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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Fool


What am I protecting with my fear of being a fool for others? I am protecting Laura's core that will be destroyed by criticism, misunderstanding, invisibility, separation.   

Holy Spirit: Is that true?

Self/me: The world cannot really know me and yet I feel the desire, an energy that is serving as the foundation under all of my pursuits, that it do so.  Therefore for as many years as I stay identified as "me," we -- my projected world and my "me" identity -- have a love/hate special (from ACIM's perspective) relationship. We must. There is no other way.

Why can the world not ever know "me"?  Because there is no "me" to be known.  The concept that I have identified as "me" is completely made up. And yet it is real to my imagination, because I believe in it for now.  And so my reality, my me-ness, is looking for acknowledgement "out there" in the projected world of "others" which is also identified with made up "me's" that I from my made up self would call "them's."  And we can't even speak to each other from that "me" state, because we are nothing but mirrors for the unconscious, sleeping Self.   We can only try to manipulate until disappointment is too great that we move on to find a better "me" puppet to manipulate, and so on.  

And yet the frustration becomes too much eventually, because the Self that is I knows at a deep level it's all made up and the Truth has never bent to its unconscious mind's wishes.   

Maybe I seem to be on some spiritual Path...but then "me" is doing the path.  Pursuing something.  The saving Grace of it all is that by virtue of the Truth being True and uncompromising, while "me" thought I was practicing and studying a Path to Truth, the Path was undoing me.  I was never the doer at all.  I laugh!

Am I ready to be The Fool? The Fool laughs at the arrogance, grandiosity, ignorance, unconsciousness of "me."  The Fool threatens "me" but frees my Self.  The Fool pulls the carpet out from under "me," and laughs when "me" seems to fall on its butt.  The Fool seems vicious, mean to "me" at times.  The Fool knows every weakness, every fear.  The Fool does this major theater piece that seems to elicit excruciating discomfort in "me" ...but where "me" thought it was to engender more fear and guilt, "me" was wrong again. 

"I am" that is always Choosing is finding that -- at the Fool's Hand -- It gains the motivation to drop Its identification with "me."  It is too painful to keep holding that made-up, silly belief.  Finally, The Path shakes me free of "me," like "me" was no more than dirty lint.



Mooji speaks on Relationships as we Undo our Ego

I thought this was a beautiful summary of what seems to happen as we undo our old attachments and how our existing relationships can be uncomfortable to others, and confusing to us, as we shift. The Course In Miracles cautions that we not abandon our relationships as we make this turn, for they are simply being set right, and it feels awkward for a while when the old (ego) purpose for them is not working anymore.

"Don't make demonstrations of your spirituality....Out of your Quietness you see you don't need any preparations to meet any human being. It will be fresh. Trust yourself." -- Mooji



Friday, August 19, 2011

Your Life is a Classroom, But You Can't Fail the Final

A Course in Miracles teaches us, as we've discussed here, that when you begin to realize that you really want Peace over all the drama/sickness/death/chaos you've been experiencing, your "life" (the one you think you are living here) becomes your classroom. Learning your lessons now becomes your Purpose. The curriculum is always some aspect of Forgiveness...the real kind, as we've said, where you "Forgive" all the interpretations/meaning/judgement that you've been assigning to everything. You get better at doing this as you get better at listening to the Holy Spirit Teacher (which is in your mind) instead of the ego teacher (which is also in your mind.) You are always listening to one or the other.

Until you wanted Peace, you were always listening to the ego. It was teaching you (by your choice) that the world is real, the things in it are real, you are real, and the guilt/fear/pain/suffering/deprivation etc holding the whole sand castle together is real, too.

But the day has come, and you've decided you want Peace, and now your life -- and everything that seems to happen, every relationship (casual or life-long) -- is a classroom. That leads us to the question of "tests," which can be a real ego trap. Many of us get stuck thinking Jesus or the Holy Spirit is now sending us challenges, as in "Jesus is testing me....that's why this horrible thing is happening."

This can be a very scary feeling, when we think the Holy Spirit mucks around down here at the level of the dream. Deep down we can't help but believe that God/Jesus/H.S. has sent me the rapist, or the job lay off, or the car trouble in the middle of nowhere. Not only that, the reverse must be true, too, as in some private hidden belief like,"here I am drowning, and the Holy Spirit must not think I'm worthy enough yet to send me a dingy to save me."

How loving would Jesus be if He did this? Not Loving at all. Not by God's Perfect Standards, and that's what we're going for. So we really need to drop this belief if we're to make substantial progress, because until we do, God/H.S. is still the "enemy" at a deep level.

And who do you think would want us to think that? If you said "ego," you get a biscuit. :)

The not-so funny thing is that the ego studies A Course In Miracles (or whatever spiritual practice we're drawn to) right along with us, as you may have already noticed. The ego loves to "help" us in our spirituality, and it especially likes to make spirituality fearful in some way, or make it an eternal struggle/competition/marathon. The ego doesn't actually mind if you talk about Oneness and God and Peace etc. etc. etc. as long as it can keep you deeply afraid of it.

To keep this insane "fear of Love" in place, it also must make sure that you aren't truly even aware of this fear. It keeps this fear of God hidden from you under rationalizations and well-thought out arguments, the busyness of your spiritual path "out there," and the "pink paint" (as some of my Dear Friends like to say) that you liberally apply over your fear through the use of happy words, etc. Someone once coined this mask (that we all can put on from time to time) as the "blissninny."

So if Jesus/Holy Spirit doesn't send us these "tests" in our life as part of our curriculum/Purpose, what is happening, you ask? It's like this:

The script -- i.e. the dream you are experiencing as real and time-bound -- was written and done with long ago. It was a tiny blip in eternity. There was a thought of separation that included what we think of as the Big Bang but in all time dimensions. Remember that from the ego's twisted purpose, lots of separation and complexity makes a good hiding place from God. At that same moment, a Thought From God provided the Answer to the separation (i.e. Holy Spirit/Joining), and that was that.

Period. It's over. In the can. The fat lady has sung her song.

However, You who are so Powerful as the "Son of God" had tremendous guilt (until you started undoing it), which made you want your separate life because you thought it kept you safe (and let's be honest..because you thought that it was "better".) So you've stayed asleep and you've dreamed your dream lives. All the events are like pre-recorded virtual reality DVDs with gazillions of alternative forks in the plot, and different endings. The Chooser in your mind has been watching them and deciding what voice -- the ego's or the Holy Spirit's -- to listen to. They are like the Roger and Ebert in your head...one has been telling you lies about what how real it all is, and the Other is helping you undo your beliefs in the ego lessons so you can Know/Experience Truth and wake the heck up.

I know it sounds crazy. It's all so deep in the unconscious, we can't really relate to this concept, but that's ok. We get undeniable whiffs of it through the experiences we have once we want them. We start being prompted to make new choices. We begin to watch our minds and notice we are able to catch ourselves choosing judgment, fear, victimization, anger, etc. Sometimes we have outrageous spiritual "aha!" experiences. Once these things start happening, we can't unring the bell. It's done been rung within us.

As students, we often say, "Help me see this another way" when we're feeling a lot of dis-ease in some form, which is always the ego's calling card. That plea for new vision is the door in our mind opening a crack to let some Light in. That's the drawbridge coming down to let the Holy Spirit cross the moat that we've built around our fortress to keep Him out.

So back to the subject at hand -- let's say we're studying ACIM and "bad things" still happen "to us." That's the experience we all have at the beginning...and the "beginning" can seem to last a very long time. Is the Holy Spirit sending us bad things now, just because we've asked to wake up? Is He trying to toughen us up? Is He trying to deliberately show us how crappy bad things feel so we can choose Peace?

In short, no way, Jose. The Holy Spirit is in your mind, not in your dream. He's not really sending you good parking places to reward you for being such a Good Student, but the flip side is, he's not sending you parking tickets to test you either.

The ego loves for us to believe the old adage, "No pain, no gain!" It wants us to blithely assume that we must suffer in our search for Truth. It, in fact, was one of the main authors of the Bible, and the primary influence behind all the suffering that went on that day on the cross. In truth, there was no suffering, because "a guiltless mind cannot suffer."

But despite the ego's lies, what's really happening is a whole lot of nothing. The script was written/done, and besides that, there is no world. Knowing that doesn't help, but wanting Peace and deciding to watch the dream life with the Holy Spirit -- who will now whisper new, helpful ways to think about the dream experiences -- does help, indeed. This will slowly but surely undo your belief in the ego's thought system.

Yes, there are lessons that you are still learning, and until you've learned them all, you are gonna hit speed bumps that look like "bad things happening to me." But don't blame Holy Spirit because a) that displaces the responsibility (which is yours, as The Chooser) and displacement doesn't help you Free you Self, and b) it's just not true, which means you really can/should let the Holy Spirit off the hook. He can go back to being your Holy Buddy.

