Q and A with Carmen

Can the Course help us deal with addictions lovingly?

Q.  My brother is addicted to some hard drugs and his mood swings are very violent and scary to me.  Can the Course help me to deal with this lovingly?

A. Dear Soul, we were created to be fixated on God (love). So “addiction” was built into us in our creation (see Original Edition of ACIM, “The Eternal Fixation”). Some addictions are more self-destructive than others but they’re basically all the same: a call for the love that we have rejected (“lost”) when we turned our backs on God (love).

Your brother is just calling for love, dear heart. How can you give it to him in a way that he can accept it? I don’t know. No individual human does. But the Holy Spirit DOES and He can tell you what to do to be truly helpful to your brother.

Know that there are no accidents, hon. Your brother CHOSE to have you in his life. Perhaps because his soul knew that you’d find the way to connect with the one true Healer FOR him…. Read More

You have the ability right now to free him from ALL guilt about his addiction (it is guilt that is holding it fixed in place). Lesson 78 might be of help to you.

And please remember two things while you are trying to deal with this: no effort is ever wasted (even if it looks as though it might) and YOU will be blessed with a miracle with every one you let the Holy Spirit do THROUGH you.  Handy, that last one, because you have addictions. too, just more socially acceptable ones or at least less obvious than your brother’s.  But no guilt in that fact either, dear, we’re ALL addicts one way or another.  Our healing begins when we just accept that and simply choose to start redirecting those urges toward learning to GIVE the very same thing that we ALL crave.  Love.

God bless you both!  God bless us all.

In love, Carmen Cameron*

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Carmen Cameron is one of the founding members of CIMS and presenter at the 2009 ACIM Conference.

* Carmen Cameron, who is a founding member of Course in Miracles Society, has been teaching classes in A Course in Miracles since 1994.  She was a presenter at the 2009 Miracles Conference in San Francisco and is scheduled to present again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is: http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

Pamela Silberman


Keep It Simple

By Pamela Silberman*
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[as it appeared in the November 2009 Newsletter]
 

     

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to translate A Course in Miracles into “teen-speak?”  For example, instead of having sentences delving profoundly into the benefits of atonement, miracle mindedness, and forgiveness, perhaps Jesus would simply say, “Hey bro, You are Love, now get off your case!”  Definitely, if it were appropriate to our highest good, Jesus would have had Helen publish a pamphlet the size of a Chinese food menu.  Yet, since our “thought system has become so twisted and so complex,” he chose to introduce simple truth with dedicated fervor, knowing our confused mind “cannot see that [the ego] means nothing.”

Although the Course’s verbose style forces us to read slower, no matter how slow we read, the Course’s simplicity was never intended to become lost in the translation.  Despite its scholarly appearance, the main purpose was not to prolong complexity.  Beyond its perfect iambic pentameter and vivid verse, the Course has always intended to provide clarity where before the ego gives only shadows.  Any human being can admit how easy it is to become lost in shadows, especially when you do not know your way.  Likewise, any beginning Course student can share how sifting through sentence after sentence of the Course’s profound concepts appears to bring more challenges than solutions.  For this reason, I adhere to the adage “keep it simple” whenever I choose to explore the Text, Workbook or Manual for Teachers.

A Course in Miracles specifically states “This is a simple Course …Complexity is of the ego, and is nothing more than the ego’s attempt to obscure the obvious.”  Hence, as we determine to transfer our experience of the Course’s words into daily actions, our practice should remind us how simply one can apply a choice for Love over fear to every life situation.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I do not always want to drop my fearful imaginings for a more loving attitude.  With the world’s seeming facts and figures, it is often easier to rest with surface presentations than abandon the ego ship and sink deeper into what the eyes and ears may not perceive.  All Love is simple once we seek to remove each obstacle to its awareness.  Yet, my distance from peace is only measured by the depth of my claw-marks within each illusion. 

