Kevin Rice ~ What doesn’t Matter


“I Don’t Know.  I Don’t Care. 
And, It Doesn’t Really Matter.”

By Kevin B. Rice*
~*~*~*~*~*~*
[as it appeared in the October 2009 Newsletter]

 

 “I Don’t Know”

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down to dinner with a fellow author and a few students.  One of my students said to me, “Kevin, I really liked that part of your lecture the other day where you said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t really matter.’” (I read it off of my Zen calendar). My friend didn’t understand the statement, nor did she agree with it, until I broke it down into three sections and explained each one at length.  First, the statement, “I don’t know.” 

It is amazing to me when I sit down with couples for spiritual relationship counseling, how many of them presume to know what their futures hold. 

     In fact, much of the difficulty in relationships arises because so much of our time is wasted worrying about tomorrow ─ “How are we going to pay the bills?  What if my husband meets someone at work?  Are my kids going to be okay at summer camp?”  Our time is wasted thinking we know what tomorrow will hold, or for that matter, the next minute of our lives.  It is simply presumptuous to assume that we know what the future holds, and what is in our own best interest.  We don’t.  We never have known and we never will!  “I Don’t Know” are the three most liberating words we can utter.  Unfortunately, they can also be the most terrifying words we can say because we want to believe that we do know what the future holds.  

     I am reminded of the words of Jesus in the Christian tradition, and I paraphrase:  Consider the lilies how they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet they grow!  How much of our day is spent where our thoughts are toiling and spinning, wondering, worrying, hoping, reaching and grasping for something else, something better, something more?  Too much, I would guess.  What if we did the exact opposite and trusted in a greater Being to guide us upon this path we have chosen?  What if we just stepped back and allowed that light within us all to step forward, to guide us through every experience?  God’s plan for us is much greater, my friends, than anything we could ever orchestrate or contrive on our own. 

     I will leave you with a quote from the movie, The Shadowlands about the life of C.S. Lewis.  He and his wife Joy are standing in the rain in Oxford, England.  He whispers to his wife, Joy, who was suffering with cancer, “I don’t want to be somewhere else anymore.  I don’t want anything new to happen to me.  I’m not looking around the next corner, or over the next hill.  I’m here now, and that’s enough.”  My dear brothers and sisters, we may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow, and He is holding our hands.

“I Don’t Care”

     On the surface, this may seem to be a very harsh statement.  However, let’s look at it carefully.  “I don’t care.”  Does it seem so cold if I added the scripture, “Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for us.”?   I’m not suggesting that we not extend compassion and love to others during trying times.  I’m simply submitting that we do not add one whit to our lives by caring so much about something or someone, expending so much energy on others that we sap our own health and power in the process.  Yes, we should love others as we would want to be loved.  Yes, we should treat others as we would want to be treated.  But, too often “caring” is nothing more than a guise for worrying, straining, and trying to carry a burden that we were never meant to carry.  God’s yoke is easy.  God’s burden is light!  When caring becomes a strain, it is an indication that we are not caring, but rather giving our power away to something, or to someone, to take our peace away. 

     The world has it backwards.  It teaches that we must “care” so much, to orchestrate people and things in order to achieve some semblance of peace.  The opposite is true.  We must first accept peace for ourselves before we can see it unfold “outside” of ourselves.  We cannot, for instance, say that we do not want war, when we have one raging within our thoughts on a daily basis.   If we want to experience true peace, we must allow ourselves to experience the comfort of it ourselves first.   When this happens, our hearts and minds will open where we can genuinely care for the world by giving to it what it is so desperately crying out for – love.

“It Doesn’t Really Matter”

     This is perhaps the hardest of the three to accept. I’m reminded of a statement in A Course In Miracles─Original Edition :

If you but knew that every event, past, present, and to come, are gently planned by One whose only purpose is your good, fear would be impossible.