Realize that all He ever wants is abundance, healing, wholeness and perfect Peace for you. But all those crazy script events the ego wrote for you -- the ones you haven't looked at sufficiently yet to give up the old fearful meaning the ego/you gave them -- He watches with you and will help you re-interpret them so you can finally clear your mind to do one thing: Accept. Accept the Truth of the All Good Stuff He knows for you. You are the only one in this equation that doesn't think you are worthy of All Goodness.

Eventually, you get off the damn "so-called life/so-called death" conveyor belt entirely. Along the way, the seriously delicious and vastly underrated perk of being a good, willing student is that, as you accept His lesson in each "bad" event instead of the ego's, you will feel so much better. You live in a Tranquil Mind. You can be in a traffic jam and not mind one bit.

And when you really nail it, you collapse time, as we've discussed.

In fact, you feel so much Peace at some point, you wouldn't know a bad thing if it happened to you. And that's because it couldn't. You have changed Cause...the meaning you give everything will never lead you into Suffering again.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Collapsing of Time

A more esoteric idea that A Course In Miracles teaches is that our Forgiveness is actually collapsing time.  If that seems like it's gotta be a bad thing, read on.

First, remember, we're talking about the Real Deal Forgiveness, the kind where you are Forgiving all the stuff that isn't really happening. All you are actually doing -- the mechanics of this type of Forgiving -- is Looking at any attack that seems to happen "out there" or in your mind with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not so mysterious or religion-bound as you probably imagine.  First "Holy Spirit" is really just a word (two words actually) and a word is just a symbol that you give a bunch of meaning to, right? In programming lingo, it's like a pointer.  So if you would prefer to call the Holy Spirit "Fred" that could work quite nicely, too, and I'm sure that the Holy Spirit would not mind a bit.

Holy Spirit/Fred is that part of your Mind that is Quiet and Still. It's the part that Knows for you, because you are still asleep and have temporarily forgotten. It knows Who You Are and how You have always been innocent, safe, loved, perfect...and it knows You are already Home.

The Holy Spirit also knows you are responsible for your dreaming experience, because the projections -- or what you seem to be experiencing in your dream -- are coming from within your mind.  Your mind is the Cause and your experience is the Effect. Just like in our night time dreams.

Your dreams are a wish-fulfillment fantasy.  And the crazy thing is that you have a secret wish to be mistreated, because you have a mistaken belief that you separated from God...and that makes you feel pretty darn crappy. This is too deep in your unconscious for you to be aware of, however. Just like how the content of your night time dreams seems to come from nowhere your life is coming from your wanting. "But," I hear you saying, "I am a gentle soul and I do not believe I truly wish to kill my neighbor with a butcher knife or be eaten by a wild, two-headed boar!"  I'm sure you are a very nice person. I'm not judging you/me.  I'm just saying, that's the garbage of the ego. It's in there, or you/I wouldn't be here. It's driving us in circles until we wake up.

Maybe you feel pretty good most of the time even.  That's cool.  But if you notice, you still have accidents or "problems" or you get sick, or people you love have accidents, or "problems" or get old and sick.. and then eventually you and they die.  So there's this guilt playing out in all these little death rehearsals until your body does "the big one" and then you start all over in a new so-called life.

So really, Forgiveness is about looking at the Cause of the world/you/your life instead of looking at the effects. Your part in this Miracle Project is really, really small actually.  In fact, it's so small that the ego gets pretty offended, because the ego thinks it really should have a bigger role.  I have noticed that so much in myself...like my ego had me believing there was something I needed to do during this Forgiveness process.  "Okay," I would hear in my mind, "I'm seeing that asshole...er...Brother...that cut me off on the freeway this morning as Perfect....Yes, I am...I'm seeing that jerk face that almost bashed into my bumper as he was going 95 in a 65 zone and I'm seeing him as Perfect. I really am seeing how Innocent he is even though he almost killed me.  Yes. I really want freakin' Peace right now before I go to the next meeting from hell of the day!"

Umm. I was trying to Forgive.  You probably can see it doesn't work that way....

Just Looking seems so darn hard sometimes.  The truth is we're still listening to the ego  even while we are trying to Forgive.  For a long time, even while we're trying to invite our Holy Buddy in, the ego wants to stay in charge, so there's a push-pull tug-of-war going on in our mind.  My advice is that if it seems hard -- or you just don't feel the love -- don't. Just relax ...maybe go watch a movie, or as one of my Dear Friends and I joke, go make a salad in the kitchen.

Then maybe a few days later you'll notice you are Quiet again.  Then you might want to Look with Him.  Remind yourself that "you need do nothing." The Holy Spirit is doing all the heavy lifting here, not you!  He just needs your Allowing.

He's like the Sunrise in your Mind that erases the night and dissipates the mists...*poof* they are gone, quietly and gently.  That asshole was your self-hatred being reflected to you so you could let it go.  You might even find yourself chuckling now, which is way better than trying hard. There's no drama in a quiet chuckle-session.

But how do I find Him, the elusive Holy Buddy/Fred? You may be frustrated like I was for a long time, thinking/moaning that unless there is a burning bush in your face (and secretly saying "dammit, why did Moses get a bush and I didn't?") you couldn't be really sure you were, indeed, with your Holy Buddy. You probably mock yourself some.."what in the heck do I think I'm doing?" Try to avoid agonizing yourself like I did for so long.  Just know He is already with you...whether you feel Him or not. He's been sitting in there waiting Patiently, Quietly.  His Presence doesn't really come with a lot of fanfare, like Cecil B. Demille's Holy Spirit does.

You might discover Him if you haven't already, and He's just sitting on the couch next to you with his goofy Smile.  There you are indulging in a guilty pleasure, and as you eat your Cheetos you notice that he is there Loving You and telling you how cool your fingers look in that neon orange color. You thought you were alone. You were wrong.  He's been with you all along.

So once you've found Your Friend, life suddenly has a Purpose. Man, is that not a great surprise, because you've been waiting for your Purpose to reveal itself to you for years! You've been to so many workshops hoping to find it there -- you even paid for graduate school, but nothing felt right or seemed to totally click. But now you have it!  Your Purpose is to Forgive and to hang with your Holy Buddy in your mind.

The more you hang out together, the better things get...and the more Peace you start to experience. The Holy Buddy will reinterpret all the experiences you have -- because you still go to work, parent your kids, clean the house, have fun with friends, etc. But whereas before the ego was in charge, now you are letting your Holy Buddy be your mentor instead.  So it's like everything is new and different.  As the angel says to Nicolas Cage in the movie Family Man, "You are working on a New Deal now, Baby."

Before you would yell at your kids and feel bad, or you'd get a big fat unexpected electric bill in the mail and feel bad.  The ego would be right there at your side to tell you what a bad parent you are -- or what rotten kids you have -- or what a terrible mess of the country the Republicrats or the Democlicans have made. (i.e. the ego would reinforce your guilt and keep you fixed on the world as the source of your problems.)

But now your Holy Buddy -- when you are ready for a second Opinion -- will help you just look at the thoughts in your mind without any kind of judgment at all.  He'll actually kind of laugh maybe in that infectious way that makes you laugh, too.  But only if you are ready not to take yourself so seriously anymore.  He's really good at knowing where you are in your Trust process...if you are serious, he will be serious with you, too.  Maybe He will just point out in a way that you find deliciously inviting, that it might just be possible and okay to be just a teensy bit more Gentle with yourself.  Just a smidge.  And you might even try taking off your coarse hair shirt and putting down your baseball bat you've been hammering yourself and others with. And you might even notice how you suddenly feel just a bit better.

What's happening here is that you are making a deposit in your Trust Bank Account.  You don't know it yet, but after all kinds of little, simple deposits over however many years, your Trust Bank Account is going to get so big you are going to be Independently Wealthy and Free For Life.  You are going to be living in Total Abundance.  The waves are going to part whenever you (as part of the One Will) need to cross a sea. But you don't know that yet.

There's another thing you don't know.  You are actually collapsing Time.  I know that probably sounds like a bad thing, but just try to suspend judgment for a minute.  Also, the ego probably just said "roll the tape!" and now you have horrific scenes from 2012 playing in your head.  Try to turn those off for a minute.  The ego hates it when you think about these things, so it tries to scare you, distract your attention, embarrass you, etc.  This defensive reaction should be your clue that you are on the right track. In truth, only the ego's days are going to be over. You are Eternal.  The ego is just a whiney drama queen.

