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Monday, September 19, 2011

This blog is far too serious! Another interview with Ken Wapnick


This was just the medicine I needed as an anecdote..er.. antidote.. to my latest case of serious-itis. Please enjoy this more recent interview with Ken Wapnick, where he reminds us not to be make the ego serious, not to make the Course into a religion, and not to make waking up a goal. (Damn...there goes my over-achiever part again.)   It's another beautiful chat with Susan Dugan, shared on her blog Forays In Forgiveness.... thank you, Susan!  --L

A conversation with Ken Wapnick: Have I mentioned you’re too serious?

Renowned Psychologist, Teacher, and Author Kenneth Wapnick, PhD, has been studying, teaching, and writing about A Course in Miracles since 1973, and worked closely with Course Scribe Helen Schucman and Collaborator Bill Thetford in preparing its final manuscript. With his wife, Gloria, he is president and co-founder of The Foundation for A Course in Miracles (http://facim.org) in Temecula, California.
OK, so admittedly I did most of the talking when Ken Wapnick once more generously agreed to answer some questions about practicing forgiveness and looking with Jesus. Along with the other characteristics of God’s teachers mentioned in the Teachers Manual, he also demonstrates honesty, defined in A Course in Miracles as consistency. I found his response to my overly complicated questions newly humbling. “Don’t take it seriously,” he answered, in response to every query. He has said this before and will likely have to say it again because eventually we begin to try to make awakening a goal and we’re not smiling with Jesus anymore but gritting our teeth with the ego, once more seeking and never finding our self. Thank you Ken, for reminding us to quit working so hard and simply :) .

You talk a lot about forgiveness being a process of the decision maker looking with Jesus/our right mind. I’ve noticed lately in practicing forgiveness that I really want Jesus to look with me rather than look with him. 

Oh, you’re pretty slippery. And here I thought you were a nice person.

Nope. I think I need a review because that’s what I’ve been doing and what it shows me is how resistant I am to really looking. Could you go over the process of looking and maybe speak to our tendency to deceive ourselves about what we’re really doing?

Well, the whole idea of looking makes sense when you realize it’s the correction for the ego’s not looking. That’s really the bread and butter of the ego’s thought system because if you don’t look it means you’re mindless. If you look you become a mind instead of a body and if you don’t look you can never see that the ego is really nothing. Forgiveness defined as looking is really just the correction for the ego telling you not to look.
When you want Jesus to look with you, then you want him to look at your body and your experiences as a dream figure. To look with him means you look at the world and see it as a projection of an inward condition which means you go back to the mind. That’s the key. That’s why nobody wants to do it that way.

Well, I want him specifically to see how awful these people are treating me.

He just smiles at that. That’s when I get a phone call saying, “You know what she just said to me?” And then he just bursts out laughing.

I knew you were going to say that.

Well, I’m glad I didn’t disappoint you.

I have been practicing forgiveness in a special relationship each time conflict arises and experience deep comfort when I look at what’s really going on with my right mind but sooner or later feel once more attacked. I get discouraged and I suppose impatient wondering if I’m ever going to heal my mind completely about this relationship.

That’s what trips you up right there. At that point you’re making it into something serious and real and impossible when all you want to do is just look at your ego and smile at it. Don’t try to let go of your ego. I kiddingly say that Jesus hates serious people and he especially hates serious A Course in Miracles students because all they want to do is let go of their ego. And if you’re so hell-bent on letting go of your ego you’ll never let it go because the ego is not the problem.

So that impatience I feel should clue me in that that’s what I’m doing?

Exactly right.

It amazes me how quickly I can go from right-mindedness to really feeling genuinely attacked and completely out of my mind. Even though I understand what the Course is saying and am committed to practicing forgiveness it feels like an ambush. Does it ever get easier?

Yes, when you stop taking it so seriously.   You’re such a nice person, Susan, but you’re so damn serious. That’s what trips you up. It won’t start getting easier until you give up the idea that there’s an “it” that has to get easier.

So, it’s still that idea of having to do this right that’s the problem.

Yes.

That’s a hard habit to break. 

Yes, it is. But the whole idea is to live lightly. As I quote all the time the problem was not the tiny mad idea but that the Son of God forgot to laugh at it. The problem is not anything of the ego; the problem is that we took it seriously.

So when we find ourselves taking it seriously the answer is looking with Jesus who only smiles?

That’s what looking with Jesus means. And he’s smiling at the silliness of ever having thought that this is important, which is silliness.

So not joining with an ego attack, just letting it all pass.

Letting it all pass which doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a behavioral response but it means you don’t get upset by it and you don’t want to change it.

And you don’t want to get upset with yourself when you do get upset.

Yes, absolutely.

I have found myself mentally complaining a lot about all the external demands on my time that seem to keep me from spending quality time with Jesus. It makes me laugh because even though I understand that A Course in Miracles is a path in relationship I still want to withdraw from relationships and just be with my right mind, be with Jesus. Does that make me a really bad student?

It makes you a really bad student only if you don’t laugh at yourself.

Because that’s really trying to take away the curriculum, right? So, don’t do that?

Not unless you want to get me angry at you. Jesus will laugh at you and I’ll yell and scream at you.

It’s just this desire to have a little time in between forgiveness lessons to breathe. Because sometimes it seems like there’s just this unrelenting, incoming barrage of lessons that just won’t quit. 

(Internationally renowned priest and author) Henri Nouwen said something like I kept getting interrupted in my work and then I realized my interruptions were my work. So, if you want to spend time with Jesus, then see him in everybody; that’s the answer.

I fear sometimes that some really catastrophic forgiveness lesson is looming around the corner. I know there’s no hierarchy of illusions but sometimes it seems that the lessons are becoming more challenging. 

It’s true that the lessons are getting more challenging because you’re becoming more and more serious.  So ego issues that you (unconsciously usually) held off; now you’re saying I can’t get it unless I look at all these spots of darkness. So these are the ones that we have the most fear and guilt associated with and so our experience is that they become more difficult.

So all of them have to come to the surface and those are just the ones we are the most frightened of?

Yes. At the beginning we tell Jesus I’ll look at this one with you and that one with you but I don’t know about this one. And after a while you say, well, I better start looking at this one because this is really starting to be a problem.

I was flying back to Denver recently in turbulence and suddenly found myself demanding to have an embodied Jesus holding my hand to protect me. I know you say we need to mature as Course students instead of relying on Jesus because we’ll never begin to see that we are one with Jesus otherwise. But when I’m really frightened I still need that thought of a hand to hold. Is that OK?