 

     This is an astounding statement!! If I had a dime for every time I looked at my life and said to myself, “I don’t know what this means,” I’d have at least thirty dollars! Yet, this is the exact statement we should tell ourselves. Nothing truly matters because reality is perfectly comforting at all times. It is only when we place our interpretation, our meaning upon life, when things go awry. “I don’t have a job; this must mean I’m a failure!” Or, “I’m making millions; this must mean I’m a success!” Or, “I’m in the hospital; this must mean I’m dying.” All of these statements are what we think is the meaning of what we’re going through.

     What if we allowed God’s meaning to take the place of what we think this world is all about? “It Doesn’t Really Matter” because everything that is happening to us is happening for a reason. We may not understand it, we may not be able to wrap our heads around it, but underneath every appearance, regardless of the form it takes, there is a higher plan that is unfolding. Often times, we do not see it because we are too busy dictating to the world what it means instead of allowing God to dictate to us what this world means. This takes great courage. This requires us to leap empty into the void and trust in that unchanging, unchanged, and unchangeable Spirit that is moving through everything.

     The statement, “Trust would solve every problem now,” is true. But, this must be more than just a concept. It must be an experience. As things change before our eyes, the tears will fall. But these tears are not good, nor are they bad, they just are!

     I am reminded of a story about a woman whose son had just been killed in war. She visited an eastern mystic who said to her, “I cannot teach you to wipe away your tears. I can only teach you how to make them holy.”

     In other words, let’s stop judging ourselves and others when the unthinkable happens. Let’s just let the tears flow (they are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid upon it, as someone once said) and let the feelings come without judging them, e.g.:“This is guilt! This is regret! This is jealousy!” Instead, let them come and burn within the very fibers of your being. Why? That fire is burning away everything that isn’t you, the real You – a holy child of a holy God.

     “It Doesn’t Really Matter” can be summed up by a phrase in the Tao Te Ching: “What difference between yes and no? What difference between success and failure? Must you value what others value, and avoid what others avoid? How ridiculous!”

~*~


Kevin Rice, is the author of The Game of Love-Changing the Rules Changes Everything. Kevin, a former fundamentalist evangelist, has hosted his own television and radio shows and has lectured to thousands of people across the country. Visit his web site at  http://www.changingtherules.net

 
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Regina Dawn Akers


The Simplicity of Awakening

By Regina Dawn Akers
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the October 2009 Newsletter]

 

     A Course in Miracles can seem to be a difficult book. When I first started reading it, I didn’t understand it at all. I saw English words on the page, but they didn’t seem to say anything. Course groups, for many years, have discussed and debated the meaning of the words in A Course in Miracles. We even have discussions about which version of the book is best. But all of this is a cloud, a mental cloud, which covers the simplicity of the Course’s teachings.


     A Course in Miracles, and many other spiritual books and spiritual masters, have come to teach us one thing. They have come to teach us…or more correctly, re-point us in the direction of who (or what) we are.
 

     We have literally forgotten what we are. In chapter three of A Course in Miracles, Jesus tells us that man continually asks himself what he is, but this fundamental question “cannot properly be directed to himself at all.”(1) Jesus knows we identify with a false self, and because we believe our false identity our questioning is directed in the wrong direction. Instead of asking our true Self and realizing remembrance, we ask the false self we have identified with, and the answer it gives continues the making and reinforcing of a false self.

     While we identify with a false self, it can all seem very complicated and convoluted. That is why A Course in Miracles seems to be an intellectual and sometimes complicated book. But it has come to teach a very simple lesson. We are not the false self we think we are, and what we are is easily recognizable when we look to it, because what we are is love and we know love as our truth.

     A Course in Miracles talks about two voices or two interpreters in our mind. One is referred to as the ego or the wrong-mind. The other is called the right-mind or the Holy Spirit. Sometimes when students read the term “Holy Spirit”, they see this right-Voice as a Voice that is separate from them or different from them, but the Holy Spirit is representative of our true Self … of who we are in truth. And this is what A Course in Miracles has come to remind us of. 