Now that your life has Purpose, everything is a classroom. If everything is a classroom, and if you are a very good student, then you are going to accelerate your learning.  Your Trust Account is getting big, your lessons are getting mastered...you are feeling more Peace.  Once in a while, you learn a lesson well -- you really, truly get it, and will never be surprised by that same one again.  You have passed the final exam for that semester -- you don't need all the lessons in the cue that basically teach you the very same thing, because you have undone yourself in that area so thoroughly you've nailed it! You could teach that lesson now. 

So Holy Spirit collects up all the lessons "out there in the future," and tosses them away.  *Poof* Done.  Good job.

You have no idea what the effects are of your Forgiveness.  You have no idea you are Healing everyone as you Heal yourself.  You have no idea that you are saving yourself from eons/lifetimes of suffering by Forgiving Now.  You have no idea, and it really doesn't matter. But it's True.

And you can't do it wrong.



Monday, August 15, 2011

Sing it...R-e-s-p-e-c-t

One of the most difficult ego addictions to overcome is the need to be right.  Being right is a very big deal to the ego. It is, in fact, crucial to the ego's existence, and that is why we can't take it lightly. In so many subtle ways, our ego sneaks in through this door of Being Right, rushing in like a faux Super Man to save us from the thing the ego tells us will kill us: Being Wrong.  It tells us that being wrong is like dying from a thousand paper cuts.  It's a slow, painful death...we bleed all over the place, we suffer at the expense of someone else, over time we give our actual "life" to some ingrate or collection of ingrates.

So we see something or know something that we believe to be true.  Then someone, often a loved one, disagrees with us.  This gives the ego the perfect opportunity to jump in with a full arsenal of defenses.  The ego has been waiting patiently for this.  The ego is ready and has a plan, and it's not pretty. (Although the ego tries to assuage our concern about what we're about to embark on us by telling us that the means justify the end.) We're talking World War III here. In our mind, in our relationships, and in our world.

The ego is the Military General at this point, defining our strategy and position, obfuscating our weaknesses, creating barricades against the enemy. There are many levels of thought that become ammunition: There are the reasons to justify your position (i.e. the facts you have learned, the experiences you have had, the data "out there").  There are the times in the recent past when this same loved one has been wrong in your mind (judgment). Deeper than that, there are the ways you have been betrayed in the past, all the old wounds (judgment, victimization).  There are the treaties you and the ego made together as a result of those "past" events  -- the boundaries you promised you'd set for yourself, the ending of relationships, the new rules and regulations you established, the pretty paint you put on the tanks that you keep nearby so that newcomers aren't scared off immediately but you are still defended should the threat arise.  

I was thinking about all this last night. I remembered my highschool logic class and all the fallacies in thinking that we were taught, and the "either/or" fallacy came to mind. This erroneous way of parsing out a problem says "it must either be this way or it has to be that way."  Well, who said?

"You are either with us, or against us." We've heard that a lot in our politics the last decade or so.  We hear it at home, too.  Not always overtly, but in the undertones of how we communicate to each other.

The ego tells us that we need to be Right to avoid being the dreaded Wrong. But what if there's another choice?  What if, in the day to day world of playing our roles and living our lives, we can trade being Wrong for extending something....like ACIM teaches.  In this case, it might feel or look like basic Respect.  It might look like really seeing the other person for the very first time, because we've let down the lens of conditions that we normally look through.  The great thing is that if we really let down our defenses -- our judgments, our grievances, our conditions, all our past and future and all our needs ...we can be seen, too. That's going to really help us undo the Guilt, because we're going to have a major Light Bulb lighting up the darkened closets we've opened.

I know we think we respect others, but do we?  Not holding on to being Right, but extending Respect instead means we don't have control.  So if that has begun to rub us the wrong way, good. It means we're on to something. 

Sometimes we think we're letting go of control and extending respect, but we're not doing either. We're manipulating.  We're still holding on to being Right.  We still believe we Know something.  Maybe in an argument, we say, "Fine. Do what you want."  What we are really saying is, "I am Right. You are Wrong. I will now commence the Guilt Trip portion of the war."

We're afraid the Respect will mean abandonment.  Or if we give an inch of Respect, the other person will take a mile of it.  Same thing.

It's a lie.  Just remember that. It's all a lie.

And here's a note of thanks:  As I move through these lessons, I feel the need to write them down -- not just in a notebook as I've done for years -- but share them.  I don't really know why, but the pull is strong.  I know my ego is in here, too, but I Trust that it's Perfect.  And the thing is sharing is only sharing when it is Called for.  If I go around pontificating with people who have not Called for these ideas in their mind, then that is superiority.  And no doubt I have my share of that to release.  So the point is, boy, do I thank Al Gore for inventing the internet. ;)  And you.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Surrender

My favorite Rumi saying is, "You can't get drunk from the wine list."  (Note: my attraction to this saying -- the only one I remember of his -- is no doubt in part because I have a "special" love relationship with actual wine.)  But it's true, you know? 

A Course in Miracles sucks us intellectual-thinker types right in.  It's so big! There are so many words in three books!  There are so many concepts!  It says beautiful things in beautiful ways! (nevermind the gory parts) The symphonic theoretical framework is so vast and provocative and ...and there's so much theory to debate (again, who are we kidding..argue) about with our friends! A bunch of really smart people brought it into this world!  The story around it is really Amazing! And when all that has been explored intellectually to death, we can move on to countless writings by others, books, cds, movies....then we can extend our pursuits further. We can go to workshops! We can hear about their Amazing Stories! Then maybe we can even HOST workshops!  My goodness, we can have a career studying and teaching this stuff!  We can mingle with people all over the world, we can write our OWN books, we can get a big time publisher and feel famous!

I'm laughing, and I hope you are.  Not at all my Brothers, but at the ego.  Helen Schucman (the book's scribe) said A Course in Miracles would be for like 5 people.  Helen was definitely not talking about the number of people who would want to study it.  We all love to study it!  It's a great challenge to understand, and it makes our ego feel spiritual (another identity!)

She was talking about the number of people who would get drunk on it.

And this is coming up this morning as I contemplate a conversation I had last night (until 1am...how did that happen?) with an Old Dear Friend who wanted to ask me questions about ACIM.   But, of course, he was also my reflection. I could feel all his intellectual questions -- sincere as they may be -- as my own resistance. Somehow if I/we could just get a good handle on how this all this Forgiveness stuff works -- the theoretical framework, the general process, the expected outcome, timeline, results, benefit-to-risk ratio (this would make a great PowerPoint presentation) -- I/we could let go and actually give it a try.

The issue here is that the ego is telling us secretly..."you are making a big mistake listening to this hogwash.  Where's the scientific proof?  No proof? I thought so.  Go have a beer and forget all that nonsense before you screw your life up worse."  So there's anxiety.  And then we send those anxious thoughts out into the world to bring us proof of how right we are about NOT trying it for real.  The ego is so damn clever.

And I'm not saying we don't take our little baby steps and make some progress here and there.  Of course, we do..this is gradual and gentle.  But lets not mistake "gradual and gentle baby steps" with avoidance.  When we know better and don't, we are in fear.  Let's just call it what it is..we'll feel a lot better if we do.

Undoing the ego violates everything we know, because we are identified with ego.  Obviously.  So if we're really practicing Forgiveness, we're going to feel really weird most of the time. If it feels too normal, it probably isn't really practicing Forgiveness.  It's practicing practicing Forgiveness.  It's gardening by subscribing to Sunset Magazine but never going outside.  It's cooking by buying a lot of fancy cookware but never going in the kitchen.  The ego gets us to think we're being helpful even...we're making the world and ourselves better.

And that's ok.  But it only takes you so far.  And then eventually you hit a wall.  You either have to turn around and forget everything you've learned, or you have to Surrender and get all Nike about it:  Just Do It.

Surrendering to Forgiveness feels life threatening...like how I felt during my first ski lesson.

Now I am not athletic.  I like to hike because I've pretty much figured out how to walk.  And I'm okay on a bike.  But the only reason I learned how to downhill ski was that I was young and in love with a "hot dogger."  (Hmm.. I suddenly feel like a grandma and maybe that is an Oscar Meyer term and not a word for "really bad-ass skier" but I mean the latter.)

So we get my rented skis on and I'm standing in the parking lot like a Damsel in Distress waiting to be rescued and taken to my post, and, while my eyes thought I was on level ground, my opportunistic skis thought otherwise.  It turns out there was just the slightest incline to this parking lot, and my skis aligned just the right way to point me down the "slope" and I did not know how to do anything to help myself, so I basically skiied beautifully for my very first time, all by myself, right into a tree. In the parking lot. In front of everyone.  My boyfriend returned from the car and found me struggling to get up and was not very impressed with me.

That's basically what we think will happen if we stop studying ACIM and try it.