Yes, of course. You’re really too strict with yourself. Did I mention you’re too serious? Just do your daily stuff and be as normal as you can and try not to take your ego or the ego of others seriously. Be patient with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Looking with Jesus really just means sharing that sweet, knowing smile. That’s what it means. He takes nothing here seriously because there’s nothing here. And when you get serious about something especially if it’s about the Course then you’re missing the whole point.

That’s a big trap; getting too serious about the Course.

Oh, God; that’s the worst trap. That’s why we already have the regurgitation of Christianity with the Course; it’s already happening.

Yes. I wanted to ask you about the proliferation of channeled and abbreviated and new and improved versions of A Course in Miracles that are cropping up all the time. I haven’t even looked at any of them because I came to this path after a lot of seeking and I don’t believe there can possibly be anything faster or simpler or more loving than the Course.

I think that’s very true.

Can you talk about this whole impulse to improve on perfection?
 
It’s the ego’s thing. We tried to re-write Heaven right at the beginning and we’re still trying to. If the Course is a reflection of the truth of God and the love of Heaven, which it is; then people are going to try to re-write it, too. And that’s just another form of a magic thought talked about in the Teachers Manual. The idea is to not get angry at it because that’s what people do and there’s nothing wrong with people doing it.

You often talk about how there’s no need to teach A Course in Miracles but is there anything wrong with teaching the Course?

No, I think I do that. The whole idea is not to identify with your role of being a teacher and to also know that the real teaching is to demonstrate what the Course is saying and the formal teaching is just another way of demonstrating. And that’s what you want to identify with. If you start to get serious about your teaching then you know you got caught in the trap. Just don’t take it seriously, that’s all.

What’s really important in practicing the Course or teaching the Course is not to work at it. If you’re working at it you’ll never get it. What you want to do at this point is not to work at it during the day which means don’t work on your ego, don’t work on anybody else’s ego, don’t work on your response to anybody else’s ego; just keep asking Jesus to remember to smile. The end of Chapter 27 is wonderful because it’s all about the importance of smiling and laughing. When you read it, though; read it seriously.:)

A Course in Miracles, Chapter 27, The Healing of the Dream, VIII., The “Hero” of the Dream, paragraph 5, text page 586:
“How willing are you to escape effects of all the dreams the world has ever had? Is it your wish to let no dream appear to be the cause of what it is you do? Then let us merely look upon the dream’s beginning, for the part you see is but the second part, whose cause lies in the first. No one asleep and dreaming in the world remembers his attack upon himself. No one believes there really was a time when he knew nothing of a body, and could never have conceived this world as real. He would have seen at once that these ideas are one illusion, too ridiculous for anything but to be laughed away. How serious they now appear to be! And no one can remember when they would have met with laughter and with disbelief. We can remember this, if we but look directly at their cause. And we will see the grounds for laughter, not a cause for fear.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Tree of Death vs The Tree of Life

The tree of death
I revisit old themes today.  That is the nature of switchbacks...

We woke this morning to drippy rain-mist (Pacific Northwesterners know what this means) and chilled air that required a small fire in the kitchen stove to warm. Fall's unmistakable calling cards remind me that the wind-up game "reality" is turning another corner, as the illusion of constant change continues.  Summer, while not dead yet, is like a feeble old man. Where once he blazed in the skies like a god, heating the earth and our lives on it, giving life to its seeds and gathering unto himself his devoted worshippers (we in our sunglasses and sunscreen), now his strength has waned and he is hardly able to chew his own food.

Summer, I acknowledge again, has gone the way of all worldly things...


I sipped my coffee and, like I always do, forded, mostly blind, my somewhat weary way through the murky river of thoughts that always seem to challenge me when I wake from sleep.  It's like the storm drain has  backed up while I slept, and I wake up (in the most mundane sense) to a foot of dirty water and a mildew smell.  Clean up is necessary before I start the day, and that is what coffee, quiet, and couch-and-cat time are for.

What I have noticed is that the messy thought river is never made from new detritus.  It's always the same old shit.  It is a cloudy mix of shadows made from old relationships, old situations, old insecurities, old catch-22-type dilemmas.

It is like an old blanket that will never bring warmth or comfort again. It is worn out and faded and threadbare. Even when the threads are dressed up as "current" "new" forms, just pulling on one slightly shows me quickly they are of the same old fibers of garbage. Any value and insight has been extracted long ago....what's left is colorless, flavorless, like old already-chewed gum.  Still they appear to me like old "friends," who down-deep I know have never really loved me, but who return to tempt me into some kind of fruitless external searching yet again. I tangle with them and their twisted logic just long enough to let the caffeine kick in. Before too long, I can get more of a grip on the Holy Spirit's outstretched hand and I drop the lot of them.  

Yet what is holding them in the recesses of my sub-conscious where they run amok even while I am not aware of them must be my choice.  I know that. This is my dream.

I have been asking for inspired help on this issue of letting go of these projections once and for all.  The thought that has come is that there is a need to forgive myself for using this entire so-called life to attack myself and keep myself from Love.

I want to emphasize this.  My entire life is an attack. Not in truth (in truth it is neutral), but the ego is a jealous master, and its purpose is to keep me running, running, running, deep into the dream and far, far, away from Love.

This forgiveness prayer above is a slightly tweaked form of a very helpful prayer suggested to me by a teacher, Nouk Sanchez.  And yet lately I have been feeling that doing this piece-meal (forgiveness for this, forgiveness for that, etc.) is perhaps the issue I'm invited to consider (again) today. Perhaps it is why new temptations "out there" continually arise for me.  Perhaps all the seemingly individual forgiveness lessons are just forms of the same specialness.  Perhaps they were like dress rehearsals and small Trust deposits getting me ready to be ready to stop all the silliness and remember to laugh.

Yes, yes, yes, I see all this...with infinite patience for myself I see all this.

This life was made by the ego as a Tree of Death to borrow from a mythological concept.  We chase our dreams down its branches and never find fruit. Yes, when used by the Holy Spirit, it can all be used to lead us Home. But it won't teach us how to get Home, because that is not its job. It's job is to keep us feeling lost forever by keeping us looking for the answers in the zillions of mirror reflections we think we see.

These bodies, this earth, this season changing into next season, this job, this goal, this baby growing into adult, this family, this time--it's all a mirage.  Even those self and/or other-proclaimed "enlightened" teachers "out there" and their particular techniques or footsteps....they are at best pointers to something within. 