     We can find evidence of this simplicity in A Course in Miracles. For example, workbook lesson 55 says: “How could I recognize my own best interests when I do not know who I am? What I think are my best interests would merely bind me closer to the world of illusions. I am willing to follow the Guide God has given me to find out what my own best interests are, recognizing that I cannot perceive them by myself.”

     This early workbook lesson is designed to turn our attention from the guidance of the false self, which we think is “me”, to the guidance of the true Self, which we usually think of as an “Other” since it isn’t the “me” we identify with. But because we have disassociated from our true Self, we also fear it as something opposed to what we are, and therefore as something that will ask of us what we do not want to give. It takes time for A Course in Miracles to help us turn our thinking around…which is literally turning our attention to our true identity.

     “How can this be reversed? For you it is impossible, but you are not alone in this. Your efforts, however little they may be, have strong support. Did you but realize how great this strength, your doubts would vanish. Today we will devote ourselves to the attempt to let you feel this strength. When you have felt the strength in you which makes all miracles within your easy reach, you will not doubt. The miracles your sense of weakness hides will leap into awareness as you feel the strength in you.” (Workbook for Students, lesson 91, paragraph 4)

     Notice how workbook lesson 91 refers to the strength in you. A Course in Miracles is turning our attention from a false identification and gradually helping us remember our true Self.

     Workbook lesson 139 begins by saying:

“I will accept the Atonement for myself. Here is the end of choice. For here we come to a decision to accept ourselves as God created us. And what is choice except uncertainty of what we are? There is no doubt that is not rooted here. There is no question but reflects this one. There is no conflict that does not entail the single simple question, ‘What am I?’ Yet who could ask this question except one who has refused to recognize himself?”

     A Course in Miracles, and many other books and teachers, have come to help us remember what we are. This is the simplicity of the Course. It is also the simplicity of awakening. When we realize the only problem is that we have identified with a false identity…an idea that is not what we are…, we can also decide not to listen to that false identity anymore. Once we make this decision, awakening becomes simpler because there is no longer a question about what we are to do. Our role is not to listen to the ego…which we might still think of as our own thoughts…, but to listen instead to our true Self…which we might call the Holy Spirit, Jesus or by some other name.

     How do we stop listening to ego and begin listening to our true Self?

     The first step, of course, is recognition that the ego is not who we are and therefore, it does not speak for us. As workbook lesson 55 points out, it does not speak for our own best interests because it is not the voice of our Self.

     The second step is to say, “I choose not to listen to this voice which is not me. Instead I choose to still my thoughts and ask within, ‘What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?” (based on Workbook for Students, lesson 71)

     Some people call this surrender, and they struggle against the idea of surrender because they fear they are letting go of who they are and surrendering to one who is opposed to them. But as lesson 139 points out, we have forgotten who we are and this is the root of all conflict. Peace comes from re-acceptance of our truth. Choosing to listen to the Voice of our truth is the first step in re-accepting what we are. This is the way of peace. This is the process of shifting our identity back to our true Self. Surrender is a step in the awakening process.

     Father Thomas Keating said, “The beginning of the spiritual journey is the realization…not just the information, but a real interior conviction that there is a Higher Power, or God. Or to make it as easy as possible for everybody, that there is an Other, capital O. Second step: To try to become the Other, still a capital O. And finally the realization that there is no Other. You and the Other are one. Always have been, always will be. You just think that you aren’t.” (from One, The Movie)

     When we first begin to listen to our true Self as the Holy Spirit or Jesus or by some other name, we do feel as if we are putting our self aside and surrendering to an Other. But as we choose to listen to that Voice and follow it in our living and being, we come to recognize it as our Self. This is how awakening becomes simple. Awakening is nothing more than realizing our Self and therefore, naturally, listening to it and being it.