By this point, I'm pretty sure I hate skiing, but I'm too infatuated with Boyfriend to say what I want to say..."Have fun, I'll be drinking hot toddies in the lodge."  Boyfriend somehow managed to get me back on my feet and on top of the bunny slope (which compared to the parking lot looked like Mount Everest). He dropped me off with the instructor like I was being left at daycare, and took off to have some actual fun.  I sat there with the other tremulous few and felt just like a 3-year-old watching daddy drive off.  I did not want to play in the playdough. I wanted to go home!  Then Ski Instructor came up, all handsomely weathered with a sunburned nose and unruly blond hair.  He was pretty professional about it, but I did get the feeling he'd lost straws that day to be stuck with us. He verified we each had some mastery over the snow plow (the emergency stop), and then it took him 10 minutes to get us 6 Helpless Ones back in a simple row pointing the right way downhill (which my mind said was definitely the wrong way).  Next he said the impossible.

Ski Instructor:  "Okay, now, I want you all to LEAN IN to your boots."

Me (privately to myself): "WHAT?? **staring down at the lodge that looks tiny where it sits  waaaaaaay down at the bottom of Mt Everest** That would be suicide."                                                                    

Ski Instructor:  "Now, as you are leaning in to your boots, I want you to turn.  To turn left you need to put all your weight and focus on your right foot.  To turn right, you need to put all your weight and focus on your left foot."

Me: "Where did they find this guy?  You've gotta be kidding me!  This will never work!  We're going to DIE!"

The first Helpless One ("thank you God," I prayed, "for putting me at the right end of this line at least") took a timid foot or two down the hill and actually made something that looked a little bit like a turn.  Most importantly, while she was scared stiff literally and looked a bit like an over-stuffed animal on skis, I noticed she did not actually die.  One by one, we Helpless Ones did our little c-turns and did not die.  Some of us fell down, but we all actually lived through that day.

Why am I telling us this?  Because we can't learn to ski/awaken by reading a book.  We need to get out there, in the snow, on the hill, in skis....we need to live our life and make our mistakes and use everything as a classroom.  And it's really much better if we bring a Teacher with us.  And we can't expect the Teacher to do it for us -- he can't even if he wanted to -- but we should listen to what he tells us....even when it sounds freakin' nuts.  Especially then.

And here's another thing:  Reading about skiing is no fun compared to the actual skiing.  I know because I totally surprised myself and became a downhill skier that could do just about any Blue Square (intermediate) slope that you could throw at her.  Of course, that was largely due to the fact I had strong motivation:  Boyfriend.  When he was gone, I stopped skiing.  But the lesson was learned somewhere.

The Holy Spirit asks us to do all kinds of freakin' impossible things that violate our good sense and will never work:  He Teaches us to accept that the world you see is happening by you, not to you.  He says we need to Forgive the things that never happened in Truth.  He seems to be doing double-speak when on the one hand he says we Overlook whatever attack seems to be coming from our Brother, but we Look head-on at the attack going on in our mind.  Yes, He makes all the New Age teachers cringe by asking us to throw out the affirmations and just quietly Look with Him at the dark because it's the looking, not the covering over, that makes it dissipate.

And so to my Old Friend, I say that we can discuss the wine list all you'd like because I love to join that way. When that's where you are I will meet you there.  Sometimes that's the best I can do, too.  Until there's motivation for True Peace, studying, discussing and thinking about things is all we can expect from ourselves, and that's ok.

But to myself I say, "You can't afford to stay sober a minute longer, so pop the cork."

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Other F-Word...Freedom

There's been a flurry of images and stories and metaphors floating around my mind the last few weeks, which I've been sharing here.  It's like this giant dot-to-dot drawing is being connected in my Mind.  My life has not been a random abstract line, as I once felt. My life is my Path, and -- when I raise my perspective high enough to look down on it -- I see it's taking a very specific shape.

It's the shape of an Open Door.  Behind the Door is a huge Light streaming in.  I know that if I go through this Door I will never be the same.

This is the door my life has been leading me towards. While your path may have the dots in different places, if you get high enough "above the battlefield", you'll see it's the same door waiting for you, too. If you Choose Peace.

Like Hansel and Gretel dropped crumbs to keep themselves from losing their ways through the forest, the Holy Spirit has been leaving me Crumbs...the dots that are now being connected...these stories that are coming alive with all new Meaning. He has been using the plot of my so-called "life" to create stepping stones leading me back the way I came, should I choose to take them. The are leading me Home to my Real Life.

You are there, too. No One of us is missing.

What does it cost to go through that Door?  That is what I'm looking at now.  I'm digging through all my pockets and pulling out the lint and small change that I worked so hard to accumulate and keep. I'm spreading it on the table -- like those puzzle pieces -- and noticing I'm still attracted to some of it.

It seems to cost all my investment in the world's rules.  It costs all my stories, present, past, and future.  It costs my "face" to people.  It costs my allegiance to forms. It costs my barriers/boundaries/boxes/prisons. It costs my plans, my goals, my values, my interpretations, my control.

If this is rubbing you the wrong way, just remember, I said "my."  That's always you-know-who. (shh..ego.)

I told my New Dear Friend the other day that I was pretty sure Jesus wasn't leading me/us up the mountain just to throw us off a cliff.  I was laughing...and watching my mind as I laughed. I could see that Trusting Laura thought it was very funny...and Fearful Laura kinda also thought it wasn't at all funny!  

"Pretty sure" almost sounds like "a little bit pregnant."  It's not really Certainty yet, is it.

I'm going for best-as-I-can-muster honesty here, as I promised you. (On a totally different subject, I've even been walking around with no makeup, letting people come see the house a mess, leaving the same old sweatshirt on for days because it feels right...heck, who did I think I came here to impress?  Just those darn images I have made.)

I know my ego has a really big "but" still.

Me:  "Holy Spirit, what's the deal with that Door right there. **tossing a glance to the door in my mind** The one that I'm nose to nose with.  The one that, when I think of going through it, makes me want to go sort my socks again." 

Holy Spirit: "That's Heaven through there."

Me:  "Why does it scare the hell out of me?"

H.S.:  "Because you aren't ready to go through it."

Me: "Why not?"

H.S:  "Because you don't Trust Me enough."

Me: "Okay. Fair enough.  Do you have any suggestions for accelerating my readiness/trust?"

H.S. "Bring everyone with you."

Me: "What? Explain."

H.S.:  "You are afraid that Heaven will cost you your life.  It will cost you the shabby little separated excuse of a life you think you have, yes.  But it won't cost you anything else. In fact, it's going to deliver everything to you.  For the next few weeks, see everyone you've ever known in everyone you meet.  Imagine all their faces over the face that seems to be in front of you.  Imagine all their words and how they were/are your own.  Imagine when you hold their hand, you are holding all the other hands on this planet...the ones you've been close to in the past, the future ones, and the ones you'll never touch in body."

I'm getting pretty quiet now....

H.S.  "The ego tells you that Heaven is a lonely place where you will be 'annihilated' by the "love" of God.  The ego lies.  When you walk through that Door, everyone goes with you.  You can't go Alone.  That's how you Save the World.  .....

You Save the World by giving it back to Your Self."

Me:  "That sounds right.  But there's something else bugging me."


H.S.:  "Freedom.  You think "freedom" is another word for 'free-fall'.  It's not. Freedom is another word for Acceptance. For Peace. For Certainty. For Love."

Me: "I've been noticing that I'm really resisting doing little things (like vacuuming, hence the messy house).  I know there must be some meaning in here."

H.S:  "It's a form of vengeance against yourself.  A way that your self-hatred is showing up.  Let me help you Forgive yourself for attacking yourself.  Let me Be With You without you putting that hand between us."

(Note: That's my joke...I always think of my resistance as me saying with a straight arm, "Talk to the hand, Jesus!")

This morning, I was talking to my husband about Freedom. Our political environment right now is such a schizophrenic display of saying one thing and doing another when it comes to this f-word.  I get this feeling that a part of us just can't wait to give our freedoms away, at the same time we are stealing someone else's.  If we keep going, who knows..we could end up back in a type of feudal slavery (maybe we already are?).  And then, of course, we'll blame our predicament on others.  It's just another view of the same dreaming Mind.

So I'll be working on Trust for a while -- and isn't it handy that a new 6-CD set on just that topic arrived in the mail for me today?

"Ocean of Needs" vs. "Imagine your needs are already met" seems to be kicking in. The Helpful Stuff shows up in just the Perfect Way at the Perfect Time.  I may be on to something.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Dial 911!" vs. "I need do nothing"

Years ago, when I was in the hospital for my then-baby son, I had some pretty bad days.  The ego was giving me the ol' one-two punch and knocking me on my you-know-what every time I turned around.  My baby was dying...he had no ability to create immune cells (no defenses...how symbolic is that!) and underwent a bone marrow transplant at 8 months old.  As you might expect, all kinds of "interesting" (that Chinese curse word again) things happened.  No aspect of my life went untouched by "interesting-ness."  I felt like I was being "interesting-ed" to death.