Yet, I see how I have been using it all at various times in various ways as a form of external searching that must leave me in a state of not-finding once again.

After the coffee, my husband and I rested in our daily lesson, which was "God is the light in which I see."  (#44 in the workbook).  I felt it work on me like a balm. 

There is no substitute for receiving our own forgiveness so that we can accept the Peace that is always everywhere.  But it won't come from anything outside. And being in the Peace that happens naturally as a result of accepting forgiveness doesn't look like anything on the outside either.

Maybe Peace chops onions for the soup or wood for the fire.  Maybe Peace seems to stand in front of people moving your mouth.  Maybe Peace looks like laying on your bed because your body won't move anymore.  It matters not. There's nowhere we need to go to accept the forgiveness waiting for us right now.  It's here. Now.

It's waiting for you and me to want it like it wants us.





Friday, September 16, 2011

Ken Wapnick Interview from 2010 - The Quiet Center

The following is an interview with Ken Wapnick held in 2010 by Susan Dugan who has a lovely blog I found a few weeks ago. Visit Susan’s ACIM blog, Foray’s in Forgiveness. I thank her for sharing this experience with us and hope you are as inspired by their conversation as I am. --L

The Quiet Center: An interview with Ken Wapnick

by Susan Dugan

During a recent visit to The Foundation for A Course in Miracles in Temecula, California to attend a workshop with friend and fellow Course student Deb Shelly, I interviewed premier Course scholar Ken Wapnick, PhD, about his journey with the Course.

I wanted to know how Ken perceived his role in communicating the Course’s unique message, how he viewed awakening, how he avoided specialness, how he handled celebrity, and how his application of forgiveness has evolved since his early days with Helen and Bill. His answers may surprise you as much as they did us.

I have never been around an enlightened being — my teenage daughter notwithstanding — but must say that sitting in Ken’s presence with Deb felt healing for both of us in ways we found difficult to describe. He offers the gift of his complete, unwavering attention, and seems to listen more deeply and carefully than the hundreds of people I have interviewed over the years. His answers resounded with truth, and led to my decision to publish them in their entirety (except for minor editing and restructuring for flow) rather than weaving truncated quotes into a narrative as I normally do.

NOTE: Clinical Psychologist, Teacher and Author Kenneth Wapnick, PhD, has been studying A Course in Miracles since 1973, and worked closely with Course Scribe Helen Schucman and Collaborator Bill Thetford in preparing its final manuscript. With his wife, Gloria, he is president and co-founder of The Foundation for A Course in Miracles (http://facim.org) in Temecula, California.

How do you avoid making your role as a Course teacher special?

It’s the difference between form and content. A line I always like to quote is where Jesus says “Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you.” Teaching is demonstration and what you want to focus on is making yourself as ego-free as possible and then whatever you do will be joyful; whether you’re teaching the Course, being a parent, washing dishes, writing an essay, taking a walk. It doesn’t make any difference.

That’s how you get away from the specialness of the form. Because that’s a real seduction, you know? To think that what I’m doing is important because I’m teaching A Course in Miracles. Well, why is that any different from building a hotel or raising children or anything else? So when you get away from the form, the content will always be the same.

There’s that lovely phrase in the Course about the quiet center. And while the image is not used, it’s implicit in it that if you think of a hub of a wheel there’s that quiet center where you live and the spokes that emanate from it are your various roles: wife, teacher, mother, etc. The spokes are not important. What’s important is that you stay in that quiet center and the love in there infuses everything you do; whether you teach the Course or whether you’re playing with your grandchildren. In a sense it should all be the same and to the extent that you recognize that it’s not the same then you recognize that you still have work to do. That’s where the process comes in.

It’s really a trap when you get seduced by the form into thinking the form is something. You teach Jesus’ message by living it; not by preaching it. I’ve often said you could give a wonderful workshop just reading the phone book and if you read it with love and that love infuses every name you read; then you teach it. It doesn’t matter that you have the theology straight or the dynamics of the ego straight. Anybody can learn it, memorize it. But that’s not how you teach it. That’s not how people learn.

So it’s about using the things that seem to arise in your life and forgiving yourself when you catch yourself making it special?

Yes. If you think back to your grade school years what you remember is not the things the teachers taught you. You remember those teachers that were mean and those that were loving; you don’t really remember how they taught you reading, writing, and arithmetic. The teachers who stand out in your mind years later are the teachers who were kind or cruel. That’s what it means to be a teacher–what you demonstrate–whether you’re teaching child-rearing or arithmetic. The line from the text I also quote frequently about the New Year: “Make this year different by making it all the same.” Everything is the same.

You have a lot of people who want a lot of things from you all the time. How do you deal with that?

Again, if you really just focus on that quiet center and don’t identify with the spokes. Whether someone says that was a great class or someone says that was terrible or boring or someone asks you the same question over and over again.

I get asked a lot how can you stand to teach the same thing over and over again. People listen to tapes I made 25 years ago and it’s basically the same thing. And I sometimes make a joke; I can say the same thing over and over again because I don’t listen to myself. But really it’s because it’s always for the first time. So if someone makes a “demand,” the person’s just always talking to me for the first time. Otherwise I couldn’t do what I do. It’s all for the first time.

And certainly you don’t take personally what people say. You learn that in grad school in psychotherapy because patients are constantly projecting; they either love you or hate you. Either way it has nothing to do with you. When you become a public figure, the whole trick is to stay in that quiet center. I want to help people to be more happy and peaceful and kinder but it’s not how you define yourself. You define yourself by that quiet center and then whatever people do or don’t do; you just try to be present.

I’ve read that in the early days of the Course you and Helen and Bill and others would ask for specific guidance from Jesus or the Holy Spirit around bringing the Course into the world, for example. How has your experience asking for help from Jesus or the Holy Spirit shifted over time?

Well, to be honest Helen and Bill were very used to asking for very specific help; what street corner should we stand on to get a taxi cab, which is no small feat in New York City. And they were very, very good at getting taxi cabs at the height of the rush hour; it could be raining. And I never felt comfortable with that. I could do it, and I would do it but it never seemed quite kosher to me. And as you’ve heard me say; The Song of Prayer pamphlet came out of that. And so I think what has evolved is not so much my understanding but the way I talk about it. It was never anything I did prior to meeting Helen and Bill and it just seemed a way to circumscribe that internal presence.