Basically, the only obstacle to love is our incessant argument against it.  Truly, this one statement completely summarizes the Holy Spirit’s central lesson and call for practice.  Would you consider it too complex to remember this one call within every life situation?  Please note there is no room for thoughts such as “Why do I choose to resist,” and “Help me understand the method to stop resisting.”  No, obstacles are only prolonged through such burdensome analysis.  Indeed the quickest way for us to gain peace is simply to be in deed or stop trying to argue for more understanding (that is, increase the arguing) and settle our mind with choosing only an acceptance of peace.

Let me detail the effortlessness of keeping it simple by using a current example from my life.  Recently, I have noticed myself experiencing more ego attacks then ever before.  Rarely have I felt so challenged by the ego’s attempts to twist each thought into strife.   Fortunately (for my own day to day functioning) I am able to moderately ignore these inner riffs without showing much outward exertion.  Yet, each time I feel the emotional lava begin to boil, a call to analyze the thought tempts my mind.  I think, “If I only knew why this was happening, I’d be able to move past it.”  Then, the wondering deepens, “Perhaps if I researched what the Course says about this trigger, maybe then I wouldn’t have so many ego attacks.”  Take this cookie and, not long after, doubt and guilt hurl daggers of judgment with “Why am I such a bad Course student,” and “When will I ever get this right?”

If you follow this example it is easy to see how in our longing for peace we have two options: invest in more longing or simply release for peace.   Frankly, any idea seeking solutions in outer answers will always leap the thinker into increased judgment rather than the compliance to simply surrender.  The Course testifies to a better way: accept the willingness to stop thinking, start surrendering and let each thought (no matter how perpetual or perverse) fade from your mind.

How does one apply the act of simple surrender in the middle of a booming parade of mental meanderings?  Personally, I am a huge fan of breathing.  Ask any Yogi how relaxing a deep cleansing breath can be to the mind asunder.  In my writing and experience of the book Simply Being: One Year with Spirit, Holy Spirit emphasizes the practice of “Breathe, Release and Rest.”  Here, through yet another simple statement, we are guided to let ourselves step beyond the entrapments of the mind and cleanly let go.  In this one practice, we need not analyze or thoroughly understand why we are experiencing these obstacles to Love’s awareness.  By taking a time-out for Holy Spirit, we briefly close our eyes to seeking outside and go within for the Light beyond our own current vision.  We breathe to bring balance to the fears in our body.  We release each story of confusion or distraction from our mind. Finally, we choose to simply rest in God’s loving arms of endless support.

The ego is enticed by the Course, seeing it as yet another answer to its outward based searching.  Any long-time student of the Course can attest to the ego’s progress through the Course: questions met with more questions.  Yet, maybe as an answer to this common bait, Jesus has cleverly disguised several eye-popping phrases throughout the Course. Not one of these clear statements can be accidentally misinterpreted.  Each brings the analyzer’s mind to a screeching halt.  Here we are asked to stop seeking and start doing.  For instance, consider many of the five words or less sentences such as: “Love always leads to love,” “Only perfect love exists,” “The decision is very simple,” and “Complexity is of the ego.”  I don’t know about you, but I’m picking up on a theme here.  Perhaps, when Jesus asks us to, “Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God” he really means it!

In summary, answering your own struggle with analysis only prolongs the same state of confusion.  Thus, it is not the words of A Course in Miracles that awaken us, but the practice.  As you meet each day hoping to integrate the Course’s wisdom into every situation, your success thrives on keeping it simple.  Peace, love and happiness are fully yours and wholly obtainable right now, without any further understanding necessary.  Truly, you need not worry that these inalienable rights can be deterred by a mindset only knowing confusion. “We are dealing only in the very obvious, which has been overlooked in the clouds of complexity in which you think you think.”  Translate this into “teen-speak” and you have: “Love is simple, now go and practice. Duh!”

─ ─

*  Pamela Silberman is the author of Simply Being: One Year with Spirit.  She is due to be a presenter at the 2011 CMC conference and additionally serves as co-organizer for the Be The Love conferences http://www.bethelove.us occurring in 2010.  Join her on Facebook daily for thoughts guided from Spirit which help us all to “Simply Remember.”