I was Mohammed Ali boxing with my ego -- fear, rage, guilt, and more fear -- daily. Constantly.  It was exhausting.  My ego, I see, loved it.

But the Holy Spirit was in there somewhere, too.  Eventually the washer spin-cycle that was my out-of-control emotional life would stop, and there I'd be...totally drained, but quiet for a bit.  Finally. He'd be waiting in the Quiet for me to Join him...me all bedraggled and wrung out, and Him with that happy, goofy Smile.

It was so hard back then.  (Did I mention it was "interesting?")  All the external sources of comfort and safety and reliability and trust seemed to be failing me in some critical way. Right when I needed them the most.  One part of me got very strong very fast -- the mask -- so I could do what needed to be done to save a life, my son's.  (What a joke...I must pause to laugh...my son was really saving ME!) But another part of me felt like I was going crazy. 

Me: "God (that's how I called Him back then).....I don't know where to turn.  Help me!  Every place I look I see threats and danger and accusation.  Here I am facing a serious life-and-death crisis, and I'm having to do it all alone!  I feel so darn alone, that I can't stand it.  I might die of this alone-ness.  Tell me what to do!"

Holy Spirit:  "Remember when you were a kid at the carnival? Remember those Fun Houses, where you'd stand in front of the mirrors and see all the strange reflections?  Well, kiddo, you are back in a house of mirrors."

Me:  "Well, get me the heck out of here!"


H.S.:  "Let's just look together for a moment, shall we?  What did you used to have to do to walk yourself out of the house of mirrors.....think for a minute."

I put myself in a hall of mirrors in my mind.  I noticed how my attention wanted to be drawn to all the crazy images, but that if I went towards all the doorways "out there" my nose would smash hard into the mirror glass.  To get out, if that's what I was ready for, I had to stop searching the reflections for the emergency exit.

Me:  "Okay, I see....I mean, I know that my seeing is not working.  I need to close my eyes to the reflections, and look down. Sorta inch my way...bit by bit...out of the building by staring at my feet and a few inches ahead."

H.S.:  "Bingo!  Try it!"

I didn't realize then that this was an early lesson in Quantum Forgiveness...the kind that rocks your world, or more accurately, undoes your belief in your mirror-hell world.  It erases the past and the future in your mind.  All that matters is where you and your feet and your Wanting are right this moment, and maybe just an inch or two into the future.  You keep just enough future so you can function...so you can get up to get a glass of water and remember why you are standing in the kitchen.  You keep just enough past to remember that glasses are very handy to put water in when you are thirsty.  And you keep your Wanting strong.  You put your attention on that desire for Peace. You feed your eyes with that.

There were a lot of touch-and-go moments with my baby Ray that year.  During one of the last ones, he was intubated in ICU and things weren't looking good.  Every single thing that could be done by me, his doctors, the world-reknown immunologists and bone marrow scientists that were advising us, the pain experts, lung experts, financial insurance experts, etc. had been done already.  It dawned on me during this latest chapter of our crisis, that there was ...nothing. I. could. do.  Nothing.

This was a terrible (ego) wonderful (Self) realization.

Somehow in my acceptance of the stark facts of the situation, a part of me cracked open like an egg.  I felt this huge sense of Joy ooze out of me.  From our ICU room (i.e. crisis headquarters), I sat next to my baby -- who had shrunk to about 12 pounds and looked absolutely lost in the giant bed with tubes and tape all over his face and body -- and I turned on the jazz music and a big Smile.

My favorite doctor -- the one who, when he first walked into our room, was an oxygen tank to my suffocating lungs -- thought the music was perfect. Why make the hospital into a morgue prematurely, right?  Through his normal white-coat persona, I could feel the twinkle of deep soul, when he told me jokingly to pipe some down the hall way into the room where the toddler had been trying to pull his tubes out while listening to a fetal heartbeat recording his mom left running.  (I think he was implying it was causal.)

Like a little H.S. "wink" of acknowledgement, Wonder Doctor also happened to be a friend of jazz great, Dizzy Gillespie, who went to his Baha'i church back east.  I know only because after my fresh taste of oxygen, I asked him outright:  "what do you do?!"  He looked confused.  I just stared.  "No, really," I insisted, because I knew he knew what I was talking about. "I meditate," he confessed.

I KNEW IT!  Give me some more....SNIFF....  I wanted to be hooked on whatever he did.

Anyway, back to the room, during the course of the day and night, when someone -- the nice lady that brought me my lattes, the guy who mopped at night, the social worker etc -- would ask me about my son, I would say -- with a slip of a Smile -- something that the Holy Spirit had told me through Amazing Mom down the hall, who had been seeing her toddler son through a ravaging cancer since he was born and had learned to ignore all the fancy stats that the experts would solemnly give her:

Me: "He has a 50-50 chance.  Either he'll stay or he'll go." 


Inside though I was singing off the rooftops to anyone who would listen, "Listen to the good news!  It's a hopeless case!"  I know that sounds SO odd...like maybe it was the ego attraction to death I wrote about.  I did wonder at the time...just a little part of me wondered...am I really losing it? But this was True Joy.  Just a taste.

I had given up fixing what can never be fixed -- this illusion, as symbolized in that moment by a "small defenseless dying baby who never hurt nobody and didn't deserve it."  I didn't realize what I realized yet...totally.  It's taken years -- until about 10 minutes ago -- to really get it.

So all my partners/collaborators in the Great Mind Reclamation Project "out there"-- Go be normal, of course!  But just know you/I can't fix it.  You want to have a relationship, career, kids, adventure, etc. so go ahead and have 'em all.  Then when they start to suck in some way -- or better yet, even before they do -- let the Holy Spirit show you how to look through the projections you will undoubtedly see in all of these things.  And then do the most radical, rule-bending thing you've ever done in your life (until now):  Don't try to fix it. Or improve it.  Or kill it off.  Or rebirth it.  Call off the 911 response team, the consultants, the witch doctors.

Just Accept it.

Doing this will grate on your personhood-ness like finger nails on the chalk board.  Be uncomfortable if you happen to find yourself that way, but do it anyway.  It's gonna feel weird, I promise you. But weird isn't necessarily wrong.  Weird means, "This is new.  This goes against my instincts, reflexes, conditioning."  Good.

And maybe after all the "do nothing" business, you'll surprise yourself to find you have slipped quietly into the kitchen for a glass of water.  Or you find a new job.  Or you notice that you've changed the form of your relationship. Or something else.  Whatever it is, It will be a Quiet something-else.  It will just flow out of you as you flow from one Now moment to the next Now moment. No drama, no effort, no "doing" really.  Just allowing.

We're blazing a trail through our mirrors, baby.  This is Quiet inside work of Smiles and inching-feet.  And Jazz.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Needs vs. Wants

Great Gentleness is inside us.  We want it more than we know.

But we're also afraid of it.  How CRAZY is that?

Have you ever had the feeling, after listening to something that was so hauntingly beautiful it touched you down deep inside, that you suddenly needed to get up and do something urgently important like sort your socks?  You knew you just get away from people...and that creepy deeply-touching-you-within thing.

That's Gentleness sneaking up on you. You sniffed it out, knew what was coming, and you made a quick get-away.  It knows where you live, and you don't like that. Or your ego doesn't.

It's what the dark is trying to cover, by the way. And seeing It -- and making friends with it, like it so Wants to be Our Friend -- is the only point of looking at what we fear.

We open the dark closet, and -- surprise! -- Gentleness is right there, too. Right there looking all Big and Bright and Sweet and Glowing and Happy and Joyful and Sublime next to the bony, fang-faced, blood-sucking monster.  It's all surreal, because there is Gentleness in such an unlikely place, smiling so goofily and sweetly. And..oh..now, blood-sucking monster is fading.  That's the Miracle.

We get glimpses of Gentleness in the newborn baby or the rosebud or the beautiful woman or the kitten.  From our puppet-body perspective, we then think Gentleness is in those forms....we don't realize those forms are nothing but images we have made, too.  That's right...this is duality, so we see both the Light/Truth and the dark/ego.

We are drawn to forms that reflect Gentleness in our minds, their alluring nature mirroring the allure that Truth has for the Self.  We become mesmerized by the form, however.  We make it "special."  Then we "need" it to come back....but not too close.  We don't want it doing the creepy touching-us-deeply-within thing.  We want it in dispenser form -- "out there" --- like a throw-away Dixie cup.