In that one message I quote a lot Jesus said to Helen you’re trying to make my love more manageable. It was a way of managing him. I used to say a lot instead of worrying about which voice you’re hearing and what the voice should tell you why not ask to hear what you should do to remove the blocks so that you can hear the voice better. So it’s not that asking for specifics is not valid or it can’t help you but in the long run it’s not where you want to go. That will just help you live better in the world. I knew Helen knew better and Helen did know better; it was just part of her costume.

Did you have any level confusion early on or did it all make sense from the beginning?

I think it all made sense from the beginning. I remember Helen once asked Jesus why I didn’t have problems with all this and his answer was because there’s no time for it. And actually there wasn’t. I couldn’t have done or do all I do. It was never an issue.

How has practicing the Course’s unique form of forgiveness changed your life; your relationships?

Honestly I don’t think it has. I was really never an angry person. I don’t think anything really changed. What the Course did was it gave a specific context for what I was (already) experiencing but it was not really an issue for me. Not that I didn’t make mistakes but I didn’t hold grudges and I was not angry, even as a child. I had some experiences with my parents where I’d get upset, you know; typical adolescence. But it never really went anywhere. I was never one to hold on to disagreement; it didn’t matter.

Did you experience any undoing? Do you feel that you came into this world in a healed state of mind?

I had issues, I had problems. I look back on my life and see a difference. But by the time I first saw the Course and read it, it was like I was reading it from the inside. And while I certainly would not have said things the way the Course says them when I read them I understood they were true.

I don’t have a sense of the process (with A Course in Miracles). I think for me the process occurred earlier. My greatest spiritual teacher was Beethoven. I started listening to his music in high school and that was my teacher. I sensed something in his music that over a period of time I was growing into. I was very clear about that from high school, college, graduate school, and beyond. What was more important to me than anything else in my life—my schooling, my work, my first marriage—was getting closer and closer to what I felt was the real heart of his music. It was very clear that was a process of hearing his music over and over and hearing his process.

The ego was gone right at the end of his life; you wouldn’t have known it from his life but you can hear it in the last quartets, especially. So I saw my whole life at that point as a process of growing into that music until I felt one with it. When I first heard it in high school I knew I wasn’t there yet, so that was the journey. So that part of the journey was completed by the time I first saw the Course. After that it was just a kind of crystallizing of everything I knew was true.

What is it like to basically be peaceful all the time?

Really nice.

Is it hard to relate to other people’s stuff?

No, not at all. The first professional work I did that I did enjoy the most was working with disturbed children in the school system. I really enjoyed working with psychotic people. I could enter into their thought system. It was like going into their water but I still had a foot on dry land. I could always relate. I could hear, I could understand, and I could help bring them through and out of it.

It actually makes you much more empathetic and compassionate because no needs are imposing on it. And another thing that’s great–because I am very, very busy–is it helps you become very, very efficient in time because there’s nothing interfering. No conflict. If there’s a pile on my desk, if there are calls to make; I just do it. Often everything happens at once. It makes your life easier. You get so much more done. And it allows you to be more compassionate because you can really hear people’s pain and kind of touch it and try to help without anything interfering.

I’m still fairly new to the Course and very new to teaching. I feel very joyful and present writing, teaching, or just spending a lot of time with the material. Then something just seems to come up out of nowhere and I feel unloved and unloving. My self-worth plummets and I’m just a mess. Can you speak about what’s going on with the ego’s backlash?

I think it’s an example of such a common experience almost everyone has regardless of their spiritual path and that is as you become more and more serious about letting your ego go the part of you that identifies with the ego gets terrified. Jesus says when you take my hand on the journey the ego retaliates. He says in that same passage I am beyond the ego so when you take my hand you’re going beyond the ego. So part of you still believes you’re Susan and all the things that go into making Susan, while all of them are not pleasant; they’re comfortable. So it becomes terrifying and that’s when the love turns to hate and the peace turns to fear and you start attacking yourself or attacking others.

It’s very important to understand that and, as you work with this material, to have a healthy respect for the ego which means a healthy respect for your own identification with the ego. Because if you don’t you’ll be blind-sided. Here I am teaching and writing and feeling so kind and loving and boom; I get hit in the back of the neck. And it shouldn’t be a surprise after a while. When it happens you just say oh, that’s what happened, that’s what egos do.

You know, it’s just a book. Books are harmless; it’s nothing. It’s when you take it seriously that you have a problem. You don’t want to dismiss your ego. You want to respect it but you don’t want to give it a power it doesn’t have.

Some A Course in Miracles teachers present themselves as awakened. Is there an inherent danger in this?

I think typically people who are truly awakened don’t talk about it. I’m a little suspicious of people who say they’re awakened. I mean, why would you make that claim? You just let your life speak for you. I don’t think Jesus said he was enlightened. That doesn’t mean someone may not be enlightened who says he or she is but as a rule of thumb I think you would tend to not talk about that.

We can lose sight of the process by focusing on being awakened. When people make that claim it really tends to induce specialness and breed separation. Really you just do what you do and behind what you do is that awareness that says we’re all the same. You want to focus on the process otherwise you skip steps.

What would you say to Course students/teachers who believe they/we can experience peace of mind (in a sense return directly to God/oneness) without practicing the Course’s forgiveness in our relationships?

When you read the Course it’s obvious it’s a process of hard work and you have to practice and practice and practice. I would be very suspicious of people who claim to be enlightened and people who claim they can just go straight to their right mind. I would say 99.999 percent of the time that’s denial. It’s not that it can’t work once in a while but unless you’re ego-free you can’t do that and if you’re ego-free you don’t need forgiveness. The Course makes it clear this is a practice and a process. We’re in a world of time. I’m leery of people who say you don’t have to deal with the ego because if you say that you’ve already made it real by saying I’m not going to deal with it.

People frequently ask you questions about their relationships and problems in their personal lives in these workshops. The Course seems to be leading us to bring those questions to our inner, loving teacher. Is there a danger of students becoming dependent for answers on the external form; on you?

Obviously it’s a danger. I think what makes it OK is I don’t foster that and I don’t identify with that but I think a certain amount is helpful in the beginning stages just like a child has to begin by depending on his parents. A child’s not going to grow and learn if he or she is not dependent on the parents. But at some point the parents let the child go and you have trouble when parents don’t do that. And I’m certainly aware of all that having done therapy for many years.