Workbook for Students, lesson 229:        “I seek my own identity and find it in these words, ‘Love, Which created me, is what I am.’ Now need I seek no more. Love has prevailed. So still it waited for my coming home that I will turn away no longer from the holy face of Christ. And what I look upon attests the truth of the identity I sought to lose, but which my Father has kept safe for me.”

_________

(1) A Course in Miracles, Original Edition Text, Chapter 3, paragraph 53

Book Review

                                                    Review of Robert Perry’s new book:

SIGNS: A New Approach to Coincidence, Synchronicity, Guidance, Life Purpose, and God’s Plan

By Sheryl Valentine*
~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the October 2009 Newsletter]

 

On a recent evening, I picked up Signs around 8:30, and literally could not put it down until I finished it at exactly midnight.  It’s a very helpful and significant book! 

Robert writes about his investigation of a phenomenon he calls CMPEs (Conjunctions of meaningfully parallel events), or “signs”.   After thirty years of using them in his own life, he has come to realize that CMPEs provide wise, intelligent, insightful, specific, and consistent guidance.

     So just what is a CMPE?  The first half of the book explains the phenomenon and how we can learn to use it in our lives.  Robert provides copious examples from his own life to illustrate just how they work.  Later chapters explore the nature of guidance offered by CMPEs.
   A sign is a response to your life, and it speaks with its own voice. It usually speaks about a situation you are struggling with or seeking guidance about, either consciously or unconsciously.  CMPEs frequently have certain characteristics, which I will list here, excerpted from page 59 of the book:  

  • There is a question of yours that is central to one of the events; a question the sign could be seen as answering.
  • There is a strongly felt need, issue, or problem of yours within one of the events.
  • There is a new idea, realization, or decision of yours in one of the events.  Signs will often come along and comment on new ideas or decisions, usually to confirm them (though occasionally to shoot them down).
  • One of the events is emotionally significant for you – involving a major happening, an important piece of news, or a significant beginning, ending, or turning point.

     Just days before reading this book I experienced what I now recognize as a CMPE, and that it contained all the characteristics listed above.  Briefly, a few weeks ago I had one of those days when I was feeling particularly frustrated about certain conditions regarding my business, and had come to a place of deep surrender of the situation.  Within a day or two, I had conversations with two people (2 events) that were independent of each other, yet occurring within an hour.  The conversations, while completely different, contained objective similarities that seemed to respond to a question and an issue in my life.  One of the events contained a new idea, and has thus provided helpful guidance and direction that I feel moved to act on.  It certainly doesn’t seem to be an accident that I picked up Signs and read it in one night, merely days after a significant CMPE of my own – especially since I bought the book over two months ago!

    Another fascinating aspect of the book is Robert’s commentary on how CMPEs can predict the future.  This chapter is particularly interesting to students of A Course in Miracles in that, he writes about a CMPE regarding the suppression and eventual publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and its parallel with the suppression and eventual publication of the original versions of the Course.
    He goes on to discuss signs that seemed to predict the events of September 11, 2001, as well as signs predicting the recent economic collapse.  And then, just for fun, Robert accurately predicted the sex of 3 of his children using signs.

    Amazingly, even while writing the book, Robert experienced several CMPEs that confirmed information he was writing about, as well as speaking to his doubts about how to present particular aspects of the material.  As I write this, I recall quite a few “signs” I had during the years I wrote my book, and how they either provided much needed guidance and/or pointed me in new directions.

    Robert doesn’t bring God into the phenomenon until the last chapter, mainly because he wanted to show that CMPEs are not dependent on belief of any kind. They appear to be scientific in nature, but also point to the existence of another force at work in our lives.  Is God the ultimate director and great Guide in the universe? Robert does a great job answering this question.
    He asks us, “Could it be that, in the form of CMPEs, God is speaking, yet no one is listening?”

─ ─


Sheryl Valentine is the author of “Oh My God. It’s Me!”   Visit her website http://www.SherylValentine.com to find audios and writings pertaining to A Course in Miracles.

 

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