored to watch this man acknowledge us with a kind look of ‘hello’ and then begin to repeat each phrase of his Spanish hymn in English for us.  I verified with a quick glance around the room we were the only two non-Spanish speakers in the audience. He was singing in our language just for us. 

As the music continued, a part of me began to wonder if this was all there was – perhaps he heals through this music, I thought.  I relaxed a little deeper.  

Suddenly, however, our healer stood from his piano bench and moved to the center of the alter. Like a group dance that each person in the church knew well, the room around me began to shift.  Another pianist sat down on the piano bench in our healer’s place so that hardly a note was skipped, and as he began to play, the congregation left their pew seats to get in line at the front of the church.  My heart began to pump faster in anticipation of what would happen.  One by one, the very old, the middle age, and the young, went up to the healer who waited with an unusual authority at the front. As I wondered what people were lining up for, in short order, our healer instructed the room – first in Spanish, then again in English for my friend and myself – to tell Jesus through him what it was they asked for, so that he could bless us from Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be healed.

My heart sunk.
           
            Considering how much healing my heart needed, you would think my heart would have done something, anything, more grateful.  But all I could think of how to get out of the situation without offending a nice piano player and a kind group of slightly gullible Hispanic families.  

Those were fleeting thoughts, however, as the unfolding scene around me drew me in, and I watched myself and everyone else like I was at a movie.  I was amazed to watch the morphing of each person who made his/her way down the aisle; with each step they seemed to rifle a little deeper through their pockets digging out all their worries, pains, and fears until they were only barely visible behind huge armloads of suffering by the time they reached the alter. I could not understand their words to our healer, but suffering is Universal and I understood their meaning.  They were singing a common refrain of humanity throughout time:  Please, heal this illness in myself, in my husband, or in my child; help my husband find work so we can feed our kids and pay our mortgage; help my son or daughter overcome this addiction; remove this crippling arthritis so I will not be a burden to others; please, answer this personal crisis to which my family and I can find no earthly solution.   

Our healer listened to each one, then touched him or her on the forehead while he turned his face upward and said a quick prayer with eyes closed to the Holy Spirit.  On cue, the person in front of him seemed to lose all control and fall in a heap into the waiting arms of a helper behind him.  My sunken heart did a somersault. It was my biggest nightmare.
  
The music played on, and the apparent healings continued.  People of all shapes and sizes continued to drop to the floor, often with deep sobs as others rushed to help them return to their seats. Our healer stood strong, smiling gently over these “healings” which I assumed he would say were coming from the Holy Spirit and not an over-active collective imagination.
    
As the crowd began to thin out and the line began to shorten, my friend – seemingly un-phased by the drama around us – eagerly made her way to get in line, and I, not wanting to create a scene of any kind, followed.  My heart beat faster as we inched forward, and I began to play out various save-face scenarios – When my turn was up, I could look quickly down and walk to the side without being blessed, I thought. Or maybe I could play along and just drop to one knee and call it good.  My silly self-conscious drama took center stage in my mind, and I ignored most of the events taking place around me.  But as I neared the top of the line, I saw something astounding. 

As before, our healer looked deeply into the eyes of the man before him, eyes which told many stories of pain, fear, and hardship.  After listening to the person’s heartfelt request with what seemed like a genuine empathy, our healer placed his hand on the person’s forehead, and then turned his own face upward to offer his blessing to a higher power in prayer. The phenomenon I saw when I was only two people away, however, made all the theatrics seem suddenly more real, if not understandable.  As our healer lifted his face up in blessing, a force seemed to explode through him – it struck like a colorful bolt of lightening, lighting up his aura, entering through his forehead, down through his hand, and into the forehead of the person in front of him. I could hardly believe what I had seen.
           
My friend’s turn came next, and I watched with anticipation at what would happen, still awestruck by the scene I’d witnessed.  But our healer, almost like a benevolent chameleon, adapted to her "Gringo" style. He smiled gently, they exchanged some quiet words I could not hear, he said a quiet prayer, and she walked quietly back to her seat.  No lightening, just kindness.

I was next.  

As I stood there before him, I thought he seemed at once ordinary and extraordinary.  For a split second, I worried about what he would know about me if he really could “see.” But before I could obsess, a strong feeling of kindness enveloped my monkey-mind worries.   I was before him now, and he looked deeply into my eyes.  I suddenly felt like a six-year-old child, standing disheveled in front of a parent, knees scraped and face dirty, needing approval and hardly daring to hope that he would offer it.  He continued to look into my eyes with a gentle, but penetrating gaze that seemed to see right into my eyes, past my retinas, into my brain, down my brainstem, and into my heart.  I stood their mute, unable to think of any words at all, as his gaze probed around my aorta searching for my question.  