"Come here come here, go away go away"....sound like any relationship you have ever been in? All of them?  (We do this with Jesus/Holy Spirit, too, by the way...no, that is not just a random coincidence!)

Then, of course, we are disappointed when these forms fail us -- by growing up, dying, or failing to continually remind us of Gentleness in some other way.  They were supposed to fail so we never had the creepy touching-us-deeply-within feeling, but we don't know that yet.

So Gentleness has to sneak up on us.  It has to "boil the frog" that is us, as it were....letting us hop around the pot, gradually adding the water -- drop by drop over the years. Slowly...so slowly we don't notice it's getting hot... it turns up the Love heat.

Gentleness snuck up on this woman and began her Trust lessons through her children.  The mother-child relationship can be a very unholy one of guilt, sin, and fear, but it can also be a wonderful Holy Relationship classroom.  Like a petri-dish experience of what True Love -- the kind that makes no distinctions among bodies -- will someday be like.

I always say I'm a very Lucky Mom.  I have two amazing boys.  When they were babies, I could sink into Gentleness so easily with them...especially by rocking them to sleep.  I think that was a ritualistic form of practice that the Holy Spirit used with me back then.

As they grew, I'd get such a kick out of their curiosity and enthusiasm (and still do.) Sometimes, yes, they reflected the ego to me -- maybe they'd be sick or inconsolable in some way.  Or maybe they'd be an image of guilt for me somehow, as in "I am a bad mom...I really should spend more time with them and less time at work."  Mostly though they have been Truth Teachers, because somehow I have been conscious with them in ways I have not always been with just about everyone else.  I've somehow always seen either an expression of Love coming from them, or a call for Love.  They have been my training wheels in that department.

And they have been my Enlightened Masters from time to time, too. 

As I plow through the lies and projection involved in my relationship (Please excuse the interruption for a Quick Note: I'm only being honest about all special relationships here, not declaring my situation an unusual disaster.  It's run-of-the-mill specialness...sorta what we sign up for when we decide to wake up.  You know?  Thanks.) which is really a microcosm of the One Relationship -- I'm looking deeply at the needs and debts I project on to my partners, friends, family, colleagues, etc.  It's like there's a giant ledger in the sky with my name on it -- there is a column with "what I need to buy" and a column for "how much it costs" and a column for "how much money I've paid" and a column for "how much I still owe."  Somehow in my mind, I see that I'm always in the Red.

This indebtedness (which lies deep under the surface so I rarely feel it full on for what it is) keeps me feeling like, for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, I must sacrifice.  This leads to feeling that I lack freedom and autonomy, which leads to feeling controlled, which leads to major resentment, which leads to hatred. And that leads to guilt, which leads to trying to atone, which leads to sacrifice....whoa.... look at that!  I've come full circle.

That's the un-merry-go-round of life, too.  Where's the Gentleness in this? Nowhere.  And that, my friend, is the point. 

I ask you again -- how CRAZY is that?!

This morning as I woke up I went through my normal Mind "tidying up" process, which I start before my feet hit the ground, and I finish up over my first cup of strong coffee.  I asked, like I try to remember to do, "Holy Spirit, help me see all this (whatever muck is floating around, leftover from the night time dreams or yesterday's day time dreams) a different way."

By the time I'd gotten to the couch with my full cup, a memory from 7 or 8 years ago had popped into my mind.  We're in San Jose California...there's my little 4 or 5 year old Paul and his older brother Ray.  We're getting out of the car, and I'm joking with both boys about how big they are growing. And, like I always joke, I tell them that I would like them to please STOP growing, so they don't grow up and away from me too soon. (Yes, I know...specialness...but it's part tongue-in-cheek and meant as a way to say "I love you," so just work with me here!)  They always roll their eyes and giggle a bit between their protests that they can't possibly do this impossible thing I've ordered of not growing.

This day we took the joke a step further than usual. I turn to Honest Ray before he bounds out of the car.

Me:  "Ray, when you are all grown up, you'll come visit me a lot, right?"

6 or 7-year-old Ray: "Hmm.....[looking pretty serious now]....I don't know, Mom.  I'm going to be awfully busy."

Me:  "Oh, wow..okay." *quiet gulp* (Joke feels to be on me now, as I think to myself that I really need to commend him for his honesty, which I didn't actually expect at that moment or at such a young age.  I also have this sudden sad feeling that I might as well start getting used to this idea now, so I'm not shocked when, after a couple more blinks of my eyes, he's 18 and gone. )

Paul is getting out of the car now, and as I unbuckle him from his booster seat, he cups my face in his chubby hands and says this Amazing Thing:

"Mom [sounding oddly like a gentle, but stern parent himself], When we are all grown up, we won't need you anymore.  But we'll still want you."

Wow.  Wow. Wow.

Okay, we can play semantics games here and say that "want' is just as bad as a "need" but I don't think so.  What I hear from that little mouth full of baby teeth in my mind is that there is the alluring pull of Joining, and it is our True Nature. It is Gentleness in Action. Paul was channeling the Holy Spirit. (Which he has been very good at over the years, I might add.)

We can't help but be drawn together.  But that's different than trying to take something (no, steal something...I mean, who are we kidding?) or negotiate something (sorta like those "great" deals George Burns was continually trying to make with Gracie Allen) or pull something out of someone, like we're doing a resistant root canal on an unwilling victim.

The question is...do we know the difference between wanting joining and needing something from something to fill us up?  That's the tricky part.  We feel confusion about this.  Our muddled state shows up in our relationship discussions about serious things and seemingly not-so-serious things.  Like laundry and the tooth-paste lid.

That gift from Paul-as-Holy-Spirit just keeps on giving, because this morning as I was contemplating the Ocean of Needs and the Ocean of Debt....and all the ways our egos look to each other to be their personal Costco Need Warehouse, while at the same time holding resentment, fear, and guilt that the fiat currency they are using to pay for all the goodies isn't worth the paper it's written on (yes, our global financial system today is yet another mirror)...I think of that day in 2003, and how it applies now, and what the heck is really going on, and the Wish-fulfillment post and yesterday's gruesome Death post....and then there go the Truth Shivers again.

*GONG*

So I turned to my co-student/partner-in-crime/Love-Seeker/Love-Finder/Divine-Mirror and as I drain the cup, and he sips his, I share what I've seen about the discovery of our Secret Need Inventory and how out of balance the scales in the sky are.  "It's okay, Honey," I say relieved, as I hop off the couch. "We're just Growing Up."

Fact is, as I mulled it over more, it's no accident that we feel confused about needs and wants.  It's no accident that the ego thinks we "need" stuff we can get from each other, when in Truth all we want/are is True Joining.  The reason we seem to be confused -- the only reason -- is that we're CRAZY scared of Gentleness. That's all.  We're not confused at all, not really.  We know (the Chooser in us knows) damn well what we're doing, so let's just get really honest.

This is not brain science!  It's just fear of Holiness, Gentleness, Truth!  So what else is new?

PHEW, boy, is that ever a relief, because I was never good at math or chemistry.  


And the good news keeps coming, because the fact is, just like Paul and Ray who rolled eyes at the silly suggestion, we can't NOT grow up.  When we're ready to quit dying our ways around the endless circles of this existence, we'll get through this shedding/relinquishing process, and then we won't use anyone to meet our needs, because we won't identify with "need" anymore.  But we'll still want to Join with each other and Everyone.  It's our True Nature.







Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Answer to a friend

I had a really good friend write me recently after he read one of my blog posts.  He is not A Course in Miracles student, and he made it clear that he wasn't interesting in becoming one. (That just shows what good sense he has!) However, he had a question of logic...a good one I might add:  If everything is an illusion run by the ego (and you happen to believe it like ACIM students claim they do), why does anyone bother doing anything?  Why doesn't everyone just logically commit some kind of suicide and end the game, since there's no longer any productive (i.e. worldly) point to doing anything?
 
With the proverbial ink barely dry on the oh-so cheery Death post I just made, it seems like an appropriate time to answer that question (for my Self, which my friend, being an image in my mind, has so perfectly mirrored for me.)  And actually, what is interesting is that a few weeks ago when he wrote to me the same answer didn't come forth...I wasn't there yet.

My answer then was -- we don't commit suicide because death is nothing, and that's because this life is nothing.  Both are just dreams the asleep mind is watching like a movie.  Instead we use the stuff of our lives as a "classroom" to unlearn our blocks to Truth. Even if their worldly purpose is ultimately an illusion, the things we do and the people we do them with have a Purpose in leading us Home, if you will, as we allow the Right Teacher to interpret things for us. 