People easily will project both good and bad onto me but I would not foster anyone’s dependence. Certainly I would say to some people if I can be of help to you, why don’t you ask me? There’s a line in the Course that says in effect the aim of any teacher is to make himself dispensable. You don’t want people to be dependent on you once they’re able to be on their own. It’s a danger, but I don’t think it’s a problem.

Do you have to set boundaries with your students? If so; when and how?

There’s no right or wrong. There are times when you really have to place very strict boundaries and times when you just have to give people slack. With some people placing a limit would not be helpful. Other people I do stop. It’s something you have to feel when it’s loving and when it’s not loving. To be firm sometimes is the most loving thing you can do; other times it’s not. It’s the same thing with children. Sometimes you overlook something a child does; other times you need to be very clear. It’s hard to know without feeling it from inside. But if you begin to feel badgered then you should place limits because otherwise you’re dealing with a sense of sacrifice and that’s not helpful. If you can’t freely give; then don’t give.

So overall your advice to those of starting to teach is to just be that kind and loving presence as much as possible and try to get the ego out of the way so you can hear what would be most helpful to people?

Yes. There’s a problem, too, with excessive humility. If you have the ability to help people and you don’t exercise it; that’s not helpful. If you have some information or expertise or there’s something about you as a person that could be helpful, to withhold it and say well I’m really just like you are, while true on the level of content, is not true on the level of form. So to withhold an ability to help people would be silly and unkind.

The idea is you don’t identify with it as we were talking about before. That’s the key. You don’t identify with what you do or with what people say about you, you identify with the love that you feel in that quiet center. That’s where you always want to stay and let the spokes lead out from there.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My study group is in my mind.


One of the things that my little study group appears to debate on a regular basis is the ego.  Specifically, is it all bad? Or can it be, as some teachers suggest, turned into a "willing servant" of the spirit?

 It seems to me we often tailspin on a matter of semantics, although my attempts to clarify terminology have never been terribly helpful. Ironically, Course In Miracles students often love to make careers over arguing about such points, instead of allowing Jesus/Holy Spirit to help us use the situation to forgive our desire to be right.

It's like we students, who suffer from a bad case of "good intentions" while our egos have us by the throat, say, in as politically correct way  as we can muster ('cuz we're hoping that we won't be found out!), "Screw practicing forgiveness! Let's argue about forgiveness! My definition of forgiveness is way better than your definition of forgiveness, you, you, evil separation-lover!!"

::I must pause to LOL (laugh out loud)::

:: Wait, I must pause some more because this is really really funny...LOLOL::

:: I interrupt this post with one more pause. I thank my brothers for showing me how much I still listen to the ego's desire to be right, as though "being right" will make a limited me I still identify with whole somehow!  And I also thank the Holy Spirit for showing me that I am really ready to let it go now...::


:: OH AND Hallelujah Amen! ::

Phew, that felt good!

But seriously folks...(why do I feel like I'm beginning to channel Rodney Dangerfield?)
No really. Seriously. *ehem*

My deepening with this material -- and my development of Trust -- seemed to occur as I could start to embrace what the Course says very unequivocally about the ego and the world.  Ego is a term The Course uses to mean a total thought system based on separation that resulted from "a tiny made idea at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh."  It does not mean the more benign psychological connotation, such as a set of individual personality traits.  There is nothing good about the ego thought system.  At its essence, it is a death wish, an attempt to be separate from All That Is and, basically, replay the separation from/murder of God over and over and over.

The ego is not able to be turned into a servant of the Spirit, because it cannot know, listen to, or communicate with the Truth/Spirit at all.  It's like the daylight trying to have a conversation with the nighttime...when the sun shows up, the night is just plain gone, poofed, undone.

If Spirit told the ego-servant to go get it a cup of coffee, ego wouldn't hear the order.  Nor can the Spirit-master actually ask for the cup of coffee from the ego-servant, because the Spirit can only recognize the Truth.  Spirit doesn't take our ego and make it into something nicer and kinder and more docile. It doesn't help us learn to "make friends" with the ego, as some say. If Spirit were to see the ego, it would be an acknowledgement of what never happened.  It would make the error "real."

It would be you -- as a crazy mom or  mental-case dad -- somehow jumping into your kid's nightmare and helping him hide from the scary bear.  You'd be reinforcing that the bear threat is real and your kid's fear is justified, instead of gently and lovingly waking him up from his disturbed sleep that was full of made-up stories that don't matter. The Holy Spirit stays in the mind reflecting only the Truth to us. That's it.

At our study group, occasionally it's like the ego grabs a chair and jumps in at the first opportune moment to bait us all with whatever weakness we still have. In this case, perhaps we each have some kind of sacred cow or precious story we can't give up around the term "ego."  Since it knows you can never prove a negative, the ego at the table says, "Prove I am not able to be a willing servant!" And off  on round #112 we go to defend our positions...  *DING DING DING*


In my experience, teams seem to form as people seem to take sides, and I sometimes feel there's been no true communication at the end of our circular chatter.  That's when my ego wins a temporary victory, while the Truth waits patiently for me to seek it out.


When I'm ready for Peace, and I ask the Holy Spirit for guidance on who is right, He says predictably:

"What was the question? I don't hear any question.  No one has actually asked any question."

 (He's hinting here at the hidden ego motives buried in the conflict, which boil down to being right and making someone else wrong, and thus keeping our separated me-ness real. Damn--the Holy Spirit is clearly on to me/us!)

"However, if you'd like to ask me to help you see this mirror of your mind a different way so you can tune into Truth, go for it! I'm sitting here able, willing, and ready to remind you that your brothers are innocent and that all that has happened is that you have stepped away from Me, because you took the ego bait, and were trying to secretly get back to the business of judging. But there's only one mind, remember? So No Secrets! But you are innocent too, even if you are mistaken. So fire away! I'm all ears! I can't wait! "

"Oh, and hey..."

ME: YES?

Holy Spirit: "Go lighter on yourself, k?"

I'm reminded, over and over and over, there certainly is no way to Truth through satisfying the egoic need to be right. And there is really no way to Peace through study or careful clarification of terms, although sometimes these seem to be steps we take.

But are they necessary? For me, maybe. For everyone else? Nope.

Some people who don't know anything about any terms or gurus or spiritual texts, but who are sick of suffering and want a better way, seem to be just waking up right and left -- in their bedroom one day for no apparent reason... or when they see a cockroach crawl over their foot... or when they have a motor scooter accident.... or when they hear the right words at just the right time and their mind pops open...or..or..or..the paths that people seem to be taking are infinite!