Q and A with Carmen

Questions & Answers

By the late Carmen Cameron*
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[as it appeared in the November 2009 Newsletter]

 

There is nothing I like more than a good question about the Course.  And by “good question”, I mean a thought provoking one – a question that makes me reassess what I currently believe and perhaps come to see it in a new light. As a result, we have a very interactive study group of Course students here in Louisville where everyone is encouraged to share their insights and questions. It is also a very diverse group with people from widely varying religious backgrounds so we get a lot of very insightful questions and I’ve been making a note of them for the last 15 years.  Here is one of my favorite ones:

 

Question: The Course clearly appeals to people from very diverse religious backgrounds. Why do you think that is?

First and Foremost: A God you can love wholeheartedly

The diverse appeal of A Course in Miracles is due in very large measure to the way it completely reshapes our relationship with God. We do not have to earn our way back into our Heavenly Father’s love because we never lost it!

That’s what Jesus himself was saying when he gave us the parable of the Prodigal Son and the Lord’s Prayer. Like the Prodigal Son, a child of God need only to change her direction back to home, and God the Father will run to meet her with open arms.

The appeal of the truth of ACIM is very great, undoubtedly, but even before we can get to an understanding of that truth, the appeal of a completely loving God is what kindles most student’s motivation to learn and then maintains our momentum home.

Second: The desire for peace

You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness. You never really WANTED peace before, so there was no point in being told how to achieve it.”

The horror of nuclear destruction shocked a generation about the potential costs of war. Instant video news coverage and graphic Hollywood productions shoved the routine horror of war in the world’s face. All romantic nonsense about the glory of military combat could be questioned, and rejected.

For the first time in history the instructions for peace could be heard by a significant slice of the population, for the simple reason that people of all nations were ready to listen. A Course in Miracles is a comprehensive “how-to” manual for genuine peace.

Third: Eliminate the (often corrupt) middlemen

Eastern traditions and ideas have been percolating around the Western world for several hundred years taking root. A new generation coming of age in the 1960’s flocked to the promise of a direct personal connection to the transcendent world, and to God. The stale preaching of worn out doctrines by hypocritical clergy were not enough to satisfy a growing hunger for the divine.

A Course in Miracles presents itself as a truth to be tested and experienced, not as dogma to be blindly accepted. A revolt against the guardian priests was gaining strength.

Fourth: The inner world

Some sixty years after Freud popularized the idea of the unconscious mind, an educated public was ready to take it seriously and to go exploring. Saints and sages throughout the ages had know of this secret, and wrote about it, but it has been just recently that the terrible fear of the unknown depths relaxed its grip on the public consciousness.

A Course in Miracles provides a comprehensive set of spiritual exercises designed to deal with the dark nightmares that haunt our minds, and it lends us the courage to face them.

A perfect storm

These factors combined at the perfect time and in just the right place to make A Course in Miracles possible. The Course came as an answer to the heartfelt cries for help from the people of a war-weary world. The Course appeals to people from very diverse religious backgrounds because the Course promises what everyone wants deep down.

~*~

* Carmen Cameron, who is a founding member of Course in Miracles Society, has been teaching classes in A Course in Miracles since 1994.  She was a presenter at the 2009 Miracles Conference in San Francisco and is scheduled to present again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is: http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

 

Poems by J.Michaels


The Poet’s Quill ~ Preface

By J Michaels*
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[as it appeared in the November 2009 Newsletter]

     

In the year of our Lord, two thousand and eight, the dream insisted it be heard by the fitful sleeping man. That dream came in the form of a poem that would not yield to sleep. After it became obvious that arising and recording the words would be the only way to ensure any rest, the man awoke and looked at his bedside clock. It read exactly 3:33am. At that time, a tale of two brothers named, oddly enough, Nicobod and Ichobod, was born. Unknown to the dreamer and soon-to-be poet, much more than he could possibly know was also being bred.