The honest truth is that I once, many years ago now, really thought hard about suicide.  I didn't like the movie I was in, and all I knew was it really sucked to be me.  I had enough openness to scream at Holy Spirit in my mind (I think I was trying to lay a guilt trip on him now that I think back...*chuckle*)

Me:  "Dear God, -- Yeah, that's right...You up there!  Don't pretend you don't hear me. You know it's me.  Well, anyway, this whole life didn't work out.  I have no idea how to make it work out, and, honestly, you are not being any help.  I'm really thinking of ending it...and I ain't fooling.  I've even thought about how.  I'm miserable, do you hear me?!  So...anyway...don't try to talk me out of it.  Thanks."

Holy Spirit:  **loud party noises, including popping of corks, clinking of glasses,  noisemakers, and loud cheering**

Me:  "HELLO?  I'm talking of killing myself here and you are throwing a FREAKING PARTY???"

Holy Spirit:  "We sure are.  You are so close to choosing to Wake Up and Join Us.  We are celebrating!" ::KLINK!::

Me:  "Yeah, well, I don't know what kind of little reverse psychology trick you are trying to pull, but I'm on my third glass of cheap white wine on an empty stomach.  It's a couple days before Christmas, and I'm all alone.  I'm so sorry for myself it hurts physically.  So I'm just saying...I'm going to end it. Really."


Holy Spirit:  "Okay, well, how about you wait until your birthday and if you still want to kill yourself then, you have my blessing."

Me:  **long thoughtful pause**

Me: "Well, okay, you caught me by surprise on that one.  I suppose if I'm going to end my life for ever and ever, waiting 3 months can't hurt anything."

What I learned to love about that conversation is that the Holy Spirit never protested my plans.  He just asked a tiny little question -- how about waiting a few weeks before you blow your brains out or swallow a bottle of pills? (over and over I am taught that it's impossible to argue with a question!)

Actually, the Holy Spirit didn't even to seem to think it was a big problem.  It was one of the earliest times in my conscious conversation with this part of our Mind, and even then, the ho-hum attitude about my crisis came through.  And the Gentleness.  And, I must say, even then I noted the understated humor.

And then there was the completely un-understandable, gosh-darned optimism about my long-term prognosis! (By the way, I'm not special in this regard.  He feels that way about all of us, 'cuz he knows the game the ego's playing is totally rigged -- and ego is scared out of its gourd that you'll find this out.  Every way it's been played, Love always wins.)

So that was my experience.  If I had gone through with it, the only problem would have been I would have reinforced the self hatred/guilt (i.e. ego).  The decision to end your life on your own is almost always (I only say "almost" because how can I know what is in the best interests of everyone on their healing path? Only the Awake part of the mind -- the Holy Spirit, for lack of a better name -- can know that for each of the splintered off parts) the ego's solution. 

The ego loves suicide, because it keeps the ego real to us.

But here's my thought today.  All of that is true above, however, we are "committing" suicide, in a sense, through our identification with the ego in every moment.  Through our attraction to death. We don't feel it that directly (it's disguised specifically so we won't.)  We feel it as financial problems, sick bodies, arguments, car accidents, paper cuts, boring PowerPoint presentations, the loss of a pet or a sibling or a child.  We feel it as the loss of our pride.  The loss of our hair.  The loss of our importance.

We are reliving the death experience over and over and over in little ways (like I wrote in my last post) until we relive it in the body...and which point we seem to be in a new body and then relive it over and over.  Wash rinse and repeat.  How many times?

Until we stop.  When do we stop? When we say and really mean -- I want Peace -- as much as we can in any given moment, which activates the "undoing" process.  Until we forget, of course, at which point we'll hum a long a while until we get to the next crisis and then remember how much we'd sure like to stop the relentless death march and we change our purpose to finding Peace again.  That's "how long" in so-called time.

But really it already happened.  So we're just deciding how long we'd like to take before we Accept.  And that happens in an Instant.



The Ego Attraction to Death



Let's go in deep together, ok?  Let's reeeealllllly look.

Let's take off the gloves we wear to to keep our hands clean. Let's take off the rosy glasses we've worn to hide the ugliness from ourselves. Let's remove the spiritual platitudes we've tatooed over our thoughts -- we thought that was erasing them when really it was protecting them -- so we can finally see the ugly ones they sit on top of.  Let's stop believing our own PR about how spiritual we are.  Let's stop drinking the kool-aid...or the lemonade we thought we were being spiritually evolved to make out of all the sour lemons we manifested.  Let's stop putting lipstick of various pleasant-looking shades on the dirty pig that is the ego in an effort to make something that can only be horrific when seen for what it is seem "not so bad."  

Let's really open the closets and doors of our minds.  After all our efforts, it's STILL there. The ego.  Doing the same things over and over that don't work has famously been called "the definition of insanity."  So let's do something different!

We thought we were undoing the ego, and I'll give us this -- if you are still reading, and since I'm still writing -- we must have been making some progress.  However, before we sprain our arms patting ourselves on the back, let's also realize (only because it is divinely Helpful) that we have also been cherishing the ego.  We've been nursing it, like an ugly, blood-sucking monster, all these years...lifetimes.  No matter how much we try to keep it at bay ("keep" being the keyword here), it's been gnawing at us, hounding us, driving us into sick compulsions and alliances, making us feel incomplete, needy, insignificantly small, worthless, diseased, poverty-stricken, broken....out-of-our-mind crazy.  And that's on our good days.
 
I don't know what's going on in your mirror reality, but as I look around mine, I'm noticing an interesting (as in the ancient Chinese curse - "may you have an interesting life")  pattern:  the pipes are blowing up every time I turn around, computers are crashing, appliances are blowing up, house repair projects are getting stalled, "love" relationships are sending out S.O.S. signals.  And when I get wind of what's happening in the rest of the world  -- "out there" -- things don't look much better.  The stock market is doing a free-fall, the dollar is doing a nose-dive, and the political landscape looks like a civil war pre-function, with all kinds of frothing-at-the-mouth politicians and pundits finger-pointing, name-calling, stand-taking.  Every one is AGAINST everyone and everything else.  Americans -- no, much of the Western world -- has good reason to question whether life as we know it -- with our cushy, capitalistic life-styles -- is coming to an end.

Speaking of conspiracies (ok, I needed to segue here) I'm not proud to say I've even taken myself down all kinds of conspiracy-related rabbit holes trying to make sense of things (like how the hell did W-7 come down on 9/11 if it was not even hit by a plane?), and you'd be correct if you guessed that yielded very little by way of help in understanding.  It's a great way to nurture your paranoia, though, and chew up and spit out all the ACIM adages you thought you believed, especially ones like "Trust your Brother."

Or if used by the Holy Spirit, it's a great way to watch your ego mind yank your chain.

OH OH ...Get this: Even the sun is belching out mind-boggingly gigantic X-class flares that are being hurled towards the earth like cosmic proton weapons. One day last week I read that protons floating around us are charged up 100 times their usual amount right now.  What's more, I just heard that they've discovered a whole new planet that is behind the sun in our same orbit...and that either we are stalking it or it is stalking us. Either way, long-term this can not be a good thing. (Out of respect for you and your patience with me, I won't even go near the Alien agenda.)

And let's not forget....even if everything else sorts out, the Mayan Calendar is coming to an end. *GASP* Soon! In a matter of a few months, really...unless that other guy is right and the world will actually end in September. *DUN* *DUN* *DUN*

And even if it doesn't, we have a looming food crisis, dying oceans, global warming, yadda yadda yadda.  For others, they are losing their Social Security benefits, being diagnosed with ravaging cancers -- or their loved ones are.  They are aging dramatically -- or their loved ones are.  They are losing their jobs, their mortgages, their families, their sense of themselves. 

I haven't told you anything you don't already know, but maybe you are like me most of the time, and you open a beer, pour a glass of wine, and try to forget it all while you read a good murder mystery.  Irony!

The thing is -- it's so NOT funny, that I'm seeing how funny it is.  The ego wants...no, needs... the Son of God to worship death by re-enacting the death ritual over and over and over and over.

Every little seemingly split off part goes through countless near-death and full-on death rehearsals in our so-called lives until we lose "life" in this reality for real.  Everything around us is constantly warring and dying.  We war because we fear death.  We fear death, because we think we are at "war" with God and that it is our punishment.  We think we are at "war" with God because we actually think we Killed him...or that we sure wanted to anyway.

I'm feeling this amazing sense of the seduction/manipulation going on here.  We're not going to see the ego for what it is while we gloss over it with our platitudes.  We have to put them down for a while, while we simultaneously pick up the Holy Spirit's hand. Just leave ideas like "death is just a doorway" on a shelf somewhere. We can pick them up again later if we want.  But for the sake of seeing, let's let ourselves feel how much attraction death holds for us. How much we want to run from it...and secretly to it. We see it playing out in every aspect of our lives.  Our mask self weeps at all the funerals, but the ego secretly licks its lips and relishes its victory.