Now I can hear you (since you speak my mind), and you need to stop that train of thought right now.  Yes, it would be easy to compare ourselves (an ego ploy!) with all those "spontaneously  getting it" folks. We could get all mopey about being seemingly gradual Path-ers, but let's not. There is divinity in the Plan, and, besides, only an ego argues with what is. Or thinks it can possibly make a meaningful comparison!  Or worries that time -- even the time it takes to let go of the idea of time -- is real!


So for us, the Inner Teacher always come back to remind all who ask that applying forgiveness in our mind  is the only Wake Up game in town.

Hallelujah!

I'm sure this little personal study group story illustrates a common occurrence within, and the real purpose of, study groups!  I am also sure that the miracles we experience together  (after 5 years together we know each other well) are a result of allowing all this nothingness to surface.

Still, if I may play Semantics Hall Monitor for a moment more, what my friends state is true, if we slightly tweak the terminology.  The ego is death, but the forms it created -- being nothing -- are neutral.  So our personalities and everything else in the world can become willing-servant-Holy-Spirit-coffee-fetchers.

For anyone interested, I'll leave you with what my Dear Teacher Friend David Hoffmeister, a very helpful teacher of ACIM, has to say on the purpose of the ego. Enjoy.


Monday, September 12, 2011

What if....

What if a light switch in you were flicked on, and suddenly you saw "you" staring back at you in everyone/everything you met?

(If all is One then this must be True.)

What if the only reason you don't have that experience NOW is that you are holding on to a belief that something was created that was not All Good?

(Even though you have read, studied, believed, and practiced that Only the Truth Is True, a little part in you resists accepting what must Be....temporarily.)

What if you decided one day (or now) -- "Enough is enough!" -- and you knew you needed to own your experience of "not love" and this led you to accepting responsibility without judgment for all the images you think you think (or see, or remember)?

("The course does not aim at teaching you love for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim at removing the blocks to Love's presence." ACIM)

What if you took a fresh view of your vain imaginings -- the deaths, the Hitlers, the sickness, the insecurity, the poverty, the greed, the competition, the manipulation -- and they began to morph, to Lighten, as you sat with them as their author?  What if just Sitting with them made them fade?

("Forgiveness is still and quietly does nothing." It's safe...go ahead. Be gentle, but ruthless.)

What if all your allegiance switched --  propelled by Trust that came as you proved your Power to yourself through the fading of the darkness by Your Simple Looking without judgement -- from the-world-rules/separation/sin to "Only Love is real"?

(Love cannot compromise. We keep our scary stories and lose ourselves in them, or we let them all go and join the Real World.)

What if the LOVE -- after melting everything down unto Itself -- stood there All Welcoming, Loving, Perfect, Sinless, and Blissfully Free?

(The Love You Are must Love You, too!)

What if now only the Happy Story resonated in you with unshakable certainty no matter where you were or what you were doing?


("The Peace of God is all I want." )


What if, in that resonating with the Happy Story -- even when Love seemed to peek at You through worldly stories for a while longer -- you realized that a world of Peace and Joy is in your mind and that You are Peace and Joy in your mind, too?


(You are in the Happy Dream where Love gives everything, including you, the only meaning that it has.)

What if seeing Your Self in Everything and Knowing Unwavering Peace for the first time, Joy were to burst out of you like spontaneous peals of child-like laughter?

Welcome Home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11 An Invitation to Stop All Seeking

The story of 9-11 is seemingly epic in its time-bound effects and implications. I sit here and see how a Higher Purpose has shown me in the often grotesque mirror of that seeming day what is in my mind.  In technicolor detail, I have seen how seemingly vicious it will get to "defend" itself  -- which is how it always writes the script -- and how far it will push me, the Chooser, down the Rabbit Hole to No Where.  It's just a silly circle where I chase my tail another long seeming while until I  stop and say "there must be a better way."

This story of 9-11 and whatever stream of thought it takes us down -- whether it seems to reinforce a story of patriotism and "us vs them/terrorists" or whether it seems to reinforce a story of conspiratorial evil and "us vs. them/fascists, military industrial complex gone awry, cabal, grey men, bilderbergers, fill-in-your-favorite-name-here) -- matters not for all tributaries lead us in the same circle.  The "story" keeps us allied with fear/separation at some level and mesmerizes awareness so that it is trapped in the non-existent past and non-existent future.

I hear you say, "Yes, but we are here and we need to deal with the world and not deny our experience."   That is what I have heard myself say.  As we've discussed here, the ego's always got a big 'but.'

Ok, sure, we should not deny what is in our present experience. The dream comes up into our awareness, but then have you noticed it goes away?  The day happened 10 years ago, but how much life has it had in you since then?

It is in our clinging to these thoughts, searching for more of their relatives, looking forward to their return to prove ourselves right, and identifying with them, that it all becomes a "problem." 

In this moment, are you being faced with a terrorist at your door? I doubt it or you wouldn't be reading this blog.  But how many terrorists or fascists or inept, crooked politicians etc. are living rich lives of victim/victimizer, attack/defense, right/wrong, in your thoughts?


Our problem with anything in the dream is really the ego's ingenious solution to keeping us individual us's.  Without identification and clinging, the story has no meaning to us. Without any stories that we identify with, we are just like forms that Some Thing passes through.  Dreams of doing and saying and making and cooking and working and raising etc. just happen through us and we don't feel right or wrong about it.  We just notice.



Big collective stories are so alluring, so seductive, so hypnotic.  They surface in all our media repeatedly, and they draw us to them like we are the cobra and they are the snake charmer. Over and over, they send us off on another round of separation reinforcement:

US: Let's investigate the data (past story and all its seeming details) again "out there" so we can try to find the answers "out there" so we can fix it "out there" so we can protect ourselves from being attacked again "out there"/in the body.  What's more, let's find the perpetrators (place blame on someone) "out there" and, thus, validate our own innocence in relationship to "out there."


The underlined part is the real gold watch that we're going for here.
 
If 9-11 isn't charging you up and sending you on, at least, an intellectual/emotional mission in your recliner, what about the global financial crisis?  And if neither of these triggers you, check Google News and find something that does. Or call your mother.  Or just listen to the inner narrative going on in your head right now. Or open your favorite spiritual teacher's latest Hay House book and then listen to your thoughts.