 He seemed to know, and not care, that I was speechless.  Words, I guess, were an unneeded formality for him. After a short pause, he said smiling, almost as though he were pleased with himself for the quick discovery...(or maybe because it was such a benign request compared to all the illness, death and destruction)...“You just want to know your Purpose.”  My whole body and soul gonged. He blessed me gently, without the drama and the fireworks, and I returned to my seat, quiet and stunned.  A quiet Peace filled me, as though all the childish clamoring inside me saying “look at me!” had dissipated.  

I took my seat.  And my blank mind, the one that had been struck by Peace, continue to resonate for the last moments of the service.  For a few moments, I couldn't remember what the heck I was there for. I had no problems...I had no thoughts, even.

No thoughts?  The thought of no thoughts rang some alarm bell, at which point my egoic monkey-mind quickly tried to grab the controls of my attention again. Such a fleeting glimpse of Peace, and now I began to bounce from thought to thought to thought.  Phew.  What the heck was that?

As I drove home, my friend and I made just enough small talk to avoid appearing rude, and I tried to "understand" my afternoon.  By the time I was back on I-5, I'd taken stock of the situation rationally.  So he may have some psychic gifts, maybe, but if he’s really a great healer, why hadn’t he healed me by giving me the goddamn answer?! 

It took me another decade and a half to realize that he did. :)


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Switchbacks...

Have you ever felt you were on a marathon to nowhere?
You think, "My legs are tired, my feet are sore.  The worst part is that I've seen this scenery before." 

My guess is that most of us "hit the wall" from time to time. We feel stuck, discouraged.  We judge ourselves for not being "over" the ego.

If you've been at this a while, it's likely that you will think (never a good thing to do) that you are covering the same territory and your practice (whatever it is) is not working.  You watch yourself dealing with the same ego thoughts, the same old patterns, the insecurities, the fears, the jealousies, the masks, the addictions, the doubt, the shame, the guilt, the anticipation, the desire, the judgment.

You hit the wall. Now ego thoughts about having had ego thoughts take you in a tailspin ...it's a circular trap designed to keep you hostage.  You feel like you've failed. Again. What's more...you feel like you are bad, weak, lesser than

But Truth (which you might notice you turn to much quicker than you ever used to, right?) reminds you that the smartest fastest way up the mountain -- the way that you are being led, by the way, Truth says -- is to walk the switchbacks.  Back and forth, back and forth, you cover what seems to be the same old territory over and over and over.  Oh, but each time from a slightly higher perspective.  That's Significant!

How does this higher perspective show up?  Yes, you still have to deal with many of the same old things. But did you notice you suffer less before you reach to Truth for peace?  You feel lighter because you aren't carrying so much baggage.  Even though you judge, you can notice that you judge less than you used to... and now you surprise yourself even because you find that during a typical situation that would have sent you into a ego frenzy, you just sit back and watch your mind quietly with Spirit.   It's a Miracle.

You may even be to the point of allowing yourself to sit, uncomfortably, in a place of "not doing" and "not knowing" during those times that used to compel you to fix, do, change, react, judge, say something, call someone, make a move of some kind, etc.  You notice the discomfort and just let it be, while you watch your reflexive impulses try to tempt you into fixing, changing, judging, doing something...and as you watch without judgment, maybe you've noticed Peace replacing the feelings and thoughts that felt so real just a moment before. Peace comes in and does all the work in your mind --- and seemingly without, too -- all by Itself. You just had to let it do It's job.

You also notice -- thank the Lord! -- that you are kinder with yourself when you do fall asleep at the wheel of your awareness, so to speak.  At the end of the ego fit (that you know was just a futile attempt to defend against the Truth in some way), you say, "Huh."  No drama, no gnashing of teeth.  Simple.

Without any condemnation, you then remind yourself of what really happened.  "My fear of losing myself is so great still that I pushed Love away and chose the drama of meaninglessness.  I went back to MY way, my perceptions. But it's okay. It's not a big deal.  Officially no harm has been done, per the Holy Spirit!  But now let me remember what I want...I want the Peace of being Home."

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...