If you don't think that's true, just think about the Romans and the lion pit....or picture yourself at the last car wreck....or picture yourself at the water cooler at work during the saga of a long, drawn-out highly-publicized murder trial.

Can you feel the bloodthirsty ego in you?  IT'S OK!  Don't be afraid to feel the hate.  It's incredibly uncomfortable, but like I was sharing today over heart-warming Truth Giggles with a new Dear Friend, no one ever died from feeling uncomfortable.  That's actually when we start to live.

My new Dear Friend also gave me a big Truth shiver down the spine when she told me this:  It's all held in place by Deep Self Hatred. So if you thought the ego was kinda okay before, think on this.  Holding and protecting the ego in anyway is an act of extreme cruelty to the Self.  There's just no way to dress that one up.

And yet...we each come to the point of readiness at our own pace. We gotta hold the Holy Spirit's hand and have enough Trust in Him to know that we stand a good chance of surviving after we take the plunge, even though it's really uncomfortable.  We gotta ignore the ego's lies that tell us WE are going to die -- or wish we would -- if we look.  That means we gotta be far enough along to discern between the voices in our Mind...we need to tell Who is whispering the Truth, and who is screaming the lies.

ACIM lesson 21-ish asks us to practice, "I am determined to see differently."  When we start to see differently, we begin to realize that it is all far too silly to be believable.  And that's when we're on to the Truth.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Face of True Innocence

It is a recurring theme on this blog, but it has occurred to me that much of what I seem to do comes from a part of me that believes it is me, Laura.  


Obviously, you say.  And besides, what's wrong with that?


Well, I am just thinking this through here, but something's definitely fishy.  Or maybe the fish that is the sleeping "I" is beginning to discover water.


Here it goes:


Laura is a concept, a body, a collection of events that have occurred over time, a separated identity, an image, etc.  In other words, she can't be real.  If she is the one awakening -- or hoping, striving, trying to -- what is really going on?  Isn't "Laura Awakening" a contradiction in terms?


Let me add that I know how to talk the Oneness talk.  Laura is good at that.  Laura gets it "intellectually" in her brain, in her head, in her body.  She explains it with great passion and conviction and clarity to other bodies.  Hopefully, you are beginning to see the problem here. :)


As happens so often, Life had a lesson plan prepared for this subject.  Oh lucky me! 


The other day I ran into the ego in the form of The Accuser.  This was an image -- "out there" in my seeming world -- that seemed to be itemizing for me, in technicolor detail, all my "sins."  I, for once, sat there and really listened.



I watched my mind going through all the painful contortions of defense and counter-attack. It would analyze and rationalize and periodically it would mutter - no, scream -- well-crafted "oh-huh's" that would fling the Guilt Hot Potato back into The Accuser's court like a blistering tennis ball.  


I watched my mind do all this, but I didn't.  I listened. My body (of which my mouth is a part) stayed still and quiet.   



Who is this Laura that needs defense, I wondered?  Who is this that has all these stories in a weapons arsenal that she/it can use to "protect" herself? 


As I watched like an audience member at a stage play, I could see that she, who/whatever she is, certainly felt strongly about the situation (understatement).  In fact, she felt the whole thing was an affront to her endless toiling and selfless attempts to create harmony and happiness for the thankless Accuser.   What she felt most indignant and murderous (let's not hedge here) about was the fact that she had wasted all this time "forgiving" this Accuser all his sins...."and this is the thanks I get?"   She said that (again, in my mind) with the exact same whiney inflection that you might imagine from the stereo-typical Jewish Mother.  No exaggeration.


So now I take stock of the situation: 1) On the one hand, it's good that I am truly listening.  ("in my defenselessness my safety lies"), and 2) it is good that I'm noticing that all these accusations are my own ego taking form ("you are never angry about what your brother has done to you but about what you believe you have done to your brother").  


But 3) tell me this -- who the hell has been in charge of forgiving all this time, 'cuz after all these years of practicing the other F-word, that ain't sounding much like Love.  And really, it should be by now, shouldn't it?  


I wait with great patience as the episode unfolds and finally concludes.  I gather myself up and take myself out for some good quiet time.  I reflect.  I learn.  I see.  I thank my mirror.


But then, a few days later, it all surfaces again!


Back to my Teacher, I go....

Me:   Okay, NOW what am I doing wrong?  Help me see this another way, PLEASE!


Holy Spirit:  Do you wish to see your Brother innocent?


Me:  Yeah, but....


H.S:  No buts.  We've been over this.


Me:  I guess I have to say "no" since I'm clearly not.


H.S:  Good.


Me:  Good?  How can that be good?


H.S:  Honesty is essential.  You like being murderous.  You like being a separated, individuated You/Laura, even if you had to kill God off in your mind to do so, which you re-enact every time you judge, accuse, condemn another.   Now we're getting somewhere!


The Holy Spirit may have been pleased, but the "I" that still has a grip on me had a rough time of it.  Laura had several nights of no sleep as her mind raced in a circular track of hating, fearing, finger-pointing, accusing, suffering, murdering, slaving, victimizing, dying No-thingness.   This is the un-merry-go-round of the ego mind.


Things "out there" in my world quickly smoothed themselves over, once again, as things tend to do.  Life as we know it (such as it is) continues.  Still my self-concept feels shaky.


Here's the deal:


Awakening through the Path of Forgiveness as taught by ACIM is ultimately about finding your Innocence in Truth.  But Laura has "sinned" in this reality by The Course's standards, even if she's never been convicted and gone to jail according to the world "out there's" standards.  From being "mildly annoyed" (happens every day), to uttering white lies, to getting angry, to needing to be right, to being competitive, etc etc etc....Laura is, in effect, murderous in her intent.  So, therefore -- follow me as I go out on a limb here -- Laura, by this definition, can't really be innocent, can she.  (If you said "no," Plato can sleep soundly in his grave another night.)


But if she's not innocent, but I am, who am I?


And it's that question I come back to every time.  Who am I while I think these things?  Who am I while I type this blog?  Who am I when I talk to the Holy Spirit... while I read the blue book?


When I am looking at The Accuser and seeing his innocence in order to know my own, as The Course teaches, who am I and who is he?  Do I think the image of Laura gets sweeter every time I "forgive" the image of The Accuser and that by some magic the image of The Accuser gets a little sweeter (out of my good work) too?  


Umm....yes, I think I sub-consciously have thought that.  That is what the Holy Spirit is showing me.  I want to look like I'm forgiving, but keep my individual self.  I want to be a more peaceful..to stick with the example...murderer.   Hmm, that does sound kinda funny/impossible, doesn't it.


Indeed, like it or not, I have been practicing "forgiveness to destroy"  (the world's kind of forgiveness that says "I have something you don't have" and "I will overlook this rotten thing you really did") even while I thought I wasn't. 


And  I think that's exactly where I've been off-track.  And yet a part of my mind must have been opening, too, or I wouldn't be able to see this at all.  We gotta be gentle with ourselves and our temporary limits and mistakes.


I know I must be getting somewhere, too, because I feel a deepening Trust in the Mind of who I Am.  Again, Laura can't forgive anything because Laura's existence depends on being separate (i.e. keeping guilt intact by projecting it on to others.) But I feel a deeper okayness with letting go of the Laura-ACIM-Student-wife-mother-woman-American-earthling-body-history-of-who-I-am me.  The Laura-body-etc can only teach false innocence -- a shadowy temporary "innocence" that is vulnerable to attack by others (no matter how much she protests this truth and claims the contrary) and that is suspiciously quick to say at the least provocation, "Look at me and what you have done to hurt me! I was innocent, and now I suffer at your hands.  In fact, the sick, murderous, suffering, victim self I am right now is what YOU have made of me, you shit head!" when the special relationship inevitably fails.  This "innocence," even when it looks like it is a person studying A Course in Miracles, is just another sneaky mask the ego puts on.


Our real Face of True Innocence is, perhaps, not a face at all.  It is a Light we find in our Minds. I think we find this Light first by wanting it (or at least wanting "a better way") and then being honest about how we don't want it.  


When I am honest about how I don't want it at all, not really (I know that must be true at some level because I don't have it and so I must be the one pushing it away), the contrast between the hell I've created and the Peace that is my Truth becomes so strong.  And that's because I've cleared away some of the heavy veil of denial.  I  finally start to allow it back into my mind.  Finally.  A little bit at a time, I thaw in this Light...like the gentle morning sun of spring begins to melt the thick winter ice.  


And, perhaps, when I allow this Light in my/our Mind to thaw me thoroughly -- a Perfect Love that has the most powerful and alluring Pull I disappear to its All-ness --  then I see only It in all the images I've made up "out there,"  including the one I may see in the mirror for a little while more.

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...