I am sitting with the idea that all stories lead at some level to a subtle seeking, which is really a twisted way to validate our individual innocence in relationship to the guilty dream.  Feeling this right now is very freeing. And so laughable!


Seeking must be a veil over Truth because it is a declaration of missing-ness. There goes the ego propaganda again -- the puppet shaking its fist at God and saying "I am me. I am separate from You."


Today a Healing Principle for lack of a better term Wants all the seeking to quietly stop. It wants Rest for there is no one here that can seek or find.  There is no one here to be missing anything.

Even my beloved ACIM sends me on a journey of seeking, this time with the promise of finding. But that is only because it has been talking to me as an ego, undoing my old fairy tales with one that has been "reverse engineered" to lead me to knowing there was no distance to travel and nothing to find. It knew I could not hear it when it told me the Truth. It actually reminded me repeatedly I was in kindergarten, but I forgot.  I wanted to forget.

Perspective is the only thing that changes.  So who/what is changing my perspective?

That no "One" is perhaps the only thing to be known, but can It be known by me until I stop searching for it?  I'm grasping for the aroma in the wine and feeling sorry that it keeps disappearing as I drink it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dropping the pointers in exchange for what is Being Pointed To

A spiritual discipline loads us up with terms and mental constructs. Even the path of non-duality will load us up with terms and constructs. The mistake is thinking they are real, or rather, the mistake is in staying in the position of thinking they are real, resisting the letting go, when Truth beckons and asks that we come join the Party instead of arriving at the Door, but then just peeking in through the windows.

For a long time, the new thoughts we learn in our discipline become the useful scaffolding from which we can tear down/undo the old thoughts. A Course In Miracles, for example, tells us a happy fairy tale about Jesus and the resurrection and God the Father and His Holy Son....all as a way to take us back into Mind where we can undo the scary fairy tale that was told, and believed, by what ACIM refers to as ego.

But it's all still a fairy tale. Still words, concepts, pointers. Still separate from the thing being pointed to.

And it feels as though there is something inviting me to let go of even the terms and constructs that have been so helpful for so long. It's like they are the techniques that keep a painter from becoming an master artist, the notes on the page that tie the musician to the form instead of liberating him into the song within is heart. They are the tools of the doctor that prevent him from being the healer...or the heal-ee. Or the Self that experiences both and sees right through to the timeless/changeless.

Today I have felt quiet. I have been listening to friends who I do not know speak my heart through my computer. They use different words than the ones that I am most familiar with, yet they are pointing to something I am longing for. I am hearing or experiencing their words -- which are still just pointers, or symbols that ask us to turn our focus a certain direction -- more deeply today somehow. Perhaps it is that I have less memory, less past to interfere and cause distortion between my awareness and what is being pointed to. Perhaps that is the gift of practice for these years.

What is it exactly that is being pointed to? That's what we've been walking gingerly around. We give it lofty words, yet It is only the Self.

And today I am feeling that the Self -- which has seemed so elusive -- has been Calling me unto Itself. I have looked for so long, and what I was searching for, was right here waiting for me to embrace It. I have seen It in glimpses, and then I have gone back to "working" to become some state that could know it. Along the way, I have also played many scenes of death in a mistaken attempt to re-enact a seeming separation from my Self, which did not matter except to the degree that I believed in them. Yet no matter what gory special effects were experienced or how deeply I identified myself with them, my dreams never changed the Truth.

Love has been Seeking Me...ready to enfold me into and as Itself. It is the only thing that has been Constant. Love waits with Open Arms. Love Calls Me to Itself with intensity and devotion.

And here I have sobbed and searched with eyes closed, believing I'd been forgotten.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Bridge to Oneness....Trust

Last weekend was surreal.  It was the perfect ego set-up for the special relationship to work me over and tempt me into..well..temptation.  Temptation to think it was real.  Temptation to think I had a serious problem.  Temptation to think I could be disappointed, hurt, or betrayed. 

The good news?  Instead of leaping off the bridge in a mistaken attempt at escape (at which point, experience has taught me that I will most likely drown for a while in my sordid illusion until I exhaust myself), I walked across it. 

In Trust I inched my way through the fog of guilty thought that had created the seeming mess. I had to stay in Not Knowing, because I couldn't see from one side of the bridge to the other.  I could have no expectations about what I might be heading into. I didn't know where it was taking me or if it would be a Happy Place -- or some kind of new hell -- on the other side.  But I stayed the course anyway.  I ignored the "911" calls and the various threats, pleas, and solutions that my ego (and seemingly his) continued to cast out in an attempt to reel us in like the catch of the day. 

And guess what.  I / we got to the Other Side.  What we found there is One-derful. Namely, we found there is less I / him/her over here.  Something has shifted.  We are not the same.  A chunk of separation sloughed away like dead skin. I look at him and I see/feel more "I" than before.  And Gentleness.

And that reminds me of an image my Dear Friend shared recently.  Her friend had been hiking in New Mexico, and on the path in front of her, she saw two snakes intertwined, all twisted up together.  She told my Friend that snakes do that to help each other remove their skins.  That dead stuff needs to come off, and the friction they create together, helps it do so.

That's how relationships are when used by the Holy Spirit. Everything in our minds says the friction is to be avoided.  But the Holy Spirit says, "Let it come...everything can be used. The friction is the undoing while Trust is still not fully baked.  It's normal and no big deal."

So I/we did. We frictioned a lot, and passed across the bridge.  The change was Purpose. The change was Not Knowing.  The change was Not Judging the friction or the friction-ers.

Backing up a bit, the ego uses "special love/special hate" relationships in this amazingly insane plan. The premise is that we get to keep our belief in separation (i.e. the ego stays "alive" ), but give away the terrorizing fear and guilt that the impossibility of "separation from God/Everything" also must mean.  Of course, the only way this impossibility can seem to happen is nothing but smoke-and-mirrors, yet we want our separation so much, we bury what we know, and allow ourselves to think it sorta/kinda works.

In special love/special hate relationships, we seem to get enough carrots to keep us hooked on them. We seem to get our separate body's needs met through other separate body's. And we dream that this feels good.  We also dream it feels crappy when our "needs" are not met...and the crappiness, itself, validates our separateness. All kinds of stage plays validate us as individuals, actually.  We seem to have financial needs that other bodies help us meet.  We dream we have physical desires and dependencies.  We dream we have emotional needs.  We dream about all kinds of physical goals -- like fantasies (some seemingly good and some seemingly horrific) where other people play their roles to ascertain our separate state stays validated, in tact. We dream about guilty pasts that we can never repent for and we dream about fearful futures that we try to avoid.