Nicobod and Ichobod went up the hill

Through the valley and round the bend

They went high and they went low

They went to and they went fro

From here to there they went

Looking up but fell down

Looking for good but evil found

Searching for truth, looking for peace

Til they came upon a stone

A large obstacle in their way

They pushed and shoved

They pulled and prodded

But the stone remained

And ever will, until they know

Where lives the stone

And its refrain

Reluctantly written, the ode became the first of several hundred the man would write before his poems would make their way into the public domain. Strangely enough, Nicobod and Ichobod did not go to print first. The first book of poems containing their small adventure was destined to arrive after a second volume, which you now hold in your hands. In the months following the birth of the boys of similar name a series of small miracles occurred. Although more poems were destined to arrive in the sleeping state, more and more they arrived when the man was awake, usually after or during his morning meditations. Though not as insistent as the original, they came without invitation at first. A word, a title, a thought was all that foretold arrival. As the man became accustomed to the late night interruptions and the morning appearances, he began to welcome them. The man’s life was inexorably changed from that point onward.

That man of course, was me. Although I had, like many men, written the occasional love poem for my wife on Valentine’s Day or her birthday, this was completely different. And despite the fact that I had pursued a rather unconventional spiritual path most of my life, I was unprepared for the volume, depth, and profound nature of what was to become the center of my life. Many times over the years I have asked for guidance. Many times I have prayed for a vision or enlightenment that would validate my course. Just before one of my darkest hours was to arrive, the answer came in the form of a book. I have read hundreds, possibly thousands, of books in my life and the vast majority was of a spiritual nature. But never before had I read anything that I knew was true.

The book, A Course in Miracles, was given to me by my wife shortly before the death of my mother. Although I found it difficult to understand at first, a deep inner knowing relentlessly drove me to continue reading. The more I read, the more I was convinced I had been given a gift from a divine source. A few years later, after what was by now a daily study of the Course, my young son was murdered by a boy he once considered his best friend. I will never forget the feeling of dread as I stood at my front door facing the police who had come to call late that night. I knew, even before they said anything, that it was about Christopher and that our lives would never be the same after the next few moments. My son’s violent and pointless death was the most difficult event in my life. It almost destroyed me. And I believe it would have, had it not been for my loving family and this strange new book that had taught me the true meaning of forgiveness. Had I not been able to forgive my son’s killer, I would have died in the most meaningful way possible. My soul would have perished and the continued existence of my body would have meant nothing. A Course in Miracles taught me how to forgive and how to live. I will never again for one moment doubt its efficacy or truth.

A Course in Miracles is difficult for most people at first but with continued reading, becomes relatively simple. That is because, although it is radically different from conventional religions and spiritual paths, it is at its heart, simple. The primary tenet of The Course is forgiveness and how it leads to untold spiritual riches. The difference between The Course and the many other spiritual paths that advocate forgiveness is The Course’s definition of the term. ACIM teaches that forgiveness is essential to spiritual growth and salvation not because our brother has harmed us and we need to be magnanimous enough to “pardon his sin”. It teaches instead that the world as we experience it with our senses and perception is false. Therefore, anything done in that context is forgiven because it is illusion and a projection of the ego mind. As radical as this may seem, consider for a moment what you consider real. If we truly believe in a benevolent, all-powerful, and loving God, then how is it possible to reconcile the world as we know it with these qualities? Is it possible that God did not create the world as we know it? How could a loving God create such a foul and reckless place? Perhaps the real world is one of love, peace, and harmony. And maybe, just maybe, we made the world we experience on a daily basis. Let us consider the possibility that separation from the Oneness that must be God would leave us with a deficit that could certainly blind us to what we had traded for an individual life. In that blindness, is it possible that we made a world of separate things, a world of opposites, filled with the qualities that are antithetical to the divine nature? Maybe the real world is the one God created and this world is the one we made in His absence.

Rather than attempt to describe the beautiful place that I believe God created for us, I will leave that to The Course and my poems, if you choose to read them. What I can say about it is that it has changed my life; completely, profoundly, and so much for the better that my frail words cannot do it justice. So if I have yet to alienate, offend, or amuse you, please read on. I can guarantee but one thing. You won’t be bored.

─ ─

*  J. Michaels has completed five books. They are: The Poet’s Quill a spiritual poetry collection, Treasure of the Mind  a novella based on the death of his son, plus poetry collections  Common Ground, Emerald Mandala , and Mystic Twine, all scheduled for publication in the next few months.

copyright 2009 The Poet’s Quill by J. Michaels
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