In short, being "separated" is, by definition, needy.  And being a "Son of God" is, by definition, being Everything.  Obviously, there is some seeming distance between these two states of awareness. 

And that's where the Holy Spirit comes in...the Teacher that helps us bridge the gap.  The Teacher that reinterprets everything we think we see, every goal we think we have, every relationship we think we're in.  All our belief in separateness is gently undone, but only when we are willing to face the unconscious fear... and let it be dissipated.  That's why Trust is needed. And why we get baby steps that teach us how to walk... before we run...before we fly.

Back to our weekend, my husband and I planned to drive several hours to stay three days and two nights in a bed-and-breakfast tucked away in a forested part of the Washington peninsula. We would hike, we would wine and dine ourselves, we would explore a magical place called Lake Crescent.  We had a reservation to stay in -- get this -- the Sweet Heart Cottage.  It was a fairy-tale of a place abundant in silk flowers and ruffles and even a heart-shaped jacuzzi tub.  I kid you not.

It was a set up, as I said.  Even the fake flowers seem to whisper to us about the true nature of specialness and the real purpose of the weekend as we got there.  Special relationships, happy as they can sometimes seem, are tools of the ego.  They always fail us, and they are never Love.  In the Right Hands, however, they can be powerful, Helpful tools in our undoing, but it's going to feel weird/scary to stay in them after we first Let Go. It's going to seem wrong, messed up, broken even. It's only natural, because the ego is the one we're used to listening to, and yes, trusting. We trust our ego's judgments, assessments, plans, and solutions. We trust in our ego's "psychic" knowledge of the other's motivations, lessons to be learned, highest good, and secret intentions.

Yet our trust in the ego's lies is how we got here to begin with.

So it's a matter of going from trust to Trust.  As is this whole journey.

I won't bore you with the details of our angry discussions (rantings), because I'm sure you've had your share of them, since we are of the same split mind.  But from my perspective, the intensity of the fury and hatred that came out of me was almost as much of a surprise as the speed through which it all passed. And when it passed it was truly gone.  I was no longer confused about the source of my pain or the source of my experience of attack. Oddly, there were a couple different waves that we surfed....and in between we rested and enjoyed.  My own surfing ended -- after a frantic, frothing struggle -- in a pool of bliss.  I slid into it right about the time we rolled into town.  We were Home.

What has changed forever is the deep knowing that my husband is everyone I've known and the seeming messages that I hear from him are part of the horror and seduction of my own ego, lying to me about what and who I am.  This relationship is the Holy Spirit's latest pass at giving me the chance to let it go.  Step into Truth.  Leave the lies to gently fade away.

What has also developed is more trust in letting the hate and fear surface.  It must surface.  It must be exposed to be released.  Keeping it sublimated -- by projecting into sickness, poverty, constant 'problems' etc -- is keeping it.

The ego says, "You are bad.  You are unworthy. You are, in all ways, not enough, and will be harshly punished for this....and let me back my assessments up with this mountain of data about you and your life that I have carefully cataloged in this epic-long spreadsheet!" 

The Holy Spirit says Quietly when I remember to Listen, "Really, Master...is that True?"

I laughed to Hear Him so clearly this weekend.  And then He asked yet another question...."do you think you can afford this lie anymore?"

No.

And then He asked one more.  "Can you be grateful to your Savior right in front of you now? My Dear Son...My Self?"

Yes.


And so I looked at my Dear Husband and saw for the first time.  He can only be my perfect mirror.  He must be.  While I cherish guilt and self-doubt, he cannot compromise in his perfect reflection of my beliefs.  He is my snake, helping me to drop that which is not Living.  And He is in Everyone I encounter.  There is no end to the blessings that the Holy Spirit shares with us.....all is Perfect.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Struggle...the ego's favorite game

What You are is perfectly safe underneath a shadowy film of thoughts. These thoughts keep you "busy." If you just step back and notice that you can notice them, then you are one step closer to knowing you are not your thoughts.  Who are You then?

My experience is that as I move into this space, the things that seem to tempt me into fear get more abstract.  Like I can't quite put my finger on them, because my outward dream life seems to contain all I need.  Yet that uneasy feeling won't go away.  So what is that?

That "uneasy feeling" is more thought.  But I've noticed I have tended to slip into identification with it -- meaning out of noticing that I can notice it -- because it doesn't have any specificity I can describe.  I seem to be more experienced now in detaching from the forms that I can give labels -- this problem with a kid, that issue at work, the future situation with the whatever.  But I still get seduced by the abstract angst.  Yet it's all the same too.  I'm just going down into the basement, so to speak, where the shapes and colors are gone and all that's left is the energy of fear.

Struggling to understand the fear is just another trap -- like the Chinese Finger trap.  The more we pull on it -- with our attentions that try to unravel the "mystery" and get to the bottom of it so we can "fix" it -- the more we are stuck. 

Struggling to understand the fear is also like trying to become enlightened.  The ego loves to send us off on these pursuits...they can each take life-times worth of time to figure out.  The figuring out happens, ironically, when we realize there's nothing to figure out.

Lately, I have noticed I am beginning to enjoy just accepting whatever "state" I happen to be in.  If it's less than pleasant -- annoyance, judgment, fear, anxiety, anger -- I just let myself enjoy it.  In my enjoyment of it, it seems to disappear so quickly.  Things come up, then they dissipate.  I am riding waves of something and just enjoying the motion.  And then if I get the "stuck" sensation, I just notice that and Let Go.  "Stuckness" has come to tell me I am resisting Not Knowing.  I'm learning to Not Know in every day without needing a sudden crisis, like I did for so long, to liberate me from my conditioned mind.

And everything I once considered special and extraordinary seems more ordinary.  Flashes of Oneness...feeling the flow....noticing effects that turn up to mirror the cause of Mind....it's all so intimately joined with me, there's no distinction like there was between me and my experience.  "We" are One.

And I'm noticing when I'm not "flowing" again, I have grabbed hold of something. It's like Spirit is a river and I've hopped out of it and onto the bank out of fear.  Fear in a made-up "reality" has been talking, and I have been listening.  But once I figure out where I am, I can slip into the Water, open my hands, and let go of all that I was clinging to...and just Float again. 

There's no drama...no special words to say or not say...no special things to do or not do...things just happen or they don't.  They are all part of the One Flow, too, so where's the problem?

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...